Monday, June 30, 2008

Hottest Guy of Book Publishing 2008

Gawker wants you to vote for the Hottest guy of Publishing 2008! The winner will receive the "Gawker Hottest Straight Guy of Book Publishing 2008" title for an entire year. (Last year's winner? Luke Janklow!) These are all men who work in the publishing industry and are Gawker's picks for the top ten.

Unfortunately my pick isn't the top contender or even among the top three. Whom did you vote for?

..................................................................................................................
Want Free books?!
Father's Day Giveaway - St.Martins (3 books to win). Ends June 30.

Winners of Father's Day Giveaway - St.Martins

As always, thank you readers for great participation. Your enthusiasm was contagious! And many thanks to the sponsor, St.Martins Minotaur, for generously providing these wonderful books as prizes. They have so MANY good reads and my wish-list and to-read list will never be the same again.

Three books, three winners. Picked impartially by Random.org. But in my book, you're all winners! Don't worry if you didn't win, I'm starting a NEW GIVEAWAY TOMORROW. Many other exciting events are also in the pipeline, including more giveaways, guest author posts,  fantastic excerpts etc. So, Subscribe by Email  and have new posts sent directly to your inbox. That way you won't miss anything!

Here are the lucky winners:

Don't Tell a Soul by David Rosenfelt
Winner: cpullum who commented "I like to read Sweetheart by Chelsea Cain"

In the Heat by Ian Vasquez
Winner:  Malteny who commented "I would like to read I Shall Not Want by Julia Spencer-Fleming"

Severance Package by Duane Swierczynski
Winner:  Anita Yancey who commented "I would love to read City of Fire by Robert Ellis"

CONGRATULATIONS, WINNERS! At any time before the end of this week, email me (abookblogger AT gmail DOT com) with the book title you've won in the subject line and your full name and address in the body of the email. After that time period, alternates will be chosen.

General info / Disclaimer :

  • In case of giveaways involving multiple winners, I generally wait until I have the required info from all the winners before sending it on to the sponsor. That's easily a week. In case I have to pick alternate winners, that time period gets extended. 
  • Keep in mind the sponsor does the actual mailing of the prizes, not me.
  • Neither I nor the sponsor is responsible for lost / damaged copies. 
  • Please give 6 to 8 weeks for your prize books to arrive.
  • And if you have any questions / queries, feel free to email me first.

Innovative Monday - Edition One

Poor Monday, it is universally hated. And Monday is also the one day of the week I have the most trouble getting to the computer on time and frankly thinking of what to post. It seems all my brain cells are still on weekend time, and so I have to think really hard to find something interesting to post. And that's when I came up with this brilliant (lol) idea!

How about a beautiful bookish innovation to bring joy to your pages... I mean, hearts? I'll try to make it a regular feature. So if you see something that you think fits in this category, then please do let me know.

Being a die-hard book fan, I'm always on lookout for book storage and furniture. Unfortunately either my wallet falls short or the design does. Here's an example of where both meet. Behold the :


Book Staircase


London-based Levitate Architects came up with this ingenious solution to a book storage problem and created a loft-like bedroom nestled under the roof of the top-floor apartment.

Ingenious, isn't it?! [via]

Movie of My Life

Saw this fun thing over at C.J.'s blog






QuizGalaxy.com!



Take this quiz at QuizGalaxy.com

Should I get Jennifer Ehle to star, I wonder. lol

If you try this, then leave a link in the comments so others can see the movie of your life as well!
..................................................................................................................
Want Free books?!
Father's Day Giveaway - St.Martins (3 books to win). Ends June 30.

Father's Day Giveaway - St.Martins

********** STICKY POST. SCROLL DOWN FOR NEWER POSTS **********

Photobucket

With Father's Day just around the corner, here are some *macho* book giveaways for our male readers! (you can always sneak away the book later, ladies :)

Are you ready?! Here goes...

St.Martins Minotaur has generously donated 3 stellar books to A Book Blogger's Diary for this giveaway!

Don't Tell a Soul by David Rosenfelt
"Can you keep a secret? A really big one?" On New Years Eve, a stranger confesses to killing a girl and then walks away, saying “it’s your problem now.”

In the Heat by Ian Vasquez
Boxer Miles Young thinks he’s got one more shot in him before it’s time to hang up the gloves for good. He may be the only one who thinks so.

Severance Package by Duane Swierczynski
Some days, you could just kill your boss. Guess what? The feeling is mutual in the new thriller by the acclaimed author of The Wheelman and The Blonde.

There will be 3 winners, one book per winner, luck of the draw as per Random.org
Ends 5 am CST, June 30. US only - sorry, others.
Bloggers and Non-Bloggers (those without a blog) can both enter.
Non-Bloggers can easily comment using the Anonymous feature. But please leave your name and email in the comment. I can't contact you otherwise.

** Edited to Add **

Some common rules for all my giveaways :

Keep in mind the sponsor does the actual mailing of the prizes, not me.
Neither I nor the sponsor is responsible for lost / damaged copies.
Please give 6 to 8 weeks for your prize books to arrive.
And if you have any questions / queries, feel free to email me.

To enter :

- Visit St.Martins Minotaur and browse their vast selection of books. Then come back here and leave a comment mentioning one book you'd like to read - something other than the prize books.

- 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)

- Mention only one book per comment. Please try and not repeat titles already mentioned by others (ctrl+F the title and you'll see if it's in the comments or not). If it still happens, the duplicate mention will not be counted in the final tally.

- 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!
..................................................................................................................
Want more Free books?!
Check out the Tasha Alexander giveaway. Ends June 15.
And the
David Baldacci Book Giveaway which also ends June 15.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Book Review - As Good As It Got by Isabel Sharpe

As Good As It Got
Author: Isabel Sharpe
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Avon A (June 24, 2008)

Synopsis
 Ann Redding has taken every lousy thing life has thrown at her and handled it very well, thank you very much. All she wants is to get her life back on track...but that won't happen till she makes her worried family and friends back off by spending two weeks at Camp Kinsonu, a retreat for suddenly single women. Now she's stuck sitting around a campfire, singing "I Am Woman" with a bunch of sandal-clad, makeup-boycotting women. If she doesn't get out of there soon, they'll be sizing her for Birkenstocks.

Kinsonu, an idyllic retreat on the coast of Maine, is supposed to be a place for new hope and new beginnings. But Ann doesn't belong in an estrogen Eden, she belongs in a corporate boardroom. Still, the camp has its compensations—she's grudgingly befriended some other "inmates," including Cindy, who honestly believes she's just killing time till her serial-cheating husband comes crawling back. And Martha, shy, overweight, and mysteriously silent about the man she's there to get over.

Maybe it was fate that brought them together at Camp Kinsonu, maybe just bad luck. But three strangers are about to bond on an adventure they didn't ask for—and discover that lives they thought were as good as it got could suddenly get a lot better.

Review

 Isabel Sharpe really knows how to draw her audience in. This is a thoughtful and provocative read that looks at essentially the same issue  - viz loss of a male loved one, either temporarily or permanently - from four very different feminine viewpoints. It's sure to strike a chord with women everywhere, as who among us has not experienced that loss.

The concept of a grief camp is also novel and appealing. Although I didn't feel the camp or its activities had a profound effect on the protagonists, I loved how the women react to each other and help change each other's lives. While no clear-cut solution is provided, the hope for a better life is implied and feels very natural and believable.

Also, Sharpe's love of all things Maine comes through clear and strong and will surely encourage her readers to visit that beautiful, tranquil place.

I particularly liked the Q&A with the author provided at the story's end which sort of answers some questions the readers are sure to have.

About the Author

Isabel Sharpe was not born pen–in–hand like so many of her fellow authors. After she quit work in 1994 to say home with her first—born son and nearly went out of her mind, she started writing. Yes, she was the clichéd bored housewife writing romance, but it was either that cliché or seduce the mailman, and her mailman was unattractive. After more than twenty novels for Harlequin and the exciting new direction of women–focused stories for Avon Books, Isabel admits that her new mailman is gorgeous, but she's still happy with her choice.

To buy a copy of the book, go here.
To buy a Kindle version, go here.
To visit the Author's site, go here.
To visit the Publisher, go here.
..................................................................................................................
Want Free books?!
Father's Day Giveaway - St.Martins (3 books to win). Ends June 30.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Book Giveaway - Sex and the City: The Movie

Book to win -Autographed copy of Sex and the City: The Movie
Deadline - July 30, 2008 (5:00 p.m. EST).
How to enter - Fill form
Eligibility - Open to all legal residents of the United States, 18 years of age and older

Don't want to wait to read this book? Buy it from Amazon and help support this blog.

Host Blog/Site - Harper Collins
Note - This giveaway is not being held on this blog. Please go to the Host Blog/Site to enter.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Friday's Finds - News and Giveaways

Here are Book News / Giveaways galore for this weekend. I'm always happy to promote books, authors and other book bloggers. So if you have something to share (news, reviews, giveaways etc), just let me know via the contact form (link above in the menu bar, above the header) or email me at abookblogger at gmail dot com with the details.

I'll be back on Monday with more (or earlier if I find something I must share :). Happy book-end!

-o------------O-------------o-

Globe and Mail : Two 21-year-old women have landed a book deal after writing a book together online in only 18 days. Danielle Bennett, from Victoria, and Jaida Jones, from New York, managed to attract the attention of a major publishing house with a fantasy novel featuring flying metal dragons, magicians and an all-out battle between warring rivals. Their 400-page hardcover book, Havemercy released this week to great reviews. Two Rowlings in the making?!

Booking Mama has a copy of The Memory of Water by Karen White to give one lucky commenter. Ends 11:59 p.m. on June 30.
First edition of Jane Austen's Emma
UPI
- A rare first edition, three-volume copy of Jane Austen's 19th century novel "Emma" has sold for $355,000 at a London auction. The Times of London said the sale through Bonhams auction house set a record for the highest price ever paid for an Austen novel. Both the seller and the buyer's identities were kept secret. The book about an irrepressible matchmaker was one of 12 presentation copies, was given by Austen to her friend Anne Sharp, who had been governess to the children of Austen's brother's children.

Workman, has kindly offered to give away five book copies and two calendars of 1,000 Places to See Before You Die to Gadling readers (shipping included).

Yahoo News - Queen Elizabeth II on Wednesday gave the author Salman Rushdie the knighthood which caused protests by Muslims around the world when it was announced last year. Rushdie, 61, was knighted for his services to literature. The Indian-born writer, who was raised as a Sunni Muslim, has lived since 1989 under the shadow of an Iranian fatwa -- or religious decree -- calling for his death over his controversial novel "The Satanic Verses".

Class of 2k8 has a nice interview with a book reviewer and is also giving away A Difficult Boy by M. P. Barker

Canadian author Margaret Atwood has won Spain's Prince of Asturias literary prize. The jury praised the 68-year-old writer for work that covers several genres "with sharpness and irony."

Author, Author is giving away 6 copies of Jonathan Miles' Dear American Airlines.

Salon - In his absorbing new book, American Nerd: The Story of My People Benjamin Nugent chronicles this underdog class. He considers the etymology of the word "nerd" -- possible origins include the name of a creature in Dr. Seuss' 1950 book "If I Ran the Zoo," and a bucktoothed ventriloquist dummy dubbed "Mortimer Snerd" -- and explores the world of hipsters, "an androgynous paradise where adults of both sexes look like enlarged spelling-bee champions." Are nerds born, or are they made? According to Nugent, it's both.

At Becoming His, you have one in a seven chance of winning Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver

Prolific mystery writer Lawrence Blocks talks to PW about his latest series starring Keller, the laconic, stamp-collecting hitman on the brink of retirement. William Morrow will publish Hit and Run (click here to preview the book in HC's Browse Inside) on June 24, which is also Block’s 70th birthday.

Jewels in my Crown is hosting a Book giveaway Carnival that's ending soon!

Galleycat - Ace publicist Valerie Cortes has turned the fall frontlist from the science fiction imprint and its fantasy-driven counterpart, Roc, into a five-minute music video.

Callapidder Days is giving away The Forbidden by Beverly Lewis.

..................................................................................................................
Want Free books?!
Father's Day Giveaway - St.Martins (3 books to win). Ends June 30.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Booking Through Thursday : Definition

btt button

This week, Booking Through Thursday asks: What, in your opinion, is the definition of a “reader.” A person who indiscriminately reads everything in sight? A person who reads BOOKS? A person who reads, period, no matter what it is? … Or, more specific? Like the specific person who’s reading something you wrote?

My answer would be all of it. Simply put, anyone who reads is a reader. However, there are different types of readers. Magazine readers, school readers, fiction readers, non-fiction readers, self-help readers, plane readers, manuals readers, etc etc. Whatever a person reads, as long as they read with dedication, then in my book, they're a reader. But I can't call it a true classification.

Whether they would like to be called one or not shows whether they consider themselves a reader or not, which is the true indicator in my opinion. For example, I love it when people call me a bookworm. I'm sure Paris Hilton will hate it if someone says that of her based on a photo of her holding a book. Now if paparazzi were to show up on my doorstep, I'd be horrified. But I'm sure Lindsey Lohan would love it. So, to each their own.

What do you think?
..................................................................................................................
Want Free books?!
Father's Day Giveaway - St.Martins (3 books to win). Ends June 30.

Book Review - The Spanish Bride by Georgette Heyer

The Spanish Bride by Georgette Heyer
Paperback: 496 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks

Synopsis

Based on the true story of Brigade-Major Harry Smith and the very young Spanish noblewoman he met and married during the Peninsular Wars, when the Duke of Wellington’s forces fought Napoleon’s army in Spain and Portugal.

After marrying Harry Smith when she was 14 years old, Juana Smith “followed the drum,” marching at the back of the troops along with the other wives and the officers’ servants. Juana became a camp favorite, charming all with her youthful enthusiasm.

In spite of the danger, Juana thrived on military life and her passionate, if somewhat stormy, relationship with Harry.

Review

If you're looking for a 'love conquers all' kind of read, then this has your name all over it. But if you're looking for a light, fluffy read, this ain't it.

By the end of this novel, I had mixed feelings about it. It's a Heyer novel, that alone should have guaranteed I would love it. But I can't say that I did, not entirely. Don't get me wrong. This is one fantastically detailed and descriptive story of a woman following her man into war. The romance is charming, the growing love of Harry and Juana is endearing, sometimes the only pleasure in a novel that reads more like a military history than anything else.

Not that I don't like military history. I've been known to read all sorts of novels and I never give up just because it's tough to understand. But here, with ceaseless long marches and confusing details, I had trouble following the narrative. Two reasons for that. One, due to my own lack of the actual historical events that form the background of this novel, viz Wellington's Peninsular campaign during the Napoleonic era. But even this would not have been a problem had there been maps or diagrams or even an appendix at the end to help a reader along. Lacking this, I was hopelessly lost by the end of the first chapter. The only reason I persevered was so I could find out what happens to this young couple. Do they make it out alive, does their impetuous love and marriage survive brutal war conditions etc etc.

Heyer puts her considerable talents to good use and you can almost smell the gunpowder coming off of the pages. Her descriptions of the army's march under desperate circumstances, a victorious army's looting and pillaging, the civilians' plight caught between opposing forces, the life of the women who follow the drum, the constant danger and outmaneuvering of the armed forces by generals such as Wellington, are such as to keep one's eyes glued to the pages, eager to know the outcome.

In Short
I liked this novel for how Heyer showed herself capable of writing a novel with serious overtones. However it is not going on my keeper shelf.

To buy a copy of the book, go here.
To visit the Author's site, go here.
To visit the Publisher, go here.
..................................................................................................................
Want Free books?!
Father's Day Giveaway - St.Martins (3 books to win). Ends June 30.

Thursday Thirteen - Edition Two



Thirteen Classic Books I'd love to re-read

1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
2. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
3. Malgudi Days by R. K. Narayan
4. The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens
5. The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
6. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
7. Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
8. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
9. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
10. Nirmala by Premchand
11. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
12. King Solomon's Mines by H.Rider Haggard
13. Night Train at Deoli And Other Stories by Ruskin Bond

Your turn now! Don't forget to leave your list or the link to your Thursday Thirteen post in the comments.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!



..................................................................................................................
Want Free books?!
Father's Day Giveaway - St.Martins (3 books to win). Ends June 30.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Books and More Books

The summer is here and it's the summer of Good, even Great reads as I can say from experience thanks to the books I've been consuming for the past some weeks. And more are arriving every day!

I'm also slowly becoming active on Goodreads (yes, I know, a long time coming!) and am hearing of new books there as well. My id is 'callmeabookworm' if you want to friend me.

And there are tons of book giveaways happening that I must share with you all. So here goes :

Books I've read, am reading or plan to read:
............................................................................

Left To Die by Lisa Jackson
This Zebra publication is releasing July 29, and my recommendation is to put it on your buy-list. I just loved it. Review coming later, closer to release date. But take my word for it, it's a doozy! And it's the start of a trilogy, I think.

0345479602 The Night Villa by Carol Goodman
Another terrific read. It's a combined ancient and modern mystery, and it made for fascinating midnight reading, I can tell you. This Ballantine Book is releasing August 5. Review and giveaway coming up closer to release date! I'll see if I can get you a sneak peak of the first chapter.

0385340532 Everything Nice by Ellen Shanman
I enjoyed reading this book which is a Bantam Discovery, releasing July 29. I can't quite classify it a chick-lit although it has many such elements. It's the story of a misfit, Michaels 'Mike' Edwards who's forced by life to make a drastic career change. As a teacher! The resulting novel is funny, witty, touching and really really 'nice'!

From Good Reads:
................................

0973950269 Tangled Hearts by Rosemary Morris
Richelda Shaw's privileged life changes for the worse after James II's daughter and son-in-law usurped his throne. Penniless and alone, Richelda entrusts her heart to Dudley, but he is not all that he seems. Her wealthy aunt wishes her to marry a Viscount. When she tries to fulfill her oath and find a treasure she finds herself fighting for her life and true love. A sweet romance that has earned multiple 5 star reviews.

0977412660 Ace of Hearts by Jean Holloway
Detective Shevaughn Robinson gets her first big case, investigating a series of gruesome murders unaware the killer is not only becoming obsessed with death, but also with her. This debut novel is a hot romantic thriller with an intelligent Black woman as the heroine. So check it out!

0978177266 Still Life With Psychotic Squirrel by CB Smith
Description: Recollections and recombinations of a fractured past.
I'm not sure if it's my cup of tea. But you should make up your own mind, so check out the first four chapters at Good Reads.


And now, Giveaways!
.....................................

Booking Mama has a thoughtful interview with author Jess Riley and is giving away a copy of Riley's "Driving Sideways". Ends Friday, June 27th at 11:59 EST. US and Canada only.

Danette's Chatting Lounge has a fun interview with author Lucinda Betts and you can also enter to win a copy of Eros Island.

The Hidden Side of a Leaf is having a huge giveaway to promote her upcoming (June 28) 24 Hour Read-a-thon. Back in my hey days (I'm talking of just a year or two ago, lol) when I used to read 1 to 2 books A DAY, I'd have jumped at a chance to participate in a readathon event like this. It's a bookworm's dream come true :) But alas, I can do it no more. I'm so sleep deprived, I've been known to nod off in the middle of a sentence. That doesn't mean you shouldn't do it. Go ahead, sign up for this plum opportunity and do tell Dewey you read about it here. That way I get 3 entries into the giveaway!

EP Authors are chatting today at Manic Readers yahoo group and giving away prizes throughout the day.

She is Too Fond of Books is giving away a copy of Mrs. Lieutenant by Phyllis Zimbler Miller. Enter by June 30.

-o------------O-------------o-


As always - If you're having a giveaway or a book release or any other kind of news to share, then just let me know. I'll be happy to post it here.

..................................................................................................................
Want Free books?!
Father's Day Giveaway - St.Martins (3 books to win). Ends June 30.

Wiki Wednesday - Edition One

I read this over at Planet Books who in turn got it from Verbatim. It's a neat concept. Here's how Verbatim explains it :

Wiki Wednesday
Time to learn something!

1. Go to Wikipedia.
2. Click on "Random article" in the left-hand sidebar box.
3. Post it!

Neat-o! Here's what I got :
Yseult Island

Yseult Island (66°44′S, 140°56′E) is a small rocky island 0.7 miles (1.1 km) east of Tristan Island and 0.4 miles (0.6 km) north of the east point on Cape Jules. Photographed from the air by U.S. Navy Operation Highjump, 1946-47. Charted by the French Antarctic Expedition under Barre, 1951-52, and so named because of its twin relationship with Tristan Island. Yseult is the French spelling of Isolde, legendary heroine incorporated into Arthurian legend and later popularized by Richard Wagner's opera Tristan und Isolde.
Now I did not know that! Live and learn. So, if you're also doing a Wiki Wednesday, copy the explanation above and include that in your Wiki post. Then leave a link in the comments for all to visit.
..................................................................................................................
Want Free books?!
Father's Day Giveaway - St.Martins (3 books to win). Ends June 30.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Book Review - The Flirt by Kathleen Tessaro

The Flirt
Author: Kathleen Tessaro
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Avon

Synopsis

Hughie Venables-Smythe is a charming and handsome out-of-work-actor who's in love with an older woman, jaded lingerie designer Leticia who doesn't believe in love, just sex. Just when things are getting desperate both money and love-wise for Hughie than he gets hired - as a Flirt by a company that specializes in flirting with women, neglected wives in general, on behalf of their menfolk. It's the role of a lifetime for Hughie until he decides to adopt his professional flirting techniques into his personal life as well. That's when things rapidly go haywire, with some delicious and fun consequences.

Review

From reading the synopsis on Amazon and other sources online, I had formed quite a different image of this novel, a sort of sexual treasure hunt. Turns out this story is a little different, much better and vastly more enjoyable. In fact it reminded me irresistibly of the movie 'Love Actually' and even Agatha Christie's famous 'Murder on the Orient Express'. In both cases, there were numerous characters who had interesting and more importantly, complexly intersecting lives. Such is the case with The Flirt. While the characters themselves have no clue how they're affecting each other's lives, we as the readers get to sit back and watch the author quickly and expertly weave the various sub-plots, connecting them all via the central character of Hughie. Confusion and hilarity go hand in hand together with surprising revelations and leave in their wake a story that's lingers long in the memory.

More than the plotting, it was the characters who intrigued me. Leticia who refuses to Love and argues her way into it, Olivia who realizes life is not all about living within boundaries to Rose who literally catalogues her way into becoming an art sensation and many others. No is what they seem like or believe themselves to be. And yet in Tessaro skillful hands, they break the molds they've buried themselves in and emerge better persons for it, if not always happier.

In Short
Effervescent and entertaining, this novel will do great as a beach read and beyond.

To buy a copy of the book, go here.
To visit the Publisher, go here.

..................................................................................................................
Want Free books?!
Father's Day Giveaway - St.Martins (3 books to win). Ends June 30.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Book Review - Mail Harry to the Moon

Mail Harry to the Moon
by Robie H. Harris (Author), Michael Emberley (Illustrator)
# Reading level: Ages 4-8
# Hardcover: 40 pages
# Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers (June 1, 2008)

Synopsis

For parents expecting a second child or even thinking of having another kid, this book is a must-read. Must read for their older child or children, that is! But even the parents will get a kick out of reading this book that feels more like a fun comic than a book.

Mail Harry to the Moon is the story of a big brother upset over the noise and intrusion, chaos and confusion created by his new sibling, Harry. From taking a bite of his banana to sitting in his Grandma's lap, baby Harry is everywhere and in everything, taking up space and attention that was once only the irked and somewhat bereft older brother's.

With each successive antic of Harry's, the big brother gets more and more upset, until he finally roars 'Mail Harry to the Moon'. The next day, Harry is nowhere to be seen. And that's when the big brother realizes without Harry nothing is fun anymore. What happens next is at once fantastical, hilarious and touching.

Review

This is one of the most fun children's books I've ever read! Robie Harris' simple words convey a wealth of emotions that perfect captures both Harry's innocence, and big brother's ire and later remorse. All with charming and irresistible humor. There's nothing preachy about this at all. In fact, since the entire thing is told from the big brother's point of view, readers are compelled to at first sympathize and later empathize with the older brother's feelings.

The words are perfectly complimented by Michael Emberley's drawings that remind me pleasurably of comic strips that were the only saving grace in a Sunday newspaper as far as my much younger self was concerned.

In Short

In a manner at once fun and easy, this book guides a growing family through the complex thoughts and emotions of children.

To buy the hardcover edition of this book, go here.
To buy the Kindle edition of this book, go here.

Visit Robie H. Harris here.
Visit Michael Emberley here.
Visit the publisher, Little, Brown Young Readers here.

As always, if you've also reviewed this book, leave the link in the comments and I'll include it here.

..................................................................................................................
Want Free books?!
Father's Day Giveaway - St.Martins (3 books to win). Ends June 30.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Book Review - Midsummer Moon by Laura Kinsale

Midsummer Moon
Author: Laura Kinsale
Mass Market Paperback: 496 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Synopsis

There's a war going on and Merlin Lambourne, a zany and absentminded inventor has something the French want badly. Ransom Falconer, the Duke of Damerell, is sent by the British government to retrieve whatever it is before the French get to it.

Intrigued with her intelligence, beauty, utter innocence and stumped by her stubbornness, His Grace resorts to kidnapping Merlin together with an in-the-making flying machine, assorted servants and paraphernalia to his estate where he proposes to her again and again.... in vain. Scatterbrained and innocent she may be, but Merlin is no fool. She quickly comes to realize the attractive and arrogant Duke is used to ruling everybody and will ban her flying machine for life if she succumbs to temptation and marries him.

As passion soars and intrigue deepens, both Merlin and Ransom will have to face some deadly peril while simultaneously battling innner demons.

Review

I'm not going to beat around the bush here. This is book is, simply put, one of the most enjoyable historicals I've read!

It's interesting to see a woman inventor as the female lead. Merlin - with her forgetfulness (she keeps calling Ransom "Mr.Duke", a confusion this lofty personality has never before encountered), her hedgehog (the finger-piercing scene had me in splits), her inventions (she's inventing a flying machine and a telegraph - what an indomitable woman!) and an innocence that's at odds with her intellect - at first appears to be overshadowed by the larger than life personality of the Duke. But as the story progresses, so does Merlin and she soon becomes someone more than able to stand up to Ransom. He, on the other hand, gets to show the readers his hidden side, at once boyish, scared and tender, in between bouts of extremely arrogant behavior, that is. That's one of the interesting points of this book, how almost every character has a duality or hidden side of their nature, just like in real life. The resulting romance between Merlin and Ransom feels very natural and it's a joy to read it.

Kinsale has a reputation for writing dark books, but this one is surprisingly charming, funny, sensitive and oh-so romantic! The characterizations are really good as is the atmosphere. There are a ton of side characters and they're given interesting stories of their own which add to the overall sense of mystery and chaos without overpowering the main one.

Cons
One and the worst - the cover. It does not justify the story in my opinion, giving it a dark, gothic feel that is at complete odds with the story. Two - A side story about Lady Blythe's secret romance is very interesting, but unfortunately not as in-depth as I would have liked it to be. Third - Initially I had difficulty with Merlin's utter innocence - she's never seen a child, doesn't know what a duke is etc. It's hard to believe someone could have led such a sheltered life, but Kinsale makes it believable, somewhat.


Note - Sourcebooks Casablanca is reprinting 3 titles by Laura Kinsale in October, including this one. But according to Amazon, this book is in stock already.

About the Author
Laura Kinsale, a former petroleum engineer, is the New York Times bestselling author of Flowers from the Storm, The Prince of Midnight, and Seize the Fire. She and her husband divide their time between Santa Fe and Dallas.

To buy this book, go here.
To buy the Kindle version, go here.
To visit the author, go here.
(Note- site doesn't seem have been updated in a while)
To visit the publisher, go here.

As always, if you've also reviewed this book, leave the link in the comments.
..................................................................................................................
Want Free books?!
Father's Day Giveaway - St.Martins (3 books to win). Ends June 30.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Erotic Book Giveaway?

Hey all, I wanted to put a question to you. I'm going to be reviewing an erotic book here in the near future. The author is willing to give away a copy as well. I want to know how many of you are interested in winning a book of that nature.

Let me know via the poll on the sidebar, ok?

..................................................................................................................
Want Free books?!
Father's Day Giveaway - St.Martins (3 books to win). Ends June 30.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Friday's Finds - News and Giveaways

Here are Book News / Giveaways galore for this weekend. I'm always happy to promote books, authors and other book bloggers. So if you have something to share (news, reviews, giveaways etc), just let me know via the contact form (link above in the menu bar, above the header) or email me at abookblogger at gmail dot com with the details.

I'll be back on Monday with more. Happy book-end!

..................................................

I'll start off with mine :)
Father's Day Giveaway - St.Martins (3 books to win). Ends 6/30.

According to BBC News, an appearance by Sir Sean Connery at Edinburgh's International Book Festival in August has sold out within an hour of going on sale. The event, which will launch his autobiography Being a Scot, coincides with the veteran actor's 78th birthday. The 2008 book festival programme is the biggest ever, with more than 800 authors appearing in Charlotte Square Gardens. Other highlights include appearances from Salman Rushdie, Alan Sillitoe, Menzies Campbell and Louis de Bernieres.

Book Addiction -There are FIVE (good condition) Picoult books up for grabs. Ends 6/30

The Associated Press reports this week that a first edition of the Nicolaus Copernicus book, the 1543 edition of “On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres”, declaring it is the sun – and not the earth – that is at the center of the universe went for more than $2.2 million at Christie’s auction in New York.

A Book Lover - She Always Wore Red by Angela Elwell Hunt. Ends 6/24

The Guardian
says, Blackwell's is to become the first high-street bookseller in the UK to offer print-on-demand books while customers wait. The innovation will be delivered by an "Espresso Book Machine" (EBM), which can print and bind any one of a million titles. (what next?!)

Book Roast - Authors, books and some roasting. Ongoing.

Derek Powazek has taken the wraps off of MagCloud, a pilot print-on-demand service for magazines. (apparently this!)

A Patchwork of books - 5 copies of The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson. Ends 6/22

At ShelfTalker, Alison Morris is all praise for Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta (HarperTeen, August 2008). The prologue, which she's included in her post, makes it clear why she dropped the book she was reading in favor of this one. I must admit, after reading it I'm eager to read this one as well as previous books by this talented YA author.

And on yet another post, Alison asks "If there was a direct correlation between quality of writing and sex appeal, what authors (male or female) would you want to sleep/flirt with?"

My answers would be Arthur Conan Doyle and Enid Blyton. What about you?

West of Mars - Bobbie Faye's Very Bad Day by Toni McGee Causey. Ends 6/22

Barbara Vey has some reading recommendations which include The Iron Hunt by Marjorie M. Liu, Three Nights of Sin by Anne Mallory, A Rake's Guide to Seduction by Caroline Linden and The Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters.

Lulu's Vintage - two copies each of EllynAnne Geisel's The Apron Book and Apronisms. Ends 7/11

Readers Read says - First round bids were due Monday from companies that wish to buy bookseller Borders. Barnes and Noble is one of the companies that is interested. The Financial Times says that Borders has already rejected numerous offers for the company.

Planet Books
- Autographed hardback copy of Matrimony by Joshua Henkin. Ends 6/30

Scrrips News
says, if you want to meet the Arab world's best-selling author, you have make an appointment between the checkups and teeth whitenings at Alaa al-Aswany's dental practice. The man who wrote "The Yacoubian Building," which broke sales records in Egypt and the Arab world before spawning the country's biggest-budget movie ever, no longer needs his day job to help him pay the bills. But for al-Aswany, dentistry and novel writing are linked, the former helping him find and develop the characters for the latter.

Kathleen’s Book Reviews
- The Triumph of Deborah by Eva Etzioni-Halevy. Ends 6/21

From Metro - Marina Fiorato took a leaf out of JK Rowling's book, sitting in coffee shops while she worked on her Venetian ­romance The Glassblower Of Murano. But Ms Fiorato was turned down by every publisher she tried – until a German one bought her debut and sold 150,000 copies of it.

Lori’s Reading Corner - A choice of your book up to a $30 value. Ends 6/30

The Wall Street Journal says Amazon.com Inc. shows its growing clout with readers by promoting a debut novel and now this book has gone into its seventh printing -- a total of 90,000 copies -- a week after its publication. Published June 10 by Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, "The Story of Edgar Sawtelle" is a classic coming-of-age tale of a mute boy and his dog set in rural Wisconsin.

Ready When You Are, C.B. - Saturday by Ian McEwan. Ends 6/25

From Trashionista - For anyone out there who is suffering from Sex and The City withdrawal symptoms, well, withdraw no more (or for just a little bit longer anyway). Candace Bushnell has her fifth novel out this September called One Fifth Avenue.

Laurie's Laudanum - At Risk by Alison Kent. Ends 6/22

Tasha Tudor, whose children’s books evoked a gentle bygone world, has died in Vermont at 92. Her 1944 edition of 'Mother Goose' was so successful it enabled her to buy a New Hampshire farm and create a lifestyle rooted in the early 19th century. Via L.A.Times

The Inside Cover - All About Lulu by Jonathan Evison. Ends 6/25

*** Edited to Add ***
Just discovered Bookbinge's Summer Fun contest! Check it out!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Booking Through Thursday : Flavor

btt button

Think about your favorite authors, your favorite books . . . what is it about them that makes you love them above all the other authors you’ve read? The stories? The characters? The way they appear to relish the taste of words on the tongue? The way they’re unafraid to show the nitty-gritty of life? How they sweep you off to a new, distant place? What is it about those books and authors that makes them resonate with you in ways that other, perfectly good books and authors do not?

That's a good question. I like to read various genres and my list of favorite authors is ever-growing. Why I like a particular book is a combination of various factors. But one thing I can say with certainty - a book has to speak to me, connect with me and make me, in turn, connect with it - either through its story or characters or its execution etc - for me to love it and through it, its author.

To put in another way, the author's story must resonate with me on some level. Humans are very complex beings have different facets to their nature. If the story I'm reading appeals to some of these facets, then it's a winner in my book.

For example, take Jane Austen or Georgette Heyer - these wonderful authors create simple romantic stories that are made complex by the characters who themselves are sparkling and full of life, even the villains.

Janet Evanovich I like for her Stephanie Plum novels. She doesn't use complicated words or create complex situations. Rather, Evanovich's genius lies in presenting her readers with extremely visual scenes and then infecting them with an ample dose of humor. This kind of double whammy is apt to leave the readers rolling on the floor, laughing.

Michael Crichton is another fave author and I like him for the healthy mix of fact and fiction he provides. His stories often have a worst-case, world-ending kind of scenario which is then diffused after some nifty scientific detection. The real fascinating aspect is, that worst-case scenario may very come true in real life one day.

Sherrilyn Kenyon (Dark-Hunter series) and Kelley Armstrong (Women of the Otherworld) are two of the best paranormal writers, in my book. They appeal to me on various levels. Both have stories with a strong common thread running through them, their characters are all complex with a lot of angst, and the suspense is also pretty good. The best part is they feature supernatural beings who exist in contemporary times and struggle to balance anonymity with normalcy.

Lilith Saintcrow and Kim Harrison appeal to me for many of the same reasons above, only their stories are set a little in the future.

Jeffrey Deaver for his complex plotting and Dean Koontz for never failing to surprise.

Douglas Preston and Dan Brown for combing history and mystery to create unforgettable books.

Enid Blyton for her unbeatable stories that are primarily for children but have an appeal that transcends generations.

R.K.Narayan, P.G.Wodehouse and Firoozeh Dumas for their wit and evergreen charm.

Sophie Kinsella and Jane Green for their light and fun reads that are a perfect antidote to life's frustrations.

Mary Janice Davidson for making even vampires funnier than fun! and J.F.Lewis for creating a vampire anti-hero who can crack rib-cracking one-liners even when being mauled to death.

Kristin Hannah and Luanne Rice for books that celebrate women, through inter-personal relationships.

I could go on and on - Charles Dickens, Jules Verne, Charlotte Bronte, Alexander Dumas, William Shakespeare, .... like I said, my list is endless :)

..................................................................................................................
Want Free books?!
Father's Day Giveaway - St.Martins (3 books to win). Ends June 30.

Thursday Thirteen - Edition One



Thirteen Books on my To-Be-Read List

1. Rites of Spring (break) by Diana Peterfreund
2. Nefertiti by Michelle Moran
3. When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
4. Fearless Fourteen (Stephanie Plum, No. 14) by Janet Evanovich
5. The Host by Stephenie Meyer
6. The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie
7. The Beach House by Jane Green
8. One Silent Night (Dark-Hunter Novels) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
9. Odd Hours by Dean Koontz
10. Black Sheep by Georgette Heyer
11. The Lost Duke of Wyndham (Two Dukes of Wyndham, Book 1) by Julia Quinn
12. Dangerous Secrets by Lisa Marie Rice
13. The Sisters Grimm (Love Spell) by Minda Webbe

Your turn now! Don't forget to leave your list or the link to your Thursday Thirteen post in the comments.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!



..................................................................................................................
Want Free books?!
Father's Day Giveaway - St.Martins (3 books to win). Ends June 30.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Book Giveaway - Kerouac, Gilman and More

Book to win - Maggie Cassidy by Jack Kerouac and The Yellow Wall-Paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (and Yarn!)
Deadline - June 30
Conditions - Comment or email entry.
Comment - Specify the prize you want to win. You can also enter to win both.

Host Blog/Site - Diary of an Eccentric
Note - This giveaway is not being held on this blog. Please go to the Host Blog/Site to enter.

..................................................................................................................
Want Free books?!
Father's Day Giveaway - St.Martins (3 books to win). Ends June 30.

Book Giveaway - Stephanie Meyer

Book to win - Enter to win one of FIVE copies of The Host but a GRAND PRIZE of the entire Stephenie Meyer collection!
Deadline - June 30
Eligibility - US & Can
Comment - Multiple ways to enter.
Host Blog/Site - Maw Books Blog

Note - This giveaway is not being held on this blog. Please go to the Host Blog/Site to enter.

Don't want to wait to read this book? Buy it now and help support this blog.

..................................................................................................................
Want Free books?!
Father's Day Giveaway - St.Martins (3 books to win). Ends June 30.

Book Giveaway - Nefertiti

Book to win - Nefertiti by Michelle Moran
Deadline - June 23
Conditions - Leave a comment.
Comment - Blog it to get an extra entry.
Host Blog/Site - The Written Word
Note - This giveaway is not being held on this blog. Please go to the Host Blog/Site to enter.

Don't want to wait to read this book? Buy it now and help support this blog.

..................................................................................................................
Want Free books?!
Father's Day Giveaway - St.Martins (3 books to win). Ends June 30.

Book Giveaway - The Wednesday Sisters

Book to win - The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton
Deadline - June 21
Conditions - Leave a comment with your email.
Comment - Blog it to get an extra entry. Giveaway is accompanied by an interesting interview with the author.
Host Blog/Site - Booking Mama
Note - This giveaway is not being held on this blog. Please go to the Host Blog/Site to enter.

Don't want to wait to read this book? Buy it now and help support this blog.

..................................................................................................................
Want Free books?!
Father's Day Giveaway - St.Martins (3 books to win). Ends June 30.

Pen-itance

One of my fondest wish as a reader/reviewer has been that all books came with an extra blank space on each page for me to note down my thoughts. And an even fonder wish is that each book came with a Pen attached. For there is nothing worse than thinking up the perfect phrase which (in my mind, that is) captures the essence of a book or a scene or a character, only for it to evaporate into thin air by the time I've hunted down Pen and Paper.

Fox-hunting (all you animal lovers out there, please don't jump down my throat. I'm only using it as an example. The only thing I've ever hunted down are books. Books and an active toddler, that's all, I swear!) has nothing on the enthusiasm... make that desperation - with which I hunt for a Pen and something to scribble on.

On a sidenote here - don't grab the first empty page you come across as it's quite possible your hubby has written some VERY IMPORTANT stuff there to be faxed, on the other side. Where I didn't check to see!

And when I do find that elusive literary sword, guess what happens? That's right, it doesn't work!

And this happens with the regularity of Tides (think Sea, not washing machine) in my household. Either because my toddler prefers non-washable Pens to the expensive/washable crayons we've bought him. Or because our household is cursed with *Pen-itance* (cue weird, X-files kind of music here! Btw, did you know Gillian Anderson is expecting twins?! Naturally, I read that somewhere)

That's a word I use to describe the mysterious ailment that strikes all writing instruments in our house. They dry up, break just when needed most or disappear into thin air and are never found. Not even when you change residences! I had high hopes of finding a favorite Pen when we last moved, but nothing, nada, zip, zilch! Dust bunnies galore galloped away when I packed this, mismatched socks rolled out when I lifted that, I even found a favorite book neatly sandwiched between the wall and the headboard ... but there was no sight of the Pen.

And it's not just Pens that are afflicted by this Ssssssinister Sssssslipperinesssss. It affects Pencils equally! I'm surprised Pentagon has not yet swooped down on my house and made off with all our Pencils. They have lead, they're not broken, they've just been sitting prettily in a "so and so went to Vegas and all they got me was this crappy half-cup" cup and yet ..... wait for it ..... here it comes ..... THEY don't W-R-I-T-E! Invisible writing - that's what they produce and none the wiser for it. (Shhh... no one tell the enemies!)

Forget nuclear holocaust, move over Bermuda Triangle! My household causes Pens and Pencils to not work or disappear off the face of this earth! So, if you ever visit us, leave your writing implements at the Airport. You have a better chance of finding them there than in the dark void of Pen-itance here!

Has Pen-itance or something else stuck you? Have anything weird to report? We're all friends here. Come and share!

..................................................................................................................
Want Free books?!
Father's Day Giveaway - St.Martins (3 books to win). Ends June 30.