Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Review - Crossroads by Belva Plain

Crossroads
Belva Plain
Delacorte Press
ISBN- 0385336845
Cassie Wright never saw it coming. As owner of Wright Glassworks, the foremost company in a thriving New England town, Cassie’s life was quiet, focused on her work and home…until a tragic accident turns her carefully ordered world upside down. For there is a surviving child to think about—and Cassie must take in one-year-old Gwen, who has no one else to care for her. As the years pass, Cassie will raise Gwen as her own, and a little girl who lost everything will flourish in a world of privilege and opportunity.

Enter Jewel Fairbanks. Beautiful and conniving, Jewel will touch the lives of both Cassie and Gwen in powerful ways. From the moment they meet, Jewel envies Gwen, who seems to have everything Jewel wants. The two couldn’t be more different, but their lives will soon become inextricably intertwined. Both will marry—but to profoundly different men. For Gwen, it is honest, hardworking Stan who steals her heart; Jewel will set her sights on Jeff, a shrewd businessman who owns the company where Stan works.

But when Stan makes a shocking discovery on the job, relationships begin to shift and change...and soon a tangled drama of greed, jealousy, and betrayal will encircle both couples, as a chain reaction of unexpected events changes four lives forever—in ways they never could have foreseen.

The novel started out interestingly enough. Cassie, Gwen and Jewel, the three main women characters, are introduced in the first chapter itself. Cassie's remoteness, Gwen's discomfort in her own skin and Jewel's unbridled jealousy promise an interesting story. In that aspect, the book doesn't disappoint. Author Belva Plain knows how to beautifully blend in emotions and atmosphere and the result is a novel that appeals, to an extent. But there are a lot of cons that distract the readers.

I did feel that the novel meanders quite a bit and as a result, the story often loses its focus. Also, while the female characters are (somewhat) well-developed, the men are, in main, bystanders for the most part. The story is also as predictable as predictable can be and this took away my interest quite a bit.

In short, this book is a pleasant way to spend a wintry afternoon, but not a keeper in any sense.

Buy the Book - here.
Visit the Author's site - here.
Visit the Publisher - here.

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Elizabeth Naughton's Giveaway

Saw this hilarious contest over at Author Elizabeth Naughton's and thought I'd share. It's also an opportunity for me and you both - to win!

Here's what I got when I entered:
"I'm not afraid of the dark," R snapped. How the hell did he know what she was thinking? And why had they bothered to stop now when they were so close to the prize?

Archie Gates chuckled, the sound low and sexier than she wanted it to be as he made himself comfortable on the sandy ground and leaned back against the boulder where they'd stopped to set up camp for the night. "You should be. The vampire knights of the round table are out there."

"There's no such thing as the vampire knights of the round table," she tossed back. "That's a preposterous fable made up by naive common folk like yourself in order to scare others away. I need the Hermes' winged sandals to avenge my step-father's uncle's mother's death. If you're too afraid to get it for me like you agreed, I'll just do it myself." She pushed to her feet.

The sinister smile that spread across his face stopped her feet and only irritated her more. "You go right ahead, pet. Dressed in that pink tutu like you are, I guarantee the Hermes' winged sandals's the last thing those savages'll be focused on. Last I heard, they were looking for a new member of their harem." His scorching gaze ran over her. "Come to think of it, you look like you fit the bill."

Her blood warmed at the approval she saw in his cat-like green eyes. Then she thought about the steel spikes they'd stumbled across and the torture chambers Archie Gates had babbled about earlier in the day. She glanced toward the icy cavern surrounding them and felt her anxiety leap into her throat. Were those beady eyes watching them from the dark?

"That's right, pet," Archie Gates said in an arrogant voice, like a man who knows he's won the Indy 500. "I think you're safer here with me, too. Looks like your only option is to scoot on over here and lay right down where I can make sure Hannibal Lector doesn't get you in the middle of the night."

Her eyes snapped back to focus on his. "I'm not sleeping with you."

That suggestive grin slid across his face, the one that did weird things to her pulse. "Who said anything about sleeping?"
To find your own Treasure quest and Hunter, go to Elizabeth Naughton's website. And along the way, enter to win a $100 Visa Gift Card.

Share image! Enter today!
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Monday, December 29, 2008

Innovative Monday - Edition 23

As regular readers know, I always try to bring some unusual book storage solution to this Innovative Monday feature. Today's furniture is certainly unusual, but it can used as much more than a bookshelf.

Check out the STAGGER SHELF by Brave Space.

The Stagger Shelf is made of toasted vertical grain bamboo and finished with organic, non-toxic Hard Oil. Stainless steel screws and adjustable steel feet. Irregular and asymmetrical shelving sections opens up the possibilities for a less traditional display of objects.

Don't faint, but it retails for - $3,975.00! Perhaps it's only for the rich bookworms?

Thoughts, please.
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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Review - The Lost Recipe for Happiness

The Lost Recipe for Happiness
Barbara O'Neal
Bantam Discovery
ISBN: 0553385518
It’s the opportunity Elena Alvarez has been waiting for–the challenge of running her own kitchen in a world-class restaurant. Haunted by an accident of which she was the lone survivor, Elena knows better than anyone how to survive the odds. With her faithful dog, Alvin, and her grandmother’s recipes, Elena arrives in Colorado to find a restaurant in as desperate need of a fresh start as she is–and a man whose passionate approach to food and life rivals her own.

Owner Julian Liswood is a name many people know but a man few do. He’s come to Aspen with a troubled teenage daughter and a dream of the kind of stability and love only a family can provide. But for Elena, old ghosts don’t die quietly, yet a chance to find happiness at last is worth the risk.

-------------------------------

I can honestly say this is one of the best novels I've read so far this year. Like a master chef, Barbara O'Neal has an undoubted talent for combining different facets of a woman's life to present a delectable story that's at once fulfilling and exotic.

Elena Alvarez is a woman who's suffered much, physically and emotionally. She loses herself in cooking and makes her painful way to the top of the culinary ladder, ultimately getting a position as head chef at a new restaurant in Aspen. She's more than up to catering to the international palate, but on the personal front there's a lot to be resolved. Until she faces up to the ghosts of her past, they won't let her live in peace, literally! The men in the book are also equally fascinating and their interpersonal relations add a different dimension to the tale. There's also an adorable and sensitive dog, a teenage girl and a myriad of interesting and eccentric characters to round off the story. The element of mystic/paranormal is also very strong in this story, but the author introduces it in a way that's seamless and begins to feel a very natural part of the narrative rather than something added on to make things more intriguing.

The other nice thing about this book are the recipes. Since this is the story of a cook, some dish or drink is always being mentioned. Instead of leaving the readers tantalized, each chapter ends with a recipe that's promises to be easy to make and heaven for the taste buds.

I liked almost everything about this book - the story, the characters, the plotting. But there were some things I couldn't quite digest. One is the teenage girl's character in the story. She's a troubled Hollywood teen, but it seems that a bit of her father's attention, a change of scenery and viola! she's a model child. That did not gel with me. There's also the accident which has maimed Elena both spiritually and physically. No exact cause for it is given and there's even a discrepancy between a newspaper report and Elena's memories as to who the actual driver at the time was. The last thing is one my pet peeves - the discrepancy between the photo on the cover and how it doesn't fit the description inside. In this book, it's the dog which is described as being of red/orange color but that doesn't fit the photo of the dog on the cover. A small thing, you might say, but it just irks me somewhat.

Despite this, The Lost Recipe for Happiness is a veritable smogasboard of rioting emotions and culinary skills. It's one of those books I wouldn't hesitate to recommend as a gift to any reader of women's fiction this holiday season. Or anyone who loves to cook, or for that matter, eat!

This book is released under the Bantam Discovery banner, which is beginning to be my favorite of all the new lines! In my experience, the stories are almost always unusual, with strong female characters that appeal to me, a touch of the paranormal and of course, something or the other to do with foods!

Buy the Book - here.
Visit the Author's site - here.
Visit the Publisher - here.
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Monday, December 22, 2008

Review - Man of the House By Ad Hudler

Man of the House
By Ad Hudler
Ballantine Books
Fiction
ISBN: 9780345481085
For more than a decade, Linc Menner has raised the status of househusband to an art form. While his wife, Jo, brings home the bacon, Linc Menner holds down the fort–his gourmet cooking is sublime, his cleaning unrivaled, and his devotion to his daughter, Violet, unparalleled. But when the Menners relocate from upstate New York to the steamy beaches of Naples, Florida, life takes an unexpected turn.

As the Menners renovate their new home Linc’s bliss turns into a war zone of contractors, dry wall dust, and chaos. And suddenly being surrounded by guys whose faces go blank as he expounds on the virtues of lump-free gravy makes Linc realize he has forgotten what it feels like to be a man. So Linc trades his flip-flops for work boots, and his wild mop of hair for a barbershop buzz, and marches his flabby physique to the nearest gym – attracting the secret devotion of one of Violet’s teacher in the process.

And his stunned family watches helplessly as they lose the man who keeps them all together. To make matters worse, it’s hurricane season and there’s a category 5 heading right for Naples. As life on the home front explodes into hilarity and catastrophe, Linc must chart his own delightfully crooked course to finally become the Man of the House.

---------------------------------

I'm still reading this book, but so far so good. What I like reading is opinionated Linc Menner saying things most of us think but keep mum about (especially about Moms and parking in the school! That part is just hilarious!). The gender role-reversal, though, is the most interesting aspect of this book. While most women long to find a husband like Linc, what many of us may not realize how life is from such a man's viewpoint. He's like a man without a country, neither fully accepted by the females whose main domain is the parenting/household aspect of life, and shunned by the men who leave such traditional roles to the women under the guise of incompetence. It is truly an eye-opener. We also see from Linc's wife's perspective that living with such a man is also not easy. She's the bread-winner and that's come to affect their non-traditional marriage.

Of course, there's a lot more to this book than just that. But this is the backbone of this novel. Another very interesting aspect in this book is that each chapter is narrated by a different person's viewpoint - Linc, his wife, his daughter, the teacher who has a secret crush on him etc. Which makes it necessary to pay attention to the chapter titles or else the reader is completely lost.

I haven't read the first book in this series, but now I want to! It's a book I'd love to share with the men in my life. What's stopping me is that I'm at that point in the story where Linc is finding himself trying to become more manly and shunning his hitherto raging feminism. Now, that's not the message I want to send, hence the hesitation. Perhaps the first book might be more appropriate as a gift?

If any of you has read the first book in this series, Househusband, let me know if you think that'd make a better gift for a man. 

And you're more than welcome to comment which books you're giving/recommending as gifts this holiday season or which you want to receive.

-About the Book: http://www.adhudler.com/books/moth.asp
-About Ad Hudler: http://www.adhudler.com/author/author.asp
-Chapter excerpt:  http://www.adhudler.com/books/moth_ex.asp
-Discussion Questions: http://www.adhudler.com/clubs/moth.asp

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Innovative Monday - Edition 22

No one likes a bookshelf that collapses, right? But you're going to love this one!

Check out the amazing COLLAPSING BOOKSHELF!


This seamingly unsturdy shelf is surprisingly resilient. It is handmade ensuring that each piece is unique, signed and numbered. It costs a mere £1350.00 GBP (!!!!!)

Your thoughts?
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Friday, December 19, 2008

Ask Santa for Books!

Recently I received an email from Joshua Henkin, author of the best-selling novel, Matrimony. The message contained within was one I really wanted to let my readers know. So, with his permission, here is the email :
Dear Friends,

As many of you know, the book industry is in serious trouble. It was in trouble when economic times were good, and now that times are bad, things have gotten really precarious. Book sales across the industry are down as much as 40 percent, publishing houses are laying off people and cutting imprints, one big publishing house announced that it was no longer reading new manuscripts, and a major chain bookstore is on the brink of bankruptcy. Many of these problems have been a long time coming (the decline of newspapers and especially of book review sections has been a big blow, as has the closing down of many independent bookstores), but in recent months the problem has become especially acute.

I don't mean to sound alarmist, but these are alarming times. What's at stake is the future of books, and of reading culture. Although books will continue to be published (Stephenie Meyer and J.K. Rowling will publish their next books), for everyone except a handful of bestselling authors, the future is far more uncertain. What's at stake is the wealth and diversity of book culture. Many classics (books we read in our English classes in high school and college, books our children read or will read), simply wouldn't be published by today's standards and, if they were published and didn't sell well immediately, they would be removed from the bookstore shelves.

This is why it's so important that you buy books for the holidays. There's a website dedicated to this enterprise, http://www.buybooksfortheholidays.com, which you might want to check out, and publishing houses are running ad campaigns focused on holiday book-giving. You really can make a difference. A typical paperback novel costs less than fifteen dollars, far cheaper than a necklace or a sweater or dinner at a nice restaurant. I would especially encourage you to buy books from independent bookstores, which are in the most serious trouble and which promote books that go beyond the usual bestsellers and where the employees really know about books. Independent booksellers are the unsung heroes in what are very difficult times.

Thanks for reading this, and have a happy and healthy holiday.

Best,
Josh
http://www.joshuahenkin.com
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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Bookreporter.com's Authors on the Holidays

Many great writers share that their path to publishing started by being a voracious reader. To celebrate this season of giving --- and getting --- more than thirty authors are sharing their favorite memories of giving or receiving a book at the holidays on the Bookreporter.com Author Holiday Blog. For example, International best-selling author Mary Higgins Clark reminisces about the books that she was overjoyed to find under the Christmas tree during her childhood, while her daughter and co-writer, Carol Higgins Clark, theorizes that her most popular character, private detective Regan Reilly, may have had her roots in books given to her as a young girl. Meanwhile, Wendy Corsi Staub tells us why Christmas always means Little Women to her.

Upcoming blogs include David Baldacci’s story of gifting a rare copy of Sophie’s Choice once owned by Truman Capote—to the novel’s author himself; Laura Pedersen’s tale of how giving a book ruined a pot roast; and Ad Hudler’s story about how Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax doesn’t always speak to everyone in the same way. Head over to Bookreporter.com each day until Christmas to read these essays and others from Kristin Hannah, Garth Stein, M.J. Rose, Adriana Trigiani, Mary Kay Andrews, and more.

For more, check out http://www.bookreporter.com
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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Mrs. Claus Winners

The lucky winners of my Mrs. Claus Explains It All book giveaway have been chosen via Random.org and notified! CONGRATULATIONS!

Thanks for participating and for all those interesting questions; enough to perhaps justify a second book in this series? Who knows?!

Due to some questions of privacy from previous winners, I'm no longer going to list the winner's emails here as I used to. And will only put up their names if they give permission. So, if you didn't receive an email from me, then unfortunately you were not the lucky winner.
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Review - Mistress of Mellyn by Victoria Holt

Mistress of Mellyn 
Author: Victoria Holt
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; Second Edition edition (December 23, 2008)

Synopsis: Mount Mellyn stood as proud and magnificent as she had envisioned...But what bout its master--Connan TreMellyn? Was Martha Leigh's new employer as romantic as his name sounded?  As she approached the sprawling mansion towering above the cliffs of Cornwall, an odd chill of apprehension overcame Martha Leigh.  TreMellyn's young daugher, Alvean, proved as spoiled and difficult as the three governesses before Martha had discovered.  But it was the girl's father whose cool, arrogant demeanor unleashed unfimiliar sensations and turmoil--even as whispers of past tragedy and present danger begin to insinuate themselves into Martha's life.  Powerless against her growing desire for the enigmatic Connan, she is drawn deeper into family secrets--as passion overpowers reason, sending her head and heart spinning.  But though evil lurks in the shadows, so does love--and the freedom to find a golden promise forever...

Review

I'd vaguely heard of Victoria Holt. But this is her first book which I've ever read and as such, I had no preconceived notions about it. It started well and I had high hopes of it. But the fact is that this novel, which was originally published nearly 40 years ago, did not hold me spellbound. In fact, I was positively made impatient by some aspects of it. But let me begin with the plus points.

I can only find one bright point in this story and that is the mystery, which is good. It keeps the reader guessing and when the end is revealed, it comes as a surprise. It won't be a total surprise to an ardent mystery reader, but a nice surprise nonetheless.

The cons, I found, were many and totally distracted me from the story time and again. To sum up, I found this novel to be a cheap imitation of Charlotte Brontë's much acclaimed, Jane Eyre. The worst flaw I found was the romance that develops between Martha and Connan. They never spend that much time together for such strong feelings to develop. While in Jane Eyre, readers are made to understand how and why young, inexperienced Jane falls for the dashing, enigmatic and much-older Mr.Rochester, no such attempt is made here in this novel. Readers are just shown Martha's growing ire and attraction to her attractive employer. But they're given no coherent reasons for the attraction part while plenty of reasons are provided for the ire.

Also the character of Martha herself isn't endearing. She's harsh toward her young charge, cold in her self-importance and sly in her dealings to extract gossip from the servants. I couldn't understand why Connan, a man of the world with affairs galore with beautiful women under his belt, would be attracted to this prim, self-righteous and neither-so-young-nor-so-beautiful Miss Leigh. As such their romance is also unconvincing.

As for the plot itself, a lot of delicious, gothic-mystery like events occur but the author fails to make much of them. Same can be said of the setting which is eerie and menacing and ignored but for an occasional mention. Characters are under-developed, particularly that of Gillyflower, a girl who seems to know much but whom most ignore as being a bit 'touched in the head'. Many other interesting characters are there just for the effect, or to act as red herrings - no great use is made of them.

In Short

I can and did think that perhaps the novel's outdatedness is the reason I found it to be so unappealing. But seeing as how I still like Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, the Poirot novels, Sherlock Holmes, etc - all of which were perhaps written even earlier than this novel, I realized I cannot use that as an excuse.

This novel is too cliched for words and in my personal opinion, not at all a great read. I know I'm definitely in the minority as far as my opinion of this novel is concerned for I've seen glowing reviews of this book across the web. But like Bruce Nolan I have to say "that's the way the cookie crumbles".

Buy the Book - here.
Visit the Publisher - here.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich

Plum Spooky (A Between-the-Numbers Novel)
Author: Janet Evanovich
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press (January 6, 2009)

Turn on all the lights and check under your bed. Things are about to get spooky in Trenton, New Jersey.

Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum has Munch on her most-wanted list for failure to appear in court. Plum is the all-American girl stuck in an uncomfortable job, succeeding on luck and tenacity. Usually she gets her man. This time she gets a monkey. She also gets a big guy named Diesel.

Check out the clip below which is a fun rendition of the "12 Days of Christmas" inspired by Stephanie Plum's new adventures in Plum Spooky, out January 6th.



Click HERE to watch a large-screen version of "The 12 Days of Christmas" video!
Click HERE to receive updates and news about Janet Evanovich.
Click HERE to read the First TWO Chapters of Plum Spooky!

Buy the Book - here.
Visit the Author's site - here.
Visit the Publisher - here.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

The Book of Names (Legends of Karac Tor)

Author: D. Barkley Briggs 
Reading level: Young Adult Fantasy
Paperback: 397 pages
Publisher: NavPress Publishing Group
Book Summary:

It was supposed to be a routine Thanksgiving break. But when Hadyn and Ewan Barlow discover an ancient Viking runestone buried on their family farm, they unwittingly open a magical portal to another world. Fleeing grief and broken dreams over the loss of their mother, the two brothers find themselves hailed as Champions in the Kingdom of Karac Tor. But all is not well. Nemesia the witch is releasing shadows over the whole land. Names are being stolen from The Book of Names, the most sacred relic of the kingdom. Before long, the Barlows realize they must find the courage to fight, or they will never find their way home. There’s just one problem: even if they win, will anyone know how to send them back?
Book Excerpt:
(By now, the chilling truth has sunk in: Hadyn and Ewan are in a strange, new world. It’s not a dream. As they journey toward the capital city of Stratamore, hoping to find someone who can send them back home to Missouri, they are attacked by an angry mob of birds and five drone-like teenagers who have been following them for unknown reasons. Accompanied by Sorge the Gray Monk, Asandra the mirling, and a grumpy, stouthearted gnome named Flogg, the brothers take temporary shelter in a small structure called The Stone House.)

Sorge glanced out the peephole cut into the wall, “The birds that attacked us are a Flight of Crows. Sorcery makes the birds fly swifter, with focus and greater rage. They even seem to multiply. It’s Nemesia’s doing, I’m sure. Ewan, lock the door. Everyone else up against the east wall. Stay flat and still.”

     Scooting on all fours, Ewan found the latch and slid the bolt. They all pressed against the stone wall, though Flogg seemed more irritated than afraid. Outside, amidst scattered, low voices, a sound drew near. Feet crunching on pebbles.

     Memory jarred Ewan. “Sorge, the hole you made!” he hissed.

     Quickly, Sorge smeared the rock face with his fingers. The surface sealed under his touch as if made of paste. At the wall, he drew himself to his full height, staff in hand. Pacing feet now ringed the Stone House. Only the four walls stood between the hunters and the hunted.

     The five outside circled the Stone House with slow, deliberate movements—once in full, then twice. The light sound of flapping wings returned. Claws scratched against the thatched roof. Squawking. On the third circuit, something like fingernails began scraping the rock wall. Inside, the air strangely thickened, so that Ewan found it hard to breathe. A strange heaviness began oozing under his threshold of conscious thought, like smoke slipping under a door, making it difficult to think clearly. He fought it, trying to focus on a spot on the far wall. Beside him, Haydn leaned hard against the stone, as if using it to hold himself up. Matted blood was stuck in his brother’s hair, smeared on his face. His ragged breath strangely comforted Ewan, to know he felt it, too. They were both fighting the same thing.

     Though Sorge had counted five, only one voice arose from the artificial calm. It was creepy and directionless, drifting like a leaf in the wind, leeching through the stone, shiftless and flat.

     “Who travels...so far?” the voice said. It was male, not old. He sounded neither curious nor fearful, stringing words together like pearls on an open loop before letting them tumble thoughtlessly to the ground, unclaimed. Other voices rose faintly in response, moaning like wind on a barren plain. “Who journeys...through...the skies to the home...of despair?”

     More soft strides on padded feet. More scraping. More bird noises. Strangely, none of them even attempted to peer through the high windows. Perhaps they didn’t care.
Perhaps this was all some bad dream, or a very bad joke.

     When a hard fist suddenly rattled the wood planks, Ewan jumped. So much for that theory. Sorge reached out to his left and right, placing a steady hand on the shoulders of both boys. He put a finger to his lips to focus their thoughts. Shhh...

     Another thump, this time harder, as if one of the people outside had taken a heavy stone from the pond, and was trying to smash the door apart.

     “Who crosses the hidden...barrier...”

     The door rattled again, a bone-jarring sound. Thwack!

     “...to trouble holy men?”

     Thwack! By now, the birds had gone wild, dancing and squawking, flapping and pecking.

     “Plans come to nothing. Yours...ours. Nothing. The world will...come to nothing. Hide and prove us true. Emerge and join us. Fight and be consumed. We are...the Name—”

     Thwack! Another blow and the door would surely shatter. Ewan found himself straining to concentrate. The what? What had he called them? The last word had drowned in the clatter, but Ewan thought he heard it: the Nameless. The boy’s voice had an gooey, sticky quality. The words formed questions, yet at the same time seemed passionless to any answer that might be given. Ewan’s head spun. The voice in his head felt foreign on the one hand, yet it entered his brain with a sense of relief, leaving a residue of thought he could not wipe away. He shook his head angrily, saw Hadyn making a similar gesture. Ewan wanted to scream, to force it out of his head. The same young man kept droning on:

     “Do not think proudly, outlanders. You have come for no great purpose. Let me show you the beginning...of the way of peace: Nothing matters.”

     The other voices joined in, creating a soft, uneven chant: “Nothing. Matters. Nothing.”

     It seemed to crescendo. Ewan braced for the door to splinter. Wings flapped wildly. Sorge’s knuckles were white on his staff. Asandra’s face glistened in the half light.

     “Nothing matters...”

     Then, simply nothing. They were gone, the sound of their feet trailing away to the south, lost amongst the whispering grass and the generous curves of dimpled land; lost in the slow circles forming on the water where silver perch topped the pond, gulping for mosquitoes. Birds and voices alike—gone.

     Hadyn sank to his knees. In the warmish light, his face was pale. “We shouldn’t have come, Ewan. We should be home right now, with Dad. Not here, wherever this is. I’m so sorry.”

     Ewan struggled to catch his breath. He felt the same. But home was a long, long way away...

----------------------------------------------------------------------
This is part of Pump Up Your Book Promotions Virtual Blog Tour.

Buy the Book - here.
Visit the Author's site - here.

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Innovative Monday - Edition 21

Now this is a bookshelf unlike any other I've ever seen. Plus it's customizable, always a good feature to have!

Introducing THE INCREDIBLE BOOKMAN!

The Bookman is a bookshelf in the shape of a man and is a highly decorative piece of furniture as well as a sculpture.

The Bookman holds about 100 books and shelves are best adapted to books beneath 8 inches in height. Each Bookman is signed by East Anglian artist Kazmierz Szmauz who also designed the CDMan, the DVDMan and Videoman. Bookman 1 (leftmost pic) is £1200 ($1700).

[via]
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Friday, December 12, 2008

Review - Cotillion By Georgette Heyer

Cotillion
Author: Georgette Heyer
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Synopsis: Miss Kitty Charing is the penniless ward of an irascible, rich old man who asks her to choose one of his four nephews as a husband if she's to inherit his fortune. When Jack, the one nephew Kitty is really enamored of, doesn't show up when it comes time for her to choose, Kitty's wrath is aroused. Determined to escape to London as well as make Jack regret his decision not to show up, Kitty cleverly conspires with yet another potential suitor/nephew, Freddy, to announce their sham engagement. Together the duo arrive in London where Kitty's innocent, adventurous but potentially damaging antics threaten to turn poor Freddy's hair gray. What happens next is one of the most unexpected and unusual love stories.
Review

I've said it before and I have no hesitation repeating myself. Georgette Heyer is par master when it comes to crafting witty, active and lovely romance stories. And each new one I read, I fall in love with it and declare it to be the best. So it is with Cotillion!

This book takes the cake, takes the crown and takes the Oscar for a wonderfully surprising and sneak-attack kind of Romance that simply delighted even my jaded old heart!

It's my habit to read the synopsis or the blurb on the back/inside cover of a book before reading the story itself. As you can imagine, this often takes away the surprise and the suspense inside the pages. But this being a Heyer novel, I sat down to enjoy it without bothering to read the story. This was particularly unusual for me as this is one Heyer novel I had never read before, or at least I don't remember reading it ever. If I had, I wouldn't have been so surprised with the way it ended, which was lovely beyond words!

Kitty, Freddy, Jack and almost every other character in this book sparkle with a joy of life that's as effervescent as it is unique. Only Heyer could write a book that's so filled with interesting characters and situations, where the reader is kept in the dark who the protagonists are despite them being right there under their very own noses, practically falling in love before their eyes.

In Short

If you read just one Heyer book, make it this one!


Buy the Book - here.
Visit the Author's site - here.
Visit the Publisher - here.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Allbookclubs.com

Book is very important to us especially for those people that are required to use or to buy a book .for, example the students, the student need to have a book for their studies because that is one of their medium in school and it is required for them to have a book so that they can easily to understand their lessons through read or use it when they are at home or even if it is their siesta time. And book is one of their medium for them to be guided, it can widen their knowledge. I can say that book is a very big help for the students because without books students will hardly understand their lessons and it can even made them into lack of knowledge because they are just depending on what the teacher told or discuss on them.

Also, books are very important for the teachers because it is where the teachers get their lessons for his/her students and it is one of their guide through using the books in teaching and we all know that some of our learning’s in our life is on the book that’s why book is very useful, has a big help and it is very important to us. If we go to mall or go to the bookstore just to buy the book that we needed, we need to have a time just to find the book and buy it. There is a site were they sell books like spanish language books and more.

The website sell various books like for fiction books they have: Science Fiction Mystery  Horror Historical Romance for women and kids books they have: Passion & Love Romance  Romance & Suspense  Relations & Self-Help For Kids for educational books they have: Cooking, Dieting  Cooking, Dieting   Business & Career Hobbies Home Style Travel & Nature  Self–Improvement  History & Military  and lastly they also sell for special interest books like: Gay  Sex & Erotica Spirituality Spirituality. In his site you can buy the book that you want to have without any hustle, you cant spend a lot of time just to find the book that you are going to but and in this site you can afford to but their books because it is affordable and they have a promo for every categories of books. So, what are you waiting for?! Join now in allbookclubs.com and get the book that you want to have!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Read Kiddo Read

PhotobucketI've always been a bookworm. It was so natural for me that I never gave it a second thought. And since becoming a parent, I've been happy at the thought of sharing this wonder of losing oneself in a well-written story with my child. But as any parent will tell you, that's not always an easy task. With TV, Wii, Xbox, Internet and countless other more attractive distractions (and not to mention peer pressure), it's getting more and more difficult to get children interested in reading these days, no matter what the age. But according to the 2008 Kids and Family Reading Report by Yankelovich and Scholastic, despite 80% of parents wanting their kids to read for fun, most kids claim there aren’t enough really good books for their age group.


To address this very challenge, author James Patterson has recently launched a new website, www.readkiddoread.com, in order to give kids of all ages access to truly great books. Whether you are still enjoying picture books with your baby or have an older child reading at an advanced level, ReadKiddoRead acts as a resource for finding the best books. Each featured book, hand-selected by Patterson, includes a synopsis, related themes, quotes from critics, links to find the book in any number of locations (including local libraries), and even similar suggested reads.

In addition, the website provides resources for finding book discounts and promotions, features interviews and contributions from authors and celebrities, and even allows members to connect with each other via a Ning community. Providing kids with a love of and appreciation for books gives them something that will remain with them throughout their lives, and this resource helps make that possible. Plus, if anyone can get even the most reluctant readers interested in great stories, it’s James Patterson. You can find more about this from Patterson himself - here.

Having visited the site, I can honestly state that there's a great many recommendations there that I'm eager to try out for my child. So, if whether you're just looking for a great new book for your child or trying to find something similar to a favorite read, just check out ReadKiddoRead.

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Monday, December 8, 2008

Innovative Monday - Edition 20

I've been sadly neglecting my Innovative Monday feature. But no more! Here's one to spin your books... and your senses :)

The Orbit Spinning Bookshelf by BONALDO


Priced at a whopping a price (£1250), this is one bookshelf that sure leaves me dizzy! I don't think the combined price of all the books this bookshelf can contain retails to that.

What do YOU think? Say your piece!
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Friday, December 5, 2008

Children's Book - Ivy & Bean's Secret Treasure Box

Ivy & Bean's Secret Treasure Box (Books 1-3)
By Annie Barrows
Illustrated by Sophie Blackall
Ages 6-10
Hardcover

Ivy and Bean's Treasure Box -- Meet Ivy and Bean, two friends who never meant to like each other. This boxed set is a delightful introduction to these spunky characters. It includes the first three books in the Ivy and Bean series, and a secret treasure-hiding box—with a cool surprise inside!

Annie Barrows has written many books for adults, but Ivy and Bean is her first series for kids. She lives in Northern California with her husband and two daughters.

Sophie Blackall is an Australian illustrator whose previous books include Ruby's Wish and Meet Wild Boars. She lives in New York.

In my opinion, it'll make a wonderful gift this Holiday season for the little bookworm in your life. So, check it out!

Buy the Book - here.
Visit Annie Barrows
Visit Sophie Blackall
Visit the Publisher - here.

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Children's Book - 3-D Atlas & World Tour


3-D Atlas & World Tour
By Marie Javins
96 pp ; full-color throughout, with 2 pairs of 3-D glasses embedded in front cover, ages 7-14
Hardcover

3-D World Atlas and Tour -- Much more than an atlas, this book is a virtual travel experience! It includes more than 40 maps, 30 feature articles on impressive places, and more than 50 eye-popping 3-D photos of the world's most interesting sights. Readers visit the Grand Canyon, look down from the top of the Eiffel Tower, "snorkel" in the Great Barrier Reef, peek inside a blue ice cave in Antarctica, and more! Physical maps are also rendered in 3-D, so mountains bulge out from the page.

Make learning fun with this book. Meant for children, this book will even intrigue adults with not just the information in the pages within but also due to the 3d effect which literally gives it a new dimension. Fun and educational, I'd recommend this book for your holiday book buy list for the younger bookworm.

About the Author

Marie Javins is a writer, comic-book editor, and world traveler who, in 2001, made a complete lap around the globe using ships, trains, buses, and other kinds of surface transportation (almost entirely without planes!). Since then she has lived in Australia, Spain, Uganda, Namibia, Kuwait, Egypt, New Jersey, and New York.

Buy the Book - here.
Visit the Author's site - here.
Visit the Publisher - here.

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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Mrs. Claus Explains It All - Review and Giveaway!


By Christi Love
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Every year millions of letters to Santa reach the North Pole. Many are requests for presents. And many letters have questions about Santa, the elves and workshops, the reindeer, and, of course, the North Pole.

Now Mrs. Claus has her own gift for you - for the first time ever, she's taking a break from her very busy schedule to answer real questions from children of all ages. Join her on a tour of the North Pole and learn some of the best kept secrets of Christmas from the person who knows it all - Mrs. Claus!

* How does Santa get into my house if we don't have a chimney?
* What is Santa's favorite kind of cookie?
* Where do elves come from?
* Can all reindeer fly?

Beautifully illustrated by David Wenzel, bestselling illustrator of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, this picture book reveals the answers to the questions children always ask - and they're all answered by the woman who knows the most: Mrs. Claus!

About the Author
Christi Love created her list of questions for Santa by posing as Mrs. Claus at various events across the country. She firmly believes in the magic of Christmas and especially of the stories that involve Santa Claus. She frequently tours as Mrs. Claus, collecting more questions from children to answer.

David Wenzel is an extraordinary illustrator and children's book artist, best known for illustrating the bestselling Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and his visualization of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, illustrated in graphic novel format.

Review

Just in time for the holidays, comes along this delightful book that just begs to be read! To be frank, I myself looked forward to reading this book and I wasn't disappointed! The book answered some of the questions swirling around in my own mind, rather than that of my toddler who just knows Santa brings gifts. He's too young for questions, but when they come, I look forward to sharing this book with him. He did sit with me as I read this, and he was delighted by the bold illustrations and we had fun identifying the various objects in the pictures.

It's a magical book to be sure, and if you know a kid who comes up questions about Santa that perplex you, then be sure to get a copy of this book! It'll make an ideal gift for both parent and child!

Photobucket
GIVEAWAY

The Prize

Thanks to Sourcebooks, 2 lucky readers of this blog will each win a copy of this book!

To Enter
  • Just leave a comment including your email address telling me : What is the one question about Santa or Christmas that's gone unanswered for you (or your kid)?
    Note - The question cannot be one I've mentioned in this post.
  • You can comment once per day, asking a new question (and including your email address each time) every time.
  • In case of duplicate questions, only the first comment with that question will be considered. So please check (CTRL+F) to see if your question has already been asked.
  • If there's no email address included inside your comment, then that comment won't be considered. Put in the format "xyz at abc.com" to avoid spammers.
For Extra Entries

You may do one or all of the following. Each counts as one extra entry.
Please leave a NEW comment for each extra entry you do.
  • Mention this giveaway on your blog/site mentioning A Book Blogger's Diary, and with a link back to this post and to the Sponsor.
  • Be a confirmed Subscriber of this blog's Feed via email.
  • Add my button to your blog/site's sidebar and leave me a new comment letting me know where it can be found. (If you already have it up, mention that in your comment).
  • Follow Me on Twitter. Then tweet this giveaway and copy me (@ callmeabookworm) on it.
  • Become a follower of this blog - Link - and mention that in a new comment.
Deadline   Midnight CST of  December 16th.

Eligibility  US & Canada only.

Note:
  • Winner must respond with their full name and address to the notifying email within 3 days of it being sent or a new winner will be chosen.
  • The Sponsor will take care of the actual mailing of the prize.
  • Disclaimer
Good luck!

Buy the Book - here.
Visit the Publisher - here.

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Kelley Armstrong Book Winners

I meant to have this up yesterday, but got caught up in all the Monday madness and forgot!

Without further ado, here are the 2 lucky winners of the Kelley Armstrong Book Giveaway.

mommy2skie@...
beausdorei@...

CONGRATULATIONS! You've each won a copy of Kelley Armstrong's Living with the Dead (Women of the Otherworld, Book 9) 

Thanks you all for participating. Hope you've subscribed. It's the best way to be kept updated of all the latest reviews, Giveaways and winners!

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