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

Monday, January 31, 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Jan 31, 2011)

What are you reading on Mondays is 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:
Words by Ginny Yttrup
Living Inside The Testimony: A Testimony of GOD's Amazing Love and Abundant Blessings by Betty Collier

Next Up:
Beyond the Wall: A Memoir by Dolores Cross
Book of Days: A Novel by James Rubart
The Matchmaker of Kenmare: A Novel of Ireland by Frank Delaney

Redeemer - A Novel by Jeffrey S. Williams

Bathroom Book:

The Poison Tree: A Novel by Erin Kelly

Audio Book:
The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris - Not making any headway on this - need to bring it in out of the car!

Reviewed Last Week:
Never Been Kissed by Melody Carlson
The Science of Kissing: What Our Lips Are Telling Us by Sheril Kirshenbaum
Yours For the Taking by Robin Kaye

Children's Books Reviewed Last Week:
Meet Einstein by Mariela Kleiner

Waiting for Reviews:
Food and Live Well: Lose Weight, Get Fit, and Taste Life at Its Very Best by Chantal Hobbs

The Proper Care and Maintenance of Friendship by Lisa Verge Higgins
At the Crossroads of Terror by Lenny Emanuelli

The Science of Kissing by Sheril Kirshenbaum

Ready- Set- Read!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mail Time! (Jan 31, 2011)

 Mailbox Monday's host for January is Rose City Reader.In My Mailbox is hosted Sundays at The Story Siren. Please visit this posts and take a look at what packages everybody else got this week! 

Minding Ben
by Victoria Brown

"The whole thing, from start to finish, from first talk to walk off the plane, took about ten weeks total.  That was it.  Ten weeks and I went from a small village on a small island to the middle of New York City."

So begins Minding Ben, and Grace Caton's story of leaving her small village in Trinidad to immigrate to New York in search of a better life.  However, as with so many things in life, not all goes quite as planned:  Instead of limitless opportunity and an easy path to an education, through a series of mishaps Grace finds herself working as a nanny for a wealthy family, the Bruckners.  While Ben, their young son, is delightful, the demanding and humiliating work that his parents subject Grace to, for meager wages, little thanks, and promises of future aid and assistance, is nearly too much to bear.  That, coupled with the complicated playground politics among the small West Indian babysitting community and complicated relationships among her extended family and friends in Brooklyn, makes the reality of Grace's young life seem like a waking nightmare.

Minding Ben invites readers into the private world of the anonymous West Indian babysitters who have peopled the lives of so many young urban families for decades, while offering a rarely seen account of the immigrant experience in this strong, compassionate, and insightful narrative.

~I received this book from Hyperion Voice and will be reviewing in April.~

by Emily Sue Harvey

Emily Sue Harvey's first novel, Song of Renewal, was praised by New York Times bestselling author Jill Marie Landis as "an uplifting, heartwarming story." By bestselling author Kay Allenbaugh as a work that will "linger in the memory long after readers put it aside," and by Coffee Time Romance as "a must-read book for anyong doing a little soul searching."  New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry said, "It captures your attention, and whets your appetite for more," while Peeking between the Pages called it "quite simply a beautiful book."

Now, in Flavors, this master storyteller of the human heart sweeps us along with twelve-year-old Sadie Ann Melton as she enters a life-altering season.  The summer of 1950 will change everything for her.  For in that summer, she will embark on an odyssey at once heartbreakingly tender and crushingly brutal.  At times, she will experience more darkness than she has ever witnessed before.  At others, she will thrill to lightness and joy she never imagined.  By summer's end, the Melton women in Sadie's journey - loving her, coaxing her, and commanding her - will help shape her into the woman she becomes.  And they will expose Sadie to all the flavors of life as she savors the world that she brings into being.

Filled with charm, wisdom, and the smorgasbord of emotions that comes with the first steps into adulthood, Flavors once again proves Emily Sue Harvey's unique ability to touch our souls with her unforgettable stories.

~I received this book from Pump Up Your Book Tours and will be reviewing in April.~

That's it for me this week - What came in your mailbox?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Kids Korner: Meet Einstein by Mariela Kleiner

Title: Meet Einstein
Author: Mariela Kleiner
Illustrated by: Viviana Garofoli
Publisher: Meet Books, LLC

My thoughts: This is a great introduction to Einstein and scientists for pre-school age kids.  The illustrations are big and colorful, and there are not a lot of words on a page.  It introduces kids to the concepts of light and all the different places and colors that we can find light.  It also talks about gravity and how gravity keeps the earth, sun and moon where they are.  At the end of the book are some questions for kids that will continue to help them relate these concepts to their everyday lives.  Great book!

About the author: Mariela Kleiner was inspired to write this book when her daughter Hailey chose a grown-up book for her bedtime story, which happened to be Einstein's book, "Relativity."  Hailey was a persistent two-year-old, so Mariela improvised the story of Albert Einstein so that her daughter could understand it.  Starting with "Meet Albert Einstein.  He is a scientist," the story for this book was born. This is Mariela's first childen's book publication.  She currently lives in Northern California with her husband and two children.

About the illustrator:  Viviana Garofoli was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she currently lives with her husband and two daughters, April and Emma.  After pursuing a successful career in fine arts, Viviana changed her focus to illustrating children's books.  Over the past 15 years, Viviana has illustrated over 20 children's books and has created illustrations for various editorials and textbooks in Argentina and Puerto Rico.

~I received a complimentary copy of this book from JKS Communications in exchange for my review.~

Publisher/Publication Date: Meet Books, LLC, March 1, 2011
ISBN: 978-0615389738
32 pages

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Science of Kissing by Sheril Kirshenbaum (Book Review and Giveaway!)

Title: The Science of Kissing: What Our Lips Are Telling Us
Author: Sheril Kirshenbaum
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

My thoughts:  This book examines kissing in about every way you could possibly imagine.  Starting with what different cultures find attractive and how kissing is viewed throughout the world and throughout time.  That part was pretty interesting - learning about some meaning behind kissing and learning about non-traditional kisses in cultures - that include sniffing or smelling another person and just touching them.  It also talks about the different ways that animals kiss and show emotion.

From that point it goes into the different physical changes that happen in the body, including hormones that are released and how hormones themselves affect the kiss.  (Ever kiss someone that you were hoping for romance with only to feel like you were kissing your brother?)  It also talks about the different bacteria and viruses that are present in saliva and how they can affect your well-being.

That gives you an overview of part of the book - other things discussed are what happens in the brain when we kiss and I liked the 10 tips at the end to make one a better kisser - based on all the scientific studies used in the book.

~I received a complimentary copy of this book from Hachette Books in exchange for my review.~

Thanks to Hachette Books I have 2 copies of this book to giveaway.  Giveaway is open to US/Canada only - no PO boxes.  It will end Feb 17, 2011.

Mandatory entry: Just leave a comment with your email address.
Additional entries:  Follow me through Google, Facebook, Networked Blogs, Twitter, etc - all information in right column.
Tweet or post about this contest.
Please leave additional entries in separate comments.

The Science of Kissing: What Our Lips Are Telling Us
Publisher/Publication Date: Grand Central Publishing, Jan 2011
ISBN: 978-0-446-55990-4
272 pages

Never Been Kissed by Melody Carlson (Book Review)

Title: Never Been Kissed
Author: Melody Carlson
Publisher: Revell

About the Book: Elise will be starting her junior year of high school in a few weeks, and she is not looking forward to it. Her single mom has taken a new job and she had to move to another town - so she is starting at a new school.  The only person she knows is a somewhat geeky freshman, Stacie, that lives in the same apartment building as her.

Going to stay at Grandma's, in her old town, the week before school starts proves somewhat fortuitous.  She meets Asher Gordon through an old friend who is dating his cousin.  Asher is also a student at Elise's new school.  While it is made clear that he has a girlfriend, Elise is just hopeful that he will say hello to her if they run into each other.

Well, Asher does more than that - he befriends Elise on that first day and introduces her to his "A-list" friends - including his girlfriend Brianna. While Elise is avoiding Stacie after school, she runs into Asher who offers her a ride home.  They stop off for coffee and Elise thinks her first day couldn't have gone any better.  However, the next day at school she gets the big freeze from her new friends.  She was seen having coffee with Asher and immediately everyone thinks she is after him.  So much for her great first day.

Elise soon gets an email from Asher.  He wants her to play that they do not get along so that he can break up with Brianna.  He just doesn't want Brianna to blame her and give her a hard time all year.  Elise is pretty excited and agrees to play along.  As their relationship progresses through email, she become somewhat confused about his behavior towards her at school. While he tells her in email to just play along a little while longer, sometimes he acts at school like he wants to be friends.

Before Elise knows what hit her, she is arrested for something she didn't do and the whole school is laughing at her. Even her mom thinks she is guilty. During her darkest hour, she realizes that the only one she is going to be able to count on to get her through is God, and starts to try to figure out who set her up.

My thoughts:  Great book for teens and tweens about the dangers of the internet and cyber bullying - among other things.  I don't want to tell you the big twist, but it made me sit down and talk with my teens.  I don't think that I have read a Melody Carlson book that didn't have some lesson in it that put things in perspective for teens without preaching at them.  Highly recommend for any teen that has a MySpace or Facebook page or spends any amount of time online or texting!

~I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell in exchange for my review.~

Available January 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

Visit Melody's website at http://www.melodycarlson.com/.

Never Been Kissed: A Novel
Publisher/Publication Date: Revell, Jan 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3259-2
216 pages

Yours for the Taking by Robin Kaye (Book Review)

Title: Yours for the Taking
Author: Robin Kaye
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

About the book: Ben and Gina were about as different as they could be.  Ben was extremely wealthy, some family money, some of his own.  But he lacked the one thing he really wanted - the ranch in Idaho were he had grown up. In order to inherit this ranch, his grandfather has imposed an ultimatum - Ben must get married.

Gina was street smart and successful on her own.  She had grown up hard and had pretty much raised her little sister. Even though her sister was now married, she had a hard time not worrying about her. Gina was working hard to buy the house of her dreams and help her sister to do the same.  The only thing missing in her life was the little brother that was given up for adoption - no - actually her father sold him to supply his habits. She has a plan for her life - and it doesn't include marriage.

Never say never - Ben approaches Gina, they were only acquaintances, and made a proposal.  If she were to marry him, he would make sure she was pretty much set for life, and they could end the marriage as soon as he gets the ranch.  After much consideration, Gina agrees - she will get her house, will be able to make life easier for her sister, have the money she needs to find her brother - and Ben is gay, so there will be no complications - right?

Only Ben is not gay - he doesn't lie to Gina, he just doesn't correct her assumption. They marry in a quick ceremony and buy a house in New York - one that Gina will live in while Ben keeps his current abode.  Only grandpa in Idaho doesn't fold that easily - he wants Ben and his new bride in Idaho for a honeymoon, and takes steps to arrange it - unbeknownst to the new couple.

My thoughts:  This was a fun romance to read.  I think you can probably figure out what happens, but the road getting there wasn't always smooth. I found myself rooting for Gina to let her skeletons out of the closet. Both Ben and Gina were easy to like, but they could both be stubborn!

~I received a complimentary copy of this book from Sourcebooks in exchange for my review.~

You can find Robin Kaye at http://www.robinkayewrites.com/.

Yours for the Taking
Publisher/Publication Date: Sourcebooks Casablanca, Jan 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4022-4010-2
370 pages

Monday, January 24, 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Jan 24, 2011)

What are you reading on Mondays is 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:
Never Been Kissed: A Novel by Melody Carlson
The Proper Care and Maintenance of Friendship by Lisa Verge Higgins

Next Up:
At the Crossroads of Terror by Lenny Emanuelli
Beyond the Wall: A Memoir by Dolores Cross
The Strange Man: The Coming Evil, Book One by Greg Mitchell

Redeemer - A Novel by Jeffrey S. Williams

Bathroom Book:

Audio Book:
The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris - This one is getting more and more strange.

Books Reviewed Last Week:

Out of Time by Monique Martin

Children's Books Reviewed Last Week:

Waiting for Reviews:
The Science of Kissing: What Our Lips Are Telling Us by Sheril Kirshenbaum
Love Food and Live Well: Lose Weight, Get Fit, and Taste Life at Its Very Bestby Chantal Hobbs
Yours for the Taking by Robin Kaye

Ready- Set- Read!

R.I.P. Colby (2000 - 2011)

The top pictures are from just a couple of years ago - the bottom 2 are from last night.  She got diabetes a year ago and quickly lost sight in both of her eyes.  We were able to keep her blood sugars stable until last month, and then they started going really high again.  Over the weekend she stopped eating and drinking.  I already had a vet's appt for her this morning for some labs, but instead of the labs, we just had her put to sleep.  She couldn't even stand up this morning.  It wasn't until I put the photos next to each other that I really saw how bad she had gotten.  She was a really good dog. Favorite memory is probably how she used to try to "catch" the water when it splashed out of our pool, or a hose, or a squirt gun.  She loved to chase that water.  R.I.P. Colby.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Mail Time! (Jan 24, 2011)

 Mailbox Monday's host for January is Rose City Reader.In My Mailbox is hosted Sundays at The Story Siren. Please visit this posts and take a look at what packages everybody else got this week! 

Call Me Irresistible
by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Lucy Jorik is the daughter of a former president of the United States.

Meg Koranda is the offspring of legends.

One of them is about to marry Mr. Irresistible -- Ted Beaudine -- the favorite son of Wynette, Texas.  The other is not happy about it and is determined to save her friend from a mess of heartache.

But even though Meg knows that breaking up her best friend's wedding is the right thing to do, no one else seems to agree.  Faster than Lucy can say "I don't," Meg becomes the most hated woman in town -- a town she's stuck in with a dead car, an empty wallet, and a very angry bridegroom.  Broke, stranded, and without her famous parents at her back, Meg is sure she can survive on her own wits.  What's the worst that can happen?  Lose her heart to the one and only Mr. Irresistible?  Not likely.  Not likely at all.

Call Me Irresistible is the book Susan Elizabeth Phillips's readers have long awaited.  Ted, better known as "little Teddy," the nin-year-old heartbreak kid from Phillips's first bestseller, Fancy Pants, and as "young Teddy" the hunky new college graduate in Lady Be Good, is all grown up now -- along with Lucy from First Lady and Meg from What I Did for Love.  They're ready to take center stage in a saucy, funny, and highly addictive tale fans will love.
~I received this book from Harper Collins and hope to review it in February.~

little princes
by Conor Grennan

In search of adventure, twenty-nine-year old Conor Grennan traded his day job for a year-long trip around the globe, a journey that began with a three-month stint volunteering at the Little Princes Children's Home, an orphanage in war-torn Nepal.

Conor was initially reluctant to volunteer, unsure whether he had the proper skill, or enough passion, to get involved in a developing country in the middle of a civil war.  But he was soon overcome by the herd of rambunctious, resilient children who would challenge and reward him in a way that he had never imagined.  When Conor learned the unthinkable truth about their situation, he was stunned:  The children were not orphans at all.  Child traffickers were promising families in remote villages to protect their children from the civil war -- for a huge fee -- by taking them to safety.  They would then abandon the children far from home, in the chaos of Nepal's capital, Kathmandu.

For Conor, what began as a footloose adventure becomes a commitment to reunite the children he had grown to love with their families, but this would be no small task.  He would risk his life on a journey through the legendary mountains of Nepal, facing the dangers of a bloody civil war and a debilitating injury.  Waiting for Conor back in Kathmandu, and hopeful he would make it out before being trapped in by snow, was the woman who would eventually become his wife and share his life's work.

Little Princes is a true story of families and children, and what one person is capable of when faced with seemingly insurmountable odds.  At turns tragic, joyful, and hilarious, Little Princes is a testament to the power of faith and the ability of love to carry us beyound our wildest expectations.

~I received this book from Harper Collins and hope to review it in February.~

Sometimes I Feel Like a Nut
by Jill Kargman

Jill Kargman is a mother, wife, and writer living the life in New York City. . . a life that includes camping out in a one-bedroom apartment with some unfortunate (and furry) roommates, battling the Momzillas of Manhattan, and coming to terms with her desire for gay men.  In this entertaining collection of observations, Kargman offers her unique, wickedly funny perspective as she zips around Manhattan with three kids in tow.

Kargman tackles issues big and small with sharp wit and laugh-out-loud humor: her love of the smell of gasoline, her new names for nail polishes, her adventures in New York City real estate, and her fear of mimes, clowns, and other haunting things.  Whether it's surviving a family road trip or why she can't stand Cirque du So Lame, living with a mommy vagina the size of the Holland Tunnel or surviving the hell that was her first job out of college, Karman's nutty self triumphs, thanks to a wonderfully wise outlook and sense of fun that makes the best of everything that gets thrown her way.  And if that's not enough, Kargman illustrates her reflections with doodles that capture her refreshing voice.
~I received this book from Harper Collins and hope to review it in February.~

Sing You Home
by Jodi Picoult

Zoe Baxter has spent ten years trying to get pregnant, and after multiple miscarriages and infertility issues, it looks like her dream is about to come true.  But a terrible turn of events leads to a nightmare -- one that tears apart her marriage to Max and all her future plans.  In the aftermath, Zoe throws herself into her career as a music therapist.  When an unexpected friendship slowly blossoms into love, she makes plans for a new life, but to her shock, and inevitable rage, some people, even those she loves and trusts most, don't want that to happen.

Sing You Home is about religion, love, marriage, and parenthood.  It's about people wanting to do the right thing, even as they fulfill their own personal desires and dreams.  And it's about what happens when the outside world brutally calls into question the very thing closest to our hearts: family.

Includes a compact disc of original songs created for the novel.
~I received this book from Atria through Shelf Awareness and hope to review it in March.~


Demons are a Girl's Best Friend
by Linda Wisdom

A bewitching woman on a mission. . .

Feisty witch Maggie enjoys her work as a paranormal law enforcement officer -- that is, until she's assigned to protect a teenager with major attitude and plenty of Mayan enemies.  Maggie's never going to survive this assignment without the help of a half-fire demon who makes her smolder. . .

A hotter-than-sin hero with an agenda. . .

Declan is proprietor of an underground club and busy demon portal.  No way he'll allow his demon race to be blamed for the malicious acts of some crazy evil Mayans.  But he's already got his hands full when the sexy witch offers him a challenge he can't refuse. . .

Amidst the rising flames of their steamy love affair, Maggie and Declan are damned if they do, and even more damned if they don't. . .

~I received this book from Sourcebooks and will be reviewing in April.~

by Jeffrey S. Williams

For the past year, Detective Kristen Cauldron has been grappling with the disappearance of her 8-year-old daughter -- and the case has grown cold.  Returning to work on the force after a year off, Cauldron finds herself working with a new partner and on a new case to catch a serial killer -- an experience that will push her to the edge of sanity.

He calls himself "Redeemer."  His religious delusions justify his elaborate murders.  Using medieval practices, he takes the "lost causes" of the world and "redeems" them -- making their souls ready to stand before God.  His motivation?  Not vigilante justice or righteous judgment, but deliverance -- saving unknown future victims from cruelty, as well as redeeming the criminals from eternal damnation.

Redeemer selects Cauldron, based on her previous background, to be his vessel for revealing the scheme behind his "ministry."  When Redeemer discovers Cauldron's history, he boldly pledges to her that he can find out what happened to her daughter.  Cauldron is secretly caught between duty and hope, concealing it even from Hawkins, her partner who she has come to trust.

Redeemer is a vivid examination of a man's toxic faith and hyper-religiosity, a mother's heart-wrenching loss and compulsion to discover her daughter's fate, a healing and often humorous bond between partners, and a riveting police investigation into this serial killer's psyche and symbolic crimes.  When Redeemer and Kristen finally come face to face, the obsession to know the truth about her daughter threatens to destroy everything she holds close to her heart.

~I received this book for a Virtual Book Worm Cyber Tour and will be reviewing very soon - watch for a giveaway!~

Cut in Half
by Ana le Roux

Do you believe miracles happen today?

Prepare to be amazed. . .

In 2003, Ana le Roux was an average thirty something mother.  But three weeks after giving birth to her second child tragedy struck -- the unimaginable -- a violent head on collision.  The force of impact thrust her forward with such intensity that it literally cut her in half!

Ana le Roux would tell you she was set to die that day, but instead, after seemingly endless dialogue with God, she relinquished her freedom of choice to Him.  Cut in Half tells how in that instant Ana opened her eyes and began to experience the most amazing gift -- healing.

In her awe inspiring testament of God's love, Ana's proves that miracles are not just an archaic phenomenon found in scripture; they really do happen every day in a variety of ways.

~I received this book from Bring It On! and will be reviewing in March.~

The Place of Belonging
by Jayne Pearson Faulkner

This elegantly written story is told from the eyes of a child of a single mother, set in the 1940's in Big Sky Montana.  Humorous yet bracingly honest, The Place of Belonging stirs our basic feelings of wanting to belong somewhere and to someone.  Beautifully and simply told, The Place of Belonging takes the reader on an unforgettable step back in time, a place many will recognize.

Anyone who has ever tried to fit in and belong will understand both mother and child in this narrative and will see that separation and loss can sometimes be the very encounters that will ultimately bring wholeness.

~I received this book from Bring It On! and will be reviewing in March.~

The Strange Man
by Greg Mitchell

A storm is coming. . .

Dras Weldon lives in a world of horror movies and comic books.  Twenty-two and unemployed, he is content to hide in the shadow of adolescence with a faith that he professes but rarely puts into action.

But when a demonic stranger arrives and begins threatening his friends, Dras is drawn into a battle that forces him to choose which side he is on.  In a race against the clock, he must not only fight these evil forces but also somehow convince his best friend, Rosalyn, to join him -- before she is lost forever.

Engaging and darkly humorous, The Strange Man is the first act of a trilogy that depicts a world where monsters are real and simple men and women must overcome their doubts and fears in order to stand against the unspeakable creatures of the night.

~I received this book for a First Wild Card Tour and will be reviewing on February 1.~

The Girl in the Green Raincoat
by Laura Lippman

In the third trimester of her pregnancy, Baltimore private investigator Tess Monaghan is under doctor's orders to remain immobile.  Bored and restless, reduced to watching the world go by outside her window; she takes small comfort in the mundane events she observes. . .like the young woman in a green raincoat who walks her dog at the same time every day.  Then one day the dog is running free and its owner is nowhere to be seen.  Certain that something is terribly wrong, and incapable of leaving well enough alone, Tess is determined to get to the bottom of the dog walker's abrupt disappearance, even if she must do so from her own bedroom.  But her inquisitiveness is about to fling open a dangerous Pandora's box of past crimes and troubling deaths. . . and she's not only putting her own life in jeopardy but also her unborn child's.

Previously serialized in the New York Times, and now published in book form for the very first time, The Girl in the Green Raincoat is a masterful Hitchcockian thriller from one of the very best in the business: multiple awardwinner Laura Lippman.

~I received this book from Harper Collins and will be reviewing in February.~

What goodies did you get in your mailbox this week?


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