Sunday, October 31, 2010

Review: 1022 Evergreen Place by Debbie Macomber

First line: Almost home.

From the back cover:
Dear Reader,

Guess what? I'm falling in love! With Mack McAfee.

My baby daughter, Noelle, and I have been living next door to Mack since the spring. I'm still a little wary about our relationship, because I haven't always made good decisions when it comes to men. My baby's father, David Rhodes, is testament to that. I'm so worried he might sue for custody.

In the meantime, the World War II letters I found are a wonderful distraction. Both Mack and I are trying to learn what happened to the soldier who wrote them and the woman he loved.

Come by sometime for a glass of iced tea and I'll show you the letters. Plus I'll tell you the latest about Grace and Olivia, my brother Linc and his wife Lori (who tied the knot about five minutes after they met!), and all our other mutual friends. Oh, and maybe Mack can join us...

-Mary Jo Wyse

My thoughts: This is the tenth book in the Cedar Cover series and it is one of my favorites. I feel like I am catching up with old friends when I am reading this series. While the main storyline in 1022 Evergreen Place focuses on the relationship between Mack and Mary Jo (after all, that is their address!), we are able to find out what is going on with the other characters we've come to know. I love how each chapter is told from a different character's point of view. With all the switching back and forth, it makes you want to keep reading just to get back to everyone's story - it's almost, but not quite, as if there are mini-cliff hangers at the end of each chapter. I particularly enjoyed the mystery surrounding the letters Mary Jo found. It was interesting reading the brief history snippets about WWII that Mack and Mary Jo came across during their research. Of course, along the way, there are hints of future storylines and I cannot wait for the next installment of the Cedar Cove series to come out.

(I purchased this book.)

Review: Don't Blink by James Patterson

First line: Lombardo's Steakhouse on Manhattan's tony Upper East Side was justly famous for two things, two specialties of the house.

From the inside cover: Lombardo's Steakhouse in New York is famous for three reasons: the menu, the clientele, and now, the gruesome murder of an infamous mob lawyer. Effortlessly, the assassin slips through the police's fingers, and his absence sparks a blaze of accusations about who ordered the hit.

Seated at a nearby table, reporter Nick Daniels is conducting a once-in-a-lifetime interview with a legendary baseball bad boy. In the chaos, he accidentally captures a key piece of evidence that lands him in the middle of an all-out war between Italian and Russian Mafia forces. NYPD captains, district attorneys, mayoral candidates, media kingpins, and one shockingly beautiful magazine editor are all pushing their own agendas - on both sides of the law.

Back off - or die - is the clear message Nick receives as he investigates for a story of his own. Heedless, and perhaps in love with is beautiful editor, Nick endures humiliation, threats, violence, and worse in a thriller that overturns every expectation and finishes with the kind of flourish only James Patterson can achieve.

My thoughts: As most of you know by now, I love reading James Patterson books and have only read one that I didn't care for. This latest book, in my eyes, is another hit! It's a very fast and gripping page turner, complete with all that you come to expect from this author - extremely short chapters that usually leave you wanting more, suspense, tension, a little romance throw in, and twists and turns throughout the book. In Don't Blink we are immersed into the life of New York writer, Nick Daniels. After a crazy, near-escape trip to the Sudan for research, Nick is offered the writing assignment of a lifetime - an interview with a famous, retired yet disgraced, Yankee pitcher. But he soon realizes that he's about to get a whole lot more. Interrupted during the interview by a gruesome murder while at a popular steak restaurant, Nick discovers he has an important piece of information on his tape recorder. This leads to some tough decisions for Nick and throws him into another ride of his life. As with all his books, this was one James Patterson book that I couldn't put down until I read the last page.

(I purchased this book.)

In My Mailbox (28) 10.31.10

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 (0)

Library (0)

Purchased (0) -

From Paperback Swap - (0)

Won (1) -
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender (from CMash Loves to Read)


What's in your mailbox?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Review: Love Me If You Dare by Carly Phillips

First line: As the elite of Manhattan sipped champagne and whispered in hush tones, Rafe Mancuso patted the Glock hidden beneath his tuxedo jacket.

From the back cover: When hostage negotiator Rafe Mancuso takes a bullet to save Sara Rios, his former partner, his actions make him a bona fide hero - and New York City's newest most eligible bachelor. Then Rafe admits that Sara is much more than just another woman he's rescued. Suddenly, a firestorm of gossip turns him into exactly what he doesn't want to be: the Bachelor Blog's newest hot topic. His only solution is to leave town and get himself out of the spotlight ... and sexy, jaded Sara out of his mind.

NYPD officer Sara Rios has Rafe to thank for saving her life, and Rafe to blame for the media chaos surrounding her. She wants to throw herself back into duty at full throttle, but until her injuries heal, she's on leave and in search of her rescuer. From the moment she finds Rafe and meets his large, boisterous family, she's hooked. But mutual attraction doesn't always mean happily-ever-after, and these two have a long way to go to find their fairy-tale ending...

My thoughts: This is the second in Carly Phillip's Most Eligible Bachelor series. It is a fresh love story with a mysterious plot. The book was fun, sexy, steamy, and a quick read - all of which I've come to expect from Carly Phillips. Love Me If You Dare is a story about what can happen if friends finally let down their guard and explore being more than just friends. The love story between Rafe and Sara, both NYPD officers who were at one time partners, is fun and heartwarming, with great chemistry. As in Kiss Me If You Can, an older relative is causing mischief, this time for Rafe. The situation with Rafe's Uncle Pirro and his Viagra side business was hysterical. I love that Love Me If You Dare has strong male characters - Rafe, his brother Nick, Uncle Pirro - who are devoted to their women and families.  I was very bummed when I came to the end of this story, as it leads the reader to believe that this is the last of the Most Eligible Bachelors series. Maybe if enough people complain that the series is ending, Carly Phillips will find a way to continue the series - we can always hope!!!

(I purchased this book.)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Review: Devil's Food Cake by Josi S. Kilpack

First line: "Have you seen Thom yet?" Sadie asked, craning her neck to peer into the corners of the temporary stage set up at the front of the ballroom at the Carmichael Hotel.

From the back cover:
Calling All Book Lovers!
Please join us this Friday as the Garrison Library welcomes favorite son Thom Mortenson for a special appearance to discuss his bestselling novel Devilish Details.
It's guaranteed to be a memorable evening!
Place: The Carmichael Hotel ballroom
Time: 6:00 PM

It's been years since Thom Mortenson has been back to Garrison, Colorado. As part of the committee that invited the bestselling author to speak at the library fund-raiser, Sadie Hoffmiller wants everything to be perfect - right down to the homemade devil's food cake she baked herself.

Murder was not on the menu.

When Thom's manager ends u dead on stage, Sadie immediately offers her guidance and expertise to investigators. But when the police refuse to take her seriously, Sadie has no choice except to pursue justice on her own. 

With her son, Shawn, at her side, her reputation on the line, and a full cast of characters - including a suspicious photographer, an inquisitive reporter, and a helpful, handsome neighbor with some useful skills - Sadie Hoffmiller is once again on the case. But the devil is in the details, as they say, and as Sadie digs deeper into the mystery, she discovers unexpected ties to another tragedy as dark as the chocolate in Sadie's world-famous devil's food cake.

My thoughts: This is the third in the Sadie Hoffmiller culinary mysteries. As in the other stories, Sadie once again finds herself in the same place where a murder happens, this time happening with a roomful of witnesses to see. Sadie finds herself ignored by the authorities and driven to crack the case herself. With help from her son, Shaun and others, she eludes the police (who are trying to arrest her) and is determined to solve the case. In Devil's Food Cake, we are introduced to some new characters, who hopefully won't just be making a one-time appearance. The twists were particularly well done and the romantic triangle will be fun to watch evolve in the next book. What I especially love about this series is that Josi S. Kilpack includes recipes in each of the books. This one is no different, and includes recipes for Devil's Food Cake, Melinda's French Chocolate, and Classic Cocoa Mix (can you tell I'm a sucker for anything chocolate!!!), just to name a few.
 
(I purchased this book.)

Book Blogger Hop 10.29.10

It's been a while since I've participating in the hop, but I couldn't resist this week.   Brought to you by Jennifer at Crazy For Books, the Book Blogger Hop is a fun way to get to know other book bloggers.


This week's question:  What is the one bookish thing you would love to have, no matter the cost?

I would absolutely love to have a reading room in my house where the shelves are lined with books from floor to ceiling, there are comfy, cozy, oversized chairs to curl up in, there are windows to look out and see all the seasons, and there are candles around and a fireplace to use on cold days. I would also have my new quilt (made by my brother's girlfriend) on my chair - see pics below (and yes, there are rows of books on the quilt!) - and maybe get one or two more to put on the other chairs in the room. There would be no electronic devices allowed in the room - no tvs, no computers, no cell phones - it would just be a reading haven!

What about you?

Review: Mini Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

First line: OK. Don't panic.

From the inside cover: Sophie Kinsella has dazzled readers with her irresistible Shopaholic novels - sensational international bestsellers that have garnered millions of devoted fans and catapulted her into the first rank of contemporary storytellers. Now her beloved heroine Becky Brandon (nee Bloomwood) returns in a hilarious tale of married life, toddlerhood, and the perils of trying to give a fabulous surprise party - on a budget!

Becky Brandon thought motherhood would be a breeze and that having a daughter was a dream come true: a shopping friend for life! But it's trickier than she thought. Two-year-old Minnie has a quite different approach to shopping.

Minnie creates havoc everywhere she goes, from Harrods to her own christening. Her favorite word is "Mine!" and she's even trying to get into eBay! On top of everything else, Becky and Luke are still living with her parents (the deal on house #4 has fallen through), when suddenly there's a huge financial crisis.

With people having to cut back, Becky decides to throw a surprise party for Luke to cheer everyone up. But when costs starts to spiral out of control, she must decide whether to accept help from an unexpected source - and therefore run the risk of hurting the person she loves.

Will Becky be able to pull off the celebration of the year? Will she and Luke ever find a home of their own? Will Minnie ever learn to behave? And ... most important ... will Becky's secret wishes ever come true!

My thoughts: I love reading about the many adventures Becky gets herself into and this latest one did not disappoint. The Shopaholic books are light-hearted, fun books and a great escape from the everyday. Becky gets herself into situations that cause you to smile and at times laugh out loud as she works her way through them. Add her now two-year-old toddler, Minnie, who obviously has been watching her mum very closely as she is starting to become quite the shopaholic, too, and you will be crying from laughing so hard. From Becky stuffing her mouth with carrots in an attempt to fool the nanny into thinking Minnie is a good eater, to Minnie throwing herself onto a life-sized mannequin and not letting go, to developing a devious and deceitful way of personal shopping for her clients at The Look, Becky's life certainly has a flair for the dramatic. The best part is that Sophie Kinsella set up the last chapters to lead perfectly into a sequel - what can we expect next from Becky?

(I borrowed this book from the library.)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Book Tour and Review: Perfection: A Memoir of Betrayal and Renewal by Julie Metz

First line: It happened like this: Henry's footsteps on the old wooden floorboards.

From the back cover: Julie Metz's life changed forever on one ordinary January afternoon when her husband, Henry, collapsed on the kitchen floor and died in her arms. Suddenly, this mother of a six-year-old became the young widow in her bucolic small town. But that was only the beginning. Seven months after Henry's death, just when Julie thought she was emerging from the worst of it, came the rest of it: Henry had hidden another life from her.

Perfection is the story of rebuilding both a life and an identity after betrayal and widowhood. It is a story of rebirth and happiness - if not perfection.

My thoughts: What if, after the untimely death of your spouse, you realize that the marriage you had was anything but perfect? That is what happened to Julie Metz and she chronicles this in her memoir, Perfection: A Memoir of Betrayal and Renewal.  This is definitely not your fairy tale story - it is a look at love, betrayal, and the ultimate re-examination of everything Julie thought she wanted. What I really liked about the book is that it feels honest, filled with raw emotion, which makes it a very compelling read. Julie knew her marriage wasn't perfect, but she had no idea about her husband's infidelities. As she comes to terms with her rage and pain, she realizes she can't even confront her husband, so she does the next best thing - she confronts the women with whom he cheated. I was riveted by this book. Julie was able to tell it all - the good, the bad, and the ugly - and while she tried to move on with her life, she shared her bad decisions with us as well as the good ones, proving that life isn't always meant to be perfect.



About the author: Julie Metz is a graphic designer, artist and freelance writer whose essays have appeared in publications including The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Hemispheres, Glamour, and more. Julie received a MacDowell Fellowship in 2008 where she completed work on Perfection and began work on a novel. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.
 


 You can find more about Julie at the following places:

I received a complimentary copy of Perfection: A Memoir of Betrayal and Renewal by Julie Metz from Lisa at  BookSparks PR to review.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A-Z Wednesday: L (10.27.10)


Welcome to A-Z Wednesday!!

A-Z Wednesday is hosted by Vicki at Reading At The Beach. To join in, visit her blog for the guidelines and leave your link in a comment.

THIS WEEK'S LETTER IS: "L"
My book is:



Peony in Love by Lisa See

Synopsis from Amazon:
Set in 17th-century China, See's fifth novel is a coming-of-age story, a ghost story, a family saga and a work of musical and social history. As Peony, the 15-year-old daughter of the wealthy Chen family, approaches an arranged marriage, she commits an unthinkable breach of etiquette when she accidentally comes upon a man who has entered the family garden. Unusually for a girl of her time, Peony has been educated and revels in studying The Peony Pavilion, a real opera published in 1598, as the repercussions of the meeting unfold. The novel's plot mirrors that of the opera, and eternal themes abound: an intelligent girl chafing against the restrictions of expected behavior; fiction's educative powers; the rocky path of love between lovers and in families. It figures into the plot that generations of young Chinese women, known as the lovesick maidens, became obsessed with The Peony Pavilion, and, in a Werther-like passion, many starved themselves to death. See (Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, etc.) offers meticulous depiction of women's roles in Qing and Ming dynasty China (including horrifying foot-binding scenes) and vivid descriptions of daily Qing life, festivals and rituals. Peony's vibrant voice, perfectly pitched between the novel's historical and passionate depths, carries her story beautifully—in life and afterlife.


WWW Wednesdays (10.27.10)

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?
1022 Evergreen Place by Debbie Macomber


What did you recently finish reading?
Love Me If You Dare by Carly Phillips
What do you think you’ll read next?
~ Most likely I will be reading What I Thought I Knew by Alice Eve Cohen



 
 
 
 
 
 
What about you? What are you reading?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Review and Giveaway: The Life O'Reilly by Brian Cohen

First line: "There has to be a better way," I muttered, as I replaced the phone receiver on its cradle.

From the back cover: On the outside, Nick O'Reilly has it all: a high-flying legal career, as a partner of an elite Wall Street law firm, and financial security, with an apartment overlooking Central Park. Having grown up in a working-class family, as far back as Nick can remember this was his dream. But at the age of thirty-six, after several years of sacrificing his personal life for professional gain, Nick has started to ponder his future and consider the mark he makes to leave on society both professionally and personally - his legacy.

After being chastised in the press for turning a cold shoulder to the community, the firm calls upon Nick to help rehabilitate its image by handling its first pro bono case. Nick is asked to represent Dawn Nelson, a domestic violence victim who is fighting for custody of her young son, Jordan. A far cry from Nick's specialty of defending the misdeeds of Corporate America, it is up to Nick to set Dawn and Jordan on a path to a better life. But Nick gets much more than he signed on for, as Dawn forces him to reassess his life choices and, ultimately, be true to himself. Only when Nick finally realizes what is truly important in life does he face his toughest - and possibly final - challenge: a battle for his own survival.

Exploring the flaws of being human and the importance of controlling one's own destiny, The Life O'Reilly reminds us of how precious life is and how quickly and tragically it can change. Written with great empathy, The Life O'Reilly is an emotional and unforgettable tale that will challenge one's expectations of the modern love story and introduces a poignant and sensitive new voice in fiction.

My thoughts: I really enjoyed this book, a modern-day love story with much more. It was quite the emotional roller coaster - I chuckled,  laughed, screamed, and cried as I read it. Filled with believable characters and intense emotion, I had a hard time putting it down. The author used a lot of twists and turns to make the story interesting and to keep the reader glued to every page. The essence of the story is about finding love in the least unlikely of situations. But ultimately the story is about having control over one's destiny and the ability of one to shape it. Set in the day-to-day goings-on of a huge law practice, Brian Cohen was able to ease those of us not familiar with the jargon and terminology into this world. The Life O'Reilly is a wonderful, unexpected book. It's one of those books that makes you take stock of your life and what you really value. It makes you think about what you will leave behind, about your legacy. I am thankful for Brian Cohen asking me to read and review his book. He is a wonderful storyteller and I hope to read more of his work in the future.


About the author: Brian Cohen earned his Bachelor of Accountancy from George Washington University and his Juris Doctor from St. John's University School of Law. He has been practicing law for twelve years. Brian lives with his wife and their daughters in the suburbs of New York City. He is at work on his second novel.

You can find more information about Brian at his website.
Thank you to the author for sending me this book to read - I absolutely loved it!

GIVEAWAY RULES:

Brian Cohen is providing a great giveaway for readers of this blog: an autographed copy of The Life O'Reilly.
Rules:
  • Open to everyone
  • 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 Life O'Reilly. 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 bonus entry!


Thanks to everyone for entering! Good luck!

GIVEAWAY ENDS
AT 6 PM, EST, NOV 9th

FIR '10: Reading Question #5

FIR is hosted by Katrina at Callapidderdays.

Every Tuesday this fall, Katrina will be posting a question about reading.

Today's question: When you read a book, do you read EVERYTHING? In other words, do you read the dedication, the acknowledgment, the foreword, the afterword, the prologue, the epilogue, the appendices, etc.? Or do you just read the “meat” of the book? Or is your approach somewhere in between?

I read almost everything. I always read the dedications, forewords, prologues, and epilogues. I tend to skim the acknowledgments - sometimes reading the whole thing, sometimes just glancing at it. Generally I do not read that much non-fiction, but on the occasions when I do, I do read the table of contents and sometimes I glance through the index upon finishing the book. I've recently started reading the publication page - I like seeing what categories the book falls into.

What about you? Do you read everything in the book or do you start at chapter 1 and end with the final chapter?

Teaser Tuesdays (10.26.10)

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:


He meant to relax her, but his big hand, fingers splayed over her thigh, had the opposite effect. Tension spiraled through every corner of her body.

From Love Me If You Dare by Carly Phillips, pg. 73.

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

Sunday, October 24, 2010

In My Mailbox (27) 10.24.10

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)
Hollywood Ending by Lucie Simone
A Royal Likeness by Christine Trent

Library (0)

Purchased (0) -

From Paperback Swap - (0)

Won (0) -


***While my mailbox is quite light this week, I am ecstatic that I received the new Christine Trent book - I had read her first one, The Queen's Dollmaker back in March and have been anxiously awaiting this new book, due out in stores towards the end of December. Thank you Christine for sending me an advanced copy to read!!!

What's in your mailbox?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Review: Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return by Marjane Satrapi

First line: November 1984. I am in Austria.

From the inside cover: In Persepolis, heralded by the Los Angeles Times as "one of the freshest and most original memoirs of our day," Marjane Satrapi dazzled us with her heartrending memoir-in-comic-strips about growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. Here is the continuation of her fascinating story.

In 1984, Marjane flees fundamentalism and the war with Iraq to begin a new life in Vienna. Once there, she faces the trials of adolescence far from her friends and family, and while she soon carves out a place for herself among a group of fellow outsiders, she continues to struggle for a sense of belonging.

Finding that she misses her home more than she can stand, Marjane returns to Iran after graduation. Her difficult homecoming forces her to confront the changes both she and her country have undergone in her absence and her shame at what she perceives as her failure in Austria. Marjane allows her past to weigh heavily on her until she finds some like-minded friends, falls in love, and begins studying art at a university. However, the repression and state-sanctioned chauvinism eventually lead her to question whether she can have a future in Iran.

As funny and poignant as its predecessor, Persepolis 2 is another clear-eyed and searing condemnation of the human cost of fundamentalism. In its depiction of the struggles of growing up - here compounded by Marjane's status as an outsider both abroad and at home - it is raw, honest, and incredibly illuminating.

My thoughts: I read this because I had recently read Reading Lolita in Tehran and Persepolis 1 for my book club. I had heard that there was another Persepolis story and since I really enjoyed the first one, thought I would like the second one. I have to say that I didn't enjoy it as much.The story picks up where Persepolis 1 ended - Marjane is sent by her parents to study in Vienna, Austria to escape the bombings and uncertainty of the Iran-Iraq war. I felt this story was not as compelling as the first. As a child, you are able to love Marjane for her childishness and also see clearly everything from the hypocrisies of her self-proclaimed non-traditional parents to how she and her classmates treat other children. Now that she's a young adult, it's difficult to not see how her stubbornness makes her cut off her own nose - she winds up homeless after a series of pride issues. Young Marjane was feisty and independent and it's cute. Older Marjane is stubborn and prideful and more difficult to accept. I did find the graphics to once again be powerful and know that both these stories will stay with me for a while. As with the first story, I am left wanting to know more about the Iranian culture, specifically the injustices done to women.

(I borrowed this book from the library.)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Review: Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi

First line: This is me when I was ten years old.

From the inside cover: Originally published to wide critical acclaim in France, where it elicited comparisons to Art Spiegelman's Maus, Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi's wise, funny, and heartbreaking memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah's regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. The intelligent and outspoken only child of committed Marxists and the great-granddaughter of one of Iran's last emperors, Marjane bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country.

Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran: the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life and the toll repressive regimes exact on the individual spirit. Marjane's child's-eye-view of dethroned emperors, state-sanctioned whippings, and heroes of the revolution allows us to learn as she does the history of this fascinating country and of her own extraordinary family. Intensely personal, profoundly political,  and wholly original, Persepolis is at once a story of growing up  and a reminder of the human cost of war and political repression. It shows how we carry on, with laughter and tears, in the face of absurdity. And finally, it introduces us to an irresistible little girl with whom we cannot help but fall in live.

My thoughts: My book club read this in conjunction with Reading Lolita in Tehran and I felt it was the perfect pairing of books. I do not usually read comic books or graphic novels, as they tend to be categorized now, but I really enjoyed this one. Persepolis is a revealing peek inside the daily life of a child in Iran. It is a very personal, sometimes hilarious, sometimes heartbreaking snapshot of one girl's life. Through simple but quite powerful pictures and prose, Marjane Satrapi details what it was like for her to grow up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. As I mentioned in my review of Reading Lolita in Tehran, I really did now know a lot about Iran or the Islamic Religion, but after reading both these books, I feel I have a better understanding of the injustices that have occurred there. For anyone looking for a fresh perspective of what it was like to grow up during this time-frame, I highly recommend picking up a copy of this book.

(I borrowed this book from the library.)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A-Z Wednesday: K (10.2010)


Welcome to A-Z Wednesday!!

A-Z Wednesday is hosted by Vicki at Reading At The Beach. To join in, visit her blog for the guidelines and leave your link in a comment.

THIS WEEK'S LETTER IS: "K"
My book is:


Synopsis from Amazon:
Eight-year-old Jane Popyncourt travels with her mother from France to the English court of Henry VII. She is raised with the royal children, teaching them French. When her mother dies unexpectedly, Jane is left with no money, but becomes a favorite of Princess Mary, whom she serves. Learning since childhood the treacherous ways of court life and the temperamental nature of the Tudors, she strives to please those around her until a French prisoner captures her attention. The Duc de Longueville, a handsome married man, stirs Jane. She starts an affair with him to the dismay of her friends and the delight of the new king, Henry VIII. He uses Jane as a spy, a mission that causes friction, but a role that also may help her solve the mystery of her mother’s death. Emerson creates a riveting historical novel of the perils of the Tudor Court, vividly fictionalizing historical characters and breathing new life into their personalities and predicaments.

***I haven't read this one yet, but I have it and the second one on my shelf. I can't wait to get to them both!

WWW Wednesdays (10.20.10)

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?
Don't Blink by James Patterson


What did you recently finish reading?
Devil's Food Cake by Josi S. Kilpack
What do you think you’ll read next?
~ Most likely I will be reading Perfection by Julie Metz




 
 
 
 
 
What about you? What are you reading?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Virtual Book Tour and Review: Let's Eat by Denise Burroughs

First tip: Always keep your cooking area clean to prevent cross contamination.

About the book: Denise Burroughs combines her rich Italian heritage with years of southern tradition in Let's Eat!, her debut cookbook.  Her love for cooking shines through in this comprehensive book, suitable for all levels of cooking experience.  Let's Eat! provides readers with simple, inexpensive dishes.  Recipes range from “Potato Flake Chicken” to “Chocolate Italian Cookies.”

Her strong Italian background shines through in many recipes, combining her love of tradition and her passion for rich flavors.

Burroughs’ unique dishes have been cultivated through years of experience, filling the hearts and stomachs of her friends and family.  She writes: “Enjoy what you do! Your kitchen is your way of self expression and the heart of your home.”

In Let's Eat! Burroughs goes on to share cherished childhood memories of her family cooking authentic Italian meals.  Burroughs recalls: ” Back when my great grandmother used to make pizza they called it ‘Tomato Pie’. It was not like pizza we get today.  It was square and had sauce, oregano, and grated cheese on top.”

Burroughs includes helpful cooking tips for first-timers and some useful veteran secrets.  She takes great pride in her recipes and is excited to share them for the very first time.  She is confident these recipes will satisfy your family and friends.

My thoughts: This is the first cookbook I have reviewed and I had fun reading it. Lately, I seem to be obsessed with cookbooks, so this book came along at the right time and will make a nice addition to my growing collection! What I loved about this cookbook, in particular, are the first few pages. There are 10 tips from the kitchen, which include things like adding sugar to water when cooking corn on the cob to sweeten the corn (did not know this!). There is also a section called 'How Much of This Equals That,' which includes sections on butter, chocolate, flour (1 pound of flour equals 3 1/2 to 4 cups), and sugar - what a great idea to include in the book! Also included is a page of baking substitutions, a list of tips for preparing marinades and sauces and a section called 'Is It Done Yet?' I think all these pages are going to be extremely helpful as I am not the most skilled chef - I much prefer baking to cooking, but have been dabbling in cooking more so now that I am married. Some recipes I definitely plan on trying are Easy Eggplant Parmesan, Homemade Mac & Cheese (hubby and I love trying new recipes for mac and cheese!), the mini cheesecakes and the merry mojito! I think this book would be a great gift for a newlywed couple or someone just starting out on their own.

About the author: Denise Burroughs was raised in the sun, she came from a large Italian family with very strong ties to their heritage.  She was born in Rome, NY and moved to Miami, Florida in December of 1969 with her mother.  Raised in South Florida, she attended school until 1983.  Having two daughters from her first marriage, she remarried in 1995 and in 2004 moved to Tallahassee, Florida where she currently resides.

She’s the owner of a paint and body shop and a member of NAPEW (National Association of Professional & Executive Women 2007-2008). A love for cooking and a desire to share wonderful family traditions was put to paper to create Let's Eat!  There have been so many people who have inspired her in her life, but no one inspired her more than her mother.  Many of the recipes in this book have been served many times over and enjoyed by family and friends.  She is happy to share them all with you and hopes you enjoy every bite as they were all made with lots of love.

You can visit Denise at www.deniseburroughs.com.

I received a complimentary copy of Let's Eat! by Denise Burroughs from Pump Up Your Book Promotion as part of the tour.


FIR '10: Reading Question #4

FIR is hosted by Katrina at Callapidderdays.

Every Tuesday this fall, Katrina will be posting a question about reading.

Today's question: Do you ever dog-ear the corners of book pages to mark your spot? Or are you a faithful bookmark user, refusing to damage the pages of your books? OR do you have another way to keep track of where you are in a book?
I am a faithful bookmark user. I have a huge stack - gotten from the library, from bookstores, from authors when they send me their book to review - that I keep near my bookshelves. I use one until it gets all bent, crumbled, used and then I start using another one. On the off chance I start reading a book and don't have an actual bookmark on hand, I will use a scrap piece of paper or even a sticky. I don't like bending/dog-earring pages.

What about you? Are you a bookmark user or do you dog-ear your pages?

Teaser Tuesdays (10.19.10)

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:


The words I will never be able to forget were "Hold on tight, because this is going to be one hairy ride." In point of fact, those words not only described the next several minutes, but the next several days of my life.

From Don't Blink by James Patterson, pg. 13.

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

Monday, October 18, 2010

Review: Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi

First line: In the fall of 1995, after resigning from my last academic post, I decided to indulge myself and fulfill a dream.

From the back cover: Every Thursday morning for two years in the Islamic Republic of Iran, a bold and inspired teacher named Azar Nafisi secretly gathered seven of her most committed female students to read forbidden Western classics. As Islamic morality squads staged arbitrary raids in Tehran, fundamentalists seized hold of the universities, and a blind censor stifled artistic expression, the girls in Azar Nafisi's living room risked removing their veils and immersed themselves in the worlds of Jane Austen, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Henry James, and Vladimir Nabokov. In this extraordinary memoir, their stories become intertwined with the ones they are reading. Reading Lolita in Tehran is a remarkable exploration of resilience in the face of tyranny and a celebration of the liberating power of literature.

My thoughts: I really enjoyed this book. It was recommended to me by my mom and then my book club decided to read it, which got me to read it much sooner than I would have otherwise. This is a beautifully written book about literature and the transforming effect it can have on people's lives. It works many different levels - as a literary criticism of works by several classic authors; as a tale of a group of female students who continue their studies of English literary criticism at their teacher's apartment during a time when women had little to no rights, just to name a few. The book gave great insight into the world of Islamic Fundamentalism through the lives of some women who are forced to live according to its principles. I admit that I did not know much about Iran or the Islamic religion before reading this book, nor have I read all the works of literature mentioned in this memoir. Now, I am adding a few of these works to my list of books to read, and I want to learn more about Iran and the Iranian people. This is definitely a book I will be revisiting, as I think each reread will leave me with something else to consider.

(I purchased this book.)

Musing Mondays (10.18.10)

This week’s musing asks: 

Do you prefer hardcovers, trade paperbacks (the bigger ones), or mass market paperbacks (the smaller ones)? Why?


 
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
 
The short answer is it all depends...there are times when I go for the trade paperbacks, there are times when I buy the mass market paperbacks and then there are times when I prefer hardcover books. 

I always buy James Patterson books in hardcover - I have a collection of his books on my bookshelf and am even trying to find hardcovers of his older works that I do not have yet. The other time I go for the hardcover is at the library book sales - especially if it's an author I really like and know I will be keeping the book.

For other books that I plan on keeping, I tend to go for the trade paperbacks. I like the size - it is manageable for reading in bed (a big plus!) yet still fits in my bag - I tend to carry a rather large bag - without weighing it down too much. Plus, it looks nice on the bookshelf.

For books that I know I will be passing on to someone - most likely my sisters - I tend to buy the mass market paperback. The size is perfect for reading in bed, throwing in my bag and of course, mailing to whoever gets it next!
 
What about you?
 

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