Sunday, December 23, 2012

giveaway winners: the bracelet and two lethal lies

Jenny is the winner of The Bracelet.  Marjorie and skkorman have each won Two Lethal Lies.  Congrats and enjoy!

Friday, December 21, 2012

review: wallflower in bloom by claire cook

This post contains affiliate links.

As the middle child, Deirdre feels a little overlooked.  In her younger years, she frequently punished herself in an attempt to separate herself from her siblings.  For example, Deirdre loved her dance classes, but stopped when her younger sister enrolled in the same class.  Decades later Deirdre is still wrapped up in the family drama.  Her brother Tag has become a charismatic self-help guru who employs the entire family.  When Deirdre finally gets fed up with Tag for what she deems the last time, she uses her position as his public relations person to land a spot on Dancing with the Stars.

Wallflower in Bloom is hilarious and Deirdre was relatable on a few levels.  Although her age is never given, I frequently imagined Deirdre to be my age although she could’ve easily been a decade or so older.  Deirdre’s motivation to change was a bit weak, but it seemed likely the frustrations had been building and so it only took a small thing to cause her to explode.  One thing though:  Having studied chiasmus and other rhetorical devices during my undergrad years, I found the not-quite-chiasmus sayings that Deirdre claimed as chiasmus to be a bit distracting.
Review copy provided by the publisher, Touchstone.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

review: rearview mirror by alana stewart

This post contains affiliate links.

As is probably the case for many, I was familiar with George Hamilton and Rod Stewart, but knew little of the woman they each had married and had children with.  In a memoir that kept me turning pages well past my bedtime, Alana Stewart shares how she went from living in a home lacking indoor plumbing in a small Texas town to living the Hollywood life as a model/actress who eventually married two famous men.  Her enthralling story came across as incredibly honest.  Stewart notes that “everything I’ve written here has been taken directly from the diaries that I have been keeping since I was nine years old, not from selective or vague memories.”  Refreshingly, Stewart tackles some tough subjects such as her rape, her divorces, and the struggles her family has dealt with without making herself into a victim.
Review copy provided by Get Red PR.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

world book night 2013

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Last year I participated in World Book Night with my selected giveaway of The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri.  I was first introduced to Lahiri’s work in an undergraduate English class.  I adored her short stories and was thrilled when the professor said she was working on a full-length novel.  Well before I started my blog, I was telling people to read her books.  So giving The Namesake to others on World Book Night 2012 was an excellent experience.  Unfortunately my work schedule this time around means I likely won’t be able to participate in World Book Night 2013, but I recommend it for anyone who wants to share a love of reading.  To apply you must be at least 16 years old and live in the United States, the United Kingdom, or Germany.  All the details and application can be found on the World Book Night website.  (The links are for the US site, but the other countries can be accessed through the US site.)

Friday, December 7, 2012

review: beneath a meth moon by jacqueline woodson

This post contains affiliate links.

Left vulnerable after Hurricane Katrina took the lives of her mother and grandmother and forced the rest of Laurel’s family to start over in a new town, Laurel is quick to give into the tempting smile of the star of the high school basketball team.  She seemingly has no idea of the consequences when she accepts his offer of a powder he promises will “take all that shivering far, far away.”  Laurel loves how meth makes her feel that first time; she also immediately falls for the boy nicknamed T-Boom.  Her downfall is quick and there’s nothing her father or her best friend can do to save her as Laurel’s life spirals so out of control that she winds up sleeping on the streets and begging for change.  That’s what she’s doing when a boy named Moses comes across her.  Moses paints murals in memoriam of other teens who have died from their addictions.  It is through her friendship with Moses that Laurel is finally able to start seeing a better life for herself.

The narrative of Beneath a Meth Moon by award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson is a bit disjointed; it truly feels like a meth addict is telling her rambling tale.  It is amazing.  When Beneath a Meth Moon opens Laurel is already at the height of her addiction.  She then jumps around in the timeline to explain how she got to such a place.  The plot is compelling, so I was able to finish Beneath a Meth Moon in a matter of hours.  Given the book’s length, it is understandable that Woodson does not delve into some of the deeper issues of meth addiction; she instead keeps the book entirely centered a short period of a young girl’s life, which serves to make it all the more gripping.  This cautionary tale is highly recommended.
Review copy provided by BookDivas.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

giveaway: two lethal lies

As you know, I enjoyed Annie Solomon's Two Lethal Lies.  Now thanks to the author, two people have the chance to win a copy of their own.  Also check out the interview with Annie.

Here's the publisher description:
"On the run since his daughter was born, Mitch Turner has concealed a truth so dangerous, its discovery could jeopardize both their lives. But when a series of shocking murders hits their newfound home, the trail leads straight to Mitch. With the police out for blood and his daughter ripped from his arms, he has nowhere to turn--until a beautiful stranger offers her help.

Neesy Brown has made mistakes in her life, yet she refuses to believe this mysterious man is a killer. There's a strength in his broad shoulders that draws her to him and a weariness in his eyes that she longs to ease. As the murders tear her small town apart, she vows to help Mitch find his missing child. But a cunning predator is pulling them deeper and deeper into his fatal game. And the price of losing is the child--and the future--they could both share..."

The rules: Enter by leaving a comment to this post with your email (if I can't contact you, you can't win). You can gain additional entries by leaving separate comments letting me know that you're a follower (one extra each for the blog and Twitter) or have posted a link to the giveaway on your site. Another bonus entry may be gained by commenting on the interview with Annie Solomon.  The deadline to enter is 11:59pm Pacific on December 22. Winners will be selected at random. Since this is from the author, the winners must have mailing addresses in the US or Canada.

author interview: annie solomon

This post contains affiliate links.

The author of Two Lethal Lies (and a number of other romantic suspense novels), Annie Solomon, gave me the opportunity to ask some questions about her writing and share the answers with all of you.  Plus, be sure to check out the giveaway for Two Lethal Lies!

Until reading Two Lethal Lies, I had no idea there was a Disney World tunnel system to allow the characters to move around unseen. How did you discover the existence of the tunnels?

While doing research on Disneyworld I came across a video that mentioned the tunnels. I was fascinated, and immediately knew I had to use them somehow. If you want to see the tunnels or get more behind-the-scenes Disney info, you can watch the video on my website, I’ve got other interesting research tidbits there, too.

What’s your writing routine?

I’m a morning person and a procrastinator, so if I don’t write first thing there’s a good chance I won’t write at all. I get up, have breakfast, and go right to work. Depending on what I’m working on—first draft or rewrites—I’ll last until my brain pops, or until lunch, whichever comes first.

Jules from Two Lethal Lies loves to read. What was your favorite book as a child?

Oh, man—so many! The Edward Eager books were a fave— Magic or Not?, Magic by the Lake, Half Magic. Also the Betsy-Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace. I had no idea they were written so long ago! Oh—and anything by Beverly Cleary.

What book (your own or someone else’s) has had the most impact on your life?

I can’t point to one book, but rather to the whole experience of reading. Some of my earliest memories are going to the library with my mother and picking out books to take home. I’ve always been a dreamer, and books took me to other worlds and new people. I’ve wanted to write for as long as I can remember, if for no other reason than to recreate that delicious feeling of being transported elsewhere.

What’s up next for you?

I just finished the first in a trilogy, tentatively called The Chronicles of Stella Moon. It’s a sci fi book set 500 years in the future during a time when most of the world has traded their humanity for The Gift--a restructured genome that suppresses violence and strong emotion, but brings with it perfect health and long life. Stella Moon is my heroine, and over the course of the books she discovers that Gifted civilization is based on a vast array of lies that extends over her whole world and even to herself. Forced to flee the
authorities, she finds forbidden love, becomes an unwitting instrument of death, and in the end must decide if she wants to stay with the oppressors or give up her immortality and rejoin old humanity. I’m very excited about this project, and will let you know when it’s released!

Thanks, Nicole, for the chance to talk to your readers. Good luck everyone with the giveaway!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

giveaway: the bracelet

Want a chance to win a copy of Roberta Gately's excellent new book, The Bracelet?  One US resident will!  Thanks to Simon & Schuster for providing the giveaway copy!

Here's the publisher description:
"Newly heartbroken and searching for purpose in her life, Abby Monroe is determined to make her mark as a UN worker in one of the world’s most unstable cities: Peshawar, Pakistan. But after witnessing the brutal murder of a woman thrown from a building, she is haunted by the memory of an intricate and sparkling bracelet that adorned the victim’s wrist.

At a local women’s shelter, Abby meets former sex slaves who have miraculously escaped their captors. As she gains the girls’ trust and documents their horrifying accounts of unspeakable pain and betrayal, she joins forces with a dashing New York Times reporter who believes he can incriminate the shadowy leader of the vicious human trafficking ring. Inspired by the women’s remarkable bravery—and the mysterious reappearance of the bracelet— the duo traces evidence that spreads from remote villages of South Asia to the most powerful corners of the West, risking their lives to offer a voice to the countless innocents in bondage."

The rules: Enter by leaving a comment to this post with your email (if I can't contact you, you can't win). You can gain additional entries by leaving separate comments letting me know that you're a follower (one extra each for the blog and Twitter) or have posted a link to the giveaway on your site. The deadline to enter is 11:59pm Pacific on December 22. Winner will be selected at random. Since this is from Simon & Schuster the winner must have mailing addresses in the US; no PO Boxes.