Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Review: Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery (audio book)

From the back of the audio case: Anne of Green Gables, the story of a mischievous, carrot-topped waif, is beloved by generations of girls. Now Anne has grown into a lovely woman. Leaving the tranquility of her home on Prince Edward Island, she begins a new life on the mainland as a freshman at Redmond College.

Will she be ready for the challenge of a cranky professor who thinks education is wasted on women? Or will she welcome the security offered by proposals of marriage? Education and romance are hanging in the balance for the curious, red-haired beauty.

Follow the irrepressible Anne Shirley as she journeys into a wider world and faces the tantalizing decisions of young adulthood. Barbara Caruso's tones perfectly capture the spirit of the enchanting Anne.

Read by: Barbara Caruso

My thoughts: I love reading or in this case hearing about Anne's adventures. I first read this series about 25 years ago and now I am in the midst of rereading them. Anne of the Island is the third book in this beloved series and it is the story of Anne's four years at Redmond College. We meet up again with some familiar characters from previous books including Gilbert Blythe, Priscilla Grant, Charlie, Diana, Ruby Gillis, Stella Maynard, Mrs. Lynde, Marilla and of course the twins, Dora and Davy. Many new friends emerge such as the unforgettable Phil (short for Phillipa) who can't dream of marrying a man who isn't rich, romantic Roy Gardener and the sweet Aunt Jamesina. After spending her freshman year in a boarding house, Anne and chums Priscilla, Stella, and Phil move into a little house called Patty's Place. Even though they are committed to their studies, life is never dull. Anne has no lack of suitors, turning down no fewer than five proposals during the course of the story. But the best one is saved for last! And of course, her summers are full of adventure, whether it's back in dear Avonlea or teaching as a country schoolmarm. Like all the books in this series, Anne of the Island has a blend of humor and poignancy; joy and sorrow. 

I have loved listening to Anne of Avonlea and Anne of the Island but am bummed to find out that the rest of this series has not been recorded on audio books.

(I borrowed this audio book from the library.)

Giveaway Reminders

Don't forget to enter the following giveaways:

FIR '10: Reading Question #10

FIR is hosted by Katrina at Callapidderdays.
Every Tuesday this fall, Katrina will be posting a question about reading.


Today's question: Do you have multiple books going at once? Or do you prefer to stick to one book at a time? 
 
Up until just recently, I have always had the same answer to this question - no, I only read one book at a time. But, I have finally started listening to audio books, so now I can have two books going at a time. I was a little weary about this, as I thought I would confuse the two plots, but I am able to keep each separate, partly because one is audio and one is visual. Well, I am hooked and am now on my 3rd audio book and thinking about what to listen to next!
 
What about you? Are you a one book person or do you have more than one going on?

Teaser Tuesdays (11.30.10)

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:


One of the things I would have to explain to the girls from back home, if I was telling them this story, is the simple little word horror. It means something different to the people from my village.

From Little Bee by Chris Cleave, pg. 45.

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

Monday, November 29, 2010

Review: Cross Fire by James Patterson

First line: It had been months since Kyle Craig had killed a man.

From the inside cover: Detective Alex Cross and Bree Stone's wedding plans are put on hold when Alex is called to the scene of the perfectly executed assassination of two of Washington DC's most corrupt: a dirty congressman and an underhanded lobbyist. Next, the elusive gunman begins picking off other crooked insiders, sparking a blaze of theories - is the marksman a hero or a vigilante?

The case explodes, and the FBI assigns Agent Max Siegel to the investigation. As Alex and Siegel battle over jurisdiction,the murders continue. It becomes clear that the killings are the work of a professional who has detailed knowledge of his victims' movements - information that only a Washington insider could possess.

As Alex contends with the sniper, Siegel, and the wedding, he receives a call from his deadliest adversary, Kyle Craig. The Mastermind is in DC and will not relent until he has eliminated Cross and his family for good. With a supercharged blend of action, deception, and suspense, Cross Fire is James Patterson's most visceral and exciting Alex Cross novel ever.

My thoughts: This is the 17th Alex Cross story and it was quite an action-filled read. The tale has depth, the characters are well-developed, and the suspense is riveting. I was hooked from page one!  Alex works against the clock to figure out who is killing high profile white criminals. On top of that, we find out Alex's nemesis, Kyle Craig, has escaped from prison; Alex and Bree are trying to plan their wedding; and Alex receives an unexpected visit from someone he thought long out of his life - Alex certainly has his hands more than full! There are a few threads left dangling to keep this series going for a while and the hint dropped at the end indicates that there may be some type of crossover story between the Alex Cross series and another popular Patterson series. The twists and turns throughout this book keep you guessing what will happen next and with his trademark short chapters, it is very easy to fly through this book. My only complaint is that we have to wait another year to see what happens next with Alex Cross.

(I purchased this book.)

It's Monday - What Are You Reading? (11.29.10)

 
It’s Monday What Are you Reading is the perfect way for me to begin my week and allows me to focus on what needs to be read and to see what I have or have not accomplished the previous week. I also enjoy discovering new books by visiting other participants blogs.
 
***I was away last week, so I am including the last 2 weeks.


Books Completed in the last 2 weeks:
  • Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks (mine)
  • The Love Goddess' Cooking School by Melissa Senate (review)
  • Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery (library audio-book)
  • Cross Fire by James Patterson (mine)
  • Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery (library audio-book)
  • American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld (mine)
Reading Now:
  • Little Bee by Chris Cleave (library book - for book club this week)
  • House Rules by Jodi Picoult (library audio-book)
Next:
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows by JK Rowling (mine) - need to read this before the movie comes out :-)
  • Murder on the Down Low by Pamela Samuels Young (review - book tour Dec 9th)
  • Key Lime Pie by Josi S. Kilpack (mine)
Reviews completed the past 2 weeks:
Books for which I need to finish reviews:
  • Cross Fire by James Patteron
  • Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery
  • American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld
Contest information:

What about you?  What does your reading week look like this week?  Whatever it is, happy reading and have a good week!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Review: Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery (audio book)

From the back of the audio case: In the first sequel to Anne of Green Gables, Lucy Montgomery's feisty red-headed heroine is now sixteen and a school teacher in the small village of Avonlea on Prince Edward Island. Although older, she isn't necessarily wiser - and she hasn't outgrown her mischievous antics. She learns how complicated life can be when she takes two new orphans at Green Gables under her wings, meddles in someone else's love life, and learns about romance herself when she encounters the "odd behavior" of a very handsome man, Gilbert Blythe.

Lucy wrote that Anne is an extension of herself and represents the independent, "new" woman of the emerging 20th century. Individualistic, resourceful, and of a great humanitarian heart, she remains a great role model for girls and women today.

Read by: Shelly Frazier.

My thoughts: This is the very first audio book I have ever listened to...and I loved it! Yes, I have read Anne of Avonlea before - about 25 years ago - but listening to it was a totally different and enjoyable experience. Shelly Frazer has an amazing voice and was able to adjust for all the characters in the book. In this book, we meet up again with some of familiar characters from Anne of Green Gables - Marilla, Ms. Rachel Lynde, Diana, Gilbert - and we are introduced to some new friends - Davy and Dora, the twins that Anne and Marilla take in when their mother falls ill; Ms Lavender, a kindred spirit that Anne and Diana stumble upon quite accidentally, and Mr. Harrison, an old bachelor new to the neighborhood. Listening to the story read aloud, I think you are better able to pick up on the tones of the different characters and the humor of certain situations. I especially loved listening to all the sections that included Davy. I find it amazing that at age 17, Anne has become a teacher - it seems as if she is still a child herself and yet she is responsible for all these children. I love all the mischief that she still gets into and am looking forward to continuing the series - hopefully with audio books!

(I borrowed this audio book from the library.)

In My Mailbox (32) 11.28.10

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 (1) - 
Key Lime Pie by Josi S. Kilpack

Borrowed from family member (0)

From Paperback Swap - (0)

Won (0) -

**It was quiet this week, but that's ok - maybe I can catch up on all the books I have gotten the past few weeks!

What's in your mailbox?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Review: The Love Goddess' Cooking School by Melissa Senate

First line: According to Holly Maguire's late grandmother, revered on Blue Crab Island, Maine for her fortune-telling as much as her cooking, the great love of Holly's life would be one of the few people on earth to like sa cordula, an Italian delicacy.

From the back cover: Holly Maguire's grandmother Camilla was the Love Goddess of Blue Crab Island, Maine - a Milanese fortune-teller who could predict the right man for you, and whose Italian cooking was rumored to save marriages. Holly has been waiting years for her unlikely fortune: her true love will like sa cordula, an unappetizing old-world delicacy. But Holly can't make a decent marinara sauce, let alone sa cordula. Maybe  that's why the man she hopes to marry breaks her heart. So when Holly inherits Camilla's Cucinotta, she's determined to forget about fortunes and love and become an Italian cooking teacher worthy of her grandmother's legacy.

But Holly's four students are seeking much more than how to make Camilla's chicken alla Milanese. Simon, a single father, hopes to cook his way back into his daughter's heart. Juliet, Holly's childhood friend, hides a painful secret. Tamara, a serial dater, can't find the love she longs for. And twelve-year-old Mia thinks learning to cook will stop her dad, Liam, from marrying his phony lasagna-queen girlfriend. As the class gathers each week, adding Camilla's essential ingredients of wishes and memories in every pot and pan, unexpected friendships and romances are formed - and tested. Especially when Holly falls hard for Liam ... and learns a thing or two about finding her own recipe for happiness.

My thoughts: This was a quick, fun, charming novel filled with old-world superstition. It's a delightful story of a gal with a broken heart trying to find her place in the world. Coming home to Maine and her grandmother, she hopes she can get a fresh perspective on life. Unfortunately her grandmother passes soon after Holly's return and she is left with Camilla's cooking school, recipe book and a feeling of total helplessness - cooking has never been her thing. Camilla's essential ingredients are wishes and memories and it's when Holly begins choosing which wishes and memories to add to her recipes, that she discovers what she wants out of life. I loved how Camilla's diaries helped complete the story - those were quite possibly my favorite part of the story. This was the first book I have read by Melissa Senate, although I did see the made-for-tv movie of See Jane Date (no idea it was based on a book!). I will now be looking into her previous novels as well as keeping an eye out for future releases.

(I received this book from Gallery Books to review.)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A-Z Wednesday: P 11.24.10)


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: "P"
My book is:



The Bachelor by Carly Phillips

Synopsis from Amazon:
The small town of Yorkshire Falls and its colorful inhabitants including a mysterious panty-raider and a fun-loving but devious mother are a sturdy stage for Phillips's romantic romp. After news of his mother's weak heart summons him home, globetrotting journalist Roman Chandler loses a coin toss with his brothers that determines who will relinquish his bachelor status to give their mother a grandchild. Roman decides to "settle down" without giving up his travel-intensive job, and as one of the most handsome men in town, he can have his pick of the local women except for Charlotte Bronson, his high school crush. Thoughts of her parents' miserable long-distance marriage keep Charlotte from accepting Roman's proposal, despite the sexual sparks that fly at their every encounter. Mutual attraction eventually proves too powerful to resist, however, but first Roman must win her trust. Though Phillips gives sensual friction and emotional introspection equal attention, the emotional chemistry between Roman and Charlotte merely simmers while the sexual chemistry explodes. The first in a Chandler brothers trilogy, this entry will encourage readers who enjoy dining on passion to pick up the next book, but those who prefer more emotionally bonded characters may chose a different course.

***This is the first book I read by Carly Phillips and it had me desperate for more...I have now read all her books and have most of them on my bookshelves so that I can at some time, reread them all!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Review: Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks

First line: As Katie wound her way among tables, a breeze from the Atlantic rippled through her hair.

From the inside cover: When a mysterious young woman named Katie appears in the small North Carolina town of Southport, her sudden arrival raises questions about her past. Beautiful yet self-effacing, Katie seems determined to avoid forming personal ties until a series of events draws her into two reluctant relationships: one with Alex, a widowed store owner with a kind heart and two young children; and another with her plainspoken single neighbor, Jo. Despite her reservations, Katie slowly begins to let down her guard, putting down roots in the close-knit community and becoming increasingly attached to Alex and his family.

But even as Katie begins to fall in love, she struggles with the dark secret that still haunts and terrified her ... a past that set her on a fearful, shattering journey across the country, to the sheltered oasis of Southport. With Jo's empathetic and stubborn support, Katie eventually realizes that she must choose between a life of transient safety and one of riskier rewards ... and that in the darkest hour, love is the only true safe haven.

My thoughts: Nicholas Sparks is one of my favorite authors - I have even had the opportunity to meet him twice! In this book he includes his overall theme of love, but also adds an element of suspense and danger. What I love about Nicholas Sparks is that he incorporates commonly experienced subjects in his books - love, loss, forgiveness - all with an emotional journey to overcome challenges we can all relate to. In Safe Haven the point of view changes amongst the main characters. That, I felt, really gave power to Kevin's character (Katie's ex). Writing about domestic violence can be tricky - too much detail or too much focus on the violent behaviors and you run the risk of turning people off; too little detail or glossing over the behaviors and people won't take the storyline seriously. Nicholas Sparks creates a fine balance, giving all parties involved their two cents, so to speak. The ending (and I won't say what it is so as to not give anything away) was a little surprising. I definitely didn't expect it! With Nicholas Sparks' books, there is always something for everyone: a love story, family life, internal conflicts, danger, and a twist at the end.

(I purchased this book - and had it autographed!)

FIR '10: Reading Question #9

FIR is hosted by Katrina at Callapidderdays.

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


Today's question: Once you begin a book, do you feel compelled to finish it? Or have you been known to give up in the middle of a book, to walk away from a book that is just too annoying, boring, etc.?

I have to say I think I have only abandoned one or two books in my adult reading life - I know when I was in school there were plenty of times I didn't finish books but those weren't books I choose to read. Even if I don't love a book I am reading, I tend to stick with it, mostly due to the fact that I need to find out how it ends.
 
What about you? Do you always finish a book once you start it?


***Bonus Question: We have less than one month left in Fall Into Reading 2010! Can you believe it? If you’d like to share…how are you doing? Are you on track with your goals? Will the upcoming holidays derail your reading plans?

I am doing pretty well - I listed 25 books to read for this challenge and so far I have read 16 on the list plus 8 not on the list. I am in the middle of reading another one from my list and listening to one that is also on the list. That leaves 6 on my original list that still need to be read plus I know I have to read 3 other books not on my list before the end of the challenge. I think I might be able to finish...although it might mean doing nothing but reading a few days!!!

Teaser Tuesdays (11.23.10)

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:


In retrospect, this whole time period with Pete is so clouded with sorrow and regret that I try not to think of it; sometimes still, it can make me wince. And yet I confess to slight amusement that what happened for us that day in his bedroom, the synchronicity of timing, has never once happened in decades of marriage to a man I love dearly.

From American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld, pg. 81.

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

Sunday, November 21, 2010

In My Mailbox (31) 11.21.10

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 (1)
The Tapestry of Love by Rosy Thornton

Library (1)
House Rules by Jodi Picoult (audio book)

Purchased (1) - 
Cross Fire by James Patterson

Borrowed from family member (0)

From Paperback Swap - (0)

Won (0) -


What's in your mailbox?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Review: Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts

First line: Grief came in waves, hard and choppy, buffeting and breaking the heart.

From the inside cover: #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts cordially invites you to meet childhood friends, Parker, Emma, Laurel, and Mac - the founders of Vows, one of Connecticut's premier wedding planning companies.

Parker Brown turned the quartet's childhood game of Wedding Day into their dream jobs. And now she's the face of Vows - the one who meets every bride's demands; keeps every event on schedule; and brings Emma's romantic flowers, Laurel's delicious treats, and Mac's stunning photography together in one glorious package. She knows how to make dreams come true...

Mechanic Malcolm Kavanaugh loves figuring out how things work, and Parker Brown - with her mile-long legs - is no exception. But as a good friend of Parker's brother, Mal knows that moving from minor flirtation to major hookup is a serious step.

No man has rattled Parker in a long time, but the motorcycle-riding, raven-haired Mal seems to have a knack for it. His passionate kisses always catch her off guard, much like her growing feelings for him. Parker's business risks have always paid off, but now she'll have to take the chance of a lifetime with her heart...

My thoughts: I was so excited to read this book and yest, at the same time a bit sad because it is the final book in Nora Robert's Bride Quartet series. This time the story focuses on Parker and Mal's story. Efficient, multi-tasker extraordinaire, level-headed, and organized beyond belief, Parker never saw herself falling for her mechanic, Mal Kavanaugh. But, as Mal proves to be much more than he appears on the surface, Parker finds that he may just be everything she has ever wanted but never planned for. Watching as Parker and Mal figure out how to be together was at times comical and at others heartbreaking. One of my favorite aspects of this series has been that Nora Roberts gives us glimpses into each aspect of Vows, the wedding planning business the girls run - the photographer, the florist, the baker and the planner/organizer. It was interesting seeing just what goes on behind the scenes at weddings.  I truly loved this series and feel as if these women have become friends - I felt like I was experiencing right along with them the sadness, tears, laughter, heart ached and confusion that life has brought them, along with the romance that comes their way.

If you are like me and need to read a series in order, here it is: Vision in White, Bed of Roses, Savor the Moment and then Happy Ever After. I have a feeling The Bride Quartet is going to be a set of books I return to every once in a while for that 'happy ever after.' If you are a hopeless romantic, love weddings or just want to be reassured that love does exist, then this series is for you.

(I purchased this book.)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Guest Post and Giveaway by Barbara Delinsky

Please join me in welcoming Barbara Delinsky, author of Not My Daughter to Always With a Book! If you missed my review, you can read it here. Today Barbara guest blogs about her moving from writing romance novels to fiction.

Enjoy and be sure to enter the giveaway below!

Breaking Out is Hard to Do...

Okay. I know what at least a few of you are thinking. "Barbara Delinsky - isn't she that famous romance writer? I don't read romances (well, not that I admit to!). Why is she reading at a bookstore/appearing on a talk show/popping up on a blog that celebrates 'good' fiction?" Normally, I ignore it. My books have changed so dramatically over the span of my writing career that I figure anyone who reads me now knows what I write. But the problem is, some readers won't pick up my books at all because they think they won't like what I write.

So let me be clear. I do not write Romance. I did once. That's how I got my foot in the door of publishing, and I will be forever grateful to the genre for that. I also have the utmost respect for that genre. Romance writers work hard. And most of the time, they earn very little respect - thought I do think that is starting to change - see the Smart Bitches, Trashy Books blog.  

Romance writers will always have my respect. Their books are interesting, well-crafted, and fun. They're also sexy - which, way back when I wrote romances, caused some memorable family moments. My husband was often asked if he helped research the bedroom scenes. His sister refused to read my books; "I don't read trash like that," she said with some scorn. And, to this day, when we bump into an old friend, a Congressmen in the US House of Representatives, he puts an arm around my shoulder, lowers his voice to a seductive drawl, and murmurs, "How's my favorite romance writer doing?"

As teenagers, my sons actually found my books to be "girl-getters."

But my favorite story involves my oldest son. When he hit high school, we sent him to an all-boys school. Well, as kids get to know each other, they talk about what their parents do. So one day Eric brought in one of my books to show his friends. It was an early book of mine, written under a pseudonym. The title? The Passionate Touch. Apparently, the boys at nearby desk were leaning over his shoulder to read what I assumed to be the ... juiciest pages, when the teacher said, "Hey, Delinsky, what have you got there?" Eric quickly stuffed the book in his desk, but the teacher was already down the aisle, holding out his hand out for the book. He studied the cover, thumbed through a few pages, looked at my son in horror and said, "What would your mother say if she knew you were reading something like this?"

As it happened, I was doomed as a romance writer. My books were too realistic. I soon began writing full-length novels, all with a harder edge, more in-depth plots, even an issue. And I loved doing this. But in the 1980's, that's not what romance publishers wanted. I know things are a lot different now, but I had to deal with then. So I thought I'd simply switch shelves in the bookstore - off the romance shelf, onto the plain-old-fiction shelf.

But I quickly learned on thing: Breaking out is hard to do.

I first hit the publishing scene as a Romance Writer. Changing that image has not been easy. I've tried everything. I deliberately sold my work to publishing houses known for literary fiction. I wrote sagas that follow multiple generations over many years, something not generally done in the romance genre. I killed off a main character, definitely a no-no in romance back then, and tackled another then-taboo topic, serious sexual abuse. My most recent novels have been published by Doubleday, a well-respected literary house, and there has been zero sex in these books. And still, some of you out there think ... you-know-what.

So. Let's get past it right now. What do I write? I write books about relationships, often about relationships between friends, more often about relationships between family members. Writing about family crises is truly my niche. In recent books, I've tackled subjects like sibling rivalry and marital angst, illness, infidelity, even infertility. I write about situations in which the unexpected happens - like when a black boy is born to a white couple, as happens in Family Tree - and I write about these things because I'm interested, and because if I'm interested, I figured my readers will be too since I am my quintessential reader. 

People intrigue me. I want to know how they handle crises. Do they run away? Do they freeze? Or do they use those crises as vehicles for growth?

My agent calls this domestic drama. I call it reality. I create real people, who have real friends and real family, then I put them in situations that test their mettle. My characters are very much like you and me and people we know. I build a history for them, so that their personalities ring true, because I do believe that we are shaped by the events in our lives.

I certainly was. My mother died when I was eight. That shaped me. I gave birth to three sons, no daughters; that shaped me, too. I was diagnosed with breast cancer fourteen years ago. More shaping, in every sense.

These were all situations that tested my mettle, which is what I do to my characters. The end result is I hope, a well-written, fully-realized story that moves. As in pages turning because you have to find out what happens next. That's always my goal. One of the best compliments a reader can give me is to say that she couldn't put my book down. And happily, that's a compliment I hear a lot from my wonderful readers. If you haven't read one of my novels yet, I hope you'll take the time to enter this contest to win a copy of NOT MY DAUGHTER




About the author: Barbara Delinsky is the author of more than seventeen bestselling novels with over twenty million copies in print. She has been published in twenty-five languages worldwide. Barbara lives with her family in New England. Visit Barbara's website for more information.

Thank you Barbara for visiting and now on to the giveaway.

GIVEAWAY RULES:

Jen at Random House has provided five copies of Not My Daughter for readers of this blog! 

Rules:
  • Open to US/Canada
  • No PO Boxes please
  • Be sure to include email address in case you win
  • Book will be mailed out by the publicist
  • All comments must be separate to count as more than one
How to Enter:

  • Required entry:  Leave me a comment letting me know you want to win Not my Daughter. 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)  Follow my blog. If you already do, thanks, and please let me know in the comments. You're eligible for the extra entry as well.  Must be in a separate comment to count for the bonus entry!
  • Bonus Entry (+2)  Blog about this giveaway and leave me the link. Must be in a separate comment to count for the bonus entries!

Don't forget to LEAVE A SEPARATE COMMENT for each entry. The total possible number of entries for each person is 4.   

Thanks to everyone for entering! Good luck!

GIVEAWAY ENDS
AT 6 PM, EST, NOV 30th

FIR '10: Reading Question #8

FIR is hosted by Katrina at Callapidderdays.

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


Today's question: Where do you get the books you read? Are you a faithful library patron? Or maybe a bookstore junkie? Do you exchange books with friends or family members?

I tend to get my books from a number of places...

* Library - I do use the library, sometimes more often than others. Most of the time I tend to get my books for my book club from the library because I am not sure I am going to like them much less keep them. I also tend to visit the library book sales...a book for a quarter or a dollar - how can you go wrong? My job allows me to visit all the libraries in my county (18) every few months, so I usually end up with a book or two after those visits.

* Bookstore - My husband and I head to Barnes and Noble every time he needs something to read. While I don't always need to get a book at that time, I do usually end up finding something I want to get!

* Friends/Family - I am fortunate that I come from a huge family of readers. Just last week, my mother-in-law came for a visit and left me a huge bag of books she had finished reading. My sisters, my aunts, and my dad are always swapping books.

*Authors/Publishers/Publicists - Because of my blog, I have had authors/publishers/publicists contacting me to review books. I am still always excited every time I get asked to review a book - I didn't start my blog for that reason, but am thrilled with each request.

*Amazon/Target - I do occasionally buy books from these places. I like that Target does get new releases and has quite a decent selection of paperbacks, too. Plus they are usually at a discounted price. If I have a few books I want and my husband is looking for a specific book, then I head to Amazon.  

What about you? Where do you get your books?

Teaser Tuesdays (11.16.10)

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'd tell you but I can't," she said. Her voice was almost inaudible over the sound of the waves.

From Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks, pg. 93.

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

Monday, November 15, 2010

Virtual Tour and Review: Not My Daughter by Barbara Delinsky

First line: Susan Tate never saw it coming.

From the back cover: When Susan Tate's seventeen-year-old daughter, Lily, announces she is pregnant, Susan is stunned. A single mother, she has struggled to do everything right. She sees the pregnancy as an inconceivable tragedy both for Lily and herself. Then comes word of two more pregnancies among other high school juniors who happen to be Lily's best friends. The town turns to talk of a pact. As fingers start pointing, the emotional ties between mothers and daughters are stretched to breaking in a wrenching story of love and forgiveness.

My thoughts: This is a thought-provoking, timely and emotionally gripping tale that reminds us just how powerful a story can be. Barbara Delinsky has created credible characters that are dealing with problems happening in today's world - this story is loosely based on actual events. She delves into the struggles that teen pregnancy creates not only between mothers and daughters, but also between families, friends and even within the community. I found the story to be quite compelling, from the teens' lack of foresight about how a pregnancy, and the resulting baby, would impact their lives and that of their families to that of how the mother's reactions to the pregnancies varied. Having grown up in a small town, I can see how the town could react the way it did - not that I agree with some of the sentiment being discussed during the numerous town/school board meetings that take place as a result. While Susan Tate and her daughter, Lily, are the main characters in this story, Barbara Delinsky allows us to see how each family involved in this "pact" copes in a different way. At times the story is told through the eyes of the other girls or their mothers. The one reaction that can be said of all adults involved in this story is that they all believe it could never be 'my daughter' that would be involved in such an act. I haven't read Barbara Delinsky in a while, but if this is any indication of her newer work, I will certainly be reading more of her.


About the author: Barbara Delinsky is the author of more than seventeen bestselling novels with over twenty million copies in print. She has been published in twenty-five languages worldwide. Barbara lives with her family in New England.

For more information, please visit Barbara's website.

(Author photo by Mark Bennington)


I received a complimentary copy of Not My Daughter by Barbara Delinsky from Jen at Random House to review. 


***Check back tomorrow for a guest post by Barbara Delinsky and a chance to win a copy of this book!

It's Monday - What Are You Reading? (11.15.10)

It’s Monday What Are you Reading is the perfect way for me to begin my week and allows me to focus on what needs to be read and to see what I have or have not accomplished the previous week. I also enjoy discovering new books by visiting other participants blogs.


Books Completed Last Week:
  • Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts (mine)
  • Not My Daughter by Barbara Delinsky (review - book tour Nov 15th and 16th)
Reading Now:
  • Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks (mine)
  • Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery (library audio-book)
Next:
  • The Love Goddess' Cooking School by Melissa Senate (review)
  • Little Bee by Chris Cleave (library, book club book)
  • Ann of the Island by L.M. Montgomery (library audio-book)
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows by JK Rowling (mine) - need to read this before the movie comes out :-)
Reviews completed this week:
Books for which I need to finish reviews:
  • Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts
  • Not My Daughter by Barbara Delinsky - review and book tour Nov 15th and 16th
Contest information:

What about you?  What does your reading week look like this week?  Whatever it is, happy reading and have a good week!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

In My Mailbox (30) 11.14.10

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 (2)
Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery (audio book)
Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery (audio book)

Purchased (6) - all from library book sales
Spoken from the Heart by Laura Bush
One for the Money by Janet Evanovich
While My Sister Sleeps by Barbara Delinsky
The Apprentice by Tess Gerritsen
The Mephisto Club by Tess Gerritsen
The Beach House by James Patterson

Borrowed from family member (7)
O'Hurley Born by Nora Roberts
The Deep Blue Sea for Beginners by Luanne Rice
One Night by Debbie Macomber
The Hostage by Susan Wiggs
The Mistress by Susan Wiggs
The Firebrand by Susan Wiggs
Knock Out by Catherine Coulter

From Paperback Swap - (0)

Won (0) -



What's in your mailbox?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Book Tour, Review and Giveaway: Hollywood Ending by Lucie Simone

First line: "Nothing too hard."

From the back cover: Trina Stewart needs cash. Fast. She's barely got enough dough to keep her fanny off the streets, let alone any spending money for hot nights clubbing on Sunset Strip. And her job teaching English as a Second Language is seriously lacking in both pay and glamour. But not just any job will do. She's after a real Hollywood job. The kind that makes her $100,000 in film school debt and ten years in Tinsel Town not seem like such a big fat waste of time and money. But a girl can't fritter away all her time fretting over her next paycheck, can she? Certainly not when a man like Matiu Wulf, a sexy Maori from New Zealand, parks his oh-so-fine self in the apartment above hers while he takes his best shot at Showbiz.

If only Matiu didn't seem so...repelled by Trina. Really, though, it's Los Angeles that Matiu finds so revolting. He's only in L.A. to get some scene design experience to beef up his resume, and then he's headed back to New Zealand to follow his dreams in peace, thank you very much. That's his plan, anyway, until he falls hard for Trina...and Trina falls under the spell of a toothy-grinned wannabe actor who charms the pants right off her.

With Matiu on a mission to win Trina's heart, and Trina on a mission to nail down that ever elusive Hollywood job, these two soon discover that when love gets tossed in the mix, life in Tinsel Town isn't all red carpets, after parties, and celebrity gossip. In fact, Hollywood can be a downright bitch!

My thoughts: This was a fun, quick read that has more depth to it than it initially seems. It follows the life of Trina, who came to Hollywood hoping to catch a break. Until that time, she teaches an English class, which provides many humorous moments. Filled with an unexpected twist, a hot, steamy romance, and many laughs along the way, this is a great escape from reality, with a glimpse into the struggles women face on the road to success. A great chick lit book that does have it's happy ending!


About the Author: Lucie Simone is an author with a passion for travel, romance and all things chick lit. Her first novella, A Taste of Italy, took readers on a whirlwind tour of Florence, Italy and garnered her an award for Best E-Book by the New York Book Festival in 2007. Her follow up novella, The Waterdance, set in both the mountains of Costa Rica and the beaches of Malibu, was published by Liquid Silver Books in 2008. Lucie has a degree in Journalism from the University of Georgia and a Master of Fine Arts from Loyola Marymount University. She also has a love for live comedy and studied improvisation at the LA Connection Comedy Theater and Improv Olympic West in Hollywood. She lives in Los Angeles (and loves it), but considers New York City her imaginary second home and visits the Big Apple as often as her bank account will allow. 

For more information, visit Lucie's website

I received a complimentary copy of Hollywood Ending by Lucie Simone from Christelle at  BookSparks PR to review.


GIVEAWAY RULES:
Christelle at BookSparks PR has provided one copy of this book for readers of this blog! 
Rules:
  • Open to US only
  • No PO Boxes please
  • Must include email address to enter
  • Book will be mailed out by the publicist
To enter (required entry):  Leave me a comment letting me know why you want to win Hollywood Ending. 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)  Follow my blog. If you already do, thanks, and please let me know in the comments. You're eligible for the extra entry as well.  Not a separate entry = no bonus entry!

Bonus Entry (+2)  Blog about this giveaway and leave me the link. Not a separate entry = no bonus entries!

Don't forget to LEAVE A SEPARATE COMMENT for each entry. The total possible number of entries for each person is 4.   

Thanks to everyone for entering! Good luck!

GIVEAWAY ENDS
AT 6 PM, EST, NOV 28th

Book Blogger Hop 11.12.10

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:  "If you find a book that looks interesting but is part of a series, do you always start with the first title?" 
 
ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY YES! I am extremely anal about this - I must read a series in order. I feel that one of the best aspects of series is the character development - you see them grow and have a better understanding of why they make some of the choices they do. I received a three books so far to review that are not the first in the series and I went and borrowed the books from the library before starting two of the review books. For the other one, I wasn't totally sure I would like the series, so I just read the one I was sent (I think it was book four). It ended up being ok, so now I think I will be going back and rereading the previous books and maybe even reread the review book. I think I might have to add something about this in my review policy (something I really need to update!).

What about you?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Book Blogger Holiday Swaps

December is my favorite time of year - I love everything about the holiday season, from decorating the house to shopping for gifts for loved ones to baking yummy holiday treats, plus my birthday also happens to be during this time! I saw a few blogs mentioning some holiday goings-on, so I decided to check them on.

I am participating in the Book Blogger Holiday Swap for the first time. The holiday swap is a way for book bloggers to connect and celebrate the holiday spirit by sharing gifts. It’s done secret Santa style; all of the participants are randomly assigned a blogger to send a gift to, and these assignments are kept secret until the gift has been delivered. So no one knows who their gift is coming from! It’s open internationally, but you can also choose to send a gift to someone within your own country.

Sign up here. Closes November 14.

I also signed up for the Book Bloggers Holiday Card Exchange, hosted by Anastasia at Birdbrain(ed) Book Blog. Don’t think you can swing mailing gifts across the country or globe? Or just want another way to spread holiday cheer? How about sending a card? The twist is that the card has to include something bookish – a story, recommendation, or even a book-ish themed card.

Sign up here. Closes November 11.




I’m really exited to find out who I’ve been paired with for both of these swaps and hope to discover some awesome bloggers!
 

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