Monday, November 30, 2009

FYI: I am temporarily AWOL


Sorry to do this, everyone! I am temporarily unable to blog (and it's killing me!). My home computer is being repaired, and I'm so completely snowed under at the office that I feel as though I could work 24/7 and never dig myself out.  O.K., I know it's not quite that bad, but I can't really be in the office doing personal stuff if what I'm paid to do isn't yet done. 

I will be sending out emails to the winners of the 5 copies of SEVEN by Jacqueline Leo. 

I will continue to monitor comments, and they will post whenever I am able to access my email. 

I'm estimating that I will be back to posting by Thursday or Friday of this week.

I'll miss you!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Virtual Cookie Swap: Chocolate Cookie Recipe




Here is my offering of a chocolate cookie recipe for the Virtual Cookie Swap hosted by Kathy at Bermudaonion's Weblog and Julie at Booking Mama. I don't know how anyone will be able to choose from among the myriad of yumilicious recipes these women have been tossing around. And today's the day that all of us get to chime in with our own family favorites. Check out these posts . . . if you dare!

Chocolate Chip Pecan Oatmeal Cookies
(with Secret Ingredient)
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt (you can omit this if you use salted butter)
3 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup finely chopped pecans (you can use walnuts but I prefer pecan)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
 
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees 
2. Cream together butter, brown sugar and white sugar until smooth.
3. Beat in eggs one at a time.
4. Add vanilla.
4. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt and stir into the creamed mixture until just blended.
5. Mix in the quick oats, walnuts and chocolate chips.
6. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets.
7. Bake for 12 minutes in the preheated oven.
8. Cool and eat. Or don't cool and eat.
9. Serve with ice-cold milk.

Pssst: What about the Secret Ingredient? Well, there's no measurement for this, but I like to sprinkle in some cinnamon and an itsy-bitsy dash of nutmeg. Once I started adding that, I repeatedly got the comment that these were the best cookies ever eaten!
 
Enjoy!

Virtual Cookie Swap: Traditional Cookie Recipe




I've been following the posts of both Kathy at Bermudaonion's Weblog and Julie at Booking Mama as they post their favorite recipes for cookies for the holiday season. Today's the day we get to post our own favorites and link up for a Virtual Cookie Swap. Kathy and Julie posted so many wonderful recipes that I want to try, it's hard to imagine that there's room for more. But here's my offering for a traditional cookie. Betcha can't eat just one!

Peanut Butter Thumbprints
 (makes about 3 dozen)

1 cup butter
1 cup peanut butter (chunky or smooth - your preference)
1 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt (if you use salted butter, you can leave this out)

Additional sugar (for rolling in -- tee hee!)
Favorite jam (I usually go for raspberry)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. Mix the first 6 ingredients at medium speed until fluffy.

2. Add the next 4 ingredients and beat in at a low speed.

3. Chill for several hours (both you and the dough!)

4. Form dough into balls about 1 inch and roll in extra sugar.

5. Place onto greased cookie sheet and indent centers with thumb.

6. Fill indentation with about 1/4 teaspoon of jam.

7. Bake at 350 degrees for about 12-15 minutes.

8. Cool.

9. Eat (especially good with milk!)

Friday Finds: Bernice L. McFadden, Literary Novelist



FRIDAY FINDS is hosted by Miz B at Should Be Reading.
What great books did you hear about / discover this past week?
Share with us your FRIDAY FINDS!



Today for Friday Finds, I'd like to spotlight the literary novels of Bernice L. McFadden. I'm currently reading Ms. McFadden's debut novel, SUGAR, which will be celebrating its 10th anniversary on January 9, 2010. Unfortunately, Ms. McFadden's books, like those of many other African-American literary novelists, are in danger of being allowed to go out of print.

In an open e-mail to book lovers, Ms. McFadden discusses what she believes is the common practice of publishers marketing the work of African-American novelists only to African-Americans. Ms. McFadden's email has been published in full on several blogs, and you can read it by clicking here. My intention right now is to bring your attention directly to her literary novels and to SUGAR in particular. In an effort to propel SUGAR back into the limelight, Ms. McFadden is asking that booklovers band together and purchase a copies for ourselves and/or as gifts. It is her goal to sell 10,000 copies before the anniversary date of 01/09/10. Buy it. Read it. Give it. It's good!


SUGAR
Description (from the publisher):
In a debut novel that blends the rich, earthy atmosphere of the deep South and a voice imbued with spiritual grace, Bernice L. McFadden tells the story of two women: a modest, churchgoing wife and mother, and the young prostitute she befriends.. "When Sugar arrives in 1950s Bigelow - waltzing down the main square of the sweltering tiny Arkansas town as if she has every right to be there - no one tosses out the welcome mat or invites her in for a Coke. The Bigelow women hate her from the minute they lay eyes on her - on the bouncing blond wig and red-painted lips that tell them she has never known a hard day's work. All they know is they want her gone, out of their town, and away from their men.. "But Sugar has traveled too far and survived too much to back down now. She parks herself in the house at #10 Grove Street, even though she feels there is something about Bigelow that is calling up the past she prayed she'd left behind.. "Deep in her soul, Pearl Taylor knows what it is that Sugar feels, because it happened to her. It was the day her world shut down, the day the devil himself murdered her young daughter, Jude. It wasn't that Pearl stopped believing in God, exactly; she just couldn't trust him the way she used to. Then Sugar moves in next door, and Pearl's life irrevocably changes. Over sweet potato pie, an unlikely friendship begins, transforming the lives of two women - and an entire community.

THIS BITTER EARTH
Description (from the publisher):
In This Bitter Earth, Sugar Lacey is on her way out of Bigelow, Arkansas, where she’d come to break with the past. With her worn leopard-print suitcase and her head held high, she walks past the prying eyes of its small-minded, cruel-hearted townsfolk, praying for the strength to keep going. She doesn’t stop until she arrives at her childhood home in Short Junction. Here she learns the truth about her parentage: a terrible tale of unrequited love, of one man’s enduring hatred, and of the black magic that has cursed generations of Lacey women. A powerfully realized novel that brings back the unforgettable characters from Sugar, McFadden’s bestselling debut, This Bitter Earth is a testament to the ultimate triumph of the human spirit.

CAMILLA'S ROSES
Description (from the publisher):
The poignant tale of a woman who discovers the fragility of life and thestrength of a family's love, from an author praised by Toni Morrison for “searing, expertly imagined scenes”

Known for bringing to life a host of endearing characters who reveal tender truths about humanity, Bernice L. McFadden now turns her storytelling talents to an unforgettable and deeply troubled woman named Camilla.

Unfolding in a progression of stirring and powerful chapters, Camilla's Roses presents a life haunted by the past. Camilla's childhood was immersed in chaos and love, and steeped in the myth of perfection. As an adult, she never looked back, refusing to acknowledge the people and places that had scarred her so many years ago. But a legacy of cancer proves inescapable, forcing Camilla to embrace the past—no matter how painful it may be—and to salvage what is left of her love in order to save her daughter. As Camilla discovers the bittersweet limitations of motherhood and reconciliation, she also awakens an inspiring message about the mortality issues we all must face.

NOWHERE IS A PLACE
Description (from the publisher):
Sherry has struggled all her life to understand who she is, where she comes from, and most important, why her mother slapped her cheek one summer afternoon. The incident has haunted Sherry, and it causes her to dig into her family's past. Like many family histories, it is fractured and stubbornly reluctant to reveal its secrets; but Sherry is determined to know the full story. In just a few days' time her extended family will gather for a reunion, and Sherry sets off across the country with her mother, Dumpling, to join them. What Sherry and Dumpling find on their trip is far more important than a scenic site here and there - it is the assorted pieces of their family's past. Pulled together, they reveal a history of amazing survival and abundant joy.

Descripton (from the publisher):
Despite being born to a broken-hearted mother and a faithless father, Campbell still believes in the power of love…if she can ever find it. Living in the same neighborhood, but unknown to Campbell until a chance meeting brings them together, is Donovan, the “little man” of a shattered home—a family torn apart by anger and bitterness. In the face of these daunting obstacles, Donovan dreams of someday marrying, raising a family, and playing for the NBA. But, deep inside Campbell and Donovan live the histories that have shaped their lives. What they discover—together and apart—forms the basis of this compelling, sensual, and surprising novel.

THE WARMEST DECEMBER
Description (from the publisher):
Now and then I forget things, small things that would not otherwise alter my life. Things like milk in my coffee, setting my alarm clock, or Oprah at four. Tiny things. One day last week I forgot that I hated my father, forgot that I had even thought of him as a monster, and woke up early one cold winter morning, boarded two buses traveling over an hour to sit by his bedside in Kings County Hospital...

Childhood can be rough. But for Kenzie, growing up in the Lowe home means opening the bottom drawer of her father's dresser to choose which of the three belts, coiled, waiting like snakes, she will get whipped with; trips to Beehive Liquors for her father's vodka; and dreaming of the day she can escape Apartment A5. Eventually, Kenzie does grow up and leave A5. She goes to school, she holds odd jobs, and develops her own craving for the bottle. Twenty years have passed-it's now the nineties-but not everything has changed for Kenzie. She is still haunted by her childhood, and learning that her father is dying she is shocked by her own desire to be with him during his final hours. Returning to his bedside day after day in search of a way to heal her pain, she comes to discover in her visits that some of us, like her father, have stories that "started out bad, curdled and soured in the middle, and ended up worse," but for many, there is still hope for change.

Click here to visit the author's website.

Click here to visit Naki, the author's blog.

Click here to read and/or participate in the ongoing discussion about Seg-Book-Gation in publishing on Galleycat.

Click here to visit the blog, White Readers Meet Black Authors.

Click here to visit the I Read In Color Web Ring.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Challenge: TwentyTen Challenge


 I'm signing up for the TwentyTen Challenge hosted by Bart's Bookshelf. This is a fun little challenge with specific categories of books from which to read. Twenty books from 10 different categories. It might sound like a lot, but if you read the details (click here), I think you'll agree that this challenge will be a snap -- and fun, too! I'll be posting the titles of the books here on this post as I complete each book. Click here to sign up!

Challenge begins on January 1st and ends on December 31, 2010.

Young Adult
1.
2.

TBR
1. BAD BLOOD by Lorna Sage
2.

Shiny & New
1. SAFFRON DREAMS
2.

Bad Bloggers
1.
2.

Charity
1.
2.

New in 2010
1. ONE AMAZING THING by
2.

Older Than You
1.
2.

Win! Win!
1.
2.

Who Are You Again?
1.
2.

Up to You
1.
2.

Challenge: 2010 South Asian Author Challenge




I read quite a few books by Asian authors this year, so when I saw that Swapna would be hosting the 2010 South Asian Author Challenge, I knew I wanted to sign up. The tough decision was choosing a button! She offers three on her blog, S. Krishna's Books, and they are all beautiful. In this challenge, you choose books to read that are written by South Asian Authors – South Asia being India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. This is a very specific geographic region, so be careful when making your selections. You don't have to list your choices at the start of the challenge, but you do have to pick a level (number of books). I looked over Swapna's SAAC reviews and realized that so many are on my TBR list, and some even on my own shelves, that I could commit to the full 10 books.  Click here to read over the rules in more detail. If you're ready to take the plunge, you can sign up here.

Challenge begins January 1st and ends December 31, 2010.

These are some books I'm considering, but I'm free to change my mind about titles (but not the number 10!)

1. FIRST DARLING OF THE MORNING by Thrity Umriger
2. SAFFRON DREAMS by Shaila Abdullah
3. THE FORBIDDEN DAUGHTER by Shobhan Bantwal
4. BURNT SHADOWS by Kamila Shamsie
5. THE GIRL FROM FOREIGN by Sadia Shepard
6. IN THE CONVENT OF LITTLE FLOWERS by Indu Sundareson
7. THE ENCHANTRESS OF FLORENCE by Salman Rushdie
8. BITTER SWEETS by Roopa Farooki
9. SEA OF POPPIES by Amitav Ghosh
10. SECRET DAUGHTER by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

ONE AMAZING THING by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Challenge - 2010 Read Your Own Books



I'm joining this the Read Your Own Books 2010 Challenge hosted by MizBiz. This is a pretty straight-forward challenge. All you have to do is, um, well, just read your own books! No bookstores, libraries, or even swapping required. Just pick a number of books from your own shelves that you haven't read yet, and get to it! I haven't picked a number yet, but I'll be listing what I read here on this post. Head on over to the challenge post at MizBiz's place, and check out all the details. She'll set up a Mr. Linky on January 1st for those who want to sign up.

Challenge begins on January 1st and ends on December 31, 2010.

1.

Challenge: 2010 Colorful Reading Challenge


Rebecca at Lost in Books is hosting the 2010 Colorful Reading Challenge. This challenge requires that participants read 9 books with the names of 9 different colors in the titles. Rebecca even has a list of suggested titles organized by color. I was able to create my reading list just by glancing through her suggestions. Several titles have been on my TBR list for awhile. I even already own a few. I'll be crossing the titles off this list as I complete each book. If you'd like to join in, click here for all the details and to sign up.

Challenge begins January 1st and ends December 31, 2010.

1. THE WHITE QUEEN by Philippa Gregory
2. MENNONITE IN A LITTLE BLACK DRESS by Rhoda Janzen
3. THE BLUEST EYE by Toni Morrison
4. THE RED TENT by Anita Diament
5. HALF OF A YELLOW SUN by Chimamanda Ngozi
6. ON GOLD MOUNTAIN by Lisa Sea
7. THE TEA ROSE by Jennifer Donnelly
8. THE TURQUOISE by Anya Seton
9. PLUM LUCKY by Janet Evanovich

Challenge 2010 World Religion Challenge




J.T. at Bibliofreak has set up a separate blog for the 2010 World Religion Challenge. You can read all the details and sign up by clicking here. There are four "paths" to choose from. I'm signing up for Path 4: The Unsheperded Path (a/k/a The Don't Tell Me What to Do Path). I'll be reading however many books as I like about whatever religions I want. I'll list what I've read on this post. Actually, we're not limited to reading: movies, plays, religious services, and even music count. Really. Go check this one out. (But I'm not telling you what to do!)

Challenge begins January 1st and ends December 31, 2010.

1.

Challenges: 2010 New Authors



The 2010 New Authors Challenge is hosted by Jackie at Literary Escapism. This challenge calls for reading between 15 to 50 new-to-you authors during 2010. There's a preference for novels stipulated, but they can cross over with other challenges. I don't want to overcommit myself, so I'm going for the low level -- 15 new novel-writing authors for 2010. I'll be listing the books I've read on this post and linking my reviews to Jackie's blog. If you're up for the challenge of new authors, hop on over to Literary Escapism for all the challenge details and to sign up.

Challenge begins January 1st and ends December 31, 2010.

1. Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni ONE AMAZING THING
2. Robert Goolrick A RELIABLE WIFE
3. Liza Palmer FIELD GUIDE TO BURYING YOUR PARENTS
4. Shaila Abdullah SAFFRON DREAMS
5. James Scott Bell TRY DARKNESS
6. David Matthew Klein STASH
7. Jean Kwok GIRL IN TRANSLATION
8. Kate Racculia THIS MUST BE THE PLACE
9. Jennifer Ross THE ICING ON THE CUPCAKE
10. Vincent Zandri THE REMAINS
11. FREE TO A GOOD HOME
12. Suzan Colon CHERRIES IN WINTER
13. Cherie Priest BONESHAKER
14. Sheila Roberts SMALL CHANGE
15. Kate Morgenroth THROUGH THE HEART
Tricia Goyer - SONGBIRD UNDER A GERMAN MOON

Challenge: The 2010 Support Your Local Library Challenge



The 2010 Support Your Local Library Challenge is hosted by J. Kaye's Book Blog. Anyone can join - you don't even have to be a blogger! And any book will count -- even picture books! -- as long as it has been checked out of the library. There are several reading levels, from 25 books to 100. Since we check out a lot of kid's books, I'm committing to the whole enchilada -- 100 library books! I'll be listing the books I've completed for this challenge right on this post. If you'd like to join in the fun, click on over to J. Kaye's Book Blog and get all the details and sign on up!

Challenge begins January 1st and ends December 31, 2010.

Books Read:

1.  Kidnap at the Catfish Cafe by Patricia Reilly Giff
2. The Moon Lady by Amy Tan
3. All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon and Marla Frazee
4. Lily's Crossing by Patricia Reilly Giff
5. High As a Hawk by T.A. Baron; illustrated by Ted Lewin
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.

Happy Thanksgiving!




HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!

Hope you all have a safe and happy holiday.

Here's some links to books in the spirit of the day.


 by Diane Z. Shore; illustated by Megan Lloyd


by Laurie Friedman; illustrated by Teresa Murfin


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wonderful Win: AMERICA'S TABLE by Margot Theis Raven; illustrated by Mike Benny



I received this Wonderful Win from a giveaway
hosted by Dawn at She is Too Fond of Books.

Thank you, Dawn.
And thank you to Sleeping Bear Press.

This is truly a wonderful book to help us all
remember what we have to be thankful for.


illustrated by Mike Benny

Pub. Date: May 2005
Format: Hardcover, 32pp
Sales Rank: 14,137
Age Range: 6 to 12
ISBN-13: 9781585362165
ISBN: 1585362166
 
Description (from the publisher):
The White Table is set in many mess halls as a symbol for and remembrance to service members fallen, missing, or held captive in the line of duty. Solitary and solemn, it is the table where no one will ever sit.
As a special gift to her Uncle John, Katie and her sisters are asked to help set the white table for dinner. As their mother explains the significance of each item placed on the table Katie comes to understand and appreciate the depth of sacrifice that her uncle, and each member of the Armed Forces and their families, may be called to give.

It was just a little white table . . . but it felt as big as America when we helped Mama put each item on it and she told us why it was so important.

"We use a Small Table, girls," she explained first, "to show one soldier's lonely battle against many. We cover it with a White Cloth to honor a soldier's pure heart when he answers his country's call to duty."

"We place a Lemon Slice and Grains of Salt on a plate to show a captive soldier's bitter fate and the tears of families waiting for loved ones to return," she continued.

"We push an Empty Chair to the table for the missing soldiers who are not here . . ."
Margot Theis Raven has been a professional writer working in the fields of radio, television, magazines, newspapers, and children's books for 30 years. Margot's first children's book, Angels in the Dust, won five national awards, including an IRATeacher's Choice Award. Her first book with Sleeping Bear Press, Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot, was the runner-up for the 2004 Texas Bluebonnet Award. She lives with her family in Charleston, South Carolina.

Mike Benny's illustrations have appeared in Time, GQ, New Yorker and Sports Illustrated Magazines. He has also been awarded two Gold Medals from the Society of Illustrators. This is Mike's first children's book. He lives in Austin, Texas with his wife Mary Ann and daughter Adele.

Click here to visit the illustrator's website.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Giveaway Winner: THE HEARTBREAK PILL by Anjanette Delgado


!!  CONGRATULATIONS !!

The winner of a copy of THE HEARTBREAK PILL
by Anjanette Delgado is . . .

RKCharron a/k/a rkcharron {AT} gmail {DOT} com  (Confirmed)

Thank you to everyone who stopped by and entered the giveaway.
 Don't forget to check the sidebar for giveaways you might have missed!

Thank you to Anjanette Delgado
 and to Jo Ann Hernandez
for making this giveaway possible.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mailbox Monday - November 23, 2009


Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page. If you'd like to join in, stop by Marcia's and leave a link - or just browse through the comments to see what new books have been showing up.


I had a very busy mailbox last week -- enough to keep be reading through the long holiday weekend!

From the authors for review:
ALMOST HOME by Pam Jenoff
OSCAR & OLIVE OSPREY by Janie Suss

From the publishers through Shelf Awareness:
THROUGH THE HEART by Kate Morgenroth
THE KINGDOM OF OHIO by Matthew Flaming

From BelleBooks for review:
ONLY YOU by Deborah Grace Staley
THE CART BEFORE THE CORPSE by Carolyn McSparren
TENDER GRACES by Kathryn Magendie
A FLOWER BLOOMS ON CHARLOTTE STREET by Milam McGraw Propst
FURTHER ADVENTURES OF OCIEE NASH by Milam McGraw Propst
OCIEE ON HER OWN by Milam McGraw Propst

From Hachette Book Group for review:
WHAT THE DOG SAW by Malcolm Gladwell (Audiobook)
SAY YOU'RE ONE OF THEM by Uwem Akpan (Audiobook)
NINE DRAGONS by Michael Connelly (Audiobook)
IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT by Lisa Dale
LET IT BLEED by Ethan A. Russell


Blog Tour and Giveaway: THE HEARTBREAK PILL by Anjanette Delgado


Today I am pleased to shine a spotlight on the debut novel of author Anjanette Delgado, THE HEARTBREAK PILL, as well as offer a giveaway for one (1) copy of her book. I haven't received my review copy as yet, but once I do, I'll read it and let you know what I think!



by Anjanette Delgado

Pub. Date: April 2008
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
Format: Paperback, 288pp
ISBN-13: 9780743297530
ISBN: 0743297539

Description (from the publisher):
Is it really necessary to suffer for love? What if an easy-to-swallow pill could turn love off and on? You wouldn't desire what isn't good for you. You wouldn't cry for what cannot be. You'd just live. You'd be happy.

Erika Luna is a thirty-something scientist living and working in Miami. When her husband of seven years -- the very successful, very smart, very good-looking founding partner of one of Miami's top public relations firms -- falls in lust with another woman, their marriage spirals toward divorce and Erika's practical nature leads her down a strange path.

What is a scientist to do when slapped with a pain so deep it interferes with her breathing? Develop a cure, of course. Erika moves into a new apartment and turns it into her own personal laboratory. She frantically begins mixing potions and uses herself as a guinea pig as she desperately tries to create a pill that will rid the world of heartbreak forever. As she navigates the murky waters of the recently divorced, Erika also struggles to find her own sense of self and the answer to whether love, and its pain, is worth the risk.

Click here to read Chapter One.



About the Author (from the publisher):
Anjanette Delgado is an Emmy award-winning writer and producer with over eighteen years of local and network news experience. She has produced for CNN, NBC, Univision and Telemundo, among others, producing extensive coverage for events such as the 1991 Gulf War, the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the present war with Iraq, which she executive produced for Telemundo in 2003. She won her first Emmy for her human-interest series “Madres en la lejanía,” about the plight of Latino mothers who leave their own children behind and come to the United States to work illegally... as nannies.

More Tour Stops:
Nov 9 Unloaded
Nov 10 Julia Amante
Nov 11 The Sol Within
Nov 12 Latino Book Examiner
Nov 13 Behind Brown Eyes
Nov 16 Chasing Heroes
Nov 17 Musings
Nov 18 Reading with Monie
Nov 19 That Happened to me
Nov 20 Writing to Insanity

RULES FOR ENTERING THE GIVEAWAY:

• Leave a comment on this post telling me you would like to win. Include an email address with your comment so that I can contact you if you do win. Use a spam-thwarting format such as geebee.reads AT gmail DOT com or geebee.reads [at] gmail [dot] com

You must leave an email address in order to qualify. If I can't contact you, you can't win!

• You can earn an extra entry by being or becoming a Follower or Subscriber of this blog and telling me about it in a separate comment.

• Blog about this contest and provide me with the link to the post in a separate comment, and I'll give you yet another entry.

• Tweeting about this contest and providing me the link in a separate comment will get you one more entry. I've added a Retweet button at the bottom of every post.

• Stumble this blog, Digg it, or Technorati Fave it, whatever, and leave a separate comment for another entry.

• Winners must provide a U.S. or Canadian street address. Hachette is unable to deliver to P.O. Boxes.

Deadline for entry:  Get your entries in TODAY! I will use Random.org on Tuesday, November 24, 2009 to determine a winner.

• Winner will have 24 hours to respond to my email announcing that they have won; if I don't hear from the winner, I will draw another name.

 Thank you to Jo Ann Hernandez
at Bronze Word Latino Authors
for organizing this tour and
making this giveaway possible.

GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!

This contest is now closed.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Book Review #31: TARRA & BELLA by Carol Buckley



Pub. Date: September 2009
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Format: Hardcover, 32pp
Sales Rank: 9,085
Age Range: For infants or children in preschool
ISBN-13: 9780399254437
ISBN: 0399254439

Description (from the publisher):
Best friends come in all shapes and sizes!

After retiring from the circus, Tarra became the first resident of the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. When other elephants moved in and developed close friendships, only Tarra remained independent— until the day she met a stray mixed-breed dog named Bella.

It was love at first sight as this unlikely duo became inseparable. They ate together, slept together, and even understood each other's language. And when Bella suffered a severe spinal injury, Tarra stayed by her side and was there for her until Bella regained her health.

Brilliant color photographs of Tarra and Bella at home in the Elephant Sanctuary deftly illustrate this inspiring story of companionship, and an informative note about the Sanctuary provides a great resource for parents and teachers.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

My Thoughts:
You can't go wrong with the story of TARRA & BELLA. A person would have to have a heart of stone not to be touched by this charming and true tale of an unlikely and enduring friendship between an elephant and a dog.

Tarra was the first elephant brought to live at the Elephant Sanctuary of Tennessee. As other elephants came to live there, they paired off into sets of best friends. For unknown reasons, and though Tarra served as a sort of matriach to the group, she never found that one special best friend -- at least, not among the elephants. One day Tarra befriended a stray dog, soon to be known as Bella, and the rest is history. They became inseparable.

The remarkable story of their friendship has been documented by the media and has helped to bring a lot of attention and support to the Elephant Sanctuary. (You can see some video by clicking the links below.)  This book provides a little background into Tarra's history, beautiful photographs of the best friends at play or companionably walking through the Sanctuary, as well as details of the occasion when Bella was seriously injured and how their friendship played a part in her recovery.

I don't understand why the publisher describes TARRA & BELLA as a book for infants through preschool. That's just plain silly! The kids at my house (who are 6 and 9) are in love with this book and have read it every day since we picked it up from the library. I myself have enjoyed reading it on my own. The photography is beautiful. The text is at a middle grade level. Sure, preschoolers will love the pictures of the animals, but I think older kids will appreciate the story of this unique friendship more than the littlest ones. I really like this book and the story it tells.

I would recommend this book for anyone with a particular interest in elephants and/or dogs, preservation, or conservation. It's obviously a great book for the classroom. 

Most of the links in this post lead to the website for the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennesee. At the site you can view more video and photos of Tarra and Bella as well as many of the other elephants who live at the Sanctuary. At the back of the book and at the website you can find more information about how the Sanctuary was established and ways in which you can support their efforts. They also have some gift shop items - tee shirt, caps, mugs, etc. to consider for the upcoming holidays. 

CBS Video

Oprah Video

Click here to visit the website of the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee.

About the author (from the publisher):
Carol Buckley is the cofounder and CEO of the Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee. She is also the author of TRAVELS WITH TARRA and JUST FOR ELEPHANTS.

Giveaway Winners: THE GATE HOUSE by Nelson DeMille



!!  CONGRATULATIONS !!

The 5 winners of copies of the book
 THE GATE HOUSE by Nelson DeMille are:

#2 rubynreba a/k/a pbclark {AT} netins {DOT} net

#3 Darcy O a/k/a dlodden {AT}frontier{DOT} net

#12 fredamans a/k/a freda.mans {AT} sympatico {DOT}ca

#30 Brenda a/k/a dancealert {AT} aol {DOT} com

#clenna a/k/a clenna {AT} aol {DOT} com




- I have sent everyone an email.

- Please contact me with your snail mail address A.S.A.P.

- Remember, the sponsor only mails books to U.S. and Canadian street addresses; no P.O. Boxes.


- If I have not heard from you by 6:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, November 24, 2009, your win will be forfeit, and I will contact the next commenter on the list generated by Random.org.

- Thank you to everyone who stopped by and entered. If you weren't one of the lucky ones in this drawing, click here to hop on over to the contest page at Hachette Book Group for listings of other blogs hosting book giveaways.


- Be sure and check my sidebar for other ongoing giveaways here and at other blogs.


A big thank you to Anna and Hachette Book Group
for making this giveaway possible.

Giveaway Winners: THE SECRET LIFE OF MARILYN MONROE (audiobook)



!! CONGRATULATIONS !!

The 3 winners of copies of the audiobook
THE SECRET LIFE OF MARILYN MONROE
 by J. Randy Taraborrelli are:

#3 bermudaonion a/k/a milou2ster {AT} gmail {DOT} com

#22 BritLit a/k/a teensatthelibrary {AT} yahoo {DOT} com

#27 Sandee61 a/k/a Muzzley56 {AT} aol {DOT} com

- I have sent everyone an email.

- Please contact me with your snail mail address A.S.A.P.

- Remember, the sponsor only mails books to U.S. and Canadian street addresses; no P.O. Boxes.

- If I have not heard from you by 6:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, November 24, 2009, your win will be forfeit, and I will contact the next commenter on the list generated by Random.org.

- Thank you to everyone who stopped by and entered. If you weren't one of the lucky ones in this drawing, click here to hop on over to the contest page at Hachette Book Group for listings of other blogs hosting book giveaways.

- Be sure and check my sidebar for other ongoing giveaways here and at other blogs.

A big thank you to Anna and Hachette Book Group
for making this giveaway possible.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Book Giveaway: EXIT MUSIC by Ian Rankin

Thanks to the generous folks at
Hachette Book Group,
I have been authorized to
 giveaway five (5) copies of
EXIT MUSIC
by Ian Rankin.
Rules for entering this giveaway are at the bottom of this post.


Publisher: Little Brown & Company
Category: Fiction, Suspense & Thrillers
Format: Mass Market
Publish Date: 12/1/2009
Price: $7.99/$0.00
ISBN: 9780316018876
Pages: 544
Size: 4-3/16" x 6-3/4"

Description (from the publisher):
It's late in the fall in Edinburgh and late in the career of Detective Inspector John Rebus. As he is simply trying to tie up some loose ends before his retirement, a new case lands on his desk: a dissident Russian poet has been murdered in what looks like a mugging gone wrong. Rebus discovers that an elite delegation of Russian businessmen is in town, looking to expand its interests. And as Rebus's investigation gains ground, someone brutally assaults a local gangster with whom he has a long history.

Has Rebus overstepped his bounds for the last time? Only a few days shy of the end to his long, controversial career, will Rebus even make it that far?

Click here to read an excerpt.

Click here to visit the author's website.

About the author (from the publisher):
One of the most successful -- and bestselling -- Scottish crime authors around, Ian Rankin is perhaps most famous for the acclaimed Inspector Rebus series, which has consistently topped the Sunday Times bestseller lists, and was adapted into a mega-popular television series across the pond.

RULES FOR ENTERING THE GIVEAWAY:

• Leave a comment on this post telling me you would like to win. Include an email address with your comment so that I can contact you if you do win. Use a spam-thwarting format such as geebee.reads AT gmail DOT com or geebee.reads [at] gmail [dot] com

You must leave an email address in order to qualify. If I can't contact you, you can't win!

• You can earn an extra entry by being or becoming a Follower or Subscriber of this blog and telling me about it in a separate comment.

• Blog about this contest and provide me with the link to the post in a separate comment, and I'll give you yet another entry.

• Tweeting about this contest and providing me the link in a separate comment will get you one more entry. I've added a Retweet button at the bottom of every post.

• Stumble this blog, Digg it, or Technorati Fave it, whatever, and leave a separate comment for another entry.

• Winners must provide a U.S. or Canadian street address. Hachette is unable to deliver to P.O. Boxes.

Deadline for entry is 11:59 p.m. EST on Tuesday, December 15, 2009.

• Winners will have 48 hours to respond to my email announcing that they have won; if I don't hear from a winner, I will draw another name.

Remember:
 Separate comments for each entry!

Thank you to Valerie
at Hachette Book Group
for making this giveaway possible.

GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED.

Giveaway and Book Review #30: ANGELS: A Pop-Up Book by Chuck Fischer


Thanks to the heavenly beings at
Hachette Book Group,
I have been authorized to
 giveaway one (just 1) copy of
ANGELS: A Pop-Up Book
by Chuck Fischer.

Rules for entering this giveaway are at the bottom of this post.




Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Category: Art
Format: Hardcover Book
Publish Date: 10/19/2009
Price: $30.00/$36.00
ISBN: 9780316039703
Pages: 18
Size: 9-3/4" x 7-3/4"

Description (from the publisher):
Whether you consider angels to be divine messengers, spiritual guides, or the stuff of legend, you will find something to marvel at in Chuck Fischer's beautifully illustrated Angels: A Pop-Up Book. Fischer's original art, inspired by classic images from art history, is crafted into astoundingly intricate three-dimensional pop-ups with fold-outs and moveable parts. Angels brings to life the most captivating stories of these celestial beings, from the angels of the zodiac to Biblical angels to angels in the arts and popular culture. Much like its subject, Angels: A Pop-Up Book inspires awe and wonder and is a unique gift book for all ages.

Check out this video to see the book "in action."




My Rating: 5 out of 5 Sparkling Stars!

My Thoughts:
As if just the concept of angels isn't awe-inspiring enough, Chuck Fischer has created an absolutely stunning pop-up book from which the celestial beings spring forth and seemingly take flight. Words just cannot do this book justice - it must seen, experienced, in order to fully appreciate its beauty.

There are six spectacular pop-ups and two smaller ones. My favorite is probably the one in the center of the book, Archangel Gabriel. In this representation, Fischer recreates the scene of the Annunciation depicting Gabriel as a messenger of God. The Holy Spirit, in the traditional form of a dove, hovers at the top of the scene. Rays of light (golden threads) shine down and illuminate the holy texts being read by Mary as she sits in what appears to be a loggia. Over the railings and past the trees one can see a stonework bridge crossing a river. It's all very elaborate and beautiful.

The pop-ups themselves are from original paintings by Chuck Fischer. His work is inspired by classic artwork through the ages from the Babylonians to the Renaissance. Each original pop-up is accompanied by small booklets and/or foldouts with images from classic paintings and text.

And speaking of the text, ANGELS is not just eye-popping eye candy. The accompanying text, written by Curtis Flowers, delves into the very earliest recorded references to angels and covers all the different forms of angels as conceived across the world's cultures and throughout the centuries. It is well-researched, interesting, and informative. It's rich in details that I think will be new to most readers without being inaccessible in a scholarly way. My interest was piqued, and I intend to a little more research on my own.

ANGELS is a gorgeous book to behold full of fascinating information. It would make a wonderful gift for anyone with an interest in angels, art, or world history. It's sure to spark plenty of ooo's, ahhh's, and conversation. Don't miss out on it!

Further information about the construction of this book:
Kathy at Bermudaonion's Weblog has posted a fascinating interview with Bruce Foster, the paper engineer who put Fischer's vision into three dimensions. He's an extraordinarily talented artist, and you can click here to read Kathy's interview with him. If you'd like up to 5 extra entries in the giveaway I'm hosting for this book, read Kathy's interview and come back and tell me, in up to 5 separate comments, things you learned or were particularly interested in about Bruce Foster and his work.

About the author (from the publisher):
Chuck Fischer's paintings hang in some of the finest residences in the world. His designs have been reproduced on holiday ornaments and home furnishings, including wallpaper and fabrics in the permanent collection of the Cooper-Hewitt Museum. He is the author of five previous pop-up books--The White House, Great American Houses and Gardens, Christmas in New York, Christmas Around the World, and the forthcoming In The Beginning. He lives in New York and Florida.

Click here to visit the author's website.

RULES FOR ENTERING THE GIVEAWAY:

• Leave a comment on this post telling me you would like to win. Include an email address with your comment so that I can contact you if you do win. Use a spam-thwarting format such as geebee.reads AT gmail DOT com or geebee.reads [at] gmail [dot] com

You must leave an email address in order to qualify. If I can't contact you, you can't win!

• You can earn an extra entry by being or becoming a Follower or Subscriber of this blog and telling me about it in a separate comment.

• Blog about this contest and provide me with the link to the post in a separate comment, and I'll give you yet another entry.

• Tweeting about this contest and providing me the link in a separate comment will get you one more entry. I've added a Retweet button at the bottom of every post.

• Stumble this blog, Digg it, or Technorati Fave it, whatever, and leave a separate comment for another entry.

• Winner must provide a U.S. or Canadian street address. Hachette is unable to deliver to P.O. Boxes.

Deadline for entry is 11:59 p.m. EST on Saturday, December 5, 2009.

• The winners will have 48 hours to respond to my email announcing that they have won; if I don't hear from the winner, I will draw another name.

Thank you to Anna
at Hachette Book Group
for supplying my review copy and
for making this giveaway possible.

GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!
This contest is now closed.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wonderful Win: THE MIDNIGHT GUARDIAN by Sarah Jane Stratford


THE MIDNIGHT GUARDIAN
by Sarah Jane Stratford

A contest win from The Story Siren. Thanks, Kristi!

I don't read  many of the current vampire books, but this one has such an intriguing premise, I couldn't resist. Besides, it has a gorgeous cover and just might be the first in a series.

Description (from the publisher):
It’s 1938, and the tentacles of Hitler’s terrifying Third Reich have commenced their stranglehold on Europe. The Nazi empire will soon be clean of all bloodlines deemed tainted or undesirable…including vampires.

London’s ancient tribunal of vampires is aghast at the destruction taking place on the Continent. Though vampires try not to interfere with human politics, Hitler’s terrible plans force them into action. They resolve to send five of their most formidable vampires to Berlin— millennials that have lived over 1000 years and whose age and wisdom make them close to invulnerable— to infiltrate, disrupt, and destroy the growing Nazi war machine.

The brilliant and beautiful millennial Brigit is loath to go, but her powers are needed if the mission is to have any chance of success. She must summon all her strength to endure the separation from her lover Eamon, whom she made almost eight centuries ago, but whose lack of millennial status makes him an unacceptable choice for this operation. Though he longs to join her, his duty to Brigit is best served from afar, by nurturing their deep psychic connection and reinforcing her spirit with his fierce devotion and memories of his tender embrace.

But as the millennials attempt to penetrate and sabotage Hitler’s armies, they discover that the Nazis are more capable than any human force they’ve yet encountered and more monstrous than they'd ever imagined. Forced to take bolder, more dangerous steps, they soon attract the attention of specially trained vampire hunters loyal to Hitler and his vision of a vampire-free Europe. Exposed, deep inside enemy territory, with vicious Nazi officers and hunters at her heels, Brigit must attempt a daring escape from the Continent, guarding precious cargo that marks the only hope of salvaging their mission.

Book Giveaway: 7th HEAVEN by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro


Thanks to the generous folks at
Hachette Book Group,
I have been authorized to
 giveaway five (5) copies of
7th HEAVEN
by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro.

Rules for entering this giveaway are at the bottom of this post.


by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Category: Fiction, Suspense & Thrillers
Format: Mass Market T
Publish Date: 12/1/2009
Price: $7.99/$9.99
ISBN: 9780446536240
Pages: 400
Size: 4-3/16" x 6-3/4"

Description (from the publisher):
The Women's Murder Club faces not one-but two-terrifying cases that may tear it apart. The teenage son of California's ex-governor has mysteriously vanished-and the pressure on Detective Lindsay Boxer to find him is overwhelming. When she finally does get a lead, it's devastating. At the same time, Lindsay and her partner, Rich Conklin, must investigate mysterious fires that are destroying some of San Francisco's most beautiful homes-and leaving their owners dead in the debris. But when Lindsay enlists her friends in the Women's Murder Club to help uncover the arsonist, the blazes suddenly rage much too close to home.

Click here to read an excerpt.

Click here to visit James Patterson's website.

About the authors (from the publisher):
Not making any bones about his bid for success, James Patterson once declared he wanted to be known as “the king of the page-turners.” While that may seem like a pretty grand ambition, Patterson is as worthy of that title as any author working today. He is the author of novels — from The Thomas Berryman Number (1976) to Honeymoon (2005) — that have won awards including the Edgar, the BCA Mystery Guild's Thriller of the Year, the International Thriller of the Year award, and the Reader’s Digest Reader’s Choice Award.

Maxine Paetro is a novelist and a journalist. She lives with her husband in New York.

RULES FOR ENTERING THE GIVEAWAY:

• Leave a comment on this post telling me you would like to win. Include an email address with your comment so that I can contact you if you do win. Use a spam-thwarting format such as geebee.reads AT gmail DOT com or geebee.reads [at] gmail [dot] com

You must leave an email address in order to qualify. If I can't contact you, you can't win!

• You can earn an extra entry by being or becoming a Follower or Subscriber of this blog and telling me about it in a separate comment.

• Blog about this contest and provide me with the link to the post in a separate comment, and I'll give you yet another entry.

• Tweeting about this contest and providing me the link in a separate comment will get you one more entry. I've added a Retweet button at the bottom of every post.

• Stumble this blog, Digg it, or Technorati Fave it, whatever, and leave a separate comment for another entry.

• Winners must provide a U.S. or Canadian street address. Hachette is unable to deliver to P.O. Boxes.

Deadline for entry is 11:59 p.m. EST on Friday, December 11, 2009.

• Winners will have 48 hours to respond to my email announcing that they have won; if I don't hear from a winner, I will draw another name.

Thank you to Valerie
at Hachette Book Group
for making this giveaway possible.

GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED.