Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sweet library patrons

I just got off the phone with the sweetest library patron. It always amazes me how much patrons want to tell you about...well, anything and everything. It doesn't bother me, cuz I'm a talker, too, and the stories are usually pretty amusing. And, when you get to talking to people, you get to know them, and I think that's fun, too.

Anyway, this sweet older woman called the library today.

A Real Librarian: Fabulous Library, this is A Real Librarian, how may I help you?

Sweet Older Lady: Hi, my name is Sweet Older Lady, and I have to apologize and tell you why I haven't been in to pick up my book!

RL: Oh, well there is no need to apologize!!

SOL: Well, I fell the other day and hurt my leg, and the doctor said I need to be off of it, and my daughter won't let me come to the library!!

RL: Oh, no! Well, I am so sorry to hear that!! Let me just look you up here...it looks like this book will be on the holdshelf for another week, so you can just take care of your leg, and come pick it up then!

SOL: Oh, wonderful! Maybe my daughter can come get it for me!

RL: As long as she has your card, she would definitely be able to do that for you!

SOL: Oh, thank you sweetheart!! Have a merry Christmas!! Love you!!!

So, I wished her a happy holidays, but didn't return her "love" wishes... Maybe I should have... "love you too, sweet older lady!!" I don't believe I've met her yet, but I gotta say, I hope to.

Happy Holidays everyone!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Review: The Go Getter Girls Guide by Debra Shigley

When I got an email from Debra Shigley asking me to read her book, The Go-Getter Girl’s Guide, I was intrigued. She also sent me a link to an interview she did on CNN (check it out here!). After watching the interview, I couldn’t wait to read the book!! Debra is so animated and passionate about what she’s talking about, you could just feel her excitement and her drive to help women to get ahead in their careers.

This book is obviously a non-fiction guide, but it truly doesn’t read like that. It is full of stories from women who have made their way up the ladder and how they got there. It talks about so many different topics from networking and office politics and office gossip (Don’t Do IT!!), to wardrobe building and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. All of these things are important in helping the GGG (Go-Getter Girl) build self confidence, and move her way up the ladder.

This book is also filled with GGG Gems, Nuggets of Wisdom and Pearls. It really does cover everything a woman needs to know about stepping into the workplace, whether she is a new graduate beginning her career, or a woman who is either switching careers or looking to move up. I think that this would make a perfect graduation gift (Or Christmas gift for that matter!) for any girl!!

Thanks so much to Debra for sending me her book. I have definitely taken lots of the info from your book and am applying it to my own personal situation. I loved the guide, and hope that it spreads around like wildfire!

Friday, December 11, 2009

And the winners are...

I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who entered to win my giveaway!!! I just love doing this, and I have to thank Stephanie from HarperCollins for giving me the opportunity to do this!! WOOOHOOOOOOOOO!!!! And now, the winners...



CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!

kimberly
alicia
jenni rafalski
gwendolyn b
stephanied

I've sent you all an email, so please send me your snail mail addresses!! I'll then forward them to Stephanie, and HarperCollins will send you their book. If you live out of the US, I'll have her send your book to me, and then I'll mail it on to you! YAY!!! Congrats, and thanks for reading!!!

Winners chosen using Random.org's Sequence Generator.
39
30
26
13
22
Timestamp: 2009-12-11 13:05:28 UTC

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Dear Library Patron

Wow, it's been a while since I drafted a "Dear Library Patron" letter!! It feels SO GOOD!!! WHOOOT WHOOOOOOOOOOOT!!!!! Oh, and before I start my letter - be sure to enter my latest giveaway!!!

Dear Library Patron,

Welcome to the Library!! I am glad to see that you have found that we offer free internet access to all patrons! However, I would like to extend some advice.

Please consider that you have planted yourself on a computer in the children's department of the building. You are free to use these computers, of course, but you might want to watch what you say. For instance, yelling at your husband/boyfriend that it's his fault you are in such financial debt is probably not appropriate behavior - not only in the children's department, but in the library building in general. Also, asking your husband/boyfriend WTF is wrong with him, and then telling him you don't even want to hear his answer, let alone see his face is also probably not appropriate.

I am sorry you are finding yourself a victim of the economy and poor choices, but please, leave your loud discussions at home.

Oh, and seeing as how it's December in Minnesota, probably you want to put some pants on your three year old before taking her outside in the snow.

Thank you,

Your Friendly Neighborhood Librarian

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Review and Giveaway!! Now & Then by Jacqueline Sheehan

When Stephanie at HarperCollins emailed me and asked me to review Now & Then by Jacqueline Sheehan, I jumped at the chance!! I’m a sucker for a good chick-lit novel, and with the promise of time travel and a cute puppy on the cover, I couldn’t resist!!

Anna is dealing with a lot right now. She has had three miscarriages and is recently divorced from her husband who has had an affair. She escapes with a friend on a trip to England, Scotland and Ireland, and upon her return discovers her brother, Patrick, has been in a terrible car accident while on his way to pick up his sixteen year old son who has stolen a car and wound up in jail. Anna, dealing with seeing her older brother in a coma, has to go and bail her nephew, Joseph, out of jail.

Exhausted, Anna brings Joseph home to get some sleep before they go to the hospital to see Patrick. Anna wakes up in the middle of the night to find Joseph rummaging through her suitcase. The package Joseph has found, a gift from a stranger in Ireland, turns out to be something of a portal, and the two are violently transported back to 1844 Ireland.

I loved the time travel part of this story. Anna and Joseph were separated and found by drastically different people. Anna is found by an Irish country family, while Joseph is found by a wealthy British man who looks down upon the Irish. Each story holds it’s own while we learn about the struggles and stories of these two sides. It’s interesting how both Anna and Joseph have to learn how to live in 1844 and deal with the times and lack of current “luxuries.”

Anna tries desperately to find Joseph and to figure out why they have been transported to this exact moment in time. Why 1844 Ireland? How did this happen? You will just have to read the book to know for sure!!! I found that I just couldn’t put this book down – I was totally invested in the characters – even Joseph, who was quite the obnoxious teenager!

And now, you have a chance to read it, too!!! Stephanie at HarperCollins is letting me give away 5 copies!!! HOOORAY!!!!! So, all you have to do is leave a comment here on my blog. Please leave your email address – if I don’t have a way to contact you, you won’t be entered in the contest! I’m going to open the contest to ANYWHERE – if HarperCollins can’t deliver it to you, I will!!!

The contest ends on Thursday, December 10, and I’ll announce the winners on Friday, December 11!! Good luck to everyone!!!!!! And a big THANK YOU to Stephanie!!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Pump Up Your Book Promotion Tour: Purged by Darkness

From the Book Jacket:

In the gang lifestyle, honor and loyalty is what is expected of you. Fear, death and betrayal is what often follows. In this world, no one wins and all those involved often find themselves in too deep to ever get out.

With the story revolving around six friends, it traces their rise ad fall inside the organized crime syndicate, the Triads. With their love for each other and their loyalties not far behind, it is the same quality that will push their friendship beyond all limits.

In the criminal underworld, the word friendship doesn’t exist. For this group of friends, it is all they have. Love is what keeps them together, but will it be enough to survive in a world where bullets speak louder than words and death awaits them at every turn?

How much do you know about gangsters and the criminal underworld? I have to admit, I don’t know much. I have seen The Godfather, but not many other movies. I have read The Mad Ones by Tom Folsom about Crazy Joey Gallo, but that’s pretty much the extent of my knowledge.

Purged by Darkness by Michael Estepa takes a look at the criminal underworld of Melbourne, Australia through the eyes of Kai, an up and coming member of the Triads. Kai and his five friends have been involved in this organization since Kai was 15 and his friends were 17. Kai is the boss of his group of friends, and eventually becomes a Branch Leaders after he plans and leads a hit on another member who has broken the rules of the society. But, the life is not all about power and money. As the group of friends becomes higher in the society, they gain the resentment of other members as well as other Societies. The group becomes targeted and friends start to fall.

The problem is, once you are in, you are in for life. Kai comes to terms with his morality and what he wants for his future. After losing more friends than anyone should have to deal with, Kai decides to run.

I won’t tell you any more than that – you should read it to find out what happens to this gangster.

I have to admit, I really felt for this character. I can’t imagine losing your friends because of the life of crime you have chosen – a choice made as a stupid kid at age 15. It was hard to see him react to the deaths of his friends. And when he has to make the ultimate choice, I understood why he felt that he had to do what he did.

I had a little trouble with some of the dialog, however. I wondered if gangsters would really talk like that to each other at a couple points. But, I was able to get around that and appreciate the story for what it was – an action filled, coming of age story about six friends and the life they chose.

Thanks to Pump Up Your Book Promotional Book Tours and Michael Estepa for sending me this book!!! Check out http://www.michaelestepa.com/ to learn more about the author and his book!

Friday, November 20, 2009

The joy of audio books

I have always told people how awesome audio books are. But, I have to be perfectly honest with you - I had never really listened to one. I was never really in my car long enough to get into one. When I lived in Nashville, my commute was 5-8 minutes depending on the traffic lights. And my commute to my retail job was only 20ish minutes, and I like to sing in the car.

But the commute to my new FABULOUS library job is about 40-50 (depending on traffic) minutes away from home, and I figured if I'm gonna be working two jobs, this is the perfect way to get some reading in!!

And I LOVE IT!!!! I didn't think I'd be able to concentrate and follow along without having the words in front of me, but I totally get sucked in, and it makes the drive go so much faster! And, working at the library, I have a never ending supply!! YAY!!!

And now, library story of the day...

Library caller: Yes, I was just wondering if you had any programs going on on Thanksgiving.
Real Librarian: Actually, we are closed on Thanksgiving day, but we have some regular programs on the Wednesday before or the Friday after.
LC: You are closed on Thanksgiving?
RL: Um...yeah.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pump Up Your Book Promotion Tour: A Note from an Old Acquaintance

From the Book Jacket:

Brian Weller is a haunted man. It’s been two years since the tragic accident that left his three-year-old son dead and his wife in an irreversible coma. A popular author of mega-selling thrillers, Brian’s life has reached a crossroads: his new book is stalled, his wife’s prognosis is dire, and he teeters on the brink of despair.

Everything changes the morning an e-mail arrives from Boston artist Joanna Richman. Her heartfelt note brings back all the poignant memories: the night their eyes met, the fiery passion of their short-lived affair, and the agonizing moment he was forced to leave Joanna forever. Now, fifteen years later, the guilt and anger threaten to overwhelm him. Vowing to make things right, Brian arranges a book-signing tour that will take him back to Boston. He is eager to see Joanna again, but remains unsure where their reunion will lead. One thing is certain: the forces that tore their love asunder will stop at nothing to keep them apart.

Filled with tender romance and taut suspense, A Note from an Old Acquaintance is an unforgettable story about fate, honor, and the power of true love.

A Note from an Old Acquaintance is a beautiful love story filled with tenderness and true love. Bill Walker has such a way with words that I was instantly drawn in to the story and felt a connection with all of the characters. As I was reading, I couldn’t help but wonder what I would do if placed in this situation.

The story starts out in 2006, where Brian Weller is dealing with the death of his young son and his wife in a coma after a terrible car accident. Then, the email from someone he used to know fifteen years ago suddenly appears in his inbox. The story jumps back to 1991 where Brian meets Joanna Richman, and they fall instantly in love. But there is a problem – Joanna is engaged to be married to someone else.

The idea of soul mates is raised in this story. I felt the struggle that Joanna was facing. The man she fell in love with six years prior, Erik Ruby, has changed, and while she still loves him, she is questioning the man who he is becoming. After meeting Brian, Joanna feels that there is someone out there who understands her, her art, and her soul.

Erik, finding out about Brian and Joanna, places Brian in a situation and makes him a deal that he absolutely cannot refuse. Brian is now forced out of Joanna’s life. I even found myself sympathizing a little with Erik – even though I thought what he was doing was wrong – knowing that your fiancĂ© is in love with someone else, and feels more for that other person that she feels for you. Making the choices and living with them…forever.

Back in 2006, Brian and Joanna meet again. I won’t say anything else, because I don’t want to give anything away. I do have to say that while some may think the ending was too neat, I think it was the perfect way for things to work out. I loved this book, it’s characters, and the way it was written.

Thank you to Bill Walker for sending me a copy of this awesome book. I highly enjoyed it!!! Check out his website – Bill Walker Designs!!

This review was part of a Pump Up Your Book Promotional Blog Tour. Thanks to Tracee for asking me to be a part of it!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

And I'm back in the game!!!

Well, it's time for some exciting news!!! After a LOOOOOOOOOOOONG year of searching and applications and interviews and rejections, I am FINALLY back in a library, baby!!!!!!! WOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

I'm going back to my roots - I started out doing circulation, and that's what I'm headed back to. I love the customer service side to library work, and circulation is the perfect place to do that.

And to be perfectly honest with y'all, it's just amazing to be back in a library again. My first day - actually after my first minute - I felt at home. It's such a great feeling to be back where I belong.

Here's a story from my first couple days:

A woman is buying a couple books off the book sale cart. I'm trying to remember just how much everything costs.

Real Librarian: Sorry, it's my third day!
Woman Buying Books: Ohhhh... I applied for your job.
RL: *thinking* AWKWARD!!!
WBB: I thought they'd be interested, I come from a teaching background. Do yo mind if I ask about your background?
RL: Um, I have eleven years of library experience.
WBB: Oh.

Hahaha! Come to find out there were over a hundred applicants for my job. I feel so honored to have been selected!!!

Anyway, so far so good. I've got lots of reviews in the works, so stay tuned!!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Review: Totally Killer


Totally Killer by Greg Olear is the story of Taylor Schmidt, a 23 year old from Missouri who came to New York in search of her fortune. But this is set in 1991, where unemployment was the norm – especially for a recent college graduate with a meager resume. The narrator, Todd Lander (who is Taylor’s roommate), takes us back to 1991 to tell the story of Taylor’s final months. That’s right, I said final months. Poor Taylor is dead.

Taylor spends a lot of time in employment agencies trying to find the perfect job. Unfortunately there isn’t a whole lot out there for her. When a post card for the Quid Pro Quo agency turns up in her mail, a desperate Taylor decides to give it a shot. The agency finds Taylor the perfect job – but the repayment is…totally killer. Taylor gets sucked right into the game. This book combines a murder mystery (how did Taylor die!? Who killed her?!) with conspiracy theory. It is intriguing in a way that makes you not want to go to work and keep reading.

While I never thought too much about the 90’s (especially 1991 – I was 12!), it was awesome to hear about it. Olear obviously did his research – or just vividly remembers the early 90’s! The slacker mentality, the ‘fashion,’ the music, all comes alive with his descriptions. The characters and the conspiracies keep you tied into this quick moving story.

If you are looking for a fun read – this book is Totally Killer, dude!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Review: The Ice Chorus

The quote on the cover of The Ice Chorus by Sarah Stonich was the first thing that hooked me. “Any woman who ever had her heart cracked open by a man should read The Ice Chorus.” Wow, right??

The Ice Chorus is a story about Lise, a woman who is finding herself. She married young, and married the wrong man. While life with her husband hasn’t been horrible – she has a wonderful son – it hasn’t been happy or filled with love. While in Mexico, Lise meets another man – a man who changes everything.

The story is set in Ireland, where Lise goes to find herself and reexamine her life. It tells the story of her marriage, her affair, and even parts of her childhood through flashbacks. This story is so vivid – you can smell the salt in the air, you can see the sunset off the beaches of Mexico. There are so many different kinds of relationships, mother and son, husband and wife, new love, friendship, and each one is believable. The characters are so strong and every one is important to the movement of the story.

I don’t think you need to have had your heart cracked open to read and appreciate this novel. I highly recommend this book to everyone who loves a good love story.

Thank you so much to Sarah Stonich for sending me a copy of this book!!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

And the winner is...


Congratulations to...

Rebekah!!!!

I've sent you an email for you to send me your snail mail address!! Congrats - I hope you love this book, too!!!

I have a couple reviews in the works right now! I just finished an amazing novel called The Ice Chorus by Sarah Stonich, and am in the middle of a thriller called Totally Killer by Greg Olear. I can't wait to get those reviews up for you - so keep your eyes out!!!

Thanks again for reading!!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Review and Giveaway: Legacy

So, I have to be honest… I wasn’t 100% sure about reading a coming-of-age historical fantasy novel written by a 16 year old. But, seriously, Legacy by Cayla Kluver blew me away!!

Princess Alera is fast approaching her 18th birthday, at which she must choose a suitor who will eventually take over the throne of the Kingdom of Hytanica. If she is unable to find a suitable match based on love, then her father, King Adrik, has already chosen someone to step up to that task. Unfortunately, the chosen match, Steldor, is arrogant and egotistical, and definitely not Alera’s idea of a good husband.

Another man enters Princess Alera’s life. Narian, a young man who was raised in the rival kingdom of Cokyri, comes to Hytanica. While the people of Hytanica believe that men are superior to women, and men serve in roles of power, the people of Cokyri believe that women are superior. Narian shows Princess Alera a different way of thinking, and different possibilities for life. Alera starts to question her duty.

You would never guess that this story came from a 16 year old (well, she was 14 when she wrote it!!! WOW!!!). The writing is so eloquent and the story flows from the first page. I didn’t want to put it down, and I REALLY didn’t want it to end. The characters were so well developed, I felt like I knew them. All of the supporting characters had distinct personalities and roles in moving the story along. The description of the kingdom and the castle, the market place and the scenery was very vivid. I do have to warn you, though… Legacy is the first book in a trilogy. I, for one, can’t wait for the second book to come out, and I know this book will leave you pining to know what happens next. Definitely check this one out!!

And to get you a little more excited, I've decided to do a giveaway!! Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win!! All you need to do is leave a valid email address (if you don't, your comment will be deleted, and you won't be entered!!). Oh, and blog about this contest (and leave a separate comment with the link to your post) and receive an extra entry!! The contest will run through Sunday, October 11, and I'll pick a winner on Monday, October 12!! Good luck, everyone!!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Review: The Sky Isn't Visible From Here

I have only recently started reading memoirs and jumping into other people’s lives. I really enjoy that peek into someone else’s childhood, someone else’s thoughts, someone else’s existence. My latest memoir experience led me deep into a world of a mother daughter relationship and an emotional tale of the demons of addiction.

The Sky Isn’t Visible From Here, a memoir by Felicia C. Sullivan, is not an easy autobiography to read. It was so powerful, and even though I have never experienced addiction, I found myself drawn into the world and unable to let go of the story. It is a story about addiction, and dealing with all of that, but it is also a tale about how a mother can influence their child’s life and decisions – even into adulthood. Felicia mixes memories of her childhood dealing with her mother who struggled with an addiction to cocaine, with stories from her own adulthood and addictions. She writes with such passion and detail, it’s hard not to feel a part of the story.

All in all, this autobiography touched me in a way that I wasn’t prepared for. I can only imagine what it would do for someone who has actually dealt with the horrors of addiction. If you like memoirs, or even if you don’t, I highly recommend this book.

Monday, September 28, 2009

And the winner is...


Congratulations to...


I've sent you an email requesting your snail mail address!!!

Thanks again to everyone who entered!! I promise to have more giveaways soon!!

**Winner chosen using Random.org Sequence Generator.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Retail Question of the Day and Giveaway reminder!

So, you might remember a time when I used to post Library Question of the Day. Well, I decided it's time to start incorporating that into the Retail Question of the Day. I mean, there are some questions that get asked in the retail world that are just as...um...interesting as in the library world, right? And who am I to deprive my readers of these very important questions.

So, here is the Retail Question of the Day:

Lady Shopper: So, these say "footless." Does that mean they are footless?
A Real Librarian: Uh...yes, that means they are footless.

Yeah. Great question. ANYWAY... I just wanted to remind y'all I have a giveaway going right now!! So far there are only 3 comments!!! Please, if you haven't entered, you totally should!! And, you should spread the word. In fact, I'll sweeten the pot a little - you'll get an extra entry if you post a SEPARATE comment on that review and giveaway post telling me you blogged about this giveaway - and posting a link to your blog post! Awesome, right? And, as always, remember to include a valid email address where I can get in touch with you - I wouldn't want you to miss out because I couldn't reach you!! Good luck!!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

A fun Meme!!!

I got this fun Meme from Bloggin' 'bout Books, and she said "Just answer the meme, already!" Since I always do what I'm told...

Hardback, trade paperback or mass market paperback? I usually prefer hardback books. I don't know - there is just something about them. I love the weight of them, and how they lie open on the table...wow, that's sounding a little wrong, isn't it?! I don't mind trade paperbacks, but I definitely prefer hardbacks or trade paperbacks to mass market paperbacks.

Waterstones, Borders or Amazon? Wanna know the truth? I honestly don't buy many books for myself. I tend to check them out from the library, or (I am SOOOO LUCKY!!!!) authors and publishers contact me about doing reviews, and I get them sent to me in the mail. If I buy books for gifts, though, I tend to shop at Borders.

Bookmark or dog-ear? Do people still dog-ear?!?! Oh, that makes me sad. I use a bookmark. Or a receipt. Or a torn off piece of paper. Or, on one very sad occasion, a toothpick (it was unused, I swear). I have a zillion bookmarks, but can't ever seem to find one when I need it - ha!

Amazon or brick-and-mortar? Like I said, I don't usually buy books for myself often. I would much rather go into a store and browse around than shop online, though.

Alphabetize by author, or alphabetize by title, or random? The books that I do have are arranged alphabetically by author's last name. I also have a couple of non fiction books, and since I am fairly familiar with the Dewey Decimal system, those books are shelved loosely based on that. A true librarian, huh?

Keep, throw away, or sell? Please, please, PLEASE tell me that no one actually throws away books!!!! That's SOOOO WRONG!!!!! I have donated books to the library before, and I have also taken them to a used book store to sell. Either way, someone else gets to enjoy them!! Throw away!?!?! *shudder*

Keep dust jacket or toss it? I have taken the dust jacket off to read certain books (I always remove the dust jacket when I re-read my Harry Potter series!), but mostly they stay on the book at all time. Toss them, seriously!?!?!!?

Short story or novel? I'm not against short stories, but I tend to read more novels.

Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket? I Love Lemony Snicket, but I have to say that Harry Potter wins this battle.

Buy or borrow? I am definitely a library user. I don't own too many books of my own.

Buying choice: book reviews, recommendations, or browse? Before, I would mostly read books because I was familiar with the author. Now, I read a lot of book reviews from other fabulous book bloggers, and I have read some that have been recommended by friends. A lot of what I have read lately have just fallen into my lap from authors and publishers who ask me to review their books. That has been so awesome, because I have read a lot of amazing things that I probably wouldn't have given a second glance.

Tidy ending or cliffhanger? If the story kept me guessing, kept me involved, and kept me wanting to turn the pages, then I'm happy. I love a good happy ending, but I love a good cliffhanger!

Morning reading, afternoon reading, or nighttime reading? Ahh, there is no BEST time to read. I love to read in the quiet of the morning before my husband wakes up. I love to read outside in the heat of the afternoon, and I love sitting in my favorite chair at night all snuggled up in a blanket. It really doesn't matter what time of day it is!!

Stand-alone or series? Either is great with me!!

Favorite series? Harry Potter, Janet Evanovich's Numbers series, James Patterson's Alex Cross series and Women's Murder Club series, Twilight.

Favorite children’s book? Wow, there are SO many!!! Anything by Kevin Henkes (especially Chrisanthemum), Little Pea by Amy Rosenthal, anything by Audrey and and Don Wood (Silly Sally, The Napping House, Piggies), Where the Wild Thigns Are by Maurice Sendak, Recess Queen by Alexis O'Neill, Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls... Seriously, do you want me to go on?

Favorite YA book? The Twilight series.

Favorite books read last year? The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski, The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

Favorite books of all time? Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Favorite book to recommend to an 11-year-old? Harry Potter for sure. Also, I LOVED the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series!!

Favorite book to re-read? I'd have to say the Harry Potter series. I've probably re-read each of those 10 times!

Do you ever smell books? Of course!! I love the smell of books!!

Do you ever read primary source documents like letters or diaries? I haven't read anything like that yet, but I would!!

What are you reading right now? I just started a book called Legacy by Cayla Kluver. I'm not very far into it, but so far, I am intrigued!!

What are you reading next? I have a couple books for review that are on their way to me as we speak, so I am not quite sure what I'll pick up next!!!

FUN Meme!!!! Now, it's YOUR turn!!!!!!!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Review: Ripley's Believe It or Not - Seeing is Believing

I gotta tell ya, when Carolina contacted me about reviewing Ripley’s newest Believe It or Not book – Seeing is Believing, I was SUPER excited!!! I love reading about random facts and seeing odd and crazy pictures. I love things that make my jaw drop with awe and wonder, or sometimes in shock and disgust. Either way – this is definitely an awesome read. And, with a blinking eye on the front cover, you can’t help but be intrigued!!

You’ll see some interesting things – like a wedding gown made completely of toilet paper, a giant python wrapping it’s huge jaws around a 16 full size wallaby AND it’s joey, a flying bus that flies through a fireball and over 15 motorcycles, and a picture of a 20 lb hamburger and the man who actually are it.

There is an index in the front of the book, and you’ll see facts and tidbits about the earth, food, human bodies, science, customs, animals, and so much more.. Seriously – you will be amazed by something on EVERY PAGE of this book. I’m sure you believe it, especially if you have ever seen any of the books in Ripley’s Believe it or Not series.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

BBAW: Review and Giveaway - The Shimmer by David Morrell

I am really excited to tell you about a new thriller by David Morrell called The Shimmer!! I love reading novels that keep you on edge and wondering what’s going to happen next, and this book didn’t disappoint.

Dan Page is a police officer who has seen his share of the bad side of humanity. Out of the blue, his wife disappears and turns up in a small remote town in Texas called Rostov. This town has made headlines due to an unexplained phenomenon called the Rostov Lights. Strangely, people don’t just feel like this is an ordinary tourist destination – many people feel called and compelled to go to Rostov and see the lights.

A terrifying incident happens the night Officer Page finds his wife at the observation area of the Rostov Lights. A gunman begins shooting at the lights – and then turns his gun on the gathered crowd. This leads to a series of events that causes Page and his wife to try and solve the mystery of the lights…a mystery that dates back to the original settlers of the town – and probably before.

As the Afterward points out, this book is fiction – but a “surprising amount of reality is in The Shimmer. Rostov is based on a real town in West Texas (Marfa), and real stories (the way certain people – including a variation of a story about a famous actor – reacted or changed after viewing the lights) are in the novel. I couldn’t get enough of the stories, and have been looking into finding out other information about the lights.

I highly recommend this book if you are looking for a good thriller. This book will keep you guessing and I might even venture to say you might not want to put it down!!

And since it's Book Blogger Appreciation Week, and that's pretty exciting, I want to do a giveaway!!! Here are the rules: Leave a comment on this post telling me who your favorite thriller author is. You MUST leave an email address in your post, or your comment will be deleted (sorry, dem's the breaks!). I'll accept entries until Sunday, September 27 and will announce the winner on Monday, September 28!! Pretty exciting, huh?!?!

Good luck and happy reading!!!!!!!Check Spelling

Monday, September 14, 2009

Book Blogger Appreciate Week is here!!!!


How exciting!!! I just want to give a shout out to all the amazing book bloggers out there. I have read some amazing books that I might not have picked up normally because of these fabulous bloggers. They have such a passion for reading and books, and most of all sharing their thoughts with the rest of us who share their passion!! Here is a shortlist of a couple of my favorites!!! Definitely take the time to run through these awesome blogs - and maybe even some of THEIR favorite blogs, too!!!

At Home with Books


Redlady's Reading Room

Peeking Between the Pages

Booking Mama

The Literate Housewife

A Bookworm's World

My Friend Amy

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Review: Bundle of Trouble: A Maternal Instincts Mystery

I am always excited to hear from a new author about reading their book for my blog, so when Diana Orgain emailed me to review her debut novel Bundle of Trouble: A Maternal Instincts Mystery, I jumped at the chance!! I love a good mystery, and was in the mood for a light, fun read, and this book was PERFECT for that!!!

Kate is a brand new mother who is struggling with not only new motherhood and the desire to become a stay-at-home mom, but she’s also been thrown into a series of crazy events. Not one, not two, but THREE murders have been committed, along with several other things, and Kate is determined to find out what happened. Sensing that being a Private Eye would be the perfect job for a stay-at-home mom, Kate throws herself right into the middle of an investigation that leads her to all kinds of situations.

Once I picked up this book, I couldn’t put it down. I enjoyed all the characters (even though there were quite a lot of them), and I especially liked the descriptions of how Kate was handing the sleep deprivation and being a “poor” breastfeeder. I am definitely looking forward to Kate’s next adventure – I hope it’ll be coming out soon!! Even if you aren’t a new mom, you will appreciate this fun mystery, so definitely check it out!! Also, check out Diana's website for more info about the book!!

Thanks to Diana for emailing me and sending me a copy of her book! I loved it!!!

Friday, August 14, 2009

And the winner is...

First - I have to apologize for announcing the winner a couple days late! I am actually on vacation right now and enjoying some much needed time hanging out at the lake. Ahhhhhhhh!!!! It's been fabulous and I have forgotten all forms of reality. Anyway, back to the issue at hand...


Congratulations to...

Lauren from Shooting Stars Mag!!!!!!!!!!!
I've sent you an email to get your address!!! Thanks to everyone for stopping by and reading my blog!! I hope to start posting more - more reviews and more stories. I really miss telling the stories!!!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Review and Giveaway: A Circle of Souls

In this debut psychological thriller, A Circle of Souls by Preetham Grandhi, a young girl goes missing, and turns up days later. Janet Troy has been brutally murdered and her body has been displayed in an unusual and seemingly sacrificial way. FBI Special Agent Leia Bines, who has experience in cases involving children, has been called in to help find Janet’s killer.

At the same time, seven year old Naya Hastings has been taken to the psychiatric hospital to help her deal with some strange nightmares that cause Naya to sleepwalk (and almost jump off a balcony!). Dr. Peter Gram is assigned to Naya’s case, and is trying to help her get away from these terrifying dreams. Dr. Gram then realizes that Naya has an inside look into Janet Troy’s murder – Janet has been communicating with Naya in her dreams! Dr. Gram and Special Agent Leia Bines join forces to try and find Janet’s killer.

This novel contains so much more than just a man-hunt. The psychological aspects involving the children in the book, combined with some Indian beliefs, and an assortment of characters who are both necessary to the telling of the story and believable in their roles make this book a page turning novel. There were some surprises and a couple of twists I wasn’t expecting.

I wasn’t terribly surprised to find out who the killer was, however, that didn’t seem to take away from the story at all. The characters and the way that the story was told still kept me intrigued and wanting to see what happened next.

If you like psychological thrillers, I definitely recommend picking this one up!! In fact, I just realized it’s been a really long time since I did a giveaway!!!! All you have to do is leave a comment here on this post with your email address (if you don’t leave your email address, you comment will be deleted! I need to have a way to get a hold of you!!). The contest will run through Monday, August 10th, and I’ll pick a winner on Tuesday August 11th. Let’s say this contest is open to anyone who wants to enter! Good luck and happy reading!!!!

Check out A Circle of Souls website for more info about the book!!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Pump Up Your Book Promotion Tour: The Book of Unholy Mischief

I was asked to read The Book of Unholy Mischief by Elle Newmark for a virtual book tour. When I read the description of the book, I was intrigued, but I had no idea what was really in store for me.

The story, set in 15th century Venice, is centered around Luciano, a young orphan who is forced to live on the streets, stealing food to survive. The other main focus of this story is “The Book,” a mysterious book said to contain secrets such as a love potion, and a formula to stop aging in its tracks. When Luciano is caught stealing a pomegranate by the doge’s chef, Chef Ferraro, he is thrown in to a world which he could never imagine – instead of being punished, he is taken to the doge’s kitchen, cleaned up, and allowed to work in the kitchen as an apprentice.

Everyone is out to get this book of secrets, and they will stop at nothing to find it. The council of Cardinals is willing to torture and kill in order to find the book. The secret police, or Cappe Nere, is much feared all over the city, as they are ravaging and torturing everyone expected of knowing anything about the book – librarians, teachers, philosophers.

Venice comes alive in this novel. Ms. Newmark gives great attention to the atmosphere and the description of the city. I felt as though I could really see the Rialto marketplace, full of merchants and goods, and of people milling around and trying to bargain. I loved the description, too of La Sensa, the annual feast and festival held for eight days for the people of Venice. It was also interesting to hear the descriptions of the alleyways where Luciano and his street friends would hide to escape after they had stolen food, places only known to street urchins.

One other star of this novel, the food. At its heart, this novel is both a historical fiction novel, and a culinary fiction novel. While it doesn’t have actual recipes hidden in it’s pages, the description and the loving care taken to enhance the senses while talking about the food is amazing. You learn from Chef Ferrero that different ingredients can provoke different reactions and emotions. The Chef, Luciano’s maestro, shows again and again the power of food, and tries to teach Luciano many lessons using this gift.

I found this novel to be deeply entertaining, with twists and turns I wasn’t expecting (Luciano is faced with a choice to defend and protect his maestro, or being persuaded to turn back to his old ways by his street friends), and there is even a little love story in this book (Luciano falls in love with a young novice he sees in the Rialto). I was completely engaged and hooked from the very beginning of this novel.

I think this would be a great read for anyone who enjoys either historical fiction or culinary fiction. There is definitely something in this novel for everyone!!! Take the time to pick this one up – you’ll be glad you did because its mysteries and secrets will hold on to you long after you put it down!!!

Thank you to Tracee for asking me to host this book, and thank you to Ms. Newmark for an autographed copy of her fabulous book!!!

For more information about this tour, check out Elle Newmark's Pump Up Your Book Promotion page!!!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Pump Up Your Book Promotion Tour: Journal According to John

I am very happy to be writing a review in this book tour for Journal According to John by Sheryl Keen. After he gets into a bar brawl, John’s cousin Maya suggests he begin keeping a journal to help him work out some of the issues that seem to be plaguing him. Even though he is a psychologist by trade, John isn’t too keen on this idea. But, after some persuading by Maya, he starts documenting his feelings and thoughts. This leads to a mountain of self discovery, and an awareness of his reasoning behind his decisions and actions.

John starts to delve into his past and his tense relationship with his mother – which he has come to realize could play a major role in his behaviors. John is also dealing with a recent divorce, in which he could not give himself entirely to his wife, who ended up not being able to deal with his behavior any longer.

In this novel, Sheryl Keen was able to help us dive into John’s mind, and we were able to join him on this journey of self discovery. It is such a powerful ride – finally realizing that one needs help and taking the steps to restructure a life that had seemingly been out of control. The self-analysis is amazing – I saw such intelligent and insightful ideas and assessments. It helps one to understand that self reflection can do wonders for not only the soul, but to see how taking those steps can help in so many aspects of life.

This book was very entertaining, yet very powerful. It helped me open my eyes to some things that are going on in my own personal world, and I feel like I read it at the perfect time in my life.

Thanks to Tracee from Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tours!!

For more information about this awesome book, go to Sheryl Keen's Promotion page. And don't forget to check out more stops on this great tour!!!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Review: Jennifer Johnson is Sick of Being Single

I love chick lit, so when I was asked to read Jennifer Johnson is Sick of Being Single by Heather McElhatton I jumped at the chance!!

Jennifer Johnson is your typical girl – smart, “chubby” (although I take major issue with a girl who is a size 12 being called chubby), working in a job that doesn’t even being to realize the potential that she has. She has always wanted to be a writer, but has been working as a copywriter in the marketing department of Keller’s Department store. There are a couple other things that make this more typical in the way of chick lit – she has a gay best friend, the boss from hell, a mean sister who is getting married, and a great guy friend who is in love with her, but she doesn’t see past the friendship. The thing that sets this novel apart from others in the genre is that McElhatton has a way with dialogue. With some witty conversation and great characterization, I didn’t mind that it seemed a little familiar.

There are definitely some great adventures included in the novel, from a bachelorette party gone bad, to some…interesting dates. I loved how the unlikely seems to happen, and throws Jennifer into a world and a life that she isn’t sure she’s ready for. She falls for Brad Keller, the son of the president of Keller’s Department store, and through a series of events, we realize that not everything is always wine and roses. One thing that didn’t seem familiar in this novel was the ending – I was NOT expecting that!!!

All in all, I really enjoyed this book. I fell right into it, and didn’t really want to put it down. It was also cool for me, as a new Minnesotan, to read about places I’ve been and streets I am familiar with, and yes…even the winter weather that I am SO not impressed with. I was entertained by this one, and I think you will be too!!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Review: The Chris Farley Show: A Biography in Three Acts

So, what do you know about Chris Farley? I’ll admit, I didn’t know much. I thought he was funny, I LOVED Tommy Boy, and have repeated the line “in a van down by the river” from the famous Matt Foley Saturday Night Live skit. I knew he died way too young due to an overdose at 33 – the same age as a man he idolized, John Belushi.

The Chris Farley Show: A Biography in Three Acts is an amazing oral history pulled together by Chris’s older brother Tom Farley, and Tanner Colby – who also wrote a biography about John Belushi. This account starts with Chris’s growing up and living in Madison, Wisconsin. He was known even in grade school as a comedian – always doing something to get a laugh. It also takes us through his college and rugby days, through doing improv comedy at ImprovOlympic and Second City in Chicago, and his 5 year reign on SNL.

Much of Farley’s addiction problems stem from a obese alcoholic father, whom Chris would do anything to please. At almost 600 lbs by the time of Chris’s death, his father was an enabler of the worst kind. Chris once took his father to a weight loss clinic, where they left during the group session after his father claimed that they didn’t have a problem like those other people. After the session, they went on a binge weekend in Florida.

Chris would spend a number of stints in different rehab centers, once staying sober for three years. Some say that he did some of his best work during this time of sobriety. He was on to some great things while he was battling his demons – he was cast as the original voice of Shrek (he had almost finished the voice work when he died, Mike Myers was later cast), and he was in talks for a movie about Fatty Arbuckle, a silent film star whose life had similar characteristics to Farley’s.

The power of the words from the people who knew him best – his brothers, friends, mentors and costars – is amazing. Not everything said in the book is positive, but you really feel like you get a sense of who Chris was, and the things he was dealing with. At the end, I couldn’t help but tear up – I really felt for this good hearted, talented, loving man.

Definitely check this out, if you are looking for a good oral history. I am so glad that I read this book.

Thanks to Caitlin for sending me this book for review!!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Review: The House on Fortune Street


Margot Livesey’s novel, The House on Fortune Street, is a wonderfully written tale about love and choices. It follows four very different characters, but yet these characters are all connected in distinct ways. Sean, a scholar working on his dissertation about Keats, has recently left his wife to be with Abigail, an actress who has started her own theater company. Sean was all Abigail wanted and pressured him hard to leave his wife. Now, there is no time to see each other, and regret might be seeping into each of their consciousness. Dara, Abigail’s best friend from St. Andrews University, has recently moved into the downstairs apartment in Abigail’s house on Fortune Street. She’s a social worker with some emotional damage of her own. When she was 10, her father, Cameron, left for unknown reasons, and she has dealt with feelings of abandonment since then. Cameron, himself, has some secrets as to why he left his family.

Livesey’s writing is so personal, the characters are so intertwined in each others stories. It flows through Sean’s story, into Cameron’s, into Dara’s and finally Abigail’s. Each one reveals something new, which then relates to the next story, and it’s all weaved together until you get to the end and you are hit with a powerful and touching ending that will stay with you long after you put the book down.

I highly recommend this heartrending story. Thank you so much to Stephanie for sending me a copy to read and review!!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Review: Mercury in Retrograde

When I was contacted by Paula Froelich (yes, by Paula HERSELF!!!) to read her new chick-lit book, Mercury in Retrograde, I have to admit, I was totally excited. I love chick-lit – those great summer reads that just let you fall into them. This book was no exception!!

It follows three very different women – Penelope, a reporter who is stuck in a thankless job doing whatever her editor deems worthy, Lena “Lipstick,” a socialite who works at a high fashion magazine and spends her time going to social events and checking her popularity rating on the internet, and Dana, a corporate lawyer on her way towards partnership.

There were several things that I enjoyed about the book. I loved how the book flowed seamlessly between the three characters. They each were able to tell their own stories, and how their lives intersected each others. Also, at the beginning of each chapter, there was a little horoscope for the upcoming pages.

The character development in the story was great, too! Usually in chick-lit, the central characters are totally involved and obsessed with men and their relationships, and while there were some great relationships in the book, these women were primarily focused on their careers, which was kind of refreshing. The growth of these three women throughout the story was totally believable – they really learned from what was going on around them and what was happening to them, and changed for the better.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves chick-lit – or if you just want a light fun summer type read!!

Thanks so much to Paula for sending me her awesome book!!!

Friday, June 12, 2009

And the winner is...

First - I am SO sorry I am a couple days late announcing the winner to my "The Mad Ones" giveaway!!! And now, without further adieu...


A Stationary Addict!!!!

Congratulations!!! I've sent you an email to get your snail mail address!!!

Stay tuned for some more awesome reviews - I've got some great ones in the works!!! Thanks again to everyone for reading my blog and entering the contest!!!

Winner chosen using random.org sequence generator.
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Timestamp: 2009-06-12 15:12:10 UTC

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Review: Best Intentions

After reading the dust jacket, I have to admit I was thinking that Best Intentions by Emily Listfield would be just another novel about a cheating husband and what happens to a family once he has been found out. I wasn’t expecting this novel to grab me with its twists and turns. The story builds, step by step, as we continue to learn more about each of the main characters, and I came to realize that this was so much more than what I expected.

Lisa and Sam seem to be the perfect couple living in New York. They met in college and have been happily married for years. Through a series of missteps and bad investments, are now feeling some financial pressure. Adding to that pressure is their daughters’ private school tuition.

Deirdre is Lisa’s best friend since college. She is a free spirit, single, but looking to settle down. Unfortunately, her current boyfriend – a popular and well traveled photographer, Ben – isn’t interested in that. Their on again, off again relationship is shaky at best, but factor in some rough sex, and it borders on dangerous.

Jack, who had moved away and married a much younger woman, completed the foursome of friends in college. Deirdre and Jack were in a serious relationship that ended in an ultimatum. Then, Jack comes in to town and gets the old gang together for a 40th birthday celebration.

Lisa is faced with some major trust issues at the beginning of the novel, when she hears a voice message on her husband’s phone – a soft whispering voice, suggesting a meeting at the same time, same place. The evidence seems clear that her husband is having an affair, but throughout the novel, different pieces of evidence can be interpreted in different ways. I went back and forth thinking “CHEATER!” and “no, he’s telling the truth!” Through Emily Listfield’s writing, you can really feel the struggle between trust and mistrust, and it was easy to sympathize with Lisa’s character during her struggle.

This novel poses a few questions such as, “how well do you ever really know a person?” I guess you have to read on to find out!!!

Emily Listfield is the author of six novels, including Waiting to Surface and the New York Times Notable Book It was Gonna Be Like Paris. You can read more about Emily Listfield and her work at her author website, or visit the Who Killed Deirdre? web pages.

Thanks to Lauren for sending me this book to review!!!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Review and Giveaway!! The Mad Ones

Joey Gallo was an interesting kind of guy. He wrote poetry, painted, rubbed elbows with celebrities such as Jerry Orbach. But, he was also a gangster. He and his brothers, Larry and Kid Blast were considered “mob muscle” in Brooklyn.

Now, I have never read a book about the mob or gangsters before. I always meant to pick up “The Godfather” but never got around to it…yet. So, I wasn’t sure what to expect with The Mad Ones: Crazy Joe Gallo and the Revolution at the Edge of the Underworld by Tom Folsom – and I sure didn’t expect Crazy Joe Gallo to turn into a sort of “antihero.” Yes, the brothers committed murders for their Don, and yes, they sort of bullied others into doing what they want, but they also fought for the little guy. The people in the neighborhood where they lived adored the brothers because they saved six children from a burning building and put out the fire with a bucket brigade.

These brothers were different from other gangsters – they stood apart with their “hip style, fierce ambition and Crazy Joe’s manic idealism.” Bob Dylan wrote a song about Crazy Joe – and 11 minute ballad called “Joey.” Dylan is quoted as saying “I never considered him a gangster. I always thought of him as some kind of hero in some kind of way. An underdog fighting against the elements.”

Though I found a couple parts to be a little slow (after Joey gets sent to jail, for instance), and a little hard to keep up with some of the characters in the book, I thought is was a interesting read and an insightful look into a world that I could never imagine. This book is definitely worth picking up and checking out!!!

In fact, I’ve decided to do another giveaway!!! All you have to do is leave a comment on this post. Please include your email address so I can notify you if you win! If you don’t leave your email, you will be taken out of the running, and you don’t want that to happen!! The contest will run until Tuesday, June 9, and I’ll pick a winner on Wednesday, June 10. This contest is open to anyone who wants to enter!! Good luck!!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Review: Pregnant Pause

I was pretty excited to get the email from Jenn about the book Pregnant Pause by Carrie Friedman. A book about people who may not want kids, or those who just aren’t ready yet?! I’d LOVE to read it!!!

And I’m so glad I did!!! It wasn’t just another dry non fiction book. It was written for those of us who just aren’t ready or just aren’t sure if they even want kids. It was written for those of us who have to keep hearing the question “Sooooo, when are you going to get on the baby train?” And it was written for those of us who have multiple friends who already have kids, and feel the pressure from – well, just about everywhere.

I got married about two and a half years ago, lots of my married friends have kids already, and believe me, I’ve been reminded that I’m not getting any younger. Reading this book, I seriously thought that someone had gotten inside my head, read all my thoughts on the subject and then wrote it all down.

Ms. Friedman reminds us, in a witty, truthful and funny way that it’s not selfish to not want kids, or to not be ready to have them when the rest of the world is ready for you to. She also tells some fabulous stories about unruly kids, and some…interesting parenting techniques.

I laughed out loud in several different places of this book, all the while nodding my head thinking “YES!” I’ve told several of my single/married without kids girlfriends about this book, too, and I’m sure they are going to feel the same way.

So, a huge thank you to Carrie Friedman for finally writing down all the things I have been thinking about kids! And, if you’ve ever experienced this question coming from your mom, your great aunt, your friends who already have kids, or random strangers, then you need to read this book. Even if you already have kids, you’ll still get a kick out of this book!!

Check out Carrie's website to read more about her, her books and articles and read her blog, too!!

Thanks to Jenn for sending me this awesome book - and making sure I knew I was not alone!!!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Review: Who Do You Think You Are? A Memoir

I was ready for a memoir when I was contacted to read Who Do You Think You Are? by Alyse Myers, but I don't know if I was ready for this powerful and heart wrenching tale of a young child and the struggles she faced growing up.

Soon after Alyse Myers’s mother dies, Alyse and her two sisters are in her apartment, deciding what to keep and what to get rid of. Her greedy sisters are trying to get anything of value that they can get their hands on, but the only thing that Alyse really wants is a wooden box that has been sitting in the back of her mother’s closet since Alyse was young. Once her mother had said about the box “You can have it when I’m dead. In fact, it will be my present to you.” Alyse takes the box, but doesn’t open it right away.

Alyse grew up in 1960’s Queens. Her parents are constantly fighting, shouting, swearing and throwing hateful words towards each other. From the very beginning of this memoir, you can see that resentment and hatred that Alyse’s mother held towards Alyse. She was constantly put down and berated. These things, along with some major chain smoking by both of her parents, were a regular part of every day life for Alyse. Her two younger sisters, though, seemed to be treated with less severity than Alyse.

Alyse’s father would disappear for days or weeks at a time, and when she asked her mother when he would be coming home, the response was “If you ask me one more time, I’ll get the strap.”

This book grabbed me from the very beginning. It is very fact paced and easy to read, the writing pulls you right in. I felt for this young girl as she struggled through life with her mother, and I felt for the adult who tried to come to terms with her childhood. I cringed and shook my head in disbelief and some of the things that this child had been through, but am impressed by and respect the strong woman she has become.

Alyse finally opens the box she took from her mother’s house after years of letting it sit in the closet. She opens it with her own daughter, now old enough to understand. It is a truly touching experience these two share, and one that will help them get to know the woman Alyse’s mother had been before.

I recommend this book because it shows that the spirit can overcome both physical and psychological abuse. This book is so touching and heart-wrenching, it will stay with you long after you put it down.

Read more about Alyse at www.alysemyers.com, including news clips about the book (and an interview from The View!!), and an excerpt from the book!!

Thank you to Julie for sending me this book!!!

Monday, May 18, 2009

And the winners are...


Anonymous
Abby
Lisa
LuAnn
Anonymous

I've sent you all an email letting you know!! Just email me back your snail mail addresses, and I'll get them to the publisher!! Congratulations!!!!!

Thanks to everyone who entered my contest!! I have a TON of reviews coming up, so stay tuned for those!!!

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Timestamp: 2009-05-18 17:01:04 UTC

Monday, May 4, 2009

Review: Things I Want My Daughters to Know and Giveaway!!!!

I am excited to share with you the novel Things I Want My Daughters to Know by Elizabeth Noble. I had read some great reviews about this book, so I was super pumped to have been contacted by Nicole at HarperCollins and asked to do a review! I jumped at the chance, and I am so glad I did.

The novel begins with a letter from Barbara to her daughters. Barbara wrote the letter while she was dying of cancer, and it gives instructions on planning her funeral. We then meet Barbara’s four daughters. Lisa, the oldest, is a commitment-phobe. Jennifer is married but terribly unhappy in her marriage, and is facing a decision to have kids with a man she isn’t sure she loves anymore. Amanda is a wanderer, traveling around the world – even while her mom is dying. And Hannah, the 15 year old, rebels against the loss of her mother.

The novel tells the story of these daughters, as well as Mark, Barbara’s second husband and the girls’ step-father, throughout the 12 months following Barbara’s death. The letters from Barbara are combines with stories of love, revelations, and secrets. Each daughter is touched differently by the letters, and we are able to follow the journey of each girl during this year.

This novel really touched me. I am very close with my mother, and honestly don’t know what I would do without her. She is one of my closest friends, and I feel so lucky to have her. There were several instances where I totally lost it and found tears streaming down my face – because I really felt like I could relate to what was happening in the girls’ lives. It is interesting how you can read a book that truly speaks to you in a certain time of your life.

I love how Barbara was portrayed – beautiful, upbeat, fun, quirky, and outgoing – with amazing and heartfelt advice. She seemed very wise, and gave advice by telling of her own experiences and how she learned what she did. She was not perfect, which the daughters learn throughout the course of the book. She had her own weaknesses, secrets, and insecurities – she was human. The daughters learn to accept all parts of their mom – both the good and the bad.

This book really struck a chord with me, and I highly recommend this novel to all moms and daughters. In fact, I’m excited to announce another giveaway!! Nicole from HarperCollins has offered to giveaway 5 copies of Things I Want My Daughters to Know!!! All you have to do is leave a comment on this post – that’s it!! Be sure to leave an email address with your comment – if you don’t, your comment will be deleted and you won’t be entered (I HAVE to have a way to contact you!!) The contest will run until May 14, and I’ll pick a winner on Friday, May 15!!! I am a little late on getting this out for Mother’s Day, but it’ll be a great novel at any time of the year. This contest is open to US residents only, and no PO Boxes, please.

Good luck and happy reading!!