While some of the books I review on my site are furnished by the publishers, authors, or publicists for the purpose of review all of my reviews are truthful, honest, and my sincere opinion.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Talking Tuesdays: Guest Blogger: Author Sally B. Watkins

Today I am excited to have my first ever guest blogger, author Sally B. Watkins!!! I want to thank Sally B. Watkins for sharing some insight on her new book Change Your Mindset Not Your Man.


Learn to Love What’s Right Instead of Trying to Fix What’s Wrong(Adams Media 2009)

Many women are disappointed, frustrated, and despairing about their relationships with men. Growing up with Sleeping Beauty, Barbies and romance novels, we don’t realize how the happily-ever-after myth contributes to our relationship misery and failures. My book is the message I needed as a young woman-- that there is no substitute for growing a self and creating a full passionate life, that a man can’t possibly be your fulfillment. It’s hard on the guys when we women want what they have not been socialized to provide. They’re prepared to do the heavy lifting and make money but when we ask them to be sensitive and attuned to our many emotional needs it naturally makes them defensive and angry and they often conclude that there isn’t any way to please us. The conflict comes from trying to get happiness, validation and love from your partner when the only one you can change is yourself!

My book spells out exactly what it takes to find contentment with your normally flawed and imperfect guy the way he is. Complaining and even couples counseling can be disastrous if fixing him is the goal. Your thoughts and stories may be helping or hurting you. I show you what it takes to lead by example when you are the one with more relationship skills and needs and have been socialized for relating. Everything from the best therapies, what I’ve gained from my own life, and what my courageous and beautiful clients have taught me is here. Finding your authentic self and the power to accept the things you can’t change will make you a more confident person and a truly loving partner.



1. He doesn’t have to change for you to be happy.

Expectations of romantic love since girlhood have fueled our disappointment with men. We have been socialized to believe in and want a deep connection with a soul mate. Many men were taught to be tough, ignore their feelings, and channel energy into work, so it’s not their fault that they aren’t as attuned to us and as affectionate as we want. It’s natural for the rush of excitement and chemical attraction to wear off after the honeymoon. All relationships take work. It’s not like the movies where finding the right one is the only requirement. Believing that your happiness depends on him and his behavior makes you a victim instead of an empowered woman.

2. All attempts to fix him can make it worse.

I suggest a reminder note “let him be as he is” to help you stop the tugging and pouting that we all do to get more attention since it’s likely to make things worse. Men are highly sensitive to criticism and often tune out when they feel attacked. Couples counseling works if both partners commit to change but too often it’s the woman enlisting the help of the therapist to make him be the way she wants. If a man succumbs to his partner’s demands and lets her control him, she may lose respect for him, so it’s a good thing if he is able to maintain his sense of himself.

3. What you believe and say is powerful.

It’s not a secret that how you think about your relationship and what stories you tell about your partner will affect your attitude and your feelings and emphasize those qualities you focus on. We know that our beliefs influence our feelings and in turn our behavior. Learning to recognize your thought patterns will help you have more choices rather than function automatically.. Testing your partner’s is something all of us have done. For example, tell him it’s okay to go fishing with his buddies and leave us to handle the garage sale and then make him wrong for not choosing us. We think these test measure his love for us but they really don’t.

4. Star in your own happy life.

Men are more attracted to women when they are happy and fulfilled and seem to tune out when they are a rain cloud of negativity. This explains why when women are blue and need something from their guy he may decide to work late or spend time in the garage. When women star in their own life and make their needs more important often men get a charge from the energy she is radiating. When you value yourself he may see you the same way and be more interested in pleasing you. You will be less like a mother complaining and pointing out his problems and more like an exciting woman who gets what she wants.

5. Learn to rely on your own self support.

Men may become worn down by too much emotionally laden information coming at them on a regular basis. Some men view problems as complaints about them or your life with them and tune out. As mature women we must grow an internal resilient self to weather some of life’s stressors and not depend on our guy for everything. Learning how to support and soothe yourself makes you less needy. Not being super sensitive and taking things personally is a great way to head off hurts. Journaling, music, or exercise helps work through issues and feelings. Being in nature or with pets or treating yourself to physical comforts are other ways to sustain yourself through troubling situations.

6. Help him be more relational.

Accept that his being attuned to your feelings and needs does not come naturally to him. It’s a mistake to insist that he must figure these things out on his own for them to mean something. Prepare him for an emotional conversation by telling him what you need, e.g., I just want you to listen to me; I don’t need advice or a solution. Remind him with posted notes, coupons, and pictures hinting for what you want in the way of gifts or special events. Ask directly for things like a foot or neck rub, taking over for dinner or the kids’ homework when you need help. Avoid pouting and other drama as a way to get his attention.


Sally B. Watkins M.S.W., LCSW

I grew up in a Pennsylvania household with violence and deprivation. The happily-ever-after story was one I clung to in the unheated attic of my childhood room where sleep came fitfully to the sounds of my parent’s battles. I was a writer even then and imagined in poetry my prince just like the one in Cinderella. Like many women I went through much of my early adulthood searching for that perfect someone to love and care for me.

Self help books, therapy, and groups helped me find that person that I am today. I graduated from the University of Maryland at Baltimore with a master’s degree in social work and before that with a bachelor’s degree in education from Carnegie Mellon University. In addition to my twenty year psychotherapy practice I continued to be a writer-- grant writing, personal journals, short stories, essays and writing classes. My published work includes magazine articles and a regular column for a local newspaper. This is my first book, CHANGE YOUR MINDSET NOT YOUR MAN.

I now live in El Dorado Hills, California with my husband Warren. My two sons are grown. I enjoy cooking healthy food, working out, hiking, playing tennis, reading, and sailing in the Pacific Northwest.

Thank you Sally for sharing with us. I know I am looking forward to reading this one and have added it to my ever growing TBR pile.

To get more information about Change Your Mindset Not Your Man please visit either of Sally Watkins' websites:
Sally Watkins.net
Healing Words

Hope everyone had a great Tuesday!

Friday, December 11, 2009

2009 Books I've Read

To clean up my sidebar I'm going to start keeping track of my books in this post. When I add to the list I'll just add to this post... Hopefully that will make things look a little better.

1. Cult Fiction by Chancery Stone
2. Soul Harvest by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins
3. Knitting Under the Influence by Claire LaZebnik
4. Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin
5. The Wedding by Nicholas Sparks
6. A Slaying in the Suburbs: The Tara Grant Murder by Steve Miller and Andrea Billups
7. Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead
8. Rachel's Tears by Beth Nimmo and Darrell Scott
9. In the Footsteps of Paul by Ken Duncan
10. Something Blue by Emily Giffin
11. GateKEEPERS by Sheldon Robert Stone and Rudolf B. Schmerl
12. Shawls Two (Vogue Knitting on the Go)
13. Girls in Trucks by Katie Crouch
14. I'm Perfect You're Doomed by Kyria Abrahams
15. The Gnostic Mystery by Randy Davila
16. The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe
17. The Noticer by Andy Andrews
18. Pure Heart by Rita Hsu Syers
19. Put Your Dreams to the Test by John C. Maxwell
20. Enduring Justice by Amy Wallace
21. Eternal Craving by Nina Bangs
22. Boots and Pieces by Emily Ecton
23. In My Own Words by Mother Teresa
24. Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi by Geoff Dyer
25. The Chameleon Conspiracy by Haggi Carmon
26. When That Day Comes by Louise Alberto McAtee
27. The Liberation Diet by Kevin Brown and Annette Presley
28. You Wanna Go to Willard by Linda M. Holbrook
29. The Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers by Angie Fox
30. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
31. Sisterchicks in Wooden Shoos by Robin Jones Gunn
32. Sir Dalton and the Shadow Heart by Chuck Black
33. Eyes Wide Open by Jud Wilhite
34. The Disappearance of God by R. Albert Mohler Jr.
35. Between Us Baxters by Bethany Hegedus
36. The Vanishing Sculptor by Donita K. Paul
37. Hot House Flowers and the Nine Plants of Desire by Margot Berwin
38. Obama's Blackberry by Kasper Hauser
39. How Perfect is That by Sarah Bird
40. Last Light Over Carolina by Mary Alice Monroe
41. One Scream Away by Kate Brady
42. The Kidnapping of Kenzie Thorn by Liz Johnson
43. Duma Key by Stephen King
44. Ravens by George Dawes Green
45. Hope of Refuge by Cindy Woodsmall
46. Summer of Two Wishes by Julia London
47. Blue Like Play Dough by Tricia Goyer
48. Fearless by Max Lucado
49. Stray Affections by Charlene Ann Baumbich
50. The Forgotten Man by William Graham Sumner
51. Find Your Strongest Life by Marcus Buckingham
52. Extraordinary by John Bevere
53. Thirsty by Tracey Bateman
54. Touched by a Vampire by Beth Felker Jones
55. Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie
56. Wisdom Hunter by Randall Arthur
57. White Picket Fences by Susan Meissner
58. An Edible History of Humanity by Tom Standage
59. Shooting and Albatross by Steven R. Lundin
60. Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner
61. How it Ends by Laura Wiess

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Giving Away Thursdays!

Since I've been a little sketchy with my blog the last few months I figured if I have myself on a blogging schedule that maybe I won't let it go for so long.

The first change is Thursday is now Giving Away Thursdays!

On Thursday I will post any new giveaways I have, as well as the winners from and closed giveaways.

Also on Thursdays I will post links to any book giveaways I've found during the week.

So start watching Thursdays to see what's being given away!

First off, my giveaways:
100th post giveaway
White Picket Fences

Giveaways around the web:
Writer's Space Author Giveaways Monthly giveaways

Fresh Fiction Monthly Giveaways

The Bibliophilic Book Blog A Sony E-Reader!!! Ends 12/15

Luxury Reading The Possibility of Everything End 12/18

Presenting Lenore 700 Followers Prize Pack Ends 12/21

Luxury Reading Lovely Bones Audiobook Ends 12/22

A Bookish Mom A Christmas Carol Special Edition Ends 12/18

The Book Butterfly The Maze Runner Ends 12/25

Books and Needlepoint I Used to Know That Ends 12/29

Books and Needlepoint
Born of Night Ends 12/15

Books and Needlepoint Denise's Daily Dozen Ends 12/29

Luxury Reading When She Flew Ends 12/25

That's all for this week!

Do you have a giveaway that I didn't list? Leave a comment with the link, I'll make sure to add it to next week.

Thanks for reading

Closed: Review and Giveaway! White Picket Fences by Susan Meissner

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

About the Book:

When her black sheep brother disappears, Amanda Janvier eagerly takes in her sixteen year-old niece Tally. The girl is practically an orphan: motherless, and living with a father who raises Tally wherever he lands– in a Buick, a pizza joint, a horse farm–and regularly takes off on wild schemes. Amanda envisions that she, her husband Neil, and their two teenagers can offer the girl stability and a shot at a “normal” life, even though their own storybook lives are about to crumble.

Seventeen-year-old Chase Janvier hasn’t seen his cousin in years, and other than a vague curiosity about her strange life, he doesn’t expect her arrival will affect him much–or interfere with his growing, disturbing interest in a long-ago house fire that plagues his dreams unbeknownst to anyone else.

Tally and Chase bond as they interview two Holocaust survivors for a sociology project, and become startlingly aware that the whole family is grappling with hidden secrets, with the echoes of the past, and with the realization that ignoring tragic situations won’t make them go away.

Will Tally’s presence blow apart their carefully-constructed world, knocking down the illusion of the white picket fence and reveal a hidden past that could destroy them all–or can she help them find the truth without losing each other?

My Review:

White Picket Fences had quite a bit going on in it. Each part of the story was connected, and it was done very well. The story didn't seem to lose anything, and the connections didn't feel convenient. This book was very well thought out, and was executed very well. I have to applaud Meissner for taking all these seemingly unrelated topics and intertwining them into a very good story.

There were parts when the story dragged a little, but for the most part it kept intrigued. My favorite part of the story was the Holocaust survivors telling their story. Not only did it serve a purpose with the plot, but I love to learn about the Holocaust and WWII. What those people survived is unimaginable to me, and how the Nazi's could do that is just beyond me. I don't necessarily gain enjoyment from Holocaust stories, but I feel like knowing these stories may be a step to stopping the hatred that still exists today... But I digress....

The story was very well written. I really liked Amanda and Chase. I just connected with Amanda and even when she wasn't a part of the action I felt like I was seeing it through her eyes. Her thoughts and her ideas fell in line with what I think I would have done in her situation.

This was a pretty good book, I will be reading her other books in the future.

To get more information on White Picket Fences please visit WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing's website.

The Giveaway:

I have one copy of White Picket Fences to giveaway.

The giveaway will end 12/16/09 at 11:59pm (EST)

To enter:
1) Leave a comment with your email address (so I can contact you if you win!)
2) Get an extra entry for following my blog (let me know if you're a new follower or have been following for a while!)
3) Get a third entry for mentioning this giveaway: On your blog, facebook, twitter... anywhere (Make sure to leave me a link or your SN so I can verify!)

The winner will be randomly drawn and notified by email.

Just a note. This is an extra copy that I was given, so the book is in my possession. I do smoke and have pets. The giveaway copy is an extra copy, not the one I have read. However I do understand that both pet hair and smoke can be problematic for those with allergies. As I do not want to cause anyone harm please be aware if you do have allergies.

Good Luck and thank you for reading my blog!

The winner is: Cheryl!
Thank you for entering an email is on it's way!
Enjoy reading!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Closed: 100th Post! Giveaway!!!!

Yeah it's my 100th post!!!!

To celebrate I am going to give away 3 of my ARC/review copies to one lucky winner.

Here is the list of titles I currently have (that haven't been loaned out or donated...)
1) The Chameleon Conspiracy by Haggai Carmon
2)Boots and Pieces by Emily Ecton
3) Eternal Craving by Nina Bangs

4) Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie
5) When That Day Comes by Louise Alberto McAtee
6) Last Light Over Carolina by Mary Alice Monroe
7) Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead

To win:
Please leave a comment with your email address (no email and I can't contact you!!!)
In the comment list the three titles you would like!
Earn an extra entry for following my blog (let me know if you are a new follower or an old follower)
Earn an extra entry for posting this giveaway someplace else (your blog, twitter, facebook, etc... just let me know where it's at!)

The giveaway will be open until December 21st. The winner will be chosen randomly.

Just a note I am a smoker and I have pets. I don't smoke while reading and I don't let my dogs roll around in my books, but if you have allergies please be warned!

The winner will be notified by email!

Thank you for reading my blog and good luck!

There will also be a special something when I reach 100 followers, so send your friends over!

Update: Winner Suzanne!

Thank you for entering. An email is on it's way to you.


Wisdom Hunter by Randall Arthur

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

This rerelease of Randall Arthur's bestselling novel presents the hypocrisy of Christian legalism and a man's search for the only surviving member of his family. The story's hero, Pastor Jason Faircloth, embarks on a journey that lasts eighteen years and takes him through four countries in a quest to find the granddaughter who is being hidden from him. In a process that mirrors our own spiritual journey, he discovers a rich relationship with God and the peace that finally comes with true faith.

My Review:
I've read so many books lately that they've all seemed to kind of run into one. Shortly after reading one I loose some of the intricacies of the story. This book, was definitely not one of those. I was completely blown away by this story. I wish I would've heard about this one years ago, when it originally came out. But I'm glad that I was given the chance to read it, even if it was 18 years late.

While there is alot going on in this story I felt that the main idea was that Jason, a pastor, questions his faith when his life is thrown into a chaotic string of events. So many things that Jason questioned about his faith are things that I have too questioned. This one just really resonated with me as I could relate on almost every level with Jason.

The story not only has a great premise, but there are some pretty action intense scenes, as well as some very emotional scenes. I was literally drawn into this story from the opening line and was hooked till the end. I didn't want to put this book down. It was a fast read, but it really made me think. Character development was great, dialog was realistic, descriptions were perfect.

I have already recommended this, and will be recommending it many many times in the future. I normally will lend my books out to people, however I think this one will not leave my possession. I can see myself reading this many times over.

I think this is one that just about anyone can read. It does deal with a few difficult subjects, but the struggling with religion was (at least in my opinion) the basis of the story.

For more information about Wisdom Hunter please visit WaterBrook Multnomah's website.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie

Let me thank Picador Publishing for sending me a copy of this book.

About the Book:
Beginning on August 9, 1945, in Nagasaki, and ending in a prison cell in the US in 2002, as a man is waiting to be sent to Guantanamo Bay, Burnt Shadows is an epic narrative of love and betrayal.

Hiroko Tanaka is twenty-one and in love with the man she is to marry, Konrad Weiss. As she steps onto her veranda, wrapped in a kimono with three black cranes swooping across the back, her world is suddenly and irrevocably altered. In the numbing aftermath of the atomic bomb that obliterates everything she has known, all that remains are the bird-shaped burns on her back, an indelible reminder of the world she has lost. In search of new beginnings, two years later, Hiroko travels to Delhi. It is there that her life will become intertwined with that of Konrad's half sister, Elizabeth, her husband, James Burton, and their employee Sajjad Ashraf, from whom she starts to learn Urdu.

With the partition of India, and the creation of Pakistan, Hiroko will find herself displaced once again, in a world where old wars are replaced by new conflicts. But the shadows of history--personal and political--are cast over the interrelated worlds of the Burtons, the Ashrafs, and the Tanakas as they are transported from Pakistan to New York and, in the novel's astonishing climax, to Afghanistan in the immediate wake of 9/11. The ties that have bound these families together over decades and generations are tested to the extreme, with unforeseeable consequences.

My Review
This story follows Hiroko through her life. The story starts in Japan during WWII and ends in 2002. We follow Hiroko as she loves, loses, and ages. While the events in history play second to the story there are many things that Hiroko deals with: the bombing in Nagasaki, the split of India and Pakistan, 9/11. The characters are well rounded, and as the story jumps from one to the other we really get a sense of who these people are and what emotions they are dealing with. I became connected to just about all of the characters.

The story is well written, the descriptions were a bit much in some places, but the pictures that Shamsie is able to paint with words are breathtaking. Her use of reacurring themes makes the story really go full circle. Her ability to take monumental events in history and make them the basis of Hiroko's life, without making the story simply about the history is a feat.

A good read. There were parts that read a little slow, but there weren't many and the story is compelling enough to pull you through them.

For more information on Burnt Shadows please visit Picador's website.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Faith and Fangs Blog Tour

Let me start by thanking Liz at Waterbrook Mulnomah for sending me these to read and for allowing me to participate in the blog tour!

Two books in this one!

Thirsty by Tracey Bateman

About the Book:
There's no place like home, they say.
"Hello, I'm Nina Parker…and I'm an alcoholic."
For Nina, it's not the weighty admission but the first steps toward recovery that prove most difficult. She must face her ex-husband, Hunt, with little hope of making amends, and try to rebuild a relationship with her angry teenage daughter, Meagan. Hardest of all, she is forced to return to Abbey Hills, Missouri, the hometown she abruptly abandoned nearly two decades earlier–and her unexpected arrival in the sleepy Ozark town catches the attention of someone–or something–igniting a two-hundred-fifty-year-old desire that rages like a wildfire.

Unaware of the darkness stalking her, Nina is confronted with a series of events that threaten to unhinge her sobriety. Her daughter wants to spend time with the parents Nina left behind. A terrifying event that has haunted Nina for almost twenty years begins to surface. And an alluring neighbor initiates an unusual friendship with Nina, but is Markus truly a kindred spirit or a man guarding dangerous secrets?

As everything she loves hangs in the balance, will Nina's feeble grasp on her demons be broken, leaving her powerless against the thirst? The battle between redemption and obsession unfold to its startling, unforgettable end.

My Review:
I really liked this book. Not only was it a vampire story (which I'm really starting to love those) but it was an adult vampire story with a great story line! It kept my attention and I got really pulled into the story. Nina, the main character, is an alcoholic who's all but lost her family. I've never really known an alcoholic, but I'm sure that the struggles Nina faced are all too common. I really liked Nina, she'd made some mistakes in her life but she was really working on turning things around. Trying to regain trust in relationships that her drinking had all but shattered, and realizing that just because she was sober didn't mean everyone just forgave her. While it is a vampire story it's so much more than that.

The writing was great. For those of you familiar with my reviews you know descriptions and I don't always get along... This had the perfect balance of description, enough to show you what was going on but not so much that it covered the story up. Great Job! Also the writing was realistic, the reactions and dialogs were actually plausible, and it didn't feel fake. If I had to give any criticism it would be that it was easy to figure out what was going to happen. Granted I didn't know the means by which the ending would come, but I had a pretty good grasp. Although there was one major thing that I didn't expect and since I don't want to give it away I'll just leave it at that!

Find out more about Thirsty by visiting Waterbrook's Website.

Now to the second book.

Touched by a Vampire by Beth Felker Jones

About the Book:

People around the world are asking the same question, enraptured with Edward and Bella’s forbidden romance in the Twilight Saga, a four-book serial phenomenon written by Stephenie Meyer. The bestsellers tell the story of a regular girl’s relationship with a vampire who has chosen to follow his “good” side. But the Saga isn’t just another fantasy–it’s teaching girls about love, sex, and purpose. With 48 million copies in print and a succession of upcoming blockbuster films, now is the time to ask the important question: Can vampires teach us about God’s plan for love?

Touched by a Vampire is the first book to investigate the themes of the Twilight Saga from a Biblical perspective. Some Christian readers have praised moral principles illustrated in the story, such as premarital sexual abstinence, which align with Meyer’s Mormon beliefs. But ultimately, Beth Felker Jones examines whether the story’s redemptive qualities outshine its darkness.

Cautionary, thoughtful, and challenging, Touched by a Vampire is written for Twilight fans, parents, teachers, and pop culture enthusiasts. It includes an overview of the series for those unfamiliar with the storyline and a discussion guide for small groups.

My Review:
Admitingly I didn't read all of this one. I have only read the first of the Twilight series, and while I knew this was about the entire series I started to feel like it was really giving away too much of the rest of the stories. Of what I have read I did like it, the themes in Twilight are looked at with Christian beliefs. After I finish the series I will definatley pick this one up and finish it. There is one passage from the introduction that I want to share because it was written perfectly:

"I love the way a story can carry us into another world, a world of imagination and mystery. When a story captures our hearts, we dive into it. We sink deep into the waters of the world the author has created for us and learn its geography. We fear what the characters fear and love what the character love. Most of all I love what happens when we come out of the story world. We come up from under the water of imagination and take a deep breath of the air of our own world. But it isn't the same world it was before we dove into the story. The story world changes our world. It helps us imagine possibilities we couldn't possibly have seen before. It suggests new dreams to guide us, new fears to horrify us, and new hopes to inspire us."

I know that was a long one, but it just really resonated with me and I couldn't help but share it.

To find out more about Touched by a Vampire please visit the Waterbrook Mulnomah website.

So it's been a while!!!

Well, hello to my bloging family! Sorry it's been so long but I've had a crazy couple of months... My sister got married at the end of August. It was a beautiful cerimony and the bride was dazaling. A few snafus (like when her veil fell off during the cerimony Oppss!) but I think that's to be expected. Then I spent some time with my mother, twice this summer actually. My grandfather was sick for a few days, he's better now, but you always worry. Then my PartyLite business has really taken off, and that's a great thing. Plus I'm almost done with my associates degree and school was a little crazy with everything else going on. Sadly at the begining of the month I lost two neighbors. One took her own life and the other lost her battle with cancer. It was a bit shocking loosing both within a week and a half of each other. Now that the initial shock has worn off and I've dealt with the losses I've come to a place where I've accepted the losses. Please send your prayers to their families who are struggling much more with their losses than I am.

So now that my life has calmed down I'm ready to post all of the reviews for the books I've been reading while I was away. Believe me there are a TON of reviews that I need to get posted. Even though I wasn't at my computer I was still reading, so I have to play a lot of catch up now!!!

Good to be back in the saddle and hopefully stay on it this time :-)


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Review: Extraordinary by John Bevere

This one came from Staci at Random House.

My Review:

In Extraordinary John Bevere explains how all people are extraordinary and were created for extraordinary purposes. He gives advice on how to realize and accept your extraordinary purpose.

This book just did not sit well with me. It wasn't that I didn't like the message, actually I think it was a great message: We are all created for an extraordinary life. I also liked that the author used real-life experiences from his life, he wasn't simply retelling stories about other people. Self-help authors that are able to open their own lives up and share their stories with the world get many kudos from me.

Despite that I just couldn't connect with this book. The writing style was to pushy for me. I felt as if reading this one was a chore rather than an enjoyable experience and I felt as if I was being scolded through the whole thing.

The message is great but the presentation didn't work for me.

For more information on Extraordinary or to purchase a copy please visit Random House's website.

For more information about the Author John Bevere please visit his ministry website: Messenger International.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Review: Find Your Strongest Life by Marcus Buckingham

Thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishing for letting me review this book.

My Review:

Marcus Buckingham seems to really understand the struggles that women face. By understanding what struggles women face he is able to give us a plan on how to make our lives stronger. He gives advice on how to make every aspect of your life stronger: work, relationships, raising children, and personal life.

I think the ideas make sense to some extent, but the ideas he presents go against all popular ideals. But I think that's the point, obviously what we've been told to do isn't working so a different plan of attack may just be what we need. I liked the ideas and have started to try and use them in my life.

It was a fairly well-written book. The information is pretty straight forward and easy to understand. Overall I'd say this was a decent book.

To get more information about Marcus Buckingham or Find Your Strongest Life please visit Thomas Nelson's website.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

September is Roald Dahl Month!

As a child one of my favorite authors was Roald Dahl. My sisters and I made it a point to read anything of his we could. But my obsession started with a book that is still one of my favorites today: Matilda.

I've had my copy of Matilda since I was in the 4th grade (it's been with me for 18 years now), and it's one of the few books that I can sit and read over and over. Surprisingly this is also one of my favorite movies.

I don't know why this book is so dear to me, other than I was going through a lot when I first read it, and I think it was the first book that I was truly able to escape into. It helped me to forget about my parent's separation, it helped me deal with a step-mother and step-sister, and it helped me loose myself and not think about the rest of the stuff a normal 10 year old goes through.

If you and/or your children haven't read Matilda I would recommend it. It's a great story. All of Roald Dahl's books that I have read have been great. He's a great storyteller and is able to spark a child's imagination in a way that only a few authors can.

I would argue that Roald Dahl should be place right up there with Dr. Seuss and Judy Blume as far as being a great childrens author.

If your looking for something to get your children into reading I would recommend any of his books. He has books for just about any age level.

To find out more about Roald Dahl or to find some fun activities to help celebrate Roald Dahl month visit his website. There's a list of all his books, fun activities to print off and share with your children, games and more.

If you're not familiar with Roald Dahl I hope you enjoy a new author, if you already love Dahl I hope you enjoy the fun games on his website.

While Roald Dahl month only lasts for a few more weeks remember that reading can last a lifetime!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Review: The Forgotten Man by William Graham Sumner

I won this on Library Thing's member giveaways.

My Review:
This book is actually a speech that was given in 1883. The concept of this speech is that the lawmakers ask for help for the poor and overlook the class of people that make life in the country possible, the forgotten man.

There were a few ideas and beliefs that the author talks about in which I don't agree with, but he makes very valid arguments for his ideas. I also did agree with some of what he mentions, however I don't know how feasable his ideas are, and if they would work in the society that we live in today.

One thing that surprised me is that even though this speech was written over 100 years ago it was still pertinent to today. I don't know if that is a sign of a great speech writer, to write something that holds true for over 100 years, or if it is a sign that our country really hasn't changed that much in 100 years.

It was a quick read, and if nothing else it makes you think about our social and political structure. It was a bit on the rough side to read, because it was pretty dry, but I think more of that was because it was written as a speech rather than a book or a story. I think it was interesting and was worth the hour or so it took me to read it.

To find out more about the book or where to purchase it please visit Sparks Media's website.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Blog Tour: Stray Affections by Charlene Ann Baumbich

Let me thank Ashley for letting me participate in this blog tour.

My Review:
I really liked this book. As I learned about Cassandra's past I felt sorry for her. I don't think pity is the emotion this book was trying to elicit but for some reason that was all I could feel. I think some of it was because I related to a few of the things she went through. The guilt she went through with her dog Toby was touching to me because I am a dog lover. The warnings from her cautious and seemingly "cold" mother were similar to those I've gotten (not from my mother) from people in my life. So maybe pity isn't even the right emotion, maybe it was more an understanding of why she felt the way she did.

Either way this was a pretty good book. Cassandra was a very well develop character, I really connected with her. I got a good sense of Cassandra's husband Ken, her best friend Margret, and her mother Betty, but I didn't feel that they were as developed as they could have been.

I did enjoy the book. Trying to figure out the "story" behind the snow globe was intriguing. It was easy for me to just escape into this book, I didn't feel like I was there, but I was pretty engrossed with what was going on. Overall I'd say this was a good read.

To find out more about Stray Affections please visit Random House

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Review: Fearless by Max Lucado

Let me thank Thomas Nelson Publisher's for letting me review this book.

In Fearless Max Lucado sends the message that with fear in our lives we can be our own worst enemy. He also shows us how with faith and prayer we can overcome this fear. There are many examples of fear in the Bible and many examples of Jesus telling us not to fear. If we can trust our faith and know that there is nothing to fear through Jesus then we can live without fear. That is Lucado's message.

I've read a lot of spiritual/self-help books, not one has connected with me like Fearless did. I saw myself in so many of the examples of fear taking over one's life. It seemed as if Lucado was writing this book just for me to read. I think that for the first time while reading a book I actually sat the book aside and prayed. I liked the message and I've taken much from this book to heart.

There was also a companion booklet that came with this. The booklet was done well, it covered the most important topics from the book. I also liked the scriptures being grouped together at the end. It was nice to read a whole list of scriptures together rather then have them all spread out through the book.

To find out more about Max Lucado please visit his website
To find out more about Fearless please visit The Fearless Times
To find out where to purchase Fearless please visit Thomas Nelson Books

Review: Blue Like Play Dough by Tricia Goyer

I need to thank Liz at Random House for letting me read this. I apologize that my review is so late.

I'm not a parent, and I've never read Tricia Goyer before, so I wasn't sure I was going to like this one. But I ended up really liking it.

The book jumps a bit, she'll make her point and then jump to a story that relates to what she's trying to say. I think it takes a very skilled writer to jump around like that, and to not loose the reader, and Tricia does it perfectly. The "jumps" are used as background and they were almost all quite humorous.

I liked her writing style, she doesn't use much description at all and somehow you can see her stories come to life. She writes in a relatable way, even if we've never been in these situations we can imagine what it would be like to be there.

In addition to being a book about parenting, it is also a book about letting God into your life and being able to make time for him and his plan for you. While just about all her stories relate to her church, her relationship with God, or her families ministry work this book was not preachy or pushy. Tricia tells about her struggles in her relationship with God, and how she deals with them.

I think this was a very well written book and I'm glad I got to read it. I really liked the humor and the way she tells a story. I already recommended this one to my little sister (who doesn't have children either) simply because it was a good book. And if you are a parent struggling with raising kids, maintaining your relationship with God, and all the other responsibilities you have I would recommend this one for you. Well, really I'd recommend this one even if none of the above apply to you. The wit and humor is enough to make this enjoyable even if her message doesn't necessarily apply to you.

To find out more about Blue Like Play Dough or to get your own copy please visit Random House

For more information about Tricia Goyer please visit her website

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Blog Tour: Summer of Two Wishes

Let me thank Sarah at Simon and Schuster for allowing me to participate in this blog tour!

Whose wife was she?
Macy Lockhart's life shattered in a moment with the news that her husband, Finn -- serving in the military overseas -- has been killed in the line of duty. Their ardent and devoted marriage is over, leaving Macy alone, empty, directionless. But while she tries to sustain herself with memories of Finn, the quiet, strong man who made her and their small Texas ranch the center of his life, it is wealthy Wyatt Clark who slowly brings joy back into her life. Her love for Wyatt may be less romantic than the breathless passion she'd once shared with Finn, but she vows to cherish him, and their marriage is happy and as solid as a rock. Until the day that Finn, miraculously spared from death, returns home to claim his bride....

My review

I can't imagine what I would do given what Macy had to face in this one. To first find out that your husband was killed, to get over that loss enough to fall in love and remarry, then to find out that your first husband was still alive.... Not something I ever want to experience, but it makes for a very emotional story. That's for sure.

This is an easy book to get lost in. 400 pages just seemed to fly by. Everything Macy, Wyatt and Finn go through is heart wrenching. It took me no time to connect with the characters and I was right there with them from the very beginning. The story seems so real that when Macy cried I thought I was going to start bawling. The decisions she's forced to make and the turmoil she goes through trying to make them really tugged at me.

The story takes place in Texas, and London does a great job of writing so that you can hear the drawl in what is being said. I felt like I was down in Texas. London leaves a lot of the detail up to the imagination. There was very little descriptions; enough so that you got an idea of what people looked like and where they were but not too much to detract from the story.

I was captivated by this one and read it in two sittings. I found I just didn't want to put it down. I don't know what decision I would have made, but as Macy sifts through her emotions to decide what she wants I understood her logic and why she did what she did. It made me feel like I was making the decision with her.

Touching, sad, happy, romantic, and passionate; an emotional roller coaster worth riding!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Winners: My Name is Will by Jess Winfield

There were only 5 people that signed up for this contest, so guess what, you all win!

I've sent out emails to the winners. Please respond by August 21st with your address.

If the winners do not respond I will offer up any unclaimed copies on a first come first serve basis.

Thank you for reading,

First Come First Serve

I've not gotten responses from some people for the giveaways for One Scream Away and for Off Season. Since I don't seem to be getting responses from the people I've chosen as "replacement" winners I'm going to just give away the last few copies of each on a first come first serve basis.

So to get your copy please leave me a comment with which book you would prefer, or if you don't care which one (that helps too!) and your email address!

There are still 3 copies of Off Season and 2 copies of One Scream Away.

Here's the original posts I made for each of these books:
Off Season by Anne Rivers Siddons
One Scream Away by Kate Brady

Please US and Canada only, and no PO boxes.

Thank you,

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway: The Hope of Refuge by Cindy Woodsmall

Let me thank Liz at Random House for letting me be a part of this blog tour.

Before my review here's a little tidbit about the book:

Carrie Bradshaw -- in a Bonnet

My Review:

It took me a little while to get all the characters straight with this one. There were so many being introduced in the beginning that I started to get a little confused. Once I got a few chapters in things all started to fall into place and I was able to keep track of who was who.

The dialogue in this book was very easy to follow (for some reason I get lost easily in dialogue). I didn't have to keep going back and re-reading to try and figure out who was saying what. I REALLY liked that.

The story was pretty decent. It didn't blow me away but it was still pretty good. There were parts that were a little suspenseful, and there were some really touching parts. It had a little bit of everything.

What I liked most about this was that it was a look into how modern Amish people live. Even though they stay true to their beliefs modern culture does leave its mark on the Amish. I'm glad this book showed that. In the past books that I've read about the Amish are very biased and stereotypical. I liked that the author was able to use her real-life connections to give a true glimpse into Amish life.

This one was a pretty quick read. Although it didn't draw me in and keep me totally captivated the writing was well done and I didn't have to labor to finish it.

It was a decent book, not something I loved but I definitely liked it.

To find out more about The Hope of Refuge please visit Random House's website.

Now for the Giveaway!

I will be giving away 1 copies of this one.

Giveaway will end 8/28/09 at 11:59 pm.

To enter simply leave a comment with your email address.

Get an extra entry for following my blog. Let me know in your comment that you're following.

Tweet, blog, or link to this giveaway for another entry! Just let me know where I can find it.

US only please as I am mailing this one myself.

Also just a note: I am a smoker and I have pets so if you have allergies you may not want to enter. This giveaway isn't for the copy I read, so the book has never even been opened but smoke and animal hair have a way of getting into everything! I don't want to cause anyone to get sick!

Good Luck!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Giveaway: My Name is Will by Jess Winfield

I have to thank Valerie at Hachette Books for letting me host yet another great giveaway!

This time it's for My Name Is Will by Jess Winfield.

A Tale of two Shakespeares...

Struggling UC Santa Cruz grad student Willie Shakespeare Greenberg is trying to write his thesis about the Bard. Kind of...

Cut off by his father for laziness, and desperate for dough, Willie agrees to deliver a single giant, psychedelic mushroom to a mysterious collector, making himself an unwitting target in Ronald Reagan's War on Drugs.

Meanwhile, would-be playwright (and oppressed Catholic) William Shakespeare is eighteen years old and stuck teaching Latin in the boondocks of Stratford-upon-Avon. The future Bard's life is turned upside down when a stranger entrusts him with a sacred relic from Rome... This, at a time when adherents of the "Old Faith" are being hanged, drawn, and quartered as traitors.

Seemingly separated in time and place, the lives of Willie and William begin to intersect in curious ways, from harrowing encounters with the law (and a few ex-girlfriends) to dubious experiments with mind-altering substances. Their misadventures could be dismissed as youthful folly. But wise or foolish, the bold choices they make will shape not only the 'Shakespeare' each is destined to come... but the very course of history itself.

Now for the Giveaway:

I will be giving away 5 copies of this one.

Giveaway will end 8/14/09 at 11:59 pm.

To enter simply leave a comment with your email address.

Get an extra entry for following my blog. Let me know in your comment that you're following.

Tweet, blog, or link to this giveaway for another entry! Just let me know where I can find it.

As usual Only US and Canada please, and no PO Boxes.


Ok, I have to post winners for two giveaways that I've done.

The first is for One Scream Away by Kate Brady.

The 5 Winners are:
1. Sue Wanda
2. Jane
3. MJ
4. Marie
5. Brooke

I will be sending out emails to get your address tonight.

The second giveaway is for Off Season by Anne Rivers Siddon

The 5 Winners Are:
1. Debs Desk heatherzilla
2. Sue Emma Sammie
3. Mike Draper
4. Marjorie
5. DarcyO Anita Yancey

Thank you to all the entrants, and I appologize that it took me so long to get around to drawing the winners.

I used Random.org random sequence generator to draw the winners.

If winners have not responded to my emails by Tuesday August 11th at 11:59pm I will draw new winners.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Review: Ravens by George Dawes Green

First off let me thank Miriam at Hachette for letting me read this one. I also need to apologize that the review was late.

This one was a page turner. I was so hooked right from the word go with this one.

The story was narrated by a few different characters. It jumped back and forth, but it didn't seem choppy. The story just goes on, but from a different perspective. It wasn't like it would switch to a new character and rehash what the last character just told us.

The writing was good. There was only one thing that bothered me, when a character is talking the author would use Said Shaw instead of Shaw Said. But that was really the only thing I didn't like.

I liked the beginning, it gave us enough info about the characters to pull me into the story, without giving so much detail that it became mundane. It follows the Boatwright family and then friends Shaw and Romeo. The Boatwrights win the lottery and that's when Shaw and Romeo really enter the picture.

The suspense in this novel doesn't come from not knowing what's going on. Quite the opposite, we know what's going on right from the word go. The suspense comes from hoping that someone will slip and everyone else will know what is going on. I would say it's more psychological that physical suspense.

The ending threw me for a loop. And while the last passage confused me a little it still was a great ending.

Overall good writing and a great story.

For more info on Ravens please visit Hachette Book Group's website.

Also you can join the Ravens fan group on Facebook

Review: Duma Key by Stephen King

Let me thank my mom for buying me this one. I hope you finish it soon!


I think this book was brilliant. King writes from Edgar Freemantle's point of view. We get to go through his rehabilitation with him. In the begining I had a hard time understanding what Edgar was trying to say, but as the book goes on and Edgar learns to speak again, and I got used to how he talked I didn't notice the speech problems.

The story took me a VERY LONG time to read. I think I bought this one back in March and I just finished it, so just shy of 6 months. Part of this was because I was reading other books and part of it was because the beginning was kind of slow. But once I got about halfway through and was really connected to the story it only took me a few days to finish it.

As the story got going, and I started to figure out what was going on, I couldn't stop reading it. I had a few sleepless nights with this one.

As usual King's writing takes you on a trip along with the characters. I could see what was going on clear as day. There was very little that I couldn't picture. Even the weird stuff was described so well I could see exactly what King was describing.

This was a great book, and I'm glad I stuck it out. 700 pages seemed pretty daunting, but there was so much that made the story that had it been cut to make the book shorter I know I wouldn't have liked this one. If you like Stephen King and haven't read this one go get it, it's well worth it. If you've never read King and think 700 pages is too much just take my word, you won't be disappointed. Just promise you'll read through at least halfway before you decide if you want to finish it or not.

To find out more about Duma Key please visit Stephen King's website.

Back from vacation and LOTS to catch up on.

I have so much to post. So I'll apologize in advanced for the thousands of posts I'm going to make today.

I was in Florida and didn't want to take over my grandpa's computer with trying to keep up on the blog while I was down there. Unfortunately that means I have A TON to catch up on.

So I have some reviews to post, some new giveaways to post and some giveaway winners to post. So please bear with me and we'll all make it through this unscathed, hopefully :-P

Let me also take this time to thank all of my followers and readers for being great. I'm inching closer and closer to 100 followers and 100 posts. I think I may have to do something special for those two event. But I'll cross that hurdle when I get there. For now know that you all have my gratitude and I hope that you enjoy my blog!

And now the onslaught of blog posts is about to begin!


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Blog Tour: The Kidnapping of Kenzie Thorn by Liz Johnson

A big thank you to Liz Johnson for letting me be a part of her blog tour.


Myles Parsons is just another inmate in Kenzie Thorn’s GED course until he kidnaps her, offering only a feeble explanation–that he’s actually FBI Special Agent Myles Borden. Terrified, Kenzie doesn’t want to believe his story of being undercover to protect her. Moreover, she can’t believe that someone might really want her dead.

But just when Myles thinks he has her out of harm’s way, his plans start to fall apart. He attempts to take Kenzie to a safe house—but the stubborn woman won’t go! So together they must uncover the clues that will reveal a most shocking perpetrator. All the while Myles tries to keep his distance from Kenzie … but finds himself falling in love.

My Review

I know I say this a lot, but this was a pretty good book. And because, again this is a debut novel, I have to say that I think Liz Johnson has found her witting niche - romantic suspense.

Kenize Thorn was a pretty good character. She had a good head on her shoulders and didn't play the damsel in distress part. She was strong but, like all women, had her emotional moments. I really liked her and the fact that she didn't just let what was going on happen, she took the bull by the horns and did what she needed to do.

The story was intriguing. The first few chapters I read 4 or 5 pages at a time, and found it hard to put it down. Once I had the time to really sit and read it I became so engrossed in the story that I felt like I became part of it.

The twist in this one was good and it put the whole story into a different perspective. And actually there was a second twist that really got me. But you'll just have to read it to find out what I'm talking about :-)

It was a pretty good book and I would recommend it. Again, I really think Liz Johnson has found her nice with this genre and I hope to see her name on a cover again.

To learn more about Liz Johnson or about The Kidnapping of Kenzie Thorn please visit Liz's website.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Blog Tour and Giveaway Closed: One Scream Away by Kate Brady

Thank you to Anna at Hachette Books for letting me participate in this blog tour.


Killer Chevy Bankes is a master of disguise, and just paroled, he's coming after the woman who sent him to jail, the beautiful antiques expert Beth Denison. A set of antique dolls brings Beth into his sight, and inspire Chevy's disturbing crimes as he draws closer to Beth and her young daughter. Chevy sends the dolls to Beth one-by-one and she soon realizes that these antiques carry the same marks as his victims, signaling that the final piece in his collection will be for her.

Neil Sheridan gave up his FBI shield five years ago, but his best friend Rick, a cop, pulls him in as a consultant on a case involving a serial killer who is eerily similar to a murderer Neil encountered in the past. The investigation leads Neil to Beth's doorstep, and he is certain she isn't telling him the truth. Neil is the only one who can get through Beth's defenses and, as they grow closer, discover the secrets that Beth is hiding about her fateful night with Chevy.

My Review

I can't recall ever reading any really suspenseful novels, and if I have they haven't made an impression on me like this one. This book was tense, suspenseful and kinda scary. I would say that this book is exactly how suspense is supposed to be written!

There were some things about the story that were explained a little too conveniently... but they weren't major parts of the plot, so that was ok. The things that mattered: characters, major plot points, and writing were done very well. This killer, Chevy Bankes, was really messed up. I can't even imagine what kind of emotional toll it took on Kate Brady to write this book. As we learn bits and pieces of the past we get to see how messed up Bankes is and you almost start to understand why he does what he does. Getting inside the mind of a killer is crazy, especially when you begin to really understand him.

About halfway through the book it felt like the climax was coming and that the rest of the book wouldn't be as suspenseful as the beginning, but the twist that keeps the story going came out of nowhere and really made the book.

The romance that sprouts between Neil, and ex-FBI agent, and Beth, the killer's main target, doesn't detract from the story. I've read books where the romance seems to take over and the plot takes a seat on the sidelines, but not in this one. The romance does play a part, but it's not what the book centers on.

This was a great suspense novel, and what makes it even better is that it was Kate Brady's debut novel. Given the way this book propelled you into the story and didn't let go I'll be anxiously waiting for her next novel: Last to Die.

To find out more about One Scream Away, or to purchase a copy for yourself please visit Hachette Book Group.

The Giveaway

I'll be giving away 5 copies of this one!!!

This contest will run till 11:59pm July 22nd.

To enter simply leave a comment with you email address. (No email no entry)
For an extra entry become a follower. (Let me know in your comment)
If you already are a follower let me know, you'll get the extra entry also.
Lastly, post the link to this contest on your blog, twitter page, facebook, wherever (just leave the link to where I can find it in you comment)

Please US and Canada entries only
Also NO PO Boxes!

Thank You and Good Luck!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Blog Tour Review: Last Light over Carolina by Mary Alice Monroe

Let me thank Sarah at Pocket Books for allowing me to participate in this one.


From beloved New York Times bestselling author Mary Alice Monroe comes a new novel of the sultry South Carolina lowcountry, and the proud traditions and earthy resilience of the people who live there. Publishers Weekly embraced Time Is a River, Monroe's "novel of strong Southern women," saying "the author's love for her characters is palpable throughout." Now she returns with Last Light over Carolina, the deeply moving story of another strong woman, Carolina Morrison, struggling to prove that love is a light that never dies.

Every woman in the lowcountry knows the unspoken fear that clutches the heart every time her man sets out to sea. Now, that fear has become a terrible reality for Carolina Morrison. Her husband, shrimp boat captain Bud Morrison, the only man she's ever loved, is lost and alone somewhere in the vast Atlantic fi shing grounds, with a storm gathering and last light falling.

As the action unfolds on this one terrifying, illuminating day, Carolina and Bud Morrison look back across thirty years of love and loss, joy and sorrow. Carolina walked away from a well-to-do upbringing to marry Captain Bud Morrison. She embraced his extraordinary lifestyle by the sea and the customs of a historic shrimping village. Yet lately, hard times and the loneliness of long separations have driven them apart -- and driven her to make a mistake that threatens to shatter their once-unbreakable bond forever.

When Bud Morrison is overdue at the docks, the close-knit community rallies together to search for one of its own. But Carolina knows that it is their love that must somehow call him home, across miles of rough water and unspeakable memories. And she swears that if she is given one more chance -- for love and for forgiveness -- nothing will ever take her from this man's side again.

In Last Light over Carolina, Mary Alice Monroe once again explores a vanishing feature of the southern coastline, the mysterious yet time-honored shrimping culture, in a convincing and compelling tale of an enduring marriage.

My Review

After reading the description I thought this book would be a lot like The Perfect Storm. I was wrong. It was a great story and a truly touching and emotional book.

While the story's main plot revolves around Bud and the perilous situation he is in there is so much more to this one. As Bud and Carolina go through their day they recall memories from their past. Not all of them are good, but they all show how life can take it's toll on a marriage. How just loving someone may not always be enough and how the heart works in mysterious ways.

The writing was great. Mary Alice Monroe did a great job capturing the dialect and portraying it in her writing. The two main characters are very well developed and the secondary characters aren't just two dimensional. The flashbacks were done perfectly and they didn't make the story feel choppy.

Even at almost 400 pages it didn't really take me that long to read. The story keeps you connected and wanting to know more. This one was really good, I'm adding her last novel to my To Read list!

To find out more about Last Light over Carolina or to purchase a copy please visit Simon and Schuster.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Giveaway Closed: Off Season by Anne Rivers Siddons

Thanks again to Valerie at Hachette for letting me host another giveaway!

For as long as she can remember, they were Cam and Lilly--happily married, totally in love with each other, parents of a beautiful family, and partners in life. Then, after decades of marriage, it ended as every great love story does...in loss. After Cam's death, Lilly takes a lone road trip to her and Cam's favorite spot on the remote coast of Maine, the place where they fell in love over and over again, where their ghosts still dance. There, she looks hard to her past--to a first love that ended in tragedy; to falling in love with Cam; to a marriage filled with exuberance, sheer life, and safety-- to try to figure out her future.

It is a journey begun with tender memories and culminating in a revelation that will make Lilly re-evaluate everything she thought was true about her husband and her marriage.

Now for the Giveaway!

I am giving away 5 copies of this one!

Giveaway ends 7/31/09 at 11:59pm EST.

To enter simply leave a comment with your email address.

Get an extra entry for following my blog. Let me know in your comment that you're following.

Tweet, blog, or link to this giveaway for another entry! Just let me know where I can find it.

Again, no PO Boxes and US and Canada only!

Good Luck!

Tour: How Perfect is That by Sarah Bird

A big thanks to Sarah at Simon and Schuster for allowing me to participate in this blog tour.

About the Book:
Blythe Young—a wannabe Texas princess, a heroine as plucky, driven, and desperate as Vanity Fair’s Becky Sharp—is plummeting precipitously from up- to downstairs, banging her head on every step of the Austin social ladder as she falls. Not unlike the country as a whole, Blythe has surrendered to a multitude of dubious moral choices and is now facing the disastrous consequences: bankruptcy, public humiliation, a teensy fondness for the pharmaceuticals, and no Pap smear for ten years. But worst of all, she is forced to move back into the fleabag co-op boardinghouse where she lived when she was a student at the University of Texas.

Though Blythe cares much more about the ravaged state of her nails, and how to get the ingredients for Code Warrior—Blythe’s proprietary blend of Stoli, Ativan, and Red Bull that keeps everything in focus—her soul is hanging in the balance. Only when she is in danger of losing the one friend who’s been her true moral center is she ready to face her sins and make amends.

And her penance is merciless: she must find a way to lure her former socialite friends into the tofu tenement she has been reduced to. Little does Blythe know that the ensuing collision between the pierced, tattooed, and dreadlocked inhabitants and the pampered, Kir-sipping socialites offers the only hope of finding a way out of her moral quagmire.

Funny, fast-paced, sharp-eyed, an old-fashioned morality tale with an appropriately twenty-first-century ending, How Perfect Is That is a comic triumph of a novel.

My Review:
This book was hilarious. I laughed almost from the first word all the way through. And while I couldn't connect with Blythe on a personal level it was entertaining to try and find reason in her messed up logic. She's been cast aside from her once glamorous life and is trying to wide a wave that has long left shore. While she can't seem to realize it, all of her problems are her fault, not her ex-husband or his "evil" mother.

Her look on life is a bit disheartening and I can't say I want to trade places with her, however seeing what she comes up with is hilarious. From the Ruffies to the tandem recumbent bike to the "off label" spa clinic this book just kept me laughing. There are so many moments when I was thinking she's screwed now, but somehow she comes up with something.

I know I keep mentioning how funny this book was, but I couldn't stop laughing. Even when I was talking to my bf about what was happening in the book he would chuckle. It's a great pick me up, cause if you feel like you have nothing well Blythe has even less, and she's making due (kind of). It's good chick lit and it was a pretty quick read.

For more on this book, or to purchase a copy visit Random House's website.

You can now buy PartyLite online!

Well, this has nothing to do with books, but I want to share anyway. PartyLite now offers online ordering (as of 8:00 am today!) Not only will it make my life a little easier, but now you can order candles anytime, without attending a show.

Just visit PartyLite to look at our catalogs or to place an order.

Alright, just wanted to pass that along. I swear this will be the only time I mention it!

Hope everyone is having a great week!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Review: Obama's Giveaway

Although I've already done the giveaway for this one I just sat down and read it today. And again I have to thank Anna at Hachette for letting me review this one!

This book was short and sweet. I took me less than an hour from cover to cover...

It was entertaining, it made me laugh a few times. I could only picture some of the people (which makes me realize I need to brush up on current events) but the ones I could made reading these messages even better.

I think my favorites were the 3rd one and the last one!

To get more info on Obama's Blackberry visit Hachette Book Group.

Review: Hot House Flower and the 9 Plants of Desire by Margot Berwin

I want to thank Lauren at Pantheon Books for sending me this one.

My Review:

I picked up this book only because the title sounded interesting. I didn't read any reviews on it, nor did I read through the description. They say not to judge a book by it's cover, but I did, and I'm happy.

This was a very good book. It has love, romance, lust, greed, passion, death, spirituality, and just about everything else. For a debut novel, I'd say that Margot Berwin did a great job. She's left me with high expectations for her next novel.

The story takes place in New York and Mexico, the Yucatan to be specific. As Lila, Armand, Diego, and Exley are all on the hunt for the illusive Nine Plants of Desire. Oh what a tangled web Ms. Berwin has weaved...

This story was exciting. It was pretty fast paced and it kept me wanting more. The stories behind the nine magical and mystical plants are great. Even with all that Lila went through I want to find these plants. I did do some research on some of the nine and they really do have stories just as great as they are given in this book. (I LOVE when an author does great research!)

I was captivated from the first line to the last. I will be looking for a second novel for sure!

To find out more about Hot House Flower and the Nine Plants of Desire please visit Random House's website.

While reading this I kept thinking about The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, it wasn't the same kind of story but some of the plants in this one were in that one, and it was also a good read!

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Friday 56!

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of Storytime with Tonya and Friends.
*Post a link along with your post back to Storytime with Tonya and Friends.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

Page 56 Line 5: His comments stung, but I let them pass.

This book is pretty good, I'm almost done with it. If you're interested visit Random House's website for more information.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Giveaway Closed: Review and Giveaway: The Vanishing Sculptor by Donita K. Paul

First off I need to thank and appologize to Ashley at Random House for allowing me to participate in this blog tour, even though I'm a few days late with my post :-(

Donita K. Paul’s 250,000-plus-selling DragonKeeper Chronicles series has attracted a wide spectrum of dedicated fans–and they’re sure to fall in love with the new characters and adventures in her latest superbly-crafted novel for all ages. It’s a mind-boggling fantasy that inhabits the same world as the DragonKeeper Chronicles, but in a different country and an earlier time, where the people know little of Wulder and nothing of Paladin.

In The Vanishing Sculptor, readers will meet Tipper, a young emerlindian who’s responsible for the upkeep of her family’s estate during her sculptor father’s absence. Tipper soon discovers that her actions have unbalanced the whole foundation of her world, and she must act quickly to undo the calamitous threat. But how can she save her father and her world on her own? The task is too huge for one person, so she gathers the help of some unlikely companions–including the nearly five-foot tall parrot Beccaroon–and eventually witnesses the loving care and miraculous resources of Wulder. Through Tipper’s breathtaking story, readers will discover the beauty of knowing and serving God.

My Review:
Hmmm... what to say about this one. I didn't like it, but I didn't hate it. It lied somewhere in the hazy middle. First off I'm not a huge fan of mystical books, but that's not really what I didn't like about it. It seemed to take forever for me to read it. I started it on a Friday and didn't finish it till the next Thursday, and for a 400 page YA book, that was just too long.

The story deals with quite a few things, but one of the main ideas is that of faith. The idea of Wulder and what he is capable of weaves itself throughout the entire story.

There were definitely some good things about this book. The author was very creative. I liked the character of Beccaroon very much. There were quite a few times when I laughed at his remarks. The banter between the wizard and the librarian was also fairly entertaining. The descriptions were quite well written and I could see the places that were being described as well as a good image of the characters. I actually saw Drew Barrymore as Tipper (don't know why, I don't normally associate book characters with real people). Donita Paul seems to have a great imagination and is able to portray her images quite well. I also really liked the glossary in the back. I referred to it quite often throughout the story and it did help me keep track of who was who and what part they played in the overall story.

While I did like some of the characters I didn't really connect with any of them. Tipper seemed to jump between being very level-headed and quite flighty. The rest of the characters seemed to be very eccentric and hard for me to relate to.

I guess my biggest problem would be that this was a slow read, but like I said I'm not really into this genre. Maybe for someone that likes this kind of story it would be a more enjoyable and quicker read.

For more information or to purchase The Vanishing Sculptor please visit Random House's website.

Now for the giveaway!

I have one copy to giveaway! The giveaway will end at 11:59pm on Wednesday July 8th 2009.

I will pick the winner via a random drawing. To enter please leave a comment with your email address (so I can contact you if you win).

Earn extra entries:
Follow my blog (let me know in your comment that you are following, or if you are already a follower mention that also)
Post a link to this blog on your blog (leave me the link in the comment)
Tweet about this giveaway (you can leave me your Twitter ID in your comment or send me a DM to Jennmarie68 on Twitter)

Please only US entrants, as I am mailing this one myself.

Also just a note: I am a smoker and I have pets so if you have allergies you may not want to enter. This giveaway isn't for the copy I read, so the book has never even been opened but smoke and animal hair have a way of getting into everything! I don't want to cause anyone to get sick!

Good Luck!