Where I share my love of books with reviews, features, giveaways and memes. Family and needlepoint are thrown in from time to time.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Birthday Bash Giveaway

Today is my birthday (WOO HOO!), and since it is more fun to give than receive, I am planning a big birthday bash giveaway!  I need to go sort through my books (and take care of some other house keeping stuff) and I will be back later today with the details.  So spread the word!  Would love to hit 500 followers!   Have a great day!

Winner of UPrinting Post Cards is.....

Libby's Library!

Congratulations Libby - I will be emailing you shortly!

Waiting on Wednesday: Blind Spot

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:


Blind Spot
by Nancy Bush
Publication Date: June 29, 2010

In Blind Spot, a young man is slashed to ribbons at an Oregon rest stop, his pregnant girlfriend left alive but comatose. Psychologist Claire Norris is assigned to treat the Jane Doe at a private mental hospital, but ex-homicide detective Langdon Stone question's Claires every move, for he holds her responsible for his sister's murder. What they don't know is the killer is right in their midst, eager to see a mission evil through to its terrifying end.

Read an excerpt of Blind Spot.

What are you waiting for?

Waiting on Wednesdays is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Blind Spot
Publisher/Publication Date: Zebra, June 29, 2010
ISBN: 978-1420103410
384 pages

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Wake by Lisa McMann (Audio version) Book Review

Title: Wake
Author: Lisa McMann
Performed by: Ellen Grafton

About the book: For seventeen-year-old Janie, getting sucked into other people's dreams is getting old.  Especially the falling dreams, the naked-but-nobody-notices dreams, and the sex-crazed dreams. Janie's seen enough fantasy booty to last her a lifetime.

She can't tell anybody about what she does -- they'd never believe her, or worse, they'd think she's a freak.  So Janie lives on the fringe, cursed with an ability she doesn't want and can't control.

Then she falls into a gruesome nightmare, one that chills her to the bone.  For the first time, Janie is more than a witness to someone else's twisted psyche. She is a participant. . .

My thoughts: Janie has been sucked into other people's dreams since she was eight-years-old.  Whenever she is around someone who has fallen asleep and is dreaming, she gets pulled in.  It doesn't matter where she is or what she is doing, she cannot keep herself from entering their dreams.  They leave her feeling very tired and unable to move - Nightmares are the worst and seem to take the most out of her. 

She only really has one close girlfriend, but hasn't even been able to share with her this "ability."  Then she meets Cabel.  Over one summer he transforms from a long-haired loser into a buff, pretty cool guy.  And for whatever reason, he seems to be interested in her.  She begins to trust him, only to be left disappointed - but he convinces her to give him a second chance. 

She finally shares her ability with him, and he believes her (and doesn't think she is a freak).  And besides, he has some secrets of his own. . .

I really enjoyed the audio version of this book.  My library doesn't have the second book in the series on tape, but I have already checked out the book.  Now, if I can just get it away from my daughter!

Montana Legacy by R.C. Ryan - Book Review

Title: Montana Legacy
Author: by R.C. Ryan
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

About the book: They're the McCords. . .three rugged, sexy cowboy cousins who'll inherit the family range -- if they seek the treasure hidden on it.  But even more precious are the women who can tame their wild hearts...

She was the one person who shook Jesse McCord's quiet determination. She was the only one he ever let in, body and soul.  Then suddenly Amy Parrish was gone and the oldest McCord cousin devoted his life to the family ranch.  Now Amy is back, offering to help Jesse find the McCord gold. Yet Jesse's not about to give her a second chance, and he hopes his pride will protect him from her irresistible charms. But under the wide prairie skies a dangerous, unseen enemy is fast closing in, threatening Amy and Jesse's very lives and the promise of their. . .Montana Legacy.

My thoughts:  This was a very quick, fun read.  Take three good looking cousins, a hidden treasure, a long ago love lost, and a mystery - and you have Montana Legacy.  I enjoyed the way this story played out - and while I thought that I had the mystery figured out - I had it all but the key player.  It was fun to be wrong and be surprised! 

The cousins are reunited on the ranch when their grandfather, Coot, passes away. Jesse was the only one who had remained there his entire life.  Wyatt and Zane had moved away as teenagers with their parents.  It had been many many years since they had all been together on the ranch - the place where they used to be as close as brothers.  In Coot's will, he gives them the option of taking $500,000 and leaving - or staying and looking for the treasure that has had generations of McCords looking for it - and being able to have a share in it if it is found.

While Jesse figures they will take the money and run, they decide to stay.  They had both been wandering the world anyway, and believed the ranch was the one place they could truly call home.   Slowly the cousins start to make their way back to each other, but it going to take a lot for them to regain the relationship they had when they were young.

Jesse is wrangling with another relationship at the same time - one with Amy Parrish - the daughter of his next door neighbor and the oldest enemy of the McCords.  Amy is back in Gold Fever to take care of her father, who, because of illness, has to undergo a series of treatments (it never mentions cancer - but that is what I think you are supposed to believe).  Amy and Jesse were once young lovers - the electricity still seems to be between them, but they both are playing it cool.  When she joins in the search for the treasure, another menace appears that might keep them apart forever.

There are two more books coming in this series - Montana Destiny is due out in May and Montana Glory in November!

~I was provided a copy of this book for review from Hachette Books.~

Montana Legacy
Publisher/Publication Date: Grand Central Publishing/Mar 2010
ISBN: 978-0-446-54861-8
281 pages

It's Monday! What are you reading? (3-29-10)

Ok,  I know that it is not really Monday - but this list keeps me on track for what I need to do this week! 

I have a giveaway ending today for 100 Custom Postcards!  Be sure to check it out as well as all the new giveaways!

What are you reading on Mondays is now being hosted by Sheila at One Person's Journey - You can hook up with the Mr. Linky there with your own post - but be sure and let me know what you are reading too!

Currently Reading:

1. The Poacher's Son (Mike Bowditch Mysteries)by Paul Doiron - Reading this as part of the Barnes and Noble First Look -Still a terrific book - just can't seem to finish it!

2. The Edge of Light (At Home in Beldon Grove, Book 1) by Ann Shorey - Reading in preparation for Blog Tour of Book 2 - The Promise of Morning.

3. Disrupting Grace: A Story of Relinquishment and Healing by Kristen Richburg - This is a short book about the heartache of an adoption that didn't work out.

Books abandoned last week:

1. Seized: A Sea Captain's Adventures Battling Scoundrels and Pirates While Recovering Stolen Ships in the World's Most Troubled Waters by Max Hardberger -

2. Here Burns My Candle by Liz Curtis Higgs

New this week:

1. An Absence So Great (Christian Fiction Series) by Jane Kirkpatrick

2. Promise of Morning, The (At Home in Beldon Grove) by Ann Shorey

3. A Touch of Scandal by Jennifer Haymore

4. The Bride Collector by Ted Dekker

Current audio book:
1. Twilight (The Twilight Saga, Book 1) by Stephanie Meyer - Spring break has put a crimp in our ability to listen to this one!

Books reviewed last week:

1. Eggs in Purgatory by Laura Childs

2. Waking up in the Land of Glitter by Kathy Cano-Murillo

Waiting for review: I am so embarrased by this list of books that keeps following me from week to week...  Hopefully I will get some of them off my desk this week!

1. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

2. Dear John by Nicholas Sparks

3. 101 Glam Girl Ways to an Ultra Chic Lifestyle: A Cheeky Book with Tidbits of Advice for a Glamorous Lifestyle by Dawn Del Russo

4. Wake by Lisa McMann

5. Chosen: The Lost Diaries of Queen Esther (Lost Loves of the Bible) by Ginger Garret

6. Montana Legacy by R.C. Ryan

Ready - Set - Read!

Apologize, Apologize! by Elizabeth Kelly - GIVEAWAY!

Apologize, Apologize!
by Elizabeth Kelly

Welcome to the perversely charmed world of the Flanagans and their son, Collie (yes, he was named after the dog breed). Coming of age on Martha's Vineyard, he struggles within his wildly wealthy, hyperarticulate, resolutely crazy Irish-Catholic family: a philandering father, incorrigible brother, pigeon-racing uncle, radical activist mother, and domineering media mogul grandfather (accused of being a murderer by Collie's mother).  It is a world where chaos is exhilaratingly constant and money is no object. Yet it is one where the things Collie wants -- understanding, stability, a sense of belonging -- cannot be bought at any price. Through his travails, we realize what it really means to grow into one's family: to find ways to see them anew, to forgive them, and to be forgiven in turn.

Elizabeth Kelly is a magazine editor and award-winning journalist with several Canadian National Magazine Awards and nominations to her credit. Apologize, Apologize! is her first novel. It will be published as part of Knopf Canada's "New Face of Fiction" program in April, 2009. She has a profoundly (some might say tragically) Catholic education, attending a Catholic elementary school, a convent high school, and then St. Michael's College at the University of Toronto, where she majored in English, multiple fianc├ęs, and truancy. Years of poverty, strong opinions, and poor judgment ensued. Today, a largely unrecognized authority on Guns N' Roses, she lives in a century-old house in a little eastern Ontario village where she hides from visitors and nightly prays that she won't one day be found under an avalanche of old newspapers, partially consumed by dogs—one Labrador Retriever named Chip in particular.


I have three copies of this paperback book to giveaway courtesy of Hachette Books. For your first entry (MUST DO THIS ONE FOR ANY OTHER ENTRIES TO COUNT) Collie is one of the characters names in this book - what is the most unusual name you have ever heard.  Oh - and leave your email address.

For additional entries you can sign up to follow (old followers let me know), Twitter or post it on your blog. Each entry must have it's own comment. (Four entries total.)

This giveaway if for U.S./Canada only - no PO boxes and will end Apr 20!

Reading Group Guide:
1) Throughout this account of Collie Flanagan’s life (so far), he appears to be the only conventional—or perhaps even sane—member of his family. However, the novel is told from his perspective. Do you feel like you can trust what he’s saying?

2) What do you think of Collie’s mother? Does she seem to have lived a life of passion, or is she defined only by her rebellion against her aristocratic roots?

3) Should Collie have gone in after Bingo and the others, knowing as he did that there was no hope?

4) In one interview, Elizabeth Kelly referred to Bingo as “representative of full-blown adolescence, but in all its glory,” and as something of a heroic character as well. What do you make of him?

5) Elizabeth Kelly has clearly had a lot of fun creating the hilarious and often manic characters at the heart of this novel. How did you react to the various Flanagan family blowouts? Did you more often cringe or laugh out loud?

6) Talk about the role of money in this novel: who has it and who doesn’t; how it can be a motivator, or stunt one’s ambitions; how it insulates the Flanagans, yet forces them into the limelight; and so on.

7) “Dignity is the last refuge of scoundrels,” Collie’s father was known to say, and he certainly was one to put himself into undignified positions, despite his charm and sharp clothes. What do you make of him as a man, and as a father?

8) Who is your favorite character in this novel, and why?

9) Collie and Bingo have a relationship that’s not always straightforward, yet at its heart is a strong sibling love. What does each expect, and receive (or not), from the other?

10) What was Collie hoping to achieve in El Salvador? Did he change as a result of his experiences there?

11) What are Collie Flanagan’s personal strengths? Were there small events that stood out for you as monumental in terms of proving his character?

12) More than any other member of the Flanagans, Collie has a close—if complex—relationship with his grandfather, Peregrine Lowell. Why is that so? How has their relationship developed by the end of the novel?

13) The Flanagans inhabit a world of elite privilege, yet are so self-absorbed you can’t help but wonder whether they’d even notice if the rest of humanity ceased to exist. Does Collie rise above all that, or is he just like the rest of them?

14) Collie’s father has a knack for showing up wildly drunk for even the most staid of events, including the funerals held for his wife and son. Talk about how his disappearances and arrivals function in the novel.

15) Whenever anyone talks to Collie about the events of the day Bingo and his mother died, they always get the details wrong. What is Kelly saying about living up to the expectations of others in this novel? Should Collie have stood up for himself more often?

16) The Flanagans are a wild and wildly humorous bunch, and even their seemingly unwarranted jabs at Collie are terrific. Discuss the role of cutting humor and over-the-top judgment in the novel.

17) At the end of the novel, Collie appears to have come to terms with his family, or at least seems to have achieved some measure of peace. What does the future hold for Collie Flanagan?

An Absence So Great by Jane Kirkpatrick - Blog Tour and Giveaway!

An Absence So Great
by Jane Kirkpatrick
touring Mar 29 - Apr 2

Did photography replace an absence in her life OR expose the truth of her heart's emptiness?

While growing in confidence as a photographer, eighteen-year-old Jessie Ann Gaebele's personal life is at a crossroads. Hoping she's put an unfortunate romantic longing behind her as "water under the bridge," she exiles herself to Milwaukee to operate photographic studios for those owners who have fallen ill with mercury poisoning.

Jessie gains footing in her dream to one day operate her own studio and soon finds herself in other Midwest towns, pursuing her profession.  But even a job she loves can't keep painful memories from seeping into her heart when the shadows of a forbidden love threaten to darken the portrait of her life.

Author bio:  Jane Kirkpatrick is an award-winning author of sixteen historical novels, including A Flickering Light, the first part of Jessie Gaebale’s story, and three nonfiction titles. Known for her unique insights into the exploration of community, family and faith of actual historical women, the Wisconsin native and her husband have called their ranch in Oregon home for the past 25 years.

Jane blogs at Words of Encouragement.  You can also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.


I have one copy of this paperback book to giveaway courtesy of Waterbrook Multnomah Books. For your first entry (MUST DO THIS ONE FOR ANY OTHER ENTRIES TO COUNT) just leave a comment - that easy! Oh - and leave your email address.

For additional entries you can sign up to follow (old followers let me know), Twitter or post it on your blog. Each entry must have it's own comment. (Four entries total.)

This giveaway is for U.S.only and will end Apr 20!

Learn more about this book at Random House.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Promise of Morning by Ann Shorey - Blog Tour (Mar 28 - Apr 3)

The Promise of Morning
by Ann Shorey
Touring Mar 28 to Apr 3
Life in Beldon Grove on the Illinois frontier in the 1840s isn't easy.  For Ellie Craig, the graves of her three infant children make it unbearably lonely, despite the love of her husband Matthew. When she uncovers a family secret that suggests she may not be as alone as she thought, Ellie is determined to find the truth.

Meanwhile, Matthew Craig faces controversy in the church he pastors when a man arrives in town claiming to be both a minister and the son of the town's founder. Will Matthew find the courage to reclaim his church? Or will he return to itinerant preaching, leaving Ellie even more alone than before?

Book 2 in the At Home in Beldon Grove series, The Promise of Morning will touch your soul with themes of overcoming tragedy, finding strength to meet daunting challenges, and trusting your heart to love again.

I am just finishing up Book 1 - The Edge of Light - it is a great book - Can't wait to pick up Book 2!

The Promise of Morning
Publisher/Publication Date: Baker, March 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3333-9
324 pages

Saturday, March 27, 2010

In My Mailbox/Mailbox Monday (3-28 and 3-29)

Mailbox Monday is hosted at The Printed Page . Please visit Kristi and Marcia  and take a look at what packages everybody else got this week!

Wherever Nina Lies
by Lynn Weingarten

Nina was beautiful, artistic, wild. . . and adored by her younger sister, Ellie.  But one day, without any warning, Nina disappeared.

Two years later, Ellie can't stop thinking about her sister. Although everyone else has given uphope that Nina will return, Ellie just knows her sister is out there, somewhere. When Ellie finds a clue in the form of a mysterious drawing, she sets off on a road trip with her crush, determined to find her sister.

Along the way, Ellie finds a few things she wasn't planning on. Like love. Mysteries. Lies. And something far more shocking. . . the truth.

The Map of True Places
by Brunonia Barry

Zee Finch has come a long way from a motherless childhood spent stealing boats -- a talent that earned her the nickname Trouble.  She's now a respected psychotherapist working with world-famous Dr. Liz Mattei.  She's also about to marry one of Boston's most eligible bachelors. But the suicide of Zee's patient Lilly Braedon throws Zee into emotional chaos and takes her back to places she thought she'd left behind.

What starts as a brief visit home to Salem after Lilly's funeral becomes the beginning of a larger journey for Zee. Her father, Finch, long ago diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, has been hiding how sick he really is. His longtime companion, Melville, has moved out, and it now falls to Zee to help her father through this difficult time. Their relationship, marked by half-truths and the untimely death of her mother, is strained and awkward.

Overwhelmed by her new role, and uncertain about her future, Zee destroys the existing map of her life and begins a new journey, one that will take her not only into her future but into her past as well. Like the sailors of old Salem who navigated by looking at the starts, Zee has to learn to find her way through uncharted waters to the place she will ultimately call home.

Claude & Camille
A Novel of Monet
by Stephanie Cowell

Painter Claude Monet's life changes forever when he meets the beautiful and mysterious Camille Doncieux. Through years of struggle, misunderstanding, and love, they carve out a life together, but can Camille ever escape her past -- and can Claude ever forget it?

In his early twenties, Claude Monet arrives in Paris determined to make his fortune as an artist. Instead, he finds poverty and obscurity but also camaraderie in a group of similarly unknown painters -- Renoir, Pissarro, Degas, Bazille, Manet, and Cezanne -- who share his vision and passion.  But the single-most influential person in his life is a charming and vivacious upper-class girl named Camille Doncieux, who rejects a life of privilege to be with him. He falls madly in love with Camille, and his first great success is a portrait of her in an exquisite green opera dress. The two manage to stay together through years of bitter opposition from their families, Claude's artistic failures, and wretched poverty, but adversity eventually takes its toll. Even as Monet begins to sell his work, his marriage to Camille descends into tragedy -- and Monet realizes that he has never completely known his true love and greatest muse.

A fascinating portrait of an artistic genius, Claude & Camille will appeal to readers of Susan Vreeland and Tracy Chevalier, to art aficionados, and to the legions of Monet's own fans.

The Third Rail
by Michael Harvey

A woman is shot as she waits for her train to work. An hour later, a second woman is gunned down as she rides an elevated train through the Loop. Two hours after that, a church becomes the target of a chemical weapons attack. The city of Chicago is under siege, and Michael Kelly, cynical cop turned private investigator, just happens to be on the scene when all hell breaks loose.

Kelly is initially drawn into the case by the killers themselves, then tasked by Chicago's mayor and the FBI to hunt down the bad guys and, all things being equal, put a bullet in them.  Kelly, of course, has other ideas. As he gets closer to the truth, his instincts lead him to a retired cop, a shady train company, and an unnerving link to his own past.  Meanwhile, Kelly's girlfriend, Rachel Swenson, becomes a pawn in a much larger game, while a weapon that could kill millions ticks away quietly in the very belly of the city.

The Third Rail is stylish, sophisticated, edge-of-your-seat suspense from a new modern master.

She's So Dead To Us
by Kieran Scott

Home is where the hate is.

Ally Ryan would rather be in Maryland. She would rather be anywhere, in fact, than Orchard Hill, site of her downfall. Well, not hers exactly, but when your father's hedge fund goes south and all your friends lose their trust funds, things don't look so sunny for you. So her mother moved them away to flee the shame. But now they're moving back. Back to the country club, new car every year, family came over on the Mayflower lifestyle that Ally has outgrown. But there are bright sides. Like gorgeous Jake Graydon. Ally and Jake instantly like each other, but it won't be easy for them to be together -- not if his friends (her former friends) have anything to say about it. Is Ally ready to get thrown back into the drama of the life she left behind?

How Do You Tuck in a Superhero?
And Other Delightful Mysteries of Raising Boys
by Rachel Balducci

When Rachel Balducci looks for material for her writing, she doesn't have to look far. Her subject matter can be found climbing through the window, hanging on to the edge of the roof, and rummaging through the refrigerator. Here she chronicles the exuberant, awesome life of boys through bizarre conversations overheard, unbelievable rules she's been forced to make, and the many episodes of boy behavior that continue to mystify mothers worldwide. From the care and feeding of her team, to travels out in public, to their wide-eyed adoration of Chuck Norris, this laugh-out-loud celebration joyfully explores the sweetly wild side of boyhood.

Guest House: A Novel
By Barbara K. Richardson

Driving home from work on a summer afternoon, Melba Burns witnesses a nightmare collision. She abandons her car, quits her job, and stops driving. The wreck ends Melba's desire for success at any cost; she retreats into her beloved old farmhouse yearning for a simpler peace. But peace has never met Melba's stunning new roommate JoLee Garry, a magnet for messes and trouble.  JoLee brings a series of unexpected guests who transform Melba's solo life into something different, darker, and richer.

Deliver Us From Evil
by Robin Caroll

Brannon Callahan, a search-and-rescue helicopter pilot working for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, is as beautiful and tough as the terrain surrounding her. When a blizzard crashes the small helicopter carrying U.S. Marshal Roark Holland, she must save him and the donor heart he is transporting to a comatose government witness whose mind holds a crucial piece of information. Without it, the largest child trafficking ring in history -- closer than Brannon or Roark can imagine -- will slip further into darkness somewhere along the Appalachian Trail.

Mother-Daughter Duet
Getting to the Relationship You Want with Your Adult Daughter
by Cheri Fuller and Ali Plum

When your daughter was born, you had a thousand hopes and dreams for her. . .including that one day you'd be best friends.

But as life unfolds, even the best intentions go awry. There are so many challenges on the journey to adult friendship that the reality is fraught with friction and frustration. Thankfully, a harmonious relationship with your daughter is possible.

Written by a mother and daughter who have successfully navigated the minefield from distance and tension to acceptance and friendship, Mother-Daughter Duet helps moms open wide the door of communication so that daughters want to walk through it.  Filled with personal anecdotes and based on proven principles, each chapter offers timeless wisdom as well as a daughter's perspective. Often these principles apply to daughters-in-law as well.

The relationship between mothers and daughters is intense, personal, complex, and unique. But you can have the loving, authentic bond you always dreamed of -- when you learn the mother-daughter duet.

by Fred Lybrand

Annie is a college grad-student who is stumped about love. Her mom and dad are in the throes of a divorce, her teenage sister is obsessed with how her boyfriend makes her look, and her closest friend Jennah is on a continual ride of running off every guy she dates.

Friendships, dating, romance, and marriage -- it's all confusing to Annie until the day a white-haired stranger appears in her life. Glaen is an unusual professor with an unusual name. Her with-haired unconventional mentor guides Annie on a path of discovery that unlocks the secrets of real relationships in a world gone phony. By abandoning herself to learn, Annie discovers the mystifying affect of how learning to tell the truth changes everything in friendship, family, and love.

The solutions Dr. Lybrand offers in this book will astound and free you to quit doing the very things that take away your ability to find the love and friendship you want. More importantly, you'll discover a fresh path to the possibility of greater connections with those you care most about.  You'll want everyone you know to read this book. . .twice!

Share From the Heart
by Marilyn E. Randall

Learning to share and be understanding and compassionate is a valuable tool for getting on well in today's society. So many times children grow up with a "what's good for me" attitude and as they get older this can cause great difficulties for their future relationships.  It is my hope that this little story helps someone to understand the value of friendship and accepting differences and helps them to be compassionate and caring for others.  I dedicate this book to children everywhere who struggle with overcoming selfishness and self centeredness and strive to be loving and caring when they come in contact with difference.  May you always see differences as something to be cherished and explored, not rejected and feared.

Bailey's Day
by Robert Haggarty

How much fun can a dog have when its owner goes to work?

Meet Bailey. After her mailman owner sets off for work, Bailey's not about to stay at home. So, after a quick nap, this feisty pointer dog gets ready to hit the streets. First order of business? Meeiting up with her wiener dog friend, Frankie.  Together, they go on some exciting adventures -- whether it's at the swimming pool, at the park, or eating tacos with Pete the taco truck man.  But watch out! Is that Bailey's owner coming by in his mail truck? Better hide!

Packed with adorable photographs of the real-life Bailey, Bailey's Day spurs children's imaginations with the possiblities of just what really goes on in a dog's life when they're not looking.  And its vocabulary-building text makes it a must-have for parents and teachers. But Bailey's Day is also sure to be a hit with anyone who's ever loved a dog.


Friday, March 26, 2010


How cool is this?  Hershey's has partnered with the Children's Miracle Network for over 20 years - and this year, in celebration of their Easter products being sold exclusively at Walmart - they are going to donate up to $5000 to the Children's Miracle Network with the help of none other than BLOGGERS!
How can you help, you ask?  Well, let me tell you:

  • Create a blog post with the specifics listed here.
  • Hershey Company will donate $10 per each blog post to CMN, up to a total of $5000.
  • One blog post per URL counts towards the donation, but you can give as many virtual Easter baskets as you want.
  • The Hershey’s Better Basket Blog Hop will officially begin at 12 AM EST on March 18th and end at 12 PM EST on April 4th, 2010. Blog posts submitted to us before or after that time period will not be counted for.
  • The blog post link has to be submitted to us for the donation to be counted. (Submit here.)
  • In addition copy and paste the following text in your blog post:

  • Copy and paste these rules to your blog post.
  • Create a blog post giving a virtual Easter Basket to another blogger – you can give as many Virtual Baskets as you want.
  • Link back to person who gave you an Easter Basket.
  • Let each person you are giving a Virtual Easter Basket know you have given them a Basket.
  • Leave your link at BetterBasket.info/BlogHop comment section. You can also find the official rules of this #betterbasket blog hop, and more information about Better Basket with Hershey’s there.
  • Hershey’s is donating $10 per each blog participating to the Better Basket Blog Hop to Children’s Miracle Network (up to total of $5,000 by blog posts written by April 4th, 2010).
  • Please note that only one blog post by each blog url will count towards the donation.

I was awarded an Easter Basket by Natalie over at The Book Inn.  (Thanks Natalie!)  I have decided to pass it on to these blogs:
Adventures of a Somewhat Crunchy Mama - Cheryl
Anonymously Uncensored  - Audra
Beth Fish Reads - Beth
Bookfan - Mary
Freda's Voice - Freda
Hearts Make Families - Tami
Live, Love, Laugh and Bloggings - CJ
Lucid Conspiracy - Deltay
Me, My Book and the Couch - Shon
Pudgy Penguin Perusals - Kaye

Waking Up in the Land of Glitter by Kathy Cano-Murillo (Book Review)

Title: Waking Up in the Land of Glitter
Author: Kathy Cano-Murillo
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

About the book:  With glue guns, glitter, twigs, or yarn, the ordinary can become extraordinary. . .especially at La Pachanga. Owned by Estrella "Star" Esteban's family, the restaurant has a rep for two things: good food and great art.  La Pachanga brings people together -- even when it looks like they couldn't be further apart.

One ill-fated evening, Star jeopardizes her family's business, her relationship with her boyfriend, and her future career.  To redeem herself , she agrees to participate in a national craft competition, teaming up with her best friend, Ofelia -- a secretly troubled mother whose love for crafting borders on obsession; and local celebrity Chloe Chavez -- a determined television personality with more than one skeleton in her professional closet. If these unlikely allies can set aside their differences, they'll find strength they never knew they had, and learn that friendship, like crafting, is truly an art form.

My thoughts:  I really enjoyed this book - and not just because it combined two of my favorite things - reading and crafts.  Star is very much a free spirit.  She lives at home and works at her family's restaurant, doing press releases for the art shows they host.  Her life isn't very demanding, and she doesn't really have a lot of tough decisions to make, so when she suspects Theo, her best friend, is about to propose - it kind of causes her to lose a little control.  She ends up getting drunk with her cousin Maria Juana (I laughed too) and doing some things that she is not too proud of.  These things cause her to lose Theo and for her parents to lose their faith/trust in her.  Her dad basically tells her she has 6 months to get her act together - working somewhere other than La Pachanga.

Star gets involved with the Craft Olympics, as La Pachanga is in charge of the center pieces for the tables - 200 of them. . .  Olfie jumps right in to help, but her ideas are not very attractive.  No one is willing to tell Olfie that her crafts and awful, as she tends to melt down.  Olfie has been struggling with being a good enough wife and mother her entire marriage.  It doesn't help that her mother-in-law is always there to help out, and does things much better than she ever hopes too.  Her husband and daughter both love her unconditionally though, and do not discourage her crafting.

Chloe Chavez and Star did not get off to a good start the first time they met.  When they discover they are both going to be making the centerpieces together, you think that sparks are going to fly.  But together with Benecio, a teenager, who with his passion for fashion hopes to score a booth at the craft olympics, they come up with an idea and begin the process of making centerpieces.  Unfortunately, their individual lives are each spiralling out of control and they each have to make some tough decisions before they can begin the process of starting over.

Waking Up in the Land of Glitter
Publisher/Publication Date: Grand Central Publishing, March 2010
ISBN: 978-0-446-50924-4
336 pages

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Touch of Scandal Blog Tour (Mar 25 - Apr 7) and Giveaway!

A Touch of Scandal
by Jennifer Haymore

The last thing Garrett, Duke of Calton, expects to find while tracking his sworn enemy is the delectable, mysterious Kate. This beautiful servant girl rouses a longing the battle-scarred ex-soldier had never hoped to feel again. But when she turns out to be the sister of the man he seeks, he's convinced he's been betrayed.

Kate knows her duty to her family, yet how can she ignore Garrett's powerful pull on her heart? Or the heady temptation of his stolen-and sizzling-kisses? Scandal has followed the duke since the war. Now the greatest shock of all is on its way-the one that can separate Garrett and Kate forever.
Five Fun Facts

1. The heroine from A Touch of Scandal, Kate, has a younger brother, Reginald. Reggie suffers from severe asthma—something I understand, having been through it as a child and now watching my own son fight it. It’s truly a painful and frightening illness. I can’t imagine what it was like for children before proper medications were available. The prescription the doctor in A Touch of Scandal orders—prussic acid—was a common remedy for asthma. But like many medicines of the time, prussic acid has since been proven to be very poisonous—even deadly. No wonder poor Reggie didn’t improve while he was taking it!

2. In the first drafts of A Touch of Scandal, there were three “villains.” I thought that was at least one too many, so I changed one character to soften her up a bit, even almost redeeming her at the end. She’s still not a very likeable character, but she’s no longer the equivalent of the Wicked Witch of the West! Can you guess who this is?

3. I’ve been to England several times, but I have not been to Kenilworth Castle. I researched it as thoroughly as I could while writing A Touch of Scandal, and it’s definitely on the itinerary for my next visit to the UK!

4. The James family seat, Calton House, is located in the Yorkshire dales. I feel especially bonded to this part of England—I think it’s because several of my ancestors immigrated to Canada from Yorkshire. I’ve driven through the county once, and I loved it. It’s a special place.

5. One of the main characters in A Touch of Scandal is Becky, the younger sister of the Duke of Calton. I have loved writing about her, because she is the one character whose growth you can really see from the beginning to the end of the series. She is immature and compulsive in A Hint of Wicked; she crashes back to reality in A Touch of Scandal; and in the third book, A Season of Seduction, she really comes into her own and finally finds the man that will lead her down the (very rocky!) road to a happily ever after.


I have five copies of this paperback book to giveaway courtesy of Hachette Books. For your first entry (MUST DO THIS ONE FOR ANY OTHER ENTRIES TO COUNT) - From the fun facts above, we learn that Reggie suffers from asthma - was there any childhood diseases that you or one of your siblings suffered from?  I had allergies so bad that I got an allergy shot once a week - by the time I was 14 I had learned to give them to myself - then by 17 they had all switched to foods, for which there was no shot - so after about 12 years of shots, I just got to stop them!  Be sure to leave an email address also!

For additional entries you can sign up to follow (old followers let me know), Twitter or post it on your blog. Each entry must have it's own comment. (Four entries total.)

This giveaway if for U.S./Canada only - no PO boxes and will end Apr 15!

Participating blogs:
Thoughts in Progress Feature, Giveaway, Guest Post 3/25/2010
Bibiliophilic Book Blog Feature, Review, Giveaway 3/25/2010
Book Soulmates Review, Giveaway, Q&As 3/25/2010
You Wanna Know What I Think? Review, Giveaway 3/25/2010
Just Another New Blog Giveaway 3/25/2010
Simply Stacie Giveaway 3/25/2010
Freda's Voice Giveaway 3/25/2010
A Journey of Books Review, Giveaway, Q&As 3/25/2010
Book Junkie Review, Giveaway, Q&As 3/25/2010
Long Live the Lit Feature, Guest Post 3/26/2010
Smexy Books Review, Giveaway 3/26/2010
The Book Girl Review, Giveaway 3/26/2010
Rundpinne Feature, Review 3/27/2010
Michelle and Leslie's Book Picks Review, Giveaway 3/29/2010
Who Has Time to Read Review, Giveaway 3/31/2010
My Guilty Pleasures Review, Giveaway 4/1/2010
Eclectic Book Lover Review 4/1/2010
Seductive Musings Feature, Review, Giveaway 4/1/2010
Books and Needlepoint Feature, Review, Giveaway 4/2/2010
Broken Teepee Review, Giveaway 4/3/2010
Savey Spender Review, Giveaway 4/4/2010
All About {n} Review, Giveaway 4/5/2010
Just Short of Crazy Review, Giveaway 4/5/2010
Marta's Meanderings Feature, Review 4/6/2010
My Book Addiction and More. . . Feature, Review, Giveaway 4/6/2010
Razlover's Book Blog Feature, Review, Giveaway 4/6/2010
Renee's Reads Review 4/7/2010
My Reading Addiction Review, Giveaway 4/7/2010

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Eggs in Purgatory by Laura Childs (Book Review) and Giveaway!

Eggs in Purgatory
by Laura Childs

Suzanne, Toni, and Petra lost their husbands but found independence -- and, in each other, a life raft of support, inspiration, fresh baked goods, and their own business. But when the Cackleberry Club cafe opened its doors in the town of Kindred, who'd have guessed that the cozy oasis would become the scene of a crime?

Suzanne's lawyer is found in his car behind the Cackleberry with egg on his face and blood on the dash.  Suzanne's taking the crime personally: The murder reveals a scandal in her late husband's past and brings a stranger fleeing a messianic sect to her for help. Now, discovering the link between a dead man with secrets and a runaway cultist may be putting Suzanne's own life on the line.

My Thoughts:  I believe that I just found me another cozy mystery writer to love!  I really enjoyed the sense of strength and friendship that I felt among these three women.  Suzanne appears to be the leader, but I have a feeling that we will probably get to explore them all in depth as the series progresses.  The Cackleberry Club isn't just a cafe - it has a book nook and a knitting nest - It is definitely my kind of place!  Amidst the morning and lunchtime rush and the afternoon tea's, Suzanne still manages to get herself into some unusual situations.  It was fun to follow the twists and turns, and Laura Childs leads you down one path - only to jar you off of it at the end to show you the real murderer!  

I was lucky enough to receive the next book in the series, Eggs Benedict Arnold, from the author, as well as The Teaberry Strangler - her latest Tea Shop Mystery.  Even better than that though, I have 4 copies of each book(Eggs Benedict Arnold and The Teaberry Strangler) to giveaway to my readers!  

So - for the giveaway - Please tell me which book (Eggs Benedict Arnold and/or The Teaberry Strangler) The that you would like to win and leave your email address.

For a second entry - please visit Laura at www.laurachilds.com and come back and tell me something that you learned.

If you are a follower you also get an entry.

Twitter or blogging will each get you one also!

This giveaway will end April 14.

UPDATE (3-25-2010)  Giveaway is for U.S./Canada only.

So you can earn a total of five entries - just make sure to put them each in a separate comment!  I am verifying with the author as to restrictions on the winners locations - so please stay tuned for that update!  Good luck!

Library Loot: 3-24-2010

Library Loot is hosted by Eva at A Striped Armchair and Marg at Reading Adventures.

Title: Going Bovine
Author: Libba Bray

All sixteen-year-old Cameron wants is to get through high school -- and life in general -- with a minimum of effort. It's not a lot to ask. But that's before he's given some bad news: he's sick and he's going to die. Which totally sucks.

Hope arrives in the winged form of Dulcie, a loopy punk angel/possible hallucination with a bad sugar habit. She tells Cam there is a cure -- if he's willing to go in search of it. With the help of Gonzo, a death-obsessed, video-gaming dwarf, and a yard gnome who just might be the Viking god Balder, Cam sets off on the mother of all road trips through a twisted America of smoothie-drinking happiness cults, parallel-universe-hopping physicists, mythic New Orleans jazz musicians, whacked-out television game shows, snow-globe vigilantes, and disenfranchised, fame-hungry teens into the heart of what matters most.

From New York Times bestselling author Libba Bray comes a dark comedic journey that poses the questions: Why are we here? What is real? What makes microwave popcorn so good? Why must we die? And how do we really learn to live? (inside book jacket)

Title: Kitty and the Midnight Hour
Author: Carrie Vaughn

Vampires. Werewolves. Talk Radio.

Kitty Norville is a midnight-shift DJ for a Denver radio station -- and a werewolf in the closet. Sick of lame song requests, she accidentally starts "The Midnight Hour," a late-night advice show for the supernaturally disadvantaged.

After desperate vampires, werewolves, and witches across the country begin calling in to share their woes, her new show is a raging success. But it's Kitty who can use some help. With one sexy werewolf-hunter and a few homicidal undead on her tail, Kitty may have bitten off more than she can chew. . .(back cover)

Title: Home Safe
Author: Elizabeth Berg

In this new novel, beloved bestselling author Elizabeth Berg weaves a beautifully written and richly resonant story of a mother and daughter in emotional transit. Helen Ames -- recently widowed, coping with loss and grief, unable to do the work that has always sustained her -- is beginning to depend far too much on her twenty-seven-year-old daughter, Tessa, and is meddling in her life, offering unsolicited and unwelcome advice. Helen's problems are compounded by her shocking discovery that her mild-mannered and seemingly loyal husband was apparently leading a double life. The Ameses had painstakingly saved for a happy retirement, but that money disappeared in several large withdrawals made by Helen's husband before he died. In order to support herself and garner a measure of much needed independence, Helen takes an unusual job that ends up offering far more than she had anticipated. And then a phone call from a stranger sets Helen on a surprising path of discovery that causes both mother and daughter to reassess what they thought they knew about each other, themselves, and what really makes a home and family.

"Maybe Freud didn't know the answer to what women want, but Elizabeth Berg certainly does," said USA Today, and that special gift of understanding shines through in this remarkable new novel, Home Safe is an exquisitely rendered story about mothers, daughters, and finding new richness in the stages of life, in one's family, and in oneself. (inside book jacket)

Title: Joy School (audio version)
Author: Elizabeth Berg
Read by: Jen Taylor

Thirteen-year-old Katie is new to her Missouri town, living alone with a stern, inaccessible father following her mother's death. Unable to fit in at school, she forges alliances wherever she can: with her housekeeper, with a pimply fellow misfit named Cynthia, and with the gorgeous Taylor, who gets her kicks out of shoplifting. Most frustrating of all is Katie's imperfect friendship with the proprietor of a local gas station, a handsome 23-year-old who shares her love for checkers but doesn't return her crush. (back cover)

Title: Fade
Author: Lisa McMann
Some nightmares never end.

For Janie and Cabel, real life is getting tougher than the dreams. They're just trying to carve out a little (secret) time together, but no such luck.

Disturbing things are happening at Fieldridge High, yet nobody's talking. When Janie taps into a classmate's violent nightmares, the case finally breaks open -- but nothing goes as planned. Not even close. Janie's in way over her head, and Cabe's shocking behavior has grave consequences for them both.

Worse yet, Janie learns the truth about herself and her ability -- and it's bleak. Seriously, brutally bleak. Not only is her fate as a dream catcher sealed, but what's to come is way darker than she'd feared. . . (inside book cover)

Title: Meridian
Author: Amber Kizer
Half human, half angel, Meridian Sozu has a dark responsibility.
Meridian has always been an outcast. It seems that wherever she goes, death and grief follow. On her sixteenth birthday, a car crashes in front of her family's home -- and though she's untouched, Meridian's body explodes in pain.
Before she can fully recover, Meridian is told that she's a danger to her family and is hustled off to her great-aunt's house in Revelation, Colorado. There she learns the secret her parents have been hiding for her entire life: Meridian is a Fenestra, the half-angel, half-human link between the living and the dead.
It's crucial that Meridian learn how to transition human souls to the after life -- how to help people die. Only then can she help preserve the balance between good and evil on earth. But before she can do that, meridian must come to terms with her ability, outsmart the charismatic preacher who's taken over Revelation, and maybe -- if she can accept her sworn protector, Tens, for who he is -- fall in love. Meridian and Tens face great danger from the Aternocti, a band of dark forces who capture vulnerable souls on the brink of death and cause chaos. But together, they have the power to outsmart evil.
Dark, lovely, and lushly romantic, Meridian will entrance readers. (inside book jacket)


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