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

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Mailbox Monday 5-4-2009

It is time for another edition of Mailbox Monday hosted at The Printed Page or In Your Mailbox at The Story Siren. Please stop by those posts and take a look at what packages everybody else got this week! Don't forget to check out my giveaways! I will have 2 new ones starting soon!

I went with the mailbox full of hearts again this week as the love continued to pour in as I received loads of contest wins this week!

The Problem with the Puddles
By Kate Feiffer
I won this book from J.Kaye at J.Kaye's Book Blog.

This capricious novel marks Feiffer's (President Pennybaker) move into middle-grade fiction, in a story about a family that, for some reason, attracts clouds ("It was as if the cloud suddenly forgot it was heading to a hurricane in Florida or an important blizzard in Canada"). Additionally, the Puddle parents disagree on everything: one of their children is called Baby because they couldn't choose a name. And since the couple squabbled over a breed, the Puddles have two dogs-both named Sally. Alternating between the perspectives of the two- and four-legged family members, the story reveals what happens when the Puddles inadvertently leave "the Sallys" behind at the end of a long vacation in the country. The kid-friendly humor ("Just like meat loaf is like a loaf of meat, a conundrum is like a drum of conun," one of the Sallys "explains," as the dogs consider what to do), the full cast of eccentric characters and Tusa's (Fred Stays with Me!) lively b&w spot art should readily win fans for the Puddle family. Ages 8-12. (Feb.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

I received the next five books from Miriam at Hachette. Thanks Miriam!

Any Minute
By Joyce Meyer and Deborah Bedford

Sarah Harper is driven, pursuing happiness in all the wrong places. She wants to do good and not hurt the people she loves, including her son, Mitchell, and her husband, Joe. But her drive to succeed overrides all else.

It's not until she faces a chance encounter with heaven and spends time with the grandmother who prayed for her every day when she was a little girl that she begins to see how her own mother's bitterness created a hole in Sarah's life--a hole she has been trying to overcome for as long as she can remember.

For the first time, Sarah sees that God created her for a special purpose. When Sarah returns to her own life, she is a woman with a mission. And the unsuspecting world around her will never be the same again.

By James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

Syd, a breathtakingly beautiful supermodel on a photo shoot in Hawaii, disappears. Fearing the worst, her parents travel to Hawaii to investigate for themselves, never expecting the horror that awaits them.

LA Times reporter Ben Hawkins is conducting his own research into the case, hoping to help the victim and get an idea for his next bestseller. With no leads and no closer to uncovering the kidnapper's identity than when he stepped off the plane, Ben gets a shocking visit that pushes him into an impossible-to-resist deal with the devil.

A heart-pounding story of fear and desire, SWIMSUIT transports listeners to a chilling new territory where the collision of beauty and murder transforms paradise into a hell of unspeakable horrors.

The Disappearance of Irene Dos Santos
By Margaret Mascarenhas

Irene dos Santos disappeared at age 15. Believed to have drowned while on holiday with her best friend, Lily Martinez, her body was never found. Now, years later, she appears ghostlike in Lily's dreams, prompting a quest for the truth behind her disappearance. Mysteriously, Lily, eight-months pregnant with her first child, slips and falls on the same day that the statue of Maria Lionza, Patron Saint of their Venezuelan town, cracks in two. Confined to her bed, Lily is surrounded by her family and closest friends, who agree that a Novena to Maria Lionza will guide the baby's spirit safely into the world. Together, through their nine nights of prayer, each offers a story to entertain Lily and her baby. What emerges is a vivid picture of Venezuela during a time of revolution and uncertainty-and the unraveling of the mystery behind Irene dos Santos.

Ms. Taken Identity
By Dan Begley

PhD candidate Mitch Samuel's life isn't going exactly according to plan: his girlfriend just dumped him (to be fair, he did forget to pick her up at the airport), his estranged father has landed in the hospital, and his literary masterpiece-one part Shakespeare, one part Steinbeck, and all parts lyrical epic-has been rejected for the umpteenth time.

However, after a chance encounter at Starbucks with the queen of women's fiction- Katharine Longwell-who seems to take a liking to him, he senses an opportunity for literary riches, if not reputation. After telling her that his (imaginary) female cousin is an aspiring chick-lit author, he secures a promise from her that she'll help his "cousin" get published. The only problem is, Mitch needs a manuscript, and fast.

Unfortunately, try as he might to get inside a woman's head by reading Vogue and Cosmo, watching Oxygen and Oprah, nothing seems to work. That's when his roommate Bradley suggests that he try a dance class at the studio where Bradley's sister Marie takes lessons. Self-conscious about his own skills, and unwilling to reveal his true intentions, Mitch attends the first class under an alias: Jason Gallagher, pharmaceutical rep. What could go wrong?

Nothing, except that Mitch/Jason quickly finds himself hooked on dancing, and on the charming Marie. Who has no idea who he really is. Or that he knows her brother. Or why he's there. Suddenly, his novel-writing project is becoming a lot more than he bargained for...

April & Oliver
By Tess Callahan

(from the back cover)
Soul mates since childhood, the attraction between April and Oliver has always been palpable. Years after being completely inseparable, they become strangers, but the wildly different paths of their lives collide once again with the sudden death of April’s brother. Sexual tension builds as Oliver, the responsible, newly engaged law student, finds himself drawn more than ever to the reckless, mystifying April – and cracks begin to appear in his carefully constructed life. Even as Oliver attempts to “save” his childhood friend from her grief, her menacing boyfriend, and herself, it soon becomes apparent that Oliver has some secrets of his own – secrets he hasn’t shared with anyone, even his fiancĂ©e. But April knows and her reappearance in his life derails him. Is it really April’s life that is unraveling, or is it his own? The answer awaits at the end of a downward spiral . . . toward salvation.

Beyond the Smoke
By Terry W. Burns

I won this from Lena at A Christian Writer's World. Thanks Lena!

(from the back cover)
They were all dead.
No one alive in the whole wagon train.
He was alone.

When Bryan Wheeler’s parents are killed by Comanche raiders, he wonders how he will survive without them. With a few supplies, two guns, and his mother’s Bible, he sets out to create a new life for himself in the western wilderness.

Beyond the Smoke is the story of one young man’s adventures in the Wild West.

In the Land of Cotton
By Martha A. Taylor

I received this book from Marcia at the Printed Page. Thanks Marcia!



Immerse yourself in this highly anticipated political docu-drama set in the Deep South amidst the backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement.

Martha was a young white girl living in the Deep South, inundated with the racist sentiments of the times. But Martha's natural curiosity and generous heart led her to question this racial divide. When she discovered a primitive Negro family living deep in the woods near her house, everyone's life changed forever.

Take the journey of a lifetime alongside Martha as she forges relationships that lead to self discovery and a clearer understanding of the world around her. In the Land of Cotton provides an outstanding snapshot of life in the South during those troubled times - a snapshot everyone should take a close look at, regardless of era or color.

The year was 1956.

Refuge: A true story of faith and civil war
By John & Bessie Gonleh w/Bruce Beakley

I received this from Tracy at TBB Media. Thanks Tracy!

John and Bessie Gonlehs saga of faith and endurance extends over seventeen years. Fleeing from Liberias civil war where John was wrongly imprisoned and miraculously survived his own execution, to corrupt United Nations camps in the Ivory Coast and Guinea, the Gonleh family went from a comfortable life in a suburb to living in the most primitive conditions. As penniless immigrants bound for America, God arranged for them to meet a total stranger in a Belgium airport who would financially provide for them and pen their astounding and horrific true story so it could be used to encourage and strengthen the faith of other believers.

In this riveting, hardtoputdown book, readers will see the faith of a flawed family in action against witchcraft, starvation, grief and other hardships in the midst of a country turned upside down by civil war. They wonder why God miraculously protects them in some circumstances, but in others leaves them vulnerable and exposed. They ask how in the midst of Gods clear provision they can experience a doubt so great that John even considers a premeditated murder justifiable. The Gonlehs remarkable story of faith, and obedience in listening to the voice of God, changed their lives, and will change the life of everyone that reads it.

Higher Hope: Tides of Truth Book 2
By Robert Whitlow

I won this book at WordVessel. Thanks Cathy!

Tami Taylor faces impossible challenges in life, law, and love--until she discovers a higher hope.

In historic Savannah, Georgia, a prestigious law firm assigns law clerk Tami Taylor to a libel case against a humble street preacher whose disciples claim she has uncanny prophetic abilities. Taylor's strict religious upbringing proves to be the firm's ace-in-the-hole as the case grows increasingly complex.

When Tami begins to date one of the firm's lawyers, her convictions and litigation skills are put to the test. Turns out this case will require more than legal maneuvering, but also the summoning of a greater hope than Tami has ever known.

Painting the Invisible Man
Rita Schiano

I received this book from Bostick Communications.

Based on a true event... In 2001, while researching the online archives of her hometown newspaper for a client, freelance writer Rita Schiano made a keying error a simple mistake that led her to a path she d been avoiding most of her life; on a journey inside the world of her father, killed gangland-style more than two decades ago. Schiano turned that difficult journey into an engrossing novel, "Painting The Invisible Man," which explores the complex dynamics of growing up in an Italian family on the fringes of the Mafia. Employing philosophical insight and a sardonic wit, Schiano vividly takes the reader through myriad brushstrokes as her character paints the unfinished portraits of both her father and herself.

Healing Luke
By Beth Cornelison

(Picture not available)
I received this book from Danielle at Sourcebooks. Thanks Danielle!
(from back cover)

She can’t escape her past. . .

Occupational therapist Abby Stanford is on vacation alone, haunted by sharp memories of her fiance’s betrayal, her self-confidence shattered. Romance is the last thing on Abby’s mind – until she meets the brooding and enigmatic Luke. . .

He won’t face his future. . .

Scarred by a horrific accident, former heartthrob Luke Morgan is certain his best days are behind him. Spunky and attractive, Abby knows how to help him recover, but Luke is sure his powerful attraction to her will only serve as a harsh reminder to him of the man he used to be.

Abby is Luke’s first glimmer of hope since the accident, but can she heal his heart before Luke breaks hers?

The Night Watchman
By Mark Mynheir
I received this book from Stacy at Random House - and then won it as an Early Reviewer from Library Thing! I will be hosting it as a giveaway w/ the possibility of 3 books to give away!

Eleven months ago, Ray Quinn was a tough, quick-witted Orlando homicide detective at the top of his game–until a barrage of bullets ended his career…and his partner’s life.

Now medically retired with a painful handicap, Ray battles the haunting guilt for his partner’s death. Numbing the pain with alcohol and attitude, Ray takes a job as a night watchman at a swanky Orlando condo.

But when a pastor and an exotic dancer are found dead in one of the condos in an apparent murder-suicide, Ray can no longer linger in the shadows. The pastor’s sister is convinced her brother was framed and begs Ray to take on an impossible case–to challenge the evidence and clear her brother’s name.

Ray reluctantly pulls the threads of this supposedly dead-end case only to unravel a murder investigation so deep that it threatens to turn the Orlando political landscape upside down and transform old friends into new enemies. As Ray chases down leads and interrogates suspects, someone is watching his every move, someone determined to keep him from ever finding out the truth–at any cost.

Stealing Home: A Novel
By Allison Pittman

I received this book from Elizabeth at Random House - I will also be hosting a giveaway later this month! Thanks Elizabeth!

It’s 1905 and the Chicago Cubs are banking on superstar Donald “Duke” Dennison’s golden arm to help them win the pennant. Only one thing stands between Duke and an unprecedented ten thousand dollar contract: alcohol.

That’s when sportswriter David Voyant whisks Duke to the one-horse town of Picksville, Missouri, so he can sober up in anonymity. He bides his time flirting with Ellie Jane Voyant, his unofficial chaperone, who would rather hide herself in the railway station ticket booth than face the echoes of childhood taunts.

Ned Clovis, the feed store clerk, has secretly loved Ellie Jane since childhood, but he loves baseball and the Duke almost as much–until he notices Ellie Jane may be succumbing to the star’s charm.

Then there’s Morris, a twelve-year-old Negro boy, whose only dream is to break away from Picksville. When Duke discovers his innate talent for throwing a baseball, Morris might just have found his way out.

Four individuals, each living in haunted isolation, each harboring a secret passion. Providence brings them together. Tragedy threatens to tear them apart. Will love be enough to bring them home?

Saints in Limbo
By River Jordan

I received this book from Elizabeth at Random House. Thanks Elizabeth!

Ever since her husband Joe died, Velma True’s world has been limited to what she can see while clinging to one of the multicolored threads tied to the porch railing of her home outside Echo, Florida.

When a mysterious stranger appears at her door on her birthday and presents Velma with a special gift, she is rattled by the object’s ability to take her into her memories–a place where Joe still lives, her son Rudy is still young, unaffected by the world’s hardness, and the beginning is closer than the end. As secrets old and new come to light, Velma wonders if it’s possible to be unmoored from the past’s deep roots and find a reason to hope again.

The next eleven books were all won from Book Review's by Bobbie - Thanks Bobbie!

Kiss Off: Poems to Set You Free
By Mary Esselman, Elizabeth Ash Velez

Who says you have to take life's punches without fighting back? Whether you're breaking up, breaking down, or just at the breaking point, KISS OFF will help you say goodbye to everything that's holding you back and jump-start your life. From Andrew Marvell to Deborah Garrison, from Langston Hughes to Grace Paley, this liberating collection of poems and insightful commentary will inspire you to cut your losses, welcome renewal, and become the fabulous person you always knew you could be.

My Little Red Book
By Rachel Kauder Nalebuff

MY LITTLE RED BOOK is an anthology of stories about first periods, collected from women of all ages from around the world. The accounts range from light-hearted (the editor got hers while water skiing in a yellow bathing suit) to heart-stopping (a first period discovered just as one girl was about to be strip-searched by the Nazis). The contributors include well-known women writers (Meg Cabot, Erica Jong, Gloria Steinem, Cecily von Ziegesar), alongside today's teens. And while the authors differ in race, faith, or cultural background, their stories share a common bond: they are all accessible, deeply honest, and highly informative. Whatever a girl experiences or expects, she'll find stories that speak to her thoughts and feelings.

Ultimately, MY LITTLE READ BOOK is more than a collection of stories. It is a call for a change in attitude, for a new way of seeing periods. In a time when the taboo around menstruation seems to be one of the few left standing, it makes a difficult subject easier to talk about, and helps girls feel proud instead of embarrassed or ashamed. By revealing what it feels like to undergo this experience first hand, and giving women the chance to explain their feelings in their own words, it aims to provide support, entertainment, and a starting point for discussion for mothers and daughters everywhere. It is a book every girl should have. Period.

See Jane Lead: 99 Ways For Women to Take Charge at Work
Lois P. Frankel

The workplace is changing. From the boardrooms to non-profit organizations to the military, the typical male management style is now obsolete. There is a new generation of employees who reject hierarchical leadership and respond to the behaviors and characteristics that women traditionally exhibit. In other words, the time for woment to take charge is now! In SEE JANE LEAD, Dr. Frankel provides a blueprint for women who want to tap their natural leadership abilities and manage with greater ease and confidence in the business world, on the soccer field, at home, and beyond. With the same sharp insight that she demonstrated in Nice Girls Don't Get Rich and Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office, Dr. Frankel shows women how they can overcome sabotaging childhood behaviors that hold them back, while offering practical advice and real-life examples of strong female leaders who have succeeded--in male dominated fields--beyond their wildest dreams.

Galway Bay
By Mary Pat Kelly

Here at last is one Irish family's epic journey, capturing the tragedy and triumph of the Irish-American experience. In a rousing tale that echoes the myths and legends of Ireland herself, young Honora Keeley and Michael Kelly wed and start a family, inhabiting a hidden Ireland where fishermen and tenant farmers find solace in their ancient faith, songs, stories, and communal celebrations. Selling both their catch--and their crops--to survive, these people subsist on the potato crop--their only staple food. But when blight destroys the potatoes three times in four years, a callous government and uncaring landlords turn a natural disaster into The Great Starvation that will kill one million. Honora and Michael vow their children will live. The family joins two million other Irish refugees in one of the greatest rescues in human history: the Irish Emigration to America. Danger and hardship await them there. Honora and her unconventional sister Maire watch their seven sons as they transform Chicago from a frontier town to the "City of the Century", fight the Civil War, and enlist in the cause of Ireland's freedom. The Kelly clan is victorious. This heroic story sheds brilliant light on the ancestors of today's 44 million Irish Americans.

In the author's colorful and eclectic life, she has written and directed award-winning documentaries on Irish subjects, as well as the dramatic feature Proud. She's been an associate producer on Good Morning America and Saturday Night Live, written books on Martin Scorsese, World War II, and Bosnia, and a novel based on her experiences as a former nun - Special Intentions. She is a frequentcontributor to Irish America Magazine and has a PhD in English and Irish literature.

Dream in Color: How the Sanchez Sisters are Making History in Congress
By Linda Sanchez, Loretta Sanchez, Richard Bushkin

By sharing moments from their childhood in Southern California, Linda and Loretta will pass on the values and traditions they learned from their parents--Mexican immigrants who, despite not having graduated high school themselves, made sure all seven of their children went to and graduated from college--that enabled them to conquer challenges and make history. They will speak frankly on the professional highs and lows, successes and scandals that constitute their distinguished careers, and show that the key to realizing your dreams is, above all else, always be true to yourself. Often considered Congress's Odd Couple, these warm witty sisters are not only perfect role models for young Latinas in the US, but for all young women looking to break out and create a brighter future for themselves.

Mistress Bradstreet: The Untold Life of America’s First Poet
By Charlotte Gordon

"For many, Anne Bradstreet's name is familiar from the early pages of anthologies of American poetry or from John Berryman's famous tribute to her. But few know that she was the first published poet - male or female - to emerge from the wilderness of the New World, or that her slim volume of verse was a runaway bestseller. Now, in this biography, Charlotte Gordon reveals Anne Bradstreet to be an electrifying personality at the center of one of the most fascinating periods in our country's history." "Transplanted from England to the New World in 1630, eighteen-year-old Anne was among the first waves of settlers on the unwelcoming shores of what would one day be Massachusetts. Arriving just a decade after the Pilgrims, Anne quickly had to transform herself from educated gentlewoman to frontier wife and mother. Of course, she was not alone: with her came her new husband, Simon Bradstreet; her imperious father, Thomas Dudley; and a powerful clutch of Protestant dissenters whose descendants would become our founding fathers." "Anne not only recorded her own experience, but also commented on the political and religious upheavals of her day, casting light on the hypocrisy of Old England and the promise of the New." This is the story of a woman and poet of great feeling struggling to find a language to describe the country in which she finds herself. It also offers a complex portrait of early America, the Puritans, and the trials and values whose legacy continues to shape our country to the present day.

Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven
By Susan Jane Gilman

In 1986, Susie and her friend Chloe, fresh-faced graduates from Brown University, were inspired by a placemat entitled "Pancakes of Many Nations" to depart on an epic trip around the world, starting with Hong Kong and the People's Republic of China, then only recently opened to the rest of the world. As the two ventured into what turned out to be a strange and alien land, they encountered places far different from anything they had ever experienced, from the horrors of an open-ditch toilet in the back of a weird hybrid tenement hotel, to a magical boat ride through a fantastic landscape of wind-carved mountains. At every turn, they stumbled upon unforgettable people, including an earnest local who called himself George and loved everything American from hamburgers to Stevie Wonder, a heroic German exchange student named Eckehardt Grimm, and a young waitress named Lisa in an unlikely restaurant in the middle of rural China that specialized in food for weary travelers, such as pancakes and pizza, "just like their mama make."

Armed only with Nietzsche's greatest works and a copy of Linda Goodman's Love Signs, Susie and Chloe were utterly unprepared for their expedition, and their experience alternated between culture shock and exotic adventure, until a near-tragedy turned the trip into a true-life international thriller. Recounted in Susan Jane Gilman's inspired and unmistakable voice, this adventure is an unforgettable voyage into a peculiarly modern heart of darkness.

Put Your Dreams First: Handle Your Entertainment Business
By Thembisa S. Mshaka

There is a great mystique about the entertainment industry and a fervent desire in many to be part of it. But what many women don't realize is that most entertainment career guides are written from the point of view of the male executive, or are filled with industry and legal jargon-making them difficult to read and understand.

Now, in PUT YOUR DREAMS FIRST, Thembisa Mshaka uses her 15 years of experience in the music industry to expose the hidden truths that women need to know as they aspire toward entertainment careers, such as how to avoid compromising one's self-respect and the little-known fact that women run a large part of the business. This highly informative guide is for every woman wanting to know how to navigate the entertainment superhighway and find that job of a lifetime.

The Power to Change Today: Simple Secrets to the Satisfied Life
By Gregory Dickow

How many people go through their days feeling dissatisfied or even feeling their lives have no purpose or meaning? Perhaps money, time or love seem in short supply. Or one doesn't have the body they'd like or the perfect job or the perfect mate. What kind of faith can give the strength and encouragement to break free from emotional and spiritual discontentment?

In this debut work Pastor Dickow, founder of the popular Life Changers International Church brings a compelling vision for conquering negativity and achieving breakthroughs toward successful living. Through attaining a deep connection with God one can learn the keys to mastering destructive emotions and eradicating personal stress. Pastor Dickow offers readers 16 spirit-centered and practical secrets to create an invincible spirit and a satisfied life.

Direct and heartfelt in its narrative, THE POWER TO CHANGE TODAY is more than a typical self-help book. It not only includes a full discussion of spiritual and common sense wisdom, but also reveals the story of Pastor Dickow's personal journey through a painful childhood, a crisis of faith and a miracle conversion.

No Matter What!: 9 Steps to Living the Life You Love
By Lisa Nichols

From bestselling author and motivational speaker Lisa Nichols comes a unique and powerful inspirational program that will both move you and empower you to realize your dreams. Millions are trying to live by The Secret's Law of Attraction, but the truth is it won't work unless you flex your all-important "bounce-back" muscles, which give you the ability to successfully navigate life's speed bumps.
By developing and toning her own bounce-back muscles at critical points in her life, Lisa found the power to become her authentic self and achieve everything she dared to hope for. Now, in No Matter What, she offers a groundbreaking program that outlines these 9 Steps or "muscles", which include among others your Confidence, Faith-in-Myself, Honesty Out Loud and Forgiveness muscles, and explains how anyone can use them to achieve happiness and off-the-charts success. In this powerful guide Lisa Nichols introduces her dynamic plan, shares her own remarkable story, and prescribes specific exercises and action steps to inspire readers to learn from their past and move toward a courageous future.

Throw Out Fifty Things: Clear the Clutter, Find Your Life
By Gail Blanke

"Our lives are so filled with junk from the past-from dried up tubes of glue to old grudges-that it's a wonder we can get up in the morning," exclaims motivator, best-selling author, columnist, and life coach Gail Blanke.

"If you want to grow, you gotta let go," is Blanke's mantra; and that means eliminating all the clutter-physical and emotional-that holds you back, weighs you down, or just makes you feel bad about yourself.

In THROW OUT FIFTY THINGS she takes us through each room of the house-from the attic to the garage-and even to the far reaches of our minds. Through poignant and humorous stories, she inspires us to get rid of the "life plaque" we've allowed to build-up there.

· That junk drawer (you know that drawer) in the kitchen? Empty it!
· Those old regrets? Throw 'em out!
· That make-up from your "old" look? Toss it!
· That relationship that depresses you? Dump it!

Once you've hit fifty-you'll be surprised how easy it is to get there-and once you've thrown out that too-tight belt and too-small view of yourself, you'll be ready to step out into the clearing and into the next, and greatest, segment of your life.

The Crimes of Paris: A True Story of Murder, Theft and Detection

By Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler

I won this book from Sam's Book Blog. Thanks Sam!

Turn-of-the-century Paris was the beating heart of a rapidly changing world. Painters, scientists, revolutionaries, poets--all were there. But so, too, were the shadows: Paris was a violent, criminal place, its sinister alleyways the haunts of Apache gangsters and its cafes the gathering places of murderous anarchists. In 1911, it fell victim to perhaps the greatest theft of all time--the taking of the Mona Lisa from the Louvre. Immediately, Alphonse Bertillon, a detective world-renowned for pioneering crime-scene investigation techniques, was called upon to solve the crime. And quickly the Paris police had a suspect: a young Spanish artist named Pablo Picasso....

What did you get in your mailbox?

(All descriptions are from Barnes and Noble unless otherwise noted.)

Saturday, May 2, 2009



We have a winner of An Offer You Can't Refuse by Jill Mansell! That winner is Tiffanyak1986! I have sent Tiffany an email and she has until Wednesday morning to get me her information, or I will draw for another winner. Congrats Tiffany!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Wild Highland Magic by Kendra Leigh Castle (Book Review)

Title: Wild Highland Magic
Author: Kendra Leigh Castle
Publisher: Sourcebooks
ISBN: 9781402218569
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Available: May 1, 2009
This ARC was provided to me by Sourcebooks - Thanks Danielle!

First sentence: The dungeons stank of death.

Catriona MacInnes, along with her sisters Skye and Poppy, are half werewolves, half witches growing up in sunny California with their father, Freddie. Never taught how to use or control their powers, never knowing they weren't unique - they were surprised when their father announced a family trip to the Scottish Highlands. A trip to meet his brother Duncan, Alpha of the MacInnes Pack.

Upon arriving at Iargail, the ancestral home of the Macinnes', Cat could see that it was going to take some time to mend the rift between Duncan and her father. Uncle Duncan immediately warmed to the three sisters though.

Cat soon runs into Bastian an Morgaine, a wizard prince staying in a cottage on Duncan's land. Hiding out would be how Duncan sees it, but since he is his daughter-in-law's brother, he lets him stay.

Bastian is hiding things though. The first being a narial - this is a shadowy creature that only prowls in the dark and has been tormenting Bastian's family for years. He slowly takes chunks of their soul until they break. Bastian's family had this curse put upon them by the king of the daemons. He is also hiding Lucien Andrakkar, a dragon. Bastian rescued Lucien from the Blighted Kingdom where he had been held and tortured by the daemons for a year. He is hoping that this dragon will help rid him of the narial. If Lucien will just give Bastian some of his blood, by his own free will, Bastian might have a chance to defeat the curse.

Things heat up quickly between Cat and Bastian and their kisses leave "marks" on their bodies - and souls. Unbeknownst to Cat, she has mated with Bastian for life. Bastian soon realizes that by mating with Cat, he has doomed her to his fate.

I adored this book. I loved the way that it was set in the Scottish Highlands, which you immediately think "past-times" - but it is set in the present, so there are different references to pop culture which made it amusing. The characters were werewolves, or dragons, or wizards - but this didn't read like a fantasy novel. The characters were so human, the emotions so strong, that this is who I would expect to run into in the Scottish Highlands! I was 2/3rds of the way through the book, when I mentioned to Danielle that I hoped it was the beginning of a series. She told me it was actually the third book! It read very well as a stand alone. Now I can't wait to get my hands on the first two books of this series - Call of the Highland Moon and Dark Highland Fire!

To meet Kendra and read a little more about the book - please hop on over to Yankee Romance Reviewers where the celebration is just starting!

The Friday 56 5-1-2009

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of Storytime with Tonya and Friends.
*Post a link along with your post back to Storytime with Tonya and Friends.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

After a while it became a game with Sunny. He would go down on his front
paws and stick his rump in the air and then laugh at me with his eyes.
(p56, In the Land of Cotton by Martha A. Taylor)

Friday Finds 5-1-2009

Wow- May already!! Nuf said. Here are my finds this week.

What the Dead Know
By Laura Lippman

Thirty years ago two sisters disappeared from a shopping mall. Their bodies were never found and those familiar with the case have always been tortured by these questions: How do you kidnap two girls? Who—or what—could have lured the two sisters away from a busy mall on a Saturday afternoon without leaving behind a single clue or witness?

Now a clearly disoriented woman involved in a rush-hour hit-and-run claims to be the younger of the long-gone Bethany sisters. But her involuntary admission and subsequent attempt to stonewall investigators only deepens the mystery. Where has she been? Why has she waited so long to come forward? Could her abductor truly be a beloved Baltimore cop? There isn't a shred of evidence to support her story, and every lead she gives the police seems to be another dead end—a dying, incoherent man, a razed house, a missing grave, and a family that disintegrated long ago, torn apart not only by the crime but by the fissures the tragedy revealed in what appeared to be the perfect household.

In a story that moves back and forth across the decades, there is only one person who dares to be skeptical of a woman who wants to claim the identity of one Bethany sister without revealing the fate of the other. Will he be able to discover the truth?

Darling Jim
By Christian Moerk

When two sisters and their aunt are found dead in their suburban Dublin home, it seems that the secret behind their untimely demise will never by known. But then Niall, a young mailman, finds a mysterious diary in the post office’s dead-letter bin. From beyond the grave, Fiona Walsh shares the most tragic love story he’s ever heard. . .and her tale has only just begun.

In Christian Moerk’s gripping tale of love, family, and murder, Niall soon becomes enveloped in the mystery of the sisters, and of “Darling Jim,” an itinerant storyteller with uncanny powers of seduction who insinuates himself into their lives. Armed with Fiona’s letter, Niall begins a dangerous search for truth – and the vanished third sister – hoping there’s still time.

By Sebastian Fitzek

No witnesses, no evidence, no body: Star psychologist Viktor Larenz’s twelve-year-old daughter, Josy, who had suffered from an inexplicable illness, has vanished under mysterious circumstances during a visit to her doctor, and the investigation into her disappearance has brought no results. Four years later, Viktor remains a man shattered by this tragedy. He has retreated to a remote vacation cottage on a North Sea island, where a beautiful stranger named Anna Glass pays him a visit. She claims to be a novelist who suffers from an unusual form of schizophrenia: all the characters she creates for her books become real. While writing her most recent novel, Anna has been tortured by visions of a little girl with an unknown illness who has vanished without a trace, and she asks Dr. Larenz to treat her. Viktor reluctantly begins therapy sessions with the stranger, but very soon these sessions take a dramatic turn as the past is dragged back into the light. What really happened to Josy? Do Anna’s delusions describe Josy’s last days? And is Larenz a danger to himself and others?

Therapy is an absolutely gripping psychological thriller, an intelligent, fast and furious read that will stay with you for a long time after you have followed Viktor into the depths of his own psyche, and have figured out who Anna Glass really is.

Hard Time & Nursery Rhymes: A Mother’s Tales of Law and Disorder
By Claudia Trupp

What kind of woman leaves three young daughters at home every morning to spend her days representing convicted murderers and rapists? That is the question criminal defense attorney Claudia Trupp confronts in this sharp and riveting memoir as she seeks answers—for herself and, mostly, for her daughters. Every working mother faces the challenges of balancing work and home, but the nature of Trupp’s work makes her juggling act all the more precarious—and at times hilarious and bizarre. Trupp’s domestic anecdotes of life with her kids run parallel to narratives of her most memorable, and often unsettling, criminal cases, each providing a platform to explore broader issues such as faith, perspective, and charm. The navigation of two radically different realms—the maximum security prisons where clients serve hard time, and the home front where the nursery’s bookshelves are lined with the tales of Mother Goose—makes for thought-provoking and affecting reading. While the working mother has been a popular subject of fiction and self-help guides, this may be the only book offering a woman’s deeply personal and unapologetic account of how embracing a challenging job while simultaneously guiding a family reaps unexpected benefits on both fronts. In a memoir that will resonate powerfully with all women, Trupp candidly conveys to the reader and to her daughters the struggles and rewards of the conflicting roles in her life, the joy she has found in being a mother, and the value of meaningful work.


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