September 29, 2008

Review: Blue Genes by Christopher Lukas




Late one night Christopher (Kit) Lukas received a phone call with news that his brother, the gifted journalist J. Anthony Lukas, had committed suicide. Tragically their mother also committed suicide when they were young boys. Kit and his brother were never told how she died and no one spoke of the family’s history of depression and bipolar disorder. The legacy of guilt and grief haunted Kit and Tony throughout their lives.

Despite both brothers achieving remarkable success, Tony as a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, they suffered bouts of depression. Kit was able to confront his family’s troubled past and find happiness but Tony remained depressed which ultimately led him to take his own life.

Being that this book was a memoir I just couldn’t connect with any of the characters. It may have helped if I was familiar with Tony’s writing or felt some sort of connection to the brothers but the writing just didn’t pull me in. I feel this was more personal for Kit than a story that needed to be shared. I can see where the book might be helpful for anyone who has been affected by a loved one’s suicide but it just didn’t click for me.

Giveaway: Your choice of books

October 5th Winners




  1. Victoria in Florida

  2. Elizabeth in Michigan

  3. Julie in Ontario, Canada

  4. Pam in Indiana

  5. Beverly in Arkansas

September 28, 2008

Review: City Dog by Alison Pace




Amy Dodge owner of a West Highland White Terrier named Carlie and author of the bestselling children’s book series, Run, Carlie, Run! has a dilemma. She has a major case of writers block. All she can think about is how different life is from what her plans were when she optimistically moved to New York from Colorado over 10 years ago. She’s divorced, she still hasn’t started writing the next Great American Novel and every guy she dates she compares unrealistically to the dashing (but fictional) Scottish explorer staring in her Carlie books. Now Carlie is offered a starring role in her own television show and Amy’s world takes a surreal turn.

Soon Amy finds herself getting cropped out of Carlie’s many photo opportunities and she can’t get the image of her Scottish explorer out of her head. Plus the city she once loved begins to lose its appeal. Amy must figure out what needs to happen in order to change her life and take her and Carlie exactly where they need to be.

I completely judged this book by its super cute cover and was a little let down with the results. The story just didn’t catch my interest and I almost didn’t finish the book. The story is told in three voices; Amy, Carlie and Robert Maguire (the fictional Scottish explorer). In my opinion it would have been better off with just Amy’s and possibly Carlie’s but with Robert’s thrown in it just didn’t work for me and I can’t exactly pinpoint why. I did however like the way the book ended and consider it the only thing that saved the book from being too bad.

September 26, 2008

Review: Any Given Doomsday by Lori Handeland




Former policewoman Elizabeth Phoenix once used her unique skills as a psychic to help fight injustice. But when her partner was killed Liz’s guilt forced her to leave the police department and work as a bartender. While working one afternoon Liz heard a voice shout “Leave” and followed the inner feeling to rush to her foster mother’s home. Liz finds Ruthie viciously murdered gets knocked unconscious at the scene. When Liz wakes up her whole existence is turned upside down.

Ruthie has passed on a gift and Liz has now become a powerful seer. Teaming up with her a former lover who once betrayed her is Liz’s only option to learn the truth about Ruthie’s killer. Jimmy opens Liz’s eyes to a supernatural war that has raged since the dawn of time in which innocent people are hunted by evil beings disguised as humans. But Jimmy has a secret that will rock Liz to her core and put the survival of the human race in peril.

I’m very new to the urban fantasy genre and I’ve read other reviews of this book that knocked it down a lot but I loved this book. I can agree with more than one reviewer on the one aspect that takes my rating from a 5 to a 4. There are too many “evil beings” in the book. If Handeland would have kept it to 2-3 different types of beings I feel the book would have benefitted more. Other than that I loved the writing and the interaction of Liz and the two other main characters. The storyline was a lot different than I guessed it would be from the synopsis, prequel short story and the opening chapters. I recommend this book to both long-time urban fantasy fans and newbies like me. I’m looking forward to book 2 in the series, Doomsday Can Wait due out May 2009.


LINK TO SHORT STORY PREQUEL

September 24, 2008

Review: The Best You'll Ever Have by Shannon Mullen

Okay ladies, and guys for that matter, this book is a must! It was a quick one night read and I learned a lot of great techniques for better sex with my husband. Mullen spent years learning about every last nerve in the female body—and every sex toy under the sun. She interviewed sex educators, doctors, and therapists. The book features tips such as how to find the elusive G-spot, how to feel sexually stimulated from head to toe, how to tell your partner exactly what turns you on in bed, how to achieve knock-your-socks-off orgasms whenever you want them and so much more.

What I also liked about the book was that Mullen shares stories from different women that I could definitely relate to. The writing is witty and clever and the information, diagrams and pictures are not at all crass or offensive. I’ve already been reaping the rewards of picking this book up and you should too.

September 22, 2008

Review: The Charlemagne Pursuit by Steve Berry



AUTHOR'S WEBSITE



In this fourth novel featuring the one-time top operative for the U.S. Justice Department, Cotton Malone, Cotton sets out to discover the full story behind his father’s death thirty-eight years ago. Cashing in a favor with his ex-boss Stephanie Nelle, Cotton learns a shocking the shocking secret that the Navy covered up. His father died in a top-secret submarine mission beneath the ice shelves of Antarctica.

Within minutes of receiving the highly classified file Cotton finds himself in danger. In order to save himself and learn the truth behind the cover-up he teams up with twin sisters Dorothea Lindauer and Christl Falk whose father also died on the submarine. Filled with unease about working with the twins Cotton cautiously embarks on a perilous journey by solving clues left in a diary found in Charlemagne’s tomb.

Filled with non-stop action, The Charlemagne Pursuit kept me on the edge of my seat the entire book. Berry threw curve balls left and right that kept me second guessing who was a good guy and who was just plain up to no good. I actually cried at the end and even though the book is 528 pages I wished it would have gone on for 500 more. Having read all three of the previous Cotton Malone books I can honestly say that this book is the best one yet but if you’ve haven’t read the previous three* this one does stand alone. I HIGHLY recommend this book to all thriller and suspense lovers.

*What are you waiting for??? Go buy and read the other three Cotton Malone books!!


  1. The Templar Legacy

  2. The Alexandria Link

  3. The Venetian Betrayal

Giveaway: Express Lane Meals by Rachael Ray

September 28, 2008 Winner

Sunny in Montana

I will take entries until Sunday September 28th and the winner will be announced Monday, September 29th.

The book will be shipped as soon as the winner's address is confirmed.

Winner must respond to notification email within 48 hours or a new winner will be selected. Good Luck!!



How can you get a wholesome, delicious dinner on the table without spending time on long lines at the supermarket? Rachael knows how!

Her secret weapon is keeping plenty of versatile, flavorful ingredients in the cupboard, fridge, and freezer, combining these staples with just a few fresh items—never more then ten—to create delicious meals for every night of the week. In Express Lane Meals, Rachael provides her personal go-to list of must-have items—so you can do a big shop every week then simply zip through the Express Lane to make any of these 30-minute meals.

She divides the recipes into three categories: “Meals for the Exhausted,” “ Meals for the Not Too Tired,” and “Bring It On! (But, Be Gentle).” No matter which you choose you’ll learn handy tricks and shortcuts to get the most impressive-looking meals on the table in 30 minutes or less.

These are Rachael’s quickest and easiest recipes yet and a breeze to shop for—because you shouldn’t have to spend all of the time Rachael saves you in the kitchen standing in line at the grocery store!

RACHAEL RAY IS A VERY BUSY LADY . . .

And she knows you’re busy, too. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a delicious, healthy, and home-cooked meal every night of the week. Not when cooking is as simple as this!

In Express Lane Meals, Rachael Ray is back and faster than ever! With her latest batch of recipes this beloved Food Network phenomenon takes her 30-Minute Meal concept to the next level, creating recipes based on staples from a well-stocked pantry and just a few fresh items—so few you’ll never be stuck on a long grocery line again.

YUMMO!

September 16, 2008

Review: Nation by Terry Pratchett




In a parallel universe set in the time when the British were still exploring and claiming new worlds a plague has affected many of its citizens. On its quest to bring the daughter of the new king back to London, the Sweet Judy is shipwrecked by a tidal wave.

On his journey into manhood Mau had just found the canoe that will take him to his home island where he will become a man. When he arrives, Mau finds that the tidal wave has taken the lives of his entire island Nation.

But when much is taken, something is returned and together Daphne and Mau confront the aftermath of catastrophe. Drawn by the smoke of Mau and Daphne's sheltering fire, other refugees slowly arrive: children without parents, mothers without babies, husbands without wives—all of them hungry and all of them frightened.

Nation was my first Terry Pratchett novel and I enjoyed the journey into this imaginary world and the story told with realism and humor. The characters question faith, struggle to keep their new family safe and overcome the hurdles of a lifestyle turned upside down all while forging a new Nation. I recommend this book to all YA readers.

September 15, 2008

Giveaway: Nation by Terry Pratchett

MY REVIEW

AUTHOR'S WEBSITE

September 21, 2008 Winner
CONGRATULATIONS TO JEN FROM IL


The sea has taken everything.

Mau is the only one left after a giant wave sweeps his island village away. But when much is taken, something is returned, and somewhere in the jungle Daphne—a girl from the other side of the globe—is the sole survivor of a ship destroyed by the same wave.

Together the two confront the aftermath of catastrophe. Drawn by the smoke of Mau and Daphne's sheltering fire, other refugees slowly arrive: children without parents, mothers without babies, husbands without wives—all of them hungry and all of them frightened. As Mau and Daphne struggle to keep the small band safe and fed, they defy ancestral spirits, challenge death himself, and uncover a long-hidden secret that literally turns the world upside down. . . .

Internationally revered storyteller Terry Pratchett presents a breathtaking adventure of survival and discovery, and of the courage required to forge new beliefs.

To enter to win my ARC of Nation by Terry Pratchett, please post a comment and be sure to leave your email in the message. To be entered twice, blog about it and send me the direct link.

I will take entries until Sunday September 21st and the winner will be announced Monday, September 22nd. The book will be shipped as soon as the winner's address is confirmed. Winner must respond to notification email within 48 hours or a new winner will be selected.

September 13, 2008

Review: Insatiable Desire by Rita Heron



Twenty years ago Vincent Valtrez left his home after surviving a night in the Black Forest where he witnessed his father murder his mother and learned that he was Demonborn. Now an FBI Special Agent, Vincent has suppressed the evil pulling at him and instead has sworn to save lives, not take them. When his next case sends him home to Erie, Tennessee to help the sheriff track down a serial killer he reunites with Clarissa King, a psychic who can communicate with the victims.

Together Vincent and Clarissa work side-by-side to stop the killer but they slowly learn the truth. They killer they are battling is no ordinary murderer. He’s a demon who will stop at nothing to see that Clarissa is out of the way and convince Vincent to let his “bad blood” take over. Will the darkness inside Vincent claim him… or will he save Clarissa – and himself – from the evil that threatens them both?

Insatiable Desire is a great book. The paranormal aspects aren’t too heavy as it can be in some of the darker paranormals I’ve read. There is just enough darkness to make it a page turner with a believable storyline. The characters are well developed and convincing so that I kept reading well past my bedtime. Then I was kept awake with the hot and heavy sex scenes! This is a must read for all paranormal romance lovers.

Book Blogger Appreciation Week Giveaways


In honor of BBAW I will be picking three winners who get a choice of the books below. Enter by September 19th to win. Winners will be selected on September 20th have 48 hours to respond and select their book which will be mailed as soon as their address is confirmed.



WINNER #1: Jennifer in GA selects

WINNER #2 : Traci in VA selects

WINNER #3: Clare in Bristol, UK selects


1 More Chapter
2 Kids and Tired Book Reviews
248 Book Club
The 3 R's: Reading, 'Riting, and Randomness
49 Writers No Books
4 the Love of Books
A Book Lover
A Bookworm's World
A Guy's Moleskine Notebook
A Hoyden's Look at Literature
A Lovely Shore Breeze
A Mom's Book Blog
A Peek At My Bookshelf
A Platypus with a book walks into a bar...
A Reader's Journal
A Well Watered Garden
A World in the Pages
A Writer's Dream
Adventures in Reading
Age 30 - A Year of Books
Alabama Book Worm
All I Have To Say
All the Saints
Allison's Attic of Books
Alpha Heroes
Amateur de Livre
The Amazing Adulthood of Alexis
Amber Miller - Author, Writer, & Web Site Designer
Amber Stults - Book Reviewer and Author
Amy's Corner of the World
Antique Books
Apooo Bookclub
Apprentice Writer
Arch Thinking
As Usual, I Need More Bookshelves
At Home With Books
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Babbling Books Review
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Bibliophile Support Group
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The Bluestocking Guide: Reviews by a Partial, Prejudiced, and Ignorant Reader
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Damn Heart...
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The Official BBAW Giveaway List


If you follow along for the festivities of BBAW at My Friend Amy, you will find many chances to win LOTS of goodies! Like what? Well have a look below. All of these things will be given away between September 15-19. There will be a huge variety of ways to win them and giveaways will be announced constantly throughout the week. So be sure to check in often!


A HUGE thank you to Hachette Book Group, Penguin Group USA, Harlequin, The B&B Media Group, Shera of SNS Blog Design, WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, Catherine Delors, Pamela Binnings Ewen, Andromeda Romano-Lax, Ceceilia Dowdy, Sormag, Book Club Girl, Savvy Verse and Wit, Cafe of Dreams, Fashionista Piranha, and Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin'?.

Daily Raffles:
Monday--Books and Chocolate sponsored by My Friend Amy and Hey Lady! Whatcha' Readin?
Tuesday--Books and Going Green sponsored by My Friend Amy
Wednesday--Books and Coffee sponsored by My Friend Amy
Thursday--Books and Charity sponsored by My Friend Amy and Fashionista Piranha
Friday--Books and Movies sponsored by My Friend Amy

Win a Book Club Girl Hostess Survival Kit!
Do you find it's your turn to host book club and not only do you not know what to serve but you don't know what books to offer up for the next month's selection?! Let Book Club Girl come to your rescue with the Book Club Girl Hostess Survival Kit.

One lucky winner of the kit will receive:

* A basket of cheese, crackers, cookies and wine for up to 12 people
* 5 great book group books to vote on for your group's next pick. And Book Club Girl will then donate 12 copies whichever book is chosen for your entire group to read.
* 12 Book Club Girl mousepads to give out as party favors that night
* 12 Book Club Girl bookmarks to mark everyone's favorite passages
* 12 Book Club Girl coasters to protect your coffee table from all those wine glasses!

TWO SORMAG Goody Bags containing books and more!


A Special Pamper Me Basket from Cafe of Dreams!
From Avon Foot Works
~ Inflatable watermelon shaped foot tub
~ 3.4 FL oz Watermelon Cooling Foot Lotion
~ 3.4 FL oz Watermelon Exfoliating Foot Scrub
~ 12 count Watermelon Effervescent Foot Tablets
~ An ARC of So Long At The Fair by Christina Schwarz
~ A variety of Hot Chocolate and Tea mixes

A pre-made blog template from SNSDesign!

A Subscription to Poetry Magazine from Savvy Verse and Wit!

BOOKS
Mistress of the Revolution by Catherine Delors
The Moon in the Mango Tree by Pamela Binnings Ewen
The Spanish Bow by Andromeda Romano-Lax
John's Quest by Cecelia Dowdy
Confessions of a Contractor by Richard Murphy
Acedia & Me by Kathleen Norris
The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell
The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks
The Book of Lies by Brad Meltzer
Supreme Courtship by Christopher Buckley
A Tale Out of Luck by Willie Nelson with Mike Blakely
The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent
When Will There Be Good News by Kate Atkinson
An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination by Elizabeth McCracken
Exit Music by Ian Rankin
The Smart One and the Pretty One by Claire LaZebnik
Gunmetal Black by Daniel Serrano
Isolation by Travis Thrasher
The Miracle Girls by Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt
Every Freaking! Day With Rachell Ray by Elizabeth Hilts
Dewey by Vicki Myron
The Shiniest Jewel by Marian Henley
Keep the Faith by Faith Evans
The Book of Calamities by Peter Trachtenberg
A is for Atticus by Lorilee Craker
After the Fire by Robin Gaby Fisher
Mike's Election Guide by Michael Moore
War as They Knew It by Michael Rosenberg
Fixing Hell By Col. (ret.) Larry C. James
Wild Boy: My Life with Duran Duran by Andy Taylor
The Last Under-Cover: The True Story of an FBI Agent's Dangerous Dance with Evil By Bob Hamer
Border Lass by Amanda Scott
Insatiable Desire by Rita Heron
Hungry for More by Diana Holquist
Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee
Trespassers Will Be Baptized by Elizabeth Emerson Hancock
He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not by Trish Ryan
Never Surrender by General Jerry Boykin
Dream in Color by Congresswoman Linda Sánchez, Congresswoman Loretta Sánchez
Beyond Belief by Josh Hamilton
Cobain Unseen by Charles R. Cross
Doing Business in 21st Century India by Gunjan Bagla
Branding Only Works on Cattle by Jonathan Salem Baskin
Launching a Leadership Revolution by Chris Brady, Orrin Woodward
How to Hear from God by Joyce Meyer
Knowing Right from Wrong by Thomas D. Williams
Pope John Paul II: An Intimate Life by Caroline Pigozzi
Pure by Rebecca St. James
He Loves Me! by Wayne Jacobson
So You Don't Want to Go to Church Anymore by Wayne Jacobson and Dave Coleman
Move On, Move Up by Paula White
The Rosary by Gary Jansen
Shoot the Moon by Billie Letts
The Choice by Nicholas Sparks
Right Livelihoods by Rick Moody
by George by Wesley Stace
The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold
Trunk Music by Michael Connelly
Hollywood Crows by Joseph Wambaugh
Dead Boys by Richard Lange
The Gifted Gabaldon Sisters by Lorraine Lopez
Sisterchicks Go Brit! by Robin Jones Gunn
Beyond the Night by Marlo Schalesky
With Endless Sight by Allison Pittman
Harlequin Titles: To Be Announced

Many other blogs are giving away books and prizes for BBAW as well! You can see the links to all of these giveaways here.





September 9, 2008

Review: The Longest Trip Home by John Grogan



I don't normally review books this way but after five drafts of my review I didn't even come close to doing this book justice so I'm going to leave this one to the experts with my comments at the end.

FROM THE PUBLISHER:
Finding your place in the world can be the longest trip home . . .

In his debut bestseller, Marley & Me, John Grogan showed how a dog can become an extraordinary presence in the life of one family. Now, in his highly anticipated follow-up, Grogan again works his magic, bringing us the story of what came first.

Before there was Marley, there was a gleefully mischievous boy growing up in a devout Catholic home outside Detroit in the 1960s and '70s. Despite his loving parents' best efforts, John's attempts to meet their expectations failed spectacularly. Whether it was his disastrous first confession, the use of his hobby telescope to take in the bronzed Mrs. Selahowski sunbathing next door, the purloined swigs of sacramental wine, or, as he got older, the fumbled attempts to sneak contraband past his father and score with girls beneath his mother's vigilant radar, John was figuring out that the faith and fervor that came so effortlessly to his parents somehow had eluded him.

And then one day, a strong-willed young woman named Jenny walked into his life. As their love grew, John began the painful, funny, and poignant journey into adulthood—away from his parents' orbit and into a life of his own. It would take a fateful call and the onset of illness to lead him on the final leg of his journey—the trip home again.

The Longest Trip Home is a book for any son or daughter who has sought to forge an identity at odds with their parents', and for every parent who has struggled to understand the values of their children. It is a book about mortality and grace, spirit and faith, and the powerful love of family. With his trademark blend of humor and pathos that made Marley & Me beloved by millions, John Grogan traces the universal journey each of us must take to find our unique place in the world.

I absolutely loved Marley & Me so I jumped at the chance to read this book and I wasn't disappointed. John Grogan is an incredible writer with the gift of pulling the heartstrings. While reading this memoir it seemed as if I was constantly laughing, cringing with embarrassment for John or tearing up. I highly recommend this book to all readers of both fiction and non-fiction and it’s a must for anyone who read Marley & Me.

Author's Website