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!"

Monday, November 30, 2009

Contest: Dear John by Nicholas Sparks

An angry rebel, John dropped out of school and enlisted in the Army, not knowing what else to do with his life--until he meets the girl of his dreams, Savannah. Their mutual attraction quickly grows into the kind of love that leaves Savannah waiting for John to finish his tour of duty, and John wanting to settle down with the woman who captured his heart. But 9/11 changes everything. John feels it is his duty to re-enlist. And sadly, the long separation finds Savannah falling in love with someone else.

Thanks to Hatchette Books I have 5 copies to give away!

I'm going to try a little experiment here and see if I can make use of the forms this time. I haven't done this before so please bear with me. It shouldn't be that hard should it? Should it?? To help me make sure it's working could you please leave a comment just saying that you sent an entry with the form. You don't need to repeat all the information, just tell you you did it. Thanks for your help and your patience!

Five copies will be given away.


- This time you must be a follower in Google Friend Connect. You can click the box in the sidebar to follow or to check if you're not sure.
+1 new follower
+2 already follow
- Please don't forget to leave a comment telling me you entered.
- Contest ends December 14th at 11:59 p.m. EST
- U.S. and Canada only (sorry!)
- Five winners will be drawn by

Extra entries:
+3 bonus points if you promote this contest and leave a link.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday at The Printed Page is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week (checked out library books don’t count, eBooks & audio books do). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

I, Alex Cross
by James Patterson

For review from Hatchette Books

You can't run
Detective Alex Cross is pulled out of a family celebration and given the awful news that a beloved relative has been found brutally murdered. Alex vows to hunt down the killer, and soon learns that she was mixed up in one of Washington's wildest scenes. And she was not this killer's only victim.

You can't hide
The hunt for her murderer leads Alex and his girlfriend, Detective Brianna Stone, to a place where every fantasy is possible, if you have the credentials to get in. Alex and Bree are soon facing down some very important, very protected, very dangerous people in levels of society where only one thing is certain--they will do anything to keep their secrets safe.

Alex Cross is your only hope to stay alive
As Alex closes in on the killer, he discovers evidence that points to the unimaginable--a revelation that could rock the entire world. With the unstoppable action, unforeseeable twists, and edge-of-your-seat suspense that only a James Patterson thriller delivers, I, Alex Cross is the master of suspense at his sharpest and best. Being dead can't put a damper on spirited, holiday-loving Bailey Ruth Raeburn.

Merry, Merry Ghost
by Carolyn Hart

won from Bookin' With Bingo

Christmas is a time for family and giving, and a wealthy woman in Adelaide, Oklahoma, is about to embrace both. Discovering that she has a young grandson, the dowager decides to change her will to leave the bulk of her fortune to the young boy—an alteration that stuns the rest of her family. But a scrooge of a determined heir makes sure she never signs the new document. When she is found dead, it's up to that irrepressible spirit Bailey Ruth, on assignment from Wiggins and Heaven's Department of Good Intentions, to protect a little boy, foil a murderer, and save Christmas. There's only one teeny hitch: how can Bailey Ruth figure out which family member was desperate enough to kill when everyone has a motive?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

"Welcome to the Glade."

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.

Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.

Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.

Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.

This story had me hooked from the first page. In the tradition of the The Hunger Games this dystopian novel is very intriguing. When Thomas first arrives at the Glade he only remembers his name and that's all the information we are given as well. As he gets to know the characters, we get to know the characters. Although none of them have a past to speak of they each have their strengths and weaknesses and it makes them very interesting to follow. They all have a reason for being there but what is it? The beginning seemed a bit slow but as some answers were revealed the pace picked up and the story started to fall into place. So frustrating, yet so good!

I did have a hard time wrapping my mind around the scope of the Glade and the Maze. The size, shape and the possible purpose of it all boggled my brain but that only added to the intensity of the story. The kids' simple, self-governed lifestyle is a sharp contrast to the obvious use of the Creator's technology and ingenuity. But it's a dangerous lifestyle and sometimes Gladers pay dearly. I was anxious to get answers but the suspense was addicitve and I didn't want it to end. While I did figure out a few of the smaller mysteries I had no idea who or what was behind it all. Dashner has put together a must read with his excellent writing and and a clever, exciting plot. I can't wait for the next book in the series! Highly recommended.

Thank you to Delacorte Press for a review copy of this book.

Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release date: 10/13/09
Pages: 384
Price/format: $16.99/hardcover
Type: YA fiction

So, I was just wondering…

Usually I use this opportunity to ask questions that pertain to blogging, reviewing, computer stuff, etc. That’s not a requirement, I just have so many questions that I haven’t even begun to branch out into any other areas yet!

Now that the holiday season is upon us, already, I just had to bring up the standard Thanksgiving topic about being thankful. We’ve definitely had our share of hardships in my family this last year but we are also incredibly blessed. I am so fortunate to have three wonderful sons that are my pride and joy, a hubby and mom who are especially supportive and family and friends who are always there for me. I also know that no matter how bad I feel about something there is always someone else who has it worse and needs more help that I do.

So, I was just wondering, what are you thankful for? What brings you happiness and peace? What are the blessings in your life? Thank you all for being so kind to me as I stumble through this blogging experience and may you all have a very happy Thanksgiving!

cartoon turkey

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday at The Printed Page is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week (checked out library books don’t count, eBooks & audio books do). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

The last three weeks I’ve gotten two books each time. Since I’m not getting much reading accomplished lately (I’ve been reading the same book for a week!) that’s plenty. I am proud to say that I have gotten some cleaning done and have been sorting and getting rid of clothes. I really hate it but I’m so glad when it’s done. And there’s a lot to be done !

Powers by John B. Olson

from LibraryThing Early Reviewers

“Bury me standing. I must be buried standing.”Powers, the follow-up to John Olson’s Shade (“a must-read for those who enjoy Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti” —Publishers Weekly), introduces a sheltered Gypsy girl named Mariutza. Her grandfather utters a mysterious last request before dying in her arms after being shot by ten cloaked men.Those same men die before her eyes, but strange powers continue to pursue Mari through the swamps of southern Louisiana where she has always hidden from “the Badness.”The whole world seems to join in the chase—helicopters, soldiers, government agents, and the police are all trying to kill her. Mari’s only hope of survival is to find Jaazaniah the Prophet, the mythical hero of her grandfather’s bedtime stories. But she has never been outside the swamp or known other humans besides her grandfather and one teacher. How can this lone girl survive the bewildering world of men long enough to find a prophet who might not even exist?

The Accidental Demon Slayer by Angie Fox

My mom bought this book for me. She knew I was looking for it because I had the second book in the series but wanted to read them in order. This is the first book.

It's never a good day when an ancient demon shows up on your toilet bowl. For Lizzie Brown, that's just the beginning. Soon her hyperactive terrier starts talking, and her long-lost biker witch Grandma is hurling Smuckers jars filled with magic. Just when she thinks she's seen it all, Lizzie learns she's a demon slayer-and all hell is after her.

Of course, that's not the only thing after her. Dimitri Kallinikos, a devastatingly handsome shape-shifting griffin needs Lizzie to slay a demon of his own. But how do you talk a girl you've never met into going straight to the underworld? Lie. And if that doesn't work, how dangerous could a little seduction be...?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Review: School of Fear by Gitty Daneshvari

Everyone is afraid

of something…

Madeleine is deadly afraid of bugs, especially spiders. Theodore is petrified of dying. Lulu is scared of confined spaces. Garrison is terrified of deep water. The parents of these twelve-year-olds are desperate for help so they send them to the exclusive School of Fear. But the kids notice that a peculiar teacher and her strange teaching style are more frightening than their phobias. This may be the scariest summer of their lives.

Although this wasn’t quite what I expected it was a very clever and quirky book. I assumed it was going to be a scary story when it was actually a story about being scared. It wasn’t any less interesting, just different. The four children came from their homes in England, New York, Rhode Island and Florida to attend the secret school in a very tiny town in Massachusetts. Their fears had taken over and affected the lives of family and friends and extreme measures had to be taken. So begins a summer of comical and mysterious adventures as they seek “treatment” from the very odd Mrs. Wellington.

The unusual children with their specific characteristics reminded me a bit of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or Lemony Snicket’s A Series if Unfortunate Events series. Although it’s a children’s book I enjoyed it myself and look forward to sharing this author’s debut with family.

Thank you to Hatchette Books for a review copy of this book.

Publisher: Little, Brown and Kids

Release date: 9/09

Pages: 352

Price/format: $15.99/hardcover

Type: children’s fiction

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Fill-Ins



1. We need more kindness. The evening news can be so depressing.
2. I saw one of my favorite Christmas commercials (even though it's too early for those!) and it made me smile.
3. If you want turkey you'll be in luck next week!
4. I eat chocolate because I can. And because it's soooo good!
5. Massachusetts has a proposed 5% sales tax on elective cosmetic surgery; I think I probably won't ever have to worry about paying a 5% sales tax on elective surgry in Massachusetts.
6. Having family at home makes for a happy holiday.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to maybe getting a fish fry dinner with the hubby, tomorrow my plans include my teenage nephew visiting for the day and Sunday, I want to read and lounge!

Review: Geektastic edited by Black & Castellucci

Stories from the Nerd Herd

geek \gek\ n : 1. a person often of an intellectual bent who is disapproved of 2. a person who is so passionate about a given subject or subjects as to occasionally cause annoyance among others

geek-tas-tic \gek-tas-tik\ adj : marked by fantastic geek qualities; a compliment of the highest regard

This is a collection of more than two dozen short stories from some of the best-selling and most promising young adult authors such as: M.T. Anderson, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, John Green, David Levithan, Scott Westerfield and more! There are stories fro every kind of geek, Jedi and Klingon enthusiasts, Science Fair participants, theater buffs, gaming nerds, lunch table status, band geeks, etc.

I never really considered myself much of a geek but I certainly enjoyed these stories. There’s quite a variety and something for everyone. I expect we’re all familiar with the importance of lunch table status. And I bet we can all identify with the illustrations about How to look cool and not drool in front of your favorite author. (#1 is Try not to throw up.)

One of my favorite features is a brief geek biography of each author at the end of their story. Wouldn’t you love to know who waited in line for 6 weeks for Star Wars? And which author met her future husband at a Star Trek convention while another met hers when they were rival Dungeon masters? There are also humorous illustrations from comic book artists Hope Larson and Bryan Lee O’Malley. While this is recommended for ages 12 & up there are some mature themes and words that may not be for the youngest readers.

Thank you to Hatchette Books for a review copy of this book.

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

Release date: 8/09

Pages: 416

Price/format: $16.99/hardcover

Type: Children’s fiction

Ages: 12 & up

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

So I was just wondering…

woman wondering

I’ve noticed the topic of awards has been brought up a few places lately like Pudgy Penguin Perusals and The Bumbles Blog. I know that every time I’ve received an award from fellow bloggers I’ve been thrilled and honored to even be noticed. Sometimes I can’t believe anyone but me is reading my blog! The awards are clever and a friendly way to get to know each other. I use to post all of my awards but they took up space and were slow to load on my dial-up connection.  I may just create a page and post a link to it. While I haven’t kept up with them lately, I do thank the sender immediately and put a lot of thought into who I’m passing them on to.

While they are very much appreciated they are also a lot of work. Sometimes I wonder if the person I forward them to will be happy to receive them or am I just adding one more thing to their To Do list? And is it rude of me to decide not to post them on my sidebar anymore?  What do you think about blog awards and what do you do with them? Do you have any clever ideas to share?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday at The Printed Page is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week (checked out library books don’t count, eBooks & audio books do). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

The Lineup

by Otto Penzler

For review from Hatchette

A great recurring character in a series you love becomes an old friend. You learn about their strange quirks and their haunted pasts and root for them every time they face danger. But where do some of the most fascinating sleuths in the mystery and thriller world really come from?
What was the real-life location that inspired Michael Connelly to make Harry Bosch a Vietnam vet tunnel rat? Why is Jack Reacher a drifter? How did a brief encounter in Botswana inspire Alexander McCall Smith to create Precious Ramotswe? In THE LINEUP, some of the top mystery writers in the world tell about the genesis of their most beloved characters--or, in some cases, let their creations do the talking.

    The Vampire’s Assistant (Cirque Du Freak)

    by Darren Shaw

    won from YA Book Realm

    Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant, based on the popular series of books by Darren Shan, is a fantasy-adventure about a teenager who unknowingly breaks a 200-year-old truce between two warring factions of vampires. Pulled into a fantastic life of misunderstood sideshow freaks and grotesque creatures of the night, one teen will vanish from the safety of a boring existence and fulfill his destiny in a place drawn from nightmares.

    Contests around the blogs

    Hurry over to Teens Reads and Writes for their first MegaBook GIVEAWAY! They have several books for multiple winners but contest ends 11/15 so get there quick!

    The Book Pixie is having an Awesometastic Birthday Giveaway! For her 17th birthday she is giving away multiple prizes to multiple winners. Contest ends 11/16!

    Friday, November 13, 2009

    Blog Tour: White Picket Fences by Susan Meissner


    When her black sheep brother disappears, Amanda Janvier eagerly takes in her sixteen year-old niece Tally. The girl is practically an orphan: motherless, and living with a father who raises Tally wherever he lands– in a Buick, a pizza joint, a horse farm–and regularly takes off on wild schemes. Amanda envisions that she, her husband Neil, and their two teenagers can offer the girl stability and a shot at a “normal” life, even though their own storybook lives are about to crumble.
    Seventeen-year-old Chase Janvier hasn’t seen his cousin in years, and other than a vague curiosity about her strange life, he doesn’t expect her arrival will affect him much–or interfere with his growing, disturbing interest in a long-ago house fire that plagues his dreams unbeknownst to anyone else.
    Tally and Chase bond as they interview two Holocaust survivors for a sociology project, and become startlingly aware that the whole family is grappling with hidden secrets, with the echoes of the past, and with the realization that ignoring tragic situations won’t make them go away.
    Will Tally’s presence blow apart their carefully-constructed world, knocking down the illusion of the white picket fence and reveal a hidden past that could destroy them all–or can she help them find the truth without losing each other?

    My Thoughts

    The first thing I noticed about this book was the cover with it’s seemingly idyllic picket fence that has a bit of peeling paint and a spider’s web. It’s not so perfect after all. And that’s how the author intended it. The Janviers appear to have the idyllic life with their beautiful home, wonderful children and great jobs but that proverbial white picket fence that surrounds it all and protects them also hides their secrets.

    I was intrigued by this family right away. When their niece comes into their home it unintentionally upsets the delicate balance that they have maintained. There are several subplots that develop throughout the book as the different characters are introduced and their stories are told. Secrets and memories that have been dormant are brought to the surface and must now be dealt with. The individual stories eventually weave together and characters work to heal old wounds and make better choices. I enjoyed this story and think every reader can find something or someone to identify with. I look forward to reading more books by this author.

    About the Author

    (excerpts from her blog) I was born and raised in San Diego, California, and am the second of three daughters. I didn't do a lot of writing in the years my husband was on active duty in the Air Force, when we were living overseas, or when we were raising our four children. When we moved to rural Minnesota in 1993 after seven years in the Air Force — five of them spent in Europe — I became aware of a gnawing desire to write a novel.

    In 1995, I was offered a job as a part-time reporter for my county newspaper. In 1998, I was named editor of the Mountain Lake/Butterfield Observer Advocate. I was honored to win several awards over the years, but the best part of my four years as editor was having my paper named the Best Weekly Newspaper in Minnesota by the Minnesota Newspaper Association in 2002.

    My beloved paternal grandfather died in July 2002 — my Papa — and his passing had a profound effect on me. I suddenly had an incredible urge to write a book; a novel. I knew I didn't want to come to the end of my life having only dreamed of writing one. I resigned as editor of the newspaper, which was a very hard decision to make, and set out to write Why the Sky is Blue. It took four months to write and ten months to be accepted by a publisher and I’ve been writing novels ever since. My favorite genre is contemporary fiction with a historical thread running through it.

    Currently, my husband is an associate pastor at a church in San Diego, and a chaplain in the Air Force Reserves. When I'm not working on a new novel, I am directing the small groups ministries at The Church at Rancho Bernardo. I also enjoy teaching workshops on writing and dream-following, as well as spending time with my family, listening to or making music, reading great books, and traveling.

    Susan Meissner

    Thank you to Waterbrook Multnomah for a review copy of this book.

    Author’s website

    How to purchase

    Friday Fill-Ins


    1. The last band I saw live was back in the Stone Age in a cave somewhere, according to my children.
    2. What I look forward to most on Thanksgiving is having my family in town and pumpkin pie, of course.
    3. My Christmas/holiday shopping is usually done much later than I would like it to be done but that’s the only way we can afford to do it (and I just know someone will answer this question saying that they are finished by August, and then I may have to hate you for a little while.) ;)
    4. Thoughts of sugarplums fill my head. Not really, I don’t even know what a sugarplum looks like. Now chocolate is something that always fills my head!)
    5. I wish I could wear my skinny jeans, or at least my skinnier jeans.
    6. Bagpipes are a very unattractive instrument but kudos to those who can play them!
    7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to watching a movie at home, tomorrow my plans include baking some goodies for the family and Sunday, I want to catch up my reading while hubby watches football!

    Book Tour: Too Many Visitors for One Little House by Susan Chodakiewitz


    The crabby neighbors of El Camino can’t bear all the music, fun and laughter at the house of the new family on the block as aunts, uncles, cousins and grannies arrive for a big noisy reunion. Too Many Visitors for One Little House is a joyful story about the importance of being included..

    My Thoughts

    This was an adorable children’s book with charming illustrations. The house filled with relatives reminded me of the upcoming holidays and how my own family will be getting together soon. It’s also a good reminder for including others who may be alone or have no plans of their own. Sometimes that nosy neighbor peeking out the window is just lonely!

    The story is lighthearted and humorous and enjoyable for adults as well as children. There is a comical variety of family members that provides every reader with someone to identify with. The illustrations are soft and colorful but they also have very clever patterns and textures added in. I had to touch that fuzzy sweater to see if it really was fuzzy or not (it wasn’t but I thought it was!) and the family dog looked so soft. There was so much to look at on every page!

    I will happily be sharing this book with the little people in my family. This might be something fun to do together on Thanksgiving Day. I know that I will be happy to read it again!

    About the Author

    Susan Chodakiewitz is a writer, composer and producer. She is the founder of Booksicals Children’s Books- Encouraging the love of reading through the arts. Through her company Booksicals she has created the Booksicals on Stage literacy program which is currently presenting musical performances of the picture book Too Many Visitors for One Little House at schools, libraries, and special events.

    Susan lives in Los Angeles in a lively household filled with music, three sons, a husband, a Dalmatian and lots of visitors. Susan loves picture books and when she wrote a musical based on one of her favorites, she realized it was time to start writing her own picture books. Too Many Visitors for One Little House is Susan’s debut book.

    About the Illustrator

    With a sense of humor and identification to the characters, Veronica Walsh debuts illustrations in Too Many Visitors for One Little House. Ms Walsh studied art and design at California State University, Long Beach and worked as a graphic designer for many years. She lives in So Cal with her husband and three cats.

    Thank you to Pump Up Your Books! for a review copy of the book.

    Author’s website

    Booksicals website

    Pump Up Your Book! website

    Tour Schedule:

    Monday, Nov 2
    Book Review and book giveaway at 4 the Love of Books

    Tuesday, Nov. 3
    Interview at Pump Up Your Book
    Interview at Paperback Writer

    Wednesday, Nov. 4
    Book Review at Cafe of Dreams

    Thursday, Nov. 5
    Book Review at The Princess and the Monkey

    Friday, Nov. 6
    Book Review at Geek Girl Reviews

    Monday, Nov. 9
    Book Review or Interview/Book Giveaway at Bookin’ with Bingo

    Tuesday, Nov. 10
    Book Review or Interview/Book Giveaway at Bookin’ with Bingo

    Wednesday, Nov. 11
    Interview at Examiner

    Thursday, Nov. 12
    Book Review at Libby’s Library News

    Friday, Nov. 13
    Book Review at Wrighty’s Reads

    Monday, Nov. 16
    Book Review at Starting Fresh

    Tuesday, Nov. 17
    Interview at The Hot Author Report

    Wednesday, Nov. 18
    Book Review at The Crypto Capers Review

    Thursday, Nov. 19
    Book Review at One Person’s Journey Through a World of Books

    Friday, Nov. 20
    Guest Blogging at The Story Behind the Book

    Monday, Nov. 23
    Book Review at Merry Weather

    Tuesday, Nov. 24
    Book Review at Must Read Faster

    Wednesday, Nov. 25
    Book Review at Pudgy Penguin Perusals

    Thursday, Nov. 27
    Book Review at Jen’s Bookshelf

    Thursday, November 12, 2009

    So I was just wondering…

    woman wondering

    I’m a day late this week but I still wanted to bring up a topic that’s made me curious. I’ve noticed there have been more and more blogs that have forms for their readers to use for contest entries. It usually involves just filling in a few blanks and it seems to be easier and faster than writing everything out each time in a comment. This also provides more security for the person leaving their information. Other readers aren’t able to see the entries on the forms but the comment section is still open to use when you want to chat.

    So, I wondered what other people thought of this method since I’ve considered giving it a try for my own contests. Do you like the idea of using the forms? I’m not even sure how to add them to my blog. Does anyone have that information? If you have used them on your own blog what did you think of the process? Please share your thoughts with us, I really appreciate your participation. It’s always great to hear from all of you! And don’t forget, if you have a question or topic you want discussed here in the future just let me know. Chances are that someone else is wondering the same thing!

    Wednesday, November 11, 2009

    Blog Tour: What Matters Most by Melody Carlson

    Maya’s Green Tip for the Day: Recycled fashion is one of the most fun ways to go green. A pair of jeans could be transformed into a denim skirt. A sweater into a vest. A bunch of old ties into a dress. A blanket into a poncho. Accessorize it in new way–with beads, buttons, appliqués, buckles, stencils, or ribbons…your imagination is only the limit. (65 words)

    Sixteen-year-old Maya Stark has a lot to sort through. She could graduate from high school early if she wants to. She’s considering it, especially when popular cheerleader Vanessa Hartman decides to make her life miserable–and Maya’s ex-boyfriend Dominic gets the wrong idea about everything. To complicate matters even more, Maya’s mother will be released from prison soon, and she’ll want Maya to live with her again. That’s a disaster waiting to happen. And when Maya plays her dad’s old acoustic guitar in front of an audience, she discovers talents and opportunities she never expected. Faced with new options, Maya must choose between a “normal” life and a glamorous one. Ultimately, she has to figure out what matters most.

    My Thoughts
    This was the last book in a series. While I did enjoy it I probably would have gotten more out of it if I had read the other books first. Maya is an interesting and sometimes complex character, especially for a teenager. She has to deal with typical high school angst which can be hard enough but then to add her mother's situation and her own desire to be a musician she definitely had a full plate. She is determined to make her dreams come true. I did like the format of her story and how it was told in journal entries. I also thought Maya's Green Tip For The Day was a great addition to the end of each chapter. After reading this book I would be interested in reading more from the series.

    Melody Carlson has published over ninety books for adults, children, and teens, with sales totaling more than two million and many titles appearing on the ECPA Bestsellers List. Several of her books have been finalists for, and winners of, various writing awards, including the Gold Medallion and the RITA Award.

    Thank you to Waterbrook Multnomah for a review copy of this book. This was part of a blog tour for last week but because of my computer problems I'm late getting this posted. So sorry for the delay!

    How to purchase
    Author's website

    Blog Tour: Leaving Carolina by Tamara Leigh

    Piper Wick left her hometown of Pickwick, North Carolina, twelve years ago, shook the dust off her feet, ditched her drawl and her family name, and made a new life for herself as a high-powered public relations consultant in LA. She’s even “engaged to be engaged” to the picture-perfect U.S. Congressman Grant Spangler. Now all of Piper’s hard-won happiness is threatened by a reclusive uncle’s bout of conscience. In the wake of a health scare, Uncle Obadiah Pickwick has decided to change his will, leaving money to make amends for four generations’ worth of family misdeeds. But that will reveal all the Pickwicks’ secrets, including Piper’s. Though Piper arrives in Pickwick primed for battle, she is unprepared for Uncle Obe’s rugged, blue-eyed gardener. So just who is Axel Smith? Why does he think making amends is more than just making restitution? And why, oh why, can’t she stay on task? With the Lord’s help, Piper is about to discover that although good PR might smooth things over, only the truth will set her free.

    My Thoughts
    This was an interesting story about family dynamics and dysfunctions. While I sympathized with Piper's situation and what her family had put her through I didn't always sympathize with her. She was sometimes hard to relate to. I could understand why she made the decisions she did. Everyone has some family issues to deal with throughout their life. I do appreciate the theme of forgiveness and how it's never too late to try to make things right. Romance and faith are also part of Piper's hope for a new life.
    This book is the first in a new series.

    Tamara Leigh has been writing since 1994. Leigh’s first novel, Warrior Bride, was followed by six more best-selling, award-winning romances in the general market. Her inspirational Chick-Lit debut, Stealing Adda, was published in 2006 to great critical acclaim. Her twelve novels include Faking Grace; Splitting Harriet, an American Christian Fiction Writers "Book of the Year" winner and RITA Award finalist; and Perfecting Kate. She holds a master’s degree in speech and language pathology, is a stay at home mom, and lives near Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband and sons.

    Thank you to Waterbrook Multnomah for a review copy of this book. This was part of a blog tour for last week but because of my computer problems I'm late getting this posted. So sorry for the delay!

    How to purchase
    Author's website

    Monday, November 9, 2009

    Mailbox Monday

    Marcia from The Printed Page is our kind host where we share what goodies came in our mailbox last week. Stop by, leave a link and tell us what you got too!

    Twenty Boy Summer
    by Sarah Ockler

    won at And Another Book Read

    "Don't worry, Anna. I'll tell her, okay? Just let me think about the best way to do it."
    "Promise me? Promise you won't say anything?"
    "Don't worry." I laughed. "It's our secret, right?"

    According to her best friend Frankie, twenty days in ZanzibarBay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy ever day, there's a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there's something she hasn't told Frankie---she's already had that kind of romance, and it was with Frankie's older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.

    Beautifully written and emotionally honest, this is a debut novel that explores what it truly means to love someone and what it means to grieve, and ultimately, how to make the most of every single moment this world has to offer.

    Spinning Forward
    by Terri Dulong

    won at Bookin' With Bingo

    Sydney Webster's comfortable New England life comes crashing down when her husband dies suddenly, leaving her penniless and evicted. She had no idea about his huge gambling debts, and is getting no sympathy from her hurt and angry twenty something daughter. With nowhere else to turn, Sydney takes shelter at a college friend's B&B in Cedar key, Florida, where she begins to form a plan. As Syd turns her talent at spinning wool and knitting into a retail venture, other doors begin to open. She steps into the embrace of a community rich with love, laughter, friendship...and secrets. And soon she faces a choice: spin a safety net, or spin forward and never look back. Entertaining and heart warming, this superb debut will win readers over with its real-life challenges and quirky and compelling characters.

    Laptops don't bounce

    ... very well. Please bear with me. My laptop met with an unfortunate accident and according to the computer doctor, sustained a hairline fracture. While it's resting comfortably, it's out of commission and repairs are not in the budget right now. I do love my handy little computer but it's hardly a necessity and the boys' new shoes kind of are. Kind of. And so is food, electricity, blah, blah, blah, and other nonsense like that.

    We have another computer and I've been able to use my son's laptop but I had everything on mine and really relied on it. So I'm going to be a bit behind for awhile. I had some reviews and blog tour info saved that needs to be rewritten. Most of my emails were also saved there so if I haven't replied to something feel free to send it again. Stuff will get done. And there's always Plan B, right?

    Plan B -

    Sunday, November 8, 2009

    Crime & Mystery Books - Winners!

    I, Alex Cross - Karen K
    The Lineup - Carol M
    Hollywood Moon - Amy
    All 3 books - sharon54220


    All winners have been emailed.
    Thanks to everyone for participating!

    Thursday, November 5, 2009

    Have you heard, did you get the word?

    There's a party going on for Kaye and I'm already late!
    and wish her a very happy birthday!
    But hurry before the cake is gone!

    *Edit - since we exceeded the maximum number of penguins allowed for the fire code rules and regulations a bunch of them left the party hall and headed to the pool. They're waiting for you there Kaye! Hope you brought your bikini!!

    Wednesday, November 4, 2009

    So, I was just wondering...

    I'm so fascinated by all the amazing blogs out there and how much everyone accomplishes! So many of you mention that you have full time jobs, are students, are parents, have more than one blog, are busy in your communities...the list goes on and on. Yet, you do so much on your blogs! How do you do it?? It feels like I'm flying by the seat of my pants most of the time. I do have some patterns that I seem to follow. I check email and blog activity in the morning, sometimes do some work in the afternoon, but seem to get the bulk of my stuff done in the evening. Other than that I don't have a real work schedule. I'm also most comfy using my laptop from the couch because my back bothers me too much if I'm in a chair for a long time.

    What works for you? Do you have a strict regimen for blogging? Do you allot a specific amount of time for reading? I never seem to have enough time for both, yet I see some people read a book a day and add a post or two as well! I've also heard many mention that they have a weekly schedule and assign different days for different things like writing reviews, visiting other blogs, memes, etc. I'm not that organized and don't always know what else will be going on in my life each day. Please tell me how you accomplish so much! I'm dying to know.

    Monday, November 2, 2009

    Blog Tour: Limelight by Melody Carlson

    Claudette Fioré used to turn heads and break hearts. She relished the glamorous Hollywood lifestyle because she had what it takes: money, youth, fame, and above all, beauty. But age has withered that beauty, and a crooked accountant has taken her wealth, leaving the proud widow penniless and alone. Armed with stubbornness and sarcasm, Claudette returns to her shabby little hometown and her estranged sister. Slowly, she makes friends. She begins to see her old life in a new light. For the first time, Claudette Fioré questions her own values and finds herself wondering if it’s too late to change.

    My Thoughts:
    I really enjoyed the nostalgia of this story. While Claudette is bemoaning her life now she reflects on the life she once led in Hollywood. Beauty and status once meant everything to her but was it real? This is a classic tale of finding out what's really important in life. It may have taken her 80 years and a tragic turn of events but Claudette has a revelation that maybe her life wasn't quite as perfect as she thought it was. While she may be stubborn she is also humorous and that makes her story even more interesting. Her snooty attitude is part of what got her through the tough times at home and in the hospital. While it provides a form of self preservation, she needs to look within herself to try to repair her relationship with her sister, renew her faith and get a fresh start in life.

    These characters were quirky and often shallow but they are transforming and adapting to their changes. Their interactions are strained but evolving. The theme teaching a valuable lesson that it's never to late to try to make changes and find happiness. Taking control of your own life can be very empowering at any age.

    Melody Carlson has published over ninety books for adults, children, and teens, with sales totaling more than two million and many titles appearing on the ECPA Bestsellers List. Several of her books have been finalists for, and winners of, various writing awards, including the Gold Medallion and the RITA Award.

    "Chris, my husband of 29 years, and I live in a cabin in the woods near the beautiful Cascade Mountains in the Pacific Northwest. Our two sons are grown and we're the proud grandparents of a beautiful granddaughter.

    Both boys live nearby and we see a lot of them. We've converted their old 'bunkhouse' into a writing studio for me and a guest area/billiards room for friends and family who are always welcome. We recently gave my writing studio (still suffering from its past as a teenage boy's bedroom with carpeting the color of mud) a facelift. Now it's all mine and quite divine, which is great since I spend a lot of time up here."

    Thank you to Waterbrook Multnomah for a review copy of this book.

    How to purchase
    Author's website

    Sunday, November 1, 2009

    Mailbox Monday

    What did you get in your mailbox last week? Add your link at The Printed Page to share your goodies!

    Simon's Cat
    by Simon Tofield

    won at Socrates Book Reviews

    Simon Tofield's animations have taken YouTube by storm. Now, the feline Internet phenomenon makes his way onto the page in this first-ever book based on the popular animated series. SIMON'S CAT depicts and exaggerates the hilarious relationship between a man and his cat. The daily escapades of this adorable pet, which always involve demanding more food, and his exasperated but doting owner come to life through Tofield's charming and hilarious illustrations.

    Growing Wings
    by Laurel Winter

    won at Shut Up! I'm Reading

    Eleven-year-old Linnet is growing wings. Auburn wings, with soft feathers. For a while, she can hide them, but they grow larger and larger, almost seeming to take on a life of their own-while taking away Linnet's old life. Her mother, Sarah, knows what it feels like . . . almost. For when the young Sarah began to grow wings, her mother-Linnet's grandmother-cut them off. Sarah is a "cutwing." She swore that she would let her own daughter's wings grow when the time came, but now that it's actually happening, she has no idea what to do. And Linnet-lost, confused, fledgling Linnet-doesn't either. . . .

    Contests around the blogs

    *Edited to add -

    Kaye is having a giveaway at Pudgy Penguin Perusuals for a copy of the cozy mystery Stirring Up Strife by J.B. Stanley. She is also including coffee and gourmet cookies. Yum! Rush on over, contest ends 11/5 at 5:00.

    There's always great contests on the different blogs and I can't keep up! Fortunately, people are always kind enough to post updates and links to help pass the word. I followed a link to Book Chick City for a terrific Halloween giveaway! She is giving away 3 bundles of scary books to 3 winners. But hurry, contest ends tonight, Nov. 1st!