Saturday, May 31, 2008

Emily Giffin Book Winners

Win Four autographed Emily Giffin books. Ends May 31st. Open WORLDWIDE!
The Jane Porter 2-book Set giveaway. Ends June 1st.
Win 2 copies of 'A Fatal Waltz by Tasha Alexander'. Ends June 15.
At A Bookworm's Diary, you can enter to win a gift certificate!
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It's May 31st and that means time to end the Emily Giffin Book Giveaway. These 4 (that's right, four!!) lucky winners will each be getting one autographed book by this author, a selection that includes Something Borrowed, Something Blue, Baby Proof as well as her latest, Love the One You're With.

CONGRATULATIONS

Bunny (bunnybox9@...)
Jenny (ausjenny@...)
Archana (archu...)
Swapna (skrishn...)

Winners, please email me at "abookblogger @ gmail . com", subject line "Giffin Winner", with your full name and address before 5 am CST June 7th. After that, I'll be forced to pick alternate winners.

Big Thanks go out to all the participants and of course, the Sponsor.

Don't forget, the Jane Porter 2-book Set giveaway ends tomorrow. So get those entries in right away!


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Friday, May 30, 2008

Book Giveaways (31 May)

The Jane Porter 2-book Set giveaway. Ends June 1st.
Win 2 copies of 'A Fatal Waltz by Tasha Alexander'. Ends June 15.
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She Reads Books has four books to giveaway to anyone in the world!

Pass the Torch - Spitfire by Kate Messner.

Quilting and Patchwork - How to Make a Quilt - 25 Easy Lessons for Beginners by Bonnie Leman.

Jewelry and Beading - Win a free copy of “Under $25” by Bead & Button magazine.

Mamanista - Grill It, The Sports Book, and The Golf Book

Robust Cooking - Henry and the Hidden Veggie Garden

Keeping the Castle - The Peaceful Nursery by Alison Forbes, Laura Forbes Carlin

Carp(e) libris reviews - $10 Gift Certificate to Schuler Books and Music

Knitting Book Giveaway

REVIEW of Ruby Among Us by Tina Ann Forkner and BOOK GIVEAWAY!

Book Giveaway: The Lolita Effect by M. Gigi Durham

Ask the Readers: How Do You Motivate Yourself? (& Book Giveaway)


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Book Review - Plum Lucky by Janet Evanovich

Win Four autographed Emily Giffin books. Ends May 31. Open WORLDWIDE!
The Jane Porter 2-book Set giveaway. Ends June 1.
Win 2 copies of 'A Fatal Waltz by Tasha Alexander'. Ends June 15.
At A Bookworm's Diary, you can enter to win a gift certificate! Ends May 31.
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Plum Lucky (A Between-the-Numbers Novel)
Author: Janet Evanovich
Hardcover: 176 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Synopsis

Stephanie Plum has a way of attracting danger, lunatics, oddballs, bad luck . . . and mystery men. And no one is more mysterious than the unmentionable Diesel. He’s back and hot on the trail of a little man in green pants who’s lost a giant bag of money. Problem is, the money isn’t exactly lost. Stephanie’s Grandma Mazur has found it, and like any good Jersey senior citizen, she’s hightailed it in a Winnebago to Atlantic City and hit the slots. With Lula and Connie in tow, Stephanie attempts to bring Grandma home, but the luck of the Irish is rubbing off on everyone: Lula’s found a job modeling plus-size lingerie. Connie’s found a guy. Diesel’s found Stephanie. And Stephanie has found herself in over her head with a caper involving thrice-stolen money, a racehorse, a car chase, and a bad case of hives

Review

If you’re a fan of the Stephanie Plum series and haven’t yet tried out a between-the-numbers novel, then I’m here to tell you, you’re missing out. It’s a laugh riot like the other Plum novels, only minus Ranger and Joe. But don’t worry, there’s Diesel, the not-so-ordinary man to provide enough sexual zing to keep things (and Stephanie, for that matter) going. And then there is the usual assortment of side characters including the loud Lula, geriatric Grandma Mazur, and this time even a short Irish leprechaun (or so he likes to think). In fact there’s one particular car-wash scene involving this little guy that had me rolling on the floor, clutching my stomach laughing, howling my guts out.

In Short

Evanovich has been doing this a long time and there’s no one better who can combine suspense and hilarity in one inimitable screwball of a side-splittingly funny novel.



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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Introducing : Abbeville Press

There are so many big publishers out there, but not many are aware of some of the smaller ones. Today I want to introduce you to Abbeville Press, a NYC-based independent publisher of art and illustrated books as well as stationery and printed gift items.

As a publisher, Abbeville is well-established, celebrating their 30th anniversary last year. Their selection of books ranges from family, art, architecture, interior design, media, travel, nature, sports etc. They publish approximately 40 titles annually, with an active backlist of over 700 titles for an international readership. The company believes that publishing illustrated books is a distinct specialty, requiring exacting standards of editorial, design, and production savoir-faire.

Just in time for Father's Day, they're coming out with 2 new audiobooks The Expectant Father and The New Father. These essential guides come in a hands-free audio format to fit any parent's busy schedule. LISTEN Currently one can also receive a FREE copy of Father For Life with the purchase of any book by acclaimed author and parenting expert Armin Brott. Find out more about this special offer. Their recently released section has some children's books that I look forward to reviewing, including 123 Caterpillar, Animal Fables, etc while in the upcoming section I'm intrigued by Daughters of India, The Tea Drinker’s Handbook, Egyptian Wall Paintings and others. Their best-sellers include American Impressionism (Second Edition), Audubon’s Birds of America, 100 Classic Cocktails etc.

Abbeville publications have received numerous awards for intellectual and artistic achievement, such as The Vatican Frescoes of Michelangelo (Carey-Thomas Award, 1982), Nothing But the Blues (ASCAP, 1994), Empire (Prix Fondation Napoleon, 1996), The Power of Photography (selected by Choice magazine as one of its outstanding books of 1993), Rum by Dave Broom (Glenfiddich Food & Drink Awards 2004 Drink Book), and Curried Favors (Winner of the Julia Child First Book Award, 1997).

They've just launched a newly-renovated Abbeville website in February, and officially ventured into the publishing blogosphere with their blog The Abbeville Manual of Style as part of their attempt to reach out to readers with fresh, entertaining media content including podcasts and video. Although plenty of publishing blogs exist on the Web, The Abbeville Manual of Style occupies a niche all its own by covering the intersection of the art and publishing worlds. It spotlights company news, book info, publishing and arts events, and high-quality art and publishing websites. And as their first post explains, it tries to make the world a little more stylish in the process.

I'm pleased to tell you that this blog will be featured in one of their future Marginalia entries. If you haven't seen the blog yet, check it out. Marginalia is a feature on where they share sites they like, sites on their blogroll, etc.


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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Book Giveaways and News

First, the Giveaways. I'll start with mine :)

Win Four autographed Emily Giffin books. Ends May 31st. Open WORLDWIDE!

The Jane Porter 2-book Set giveaway. Ends June 1st.

*NEW* Read a review and enter to win 2 copies of 'A Fatal Waltz by Tasha Alexander'. Ends June 15.

And @ my other blog, A Bookworm's Diary, you can enter to win a gift certificate!

Variety of Words is giving away LoveHampton by Sherri Rifkin. Ends June 2.

At Quiver Full Family, one blessed blog reader (Canada or U.S.) will win one copy of Bringing Home the Prodigals by Rob Parsons. Contest entries will be open from May 26th - June 02nd at midnight M.S.T.

Devourer of Books will give away books in celebration of 100th post.

The email our Military blog is giving away Final Salute by Jim Sheeler to commemorate Memorial Day. Ends May 30.

Author Lynda Hilburn is giving away 10 copies of an unedited electronic ARC (pdf) of DARK HARVEST, the second book in the Kismet Knight, Ph.D., Vampire Psychologist series.

Katrina is once again giving away a free book.

Book Shipper is giving away The Flirt by Kathleen Tessaro.

Lori's Reading Corner is giving away 5 books as part of Pay-it-Forward.

Enter to win a Scrumptious Baking Basket from Author Rachel Hauck. The basket contains a Super Cool Apron, a Low country cook book signed by PAT CONROY, rolling pin, and a pie plate! All you have to do to enter is sign up for Rachel's newsletter here: http://rachelhauck.com/newsletter.htm

Lighthouse Academy is giving away Sherry Sand's debut novel Leave It to Chance.

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News

News of the extremely critical memoir from former Bush spokesman Scott McClellan dominates the headlines this morning.

Web retailer Amazon.com Inc. has nipped $40 from the price of its Kindle e-book reader. The Kindle's new $359 list price is still higher than Sony Corp.'s competing Reader, which retails for $299.

Goodnight Bush, an "unauthorized parody" of the classic children's book, should be a favorite gift for Democrats across the country this year.

New Bond book 'Devil May Care' launches with a thrill

Sending a military speedboat up the Thames with choppers roaing overhead, the Ministry of Defence was clearly taking no chances when it came to safely delivering a special courier – a catsuit-wearing beauty clutching a book-laden suitcase! While it could have easily have been a scene from the latest 007 flick Quantum Of Solace, the spectacular wasn't staged by the Bond film crew. Instead, the river action marked the launch of Devil May Care, the new novel in the spy series written by acclaimed author Sebastian Faulks.

Paul Torday wrote from experience in his international bestseller "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen" but balked at spending 3,000 pounds ($5,929) on a bottle of Chateau Petrus to research his latest novel. The book begins with Wilberforce stumbling into a restaurant and ordering a bottle of Chateau Petrus 1982. Torday said he enjoyed wine but could not afford such an expensive bottle, even if it was for vital research.

Harlequin's Paranormal Romance Blog (http://www.paranormalromanceblog.com/) is a new blog dedicated to paranormal romance novels, one of the fastest growing romance fiction categories in the world.

Lifetime Movie Channel has decided to make four more Nora Roberts books into movies for 2009. Under consideration are Tribute, High Noon, Northern Lights, True Betrayals, Midnight Bayou and Carnal Innocence. Read the press release.



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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Book Review And Giveaway - A Fatal Waltz

A Fatal Waltz
Author: Tasha Alexander
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: William Morrow (May 20, 2008)
Book Description :
At her friend Ivy's behest, Emily reluctantly agrees to attend a party at the sprawling English country estate of Lord Fortescue, a man she finds as odious as he is powerful. But if Emily is expecting Lord Fortescue to be the greatest of her problems, she is wrong. Her host has also invited Kristiana von Lange, an Austrian countess who was once linked romantically with Emily's fiancé, the debonair Colin Hargreaves. What Emily believes will be a tedious evening turns deadly when Fortescue is found murdered, and his protégé, Robert Brandon—Ivy's husband—is arrested for the crime.


Determined to right this terrible wrong and clear Robert's name, Emily begins to dig for answers, a quest that will lead her from London's glittering ballrooms to Vienna's sordid backstreets. Not until she engages a notorious anarchist in a game of wits does the shocking truth begin to emerge: the price of exonerating Robert can be paid only by placing Colin in deadly peril. To save her fiancé, Emily must do the unthinkable: bargain with her nemesis, the Countess von Lange.


Review
Filled with history and intrigue, this entertaining book introduced me to one plucky amateur sleuth, Lady Emily Ashton, in a time when such things were not only forbidden to ladies of noble breeding but also grounds for social stigma. This is not the first of Emily’s adventures, but it’s the first one I’ve read and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The suspense begins from the first chapter where Emily is shocked to realize the weekend party she’s been invited to also counts among its guests one of her fiancé Colin’s former lovers, invited especially by their conniving host, Lord Fortescue, to cause friction between them. At once curious, suspicious, irritated and despondent, Emily has her work cut out for her even as events show every sign of going from bad to worse. And they do.
While the *whodunit* part of the mystery is easily solved, the intrigue produced by characterizations, settings and authentic events woven expertly into this fictional setting, last the span of the novel. From London to Austria, the events take Emily from one dangerous setting to another. The author is in her element when describing Vienna, a city with two faces. One is all charm and fun with artists, poets and musicians flocking its cafes, even as fairyland-like balls keep the denizens giddy with constant delight, all in a setting of winter wonderland. And then there is the contrasting dark side - a deadly epidemic of so-called suicides have become the city’s shameful hallmark, having even claimed the life of an Austrian prince, the Empress’ favorite son. Together with poverty, anarchists, spies and traitorous plots, Vienna is probably also the deadliest place for Emily to be.
The two major characters besides Emily are her fiancé Colin Hargreaves, a spy, and his former lover, Countess von Lange. The resulting love triangle adds an intriguing facet to the story, particularly when contrasted between the smoldering sexuality and worldliness of the foreign Countess against Emily’s more sedate ‘English-ness’, naivety and scholarliness. But there’s also no denying the blazing sexual tension between Emily and Colin that threatens to overpower them at times. The situation is conveniently resolved towards the end. Too conveniently it seemed to me, but the author manages to make it work by giving the characters a chance to experience catharsis through it.
Side characters are many and play small but significant roles. I particularly enjoyed reading the romance unfolding between Emily’s bluestocking friend Margaret and Oxford don, Mr. Michaels, told almost entirely through letters. I fully feel this couple deserves a story of their own.
In short
A must-read, if you like historical romantic suspense
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Here's the GIVEAWAY!

- Two lucky winners will walk away with a copy of this book.
- US and Canada only
(sorry, international readers. However, my other book giveaway is open worldwide! ends May 31)
- Ends 5 am CST, June 15

I thought I'd make it a fun thing to enter, an idea borrowed from The Page Flipper.

1.) Leave comment with the name of a book and it's author (of any genre or age group) and here's the catch - the title HAS to have the words 'dance' or 'fatal' or 'waltz' in it. It just has to be in the title. And it must be something other than the book I'm giving away :)

2.) Comment as many times as you like. But you can only comment again AFTER at least one other person has commented. (So, keep checking back. The more you comment, the more your chances of winning)

3) DON'T FORGET TO LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDY WITH at least one of your comments.

It's not necessary, but I'd highly appreciate it if entrants spread the word about this giveaway either by blogging it or emailing other bookworms about it. I'll send a lot of virtual blessings your way, if you do :)

Good luck!


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Friday, May 23, 2008

Author Guest Post : Jane Porter

Just a few days ago, I posted my review (and giveaway) of author Jane Porter's latest novel, Mrs. Perfect. I kept thinking, "I should ask Jane for a guest post, see what makes this author tick in her own words". Then this other voice in my head would say - "Are you kidding? Such a popular author writing for you? Forget it!" I tried to, but I couldn't and finally emailed her, fully expecting a polite 'no' or even no reply at all as I knew how in-demand she is.

Wonder of wonders - Jane wrote back promptly and even said 'yes'!! And so here is her article in which readers get to see Jane, the woman and the author she is today.

Many thanks to Ms. Porter from taking time away from her deadline (she's busily working on the next book due to release next year, so don't tell her editor she's playing hooky here!!) to come and do a guest blog post here at A Book Blogger's Diary.

Before you get the wrong end of the stick, I should tell you that the article is entirely hers, but the all photos are my inserts, taken from her fun website. I just couldn't resist!

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I love writing for women. Frankly, I’m amazed by women. Of course I’m biased, but I think women are the cooler gender. I also think we’re the most confused, but that’s probably because Madison Avenue ad folks have figured out how to get to our heads—just tell us we’re not good enough. Convince us we need to be fixed. Sell us products with which to repair our damaged selves. And keep fixing our damaged selves.


That’s where I start frothing at the mouth. And that’s when I pull out my soap box and begin to beat my chest Tarzan style.

We women are cool. And we’re not messed up. We have just been sold a bunch of BS for a couple hundred years.


My job as a writer for women is to start peeling away the layers of lies. It’s to rake out the BS. It’s to poke fun at our fragile sense of self. It’s to challenge the notion that we’re not good enough.

Which is where my new books come in, particularly Mrs. Perfect, my May release.


Mrs. Perfect is a follow up to September’s Odd Mom Out. The books are linked, and Mrs. Perfect, like Odd Mom Out, explores the theme of appearances, self-image and what lies beyond the public image. We women tend to be so hard on each other and I wanted to write about two women who didn’t like each other, and yet were forced to deal with each other on a regular basis. I discovered that these women, although quite different from the other, actually had a lot in common. I also discovered that at the end of the day, we women have to be compassionate towards not just each other, but ourselves.



I wasn’t always so compassionate. I grew up rather hard on women, but that’s because I was brutal with myself. I couldn’t make mistakes. I couldn’t fail. I couldn’t bear to think I was flawed—and yet, God help me, I am one of the most flawed women in the universe. I’m intense and passionate, prickly, emotional, ambitious. And once I hit my late thirties, I thought—cool. I’m prickly passionate Jane and I’m going to start enjoying what I do well, and not worry about what I don’t do so well, and just be happy with me. The miracle was that by finally accepting me, I could accept everyone else.



Now I’m a bit of an evangelist. I preach more love, more laughter, more happiness in my books. I really want women to like themselves, to enjoy their lives, to savor their gifts, to forgive their weaknesses. We don’t have to be perfect. We just have to live fulfilling, interesting lives.





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The Andromeda Strain

Long before the terms 'Biological warfare' and 'nano-technology' became a reality and part of our daily lives, author Michael Crichton came up with the idea for his book 'The Andromeda Strain'. No, no, it's not a war story; rather it's one of science. But the effects are equally devastating and scarily real.

The story goes something like this :
The Andromeda Strain The United States government is given a warning by the pre-eminent biophysicists in the country that current sterilization procedures applied to returning space probes may be inadequate to guarantee uncontaminated re-entry to the atmosphere.

Two years later, seventeen satellites are sent into the outer fringes of space to "collect organisms and dust for study." One of them falls to earth, landing in a desolate area of Arizona. Twelve miles from the landing site, in the town of Piedmont, a shocking discovery is made: the streets are littered with the dead bodies of the town's inhabitants, as if they dropped dead in their tracks.

I read this book quite a while back and was equal parts horrified and fascinated by the premise. Masterfully drawing out the suspense and giving it a terrifying reality with the ample doses of science to lend credence to the fnat, Michael Crichton hooked readers with this book when it was released in, I believe, 1971.

Good news is, ''The Andromeda Strain' is now all set to infect the air-waves, courtesy A&E.

The Andromeda Strain on A&E

Based on the Crichton novel, the four-hour original A&E television event, starrring Benjamin Bratt, Eric McCormack, Ricky Schroder, Andre Braugher, Christa Miller, Daniel Dae Kim and Viola Davis is all set to premiere in hi-def Monday May 26 and Tuesday May 27 from 9-11 PM ET/PT.

Be sure to watch it (or at least Tivo it for later) and prepare to be terrified. That's the thing with almost all Crichton novels. There's always a strong possibility of fiction becoming fact somewhere down the line. I'll be waiting with bated breath come Monday!!

Experience The Andromeda Strain http://www.aetv.com/the-andromeda-strain/index.jsp

Also check out the giveaway happening there.


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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Giveaways & More

Don't forget to enter my *NEW* Giveaways.

Win Four autographed Emily Giffin books. Ends May 31st. Open WORLDWIDE!

The Jane Porter 2-book Set giveaway. Ends June 1st.

And @ my other blog, A Bookworm's Diary, you can enter to win a gift certificate!

And here are some more book giveaways happening elsewhere on the web. (Please go there and enter)


Books and Movies has two Advanced Reader’s Editions of Michael Grant’s Gone to give away to two lucky readers. The description of the book with its fantastic premise was enough to give me the chills and made me want to read it... Now. Just leave a comment before 12:00 am Pacific Standard Time, Monday, May 26th. Blogging gets you an extra entry.

Debra Parmley has posted author Diane Craver's interview on her blog. If you leave a
comment on her blog, your name will be entered in a drawing for a $5 Gift Certificate to Samhain Publishing. Winner will be drawn on Friday morning.

One lucky UK winner will win 11 classic books from either the Dream or Desire collections (click here to see the books). More details are over at Classic Book Club. Ends June 6.

As part of the May Pay-It-Forward Book Giveaway, Bookroom Reviews is giving away ARC copies of either Mrs. Perfect or Broken Angel. Ends May 30.

Edgy Inspirational Author
has a copy of By Reason of Insanity by Randy Singer to give one lucky commenter.

Meet Sherri Sand - Interview & Book Giveaway @ Musings on This, That & The Other Thing

Ready When You Are, C.B. is giving away one book of your choice.

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Book News

Beyond the books has an interview with Historical Fiction Author Andrew Feder

Which is The Best of the Bookers from the last 40 years? You can pop over and vote. The short list: The Hidden Side of a Leaf is getting organized to start the Read-a-thon! If you have time to help, then by all means, go now and volunteer.

Booking Through Thursday asks, "what’s the difference between a book and a movie?"

My Own Little Reading Room has a thoughtful review of The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood.


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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Author Guest Blog Post - J.F.Lewis

Some days previously, I reviewed and had a giveaway of Staked by J.F.Lewis. This is one damn fine kick-ass story about a vampire who doesn't realize the depth of his powers, makes the funniest of comments in the direst of situations and compels readers to like him even as he's killing, blood-sucking and sleeping his way across the book with abandon. And it ends in a delicious cliff-hanger too! After reading it, I feel it's one of the finest Vampire stories I've read in recent times.

That said, the author was kind enough to stop by and leave a comment on my review. After I got over the awe factor, I pestered him for a guest-post and he was gracious enough to agree. Below is a post by Lewis after reading which you can't help but admire this author for his personal candor, his strength and of course, his writing.

Without further ado, here's J.F.Lewis :


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Void City ConfidentialA behind the scenes look at the writing process of Staked… OR What Kind of A Weirdo Makes His Protagonist Fight Werewolves On Ice?

Void City. What a place. There are strip clubs run by vampires, waste disposal services run by Japanese ogres… all kept out of the notice of the human inhabitants by a very fragile artifact called the Veil of Scrythax, that’s stored in a vault beneath the Highland Towers. In Staked, the reader gets just a few tantalizing hints, but it’s what makes Void City work, just as much as Fang Fees (the vampire equivalent of Traffic Citations) and the occasional game of hockey that just happens to be played by a team of werewolves called the Void City Howlers. You see, Void City is a character that’s every bit as important as Eric or Tabitha. If Void City doesn’t seem believable, internally consistent, then the rest doesn’t matter. I know how it all works whether I’ve mentioned it in the book or not.

aBookworm asked if I’d do a guest blog giving a behind the scenes look at Staked, its creation and maybe a little bit about how I write and why…

I’d like to say that there is a magic method, but if there is, I haven’t found it yet. J The real secret to being a writer is to write… and write a lot. As soon as I get my kids into bed, I duck into my home office, turn on a little music (lately I’ve been listening to a lot of power metal, guys like Edguy or Kamelot) and begin to type. I have a rule that I spend at least an hour writing every night even if I don’t feel like it. I try to spend at least four, but I don’t always get my wish and well, I can’t disappear quite so early every night without my wife lynching me.

I essentially wrote Staked as a rebuttal of vampire novels where vampirism is the ultimate coolness pill. In most of those books, you get bit and bam: you can dance; you know how to dress well; you’re young, beautiful, bi-sexual, and saddled with more ennui than you can shake a stick at. Staked is very angry stuff by comparison. Which bring us down to the darkside… the reasons why I write. William Sanders wrote something a few weeks ago that really spoke to me and he’s been kind enough to let me quote him here.

He wrote: “Most of the best writing is at some level a scream.”

I got goose bumps when I read that because that’s a large part of where my writing comes from. Eric’s rage is something that I have a very personal acquaintance with, because when I was younger, I had rage blackouts similar to his (but without the bat wings). I learned to control them- I haven’t had one in twenty years- and one of the reasons that I write what I write is to focus those negative emotions into a creative outlet. Fortunately that’s not the only reason I write, or my work would be a very uncomfortable read. The other reason I write, the light and happy one, is that I like to entertain people. I can’t dance, but I can strings words together in a way that some people find amusing. So basically I take those bad emotions and turn a negative into a positive. To me, you can’t really separate the two.

As for how I write, in the grand scheme of plotters and pantsers, I’m a pantser. I plot by the seat of my pants. If a scene feels right, I’ll put it in and figure out why it happened later. For me, writing the first draft is a process of discovery. When I start writing, I have an initial scene in mind, a central problem, some specific scenes that I’d like to work into the book, and a general idea of how I want things to wrap up. I’m not too concerned about how I’ll get there, so long as everything makes sense. Occasionally, I even have some lines I’d like to work into the book. Lines like:

In the end, a friendship between a vampire and a human is like a friendship between a dog and a chicken nugget. Sooner or later, the nugget is going to get eaten; the only real question is how many bites it will take.

Whenever people ask me what the writing process is like, I think of editing and revising. You see, I might write twice as many words as will appear in a final draft- then, the edits begin. Just think how different my first novel, Staked, would have been if I’d refused to edit and revise- because originally, the first sentence of the first draft was “Somewhere in the middle of my rant it occurred to me that I’d killed Roger and arguing was no longer important.” Those who have already read the novel will understand how different it would have been without Eric’s skeevy scheming best-friend from his living days around to taunt Eric the way only best friends can. It was in the editing stages that my agent suggested adding sports and alcohol, and the werewolves on ice hockey fight was born. My favorite scene, near the end, where Marilyn, the geriatric love of Eric’s life, confronts Tabitha, the newly undead love of Eric’s death, wasn’t even my idea at all, but something that my editor asked me to put in.

If this sounds like a haphazard process, I guess it just goes to show you how lucky writers are to be judged on our final products and not our methods of arriving at them. It takes a lot of people and a lot of time to really polish a manuscript and make it shine. That’s why we have acknowledgement pages.

**** * **** ****** * ****** **** * ****

Don't forget to enter my *NEW* Giveaways.

Win Four autographed Emily Gifin books. Ends May 31st. Open WORLDWIDE!

The Jane Porter 2-book Set giveaway. Ends June 1st.

And @ my other blog, A Bookworm's Diary, you can enter to win a gift certificate!


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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Jane Porter - Book Review and Giveaway (3 winners)

Mrs. Perfect

Author: Jane Porter

Paperback: 432 pages

Publisher: 5 Spot (May 5, 2008)

Book Description
As a young California girl growing up in a blue collar neighborhood, Taylor Young dreamed of being popular, beautiful, and acquiring a wardrobe to die for. Not to mention marrying a handsome, successful man and living happily ever after in a gorgeous house with three wonderful children. Now, at 36, Taylor has reached the pinnacle of her dreams, but is it all about to unravel? As the new school year approaches, Taylor prepares herself for playing the perfect alpha mom: organizing class activities, fund-raising, and chairing the school auction. But the horror! Her archrival, bohemian mom Marta Zinsser, is named Head Room Mom of Taylor's daughter's fifth grade class. As tensions rise at committee meetings and school activities, the two rivals seem to be destined for a final confrontation. But as Taylor plans her next move, she is floored by a more serious blow at home-her husband has been secretly unemployed for the past six months. With her posh lifestyle crumbling, Taylor struggles to maintain her alpha image-but could Marta, who cares little about appearances, be her only true friend?

Review

When I read the first Bellevue Mom book titled “Odd Mom Out” by Jane Porter last year, I was really impressed with her writing and the way her characters all felt very real…. except that of Taylor Young, the perfect Stepford-wife ruling the roost in Bellevue. She gave the protagonist of that novel, Marta Zissner, a tough time for not only was she her complete opposite in every feasible way but also the ideal standard against which Marta’s young daughter Eva compared her and found Marta terribly lacking. As you can imagine, this didn’t endear Taylor to Marta or the readers. And yet, here she is, Taylor Young, in a book of her own aptly titled, ‘Mrs. Perfect’.

With evocative words and an occasional but perfect jab of humor, Jane Porter takes us behind the scenes for a look at the world of the perfect Bellevue mom. Taylor Young volunteers at school and elsewhere, works ceaselessly without being paid, and does it all impeccably dressed and looking utterly gorgeous. But don’t be taken in. The flip side to this includes the fact that she has eating disorders, has exchanged financial freedom for Manolo Blahniks, is always in competition with younger richer moms, worries about losing her looks and her husband (in that order) and so on. Taylor makes it all look breezily easy. But the author shows that in fact it takes tons of effort and constant hard work to remain head alpha Mom in a place as financially loaded and competitive as Bellevue. Plastic is this kind of Mom’s only recourse and she’s its slave – whether it’s in her bosom or in her purse. But does she have to remain so?

Kudos to Jane Porter for taking a not-so liked character from a previous novel and making her the likeable protagonist in her new novel. It’s not like Taylor (or the author) does a complete volte-face and thus redeems herself. Rather, when her circumstances change drastically, Taylor is forced to face some major home truths and in dealing with them, she grows and changes and realizes how shallow her previous life and viewpoint was. While she does it in a way that personally didn’t resonate with me, I could feel her pain. No one fears losing it all more than those who have it all. And Taylor had it all. However, that wasn’t always the case. Without revealing key details, suffice to say that readers get to see what made Taylor into a Stepford wife, why she remained like that and how she gets past that ultimately.

Overall, I quite liked the book - the characters, the setting, the plotting and the way this story is at once independent and yet a continuation of the previous book. There were certain things though which didn’t quite gel with me. The unexpected maturity shown by some of the younger characters towards the end appears a tad bit too fast and convenient for words. Also Taylor’s sudden compassion for a cheating friend is ambiguous at best. The one character I found majorly difficult to like or swallow was that of Nathan Young, Taylor’s husband. His distant behavior, his blaming Taylor for their difficulties and even more importantly, Taylor’s acceptance of this, was really hard for me to understand. Still, it all works out in the end.

In short

Despite the requisite happy ending, this is a page-turner book with lots of emotion and entertainment. Yet another satisfying novel by author and a Bellevue mom herself, Jane Porter.

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Here's the GIVEAWAY!

- Two lucky winners will each win both the books in the Bellevue Mom series, Mrs. Perfect and Odd Mom Out. ***** EDITED TO ADD ***** There will be 3 winners. One more prize has been added. See details at the end of post! Rules remain the same.
- US and Canada only
(sorry, international readers. However, my other book giveaway is open worldwide!)

- Ends 5 am CST, June 1

I'll make it simple.

- Just leave a comment with your email address.
- Something more than "enter me" will be appreciated.
- I'd highly appreciate it if entrants spread the word about this giveaway as well, either by blogging it or emailing other bookworms about it. But, it's not necessary.
(I'll send a lot of virtual blessings your way , if you do :)

Don't forget - I'm also giving away 4 AUTOGRAPHED books here and anyone in the world can enter to win!

If you've also reviewed this book, please leave a link in a comment.

****** EDITED TO ADD **********


Some of you may remember from a previous post, Lisa Ferry, artist extraordinaire and owner of the Etsy store, Ferry Tales!! Not only does she create magic with her fingers, but she also makes uniquely customized items for her buyers. I can personally vouch for this.

Lisa has especially created a custom-made silver book thong for this book giveaway!!!
<- Take a look at this beauty.
Rules are same. Now there will be 3 winners instead of 2, with the lucky third winner walking away with this one-of-a-kind prize!!!!!

And do check out
Ferry Tales. At Lisa's store you're bound to find (and hopefully order) something to your taste - be it jewelry or fairy lures, book thongs and more!


This book has also been reviewed by :
http://www.bookroomreviews.com


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Book Giveaway - A Fatal Waltz

Don't forget to enter my *NEW* Giveaways. Here and here.

Host Blog/Site - A Work in Progress
Book to win - A Fatal Waltz by Tasha Alexander
Deadline - May 23
Conditions - Leave a comment
Eligibility - US & Canada Only
Comment - 5 copies being given away

Book Description
At her friend Ivy's behest, Emily reluctantly agrees to attend a party at the sprawling English country estate of Lord Fortescue, a man she finds as odious as he is powerful. But if Emily is expecting Lord Fortescue to be the greatest of her problems, she is wrong. Her host has also invited Kristiana von Lange, an Austrian countess who was once linked romantically with Emily's fiancé, the debonair Colin Hargreaves. What Emily believes will be a tedious evening turns deadly when Fortescue is found murdered, and his protégé, Robert Brandon—Ivy's husband—is arrested for the crime.

Determined to right this terrible wrong and clear Robert's name, Emily begins to dig for answers, a quest that will lead her from London's glittering ballrooms to Vienna's sordid backstreets. Not until she engages a notorious anarchist in a game of wits does the shocking truth begin to emerge: the price of exonerating Robert can be paid only by placing Colin in deadly peril. To save her fiancé, Emily must do the unthinkable: bargain with her nemesis, the Countess von Lange.

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Book Giveaway - Bookgasm

Don't forget to enter my *NEW* Giveaways. Here and here.

Host Blog/Site - Bookgasm
Book to win - The Del Rey Book of Science Fiction and Fantasy by Ellen Datlow
Deadline - May 23
Conditions - Identify the four speculative-fiction novels from their covers
Comment - Email them the answer.

Book Description
From Del Rey Books and award-winning editor Ellen Datlow, two of the most respected names in science fiction and fantasy, comes a collection of fifteen all-new short stories, plus a science fiction novella, that could count as a virtual “best of the year” anthology. Here you will find slyly twisted alternate histories, fractured fairy tales, topical science fiction, and edgy urban fantasy.

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No, go back to the old way
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Book Giveaway - The Bright Side of Disaster

Don't forget to enter my *NEW* Giveaways. Here and here.

Host Blog/Site - caribousmom
Book to win - The Bright Side of Disaster by Katherine Center
Deadline - May 23
Conditions - Leave a comment
Comment - 2 copies being given away, one autographed. Accompanies a thoughtful review of the book.

Book Description
Very pregnant and not quite married, Jenny Harris doesn’t mind that she and her live-in fiancé, Dean, accidentally started their family a little earlier than planned. But Dean is acting distant, and the night he runs out for cigarettes and doesn’t come back, he demotes himself from future husband to sperm donor. And the very next day, Jenny goes into labor.

In the months that follow, Jenny plunges into a life she never anticipated: single motherhood. At least with the sleep deprivation, sore boobs, and fits of crying (both hers and the baby’s), there’s not much time to dwell on her broken heart. And things are looking up: Jenny learns how to do everything one-handed, makes friends in a mommy group, and even gets to know a handsome, helpful neighbor. But Dean is never far from Jenny’s thoughts or, it turns out, her doorstep, and in the end she must choose between the old life she thought she wanted and the new life she’s been lucky to find.

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Book Giveaway - A Page Out of Life

Don't forget to enter my *NEW* Giveaways. Here and here.

Host Blog/Site - {we are} storytellers
Book to win - A Page Out of Life by Kathleen Reid
Deadline - May 23
Conditions - Just leave a comment.

Book Description

When frazzled mother of four Ashley joins a local scrapbook club, she’s amazed at the way old photos and mementos can bring color to sepiatoned memories. Among the diverse group is Tara, a single grad student whose search for love, like her relationship with her absentee father, has only brought her heartache…and some funny dating stories. Then there’s Libby, a semi-retired teacher who thought she’d spend her golden years taking classes—not as a town pariah after her son is charged in a corporate scandal. But all three find comfort and inspiration in the scrapbooking group, where they learn that only together can they face earth-shattering revelations and emotionally unavailable men—and figure out their futures while artfully commemorating their pasts.

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Do you like the new and brief format of Book Giveaways?
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No, go back to the old way
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