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

Friday, August 31, 2012

Back to the Books Giveaway Hop - Sept 1 - Sept 7 (INTERNATIONAL)

2nd Annual Back to the Books Giveaway Hop
Hosts: I am a Reader Not a Writer and Buried in Books

This hop is from Sept 1 - Sept 7.  I am giving away a book of your choice from Amazon - up to a $15.00 value (for U.S. winner only)  or a $15 GC from Amazon (for U.S. or International winner).  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Vampire Hunter's Daughter by Jennifer Malone Wright (Review, Giveaway, Interview)

Title: The Vampire Hunter's Daughter: The Complete Collection
Author: Jennifer Malone Wright
Publisher: Jennichad Books

About the book: This special edition of The Vampire Hunter’s Daughter contains parts I-VI, the complete collection. Fourteen-year-old Chloe witnesses her mother’s murder at the hands of a vampire. Before the vampire can kidnap her, there is an unexpected rescue by a group of vampire hunters.

Overwhelmed by the feeling of safety, Chloe passes out and they whisk her away to their small community. When Chloe wakes, she comes face to face with the only other living relative, besides her mother, whom she has ever met: her grandfather. Chloe’s mother kept her hidden from the family; now, Chloe tries to unveil the family secrets.

Through her grandfather, she learns her mother was a vampire hunter. In fact, her entire family is descended from the powerful bloodlines of vampire hunters. Chloe agrees to join the family she has never known for one reason only: Chloe vows to kill the vampire responsible for her mother’s murder. With vengeance in her soul, Chloe is even more determined to follow through on her vow when she discovers the true identity of her enemy and how he is connected to her.

Experience the world of vampires hunter’s, vampires and mythology with Chloe in this exciting series.

My thoughts: I liked this book.  I am not quite sure who it is marketed towards, but I am guessing YA. The six novellas combined make a total of 217 pages, so it is a pretty quick read.  The book moves along very quickly, starting when Chloe is 14 and knows nothing of her heritage.  It ends about a year and a half later.  Chloe seems very mature for her age and handles the death of her mother very well.  As she begins to learn more about her vampire hunter bloodline that she got from her mother, she also discovers that she descends from others that are powerful in other ways as well.

As she matures, she starts to get some of her powers in - they are pretty cool powers too, and her mixed bloodlines does have some benefits.  Since her mother was murdered, she is living with her grandfather, Luke, who seems like a tough old guy - (for some reason I kept picturing the old guy from the original Karate Kid) and Drew, an 18 yo who helps her grandpa out as he is getting older.  Drew is responsible for helping to train Chloe and teach her about being a vampire hunter. 

This was a pretty typical vampire story, with them not being able to go out in the sunlight and silver being able to hold vampires, but it did have some interesting additions to the weapons and the myths. There were also some cool people who decided from some cool gods and goddesses, so that gave the characters some nice history.

If you are into vampire stories, you would probably like this one.  It is going to continue in The Arcadia Falls Chronicles series.  The volume contained all 6 novellas.  You can get the first part free right now at Amazon and BN

~I received a complimentary ePub from Bewitching Book Tours in exchange for my unbiased review.~

About the author: Jennifer Malone Wright resides in the beautiful mountains of northern Idaho with her husband and five children. Between the craziness of taking care of her children, whose ages range from fourteen all the way down to six months, and being a homemaker, Jennifer has little time left for herself. The time she does have left, usually leading far into the night, is spent working on freelance work or her beloved fiction.

When she grew up, Jennifer always had her nose in a book. She has been writing stories and poems since grade school. This love of the written word and her strong interest in the paranormal is what has led to her first novel “The Birth of Jaiden.”

In addition to being a mother and homemaker, Jennifer is also a very proud military wife. Moving around the country for the last ten years has made her a bit of a nomad and she finds it difficult to be in one place for too long.

Jennifer is also the author of The Birth of Jaiden, a paranormal novel filled with action, suspense, and even a love story.  

I had the opportunity to ask Jennifer a few questions - please continue reading to learn more about her and have an opportunity to win a $100 Amazon Gift Card!

1.      How do you typically write?  Do you plot it all out beforehand or do you just let the story pour out?
Normally, I just let it all pour out. But lately, I’ve really had to start planning and organizing before I write. Although, most of the time it ends up being quite different than how the plan intended it was going to be.

2.      Do you have a favorite place to write or “must haves” while writing?
I don’t have a special place because I have five kids, so I have to write wherever I can. Lol, but I do have some must haves. Must have a clean area (or the appearance of clean) Must have coffee and must have hair up in a pony tail or bun so that it’s out of my face.

3.      Do you have much say in the title or covers of you books?
I always try to make sure that my titles and my covers speak volumes about what the book is actually about.

4.      Is there anything that has surprised you about writing, publishing or touring with your books?
Not really, I’m a pretty go with the flow kind of person. I guess, if there was one thing has maybe surprised me, it’s the amount of people out there trying to do the same thing now that self publishing is so easy. I knew there were a lot of people who wanted to be authors, but there is an ocean of other authors out there trying to make it big. I just had no idea.

5.      Do you have a favorite author/book or one that you always recommend?
I truly cannot pick a favorite book or author, not any that you don’t know of already. But here are a few authors you should always check out, Willow Cross, KB. Miller, JH Glaze, and LA Freed.

6.      Was there anything (or anyone) while growing up which helped you decide you wanted to be a writer?
Mostly books are the only thing that helped me decide that I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to give people the same thing that these books I was reading were giving me. 

7.      Do you have a job outside of being an author? 
 Well, yes and no. Normally I say no I don’t have a “real” job, but I have five kids and being a mom comes first so, I do have a full time job aside from writing.

8.      What were your favorite books growing up?
 I had so many! My favorites were the Christopher Pike books, VC Andrews, Anne Rice, and Stephen King. I know these aren’t books, they are authors, but I loved all of their books!

Thank you Jennifer for taking the time to answer my questions!  I hear you about the "real" job.  I never appreciated stay-at-home moms until I become one 8 years ago after being a working mom for 12 years.  You hit three of my favorite authors too - Stephen King, Anne Rice and VC Andrews!  

You can contact Jennifer at any of the following places:

Website: www.jenniferwrightauthor.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thevampirehuntersdaughter

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jennichad217

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4824985.Jennifer_Malone_Wright

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Jennifer-Malone-Wright/e/B00508KU4I/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Vampire Hunter's Daughter
Publisher/Publication Date: Jennichad Books, June 2012
ISBN: 978-0615650081
217 pages

PURCHASE: Amazon  and BN

Thursday, August 30, 2012


Here are the winners of the last few giveaways!  There will be a new giveaway hop starting Sept 1 - see the right sidebar for some upcoming giveaways as well.   There is still one going for Desert Rice.  Please enter and comment - and I might get to win a prize!

Winner of The Line Between Here and Gone - Kelly F.

Winner of the Young Adult Giveaway Hop - Ricki M.

Winner of Last Days of Freedom Giveaway Hop - Carl S.

Winners of Milo and the Tower of Light - Renee G., Natasha, and Alicia E.

Congrats winners!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

and when she was good by Laura Lippman (Blog Tour and Book Review)

Check out all the blogs touring:
Sunday:  08/26  Wendy @ Minding Spot

Monday:  08/27   Vera @ Luxury Reading
                08/27   Heather @ Proud Book Nerd
Tuesday:  08/28   Kari @ From the TBR Pile
                08/28    Kathleen @ Jersey Girl Book Reviews

Wednesday:  08/29  Kristi @ Books and Needlepoint
                      08/29  Vicki @ I'd Rather Be Reading At The Beach
Thursday:    08/30  Mickey @ I'm a Book Shark
 Friday:  08/31  MK @ Popcorn Reads
              08/31  Cheryl @ Sweeping The USA

Title: and when she was good
Author: Laura Lippman
Publisher: William Morrow

About the Book:  When Hector Lewis told his daughter that she had a nothing face, it was just another bit of tossed-off cruelty from a man who specialized in harsh words and harsher deeds.  But twenty years later, Heloise considers it a blessing to be a person who knows how to avoid attention.  In the comfortable suburb where she lives, she's just a mom, the youngish widow with a forgettable job who somehow never misses a soccer game or a school play.  In the state capitol, she's the redheaded lobbyist with a good cause and a mediocre track record.

But in discreet hotel rooms throughout the area, she's the woman of your dreams -- if you can afford her hourly fee.

For more than a decade, Heloise has believed she is safe.  She has created a rigidly compartmentalized life, maintaining no real friendships, trusting few confidantes.  Only now her secret life, a life she was forced to build after the legitimate world turned its back on her, is under siege.  Her once oblivious accountant is asking loaded questions.  Her longtime protector is hinting at new, mysterious dangers.  Her employees can't be trusted.  One county over, another so-called suburban madam has been found dead in her car, a suicide.  Or is it?

Nothing is as it seems as Heloise faces a midlife crisis with much higher stakes than most will ever know.

And then she learns that her son's father might be released from prison, which is problematic because he doesn't know he has a son.  The killer and former pimp also doesn't realize that he's serving a life sentence because Heloise betrayed him. But he's clearly beginning to suspect that Heloise has been holding something back all these years.

With no formal education, no real family, and no friends, Heloise has to remake her life -- again.  Disappearing will be the easy part.  She's done it before and she can do it again.  A new name and a new place aren't hard to come by if you know the right people.  The trick will be living long enough to start a new life. 

My thoughts:  Well, the first word I thought of when I finished this book was 'smart'.  Well written, great unique storyline, characters that, while not having the same experiences, can still relate to in how she presents the story.  

I loved Heloise.  She was a survivor - She started out with a father who ignored who, to a father who beat her, and a mother who was just glad that someone else was taking some of the beatings - so she got out at the first chance she got, even though she wasn't out of high school yet.  Unfortunately the man, Billy,  she left with was worse than her father and in order to get out from under him, she hooked up with someone who, while providing for her physical comforts, never let her forget that he was in charge.  He, Val,  punished her for even getting a library card (because he didn't know how to read). You guessed it, for both of these men she turned tricks - the first to pay for Billy's drug use and the second to help pay for the lifestyle.  Val had a house full of women that worked for him, but for most of her time with him, Heloise was his favorite.

She got picked up by a cop who had been watching her for trying to shoplift a home pregnancy test. This turned out to be somewhat of a blessing, as she was able to trade her freedom to provide evidence against Val.  So Val is now in jail and she has his son (without his knowledge) but still feels the need to visit him in jail.  He gives her the idea and the money to start an escort service, but of course has to have a cut in the profits. 

For 12 years she lives like this - but she is smart, pays her taxes, has fake but plausible businesses to explain her money, and keeps her business separate from her personal life.  But as they say, all good things must come to an end.  When the suburban madam gets killed in the next county, a former employee tries to blackmail her, and she runs into another former prostitute who also tries to blackmail her - she sees that her luck in avoiding suspicion is beginning to run out.  

As I said before I got sidetracked, I loved Heloise - she was street smart - as well as being well-read.  She only had a GED and some online business classes to her name, but she kept informed of current affairs and learned in all situations, or I guess you could say, learned from her mistakes.  She loved her son and despite her lack of good parental examples, she seemed to have gotten it right.  

The book is told in the present, with you learning her backstory in flashbacks.  It moves along quickly and I read it in pretty much 2 sittings.  I was surprised by the ending as I did not figure on the outcome that it had.  About 3/4 of the way through I was telling my 20 year old daughter about it and I had in my head the way it was going to end.  I was wrong, but she and I both agreed on one of the characters - and on that point we were correct.  I wish I could share with you what that was, but it would be a spoiler.  

Point is - this is a great book - and I recommend it!

~I received a complimentary copy of this book from Partners in Crime Tours in exchange for my unbiased review.~

Photo credit by Jan Cobb

About the author: Laura Lippman has been awarded every major prize in crime fiction. Since the publication of What the Dead Know, each of her hardcovers has hit the New York Times bestseller list. A recent recipient of the first-ever Mayor’s Prize, she lives in Baltimore, Maryland, and New Orleans with her husband, David Simon, their daughter, and her stepson.
You can find out more about Laura at her website on facebook or at Harper Collins

Please enjoy this excerpt:
Monday, October 3
The headline catches Heloise’s eye as she waits in the always-long line at the Starbucks closest to her son’s middle school. Of course, a headline is supposed to call attention to itself. That’s its job. Yet these letters are unusually huge, hectoring even, in a typeface suitable for a declaration of war or an invasion by aliens. It’s tacky, tarted up, as much of a strumpet as the woman whose death it’s trumpeting.
Heloise finds it interesting that suicide must be fudged but the label of madam requires no similar restraint, only qualification. She supposes that every madam needs her modifier. Suburban Madam, D.C. Madam, Hollywood Madam, Mayflower Madam. “Madam” on its own would make no impression in a headline, and this is the headline of the day, repeated ad nauseam on every news break on WTOP and WBAL, even the local cut-ins on NPR. Suburban Madam dead in apparent suicide. People are speaking of it here in line at this very moment, if only because the suburb in question is the bordering county’s version of this suburb. Albeit a lesser one, the residents of Turner’s Grove agree. Schools not quite as good, green space less lush, too much lower-cost housing bringing in riffraff. You know, the people who can afford only three hundred thousand dollars for a town house. Such as the Sub­urban Madam, although from what Heloise has gleaned, she lived in the most middle of the middle houses, not so grand as to draw attention to herself but not on the fringes either.
And yes, Heloise knows that because she has followed almost every news story about the Suburban Madam since her initial arrest eight months ago. She knows her name, Michelle Smith, and what she looks like in her mug shot, the only photo of her that seems to exist. Very dark hair—so dark it must be dyed—very pale eyes, otherwise so ordinary as to be any woman anywhere, the kind of stranger who looks familiar because she looks like so many people you know. Maybe Heloise is a little bit of a hypo­crite, decrying the news coverage even as she eats it up, but then she’s not a disinterested party, unlike the people in this line, most of whom probably use “disinterested” incorrectly in conversation yet consider themselves quite bright.


and when she was good
Publisher/Publication Date: Harper Collins, Aug 14, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-06-170687-5
314 pages

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Memory Thief by Emily Colin (Book Review)

Title: The Memory Thief
Author: Emily Colin
Publisher: Random House

About the Book: Reminiscent of On Mystic Lake by Kristin Hannah, readers will adore Emily Colin’s unique and beautifully written debut novel, where one man’s promise to return drives an exquisitely passionate, unforgettable tale of love lost and found.

When Madeleine Kimble’s husband Aiden dies in a mountain climbing accident, Maddie can only think of his earnest promise to return to her and their young son. Aiden’s best friend J.C. feels great remorse over his inability to save him, but J.C.’s grief is also seasoned with the guilt of loving Maddie through the years. Meanwhile, across the country another young man wakes up in a hospital and finds that his memories have been wiped clean, and replaced with haunting dreams of a beautiful woman and a five year old boy whom he feels driven to find. What Nicholas Sullivan discovers upon his journey is utterly unexpected—and it will change all of their lives, especially Maddie’s.

My thoughts:  The Memory Thief is told from three different points of view - Maddie's, Nicholas' and Aiden's (AJ).  In the beginning I would get confused as to whether it was Nicholas or Aiden telling the story, but I quickly got into the flow of it.  

Maddie is dealing with the loss of her husband.  In her own way, she has been preparing for this day for years, as he was a mountain climber and they had lost friends in various accidents before.  Somewhere in the back of her mind I think she knew it was only a matter of time.  She had a bad feeling about the climb he was on and had begged him not to go.  

Aiden's love for Maddie was so strong, and his promise to return so true, that nothing could stop him from coming back.  He just has to keep his promise to her.  He is determined to find some way to get a message to her.  The problem is getting her to believe that it is truly him.

Nicholas can't stop obsessing over this woman and child he only sees in his dreams.  But he has no other memories after a motorcycle accident has wiped his slate clean.  He tries to adjust back to what his old life was, only to discover he has new habits that his friend's can't explain and his girlfriend even says he makes love differently.  He begins to learn more about this other woman and eventually learns her name, as well as the man he sometimes sees in his dreams - Maddie and Aiden. 

J.C. was Aiden's best friend, who also had the unfortunate reality of being in love with Maddie.  He had approached her years before and had made his feelings known - but then backed off and let Aiden and Maddie live their lives.  Maddie would have been lying if she said that she hadn't thought about what it would be like with J.C., but Aiden (and Gabe - their son) was her life.  J.C. had been with Aiden when he died, and he feels guilt over not being able to save him, and guilt for wanting to be with Maddie now that he is gone. 

Emily Colin is able to weave together all of these characters into a wonderful story of loss, love, grief, promises and discovering what it means to live a life of passion.  I loved this book and can't wait to see what else Emily Colin writes in the future. 

~I received a complimentary ecopy of this book from Random House/Edelweiss in exchange for my unbiased review.~

The Memory Thief
Publisher/Publication Date: Random House, Aug 21, 2012
ISBN: 978 - 0345530394
432 pages

Monday, August 27, 2012

COVER REVEAL: Naturals by Tiffany Truitt

by Tiffany Truitt

 Tess is finally safe from the reach of the Council, now that she is living in the Middlelands with the rebel Isolationists. With James having returned to Templeton, she easily falls back into her friendship with Henry, though her newfound knowledge of Robert’s chosen one status still stings. Even surrounded by people, Tess has never felt more alone. So she’s thrilled when James returns to the settlement, demanding to see Tess — until she finds out that it’s because her sister, Louisa, has been recruited into Tess’s old position at Templeton, and that the dangerously sadistic chosen one George has taken an interest in her.

NATURALS is the second book in The Lost Souls trilogy, and follows the dystopian hit CHOSEN ONES.

Add Naturals to your Goodreads TBR list today as well as Chosen Ones - Book one in The Lost Souls trilogy!

About Tiffany:  Tiffany Truitt was born in Peoria, Illinois. A self-proclaimed Navy brat, Tiffany spent most of her childhood living in Virginia, but don’t call her a Southerner. She also spent a few years living in Cuba. Since her time on the island of  one McDonald's and Banana Rats (don't ask) she has been obsessed with traveling. Tiffany recently added China to her list of travels (hello inspiration for a new book).

Besides traveling, Tiffany has always been an avid reader. The earliest books she remembers reading belong to The Little House on the Prairie Series. First book she read in one day? Little Woman(5th grade). First author she fell in love with? Jane Austen in middle school. Tiffany spent most of her high school and college career as a literary snob. She refused to read anything considered “low brow” or outside the “classics.”

Tiffany began teaching middle school in 2006. Her students introduced her to the wide, wonderful world of Young Adult literature. Today, Tiffany embraces popular Young Adult literature and uses it in her classroom. She currently teaches the following novels: The OutsidersSpeakNight, Dystopian Literature Circles: The Hunger GamesThe GiverThe Uglies, and Matched.

You can connect with Tiffany on her website - TIffany Truitt: Author Wanabe and twitter.

Pre-order Naturals today!

Publisher/Publication Date: Entangled Publishing, Expected Apr 2013
ISBN: 9781620611470
352 pages

Sunday, August 26, 2012

It's Monday! What are you reading? (Aug 27, 2012)

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! 

Work was great this week and it got me to be more productive at home too!  Hopefully I can get my reviews caught up this week and I am off to a good start. 

Current Giveaways:
Desert Rice by Angela Scott (please enter and leave a comment - blog with most comments can win a prize!)

Upcoming giveaways - this week:
Back to the Books Giveaway Hop

Currently reading this week: 

Reading for Various read-a-longs in August: I didn't get any further on any of these, but did decide to give up one. 
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See (still enjoying this one, just have to remember to put it in my car!)
The Cider House Rules by John Irving - (Haven't progressed much further)

Upcoming books:
The Angry Woman Suite by Lee Fulbright
Mad World: Epidemic by Samaire Provost
Freak by Jennifer Hillier

Bathroom Book:

Books read and needing to be reviewed:
The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter
The Witch is Back by H.P. Mallory
The Search by Shelley Shepard Gray
The Memory Thief by Emily Colin

Until next week ----  Ready - Set - Read!

Permanence by Vincent Zandri (Book Review)

Title: Permanence
Author: Vincent Zandri
Publisher: Bear Media, 2 edition

About the book:  Based upon Vincent Zandri's most anthologized Pushcart Prize-nominated short story of the same title, Permanence, is the "Hitchcockian" story of Mary Kismet, a travel agent and grieving mother of a toddler who suffered an apparent accidental drowning. Now, all alone in the world, she attempts to ease the pain of her suffering by immersing herself, body and soul, into a love affair with her psychiatrist, a man haunted by his own demons. A tragic novel of obsession, dark compulsions, and madness, Permanence transports the ill-fated lovers from New York to Venice, Italy, and back again.

My thoughts: I don't know where to start with this one.  It is hard to say that I enjoyed something that was actually very tragic and dark, but I did.  The story is told from Mary's POV, so we really get to see inside her troubled mind.  She has not been able to get over the drowning of her toddler and only child, and the blame that she lays on herself.  Her husband has left her because of it.  She has left her travel agent job and only leaves her apartment to visit her psychiatrist.  A man who has his own dark secrets and for whatever reason has stepped over the boundaries and entered into an affair with Mary.  I am not sure which one of these people to feel more sorry for.

This novella kept me captivated, and as most novella's are, it was a quick read.  Mary stayed with me for quite awhile after I finished it, as part of the ending took me by complete surprise.  And what I found out at the end just added to the tragedy.

~I received a complimentary ecopy of Permanence from Partners in Crime blog tours in exchange for my review~  

Publisher/Publication Date: Bear Media, May 2012 (2nd edition)
143 pages

Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce (Book Review)

Title: Some Kind of Fairy Tale
Author: Graham Joyce
Publisher: Doubleday

About the Book: It is Christmas afternoon and Peter Martin gets an unexpected phonecall from his parents, asking him to come round. It pulls him away from his wife and children and into a bewildering mystery.

He arrives at his parents house and discovers that they have a visitor. His sister Tara. Not so unusual you might think, this is Christmas after all, a time when families get together. But twenty years ago Tara took a walk into the woods and never came back and as the years have gone by with no word from her the family have, unspoken, assumed that she was dead. Now she's back, tired, dirty, dishevelled, but happy and full of stories about twenty years spent travelling the world, an epic odyssey taken on a whim.

But her stories don't quite hang together and once she has cleaned herself up and got some sleep it becomes apparent that the intervening years have been very kind to Tara. She really does look no different from the young woman who walked out the door twenty years ago. Peter's parents are just delighted to have their little girl back, but Peter and his best friend Richie, Tara's one time boyfriend, are not so sure. Tara seems happy enough but there is something about her. A haunted, otherworldly quality. Some would say it's as if she's off with the fairies. And as the months go by Peter begins to suspect that the woods around their homes are not finished with Tara and his family...

My thoughts:  I am not really a fan of fairy tales and this did not make me one.  It was just an okay read for me.  Where I found the prose to be enjoyable, I could not get completely invested in the storyline.  When Tara returns, she tries to spin some story about world travels, but it is not very believable -- especially since there has been no word from her at all in all that time.  (She thought she had only been gone for 6 months when she first returns, as time in the fairy world travels at a different speed).  Maybe it was because she was only 16, but she didn't seem invested in either world very much, she just kind of wandered through both (maybe that is what fairies do. . .)

Her family did try to run some different tests on her and had her visiting a psychiatrist to try to figure out what had happened to her, but nothing was very conclusive.  Her boyfriend and brother both tried to reconnect with her, but neither had much luck.  Maybe if I was a fairy tale fan this would have been a fantastic read, as I did like the author's style -- just couldn't relate to the story.

~I received a complimentary ecopy of this book from Edelweiss/Doubleday in exchange for my unbiased review.~

Some Kind of Fairy Tale
Publisher/Publication Date: Doubleday, June 2012
ISBN: 9780385535786
320 pages

Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog by Lisa Scottoline (Book Review)

Title: Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog
Author: Lisa Scottoline
Publisher: St. Martin's Press

About the book:  A hilarious collection of stories from the life of the New York Times bestselling author of Look Again.

At last, together in one collection, are Lisa Scottoline’s wildly popular Philadelphia Inquirer columns. In her column, Lisa lets her hair down, roots and all, to show the humorous side of life from a woman’s perspective. The Sunday column debuted in 2007 and on the day it started, Lisa wrote, “I write novels, so I usually have 100,000 words to tell a story. In a column there’s only 700 words. I can barely say hello in 700 words. I’m Italian.” The column gained momentum and popularity. Word of mouth spread, and readers demanded a collection. Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog is that collection. Seventy vignettes. Vintage Scottoline.

In this collection, you’ll laugh about:
• Being caught braless in the emergency room
• Betty and Veronica’s Life Lessons for Girls
• A man’s most important body part
• Interrupting as an art form
• A religion men and women can worship
• Real estate ads as porn
• Spanx are public enemy number one
• And so much more about life, love, family, pets, and the pursuit of jeans that actually fit! (description from Goodreads)

My thoughts:  I have had Lisa Scottoline on my TBR list for awhile - but it was her Rosato and Associates series that I thought I would read.  I picked this one up for a reading challenge and laughed all the way through it.  The snapshots that she shares with us of her family include stories about her mom, her brother and her daughter - as well as her much loved dogs.

Surprisingly, I could really relate to many things that she wrote about, as I have college age daughters, a sometimes feisty mother, and much love for my pets.  Through her writings, she seems like someone that, if she lived around here, that I would be friends with.  I am not sure that men would relate to her book, or women of a different age.  But at the stage of life that I am currently in, it definitely rang a bell with me.  I look forward to being able to add some of her thrillers to my "read" list soon!

Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog
Publisher/Publication Date: St. Martin's Press, Nov 2009
ISBN: 978312587482
304 pages

Mailbox Monday (Aug 25, 2012)

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, the weekly meme created by Marcia from A girl and her books.  This is where I share the titles I have received for review or purchased during the past week.  Mailbox Monday will be hosted in August  byJennifer D at 5 Minutes for Books.

Eve and Adam
by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate

In the beginning, there was an apple.

And then there was a car crash, a horrible, debilitating injury, and the hospital.  But before Evening Spiker could even lift her head out of the fog of unconsciousness, there was a strange boy checking her out of the hospital and rushing her to Spiker Biopharmaceuticals -- her mother's research facility.  Just when Eve thinks she will die -- not from her injuries, but from boredom -- her mother gives her a special project:  Create the perfect boy.

Using an amazingly detailed simulation that her mother claims is designed to teach human genetics, Eve starts building a boy from the ground up: eyes, hair, muscles, even a brain, and potential personality traits.  Eve is creating Adam.  And he will be just perfect. . . won't he?

Heaven Should Fall
by Rebecca Coleman

Alone since her mother's death, Jill Wagner wants to eat, sleep and breathe Cade Olmstead when he bursts upon her life -- golden, handsome and ambitious.  Even putting college on hold feels like a minor sacrifice when she discovers she's pregnant with Cade's baby.  But it won't be the last sacrifice she'll have to make.

Retreating to the Olmsteads' New England farm seems sensible, if not ideal:  they'll regroup and welcome the baby, surrounded by Cade's family.  But the remote, ramshackle place already feels crowded. Cade's mother tends to his ailing father, while Cade's pious sister, her bigoted husband and their rowdy sons overrun the house.  Only Cade's brother, Elias, a combat veteran with a damaged spirit, gives Jill an ally amidst the chaos, along with a glimpse in to his disturbing childhood.  But his burden is heavy, and she alone cannot kindle his will to live.

The tragedy of Elias is like a killing frost, withering Cade in particular, transforming his idealism into bitterness and paranoia.  Taking solace in caring for her newborn son, Jill looks up to find her golden boy is gone.  In Cade's place is a desperate man willing to endanger them all in the name of vengeance. . . unless Jill can find a way out. 

A Father First
by Dwyane Wade

Dwyane Wade, the eight-time All-Star for the Miami Heat, has miraculously defied the odds throughout his career and his life.  In 2006, in just his third season in the NBA, Dwyane was named the Finals' MVP, after leading the Miami Heat to the Championship title, basketball's ultimate prize.  Two years later, after possible career-ending injuries, he again rose from the ashes of doubt to help win a gold medal for the United States at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.  As co-captain, he helped lead the Heat to triumph in the 2012 NBA Championship.  Little wonder that legendary coach Pat Riley has called Dwyane "B.I.W." -- Best in the World.

As incredible as those achievements have been it's off the court where Dwyane has sought his most cherished goal: being a good dad to his sons, Zaire and Zion, by playing a meaningful role in their lives.  Recounting his fatherhood journey, Dwyane begins his story in March 2011 with the news that after a long, bitter custody battle, he has been awarded sole custody of his sons in a virtually unprecedented court decision.  A Father First chronicles the lessons Dwyane has learned as a single dad from the moment of the judge's ruling that instantly changed his life and the lives of his boys, and then back to the events in the past that shaped his dreams, prayers, and promises.

As the son of divorced parents determined to get along so that he and his sister Tragil could have loving relationships with both of them, Dwyane's early years were spent on Chicago's South Side.  With poverty, violence, and drugs consuming the streets and their mom descending into addiction, Tragil made the heroic decision to take her younger brother to live with their father.  After moving his household to suburban Robbins, Illinois, Dwyane Wade Sr. become Dwyane's first basketball coach.  While this period laid the groundwork for Dwyane's later mission for fathers to take greater responsibility for their kids, he was also inspired by his mother's miraculous victory over addiction and her gift for healing others.  Both his mother and his father showed him that the unconditional love between parents and children is a powerful guiding force.

In A Father First, we meet the coaches, mentors, and teammates who played pivotal roles in Dwyane's stunning basketball career -- from his early days shooting hoops on the neighborhood courts in Chicago, to his rising stardom at Marquette University in Milwaukee, to his emergence as an unheralded draft pick by the Miami Heat.  This book is a revealing, personal story of one of America's top athletes, but it is also a call to action -- from a man who had to fight to be in his children's lives -- that will show mothers and fathers how to step up and be parents themselves.

Every Day
by David Levithan

Every day I am someone else.  I am myself -- I know I am myself -- but I am also someone else.  It has always been like this.

Every morning, A wakes in a different person's body, a different person's life.  There's never any warning about where it will be or who it will be.  A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live:  Never get too attached.  Avoid being noticed.  Do not interfere.

It's all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin's girlfriend, Rhiannon.  From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply.  Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with -- day in, day out, day after day.

With his new novel, David Levithan has pushed himself to new creative heights.  He has written a captivating story that will fascinate readers as they begin to comprehend the complexities of life and love in A's world, as A and Rhiannon seek to discover if you can truly love someone who is destined to change every day. 

Murder Most Austen
by Tracy Kiely

A dedicated Anglophile and Janeite, Elizabeth Parker is hoping the trip to the annual Jane Austen Festival in Bath will distract her from her lack of a job and her uncertain future with her boyfriend, Peter.

On the plane ride to England, she and Aunt Winnie meet Professor Richard Baines, a self-proclaimed expert on all things Austen.  His outlandish claims that within each Austen novel there is a sordid secondary story is second only to his odious theory on the true cause of Austen's death.  When Baines is found stabbed to death in his Mr. Darcy attire during the costume ball, it appears that Baines's theories have finally pushed one Austen fan too far.  Aunt Winnie's friend becomes the prime suspect, and Aunt Winnie enlists Elizabeth to find the professor's real killer.  With an ex-wife, a scheming daughter-in-law, and a trophy wife, not to mention a festival's worth of die-hard Austen fans, there are no shortage of suspects.

This fourth in Tracy Kiely's charming series is pure delight.  If Bath is the number-one mecca for Jane Austen fans, Murder Most Austen is the perfect read for those who love some laughs and quick wit with their mystery.

What books came home to you this week?

Friday, August 24, 2012

My Writing Quirks and Must Haves (Guest Post by Angela Scott)

My Writing Quirks and Must Haves
by Angela Scott

I am a quirky kinda gal, so yeah, I've got some writing oddities that are part of my daily writing process. I love comfy clothes. I can write a whole better wearing my PJ's than I can wearing jeans, a bra, and a blouse. If I'm comfortable, then my writing flows a lot easier. Weird, but true. On a really good writing day, I wear PJ's well into the mid afternoon. 

Also, I have a desk and I surround it with cute quotes and inspirational sayings to motivate me, but I never write at my desk. Hardly ever. Instead, I prefer sitting on my bed, cross-legged (in my PJ's), with my laptop across my knees. As I said, I'm all for comfort. This probably goes back to my college days when all I had in my dorm room was my bed. That's where I did my homework and studied for tests.

The sound of kids screaming or fighting or the TV turned up and blaring Spongebob zaps all my creativity faster than a cheetah chasing a gazelle. Unfortunately, this is my life, so to counteract the craziness I try to get up before them and get some writing in. If that can't be done (the other day I got up at 6:30am to write and by 6:45am two kids were up—they thwarted my plan), then I make sure they're fed and content before I put in my earbuds and listen to some music. Music drowns out the kids and depending on the song, can really help in the writing process.

Next to me is usually perched a nice frothy glass of Diet Pepsi and a little something to snack on—peanuts, pretzels, carrots. It helps fight off the munchies and keeps me at the laptop where I need to be. If I head to the kitchen for a snack, I get easily distracted and can end up doing a sink full of dishes and mopping a floor and who wants that?

Before I even start typing, I have to check email and facebook. If I don't I will fret and wonder. Most of the time, nothing is happening over there, but I still have to check to ease my mind. This can be dangerous though since , as I've said before, I'm easily distracted and get carried off in the social media world for hours and hours. So this is tricky and has to be handled with care.

For the most part, those are my quirks. Nothing too crazy like singing and chanting to invoke the muses or anything, just me in my PJ's sitting on my bed. It works for me.  

Angela Scott is the author of Desert Rice, currently touring with Reading Addiction Blog Tours.  For more information, please visit my excerpt and giveaway.  


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