Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, totally worn out and screaming,
"WOO HOO, what a ride!"

Friday, July 31, 2009

Contest winners for I Can See You!

Razlover's Book Blog

Congratulations everyone and thanks so much for participating! More contests will be coming soon. I've sent emails to all of the winners.

Friday Fill-Ins

Come join the fun!


Graphic courtesy of Tonya!

1. It's time for some reading in the hammock if only the weather would cooperate.

2. A cottage on the lake; it's not a bad place for resting, relaxing and recharging.

3. I must be dreaming. The sun came out and it didn't rain all day! (although it did tonight, of course)

4. Motherhood is the best thing I have ever known.

5. My mom is simply wonderful and has always been my role model.

6. The last time I laughed really loudly was with my best friend. She always makes me happy.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to reading and relaxing, tomorrow my plans include getting ready to go to the lake and Sunday, I want to enjoy another graduation party!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Review: Dope Sick by Walter Dean Myers

If you could change one
thing about your life,
what would it be?

Seventeen-year-old Lil J is in trouble, big trouble. He's living a hard life in Harlem with his drug addicted mother. Out of money and without a job he looks for some easy cash. When a drug run goes bad, an undercover cop is critically wounded and his buddy is caught. Lil J goes on the run. With the police in pursuit he hides out in a crack house. He's been shot in the arm and is desperate to escape but sees no way out. A television is playing in an upper apartment where a spooky man named Kelly sits and waits. He knows Lil J and he knows his life because he's watching it on TV.

His life is a mess and he would do anything to change it. Kelly may just give him the chance. With a flick of the remote control he shows Lil J his future if he tries to run to the roof. He's surrounded by cops and is holding his own gun to his head. Unsure of what he is seeing but with few options he is forced to stay. As he hides out in increasing pain and needing a fix his desperation builds. Unable to leave he is reluctant to answer Kelly's questions but he is persistent and somehow he can play Lil J's past, present and future. As he watches the TV his story unfolds but can he identify where his life went wrong? If he had the chance to change just one thing, what would that be and could he prevent this moment?

This was a short, intense read that pulls you into a young man's despair. The descriptions and dialogue depict a bleak life in the inner city but the hope of redemption and the possibility of a second chance is intriguing. Through Lil J's introspection he is forced to confront his reality. We may be a victim of circumstances but we all have choices to make in how we handle it. The author provides a very creative and effective story about those choices in today's society. This is the first book I've read by Myers but it won't be the last.

Thank you to HarperTeen (HarperCollins) for an ARC of this book.

author website -
publisher -

Release date: 2/10/09
Pages: 192
Price/format: $16.99/hardcover
Type: Young adult urban fantasy
Age: 14 and up

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Contest reminder!

If you haven't signed up for my contest for I Can See You by Karen Rose, you better move fast! Contest ends tonight at 11:59 p.m.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Happy birthday bright eyes

My middle son just turned 19. Nineteen. That's a 1 and a 9. It was hard to have my oldest turn 20 on his last birthday, my first child out of his teenage years. It was also hard having my youngest turn 16 on his recent birthday, my last child to get his permit. But it's the birthdays of my middle child that connects the other two and always has.

He was my quiet boy from the day he was born. All of my kids came early and he was born while my regular doctor was on vacation. Another doctor filled in and I had only met him once so I wasn't thrilled to have him. He did everything different and I wasn't comfortable with that. It wasn't wrong it was just different. He was so serious and quiet while my doctor was jovial and loud. Just before I delivered my baby his heart rate dropped dramatically. I heard the doctor tell the nurse that he was in distress. He then told my husband and I that he was going to use forceps to help him out faster. I was so scared but it didn't take long for him to arrive. Someone announced we had a boy and then the nurse took him to the warming bed. I didn't hear a sound from him. The room had already been quieter than with my first child and now I felt like I could hear a pin drop. I wanted to hear my baby cry. I immediately asked if he was OK and then I asked again. I don't remember anyone answering me but I'm sure someone did. I wasn't panicking, yet, but I could have very easily. My husband went across the room to check on him and assured me he was fine but I wanted to hear him cry. Finally, he whimpered a bit and briefly cried. And when the nurse handed him to me he just snuggled quietly with his big bright eyes wide open. He was, and still is my quiet one. The other two cried so loud they could be heard down the hallway but not this kid. He never did.

As soon as he learned to talk it was a different story. He was a chatterbox and he asked so many questions. I love to watch the home movies where I can hear his little voice and see the intense look he would get on his face, usually dressed as Batman. And those eyes only got bigger and brighter. He also had the kindest heart and tried to keep everyone happy. When his big brother would boss him around he would let him. As he got older he explained to me once that it was just easier that way. I wanted to tell him not to allow that, to give it right back, but I didn't. He needed to find his own way and form his own relationship. I also knew that someday he would turn the tables anyway.

Now he is 6'3" (that's 3" taller than his older brother and 12" taller than me) and hasn't stopped growing. He is still quiet most of the time and very polite but he doesn't let anyone boss him around anymore. He doesn't let me snuggle with him like I used to either, he barely lets me hug him on the rare occasions that I try. He is a teenage boy after all and that's not cool. I don't push it but when he left for college the first time you can bet I hugged him, and I kissed him too. And he let me. And then I cried.

He is still the son that bridges the gap between the other two. He is the connection that binds the three of them together. He is handsome, smart, responsible and mature. He works hard and he's good with his money. He has also decided to take some time away from college. He only went for a year but he didn't like his classes or his major and doesn't know what he wants to try next. I wasn't happy about it but it was his decision to make. He didn't rush into it and his reasons were good ones. He already had a part time job and was getting even more hours so he wasn't going to be lazy and he would have his own money. And with the ever rising cost of higher education it was probably very wise to take a break. I hope he will go back eventually but that's his decision too. I just want him to be happy.

My quiet little baby is now a quiet young man. I'm so proud of all that's he's done and all that he will do. I love him more every day and I hope that he may someday have a son as wonderful as he is. Happy birthday bright eyes.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Mailbox Monday

If you'd like to join in this fun meme, come to Mailbox Monday where Marcia is our host and leave a link to all the books you received last week.

North! Or Be Eaten
by Andrew Peterson

Blog Tour - WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group

Book #2 in The Wingfeather Saga
Young Adult fantasy. Wild escapes. A desperate journey. And the ghastly Fangs of Dang.

Best Friends Forever
by Jennifer Weiner

Galley Grab from Atria

Fifteen years after their relationship is severed two childhood friends are reunited by tragedy. A grand, hilarious adventure about betrayal and loyalty, family history and small-town secrets.

Mercury In Retrograde
by Paula Froelich

Galley Grab from Atria

Three very different women move into the same apartment building in SoHo and discover that having their carefully planned worlds fall apart may be the best thing that could have happened to them.

Undiscovered Gyrl by Allison Burnett

Shelf Awareness

(Young Adult) An 18-year-old blogs her own provocative adventures of teenage love and yearnings. Only on the internet can you have so many friends and be so lonely.

The Sweetgum Ladies Knit For Love
by Beth Pattillo

Back-to-School Fiction Blog Tour Random House

Six women meet monthly in their sleepy little town in Tennessee to discuss books, share their knitting projects and support each other through life's trials.

The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper by Kathleen Y'Barbo

Back-to-School Fiction Blog Tour Random House

Eugenia Cooper is a NY socialite in 1880 with her future planned for her. Before she settles down with the man she is suppose to marry she takes the opportunity to experience the Wild West. Her plans may change forever as she is drawn to another man and his daughter and the drama of their Colorado town.

Rose House by Tina Ann Forkner

Back-to-School Fiction Blog Tour Random House

A vivid story of private grief when a woman loses her husband and children in an accident. When she returns to the cottage Rose House a secret painting is discovered and she is forced to rethink her assumptions about what really happened that day.

Homer's Odyssey by Gwen Cooper

Contest win at Bookin' With Bingo

An extraordinary true story of a blind cat and the woman who loved him.

Nothing But Ghosts
by Beth Kephart

Book swap at The Shady Glade

(Young adult) A young girl who lives alone with her father since the death of her mother takes a summer job at a mansion. She becomes involved in decoding a mystery while learning about love and living with her own ghosts.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Look what I got!

I mention my hammock all the time here but it really is a wonderful place to relax and read. My hubby order a set for by birthday several years ago. It included plans for the frame, which he built himself (he's very handy) and a hammock. ( check it out) I was so surprised (I never would have bought one for myself) and thrilled! The first one was blue and green and lasted three years before it started to fray. My mom replaced it with a different version (thanks Mom!) and I was so happy to have my hammock back. That one started to fray last month and I was trying to figure out how to repair it when my hubby surprised me again (he's so great about that kind of stuff) and ordered me a new one. ( again, and it was on sale! I trained him well to be a smart shopper) It arrived yesterday and it's so awesome! I love the bright colors (yellow is my favorite) and it's so comfy. It doesn't look like much at first hanging on the frame but looks can be so deceiving.

I can use it in either direction. The long way,
or the short way.

It's all good for reading and napping! Thank you hubby. You are wonderful! Even though I hate when you spend the money and I don't need a single thing, you are so very thoughtful. I'm very, very lucky to have you.

Now that I've made you all envious *smirk* I'm going outside to lounge and read. And since it's starting to rain, again, I may have to do it all on the porch while I gaze longingly at my new hammock. *sigh*

Friday Fill-Ins


Graphic courtesy of Tonya! we go!

1. Having a messy house is not the end of the world, fortunately.

2. Sitting here, listening to the sound of rain falling, I usually enjoy it but lately we've had so much, I'm really sick of hearing it!

3. Chocolate (of course) tastes so good! And so does ice cream, pizza, brownies...

4. Sometimes, putting others first is hard, but it never is when it's for my kids.

5. Sunset over the hills of my house is breathtaking, really.

6. Well, maybe there is hope. My sons actually brought down their hampers without being asked!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to having birthday dinner for my son (if we can all get on the same schedule), tomorrow my plans include going to my nephew's graduation party and Sunday, I want to relax in my new hammock and read, read, read!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Review: Generation Dead by Daniel Waters

Phoebe is just your typical
goth girl with a crush.
He's strong and silent...

and dead.

A strange event is occurring across the country. Some teenagers are dying but they don't stay dead. For some reason they have come back to life, but it's a different life. The proper terms are "living impaired" and "differently biotic" but many people call them "the dead kids" or "zombies". These teens are trying to find their place in society and even their own homes again but it's not easy. Most people don't want to be with them and the kids at Oakvale High School are no exception. The dead kids are shunned and spend most of their time alone. They have few friends and no one to protect them, not even the law. And some people take advantage of that and intend for them to go away, forever.

Tommy Williams is smart, handsome, polite and a great football players. He's also the leader of the dead kids. He quietly protects and helps others like him. Phoebe Kendall is a goth girl who has always kept to herself. She spends most of her time with her friend Margi who also loves goth, and her neighbor and friend Adam who is the star of the football team. When Phoebe meets Tommy she develops feelings for him and isn't sure what to do about it. A relationship between a live girl and a dead boy is unheard of. And Adam has realized that he wants to be more than just friends with Phoebe. He cares deeply for her but he doesn't know if she feels the same way about him. He wants her to be happy more than anything and he wonders if that means letting her go to be with Tommy.

When I first started this book I thought it would be a fun, creepy read like those I fell in love with as a kid and still enjoy today. I was quite surprised by the theme of this story. The dead kids weren't depicted the way they usually are in zombie movies. Most of them were less coordinated and often had a blank stare but they weren't ugly and gross. They also had different ability levels. The emphasis wasn't on the kids being dead, it was all about them being different. They were subjected to racism and hate crimes. They were persecuted, shunned, they faced extreme prejudice and some even faced injury or death. And since they weren't even considered citizens anymore, they had no rights and or legal recourse.

Although it had teen romance and peer pressure, the main theme was about larger social issues. I thought it was very effective to combine it with the popular trends of young adult entertainment. The ugly way these kids were treated, just because of who they were, has been an unfortunate part of our history since the beginning of time. It's a great reminder of just how dangerous it can be. I'll be looking for the new sequel Kiss of Life (5/09) to see where the story goes next.

Author's website:
Tommy's website:

Publisher: Hyperion
Release date: 5/08
Pages: 400
Price/format: $16.99/hardcover
Type: young adult fiction
Age: grades 9 and up

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Help me out people! I'm curious...

After a few years of participating on Barnes & Noble's online book clubs I decided to branch out a bit. I joined Goodreads and then Shelfari when I participated in book discussions there. Then I heard about LibraryThing and I really started to learn some stuff! I hadn't really followed blogs before that but that was my introduction. I was fascinated and for some foolish reason I thought I could do it too, so I jumped in with both feet. Boy was I in for a surprise! In hindsight, I now realize that it would have been wise to follow others much longer and learn a few things before I tried it myself. But than again, if I had realized how much work it took I may not have tried it at all! Fortunately, I was naive but optimistic and was I blessed to have all of you to learn from. This is such an amazing community. I have had so many kind people be friendly, helpful, encouraging, patient, considerate... the list goes on and on.

I have a looong road ahead and I'm still finding my way, but that's part of the fun. I like reading what others have to say and searching for what I want my blog to be about. There are so many opportunities to be creative! I'm amazed by how clever everyone is and I could spend hours and hours wandering from blog to blog. I learn something new every day.

And that brings me to the point of all of this. How do you decide where you're going to go and what you're going to do? How much time do you spend online and does it take away from your reading time like it does mine? I've certainly expanded my TBR list by pages and pages and pages, but I don't get as much reading done now as I used to because I'm on the computer more. I have found that some things have replaced others though. I don't do as many of the online book clubs now because I don't have the time. And as I've mentioned before, I still have a dial-up connection so that makes everything take sooooo much longer. That really cuts down on what I choose to do. I may be the last person on earth but I haven't joined My Space, Facebook or Twitter (yet!) because I might never get off this thing if I did! And I want to enjoy the little bit of summer we're (almost) having here in NY state.

So, help me out people! I'm curious about what you do and how you decide what that will be. How many social networks do you belong to and why did you join them? How many blogs do you have? Do you have a routine for how and when you blog? How did you learn? Don't worry, it's not a formal survey or anything I'm just curious about how other people do things. How about you?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Mailbox Monday

I look forward to this meme each week. I always enjoy seeing what everyone gets and than adding them to my massive TBR list! If you'd like to join in come to Mailbox Monday where Marcia is our host and leave a link to your books.

Simply Irresistible
by Jennifer Banash

from the author

Book #3 in the YA series, just released. Small-town girl Casey McCloy is enjoying the high life in her exclusive luxury apartment building in NY city. Now she and her neighbor and rival Madison Macallister are set to star in their own reality show. But fame comes at a price and reality TV can be so unreal...

The Hope of Refuge
by Cindy Woodsmall

for blog tour Waterbrook Multnomah

Cara Moore is a widowed single parent who has struggled against poverty, fear and a stalker. She moves from New York City to Pennsylvania near an Amish community for a fresh start. Having been raised in foster care she is now looking for answers from her past. One Amish man, Ephraim Mast, risks everything when he is torn between the requirements of his community and doing the right thing by helping Cara. And only he knows the secrets of her family that could destroy her new life.

I Can See You
by Karen Rose

from Hatchette Books

A suspense novel where the line between the virtual world and everyday reality blurs when it comes to murder.

by Meg Cabot

won from And Another Book Read

Book #1 in the YA series. Emerson Watts didn't even want to go to the Megastore grand opening or meet teen supermodel Nikki Howard. When a bizarre accident happens, Emerson the tomboy is changed forever and no longer herself, literally. Now she has no trouble getting boys to notice her but will she be able to accept that Nikki Howard is here to stay?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Contest: I Can See You by Karen Rose

Wherever you go,

whatever you do...


Eve Wilson's face was once scarred by a vicious assault. Terrified and ashamed, she escaped into the online realm, where she can choose the face she allowed people to see. Years later, her outer scars have faded and inner scars buried, Eve has fought her way back to the real world and is determined to help others do the same. Now a graduate student moonlighting as a bartender, Eve researches the addictive powers of online communities. When her test subjects begin turning up dead as a result of apparent suicides, she doesn't know where to turn.

Homicide detective Noah Webster is one of the few people who believe the victims are connected murders. Eve becomes Noah online guide and realizes the handsome detective may have secret scares as painful as her own. As Eve and Noah chase a killer who is always one step ahead of them, together they try to overcome the tragedies of their pasts and learn to trust again, but they soon discover that danger is much closer than they think.

A few years ago a friend gave me a Karen Rose book and I was hooked. The story was a mystery/thriller with lots of twists and suspense and hot and heavy romance. It kept me guessing until the end and then threw in an extra twist just to finish it off with a bang. I just received this one and I can't wait to dig in!

Thanks to Miriam and Hatchette Books, I can give away three copies of I Can See You by Karen Rose!

- To enter leave a comment with the name of your favorite summer book so far. Don't forget your email address!
- Contest ends July 29th at 11:59 p.m. EST
- I'm sorry that this contest is only for the U.S. and Canada, no P.O. boxes.
-Winners will be drawn by

Extra entries: (You don't need separate posts)
+1 for new followers.
+2 if you are already a follower.
+3 if you promote this contest. Please leave a link.

Good luck!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Blogger Appreciation Week!

Last year over 400 blogs came together to celebrate the art of book blogging during the first ever Book Blogger Appreciation Week! Amy is so pleased to announce that the second annual Book Blogger Appreciation Week will be taking place September 14-18.

WHO Anyone who blogs about books is invited to participate. In fact, we want everyone who blogs about books and reading to be a part of this week!
WHAT A week where we come together, celebrate the contribution and hard work of book bloggers in promoting a culture of literacy, connecting readers to books and authors, and recogonizing the best among us with the Second Annual BBAW Awards. There will be special guest posts, daily blogging themes, and giveaways.
WHEN September 14-18, 2009
WHERE The new Book Blogger Appreciation Week Blog! (Please note that this year there are three separate blogs and feeds—one for the main event, one for giveaways, and one for awards.)
WHY Because books matter. In a world full of options, the people talking about books pour hard work, time, energy, and money into creating a community around the written word. Amy, the founder of Book Blogger Appreciation Week loves this community of bloggers and want to shower her appreciation on you!

Come join the fun! Register to be included and subscribe for updates.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday Fill-Ins

I missed the last two weeks so I'm happy to be back! This is always a fun way to end the week. Thanks to Janet for providing Friday Fill-Ins . Give it a try and leave a link to your answers.


Graphic courtesy of Tonya! we go!

1. Macaroni and cheese makes a quick and easy dinner. (In college I ate Spaghetti Os straight out of the can!)

2. Two Years, No Rain is the book I'm reading right now.

3. July brings back memories of our town's annual Hot Air Balloon Rally and my middle son's birthday. (19 next week!)

4. The combination of chocolate and peanut butter was obvious.

5. They say if you tell your dreams they are more likely to come true.

6. Before you speak it's often wise to think it over. It's too bad that doesn't happen more often.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to going to the new Harry Potter movie, tomorrow my plans include going to the sidewalk sales and watching the balloons and Sunday, I want to read and relax!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Review: Baseball Great by Tim Green

What will Josh do -

when so much is at stake?

All Josh really wants to do is play ball, but as he gets in deeper with youth championship team the Titans, there are questions he just got to ask! Together with school reporter Jaden, Josh investigates his suspicions of steroid use - until the two friends find themselves in a desperate struggle with a dangerous man who doesn't want them to expose the nasty secrets they uncover.

This story involves an adult issue that has unfortunately become prominent in the sport's world. And even more unfortunate is the fact that this behavior has been passed on to younger athletes. This story's tackles that issue for a middle school baseball team. Tim Green writes with great detail and knowledge of sports without being too technical to be good. Each chapter ends with a bit of a cliff hanger that makes you want to read more although some of the chapters end rather abruptly mid-scene. The topics are timely as this twelve-year-old boy and his family deal with financial difficulties, bullying, peer pressure and illegal steroid use. Although Josh and his friends have very mature conversations for their age they are dealing with serious subjects.

Josh's father is a minor league baseball player who has recently lost his job. While it creates hardship for the family it also allows Josh to settle down in one town, Syracuse, NY (near me!) and play ball with the school team. But his father is eager for him to have advantages that he didn't have as a child so he pressures him into joining the travel team with older kids where he has recently found a new job. The school teammates feel let down and the new teammates aren't very welcoming. To make matter worse, the coach is very intense and wants to win at any cost. When Josh becomes suspicious of a new sports drink and pills that are being passed around the team to help make them bigger and stronger he isn't sure where to turn. He doesn't want to jeopardize his father's job or their fragile relationship. He looks to his two friends to help him do the right thing. This is a good story that will keep you interested until the end.

Tim Green has previously written adult novels, middle-grade books about football and now has branched out into baseball. He knows his subject matter. As a previous coach of baseball and football and a professional athlete, he's lived through the sports experience. And as a father of five children he has certainly lived through the kid experience!

Thank you to HarperCollins Children's Books First Look Program for a copy of this book.
HarperCollins Hit the Field with Tim Green
Author's website -

Publisher: Harper Collins
Release Date: 3/24/09
Pages: 256
Type: Young Adult
Age: 10-12

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Review: The Power of Two by Brian and Gerri Monaghan

Surviving Serious Illness

with an Attitude & an Advocate
Includes 50 Ways to
Help a Loved One.

The Power of Two has the power to change lives. This much-needed book combines an inspiring story of hope and survival with a compelling practical blueprint for how to be a loved one's advocate. And if ever there was a time when a chronically ill or disabled person needs an advocate, that time is now, with HMOs, the medical establishment, and patients in a chaotic free-for-all.

Brian Monaghan, a fifty-nine-year-old lawyer at the top of his game, got the news that all of us dread—Stage IV melanoma had metastasized to his brain; he was given three to six months to live. That night Brian and his wife Gerri made a pact: "We are going to love and laugh and fight this. And we are going to win." That was ten years ago. Between Brian's courage and attitude, and Gerri's determination to stand up for him—tirelessly researching options, reaching out to friends, family, and anyone who could help, resisting the status quo, and always thinking in terms of "we"—they did win. This book is the story of that journey, told back and forth between them. utterly riveting, inspiring, and uplifting, it is a road map for everyone facing a tough medical challenge, and for the people who love them.

Along the way, Gerri lists her top 50 tips for how to be an advocate: #1 Trust your intuition. #6 Create a battle plan. #15 Get copies of records. #26 Make doctors speak in a language that you understand. #49 This is not a dress rehearsal.

I was thrilled to receive this book. My first thought was for my cousin and her battle with a brain tumor - medulloblastoma. I had hoped to send this to her but she passed away before I could. I did find that many of the treatments and advice they listed were things that my cousin had already used. And this isn't only for patients with brain cancer, or any cancer for that matter. These tips are important for any serious illness.

The authors take turns telling their story. I really appreciated the different perspectives and how varied their thoughts and emotions were. The caregivers involved in serious illnesses are under enormous strain as well. Along with telling their story they also provide "The Monaghan Manual', a list of tips that were helpful to them during their experience. They cover a wide variety of issues from paying attention to your bills and writing down your medical history to personal issues of getting dressed up for appointments to feel more positive and celebrating the milestones. Insights from others are also provided at the end of the book. Their children, a law partner, doctors and others contribute a few paragraphs each telling their own thoughts about Brian's illness. Helpful resources and information are also listed with phone numbers, websites, email addresses and brief descriptions of services and agencies that helped empower this couple and can be adapted to other people's needs as well.

I was very touched by the Monaghans' story and thought it was very insightful. While fighting their own battle they have found a way to help others along the way. I found this book to be very helpful and inspiring and I highly recommend it.

From LibraryThing Early Reviewers

Publisher: Workman Publishing Company
Release date: 3/09
Pages: 288
Price/format: $22.95/hardcover
Type: Nonfiction (memoir)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Mailbox Monday

I haven't done this in a few weeks and I've missed it! I've been away from blogging but I'm getting back to it. Thank you to everyone for being so kind and considerate. I'm getting back to reading and commenting on all of your terrific blogs too. I'm always impressed and I learn so much! I hope you all are having a wonderful summer so far. I love the sunshine and a good book. These are my newest titles and I'm really looking forward to reading them. If you'd like to join this fun meme stop by Mailbox Monday and leave a link where you have your books listed. Marcia is kind enough to host it each week. Happy Monday!

The Chosen One
by Ca
rol Lynch Williams

won from Reviewer X

YA story about thirteen-year-old Kyra who has grown up in an isolated community where her father has three wives and she has over twenty siblings. She secretly sneaks to the mobile library to read forbidden books and spend time with Joshua, the boy she would chose for herself if she were allowed that freedom. Instead, the Prophet decrees that she must marry her sixty-year-old uncle who already has six wives. Now she must decide to continue on with this life that has been chosen for her or to leave her family forever.

by Alexa Y

won from Bookworm Reader

Book #1 in the YA series where Avalon rules the fashion scene at her SoCal middle school. She's determined to host the social event of the season for her friend Halley but Halley has changed more than just her look while away at Art Camp. When she returns anxious to show off her funky new look, Avalon declares it a fashion foul. Now they are at odds and are dividing up their friends and using secrets against each other. Best friends have become worst enemies. Frenemies.

by Alexa Young

won from Bookworm Reader

Book #2, from besties to worsties and back again. The girls must decide who are their true friends.

The Man's Book
by Thomas Fink

won from Bookin' With Bingo

The answers to every man's burning questions - from morning shave to whiskey nightcap. How to tie a bow tie, mix a martini and make a potato gun. How to build a tree house, carve a turkey and start a fire with a soda can. When to flatter a woman and how to be a better cook. This book celebrates maleness. Organized in a man-logical way, it's the go-to guide for anyone with a Y chromosome.

Two Years, No Rain
by Shawn Klomperans

for a summer reading series at TLC Book Tours
organized by Lisa at Books on the Brain

A debut novel about a weatherman in California who has the easiest job in the world since it hasn't rained in over 500 days. But sudden changes in his personal life have him ducking for cover. His wife has left him, he's lost his job, he his in a flirtatious relationship with a married colleague and he suddenly discovers fame as the host of a children's television show. A hilarious and moving story of self-reinvention.

Used Book Sale at Library

by Elin Hilderbrand

Weaves together the stories of four women's lives as they come together to relax, escape their problems and enjoy the sun in Nantucket.

Sugar Daddy
by Lisa Kleypas

She's from the wrong side of the tracks in a small Texas town. He is drawn to her but his ambitions pull him away to pursue his dreams elsewhere. She is left alone with a young sister to raise and meets up with a billionaire tycoon, a Sugar Daddy. But the relationship runs deeper and family secrets are revealed. Eventually she must decide between two men. A decision that could make or break her.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Review and Blog Tour: The Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand

The story...

Greg and Tess MacAvoy are one of four prominent Nantucket couples who count each other as best friends. As pillars of their close-knit community, the MacAvoys, Kapenashes, Drakes, and Wheelers are important to their friends and neighbors, and especially to each other. But just before the beginning of another idyllic summer, Greg and Tess are killed when their boat capsizes during an anniversary sail. As the warm weather approaches and the island mourns their loss, nothing can prepare the MacAvoy's closest friends for what will be revealed.

Once again, Hilderbrand masterfully weaves an intense tale of love and loyalty set against the backdrop of endless summer island life.

The author...

Elin Hilderbrand lives on Nantucket with her husband and their three young children. She grew up in Collegeville, PA, and traveled extensively before settling on Nantucket, which has been the setting for her seven previous novels. Hilderbrand is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and the graduate fiction workshop at the University of Iowa.

Audio and Video

The review...

I am a sucker for any story about the beach and a beach cover gets my attention immediately! I was in luck with this one. This is perfect for a summer read. At first I thought this would be a cozy little story about couples sharing a beach house. I was so wrong. This is much darker and more complex. Four couples vacation together on the island of Nantucket. Their friendships span many years and they have formed close relationships. But tragedy strikes when one of the couples is killed in an accident. Tess and Greg MacAvoy had recently been plagued by scandal but they were working through it. They went sailing to celebrate their anniversary and mysteriously drowned. Now they are gone and have left behind two young children. What happened?

Each chapter of the book is told by a different character. As they tell their own story they also begin to reveal the many layers of the groups relationship. While they have loving, caring friendships they have many secrets as well. As they mourn the loss of Tess and Greg, conflicts begin to arise. The couples seem to remember an idyllic past but now they have troubled marriages. Grief has brought out so many emotions and these people will never be the same.

I enjoyed the way this was written and had to keep turning the pages to find out what would happen next. While these people strive for the "perfect" life as individuals they are far from that. I've read where others have described them as flawed and that is a very fitting description. While some of them aren't very likable the author has done a great job of building them through each chapter and making them real. It makes it so much easier to understand their actions and emotions and how difficult their lives have become. As they struggle with serious issues that include adultry and drug addiction, they do try to redeem themselves. This book is a great escape and will take you away to the island of Nantucket.

I also lucked out this week and found a gently used copy of her last novel Barefoot for sale at my library. I have been wanting to read that one as well so I snagged it!

Previous titles
A Summer Affair
Published on: Jul 01, 2008


Published on: Jul 02, 2007

Author's website and bookgroup
Elin Hilderbrand's Nantucket

Other tour sites
July 10

Thank you to Miriam and Hatchette Books for allowing me to participate in this blog tour!

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Date: 7/7/09
Pages: 368
Format/Type: hardcover/fiction
Price: $24.99

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Winners of The Host contest!

so sorry for the delay but I've chosen the three winners using


Gwendolyn B.

Congratulations everyone and thanks so much for participating! More contests will be coming soon. I've sent emails to all of the winners. If you see this first you're welcome to contact me at:

Please send me your mailing addresses so I can pass them on to the generous folks at Hatchette Books.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

In loving memory of my cousin

Thank you all for your kind words, good wishes and prayers during this incredibly hard time for me and my family. My funny, sweet, kind, tough-as-nails cousin, Dawn Farrell, passed away at the age of 35 from a rare brain cancer on June 26th, 2009. She battled for 2 1/2 years and never gave up. It may sound cliche but she accomplished so much more in her years than most people do in a long lifetime. She was a bright, shining star and she left her mark on this world.

She is survived by her husband, a Major in the United States Marine Corp, four young children and many other family members and friends. We are having a service on the west coast where she lived, and the east coast where she was from, on the same day. She will never, ever be forgotten.

Don't cry because it's over,
smile because it happened.
- Dr. Seuss