Tuesday, August 31, 2010

BBI With Christie from The Fiction Enthusiast

Hello and welcome to another Book Blogger Interrogation! I have had the pleasure of getting to know a number of very cool book bloggers from all over the blogosphere. I thought it would be fun to put them under the heat lamp so to speak and get some answers to some fun questions. Today I want you to meet Christie from The Fiction Enthusiast.  

1.Tell me the number one reason you love to read.
It’s an escape! With books I’m able to visit places I’ll most likely never see in my lifetime.

2.What is it about sharing your reviews that keeps you going?
I love meeting other book lovers, and sharing opinions (positive or negative) about a book I’ve read. My real life circle of family and friends doesn’t contain many readers, so the internet is my main book discussion outlet.


3.Who is your all-time favorite author?
Three way tie between Patricia Briggs, Karen Marie Moning, and Charlaine Harris. For Young Adult novels I love Suzanne Collins. I’m also a huge fangirl when it comes to Richelle Mead and Jeaniene Frost. Oops..sorry you just meant one right? It is impossible to choose.


4.What is your all-time favorite book (single or series)?
The Hunger Games and Catching Fire are both amazing. I also love the Mercy Thompson series, Fever series, and Sookie Stackhouse series. The Agency Trilogy by Y .S Lee is another fabulous favorite of mine.


5.If you could pick one fictional character and bring them to life, who would it be?
Just one! This is always such a difficult question. Last time I was asked I chose Peeta so let me pick another favorite. Bran Cornick from the Mercy Thompson series. He is the epitome of the Alpha Male, and I feel like we don’t see nearly enough of his character in the books.


6.Do you always finish a book, even if you know you don’t like it half way in? Yes! I wish I didn't but if I’m more than a few chapters in I can't quit. Sometimes I'll put it down, and try again after reading something else.


7.Do you own an eReader? If yes, why? If no, why not?
Yes, I actually own two. I'm a gadget junkie. We move around every few years, and I can't always take books with me. It's usually months before we're settled so I like have a digital library on hand to keep me company.


8.What is your all-time single favorite genre to read?
This constantly changes with my mood. The ones I primarily read are Paranormal Romance, Historical Romance, Dystopian, Urban Fantasy, and anything Young Adult. I especially love fantasy novels with a historical setting.


9.Here’s your chance to plug your book review blog, twitter, facebook, etc. You know, make a general plea for people to like you…


You can find my blog http://thefictionenthusiast.blogspot.com/ I read and review a variety of genres. I’m also on Twitter @mamabookworm I always love to chat with other book lovers, and receive recommendations for my constantly growing TBR list.






I hope you all enjoyed getting to know Christie @ The Fiction Enthusiast - I sure did. Come back next week to meet





Monday, August 30, 2010

Sample Article: Top Ten Ways to Survive the End of Summer by Elin Hilderbrand

ELIN HILDERBRAND’S TOP TEN WAYS TO SURVIVE THE END OF SUMMER
The end of summer is indeed bittersweet, and no place more so than here on Nantucket. Being the author of nine (soon to be ten) summer novels and a real summer person, I find the ending of summer positively excruciating! Here are some of the ways I like to celebrate the final days…

10. Hit the farm market. I buy corn on the cob from Bartlett Farm here on Nantucket every night that we’re home for dinner, and I always get a few extra ears, cut the corn off the cob, and freeze it for the winter. And I buy pounds and pounds of Roma tomatoes and turn them into sauce. Yum!

9. Get out on the water. Pond, river, lake, swimming pool…or here, ocean. I will go to the beach every day until the middle of October, but these last days of August and first of September, are the very finest beach days. On the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, we do a lobster bake, complete with a beach bonfire and s’mores, and we turn our cars’ headlights on the ocean and the kids swim in the dark.

8. Baseball game. I suffered through a very long Little League All-Star season with my older son (last game on July 27th) but now I find I miss it. I’m getting tickets to the Red Sox!

7. Get out on the water, part 2. But go in a boat: rowboat, canoe, kayak, sailboat, power boat. We always do a sunset cocktail cruise on Labor Day weekend with sushi and lobster rolls, and my dear friend Margie’s birthday is on September 2 and the way we celebrate is to take the launch up harbor to the Wauwinet Inn for an al fresco lunch.

For the rest of the tips visit: ELIN HILDERBRAND


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Mom Blog Monday Blog Hop

The Not-So-Secret Confessions of a First Time Mom

Welcome Mom Blog Monday Blog Hoppers!!
Please have a look around, and if you choose to follow please leave me a comment so I can follow you back!

Review & Giveaway: EATING ANIMALS by Jonathan Safran Foer

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED
EATING ANIMALS by Jonathan Safran Foer


Book Description: Like many young Americans, Jonathan Safran Foer spent much of his teenage and college years oscillating between enthusiastic carnivore and occasional vegetarian. As he became a husband, and then a father, the moral dimensions of eating became increasingly important to him. Faced with the prospect of being unable to explain why we eat some animals and not others, Foer set out to explore the origins of many eating traditions and the fictions involved with creating them.

Traveling to the darkest corners of our dining habits, Foer raises the unspoken question behind every fish we eat, every chicken we fry, and every burger we grill. Part memoir and part investigative report, Eating Animals is a book that, in the words of the Los Angeles Times, places Jonathan Safran Foer "at the table with our greatest philosophers."


About the Author: Jonathan Safran Foer is one of the most acclaimed young writers of his generation, a “certified wunderkind” (Time) whose work has appeared in The Paris Review, New York Times, and The New Yorker. He has earned a National Jewish Book Award, a Guardian First Book Award, and remarkable praise for his first two novels, Everything Is Illuminated (adapted for film in 2005) and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Eating Animals is his first work of nonfiction.
Author's Website

Here's What I Think:
This book is an incredible mix of information and emotional connection. It is written in such a way that you don't realize the very political undertones. Foer has really jumped deep down into our very moral fiber and started digging around. I really believe that he wants to understand not just how but why we have made the choices that have lead to our current food industry. The book is peppered with entertaining anecdotes (like debating whether or not to eat the family dog or the time snuck into a farm) that surprisingly do not detract from the serious message of the book, but rather bring it closer to home. This book has truly forced me to think a little harder about the items on the grocer's shelves and the food I serve to my family. A great read, important for the world we are creating around us.
  
WIN IT! The good people at Hachette Book Group have agree to give two lucky winners a copy of EATING ANIMALS by Jonathan Safran Foer 

Here's How It Works:
A Few Rules:



You must be a US Resident. And You must provide a Street Address upon notification of winning (NO PO BOXES)

 Mandatory Entry: (you must do this one first or I will be forced to remove all of your entries)

Become a Follower of BMWL2R In some form - GFC, Twitter, or Facebook.
Please include your email address in your comment. (feel free to use the antiSPAM version - yourname[at]yourserver[dot]com)
Get More Entries: (LEAVE A SEPARATE COMMENT FOR EACH ENTRY)

  • Become a GFC Follower (if you already are one, just tell me so)
  • Tweet about this Giveaway (include @1outnumberedmom) please include your status link
  • Follow me on Twitter @1outnumberedmom
  • Become a Facebook Fan of BMWL2R (see sidebar) and leave a comment on the wall telling me you want to win!
  • Become a GFC follower of my BFF's new blog - One Page At A Time
  • Grab my button (see sidebar) and put it on your blog (include a link to your blog in your comment) (5 entries)
  • Add a post to your own blog about this giveaway (include a link to your post in your comment)(8 entries)

All entries must be in by September 15th at 9:00AM PST. I will pick a winner using a Random Number Generator.!

I wish you the best of luck!

Disclaimer: Although, I did receive a copy of this book for review, I received no direct compensation for the post.

If you are an author or publisher and would like for me to review your book please contact me directly: polsen11[at]comcast[dot]net


Review: Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder

Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder
Book Description: Yelena is on her way to be reunited with the family she'd been stolen from long ago. Although she has gained her freedom, she can't help feeling isolated in Sitia. Her Ixian background has changed her in many ways, and her newfound friends and relatives don't think it's for the better. Despite the turmoil, she's eager to start her magical training. But her plans take a radical turn when she becomes involved with a plot to reclaim Ixia's throne for a lost prince, and gets entangled in powerful rivalries with her fellow magicians. If that wasn't bad enough, it appears her brother would love to see her dead. Luckily, Yelena has some old friends to help her with her new enemies.

About the Author: Maria V. Snyder has been writing fiction and nonfiction since 1995. She has published numerous freelance articles in magazines and newspapers. Poison Study is her first published novel.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Maria earned a bachelor of science degree in meteorology at Penn State University. She discovered, much to her chagrin, that forecasting the weather wasn't one of her skills.
Her research on food-tasting methods with an expert chocolate taster, her husband, turned out to be a delicious bonus while writing Poison Study.
Maria has a brown belt in Isshinryu karate, and enjoys playing volleyball and the cello. She lives with her husband, son, daughter and yellow Lab in Pennsylvania.
Readers are welcome to contact Maria by e-mail at maria@mariavsnyder.

Here's What I Think: ***SPOILER ALERT*** If you have yet to read the first in this series, I may review something that gives away the first story***
Now that Yelana has discovered who she is, she decided to go back to her roots, only to find a very disjointed reunion. Her parents are ecstatic while her brother is very unhappy with her return. It is not until she learns the whys wheres and hows of her abduction as a child that she truly understands the family dynamic. And of course this book is full of the sexiest assassin ever - VALEK! Man alive it is amazing what happens when an author leaves so much to the imagination. But let me tell you, you will find this book in the young adult section only because it is not graphic or vulgar not because it is not sensual and romantic. Synder has a way with words that immerses you in this fictional world, allowing you to totally forget that it's not real. Here is my review of the first book in the Study Series - Poison Study

Disclaimer: I was in no way compensated to publish this post. I purchased this book on my own.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Review & Guest Article: Shoulder Bags and Shootings by Dorothy Howell

Shoulder Bags and Shootings (Book Three in the Haley Randolph Series) by Dorothy Howell

Book Description: Life is beyond fabulous for Haley Randolph. She just spent two amazing weeks in Europe with her boyfriend Ty Cameron, owner of Holt’s Department Store where Haley works. And now Ty’s grandmother, Ada, is letting Haley drive her way-cool Mercedes. Plus, Haley’s closing in on the season’s must-have handbag.

But when Haley finds the body of her nemesis in the trunk of Ada’s Mercedes, things aren’t so fabulous anymore. Topping the list of suspects, Haley must solve this murder quickly – and find that hot handbag – before she becomes a killer’s next fashion fatality!

Read an Excerpt

 
Great Places to Score a Discount Designer Handbag
By Dorothy Howell,
Author of Shoulder Bags and Shootings: A Haley Randolph Mystery
You don't have to dress less-than-glam during these hard economic times -- not when shopping centers and Internet sites are flush with places to snag a genuine designer handbag at a deeply discounted price.
Stores selling discounted handbags range from small, intimate vintage and consignment shops to large department stores, and even larger outlet malls. Internet sites offer a wide range of styles, colors, and designer names.
The Premium Outlets and the Tanger Outlets far and away have the largest concentration of discounted designer merchandise. Along with handbag stores such as Coach, Judith Leiber, Kate Spade and Dooney & Bourke, you'll find a fantastic array of designer stores. Michael Kors, Liz Clairborne, Prada, DKNY, Gucci, Calvin Klein, Burberry, along with many others, carry everything from clothing to shoes, and a sampling of their handbag lines.
The Premium Outlets have over 40 locations nationwide, along with malls in Puerto Rico, Japan, Korea, and Mexico. Tanger Outlet has over 30 locations in the U.S. Both offer AAA and AARP member discounts. Join their VIP Club and visit their Web sites for coupons and special offers. Check out their seasonal sales weekends and national promotions for extra savings in addition to everyday discounts.
First, and in some cases, second quality merchandise is available. You'll have to bring along a magnifying glass to find flaws, though. Most are detectable only to the factory-trained eye.
These outlet stores are great places to shop. There's no digging through clearance bins or blowing the dust off of merchandise that's been sitting around for months. The stores are immaculate, the shelves are orderly and well stocked. The staffs are knowledgeable and helpful, the same as you'll find in their retail stores. Many times, after making your selection, the clerk can bring you a "fresh" bag from the stock room. Care is taken to wrap your treasure in the store's signature tissue paper, and deposit it into their trademark shopping bag.
Discounts typically run 20% to 40% off the MSRP, with deeper cuts of up to 65% off of sale and clearance items. Many of these stores offer a full guarantee on their products, plus a money back return policy. But, as with any store, ask before you buy. Keep in mind that these outlet malls are huge, so wear comfortable shoes and plan for a full day of shopping.
Great bargains can be found in retail giants such as Macy's and Dillard's Department Stores. These discounts are usually offered seasonally so you'll have to watch for them. The selection of these bags will be limited, but you can expect to pay from 20% to 30% off their retail prices.
Leading discount department stores such as Ross Dress For Less, TJ Maxx, and Marshalls offer designer handbags. The selection varies. You might find a Diane von Furstenberg, Betsy Johnson or a Fossil bag mixed in with their non-designer bags. Merchandise varies from location to location. These are no-frills stores. If you don't mind digging for a good deal, you can expect to save 20% to 60% off of department store prices.
Some of the most sought-after designer brands are offered at Websites such as Rue LaLa and Gilt Group. These sites offer members-only pricing on luxury brands, usually for a limited time. Shop early. Expect to pay sales prices of up to 70% off retail.
The website e-bay, along with many other online sites, offers designer handbags at considerable savings. The selection is wide and varied. New as well as used purses are available. You'll have to pay shipping costs, in most cases, so take that into consideration when looking at their prices.
Consignment stores and vintage shops are also good places to find a handbag at a low price. Keep in mind these purses are gently used. Designer names and selection will vary widely. Inventory fluctuates so it's good to check back often. Savings can be considerable.
No matter where you choose to shop for your designer handbag, it's important that you can distinguish a genuine bag from a knock-off. Read product descriptions carefully. Do your homework. Know the tell-tale signs of a counterfeit bag. Don't be afraid to ask questions.
There's no need to deny yourself the joy of sporting a designer handbag when so many places offer great merchandise and outstanding discounts to the everyday fashionista. Get out and see what's available. Shopping for your new bag is half the fun!
© 2010 Dorothy Howell, author of Shoulder Bags and Shootings: A Haley Randolph Mystery
Author Bio
Dorothy Howell, author of Shoulder Bags and Shootings: A Haley Randolph Mystery, was inspired to write Handbags and Homicide by her crazed obsession with designer purses. She lives in Southern California, where there is, thankfully, no rehab program for handbag addiction, and is hard at work on her next Haley Randolph mystery. Visit her Website at http://www.dorothyhowellnovels.com/.
Follow the author on Facebook.


Here's What I Think:
So you and I both know that it's not usually wise to start in the middle of a series. So I am trying to hold on to this concept, as I did not have time to read the first two books in this series. One pro I can infatically proclaim is that this book doesn't spend the first half rehashing the last two books. It jumps right in with both feet and starts the story of this book specifically. As you can guess from the title, this book is a mystery with a very superfical overtone. The main character has been taken just past charming to an annoying ditz. The book was very easy to read as it doesn't have all the much depth and was rather predictable. If you are looking for a book to plow through, this is it, if you are looking for a real mystery - keep looking.

Disclaimer: Althought I did recieve a copy of this book from FSB Associates, I was in no way directly compensated to publish this post.



Thursday, August 26, 2010

What Are You Giving Away This Thursday? 8/26-9/1

This is really turning into a great little linky and yay! I have won three new books in the last week!! Let's see what we can win this week!

I want to say thanks so much to everyone that has been listing their book related giveaway on this linky! It means a lot to have people come back week after week and put in their listings! So THANK YOU!

If you have a BOOK-RELATED giveaway going on your blog/site please list it below - this means books (paper or eBook), bookmarks, book swag, booklights, eReaders and other things that are directly related to book reading.

Please link DIRECTLY to the book giveaway and not just to your blog's homepage.
Please keep your listings Family Friendly (if the item itself is adult in nature please include ADULT in your listing)

Please use this format:
Your Name: Blog Title (abbr ok) Item Description How many Avail End Date
Your URL: a direct link to the giveaway

EXAMPLE:
Your Name: BMWL2R The Serotonin Power Diet Ends 9/8
Your URL: http://busymomswholovetoread.blogspot.com/2010/08/guest-article-giveaway-serotonin-power.html

After you use the link please leave a comment, letting me know you were here (I just love comments, this is totally not required! LOL)


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Whatcha Reading Wednesday August 25th

This week's Whatcha Reading Wednesday Teaser works like this:
Type in the FIFTH sentence of the SECOND chapter.

Remember to alert any Spoilers

You can participate by leaving your WRW teaser in a comment below, or you can make a post on your own blog and link back to this post in the linky below. Feel free to use the WRW graphic, just please be sure to link back to Busy Moms Who Love to Read.

"Knowledge about Soulfinders and finding a balance between would Sitia and Ixia resides at the top of my list." Fire Study by Maria V Snyder (book three of the Study Trilogy)


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Busy Moms Book Club - Trans-Sister Radio by Chris Bohjalian Review Link-Up

Please link up your reviews of Trans-Sister Radio by Chris Bohjalian
If you are new to my site, and don't know about the Busy Moms Monthly Online Book Club - click here to learn more!



Transsister Radio by Chris Bohjalian



Set in the village of Bartlett, Vermont, Trans-Sister Radio tells the story of four people who are drawn into a complicated tangle of relationships—relationships that will profoundly change each of them. When Allison, grade-school teacher and divorced mother of a teenage daughter, meets Dana, she feels she's at the beginning of an intense, ideal romance. But Dana reveals that he's always felt himself to be a woman and plans to have the surgery that will make that feeling a reality, and soon Allison's love for Dana and her perception of herself is severely tested. She grapples with the fact that she might not be able to love Dana in a woman's body. She worries whether her teaching career will survive the scandal that living with a transsexual in a small New England town is sure to cause. She wonders what effect the situation will have on her relationship with her daughter, Carly, and how her ex-husband, Will, is going to view the situation.
Allison stands by Dana through the surgery and recovery period, enduring the opprobrium of the local community and a growing unease about her own sexual identity. Threatening notes left in her school mailbox, obscene graffiti scrawled on her front door, pressure from the school board to take a leave of absence, and a local petition about teacher morality all contribute to making Allison and Dana's relationship both a public issue and a private ordeal. Even Will and Carly become increasingly involved in Allison and Dana's predicament, and when they decide to air a program on transsexualism for Vermont Public Radio, they bring both clarity to the issue and a new set of changes for everyone involved.


Written with empathy and extraordinary insight, Trans-Sister Radio explores the uncertain terrain of gender identity, sexual preference, and the entire range of pleasures, confusions, and sacrifices that love demands.

Here's What I think: For me this book with a little to technical. Which I think is a direct result of the format - A National Public Radio Interview. Since my grandfather listened to these a lot when I was a child, it wasn't a totally new concept to me, but it still doesn't exactly fall into "novel" story. The character development is extensive, almost too much so. The concept of a woman who falls in love with a man who surgically becomes a woman was very interesting and well represented. I think the book was just too far outside my norm for me to really get absorbed.



If you are participating please feel free to include the Busy Moms Book Club Logo in your review as well as add the linky. Please link up your own reviews of Trans-Sister Radio by Chris Bohjalian in the Linky Below:



Don't forget to vote for the September Book Club Selection in the poll located at the top of the Sidebar.



BBI with Lisa at A Life Bound by Books

Hello and welcome to another Book Blogger Interrogation! I have had the pleasure of getting to know a number of very cool book bloggers from all over the blogosphere. I thought it would be fun to put them under the heat lamp so to speak and get some answers to some fun questions. Today I want you to meet Lisa from A Life Bound By Books
 
1. Tell me the number one reason you love to read.




I love to read because with a good book your imagination can run wild and for a little while you can step into another world and find yourself on an adventure - with a good book just about anything can happen!
2. What is it about sharing your reviews that keeps you going?

I’ve found many great books via reviews from others and because of that I share my reviews with the hopes someone finds a great book from me.

3. Who is your all-time favorite author?


That is a really hard question. I can say that right now I have a few that come to mind – Maggie Steifvater, Jandy Nelson, JR Ward, Gena Showalter, Jeri Smith Read…. And so many more - It’s just too hard to pick one!!
4. What is your all-time favorite book (single or series)?


There’s just no way to pick just one all time favorite book or series. So, I’ll have to name a few – Shiver by Maggie Steifvater, The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson, Shade by Jeri Smith Ready, Just Listen by Sarah Dessen, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins… and then for adult titles – The Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward, The Night Huntress series By: Jeaniene Frost.. and many, many more.
5. If you could pick one fictional character and bring them to life, who would it be?



      Hmmm, let’s see. WOW, you’re good at asking hard questions! I mean just one? Lol It’s a tie between…. Sam from The Mercy Falls series By: Maggie Stiefvater, Joe from The Sky Is Everywhere By: Jandy Nelson, Tristan from Promise By: Kristie Cook, Lenah & Rhode from Infinite Days By: Rebecca Maizel,.. and Everyone from Shade By: Jeri Smith-Ready. And when it comes to an adult series… common, hands it down it would have to be any of the Brothers from the Black Dagger Brotherhood books By: J.R. Ward. Sorry, I couldn’t pick just one! lol


6. Do you always finish a book, even if you know you don’t like it half way in?


It depends on if it’s a book that I’ve accepted for review or not. If it is, then yes, I do always try to finish the book. If it’s something I’ve purchased or won… then I’ll sometimes put the book aside to try it again another day. Sometimes it all depends on the mood your in and what sounds good at the time.
7. Do you own an eReader? If yes, why? If no, why not?


I do own a Kindle and I LOVE IT! I had wanted one for a few reasons. The main one being room. I have a HUGE collection of books and am quickly running out of room. Some books I don’t mind not actually owning, but want to read them. It’s those that end up on my Kindle.
8. What is your all-time single favorite genre to read?


Well, that would be a toss up between Paranormal and Urban Fantasy. I read many different genre’s in both YA and Adult, but those two top the list.
9. Here’s your chance to plug your book review blog, twitter, facebook, etc. You know, make a general plea for people to like you…

I read and blog because I love both and they fit together nicely. I hope everyone who comes to visit will find something that they love and will stick around for more. September is a big time for me and my blog. I’ll be celebrating my Blogoversary, my Birthday and reaching 400+ Followers that I hope by then it’ll be to celebrate 500+ followers! Tons of giveaways, many winners! Then October is going to be pretty HUGE as well. Tons of top secret stuff going on for that month that I’ll be able to share with everyone soon.




You can find my blog here: http://alifeboundbybooks.blogspot.com/


On twitter, feel free to add me: @BoundByBooks


Goodreads here: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/2001477-lisa-a-life-bound-by-books


Feel free to Follow, friend and add away! The more the merrier!


I hope you all enjoyed getting to know Lisa @ A Life Bound By Books- I know I did. Come back next week to meet Christie @ The Fiction Enthusiast






Sunday, August 22, 2010

Total ReVamp of the BMWL2R Book Club

So in the last few month the Busy Moms Who Love to Read Book Club has not had much participation. Instead of scrapping the idea all together I am going to try to "revamp" the concept. It seems that it might be too much to ask people to answer a bunch of question - like taking a test or something. So here is my idea, instead of answering specific discussion questions, you simply do a review of the month's book selection, as you normally would, but you link it here on the linky. You can link your review at any point in the month (this means that even if you have previously read the selected book, you could link in your own review). Then go to some of the other reviews and leave some comments. So I think we can try this version of the book club for a few months and see how things go. To kick things off, let's first Vote for the Book Club Selection. Here are the choices:

Where Are You Now? A Novel by Mary Higgins Clark - From America's Queen of Suspense comes a gripping tale of a young woman trying to unravel the mystery of a family tragedy -- a quest with terrifying repercussions.

It has been ten years since twenty-one-year-old Charles MacKenzie Jr. ("Mack") went missing. A Columbia University senior, about to graduate and already accepted at Duke University Law School, he walked out of his apartment on Manhattan's Upper West Side without a word to his college roommates and has never been seen again. However, he does make one ritual phone call to his mother every year: on Mother's Day. Each time, he assures her he is fine, refuses to answer her frantic questions, then hangs up. Even the death of his father, a corporate lawyer, in the tragedy of 9/11 does not bring him home or break the pattern of his calls.
Mack's sister, Carolyn, is now twenty-six, a law school graduate, and has just finished her clerkship for a civil court judge in Manhattan. She has endured two family tragedies, yet she realizes that she will never be able to have closure and get on with her life until she finds her brother. She resolves to discover what happened to Mack and why he has found it necessary to hide from them. So this year when Mack makes his annual Mother's Day call, Carolyn interrupts to announce her intention to track him down, no matter what it takes. The next morning after Mass, her uncle, Monsignor Devon MacKenzie, receives a scrawled message left in the collection basket: "Uncle Devon, tell Carolyn she must not look for me."
Mack's cryptic warning does nothing to deter his sister from taking up the search, despite the angry reaction of her mother, Olivia, and the polite disapproval of Elliott Wallace, Carolyn's honorary uncle, who is clearly in love with Olivia.

Interview with The Vampire by Anne Rice - This is the story of Louis, as told in his own words, of his journey through mortal and immortal life. Louis recounts how he became a vampire at the hands of the radiant and sinister Lestat and how he became indoctrinated, unwillingly, into the vampire way of life. His story ebbs and flows through the streets of New Orleans, defining crucial moments such as his discovery of the exquisite lost young child Claudia, wanting not to hurt but to comfort her with the last breaths of humanity he has inside. Yet, he makes Claudia a vampire, trapping her womanly passion, will, and intelligence inside the body of a small child. Louis and Claudia form a seemingly unbreakable alliance and even "settle down" for a while in the opulent French Quarter. Louis remembers Claudia's struggle to understand herself and the hatred they both have for Lestat that sends them halfway across the world to seek others of their kind. Louis and Claudia are desperate to find somewhere they belong, to find others who understand, and someone who knows what and why they are.


Drop Dead Beautiful by Jackie Collins - Jackie Collins returns with her 25th fabulous novel and her most beloved character…

Get ready for the scandalously scintillating read only Jackie Collins can deliver! Lucky Santangelo is back with a vengeance–still every bit as strong, sexy, and seductive as ever! But Lucky is older and wiser, and hot to reclaim her power position in Las Vegas. However, a deadly enemy from her past has resurfaced–a person determined to take everything from her, including the family she holds so dear: two sons and an out-of-control teenage daughter who is just as outrageous as Lucky herself. Like mother, like daughter.
And if that old saying holds true, it’s going to be one wild ride. Internationally bestselling author Jackie Collins marks her twenty-fifth novel with “another page-turning tale packed with intrigue, revenge and romance.”
How Sweet It Is by Alice J Wisler - Deena Livingston leaves behind a broken romance and her chef job in Atlanta to spend time at her grandfather's cabin in the mountains of North Carolina. But her grandfather has an odd request: he wants Deena to teach cooking classes to the ragtag group of middle-schoolers who attend the local afterschool program, The Center. Reluctantly, Deena agrees, but how is she supposed to convince these kids that cooking at home is better than eating at McDonalds? And after all she went through in Atlanta, why is she attracted to Zack, the social worker at The Center? Can a Dr. Seuss-quoting plumber, a curly-haired basketball player, and a group of middle-schoolers change Deena's outlook on life?

PLEASE VOTE USING THE POLL LOCATED IN THE TOP RIGHT SIDEBAR!!

Voting will take place between now and August 31st. On September 1st I will announce the book selection and post the linky for you to begin linking up your reviews of the selected title.



Saturday, August 21, 2010

Review & Guest Article: The Wedding Gift by Kathleen McKenna

The Wedding Gift by Kathleen McKenna


Book Description:
Kathleen McKenna's explosive third novel 'The Wedding Gift' excels in so many categories it defies them all. It is a spine-electrifying supernatural tale where a huge Southern States mansion contains one of the most terrifying, violent and indeed psychopathic ghosts to haunt any town. It is also a murder mystery - why did Robina Willets apparently kill all five of her young children, and her husband, before stabbing herself to death? And, if you are in the camp of believing that 'justice .... just is not', then this will have you frothing at the mouth with righteous social fury. Add to that the vision of two exceptionally beautiful girls lying on a landing stage in the middle of a secluded lake, sleeping naked in the sun .... .... and then see if you can find any consecutive ten minutes in this book when you don't at least snicker at the heroine Leeann's sly, caustic, sometimes-knowing sometimes 'too stupid to live' commentary. "Several times in the 'The Wedding Gift' Kathleen McKenna has the narrator bursting out with phrases like 'Oh shoot, hell yeah, he was grinning like an egg suck dog' or words to that affect. Well, that was me she was describing throughout the book, grinning like an egg suck dog. I don't know what one of those might be, but I sure want to be one," Tim Roux, author of 'Missio' and 'The Dance of the Pheasodile'.


About the Author


Kathleen Mckenna is a transplanted Alaskan who spent twelve years on her first paragraph and now lives and writes prolifically in the opposite kind of desert in New Mexico. She has written eight novels to date and recently nearly lost all eight when her laptop and her back-up drive failed simultaneously. At the last count, seven had been recovered. ?The Wedding Gift? is Kathleen?s third novel, the first of a supernatural trilogy. The second in the series, ?The Comeback?, will be published by Night Publishing in late 2010.
 
So I had a chance to ask Kathleen what the back story was on this big story and this is what she said:
 
I had just spent three years researching and writing the darkest book of my life on Jonestown, a story of unrelenting horror and human ugliness which by the end had made me certain that there were no more books left in me, unless...unless I could do something totally different.
Write complete fiction and create a funny charming world, but also I am a lifetime lover of horror fiction, especially ghost stories. I cut my teeth on classic King, and I had finally come to understand that he was not going to write a sequel to The Shining for me no matter how badly I wanted him too!
 I hated the endless vampire stuff coming out, with the exception of Charlaine Harris's totally charming work. So I decided to throw my hat into the ring, I took a long walk and thought about that beautiful house in the Garden District I had once seen and wondered what if a beautiful small town homecoming queen from no money got to live there, fulfilling all her dreams but then found out it was terribly haunted, but then how would she have obtained the house in the first place? Ah yes, she married into money and the house was a tongue in cheek wedding gift from the in-laws who hated her and that started my writing.

HERE'S WHAT I THINK:
First off I have to give a heads up that the "voice" of this book takes some getting used to. The book is written from the point of view of the main character, Leann, and it is ask if she is just sitting next to you telling your a story with all her Southern charm. Secondly, I think McKenna has created an all new genre of Comedic Murder/Mystery. This story literally makes you laugh and gasp in horror all in the same paragraph. It does take a little bit to really get going, but once it is moving you better hold one. I tell you what, I totally thought I had it figured out but I was so far off the mark I almost couldn't believe it as I was reading the words. McKenna created this completely plausible scenario and then writes with such fluidity that you can practically see it as a motion picture in your mind's eye. If you like a good ol' ghost story, this is it!!



Disclaimer: Although I did receive a copy of this book from Night Publishing Group, I was in no other way compensated to write this review.

Fantastic Winners!

Thanks so much to everyone that entered to win the Fantastic Follower Gratitude Giveaway. Without further ado...the Winners are:

stacey
Annette W.
Kayla


Congrats to you all!

I want to point out to everyone that you need to read the rules for a giveaway. I actually had to dismiss two "winners" because they did not provide an email address and there was not one in their profile. So please read the rules if you choose to enter any giveaways!

Thanks so much to FSB Associates and please come back often for more great giveaways! Don't forget to add your book giveaways to the new linky posted every Thursday!



Thursday, August 19, 2010

Guest Article & Giveaway: The Serotonin Power Diet By Judith J. Wurtman, PhD

THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED!!
The Serotonin Power Diet By Judith J. Wurtman, PhD




You Can Prevent PMS from Destroying Your Diet 


By Judith J. Wurtman, PhD,
Co-Author of The Serotonin Power Diet: Eat Carbs -- Nature's Own Appetite Suppressant -- to Stop Emotional Overeating and Halt Antidepressant-Associated Weight Gain


Dieters face situations that threaten their will power or even their ability to get the foods they are supposed to be eating. Catered business lunches, Sunday dinners at a relative's home, birthday parties, lack of time to go to the supermarket: These are only a handful of the obstacles that stand between the dieter and her food plan. These problems are so common that advice on how to deal with them is standard in most weight-loss books and group programs.


But there is a threat to the female dieter that cannot be overcome by food lists and will-power and that is Premenstrual Syndrome or PMS.


PMS is a monthly disturbance in mood and appetite brought on by hormonal changes a few days before menstruation. Not all women experience it and even those who do may find that certain months are worse than others. But when it hits, it can be like a tidal wave, knocking down eating control, exercise programs and emotional stability. PMS removes a sense of emotional well-being and deposits in its place anger, irritability, confusion, exhaustion and depression. These unpleasant moods are often accompanied by an impulsive, uncontrollable need to eat. The foods craved during the last days of the menstrual cycle fall either into the greasy, salty, crunchy, starchy category or the fatty, creamy, sugary category.


Although it has been clear for millennium that something was happening to women each month that altered their mood, sleep, energy and eating, the explanations were often closer to witchcraft than science. Even in the latter part of the last century, remedies were suggested that turned out to be totally ineffective or actually worsened the condition. For instance, chocolate craving is a hallmark of PMS as in "I could kill for chocolate." So well-meaning PMS therapists assumed chocolate was causing PMS and forbade it. It was believed that water on the brain (this was actually mentioned in the scientific literature) was affecting mood so diuretics were prescribed. Because the hormone progesterone increases in relation to estrogen at the end of the menstrual cycle, well-intentioned physicians prescribed even more to offset the PMS symptoms. This went on until carefully controlled research showed that progesterone made the symptoms worse. And even today, women's magazines tell their readers to exercise, drink water, and eat fruits and vegetables to reduce the severity of the symptoms. This advice sounds good but it is impossible to follow by women who are exhausted, weepy, angry, and craving salty, greasy french fries.


Women with premenstrual syndrome do indeed eat more at that time than during the other weeks of their menstrual cycle. We monitored the calorie intake of women during their menstrual cycle in a study carried out at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Women lived in the Clinical Research Center during the first few days of their cycle and then returned three weeks later when they had PMS. The normal weight volunteers consumed about 1100 calories more when they were premenstrual than they did at other times of the month. And to no one's surprise, the extra calories came from chocolate, potato chips, cookies and crackers.


Our volunteers had no problem returning to their healthy way of eating once the PMS passed and they easily lost the pound or two they may have gained from their premenstrual munching. But for dieters, PMS poses more than a temporary halt in their weight loss. Premenstrual syndrome may cause the dieter to abandon her diet.


One of our weight-loss clients described the effect of PMS on her weight loss: "For three weeks I am in control, and my food choices follow the diet plan exactly. Then one day, during the fourth week of my menstrual cycle, I wake up with an uncontrollable urge to eat junk food. I simply can't stop myself. This goes on for three or four days until I get my period. So of course my diet is blown, and I am three or four pounds heavier than I was a week earlier."


Yet it is possible to stop PMS from destroying a diet.


The solution is to increase the production of serotonin, the brain chemical involved in regulating mood and weight. We discovered at MIT that serotonin activity is diminished during PMS so simply increasing serotonin production reduces the unpleasant mood and overeating during this time of the month.


Increasing serotonin is easy. The brain chemical is made when a non-fruit carbohydrate is eaten. Here is all that needs to be done:


Twice a day (or more if necessary) eat a snack containing 30-35 grams of a starchy or sweet carbohydrate. Choose foods that have no more than 2 grams of protein and 2 grams of fat. Protein prevents serotonin from being made, and fat just adds calories.


Eat the foods on an empty stomach or three hours after a meal.


The snacks should be regarded as edible therapy for the PMS, not as a source of nutrition. Make sure you take your usual vitamin and calcium supplements and eat as many fruits, vegetables, low or non-fat dairy products and lean protein as your PMS cravings will allow.


Good snack choices include popcorn, fat-free fudge sauce (for PMS chocolate cravers), sweetened breakfast cereal, an English muffin with jam, oatmeal with brown sugar, graham crackers, low-fat granola bars, very low-fat ice cream or frozen yogurt, low-fat rice or soy crackers, pretzels, low-fat meringue cookies, low-fat biscotti and cotton candy (in case you have PMS while at a county fair).


A few caveats:


Alcohol is not a substitute for the carbohydrate.
Eating fruit will not lead to serotonin production.
Soda and other foods made with high fructose corn syrup sweeteners do not lead to serotonin production.
Restrain yourself from munching on fat-filled brownies, chips, ice cream, and chocolate. Your brain doesn't know the difference but your scale will.


The effects of eating a low or fat-free carbohydrate snack on your mood and appetite should be felt within 45 minutes or even sooner. After eating the snack, relax, meditate, read a book or contemplate that when you reach menopause, all this will be over.






© 2010 Judith J. Wurtman, PhD, co-author of The Serotonin Power Diet: Eat Carbs -- Nature's Own Appetite Suppressant -- to Stop Emotional Overeating and Halt Antidepressant-Associated Weight Gain






Author Bio


Judith J. Wurtman, PhD, co-author of The Serotonin Power Diet: Eat Carbs -- Nature's Own Appetite Suppressant -- to Stop Emotional Overeating and Halt Antidepressant-Associated Weight Gain, has discovered the connection between carbohydrate craving, serotonin, and emotional well-being in her MIT clinical studies. She received her PhD from George Washington University, is the founder of a Harvard University hospital weight-loss facility and counsels private weight management clients. She has written five books, including The Serotonin Solution, and more than 40 peer-reviewed articles for professional publications. She lives in Miami Beach, Florida.


VISIT THE SEROTONIN POWER DIET WEBSITE


WIN IT! The good people at FSB Associates have agree to give one lucky winner a copy of The Serotonin Power Diet.


Here's How It Works:
A Few Rules:




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All entries must be in by September 8th at 9:00AM PST. I will pick a winner using a Random Number Generator.!


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