Friday, July 30, 2010

Book Blogger Hop 7.30.10

It's that time again.... time for the weekly Book Blogger Hop!  Brought to you by Jennifer at Crazy For Books, this is a fun way to get to know other book bloggers.


This week's question:  Who is your favorite new-to-you author so far this year?

This is a tough one as I have come across many new authors this year since starting my blog, but if I had to pick one it would be Christine Trent, who wrote The Queen's Dollmaker. I recently started reading historical fiction and loved this book. The writing style was fresh and polished and it was really interesting to learn about the craft of dollmaking. I am eagerly awaiting her next book due out later this year.

What about you? 

If you stop by, please let a comment so I can come visit you!
Happy Reading :-)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Review: This Must Be the Place by Kate Racculia

First line: Amy considered the postcard: a boardwalk scene.

From the back cover: The Darby-Jones boardinghouse in Ruby Falls, New York, is home to Mona Jones and her daughter, Oneida - two loners and self-declared outcasts who have formed a perfectly insular family unit along with the three eclectic boarders who live in their house. But their small, quiet life is upended when Arthur Rook shows up in the middle of a nervous breakdown, devastated by the death of his wife, carrying a pink shoe box containing all his wife's mementos and keepsakes and holding a postcard from sixteen years ago, addressed to Mona but never sent. Slowly the contents of the box begin to fit together to tell a story - one of a powerful friendship, a lost love, and a secret that, if revealed, could change everything that Mona, Oneida, and Arthur know to be true. Or maybe the stories the box tells and the truths it brings to life will teach everyone about love - how deeply it runs, how strong it makes us, and even when all seems lost, how it brings us together. with emotional accuracy and great energy, This Must Be the Place introduces memorable, charming characters who refuse to be forgotten.

My thoughts: This was an interesting story - part coming-of-age, part romance and part mystery.  The entire plot was intriguing - the rippling effect one unsent postcard could have on the lives of so many. Told from the perspective of the primary characters - Arthur, Amy, Mona and Oneida - the story unfolds slowly, revealing a multi-layered tale of connections. The interactions between the residents of the boarding house were fun to watch - I especially loved Bert, the oldest resident at the Darby-Jones, and how she had no problem speaking her mind. I enjoyed how Kate Racculia let out the secrets gradually, a piece here, a piece there. As they were revealed, it put everything into place, yet still there were some surprises along the way. A good debut novel for Kate Racculia - I will be watching to see what she writes next.


I received a complimentary copy of This Must Be the Place by Kate Racculia from Henry Holt and Company Publishers to review.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Author Interview: Katie Gates (and Giveaway!)

I am pleased to welcome Katie Gates, who wrote The Somebody Who to Always With a Book.  You can read my review of her book and enter a giveaway for the book here.

About the author: Raised in rural Virginia, Katie Gates attended Barnard College in Manhattan and remained in the New York City area for 15 years before moving to Los Angeles in 1990.  Currently a resident of Los Feliz, she serves the nonprofit sector as a nonprofit development consultant.  Her writing credits include a satirical gift book that she co-wrote with Tim Knight -- Stuck on You:  Do-It-Yourself Dating Patches for the Single Girl (Penguin, 2005), and her debut novel -- The Somebody Who (Channel Press, 2008).  Her second novel has not yet been published.  Katie posts her Stories and Opinions on her blog at katiegateswrites.blogspot.com, and she maintains a fine art shop at etsy.com/shop/KatieGatesDesigns.

Thanks to Katie for answering a few questions.


What inspired you to write this book?
A series of moments.  Through a staff job I had in the early 90’s, I met a wonderfully eccentric older couple – Mort and Sue.  In 2000, after our keeping in touch often  sporadically, Sue asked if I would be interested in working with her on a book about her collection of asymmetrical male/female earrings.  We did that book, and by the time we were done, we had bonded.  Mort had been showing signs of dementia since the mid-90s, and I think it helped Sue’s coping to have someone like me around.  So, to keep me around – and because her personal assistant was leaving to have a baby – Sue asked if I would help her with administrative stuff.  I became her Gal Friday who comes on Thursday beginning in 2003, and so I continued to observe Mort’s increasing dementia as well as the impact that made on the household, on family, and on friends. 

In early 2005, Sue told me about a woman in her bridge-playing circles.  A woman whose husband had Alzheimer’s.  What Sue had learned that week is that the woman had begun dating.  I immediately grabbed my day-runner and made a note.  I didn’t know what I’d do with this idea, but I believed there was a story in there.

On a Thursday a couple months later, I was back at their condo.  Sue and I had completed our work and begun the portion of the evening we refer to as “team-building.”  This means a cocktail.  At the time, Sue was still allowing Mort to have a drink.  In spite of his acute cognitive challenges, he was generally in good spirits, and he was safe in the condo, so why not?  Mort went to the kitchen to freshen his drink, and when he returned to his usual chair at the table in the office, Sue didn’t immediately see him.  But I did, and his “cocktail” made me do a double-take.  It was meat sauce on the rocks, in a tumbler glass.  He held it as you would a cocktail and sipped it as you would a cocktail.

I caught Sue’s attention and did one of those eyebrows-raised, look-over-there head movements.  She turned, she looked, and then she turned back to me.  “Uh-huh,” she said, dully.

That moment was pivotal.  Her resignation and the exhaustion behind it were heavy and profound.

After dinner (you guessed it, we had spaghetti with meat sauce – straight up and heated, thank you very much) and as I was heading home, a book began writing itself in my head.  And during the next few weeks, the first few chapters poured out of me.  I was careful to create a family that was quite different from Mort and Sue’s, and I placed them across the country where their fiction could unfold.  But, still, my observations at Mort and Sue’s would always inform the thoughts and interactions of my characters.  In fact, that pivotal moment I mentioned a minute ago was responsible for this line, in the very first chapter:  “And she feels, as she has come to feel a million times daily, the type of exasperation that churns in the soul when one is no longer shocked by nonsequitur.”  The “she” in this line is Evelyn, the story’s protagonist.

What gets you started on a new book? A character or story idea or ...?
In the case of The Somebody Who, that idea about a woman dating even as her husband has Alzheimer’s was the story idea that got me started, I guess, but as the novel unfolded, and as I got to know Evelyn, she drove the story.  I didn’t know it at the time, but the narrative voice I used is called third person limited omniscient.  And that means essentially that, although the story is written in the third person, the protagonist is present for absolutely all the action.  I often felt like I was taking dictation, when Evelyn or when anyone spoke.  I didn’t plan a lot of what the characters would say, but as they spoke (and as I typed), more plotlines unfolded.  It was an extremely fluid process.

I should mention, too, that just as I often do when I read a novel, I assigned several of the roles to actors and actresses (and several other roles to people from my life).  I put Meryl Streep – 10 years from now – in the role of Evelyn, and so I could picture her physically, hear her voice, and imagine her carriage.  Remembering the mother-daughter scene in The Hours, I let Meryl have a reunion with Claire Danes, putting Danes in the role of Joy.  I envisioned Dianne Weist for Angie, and I pictured an actor whose name I don’t even know for Ed.  Some of the non-actors in the “cast” included an intimidating East European cook with whom I worked back in the early 80’s, when I was a waitress in Manhattan.  The minute I introduced Mrs. Krosky to the story, that cook showed up and assumed the role!

When I wrote my second novel (not yet published), I wanted to see if the formula would work again.  I entered into it with a few simple lines:  “regaining hope; the s--t hits the fan; see what happens.”  I wanted to have a male protagonist this time, so I gave the role to Greg Kinnear.  (I think he’s a remarkable actor.)  His character, Martin, is in a really bad, mid-life place at the beginning of the novel, but – again using the third person limited omniscient voice – I got him through it.  And some amazing, unexpected things happened along the way.

As a child, did you ever dream that you would be a published author? As a child did you like to read and write and if so, what were your favorite books?
I had a second grade teacher who, today, would probably be arrested (or at least suspended) for her methods of discipline.  When I didn’t read the assigned pages of my “pleasure reader,” she shook me quite violently.  (And she did this repeatedly.)  This led to the first act of rebellion I can recall:  I became a very slow reader and was unwilling to find the “pleasure” in it.  In fact, with few exceptions, I didn’t really enjoy reading until I was in my 20’s, when I began to read voraciously. 

That being said, I always had an innate attraction to pens, paper, and the act of joining those tools.  When I was a kid, our family joked that, in the event of my sister or me needing to be punished for misbehavior, my sister’s punishment would be no television, whereas mine would be no pen and paper.  I remember sitting in front of a legal pad, pretending to write.  This was before I had learned what we used to call “real writing” (i.e., cursive penmanship).  So maybe I was five or six.  Anyway, I would cruise the pen across the paper, dotting this and crossing that.  I was pretending to write, and I could fill pages. 

It’s an interesting combo, now that I think about it:  the teacher who took the pleasure out of reading and my desire to put something – anything – on the page.  Hmm…

What's your writing routine? Do you write every day or just when the mood strikes?
With the two novels, the writing routine ultimately illustrated the nocturnal being that I am.  It also came after a delay.  In the late spring of 2005, after I’d written the first three chapters of The Somebody Who, I got caught up in anticipating the publication of Stuck On You:  Do-It-Yourself Dating Patches for the Single Girl, a cheeky gift book I’d co-authored with my neighbor and friend, Tim Knight.  We’d been lucky to get an agent and a division of Penguin, and we thought we were home-free.  Lots of adrenalin.  Lots of “waiting for Oprah to call.”

Many months later, our gift book was going nowhere (Tim and I hadn’t understood that – even with a bonafide publisher in our court – the marketing would be on our shoulders).  Regardless, I needed to get back to my novel.  In June of 06, I realized that if I did not put “me” on my list of clients (note:  I’m a nonprofit consultant and so, each week, I have several clients for whom I have tasks to do), I’d never finish the novel.  So:  I put me on the list.  Nine weeks later, I’d finished my novel!  It was always my nighttime activity, and having it on my list helped me get through my client tasks.  Writing The Somebody Who was my reward for a day of getting work done.  And I would be so excited to get to it.  Since I often didn’t know what would happen next, I would return to it as I would a novel I’m reading.  What will the characters say?  What will happen tonight!

When I started writing my second novel, in early April of 09, I set up the routine again.  My reward at the end of the day.  It was another gratifying, creative ride.  I finished the first draft of that novel in early June, I think.

What are you reading right now?
I just started Brazil, by John Updike.  I actually hadn’t heard of it, but Sue received it as a birthday gift recently and, having read it, she was curious as to my take.  I haven’t read enough to know what I think, but what I’ve read so far has stayed with me. 

Are you currently working on another book?
I can’t wait ‘til the next novel says, “Write me now!”  I’m not sure when that will happen or if I’ll have to nudge the muse before she nudges me back.  In the meantime, the essays I post on my blog are keeping the juices flowing.  

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Love the process.  Write for yourself first.  Write the novel (essay, short story, whatever) that you want to read.  


Don't forget to enter the giveaway for this amazing book!

WWW Wednesdays (7.28.10)

A Week in Books

 
WWW Wednesdays is hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading.

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…



  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?
 
What are you currently reading? 
The Perfect Family by Kathryn Shay
What did you recently finish reading? 
The Great Oom: The Improbable Birth of Yoga in America by Robert Love
What do you think you’ll read next? 
~ Most likely I will be reading This One Is Mine by Maria Semple










What about you? What are you reading?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays (7.27.10)

 
MizB of Should Be Reading hosts Teaser Tuesday. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
 Here's a tease of what I am currently reading:


Bernard himself seemed unfazed by these setbacks. He'd begun the grand work of his life: to spread the knowledge of yoga in his native land, organizing devotees and initiates into an ambitious national network of lodges.
From The Great Oom: The Improbable Birth of Yoga in America by Robert Love, pg. 34

Please leave a comment with a link to your teaser so I can stop by.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Musing Mondays (7.26.10)

Musing Mondays2 This week’s musing asks: 
Do you review books? If so, for who?
If not, have you ever thought about doing so? Why, or why not?



PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Musing Mondays post, or share your opinion in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks. 

**MUSING MONDAYS is hosted by Miz B at Should Be Reading

Yes, I review books. I review all the books that I read, whether they are ones I picked up to read or was asked to read by someone else. I only started my blog back in February and was shocked the first time someone contacted me to review a book. I've been contacted directly by authors, and then I've had some publishing companies/publicists contact me to be part of virtual book tours. It always amazes me when I get a request - I constantly wonder how they found me and my blog!  It's great receiving free books and I have come across some really good books that I might not necessarily have picked up. Since the initial contact, I have developed relationships with the publicists that I review for and they keep me in the loop as new tours come across their desk.

What about you?
 

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Review and Giveaway: White Heat by Brenda Novak

First line: "This guy is dangerous?"

From the back cover: A dangerous cult has recently taken over the desert ghost town of Paradise, Arizona. Members worship at the feet- and in the bed - of its charismatic leader, Ethan Wycliff, and obey his orders blindly. They've already tried to murder one woman and they're implicated in the disappearance of another.

Nate Ferrentino, who works for private security contractor Department 6, has been assigned to infiltrate this group. It's a challenge he welcomes - until he learns that colleague Rachel Jessop will be going undercover with him. Thanks to their shared history, he'd much rather go alone...

The problem is, only married couples can participate in cult rituals. So, like it or not - and they don't - Rachel and Nate must pretend to be husband and wife. There's no choice. Because if Wycliff isn't exposed, if he isn't stopped, more people will die. And Rachel might be one of them.

My thoughts: This is the first of Brenda Novak's new Heat trilogy, to be released July 27th, which all revolve around Department 6, a private security company. In White Heat, we have a gripping romantic thriller with a twist. Nate and Rachel are operatives for Department 6 and they’re going undercover to expose a new and dangerous cult. The problem is that they have to pose as a married couple - even though a past one-night stand hangs between them. What's interesting about Brenda Novak's writing is that she allows readers into not only the good guys' heads, but also the bad guys. We are able to see what Ethan is thinking and how he came to be who he is. It really makes for a well-balanced read, where at times you actually sympathize with the bad guys. This action-packed read will keep you on the edge of your seat, not only to see what will happen to this cult and all the followers, but also to see if Nate and Rachel can get past that one night and move on, and whether they will move on together or separately. I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the rest of the trilogy, Body Heat, which comes out in August and Killer Heat, which comes out in September.


About the author:  Brenda readily admits that it took her five years to teach herself to write and finish her first book when she decided to become a novelist.  “I learned how to write by reading what others have written.  The best advice for any would-be author:  read, read, read….,” says Novak.

Brenda sold her first book, and the rest is history.  She’s hit various national bestseller lists, including Borders/Waldenbooks and The New York Times, and many of her novels have won or placed in contests such as the National Reader's Choice and the Bookseller's Best.

Brenda and her husband, Ted, live in Sacramento and are the proud parents of five children—three girls and two boys. Brenda also runs an annual fund-raiser for diabetes research, dedicated to her youngest son, Thad, who has the disease. 

Thank you to the author for sending me this book to review - I thoroughly enjoyed it!
GIVEAWAY RULES:

Brenda Novak has provided a great giveaway for readers of this blog: an autographed copy of White Heat, a lip gloss made especially for the release of this book, also called White Heat, and a cute tote to store it all in.
Rules:
  • US  or Canada only
  • No PO Boxes please
  • Must include email address to enter
  • Book, lip gloss,and tote will be mailed out by the author

To enter (required entry):  Leave me a comment letting me know why you want to win White Heat. Please include your e-mail address in your comment, so that I have a way to contact you if you win. No e-mail= no entry!

  • Bonus Entry (+1)  Become a follower of this blog on Google Friend Connect. Please leave me a separate comment letting me know that you follow. Current followers are eligible as well - just leave a separate comment letting me know that you already do! Not a separate entry = no entry!


Thanks to everyone for entering! Good luck!

GIVEAWAY ENDS
AT 6 PM, EST, AUGUST 4th

In My Mailbox (14) 7.25.10

In My Mailbox (IMM) is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren. Every week I'll post what books I've received either by mailbox/library/store.



For Review (2)
Georgia's Kitchen by Jenny Nelson
Buying Time by Pamela Samuels Young
Library (0)
Purchased (0)

From Paperback Swap - (0)
Won (0)

What's in your mailbox?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Review: Private by James Patterson

First line: To the best of my understandably shaky recollection, the first time I died it went something like this.

From the inside cover: Former Marine helicopter pilot Jack Morgan runs Private, a renowned investigation company with branches around the globe. It is where you go when you need maximum force and maximum discretion. The secrets of the most influential men and women on the planet come to Jack daily - and his staff of investigators use the world's most advanced forensic tools to make and break their cases.

Jack is already deep into the investigation of a multimillion-dollar NFL gambling scandal and the unsolved slayings of thirteen schoolgirls when he learns of a horrific murder close to home: his best friend's wife, Jack's former lover, has been killed. It nearly pushes him over the edge. Instead, Jack pushes back and devotes all of Private's resources to tracking down the killer.

But Jack doesn't have to play by the rules. As he closes in on the killer and chooses between revenge and justice, Jack has to navigate a workplace  love affair that threatens to blow the roof off his plans. With a plot moves at death-defying speeds, Private is James Patterson's sleekest, most exciting thriller ever.

My thoughts: I love James Patterson's thrillers and this one certainly did not disappoint! One of the things I love about his books is the short chapters. They keep you engaged and wanting more. In this case, the chapters jump back and forth between the three cases that Private, the international private investigation firm, is currently handling. This really helps to keep things moving along while giving the Private organization credibility. If they were only handling one case, I don't think it would be as believable. Action, mystery and personal drama all combine to create a high paced, entertaining experience with a few twists thrown in. I was hooked from the beginning and had a hard time putting the book down right until the end. I hope this becomes a new series - and from what I've heard, it looks like some international writers will be coming together to create more Private stories.

(I purchased this book.)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Review and Giveaway: The Somebody Who by Katie Gates

First line: Evelyn is quiet as she gets ready to go out.

From the back cover: Evelyn Bennett is at a tipping point. Davy - her beloved husband of 47 years - is still alive, but he is no longer available. His dementia has robbed him of his capacity to share his wisdom, humor, and love; and it has robbed Evelyn of the man who brought spirit and levity to her life and to the lives of their four children. As Evelyn takes action to cope with the situation at hand and to understand its impact on all the relationships around her, she also revisits the past. And she learns that a part of Davy may indeed still be present.

My thoughts: This book had me captivated from the first page. It is an emotional tale of a wife dealing the with burden of caring for a spouse with dementia, while at the same time trying to live her life. Although her husband is still alive, is he really there? Filled with characters you can easily relate to, it is hard not to feel a part of this story, to want to grab a glass of wine and sit down while catching up with everyone. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who finds themselves in Evelyn's position. It is a tale told with tenderness and honesty, but humor interspersed here and there - much like real life. I especially enjoyed the special project that Evelyn took on during the book. The story flows seamlessly and the twist halfway through keeps you engaged until the end. This is a story that will stay with you long after you read the last page.

Thank you to the author for sending me this book to review - I thoroughly enjoyed it!


GIVEAWAY RULES:

The author of The Somebody Who, Katie Gates, has provided one copy of this awesome book for readers of this blog!
Rules:
  • US  only
  • No PO Boxes please
  • Must include email address to enter
  • Book will be mailed out by the author

To enter (required entry):  Leave me a comment letting me know why you want to win The Somebody Who. Please include your e-mail address in your comment, so that I have a way to contact you if you win. No e-mail= no entry!

  • Bonus Entry (+1)  Become a follower of this blog on Google Friend Connect. Please leave me a separate comment letting me know that you follow. Current followers are eligible as well - just leave a separate comment letting me know that you already do! Not a separate entry = no entry!


Thanks to everyone for entering! Good luck!

GIVEAWAY ENDS
AT 6 PM, EST, AUGUST 6th

Book Blogger Hop 7.23.10

It's that time again.... time for the weekly Book Blogger Hop!  Brought to you by Jennifer at Crazy For Books, this is a fun way to get to know other book bloggers.


This week's question:  Tell us about the book you are reading.

Right now I am reading The Great Oom: The Improbable Birth of Yoga in America by Robert Love. This is the selection for my book club this month. I have to say I am having a hard time reading it - it is not my usual type of book. I'm only about 75 pages in out of 350 pages, so it will probably take me a while to finish it (book club meets next Thursday) but I will be posting my review once I'm done, so stayed tuned.

What about you?

If you stop by, please let a comment so I can come visit you!
Happy Reading :-)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Giveaway Winner: Sand In My Eyes

CONGRATULATIONS

to

Carol

winner of
Sand In My Eyes by Christine Lemmon



Random.org selected the winner.
Thanks to all who entered the giveaway!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

WWW Wednesdays (7.21.10)

A Week in Books

 
WWW Wednesdays is hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading.

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…



  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?
What are you currently reading?
The Great Oom: The Improbable Birth of Yoga in America by Robert Love
What did you recently finish reading? 
The Beach Club by Elin Hilderbrand
What do you think you’ll read next? 
~ Most likely I will be reading The Perfect Family by Kathryn Shay










What about you? What are you reading?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Review: Seven Year Switch by Claire Cook




First line: I sailed into the community center just in time to take my Lunch Around the World class to China.

From the inside cover: Just when Jill Murray has finally figured out how to manage on her own, her ex-husband proves that he can't even run away reliably. After seven long years missing in action, he's back - crashing into the man-free existence Jill and her ten-year-old daughter have built so carefully. What's a good mother to do? To a child, even a deadbeat dad is better than no dad at all.

Jill's life just hasn't turned out quite the way she planned. By now, she'd hoped to be jetting around the world as a high-end cultural coach. Instead,she's answering phones  for a local travel agency and teaching cooking classes at the community center.

Enter free-spirited entrepreneur Billy, who hired Jill as a consultant for an upcoming business trip. Is their relationship veering off in a new direction? And what about her ex? Jill couldn't possibly still have feelings for him ... could she? Suddenly, her no-boys-allowed life is anything but.

They say that every seven years you become a completely new person, but Jill isn't sure she's ready for the big change. It takes a Costa Rican getaway to help make a choice - not so much between the two men in her life, but between the woman she is and the one she wants to be.

My thoughts: I love Claire Cook's books and this one certainly didn't disappoint. Seven Year Switch, like Claire Cook's other books, celebrates the independence of women who are coming into their own. You can't help but cheer Jill on as she is deals with what life throws in her path while on a journey towards inner strength and independence. This book is laugh out loud funny right from the very beginning, filled with lots of really interesting characters who have tons to clever things to say, from next-door neighbor Cynthia to the members of the Cooking Around the World class at the community center. I love how Claire Cook takes you inside professions you might never know about - in this case, a travel agency for girlfriend getaways. This was a fabulous beach read that had me flipping through the pages and left me wanting more at the end.



About the author: Claire Cook is the bestselling author of seven novels, including Must Love Dogs, which was adapted into a Warner Bros. movie starring Diane Lane and John Cusack, The Wildwater Walking Club, Life’s a Beach, and her latest, Seven Year Switch. Her reinvention workshops have been featured on The Today Show, and she has been a judge for the Thurber Humor Prize and the Family Circle fiction contest. Her books have been featured on Good Morning America and in People, Good Housekeeping, Redbook and more. She has two kids, seven brothers and sisters, and one husband. She lives in Scituate, MA.


Visit her website and find reinvention and writing tips at http://www.ClaireCook.com
Friend her on Facebook at http://facebook.com/ClaireCookbooks/
Follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ClaireCookbooks/.

I received a complimentary copy of Seven Year Switch by Claire Cook from Pump Up Your Book Promotion as part of the tour.

Teaser Tuesdays (7.20.10)

MizB of Should Be Reading hosts Teaser Tuesday. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
 Here's a tease of what I am currently reading:


"I came to the island to get pregnant," Love said. "I will get pregnant."

From The Beach Club by Elin Hilderbrand, pg. 33

Please leave a comment with a link to your teaser so I can stop by.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Musing Mondays (7.19.10)

Musing Mondays2
This week’s musing asks: 
  
What does your bookshelf (or, what do your bookshelves) say about you to the people who come into your home?

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Musing Mondays post, or share your opinion in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks.

**MUSING MONDAYS is hosted by Miz B at Should Be Reading

First and foremost my bookshelves say that both my husband and I are avid readers. Between the two of us, we have quite an eclectic collection of books. He likes hardcover books (without the jackets) and I like both hardcovers (with the jackets) and paperbacks.

We do have our books in separate sections of the bookcases and they are organized by author and hardcover/paperback - but only because I organized the bookshelves when we moved into our new house! I do have a separate section on two shelves for all the new books I have that are waiting to be read and then once they are read, if I am going to keep them, they get strategically placed on one of my other shelves. If I am going to pass the book on to someone else, they get put in a basket up in the guest room.

Looking at my bookshelves, it is easy to tell that I primarily favor fiction, with historical fiction coming in second and some nonfiction - mainly biographies of my favorite actresses and  my obsession with the Kennedy family - rounding out the top three.


What about you?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

In My Mailbox (13) 7.18.10

In My Mailbox (IMM) is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren. Every week I'll post what books I've received either by mailbox/library/store.



For Review (2)
The Perfect Family by Kathryn Shay
Fragile by Lisa Unger
 
Library (1)
The Great Oom: The Improbable Birth of Yoga in America by Robert Love
 
 
Purchased (0)

From Paperback Swap - (0)
 
Won (0)

What's in your mailbox?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Review: Honeysuckle Summer by Sherryl Woods

First line: Raylene stood in the kitchen doorway on a day that was surprisingly cool for the first of June.

From the back cover: Her devastating marriage behind her, Raylene Hammond is truly thankful for her best friends, the Sweet Magnolias. They've taken her in, shielding her from the world. Then she meets sheriff's deputy Carter Rollins, and suddenly Raylene's haven no longer feels quite so safe.

Carter understands why Raylene is trapped inside. He's even taken to bringing the outside world to her. But with two kid sisters to raise, just how much time can he devote to this woman who's stolen his heart?

Raylene knows Carter is a man worth loving, but she may never be strong enough to accept what he's offering. How long can she ask him to wait? Maybe they'll never have more than this one sweet summer.

My thoughts: This is the last of the Sweet Magnolia's series and I am so bummed! I really enjoyed this series and am sad to have to let go the friends and small town I have come to love. This is Raylene and Carter's story and is quite a roller-coaster ride! Each comes with so much emotional baggage, it's hard to see how they will ever work things out.  Again in Honeysuckle Summer as in her other books in this series, Sherryl Woods presents many real-life issues - spousal abuse, agoraphobia, eating disorder, and grief are at the heart of this book. Following Raylene as she rebuilds her self-esteem and finally believes that she deserves love and a full life will have you becoming her personal cheerleader. and when her ex-husband gets out of prison, the whole town comes together to help protect Raylene - the Sweet Magnolias really do stand up for their own! As this was the final book of the series all the side stories were tied up, too, most notably Walter and his relationship with Rory Sue. I really hope that Sherryl Woods will decide to visit Serenity again some day soon - the small town is definitely a place I wouldn't mind coming back to!

(I purchased this book.)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Review: Sweet Tea at Sunrise by Sherryl Woods

First line: For a few days now the same man, clad in snug denim and a T-shirt that caressed impressive biceps, had spent precisely thirty minutes in the back booth at Wharton's, lounging against the red vinyl as if he owned the place, and studying Sarah as if he found her to be the most fascinating creature on the planet.

From the back cover: Emotionally wounded single mom, Sarah Price has come home to Serenity, South Carolina, for a fresh start. With support from her two best friends - the newest generation of the Sweet Magnolias -she can face any crisis.

But sometimes a woman needs more than even treasured friends can provide. Sexy Travis McDonald may be exactly what Sarah's battered self-confidence requires. The newcomer is intent on getting Sarah to work at his fledgling radio station . . . and maybe into his bed, as well.

Sarah has learned not to trust sweet words. She'll measure the man by his actions. Is Travis the one to heal her heart? Or will he break it again?

My thoughts: Another great Sweet Magnolia story. This time the focus is on Sarah and Travis, each of whom are trying to overcome their past. Sarah is in the process of dealing with a divorce from a man who verbally abused her and Travis is trying to outlive his wide playboy ways from his professional ball-playing days. What I love about these books is the way Sherryl Woods portrays small-town life - everybody knows everybody else's business and loves to gossip, but they stand by their own and make sure no one gets hurt. The Sweet Magnolias, of course, become quite protective of Sarah, standing up for her and helping her to find her way. There are, of course, little side stories going on as well. The Mary Vaughn/Sonny storyline is comical as they try to prepare for the upcoming change to their lives and watching Walter, Sarah's ex, try to become a better person not only to Sarah, but also to daughter, was heartwarming. The most interesting side story, however, was Raylene's and I can't wait for the next book to find out her whole story!

(I purchased this book.)

Book Blogger Hop 7.16.10

 
It's that time again.... time for the weekly Book Blogger Hop!  Brought to you by Jennifer at Crazy For Books, this is a fun way to get to know other book bloggers.
 
 
This week's question:  Right this instant, what book are you dying to get your hands on (past, present, or future)?

This is easy: I cannot wait to get my hands on Christine Trent's new book, A Royal Likeness, which comes out December 28th. This historical fiction piece details the true-life exploits of Madame Tussaud and her world-famous wax exhibition. Her first book, The Queen's Dollmaker was fantastic - you can see my review here.

What about you?
 
If you stop by, please let a comment so I can come visit you!
Happy Reading :-)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Guest Post by Author Holly Christine and Giveaway!

Please join me in welcoming Holly Christine, author of the newly released Tuesday Tells It Slant to Always With a Book! If you missed my review, you can read it here. Today Holly guest blogs about her favorite author.

Enjoy and be sure to enter the giveaway!



Choosing a favorite author was a difficult task for me. In my head, I can name ten. But my bookshelves tell me otherwise. One shelf is almost completely dedicated to Jack Kerouac. I think it was my sophomore year of college that a friend recommended On the Road to me. I was hooked from the start. My copy of On the Road was abused. I had highlighted and underlined every single deliciously inspiring quote. I dog-earred the pages. The book was mine. Captivated. My favorite quote is probably one of the most popular and most recognized: 

The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes "Awww!”

After absorbing Kerouac’s words, I quickly read through Big Sur, The Subterraneans, The Dharma Bums, Desolation Angels and Book of Dreams.

Kerouac referred to his writing style as spontaneous prose, kind of like stream of consciousness. He was a part of the Beat Generations, which Kerouac defined “Beat” as the synthesis of beaten down, a bit basic and raw, the core of our being and emotions.  His works included pieces of theology, philosophy and Buddhism, causing a reader to think beyond their self, seeing the larger picture of life.

Kerouac has inspired my writing style. I write like mad. When I start, I don’t stop. I don’t look for errors. I don’t correct my grammar. It’s as if I’ve tapped into some part of my soul that has no limit, no end in sight and I’m recording it’s live broadcast. This all sounds odd, but it’s a really enlightening process. I feel completely connected to my words because they came from a place deep in my consciousness. I’m always surprised at the end, but it takes many, many hours of editing to make a coherent piece. 





About the author: Holly Christine was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1981. Though she started to craft stories at the age of six, it wasn't until college that she began to guide her stories into written form. She completed her first novel in 2004, which was read by one dear friend before making its way into the bedroom nightstand. She currently resides in Pittsburgh and is always working on something new.

For more on Holly Christine and her books, visit her website.

You can find Holly on Twitter here.

Buy the Book: Tuesday Tells It Slant by Holly Christine

Buy for Kindle: Tuesday Tells It Slant ebook by Holly Christine


Thank you Holly for contributing this great guest post, and thanks to Booksparks PR for coordinating it.
 

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