Thursday, April 30, 2009

New Book: Private Midnight

I received a request to review a new book for a blog tour this week, titled, Private Midnight by Kris Saknussemm, from Phenix & Phenix. I have reviewed titles for them before and this looked like another good one. I started with it for the read-a-thon, got into it, and then put it down for a lighter read and decided to pick it up later. Well, later came, but I just couldn't get into it. I usually try to finish a book that I've agreed to review, but this time I just couldn't. I teach my students that there are times when it's okay to abandon a book. I guess this was one of those times for me. I'm not real sure what it is about the book that I didn't like, or couldn't get over, but I'm sure that many of you would like the book, so I asked if there was anything else I could do on the blog tour, besides review the book. I didn't want to let Phenix & Phenix down because we have a good working relationship and I enjoy most of their books.  That being said, I'm going to share some things about the book with you, and then you can decide whether or not it's for you. 

Author:  Kris Saknussemm
About the Book:  By the author of Zanesville, a seductive story of grit, gunplay, vampirism, and a bit of bondage.

Detective Birch Ritter is a man on the edge-of himself. His past is filled with secrets, shadows, guilt, and ghosts. Then a dubious police buddy he hasn't seen in a year introduces him to a mysterious woman who says her business is shadows. What she knows about what lies between the darkness and the light inside men is more than Ritter may want to find out, and much more than he can resist learning. It's said that to try to forget is to try to conceal, and concealing evidence is a crime. But maybe revelation is another kind of crime-against nature.

Kris Saknussemm, the widely acclaimed author of the sci-fi smash Zanesville, now delves into another genre, and another world-a world where even the sunlight is shadowy and where deviancy is the norm. Private Midnight is a journey into the seedy, sexy, underbelly of life-crime noir for a new generation.

Read the review from BC Books and you can see the book trailer here.

If you do read this book, please let me know what you think!

Review: The Lost Hours


Title:  The Lost Hours
Author:  Karen White
Review Copy Provided by: Pump Up Your Book Promotion

About the Author:  After playing hooky from school one day in the seventh grade to read Gone With the Wind, I knew I wanted to be a writer—or become Scarlett O'Hara. In spite of these aspirations, I grew up to pursue a degree in business and graduated cum laude with a BS in Management from Tulane University.

I have always been a voracious reader and was encouraged by my teachers to write ever since elementary school. Writing a book was always in the back of my mind, but definitely something I'd "do later when I have time."

One day in 1996 when my children were just babies, I decided it was time and started writing my first book. When I had a few chapters written, I sent it in to a writer's contest and by some miracle it won. The finalist judge was a New York literary agent and she offered to represent me. That first book, In the Shadow of the Moon, was sold and then published in 2000. It was a double finalist in Romance Writers of America's prestigious RITA award.

I have since published eight award-winning novels, and three more books are scheduled: The House on Tradd Street (November 2008) , The Lost Hours (May 2009) and the as-yet untitled sequel to The House on Tradd Street that is scheduled for release in November 2009.

While growing up, I lived in London, England and am a graduate of the American School in London. I currently live in sunny Georgia with my husband and two children. When not writing, I spend my time reading, singing, scrapbooking, carpooling children and avoiding cooking.

I love hearing from readers. Please email me at or write to Karen White, PO Box 623, Roswell, Georgia 30077.

You can visit Karen White's website at

About the Book: Now a near fatal riding accident has shattered Piper’s dreams of Olympic glory. After her grandfather’s death, she inherits the house and all its secrets, including a key to a room that doesn’t exist—or does it? And after her grandmother is sent away to a nursing home, she remembers the box buried in the backyard. In it are torn pages from a scrapbook, a charm necklace—and a newspaper article from 1929 about the body of an infant found floating in the Savannah River. The necklace’s charms tell the story of three friends during the 1920s— each charm added during the three months each friend had the necklace and recorded her life in the scrapbook. Piper always dismissed her grandmother as not having had a story to tell. And now, too late, Piper finds she might have been wrong.

My Review:  This is the 2nd book I've read by Karen, the first being, The House on Tradd Street, which I loved.  When Dorothy contacted me to do this one, I jumped on it!  Trust me, I was not disappointed!

Karen is an excellent writer!  One of the things I love about her books is how she makes you feel like you are really "in" the book.  I really connect with her characters as her writing makes them come alive!  I really enjoyed how she intermingled the generations in this story.  The story is about Piper's grandmother and the story behind the box, the secret room, and missing out on knowing a woman she wished she had known.  But, it's also about Piper and her learning to love herself again, get back on a horse, and find love.  Karen's books are about romance, but she never makes that the center of her books and I like that.  There is always a story within a story and it makes for a great read!

The other thing I enjoyed about this book is the character development.  Karen really takes the time, as an author, to bring her characters to life.  She doesn't just skim the surface, but digs in deep and allows the reader to "know" the characters, minor or not.  I really connected with Piper, agonized for her, cheered her on, and cried with her.

I hope that you will enjoy this book as much as I did, should you choose to read it!

Today is the last stop on Karen's tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion.  There have been many great reviews and interviews on this tour.  I hope that you have been able to check out alot of them.  I am so glad that Dorothy allowed me to join in on this one, because I am a HUGE Karen White fan!  I am anxiously awaiting the sequel to The House on Tradd Street!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wednesday Wanderings - 4/29/09

I wander around the blogosphere and bring you what I find!

The first link I have for you this week is a HUGE one!  You can win one book or the entire series + a t-shirt!  Want to know who has this great contest?  Well, it's none other than Sher over at A Novel Menagerie!  She recently read and reviewed Who Made You a Princess? by Shelley Adina.  She loved it and so did her daughter!  Hachette has given her 3 copies to giveaway, but one person will win all the books in the series plus a t-shirt.  There are many ways to earn entries, so get over there and get entered.  If my post sends you over there, please tell her I sent you!

Tales of a Ravenous Reader has a great interview with YA author of Wings, Aprilynne Pike.  This book comes out on May 5th, and she has one to giveaway!

Senfaye at A Maze of Books is having her 1st ever contest!  Her goal is to get 100 followers, so if you're a YA fan, go follow her.  Her giveaway is Sea of Change, a great new YA book!

Bookluver-Carol has Betty's Pack to giveaway.  You can win both books!

It's Frenetic Reader's blog-o-versary!  You will win signed copies of the Mortal Instruments series and Wake, and a Wake necklace.  Go enter!

Over at I Heart Monster, you can enter to win a copy of Pretty Face.  You have until April 30th, so hurry!!

The Year of Secret Assignments is being given away at Reader Rabbit.  Contest runs for 2 weeks.

Fantastic Book Review is having a Five Star Review Free Giveaway Contest.  She has given 6 books, a 5 star review and now she wants to pass them on to you!  This contest runs until May 9th.  All you have to do is enter on that book's review post.

There's a HUGE party going on in the month of May!  Head over to Shooting Stars Mag for this one. It's a month-long birthday party!

Cindy Pon's new book, Silver Phoenix released yesterday and she is hosting a celebratory contest to win one of her paintings or $100 gift card to the bookstore of your choice.  You can earn multiple entries.  She is running this contest through June 8th, so you have time to read and review the book for more entries!  I am also including the book trailer in case you don't know about this book!

You have to hurry to catch this one because it ends Thursday (tomorrow).  Carrie's YA Bookshelf is having a First in a Series contest. She's giving away City of Bones and The Summoning.

Author Jennifer Banash has extended the deadline of her HUGE giveaway!  You now have until May 15th to enter to win a SIGNED ARC of SIMPLY IRRESITABLE, but ALSO a $25 gift card, a SIGNED ARC of THE ELITE, AND a copy of the newest installment of THE LUXE series, ENVY!  So, what are you waiting on?

Are you anxiously awaiting the release of Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert like I am?  Well, yesterday she released the trailer for the book.  I've posted it here for you to see.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Review: Maybelle, Bunny of the North


Author/Illustrator:  Keith Patterson
Review Copy Provided by:  Nancy at Bees Knees Books

About the Author: This is Keith Patterson's first book.  He was once a cartoonist for his school newspaper  Keith spent 2 years driving a cab in Homer, Alaska, after graduating with a BA in Fine Arts from SUNY, Albany.  While driving, he met many interesting characters which he sketched to the delight of his young daughter.  Keith lives in Asheville, North Carolina.

About the Book:  Maybelle, Bunny of the North is our lively little tour guide to the seasons in Homer, Alaska.  We journey through changing weather and explore seasonal play with a precious parent-child duo who have an obvious love of the outdoors.  Maybelle enjoys a peaceful moon-gazing session on a snowy winter night and  frolicking in the vast fields of summer’s abundant fireweed to look for moose.  Ever the sociable adventurer, Maybelle offers a friendly Hiya to all her friends along the way.  Her adventures wind down as she eases into sleep with the help of a goodnight song and a book  

My Review:  I was very honored when Nancy emailed me about this book; I couldn't wait to get it!  I love seeing an author's first work, to be able to share it with others, and promote their work.  I think it's the promoting part that I love the most.  Keith Patterson is definitely worth promoting!  This book was released into stores on April 1.

Having been an early childhood/elementary teacher for 12 years, I am always looking for new children's books to teach old concepts.  Maybelle is a great book to help teach children about the seasons.  Set in Alaska, this story takes Maybelle through all four seasons, which we don't see in all areas of the United States.  I love that I can do that with this book; let children experience the seasons vicariously through Maybelle's eyes, which is like having a child's perspective.

Patterson's illustrations are done with watercolor and ink.  They are simplistic, which I think children enjoy.  They can relate to the illustrations because simple is how they think.  Sometimes illustrators make the scenes too busy for little eyes.  Children miss the story for the illustrations.  It takes both equally to make a good children's book.  Children also like animal characters, so I'm glad Patterson chose an animal instead of a little girl or boy for this story.  Every character in the book is an animal, and some are ones not normally seen very often in books, magpie and moose.

Maybelle is such a lovable little character.  She is just a typical kid telling the reader how she sees things.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to Room to Read, a non-profit dedicated to education children around the globe.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Review and Giveaway: The Noticer

Title:  The Noticer
Author:  Andy Andrews
Review Copy Provided by: Phenix & Phenix

About the Book:  Orange Beach, Alabama is a simple town filled with simple people. But like all humans on the planet, the good folks of Orange Beach have their share of problems - marriages teetering on the brink of divorce, young adults giving up on life, business people on the verge of bankruptcy, as well as the many other obstacles that life seems to dish out to the masses.

Fortunately, when things look the darkest - a mysterious man named Jones has a miraculous way of showing up. An elderly man with white hair, of indiscriminate age and race, wearing blue jeans, a white T-shirt and leather flip flops carrying a battered old suitcase, Jones is a unique soul. Communicating what he calls "a little perspective," Jones explains that he has been given a gift of noticing things that others miss. "Your time on this earth is a gift to be used wisely," he says. "Don't squander your words or your thoughts. Consider even the simplest action you take, for your lives matter beyond measure…and they matter forever."

Jones speaks to that part in everyone that is yearning to understand why things happen and what we can do about it.
My Review:  This was such an inspirational little book!  I say little because it is only 156 pages, but in those pages, there are so many simple, yet profound truths.  Andy Andrews takes one man, Jones, and puts him in the middle of others' lives.  He pops in and out of those people's lives and reveals to them things that help them become a better person.  He teaches them to "notice" what's around them, to "notice" things in other people, and to "notice" things about themselves. 

What he tries to get each of them to do is to have a different perspective about things.  Take for example, Andy's story.  Jones and Andy are having lunch.  They are under the pier eating vienna sausages and sardines.  Jones asks Andy what he's eating and where.  "Okay.  I am eating sardines and Vienna sausages.  In the sand."  Jones says, "Incidentally, you ate sardines and Vienna sausages in the sand.  I dined on surf and turf with an ocean view.  It's all about perspective."

Some of the other messages that come from this book are the 4 ways that people communicate love, the difference between a mistake and a choice, focusing on things that can be controlled, and others.  Jones is like a modern day angel walking into people's lives, helping them to change something about themselves or their life, and then walking out mysteriously.  He is always there when least expected and then gone when he needs to move on.  Never aging, he is known by many.

I really enjoyed this book.  I read it in one evening and will reread it to take more time for the meaning to really sink in.  It is also a book I will be gifting to others, not because I think they need some perspective, but because it is a great story with wonderful meaning.  I am so glad that I chose to take on The Noticer and The Noticer Project this month.  Both have truly been a blessing in my life!

This would be a great book for a book club as there is a Reader's Guide at the end with discussion questions.  These are also good questions for doing some personal reflection.  
For a list of other bloggers participating in this tour, see Phenix Publicity's blog post.
They were gracious enough to send me 2 hardback copies of this wonderful book to giveaway to 2 of my readers.  For your chance to win one, please visit The Noticer Project and tell me one thing that you learned.  To earn extra entries, become a new follower or tell me that you already follow this blog (+1), follow me on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway (+2), blog about this giveaway (+3), or visit one of the other blogs on the tour and let me know which one you visited and something they said. (+5).
This giveaway is open to US and Canada addresses only.  It begins today and will run for 1 week, ending at midnight on Monday, May 4.  The winners will be drawn randomly, emailed, and posted on this blog on Tuesday, May 5.  The winners will have 48 to contact me with their mailing information.

Review: Follow Me

Title: Follow Me
Author: Joanna Scott
Review Copy Provided by: Hachette Book Group

About the Author: Joanna Scott is the author of nine books, including The Manikin, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; Various Antidotes and Arrogance, which were both finalists for the PEN/Faulkner Award; and the critically acclaimed Make Believe, Tourmaline, and Liberation. A recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Lannan Award, she lives with her family in upstate New York.

About the Book: On a summer day in 1946 Sally Werner, the precocious young daughter of hardscrabble Pennsylvania farmers, secretly accepts her cousin's invitation to ride his new motorcycle. Like so much of what follows in Sally's life, it's an impulsive decision with dramatic and far-reaching consequences. Soon she abandons her home to begin a daring journey of self-creation, the truth of which she entrusts only with her granddaughter and namesake, six decades later. But when young Sally's father--a man she has never known--enters her life and offers another story altogether, she must uncover the truth of her grandmother's secret history.

You can read an excerpt from the book, here.

My Review: Joanna Scott is a great writer! This book tells Sally's story, from Sally's point of view, but also from her granddaughter's point of view. It is interesting how the story changes narration. If you're not careful, you'll lose track of who is telling the story. Sometimes, it's Sally, who the story is about, sometimes it's the granddaughter, whose name is also Sally, and at one point, it's the latter Sally's father.

Sally, the grandmother, is a very strong character. She goes through more than one person should be able to handle in a lifetime, but she perseveres. At first, she does so to save herself and her son, but then she does it to save her daughter. She is determined to do what's best for both of her children, even it is not always the "right" thing in others' eyes. There were times when I felt sorry for her and then times when I thought, "Why are you doing that; are you crazy?" This was one that I really got into and at times felt like I was right there with the characters. That's a sign of a good book, when you can escape.

This is the first book by Joanna Scott that I have read, but I'm intrigued enough by her writing to want to read more. She writes in such a way that you connect with the characters and want to get to know them better by continuing to read. All in all, this was a good read!

This post is part of a blog tour hosted by Hachette Book Group. Below is a list of ALL the participants. I know there are alot, but I encourage you to at least stop by some of them and see what they have to say about this book.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Blog Link-Up #13 - 4/26/09

It is time for this week's edition of the blog link round-up.  Each week a group of us link to each others' favorite blog posts from the previous week.

I have 3 reviews for you this week as well as a giveaway post.

If you haven't read Uglies, then head over to Devourer of Books and read her review.  She says that the book was well written even though she was skeptical of it at first.

Beth Fish Reads has reviewed a mystery this week, A Cold Day for Murder, by Dana Stabenow.  This is the first book is a series.

Over at Books and Movies, there's a review for a book that's new to me, Leonardo's Swans by Karen Essex.  This is an historical novel set in 15th century Italy.  

Last week I blogged about Books and Movies moving to a new site.  Well, this week, she is saying thank you to everyone who has followed her to her new home, by having a Blogwarming Giveaway.  There are 6 books to choose from and there will be 6 winners.

Don't forget that I have giveaways going on.  Some are ending this week, so make sure you're entered!  Check the right side bar for all the current giveaways.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Snapshot Saturday #12

Two weeks ago, I posted about our new colt.  She is almost a month old now, and we've finally named her!  Well, she doesn't have her registered name because we have to send that in to the American Paint Horse Association for approval.  That takes awhile.  But, in the meantime, we have to call her something and we have decided on ...


I actually got it from one of the comments y'all left.  Thank you to Pissenlit for her random thoughts.  Here is the comment she left.
Oh, she's fantastic!:D

Okay, pardon my thought patterns but I haven't had any tea yet.

Hello Kiddie - Influenced by the names Cat and Golden Child


Diamonds - being one of the string figures in the game Cat's Cradle...and eh?(oh gosh, I so need caffeine)...also, you know that saying about Diamonds being a girl's best friend...heh heh...(point me in the direction of caffeine...and

We didn't use the exact suggestion, but it's close, and I wouldn't have thought of it with out the comment, so Pissenlit, congratulations!  I will be sending you a $10 Amazon GC!!

So, for this week's edition of Snapshot Saturday, I'm sharing 2 recent pictures of Kiddy.  The first one was taken 2 weeks ago and the last, on Wednesday.  She is really growing!!


Friday, April 24, 2009

Guest Post: J.W. Nicklaus

Today I am pleased to share my blog with the new to me author, J.W. Nicklaus. Yesterday, I reviewed his new book of short stories, The Light, The Dare, & Ember Between. If you missed it, be sure to go back and check it out! I am pleased to have 2 days on this blog tour so that J.W. can share a part of you with him.

First, a little about the author:

J.W. Nicklaus resides in a place not entirely fit for human habitation about five months of the year. No pets to speak of, only the apparitions from which all romantics suffer.

An Arizona native, he’s been from one coast to the other, and a few places in between. College brought an AA in Journalism with a minor in Photography, and a Bachelor of Science in Telecommunications. His work experience has run the gamut from Creative Director for a small advertising firm in Tucson to a litigation support bureau in Phoenix (and assuredly some awkward stuff in the mix).

Snow has been featured prominently in his stories, perhaps because of the seasonless climate he lives in. Nature was meant to be enjoyed and experienced, not hidden from the senses. So to that end, he hopes someday to live amongst those who are able to live through four true seasons, and not just blast furnace and warm.

He enjoys the occasional Arizona Diamondbacks game with his son, as well as watching him grow up. The experience of being a single dad has taught him far more about himself than he ever thought possible.

Within the expanse of every waking moment, he hopes his guardian angel keeps its arms open wide and heart ever watchful, for there but for one true Hope goes She.

For more about J.W. visit

Now, let me turn it over to J.W. so that he can tell you some publishing misconceptions.

The Top 3 Misconceptions About Being Published

Holy smokes . . .where to begin? I’m sure many a correlation could be drawn between being published and celebrity. From all outward appearances it looks fantastic and like a lot of fun. Behind it all, however, is a whole lot of work that the consuming public doesn’t get to see.

The most prevalent misconception might be that with being published comes vast wealth and calls from friends you never knew you had. Unfortunately, wrong on both counts. To a large degree the amount of money made from your book directly correlates to how much time and effort you put into promoting it. But don’t lose sight of the potential peripheral opportunities that may grow from your efforts: speaking engagements, ghostwriting offers, and the rich vein of people you’ll encounter—you never really know who you might run into. Timing and hard work can reap dividends far outweighing strictly fiscal rewards.

The next, and not too distant misconception, is that the publisher will pick up your book and run with it once you’ve polished the manuscript to a fine sheen.
So very not true.

Publishers are a conduit, a vehicle for getting your manuscript from electronic form into bound pages with a cover. Just about everything else will be up to you: sending out review copies, talking up your book, promotional materials (posters, flyers, bookmarks, etc.), setting up book signings and other events. Some publishers may be of assistance, for instance providing marketing copy for the book or letterhead to use for mailing, maybe even a list of market contacts. Some will even insist that you provide a marketing plan. Your book truly is your business, and while you assuredly feel passionately about it you also need to bottle some of that passion for when times get a little tough.

How to counteract the lack of publisher support? Interact, network, talk to anybody and everybody whom you feel may have some interest in your subject matter. Do not overlook the dynamics of the online community. Sites like provide a great way to get in touch with other like-minded authors and readers. Catch that little detail? Readers are your audience; they’re your main goal. You absolutely need to communicate with authors and writers, but nurture those who not only offer to read your book for review, but those who you might gain as ‘fans.’ Just because you can’t see them doesn’t make them any less important. Consider the speed at which communication happens over ‘the wire’— almost instantaneous. You think bad word-of-mouth about a restaurant experience can travel fast, imagine how much damage a terse e-mail could do if you rebuff or otherwise ill-consider a reader. Getting your book to your audience is far more Author than Publisher.

Another myth draws a picture of published writers as either hermits or ivory tower occupants. Most authors are avid readers which itself does entail a substantial amount of preferred solitude. But that largely doesn’t hold true for the vast majority of authors who have been published. Many of us still work full-time jobs, coach our children’s sports teams, attend church, go to parties, participate in reading or writing groups, and on and on and on. Frankly most of us relish the attention given to us as modern day scribes. It affords us the chance to get flattering feedback from readers and meet face-to-face with the very people we’re writing for.

It’s not so much being published that we crave, rather the desire to get our respective stories out in front of you, the reader. Each of our perspectives is unique and something we can’t help but want to not only understand but also toss into the greater pool of ideas and see what happens. We’re curious people, we writers and authors. Talk to us—we like that. We need it. We want it. Without you, the reader, we’re tossing words into thin air . . .a pretty futile activity.

Being published is, indeed, terribly exciting, even exhilarating. But don’t fool yourself into believing it’s all chocolates and sunshine. Writing the book, in many ways, is the easy part—getting published is when the real work begins.

It's so great to have an author willing to write a post for my blog.  I love to hear their thoughts on the writing biz!  Thank you, J.W. Nicklaus, for stopping by today and sharing your thoughts with us.


Mr. Nicklaus actually sent me 2 books for this tour; 1 to review and 1 for you!  That's right, you can read J.W.'s short stories.  Just leave a comment on this post for your chance to win.  I will end the giveaway on Saturday, May 2 and post the winner on Sunday, May 3.  US and Canadian addresses only please.  You may earn extra entries, as usual:

+1 follower
+1 tweet about this (leave the link in the comments)
+1 comment on my review of this book
+2 blog about this giveaway (leave the link in the comments)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Friday Fill-Ins 4/24/09


1. Apparently there's some sort of plotting going on somewhere.

2.Yesterday was a beautifully sunny day.

3. 2009 has been better than 2008 so far.

4. He kissed me and that was it.

5. For too long I've been wanting to get pregnant.

6. I am not obsessed with certain authors and their books; I am not!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to relaxing at home, tomorrow my plans include a crawfish boil fundraiser and Sunday, I want to go out on the boat!

Review: The Light, The Dark & Ember Between


Today's review is the first of many that I read during last weekend's 24 hour Read-a-Thon.  I was anxious to get a lot of reading done because I have many back to back tours this month and next.  Thanks so much to Dorothy at Pump Up Your Book Promotion for letting me join in this tour.

Author:  J.W. Nicklaus
Review Copy Provided by: author

About the Book:  A collection of short stories, each a splinter's reflection of the human condition, firmly centered upon our oft tenuous, sometimes tensile bond with Hope, and careening flirtation with Love.

Fifteen stories: From the wispy fog of a love lost at sea, to an orphaned child who delivers a present of her own during a war-torn Christmas. These stories are gentle reminders to each of us of what it is to be human, and certainly of our affinity for the slightest glint of Hope.
My Review:  When Dorothy asked me to review this one, I wasn't real sure what I was getting, because I'm not usually one to read short stories.  Well, I'm so glad I did!  This was the book I read first on Saturday, and it went very quickly.  I was surprised at how intrigued I could get with a short story, so quickly.  But, by the time it was getting really good, it was over.  There were some stories that I wish could have gone on because I wanted to know more.
Nicklaus is a great writer.  He weaves a great story that draws the reader in almost immediately.  Each of the stories in this book are about love, in one way or another, but that's not to say that they are all your "happily ever after" love stories.  Some of the characters long for a lost love, some wait for a love to return, while others are wishing for love.  It is truly a great little book.  It's one that you can read for a little while, one or two stories, put it down and return later to a whole new story.  There wasn't one piece that I didn't like, but if there were, you are not giving up on the entire book because you don't like one story, you just move on to the next one. 
Prepare to be run through a gamut of emotions with these stories.  You will smile, you will laugh, you will cry, you will be on edge, I promise you!  Many of the stories had me on the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen, and others surprised me, like the story One Washington Diner.  This one is my absolute favorite.  I recommend this book and these stories to anyone who has ever loved and lost, had true love, or just wants to read some good love stories.  You will not be disappointed.
This is a stop on JW's blog tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion.  Come back tomorrow to learn more about JW Nicklaus as he stops by for a guest post.  He may even have a surprise for one of my readers!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wednesday Wanderings 4/22/09

I wander around the blogosphere and bring you what I find.
This week I have 2 non-bookish links for you first. 

SavingCents with Sense is one of the people I follow on Twitter and right now, she has 2 giveaways going on.  The first one is a Vacation Getaway Set from Marykay.  The second offer is for 10 cans of Libbys veggies and Tailgating kit.

For bookish links, please see:

Drey's Library is giving away First Family by David Baldacci.  

Bookingmama has copies of Sounds Funny! and Sounds Tough!; Testimony; Because I Love Her; Admission; Luke on the Loose; and Love, Mercy.  Lots to win on her site!

Brimful Curiosities is giving away 4 children's books and a DVD/CD.  Please see her sidebar for the list of giveaways and links to them all!

I found a new blog today thanks to a tweet from @drey's_tweets.  The blog is Juiciliciousss Reviews and there is a HUGE giveaway going on over there right now!  Thanks to having 100 followers, books are being given away.  Head on over there and see what's up for grabs.  While you're there, check out the blog if you don't already follow!

Finally,  I have a survey that I would LOVE for you to give me your feedback on.  Your feedback will help me make decisions/changes/improvements for my blog.  Anyone who completes the survey will be entered into a random drawing for a $10 gift card to Amazon, Powells, or Barnes & Noble plus an extra gift from me!  I will leave the survey open until Friday, May 1 at midnight.
Click Here to take survey

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Interview: 2 of the Horse Diaries Authors

A few weeks ago, I reviewed the first two books in a new children's series, The Horse Diaries. The publisher emailed to let me know that the authors were available for interviews and that they could do a giveaway of the books. Well, of course, I jumped at the chance because I love interviewing authors and my readers love giveaways. What could be better than getting to do both of those things at once?

This interview is different than others I've done because I am posting both author's answers under the question. You will see Catherine Hapka's answers first, in red, and then Alison Hart's answers below that, in blue. I asked them both the same questions as I was curious about the answers since their books were for the same series. What they had to say was very interesting! I hope you enjoy these interviews as much as I did.

I am honored today, to bring you Catherine Hapka, author of Elksa, book #1 in the Horse Diaries series

and Alison Hart, author of Bell's Star, book #2 in the Horse Diaries series.

Write For A Reader(WFAR): Have you always been an “author at heart”? When did you know that this is what you wanted to do?

Catherine Hapka (CH): I always liked to read and write, but probably started thinking seriously about writing as a career in ninth grade, thanks to a very encouraging teacher (thanks Mrs. Roselle!). After studying English in college, I ended up in children’s publishing – and after that, I knew for sure it was what I wanted to do.

Alison Hart (AH): I wrote and illustrated my first book The Wild Dog in second grade. However, it took me thirty more years to get published!

WFAR: What else have you written besides this book for Horse Diaries?

CH: Many other books for young readers, from young adult novels to board books.

AH: I’ve written over twenty books—early chapter through YA. My most recent book Gabriel’s Journey, which came out in spring 2008, is the third book in my “Racing to Freedom” trilogy from Peachtree Publishers.

WFAR: Were you given your topic to write about or did you get to choose the type of horse, time period, and setting?

CH: The publisher wanted the book to be about an Icelandic horse. Given the history of the breed, it was pretty easy to come up with the rest!

AH: I was given the horse and time period, both of which I loved because horses and history are my favorite things to write about; I chose the setting of Vermont, which was perfect for a story about a Morgan horse.

WFAR: Are animals a part of your life, specifically horses?

CH: Yes, definitely! I live on a farm and have three horses here at home – a retired Belgian draft mare, a semi-retired Thoroughbred gelding, and a buckskin gelding who is currently my primary riding horse. I take riding lessons about twice per week. I also have cats, goats, and chickens.

AH: I have three horses and still love to ride. I also have three dogs and one cat—I am definitely an animal lover.

WFAR: Do you have writing mentors or influences?

CH: I am influenced by everything I have ever read. In my opinion, the best way to learn to write is by reading.

AH: No, although I read widely and constantly. Currently, I am reading nonfiction, and my influence has been the incredible people in our country’s past.

WFAR: How did you get chosen as an author for this series?

CH: I had worked with the editor on other projects. One day she sent me an e-mail asking if I knew anything about horses. As it happened, I had just returned from a riding lesson. The rest is history!

AH: I had written The Riding Academy series as well as the mystery Shadow Horse for Random House.

WFAR: Horse Diaries is being pegged as American Girl meets the Saddle Club. What are your thoughts on this?

CH: I suppose that might be a pretty good way to describe it. The series does share the sweetness and sense of living history of the American Girl books, and also the horsiness and friendship aspects of the Saddle Club. (And I do especially enjoy the Saddle Club comparison, since I wrote about twenty books in that series under the guidance of creator Bonnie Bryant – those were my first of many books about horses.)

AH: I’ve written two books for American Girls so I know first-hand that their books are well-researched, well-written and loved by readers. So I’d say it was a wonderful compliment!

WFAR: What is your favorite piece or book that you have written?

CH: Whichever project I’m working on at the moment or have just finished is usually my favorite. So it’s always changing!

AH: I try to be ‘in love’ with the book I am writing in order to make it the “best” book ever. Keeping that in mind, I would say that my YA mystery Whirlwind, which I just finished editing, is my favorite right now. Unfortunately, it won’t be published until 2010. That’s a long time to wait to hold the actual book in my hands.

WFAR: What are you doing when you’re not writing?

CH: Riding, reading, gardening, listening to music, hanging out with friends or family – the usual!

AH: I teach community college classes in writing and reading, and, of course, there are all those animals to take care of.

WFAR: What are some of your favorite things: book, genre, author, color, music, etc?

CH: Most of my favorite things are always changing, and I usually have far more than one “favorite” at any given time. I guess I like variety!

AH: Long trail rides with my horse, Relish, and long walks with my dogs Fang, Jake and Dozer.

WFAR: Can you describe your writing space for us? Where is it, what’s around you?

CH: My office is a room on the first floor of my house. The house is a stone farmhouse that dates back to the early 1700s, so the office has very thick walls and wooden beams on the ceiling. My desk overlooks the front yard. It’s usually messy, with at least one cat sitting on top of the computer monitor – I can never get a flat screen or the cats will revolt! There are bookshelves on two walls and windows on the other two, along with a large stone fireplace. And did I mention it’s usually messy in here?

AH: I am sitting at my messy desk with Fang curled up on my lap. Files and notebooks of research material are scattered everywhere, and my computer is always on and busy.

WFAR: What do you think about having your book reviewed by book bloggers?

CH: I think it’s great! It’s always interesting to read lots of different opinions.

AH: Love it!

WFAR: What’s in the works for you next?

CH: I have a few writing projects going at the moment. Plus, now that the weather is getting nicer, I’m hoping to ride more often. (That last part may not be what you meant, though, ha ha!)

AH: My YA mysteries Whirlwind and Shadow Horse (reprinted with a new cover) will be out in 2010 from Random House. Emma’s River a young middle grade (Peachtree) will also be published in 2010. It’s a story of a steamboat disaster on the Missouri River—of course, there is a heroic pony!

WFAR: Anything else you would like readers to know?

AH: I love inspiring writers and readers, and I hope that real books—the kind you read in bed or a hammock or lounge chair at the beach, turning the paper pages whenever you want--will NEVER disappear.

WFAR: Thank you for allowing me to interview you!

AH: Thank you!!


The publisher has graciously offered 2 of my readers a copy of BOTH books, Elksa and Bell's Star. All you have to do is leave me a comment about the special relationship you have with one of your animals. If you don't have any animals, then why do you want these books, who would you give them to, read them to, etc? As always, you earn extra entries for being a follower +1, tweeting about this giveaway +1, and blogging about this giveaway +2. If you tweet or blog about this, please leave me your link in the comments.

This giveaway is open to US/Canadian addresses, and will run from today through April 30th, with the winners announced on May 1st. Good luck to all!

Teaser Tuesdays - Follow Me

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
My teaser this week is from Follow Me by Joanna Scott, p. 178.  This is a book I am reading for a blog tour with Hachette on the 27th. 

All the names available were like candies on display.  She'd choose one and give it to her child, her little girl, who with her fluttering presence was the reason Sally didn't mind the evening solitude, why, with the dark sky spilling snow, the shop below her apartment closed for the night, the intersection of Mead and State below her window empty of all activity, she didn't feel the least bit lonely.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Mailbox Monday - 4/20/09

Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at Printed Page.  Head on over there to see what others received in their mailboxes.  
Here is what came into my house last week:

Castration Celebration (ARC) by Jake Wizner - from Random House
The Beef Princess of Practical County by Michelle Houts - from Random House
Angels of Destruction (ARC)by Keith Donohue - from Random House
Do Ants Have Assholes? by Jon Butler and Bruno Vincent - contest win
The Teashop Girls (ARC) by Laura Schaefer - from author
Need by Carrie Jones (autographed) - from Dust of 100 Dogs contest
Girl, Hero by Carrie Jones (autographed) - from Dust of 100 Dogs contest
Tips on Having a Gay (ex) Boyfriend by Carrie Jones (autographed) - from Dust of 100 Dogs contest
Love (and other uses for duct tape) by Carrie Jones (autographed) - from Dust of 100 Dogs contest
Damosel by Stephanie Spinner - from Joan at Knopf Delacorte who edited the book.  She and Melissa Wiley thought I might enjoy this one!
Reunion by Therese Fowler - from Random House for a Pump Up Your Book Promotions tour
A Worthy Legacy by Tomi Akinyanmi - from the author who was sent my way by J. Kaye
The Scavengers' Manifesto bag - from Tarcher/Penguin, won in a Twitter contest
Women's History Pack:  My Little Red Book, Galway Bay, Dream in Color, Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven, Mistress Bradstreet, Kiss Off - contest win from Drey's Library
The Tablet of My Heart by Elizabeth Walker - from the author for a Pump Up Your Book Promotions tour
The Man's Book by Thomas Fink - from Hachette
Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli - from Knopf Delacorte Dell
The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray - from Knopf Delacorte Dell
In the Land of Cotton by Martha A. Taylor - from the author
The Camel Club Audio Boxed Set by David Baldacci - contest win

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Blog Link-Up #12 - 4/19/09

I'm still feeling the after effects of just a few hours sleep.  The 24 hour read-a-thon has come and gone until October.  I definitely did better this time, than last October, when I first participated.  I was very pleased with what I accomplished, although I know I could have done better had I not left for 2 hours, but I needed the break.  I also had to give up around 2 and get a little sleep.  I awoke again at 5 to finish the last 2 hours.  You can see my stats here.  I have to say a HUGE thanks to the organizers, Trish, Nymeth, and Hannah.  They worked so hard to continue this event in honor of our beloved, Dewey.  I also have to give a shout-out to all the cheerleaders; I kept going because of your support.  A very special thank you to my Twitter cheerleaders: @BethFishReads and @toodondofbooks.  These 2 ladies are part of the reason that #readathon was trending on Twitter yesterday; woohoo!  Thank you to everyone who hosted the mini-challenges and donated prizes.  Last but not least, to my fellow read-a-thoners - you are all winners, however long you participated and for whatever reading you accomplished!  I'm so glad to be part of this wonderful Book Blogging Community!!!

Now, for the Weekly Link Round-Up.  I have a lot of good things to share with you this week, from my fellow book bloggers. 
For those of you who know Devourer of Books, you know that she is going to have a baby.  This week she posted a Baby Shower Children's Book Quiz.  Being a children's book lover, I had to try this one, and will be saving it when and if I have to host a baby shower.  She reviewed another great book this week too; First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria.  Not so sure that's a good thing, but here's what she had to say.  "I seriously very highly recommend this book, whether you’re an idealist who wants to go out and make the world better, someone who wishes they had the cajones to follow love and their ideals to third world countries, or someone who likes an entertaining story; in other words, basically everyone!"  Go read the rest of her review.

Beth Fish Reads has two reviews that she wants to share this week.  First, she not only reviewed the YA novel Zamora's Ultimate Challenge, but she got the chance to interview the author, M.K. Scott, as well.  She has an audiobook review as well of Queen Lucia by E.F. Benson.  Her thoughts, "The unabridged audio production (narrated by Nadia May) was nicely done, but I think Lucia is much better savored in print."  See what else she has to say.

Do you sometimes wonder about starting a blog of your own, or if you have one, why did you start it?  My Friend Amy answered that question for us this week in her post, Why I Blog.   There have been many discussions about this very thing over the past couple of weeks, in the blogosphere, and I feel that Amy makes some very valid points.  I for one am glad that her blog is a serious hobby.  I respect her and what she has to say, therefore I follow.  You should also read her review of Thirteen Reasons Why.  This is a YA book that many book bloggers read and reviewed in the past month.  She said, "This book is absolutely riveting."

Have you heard that Books and Movies has a new home?  Read the announcement here!  

Many of my blogging buddies chose not to share this week due to the Read-a-Thon.  Look for more from them next week.

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