Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Seduce the Darkness by Gena Showalter - Review & Giveaway

Seduce the Darkness ~ Gena Showalter
416 p, Simon & Schuster

The war between otherworlders and humans changed Earth beyond recognition. It also saved Bride McKells's life. Before, the gorgeous vampire was a target for every fanatic with a stake and a crucifix. Now, she's free to roam the streets -- and desperate to find others of her kind. One man claims to have the answers she seeks. Devyn, King of the TarMgons, is a warrior and a womanizer, and he makes no secret of how much he wants Bride -- and how dangerous he could be to her in every way.

An avid collector of women, Devyn easily seduces human and otherworlder alike. Until now. Not only does Bride resist him, but she leaves Devyn feeling something entirely new...a bone-deep need bordering on obsession. Her blood is the key to curing a vicious alien disease, but helping Bride uncover her origins will compel her to choose between electrifying passion and a destiny that could tear her from Devyn's side forever.

Gena Showalter is accomplished at spinning stories filled with action and sex and this book's no exception. More than Bride, it's Devyn who alternately charms and makes the reader laugh with his incorrigibility. His hedonism could have been a turnoff if not for the justification provided for it in the prologue. Bride's character is one who's quick and smart-mouthed, with surprising powers (not to mention an intriguing name) and most of all, she's noble. And that's just plain irresistible to both readers and Devyn himself. They bring out both the best and the worst in each other and the process is just plain fun.

Heated sexual tension scorches the pages - so much so that it overpowers the story time and again. Despite that, a reader can't help but be intrigued by an Earth where everything is new and different, where aliens are part of our lives and what's common for us now is all rare and strange. One of the things I most liked about this book is that while it's book 4 in the Alien Huntress series, it feels like a stand-alone story. A reader like myself who hasn't read the rest of this series can only glean about the other books from the conversations and interactions of the other intriguing characters. I appreciated the subtlety and it made me crave to read the other stories as well.

In short, Seduce the Darkness is fast and intriguing fun and well worth reading.

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GIVEAWAY

The Prize

A copy of this book will go to one lucky reader.

To Enter
  • Just leave a comment with your email address in the body of the comment itself telling me : which book of Gena Showalter is your favorite and why.
  • Please list your email address within your comment so that you can be notified should you be chosen as a winner.
For Extra Entries

Please leave a NEW comment for each extra entry you do.


Deadline   Midnight CST of July 15, 2009.

Eligibility  US only.

Please read the Disclaimer

Good luck!
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Monday, June 29, 2009

Author Guest Post - Dr. Lew Hamburger

Readers, please join me welcoming Dr. Lew Hamburger, author of Don't Have the Willpower? (Motivational short book on getting things done in life.) who will be guest blogging here today!

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Entitlement Epidemic
Look around and you'll see a lot of people—young and old—who want what they want when they want it.  And, the vast majority feel they are owed this!  Where’d did this thinking come from?  I'm not sure, but well-meaning parents probably paved the way by simply wanting a better life for their kids.  Somewhere along the line that got turned into “more or better things"—cars, TV’s, phones, computers, vacations.

You can speculate whether this is in response to the rising rate of both parents working, more people working two jobs, rising divorce rates, the internet, advertising, and a host of other variables.  It really doesn’t matter where it came from.  What matters is to recognize that life is not fair or equitable.

The solution to this way of thinking is to decide that we’re the sculptors of our lives and we can stop whining about what we’re entitled to and begin working on ourselves to earn what we need to subsist and then what we need to be fulfilled.  You must work to be the person you want to be.

Sound simple?  I believe it is.  But just because it’s not complicated doesn’t mean it’s easy.  You actually need to sit down and look at your goals and how to reach them.  Then you need to work at it and practice it over and over.  The accepted number of repititions required to master a task or art is 10,000 times--whether it’s pitching, dancing, playing an instrument, or on the football field.

Nobody is entitled to anything in this world.  You must earn it and you must decide whether you want to stay in the mindset that everyone owes you or that you owe it to yourself to be the best person you can be.

Dr. Lew Hamburger
Can't Find the Willpower?
http://www.eloquentbooks.com/CantFindTheWillpower.html

Thank you for that post, dear Author! Readers, your thoughts / comments are most welcome.

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Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Conversation with Christi Phillips

Christi Phillips is the author of The Rossetti Letter, an historical novel set in seventeenth-century Venice that has been translated into seven languages. Her newest novel, The Devlin Diary, takes place in 1672 London and present-day Cambridge. The main character, Hannah Devlin, is a female physician who attends Charles II’s mistress while a killer is stalking the members of his court.

1. Why did you set The Devlin Diary in the place and time that you did?

The Restoration Era—which begins in 1660 and ends in 1685, essentially the reign of Charles II—can be thought of as the 1960s of the seventeenth century. Both eras ushered in sweeping social changes, a heightened creativity in the arts and sciences, and greater freedom for women. There was also lots of sex, drinking, drugs, and really, really bad behavior, which makes for great stories.

2. Your novel is tremendously engaging and can easily be read in one sitting. Claire and Hannah go through a whirlwind through the course of the book. Did you work on the book for a long time or finish it very quickly?

In the broad scheme of things, it didn’t take long: a little over two years. But there were occasions when it felt like much longer. I have a (completely unproven) theory that the natural limit of the human attention span is nine months. Anything that takes longer than that really begins to feel like work.

3. The characters in your novels seem so vibrant – from your protagonists Hannah and Claire to minor characters such as Seamus Murphy and Mr. Pilford. How do you manage to breathe life into such a wide and varied group of characters?

For the historical characters, researching the period is crucial. The more research you do, the more you have to draw upon. Conflict is always key when it comes to character. Whether historical or modern, characters who “breathe” usually want something. They want it very much, and some sort of obstacle keeps them from getting it. From this conflict, all action arises—and characters reveal themselves through their actions.

4. As you relate in your author’s note, much of the book is centered on actual history. What was your research process like?

I started with general English history, so I could understand how the past lead up to the Restoration. Then I read books on the seventeenth century and the Restoration, and numerous biographies of the people of the time—Charles II, Pepys, the Cabal (Charles’s ministers), Thomas Sydenham, and many others—and books on seventeenth-century medicine. For The Devlin Diary, I relied primarily on books aimed at a general reader—popular works, not scholarly articles—many of which are listed in the author’s note. I also relied on reprints of seventeenth-century works: Aubrey’s Lives, The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Culpeper’s Herbal, The London Spy. I have found that anecdotal history is usually more helpful for creating stories and characters than, say, an academic treatise. To write an historical novel, it’s essential to learn about the people: their occupations, their passions, their concerns, as well as what they wear, what they eat, what they admire, what they believe. Restoration London by Liza Picard and 1700: Scenes from London Life by Maureen Waller are two wonderful compilations of the revealing details of everyday life, and they were invaluable.

A sense of place is also very important to me. I went on a two-week research trip to London and Cambridge and toured the sites I would be writing about. I also went to the British Library where I could take a close look at some of the primary sources for the books I’d already read. In the Rare Manuscript room, I examined the Clifford Papers, which includes an early draft of the Secret Treaty and letters exchanged between Charles II and Louis XIV. They’re considered so valuable that I was asked to sit at a desk where I could be watched over by two librarians, and I was not allowed to leave them alone for any length of time.

I also visited museums for background information. The Old Operating Theatre in London was particularly helpful. It’s this wonderful old attic decked out like an apothecary’s garret, with alembics, jars of dried frog legs and bird beaks and so on, adjacent to a Victorian operating theatre. It’s called a theatre because it actually is a theatre; it’s a small amphitheatre made of wood, with stair-stepped bleachers overlooking the floor upon which stands only one item: the operating table. The table is not very big, about two-and-a-half feet wide by four feet long, because only the unfortunate patient’s torso was situated on the table; his or her limbs were held by the surgeon’s assistants. The operating table reminded me, rather nauseatingly, of a butcher block table. Next to the theatre is a lovely display of really gruesome antique surgical instruments.

5. What authors do you enjoy reading?

A short list of my favorite historical authors:
  • Iain Pears
  • David Liss
  • Philip Kerr
  • Rose Tremain
  • Arturo Perez-Reverte
  • Sarah Dunant
6. Do you have plans for your next book?

Yes, I’m already working on it. My next novel will be set entirely in the past, in seventeenth-century France.

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Thank you for that engaging Q&A, dear Author! Readers, your thoughts / comments are most welcome.


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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Review - The Lace Makers of Glenmara by Heather Barbieri

The Lace Makers of Glenmara by Heather Barbieri
288p, Harper, ISBN-10: 0061721557

This book is a simple but poignant story of women who're brought together and later on, uplifted through the art of lace-making. Seattle resident Kate Robinson, is on a hiking tour of Ireland to recover from the triple loss of her career as a designer, her mother to cancer and her boyfriend to a backstabbing friend. Her wounded soul finds a measure of solace when she wanders into the picturesque but ailing town of Glenmara.

Widowed and alone, Bernie is one of the women of the local Lace Maker's Society and she's the first one to feel that Kate is destined to change her life and indeed all of their lives. She invites Kate to stay with her. Together the women of the society are inspired to create exquisite lingerie with their lace besides the traditional items. In a place like Glenmara, where things are still done as they have been done for centuries, where the people are very close to their pasts, the women's bold enterprise of lacy lingerie is a shocking new development which threatens to unleash a spate of events that will change all their lives.

The story moves at a slow pace, but that's not a drawback as it suits the sleepy, decaying ambiance of Glenmara and gradual metamorphosis the characters begin to undergo with catalyst Kate's arrival. The changing of the lace heralds a change in the outlook of the women themselves and that makes for interesting reading. From Kate looking for a new life to Oona seeking a new self-image, there are plenty of emotional and courageous moments. Not everybody gets a happy ending, but that's true to real life and feels like it. The characterizations themselves are excellent, and the author skilfully captures the individuality of each woman while depicting the women as a whole in the form of the Lace Maker's Society. Which brings me another important feature of this book, the LACE. It's literally the thread that binds all these myriad storylines together to form a strong core. There are also plenty of local characters who add color, personality and yes, humor to the story. Glenmara is representative of Ireland and the Irish themselves, it's history and how the modern life has affected it is also thoughtfully presented.

One aspect I really liked was that while Glenmara might not have all the modern conveniences like a WiFi network, that doesn't mean the villagers aren't technologically savvy; even if it means going to another nearby town to get internet connection or launch an email blast to advertise their business. The humorous crime beat of the local Gaelic newspaper is another thing I found enjoyable in this book.

I did find some cons with the book, though they aren't the kind to make me put the book down. The major one was that between one event to the other, there is rarely a mention of the time elapsed and this confused me time and again. Where I'd have thought a couple of days went by, it turned out weeks had elapsed and vice versa. Perhaps it was done deliberately as a plot ploy by the author to imply that time stood still in Glenmara, but sadly it didn't work for me. One other thing was the way Kate settles into Bernie's home and life with nary a discussion or an argument for or against Kate's staying between Kate and Bernie themselves. This is the same when some other incidents happen and while the readers are shown the responses/thoughts of the individuals separately, we're not shown their collective response or even shown them discussing it amongst themselves which I'd have thought natural. But, like I said before, these cons are just some irritating jerks interrupting the smooth flow of the story, and not enough to dismiss this book out of hand.

To sum up, The Lace Makers of Glenmara is a warm, poignant narrative that beautifully encompasses change and emotional upheaval in the lives and loves of women and with them, the land itself.


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Friday, June 26, 2009

Author Guest Post - Sandy Lender

Today I'm pleased to welcome Sandy Lender, author of Choices Meant for Gods. Her guest post here today is part of this book's virtual tour, courtesy Goddess Fish Promotions.

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Prostitutes and Other Biblical Influences in Choices Meant for Gods
By Fantasy Author Sandy Lender

After I’d prepared a couple of guest blogs for this online book tour, I realized folks might get the impression that CHOICES MEANT FOR GODS was a religious treatise disguised as fantasy. Maybe it had a bunch of didactic speeches hidden inside. Nope. It’s actually a little surprising that a good li’l Southern Baptist like myself could come up with the gnarly evil beasties and double-crossing back-stabbing bad boys that I did for this pagan glimpse into a polytheistic society. But, then, my great grandmother used to tell me the Bible was full of those cool kinds of stories…In fact, it’s the story of a prostitute who helped a couple God-fearing travelers in the book of Joshua that inspired an important element of CHOICES MEANT FOR GODS.

Let me explain.

First of all, CHOICES MEANT FOR GODS is pure fantasy. I made up everything that’s in it. I created the world of Onweald and the different races you find there. We have humans to make life easier on the reader, but we also have the Ungol—an artistic, underground, humanoid race that we meet late in the first novel of my series. I developed demons with dubious backgrounds. I designed a map that my talented friend Megan Kissinger crafted into a masterpiece of a map, which you can see at the Worlds link on my new Web site. And I dreamed up a hierarchy of gods, lesser gods, nobility to serve them in their city/land of Mahriket, and priests to guide people in offering them types of prayers in their temples in the mortal world of Onweald.

Here’s the part I want everyone to focus on: I made this all up. For as much as I tease and pretend that Chariss and Nigel and Master Rothahn speak to me, these “gods” aren’t real and aren’t based on our true God or Trinity. So, to keep confusion out of the picture, I had to work in some obvious differences between Onweald’s religious system and ours. And considering how many religious systems we have on Earth today…well…I’m sure I mirrored a few in some aspects, but strayed from others in other aspects. Hopefully no one’s offended by a polytheistic society where the highest active god is an arrogant, pig-headed (but very handsome) man who thinks more of Himself than His followers and who finds Himself humbled by a 20-year-old girl who’s probably going to save His bacon.

But back to the prostitute, right? In the second chapter of the book of Joshua in the Old Testament, a harlot named Rahab hides a couple of fellas whom Joshua sent to spy on her land. They ask her not to tell the soldiers out looking for them where they are and in return, she asks them to spare her and her family when the Isrealites march in and take the land that God is going to give them. (oh-so-brief summary) The story inspired me to give my heroine, Chariss, a couple of unexpected friends in the CHOICES trilogy. Adelaide and Lydia are life partners in Arcana City who make their living working in Madame Reen’s establishment. That establishment is a house of earthly pleasures, if you catch my drift. As it turns out, Adelaide and Lyddy used to be favorites of Nigel Taiman a few years back, when he was a bit of a rogue. He’s settled down and minds his manners by the time we meet him in CHOICES MEANT FOR GODS, but Adelaide and Lydia still have their jobs and Chariss needs their information. By Book II, they play another role in espionage. By Book III, Chariss’s influence has more members of the Taiman family trusting the ladies for help as well. Maybe it’s a strange friendship for a young lady who’s been appointed The Protector of the highest active god in society, but Chariss knows how to make trustworthy allies, just like the men in Joshua 2.

Thank you for stopping in today and thank you to A Book Blogger's Diary for hosting me!

“Some days, I just want the dragon to win.”

Thank you for that entertaining post, dear Author! Readers, your thoughts / comments are most welcome.

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Book Excerpt - Beyond the Code of Conduct

Beyond the Code of Conduct by K. M. Daughters (180p, The Wild Rose Press)

About the Book
FBI Agency Brass and Sullivan family connections force Special Agent Bobbie Leighton into an undercover operation with inactive Homicide Detective Joe Sullivan. Posing as a cattleman and his arm-candy wife the couple is assigned to infiltrate NY attorney Bradley Sterling’s illegal operation. Suspected of baby trafficking, Sterling maybe be connected with Joe’s brother, Jimmy Sullivan’s murder. How do Bobbie and Joe adhere to their professional code of conduct living under the same roof? Can they forget their personal history, ignore their volatile feelings for each other and ensnare their target when they might be next on Sterling’s victims list?

About the Author
K.M. Daughters is the multi-published writing team of sisters Pat Casiello and Kathie Clare. Their author career began in January 2008 with contracts from The Wild Rose Press for an inspirational romance, Jewel of the Adriatic, and a romantic suspense novel, Against Doctors Orders, Book #1 in The Sullivan Boys Series. You can visit their website at www.kmdaughters.com. Follow them at http://twitter.com/kmdaughters!

Excerpt

“You want hot? I’ll give you hot.” In one swift motion she picked up a mug off the table and whipped it towards him, a perfect strike.

Lucky for him he still held his jacket in his hand. He swept it up like a toreador in front of his face. The coat took the brunt of the hit, but hot liquid splattered on his hands.

“Ouch. Damn. Stop it.” He dropped the wet coat on the floor. His hands burned and he wiped them on his thighs to stop the heat. It had the opposite effect on his arousal.

She batted her eyes around, apparently for something else to throw at him and tugged at the pillow on the back of the sofa. When it didn’t give, she hopped up on the seat cushion and tugged at it harder. If she realized how seductive she looked, she’d stop doing that. A glimpse of lace panties made him groan.

“Honey, add a sorority sister and a little water on the front of your T-shirt and you have everyman’s wet dream. You’re killing me here.”

The fury mounted on her face and he laughed.

She stepped down from the couch and stormed off to the kitchen.

“I’m sorry. I’m not laughing at you.” No response from the kitchen.

Gathering together the launched items, he stacked the books and magazines on the coffee table and tucked her shoes beneath. He kicked off his shoes and placed them in a neat pair next to hers before settling on the couch.

It’s fun to goad her. “While you’re in there could you grab me a beer?”

Realizing a little too late why she had marched to the kitchen, a plate swished past inches from his ear and crashed against the bookcase.

“Damn.” The next plate hit him in the shoulder. “What is wrong with you? Stop it.”

“What is wrong with me? With me? You take off. Leave me here alone to face the home inspection. And you are stupid enough to ask me what is wrong with me?” Each sentence was punctuated with the crash of a dish around him.

Hands empty, she disappeared again, surely on her way to stock up on ammo.

This Book Excerpt is part of the book's virtual tour, courtesy Pump Up Your Book Promotion.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Author Guest Post - Joy Nash

Readers, please join me welcoming Author Joy Nash who will be guest blogging here today!

Summer musings lead to a summer romance novel!
By Joy Nash

Summer has always been my favorite season of the year. I love the long days, the nice weather, the school’s-out feeling, the abundant flowers and vegetables growing in my garden, and the sense of limitless possibilities. And of course, the beach! Which, to me, is synonymous with the Jersey Shore.

I met my first serious boyfriend one summer at the Jersey Shore, when I was sixteen. And while that kid is long gone, (I wonder what he’s doing now? Note to self: look him up on Facebook), the magic of a summer romance is a feeling that’s always stayed with me.

I spent a lot of time at the shore as a kid--and I still manage to get back for at least a week every summer with my own kids. So it’s no wonder I’ve set my first contemporary romance, A Little Light Magic (Leisure Books, June 09), at the Jersey Shore.

Nick Santangelo is a guy who takes his responsibilities to his family seriously. He owns a contracting business he inherited from his deceased father. He worries about his widowed mother, who’s entering some kind of menopausal mid-life crisis. His teenage daughter, who was born when Nick was just eighteen, constantly ties his not-very-well-expressed emotions in knots. And if that’s not enough, Nick’s hands are full watching out for his nonna, a sweet little old Italian lady with a penchant for shoplifting.

The very last thing Nick needs is in his life is another crazy woman. But that’s just what he gets when a favor for a friend has him agreeing to an after-hours carpentry job he absolutely doesn’t have time for. Tori Morgan claims she changed Nick’s mind about renovating her New Age shop by lighting a candle magic spell; Nick knows that’s ridiculous. But he can’t help being taken in by Tori’s free-spirited ways. As long as he’s careful to keep his social life and his family life separate, everything should work out fine. If only it was that easy…

I had such fun writing this book! I want it to be a mini-summer vacation for everyone who reads it. J To make the summer magic seem even more real, I sent Nick and Tori to the quirky, real life places in and around Atlantic City, New Jersey. If you can’t get to the Jersey Shore this summer, I hope you’ll take the tour on my website, www.joynash.com! (You definitely don’t want to miss the six-story wooden elephant!) While you’re browsing, take time to enter my monthly contest. Who knows, the Jersey Shore might be coming to you this summer, in the form of a box of genuine Shriver’s Fudge and Salt Water Taffy.

Happy Summer Reading!

Joy

Thank you for that entertaining post, dear Author! Readers, your thoughts / comments are most welcome.
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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Book Excerpt - The Pyewiz and the Amazing Mobile Phone by H. H. Jones

The Pyewiz and the Amazing Mobile Phone by H. H. Jones
532 p, YouWriteOn, ISBN: 9781849230278
ABOUT THE BOOK:

Schoolboy Terry Mctrain thinks the new tenant in his parent’s guesthouse is strange. Stranger still is the reason why she is here. Then Terry learns about a twin brother he never knew he had, kidnapped by a pirate wizard years ago. Baffled by all this, Terry realizes there’s a mystery to be solved, and a secret to be uncovered. But when he discovers that the fate of the world is also in his hands, he wonders. Could this turn into the adventure of a lifetime?

EXCERPT:
“Ouch!” Terry McTrain screwed up his face in agony. The sharp point of the other boy’s cutlass nicked his shoulder, and blood oozed through the jagged tear in his shirt. His mum would go crazy!

The boy he was fighting was a good swordsman. If Terry wasn’t careful he would end up with another wound.

He swished his own weapon ambitiously through the air, but missed his opponent by a mile. It gave the strangely familiar boy a chance to jab him in the belly, and this time it really hurt. Terry dropped his own cutlass in shock. More blood, even redder than before, oozed through his shirt.

Shaking, he reached down to unbutton it, but found himself grabbing the edge of the blanket instead. With a start he sat up in bed and looked round. He had been dreaming!

Still shaking slightly, he let out a long slow relieved breath and glanced over at the clock on the desk by his bed. It was nearly seven, time to get up. Then almost against his will, his eyes came to rest on the mess of papers next to the computer. Homework! Tons of it and his form master wanted it handed in today.

But this was simply not possible, unless he did it on the bus. Unfortunately the journey to school only took twenty minutes, which was hardly enough time to think about the homework, let alone do it. Terry got out of bed, his mind pondering. He would just have to think of an excuse.

“Where is it?” said Mr Ibsen, his form master, after class had been dismissed that afternoon.

“Where’s what, sir?” said Terry playing for time and gaining three more seconds.

His form master grinned humourlessly. “Don’t be cute with me, McTrain. You know what.”

Terry was just going reply but Mr Ibsen interrupted him. “I’m afraid it will have to be detention for you, young man. This is the third time this week that you haven’t handed in any homework!”

“But Mr Ibsen, sir,” replied Terry worriedly. “I had to help my parents clear out a room in our guest house for a new tenant. I was going to do the essay on the bus this morning, but I was too tired.

His form master glared at Terry in a most horrible way. “Did you say on the bus?”

Terry face reddened.

Mr Ibsen shook his head. “You’re not supposed to do your homework on the bus, now are you? Homework is work that you do at home. Schoolwork is work that you do at school..”

“Yes Mr Ibsen.

“If we wanted you to do your homework on the bus, we wouldn’t call it homework, now would we?”

“No sir,”

“You had a week to do the essay on Victorian children’s classics,” continued Mr Ibsen.

“And it was easy enough, to compare any two popular children’s stories of your choice. And I only wanted a page.”

Terry nodded, badly wishing he had done the essay last night, instead of watching that talent show with his best friend Will.

“You’ve got one more chance McTrain,” said Mr Ibsen rising from his desk and packing his briefcase. “I want the essay on my desk promptly at nine am tomorrow, or you’ll be kept behind to do it in your own time.”

“Yes sir, thank you sir,” said Terry.

“And what’s the matter with your left eye?” demanded his form master giving him a strange look. “You don’t wear mascara, do you?”

“Mascara, sir? No!” said Terry completely bemused by his teacher’s comment.

Mr Ibsen frowned. “Its your eye, its gone a funny colour!”

“Has it?” said Terry rubbing his eyelid.

“Go and wash it off!” said Mr Ibsen striding out of the classroom with his briefcase. “And read my lips, homework on my desk, nine o’clock tomorrow, no excuses!”

“Yes sir,” said Terry. He followed Mr Ibsen out of the class room and then went home.

This Book Excerpt is part of the book's virtual tour, courtesy Pump Up Your Book Promotion.

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Stunned: The New Generation ... - Excerpt and Giveaway!

*** Winner - Amanda (oheyoore@...) ***

Stunned: The New Generation of Women Having Babies, Getting Angry, and Creating a Mothers' Movement ~ Karen Bridson (246p, HCI Books, ISBN-10: 0757307833)

About the Book: The 1970S' Feminist Movement changed a lot for women. It paved the way for a generation of girls who could largely do and be all that the boys could do and be. But now those girls are becoming mothers themselves and realizing things aren't so equal after all.

In Stunned, journalist Karen Bridson explores how women today may have the right to achieve what their fathers achieved, but are expected to do it while doing most of what their mothers did too.As a result, women are angry about the inequality inside their homes and are beginning to see how sexism beyond the domestic realm has never really been fully erased at all. From grander-than-ever domestic and mothering standards to the financial and professional setback motherhood brings, there's a whole lot leaving women stunned these days.

Stunned is a call to action to women to finish the jobs their mothers' generation started. It's about recognizing that the way things are structured isn't in women's favor—even today—and deciding to do something about it. Stunned lets women know they are not alone, that things shouldn't be the way they are, and that change is possible.

Excerpt:

With an increasing number of women working outside of the home today, the inequality of labor within the home is even more intensely felt.The second-job’s worth of work that working women come home to at the end of the day was dubbed “the second shift” by feminist and author Arlie Hochschild in 1991. Taking it a step further in 1997, Hochschild defined the “the third shift” as recognizing, understanding, and coping with the emotional consequences of the compressed second shift. Let’s also not forget the nature of what we are talking about here.Washing, drying, folding, and putting away the laundry, vacuuming, mopping, dusting, scrubbing the toilet, shower, and tub, washing and putting away the dishes, cooking, tidying, organizing — the list goes on and on in a never-ending circle of work that’s simply never finished. Groundbreaking feminist author Simone deBeauvoir wrote, in The Second Sex, “Few tasks are more like the torture of Sisyphus (a king in Greek mythology who was punished by having to roll a boulder up a hill only to watch it roll down again over and over for all eternity) than housework, with its endless repetition: the clean house becomes soiled, the soiled is made clean, over and over, day after
day. The housewife wears herself out marking time: she makes nothing, simply perpetuates the present. She never senses conquest of a positive Good, but rather indefinite struggle against a negative evil. . . . the battle against dust and dirt is never won.”

When discussing the division of labor in the home, it is impossible to objectively measure who is doing more on a day-to-day, minute-to-minute basis. Moreover, most men do not acknowledge up front that they have no interest in sharing the workload. The resistance (as described below) is usually far more subtle than that.

In Ann Crittenden’s brilliant must-read The Price of Motherhood: Why the Most Important Job in the World is Still the Least Valued, she talks about a common, but until recently, undefined male syndrome that she calls “the where game.” Crittenden explains it as an affliction that perfectly intelligent, even highly-educated men suddenly suffer from after marriage or parenthood. The scenario goes something like this: Woman asks man to help her by doing something. He says, “Well, where is it?” An example would be on a night that my husband isn’t happy about taking our son to bed, he’ll often shout out, “Well, where are his pyjamas?” A man may have studied at the doctoral level, he may oversee 250 people at work, he may even have invented some of the great inventions of the twentieth century, but suddenly, when his partner asks him to do something, he needs her help finding the thing in question. The truth is, as admitted to me by many a man, this is their way of making it less likely for the woman to ask for his help in the future. Instead, she’ll simply do the chores herself. Every woman knows what I am talking about. And even more sadly, too many men do, too.


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GIVEAWAY

The Prize

A copy of this book will go to one lucky reader.

To Enter
  • Just leave a comment with your email address in the body of the comment itself telling me : why you want to win this book. Easy as that!
  • Please list your email address within your comment so that you can be notified should you be chosen as a winner.
For Extra Entries

Please leave a NEW comment for each extra entry you do.


Deadline   Midnight CST of July 11, 2009.

Eligibility  US only.

Please read the Disclaimer

Good luck!
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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father’s Day book Giveaway

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Dads and Grads Book Giveaway:
The Nine Lessons By Kevin Milne ISBN: 159995074X
Do-Over! By Robin Hemley ISBN: 0316020605
The Man's Book By Thomas Fink ISBN: 0316033642
Ghostwriter By Travis Thrasher ISBN: 0446505587
An Honorable German By Charles McCain ISBN: 0446538981
The Richest Man in Town By W. Randall Jones ISBN: 0446537837
Lincoln on Leadership By Donald Phillips ISBN: 0446394599
Outliers By Malcolm Gladwell ISBN: 0316017922

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One lucky reader will get all these books, courtesy our generous sponsor, Hachette Books!
Note : Sponsor will not mail to PO Boxes.

To Enter
  • Just leave a comment with your email address in the body of the comment itself telling me about a book you've given or received for Father's Day / Graduation gift.
  • Don't forget to include your email address at the end of your comment so that you can be notified should you be chosen the lucky winner. Put it in the format abc AT xyz DOT com to evade spammers.
For Extra Entries

Please leave a NEW comment for each extra entry you do.


Deadline   Midnight CST of July 31, 2009.

Eligibility  US & Canada only.

Please read the Disclaimer

Good luck!
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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Father's Day Book Recommendations - Part 3

Here's another round of Books for Dad!

*****  *****  *****

A brilliant new novel about fathers and sons and the dangers of modern life by “one of the most literary of America’s crime writers” (Associated Press) is The Way Home by George Pelecanos.


Christopher Flynn is trying to get it right. After years of trouble and rebellion that enraged his father and nearly cost him his life, he has a steady job in his father's company, he's seriously dating a woman he respects, and, aside from the distrust that lingers in his father's eyes, his mistakes are firmly in the past. ... more

*****  *****  *****

An Honorable German by Charles McCain : In the tradition of Das Boot and The Hunt for Red October comes a sweeping saga of World War II, featuring a heroic and conflicted German U-Boat commander.


When World War II begins, Max Brekendorf, a proud young German naval officer, fights for his country with honor and courage. With the unstoppable German war machine overrunning Europe, Max looks ahead to a bright future with his fiancée, Mareth. But as the war progresses, their future together becomes less and less certain. German victories begin to fade. In the North Atlantic, Max must face the increasing strength of the Allies on ever more harrowing missions. Berlin itself is savaged by bombing, making life for Mareth increasingly dangerous and desperate. And as the Third Reich steadily crumbles, Nazi loyalists begin to infiltrate Max's crew and turn their terror on Germany's own armed forces. Recognizing what his nation has become, Max is forced to make a choice between his own sense of morality, and his duty to the Reich.

With its stirring, rarely seen glimpse of the German home front during WWII, vivid characters, and evocation of the drama and terror of war at sea, An Honorable German is a suspense-filled story of adventure, of love and loss, and of honor and redemption.

*****  *****  *****
Kevin Alan Milne, author of The Paper Bag Christmas, shares a touching story about love, fatherhood, and second chances in his new book, The Nine Lessons: A Novel of Love, Fatherhood, and Second Chances.


August Witte is firmly against having children. But after seven years of marriage, his wife is delighted when she realizes she is unexpectedly pregnant. August is terrified, recognizing he never learned the first thing about being a good parent from his father London. A widower since August was a toddler, London has always valued the game of golf--a sport August has never had any talent for--more than his son.

In spite of how he hates the game, when August confronts his father, he finds himself agreeing to meet each month of the pregnancy for a round of golf. In exchange, London will give him the only thing that could make August agree to pick up a club again--memories of his mother, which he has written on golf scorecards since the day he met her. But August quickly realizes that his father's motive is not to teach him about golf, but to teach him about life--and he may discover that the old man just might know something about it worth sharing.

*****  *****  *****
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Friday, June 19, 2009

Blue Collar and Proud of It - Excerpt and Giveaway!

*** Winner - Joey (ajoebloe@...) ***

Blue Collar and Proud of It: The All-in-One Resource for Finding Freedom, Financial Success, and Security Outside the Cubicle by Joe Lamacchia (420 p, HCI Books, ISBN-10: 075730778)

About the Book: Joe Lamacchia found personal and professional success as the owner of a thriving landscaping company outside Boston. He created BlueCollarandProudofIt.com, a resource for people who want to find fulfilling work. Blue-collar workers build and maintain our bridges, keep our cars running, fix our plumbing, and provide vital services to every home—what Lamacchia calls “necessary jobs.”

Blue Collar & Proud of It: The All-In-One Resource for Finding Freedom, Financial Success, and Security Outside the Cubicle provides critical information needed to pursue a stable, enjoyable, well-paying job that makes a difference. Whether you’re just out of high school, have been a victim of downsizing, or are looking for a new direction, Lamacchia explains all the options, outlines the necessary training, and delivers real-world examples of people who have made their own way in the blue-collar world.

Book Excerpt:

INTRODUCTION

In case you haven’t guessed from the title of this book, I am blue collar and proud if it. I love to dig in the dirt, can’t sit still, and totally enjoy being outside all day long. I run a million-dollar landscaping business outside of Boston in an upscale suburb. I worked my way up the ladder; have five children, a beautiful house, and a wonderful wife; and I enjoy taking vacations with my family. I read the Wall Street Journal religiously and as many books as I can, and most of my TV watching consists of the National Geographic Channel and business shows.

For years I’ve been watching as my kids and other youngsters are told by their teachers and their guidance counselors that if they don’t go to college, they won’t succeed. I didn’t go to college, even though my family expected me to go. Frankly, I wouldn’t have made it to graduation, and I know I would have hated it. I respect college and the people who go, but for some reason, our society has a hard time accepting that college simply isn’t for everyone. I love learning and I haven’t stopped learning, but college isn’t the only way to learn.
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In July 2003, I started a website called BlueCollarandProudofIt.com because I was tired of watching guidance counselors, teachers, parents, and society in general push thousands of kids out of high school and into college, while many of them went kicking and screaming. I’ve watched as they went off to schools with no direction and no interest. Inevitably they started feeling worse about themselves in college—all while accumulating huge amounts of debt from the loans they took out to pay for their schooling. Consider that the average cost of college in 2008, including room and board, for in-state students at a four-year state institution was $14,203, according to the U.S.Census Bureau. And if you were headed to a private university, the average annual price tag was $38,400. Then, just think, if you drop out, you still owe that money, plus you have to start over and figure out what you want to do. That’s a lot of money, especially if you’re unsure of why you’re borrowing it in the first place.

I want more people to think about the alternatives and realize that you can be proud about going into a trade. A blue-collar career can be a choice that you feel good about as opposed to a fallback option. This is why I started my website: to provide some wisdom and encouragement and to add a different voice to the chorus of people who will tell you what to do with your life. This book persuades you to follow your own personal desires and tells you how to get the education or training you need, which might not be the education your parents and teachers are pushing you to get.

I’ve been amazed at how many people have e-mailed me from all over North America, excited to know that someone is advocating for them. I’ve heard from teachers who are happy to hear someone say that we should be proud of the kids who choose to make something of themselves in the trades, and I’ve heard from students who are afraid to tell their parents they don’t want to go to college. I’ve heard from adults who spent years in the white-collar world only to ultimately find their passion in blue-collar work.
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Wall Street jobs sound sexy and being a lawyer is impressive, but what if it’s not for you? There are incredible jobs available with amazing potential, challenging opportunities, and great pay. President Barack Obama has laid out a plan to create 2.5 million new jobs by January 2011, largely through rebuilding roads and bridges and refurbishing and modernizing schools across the country. In Los Angeles alone, a recent tax change was approved to fund a $1.2 billion overhaul of the city’s deteriorating commuter rail,Metrolink. These are all blue-collar jobs waiting to happen. What’s more, the renewable or alternative energy industries are estimating the creation of anywhere from 3 to 10 million new jobs in the next ten years.

Blue-collar workers built the United States, and we continue to build and rebuild it every day. We fix it, move it, and keep it operational twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. We are the glue that holds the community together, the people you call when your car breaks, your roads are full of potholes, and your faucet is leaking.

We are America’s backbone, and we are proud of it.

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GIVEAWAY

The Prize

A copy of this book will go to one lucky reader, courtesy HCI Books.

To Enter
  • Just leave a comment with your email address in the body of the comment itself telling me : why you want to win. Simple!
  • Please list your email address within your comment so that you can be notified should you be chosen as a winner.
For Extra Entries

Please leave a NEW comment for each extra entry you do.


Deadline   Midnight CST of July 8, 2009.

Eligibility  US only.

Please read the Disclaimer

Good luck!

______________________________________________________________________
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Father's Day Book Recommendations - Part 2

More books for Dad/GrandDad, from a child's perspective! 

*****  *****  *****

Be smitten by the sword! An extraordinary young artist brings the history of this noble weapon -- and its skillful masters -- into stunningly sharp relief.


Brave men and women have taken up the sword since ages of old, and a fascination with this formidable weapon grips dedicated followers to this day. Here is a celebration of swords and swordsmen that spans time and place -- from ancient warriors such as Beowulf to medieval knights; from stealthy ninja and samurai to legendary maidens of war. Illustrated with breathtaking intricacy, SWORDS reflects the passion of a true devotee, offering lavish background details on design and use as well as exquisite spreads showcasing specimens in all their shining glory. Swords: An Artist's Devotion by Ben Boos is a Children's Choice book award finalist.

*****  *****  *****


In My Father the Dog, Dad pretends to be human, but the kids know otherwise. Between first-thing-in-the morning scratching, fetching the paper, snacking, lying around for hours, and even the occasional pit stop behind a tree, the evidence is clear. But so are their father’s steadfast love and loyalty. Aren’t those the best things about dads and dogs alike? Elizabeth Bluemle’s amusing, affectionate text and Randy Cecil’s delightful illustrations create the ultimate tribute to proud papas everywhere -- an irresistible story readers will beg for again and again.

*****  *****  *****

Sweet simplicity and beguiling artwork combine in I Love Grandpa by Lizi Boyd to charm any grandpa. A perfect surprise for Father’s Day!


What’s not to love? When a small child visits with Grandma, she has the best time eating pretend breakfast in bed, doing headstands in yoga, and exploring the flowers in the garden. And when a little one is with Grandpa, he has lots of adventures: learning to make a grass whistle, burying treasures in the sand, and making up stories together. With fresh colors, delicate patterns, and delightful characters, these Super Sturdy Picture Books by Lizi Boyd capture the simple moments shared and treasured by grandparent and grandchild.

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Father's Day Book Recommendations - Part 1

Father's Day is this Sunday, June 21st. In these tough economic times, it may not be possible to get Dad an extravagant gift. That doesn't mean it can't be meaningful or special. From today till Sunday, I'll be posting some book recommendation for Dads. Remember - Books are friends who never judge!
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Whether he admits it or not...Dad does not want another tie, so why not surprise him with something different this year! If your dad is a goof-ball, brainiac, domestic diva, overachiever, or simply likes to have fun then this book is the perfect gift for him.


This Will Kill You: A Guide to the Ways in Which We Go (St. Martin's Griffin) by HP Newquist and Rich Maloof is sure to fascinate, repel, and knock the socks off dad! This book offers a light, humorous look at the many ways in which humans bite the dust. Explore the deathly detailed facts about what happens to the body when it's struck by lightening, slimed by a frog, or flung from a mountain top.

No other book has ever peeked under the Grim Reaper's robe in such a straightforward and irreverent way. With a foreword by a physician at the Mayo Clinic , an afterword by a funeral director, lists of history’s most notable deaths, and a unique death rating system, everything you need to know about the ways in which we go are included in these pages.

******  ******  ******  ****** 

Make Dad feel young again with this nostalgic look at music and Hollywood in Vic Damone's Singing Was the Easy Part.


Vic Damone was one of the greatest crooners in the American songbook for over sixty years. In Singing Was the Easy Part, Damone tells the whole story of his life from his near-whacking after he broke off his engagement to the daughter of a mob boss, to his succession of marriages to beautiful women, to his life in Hollywood making such films as "Kismet" with Vincent Minnelli (who harangued him throughout the film) and "Athena" with Debbie Reynolds (Judy Garland interviewed him, by the way, for his first screen test), to his two television series - "The Vic Damone Show" and "The Lively Ones".

Damone talks frankly about his bankruptcy, his many marriages and his belief in God, which kept him going throughout the tough times. The vignettes along the way are priceless: getting drunk with Ava Gardner at Chasen's; golfing with George Burns and Jack Benny; taking a nude chorus girl into the steam room of the Sands Hotel where the rat pack were relaxing between shows, and much more.

******  ******  ******  ******

If your Dad is a religious history buff, then Phillip DePoy's The King James Conspiracy is the book for him as it brings little-known facts about the English Bible to his exhilarating new novel.


In seventeenth century England, a group of scholars is charged by King James I with creating a definitive English translation of the Bible. But in Rome, the Pope not only opposes the translation, he demands those who attempt it be eliminated. And when one of the scholars is brutally murdered, a conspiracy is set into motion that threatens the lives of the translators and the words of the Bible itself.

As tensions run high, the need for these men to protect themselves and their work becomes ever more important and Deacon Marbury, the man in charge of the group, seeks outside assistance to investigate the murder. But the people who offer to help Marbury -- masked men with assumed names -- are not who they claim to be. What’s more, the man they send to Marbury, Brother Timon, has a secret past, much blood on his hands, and is an agent for those forces that wish to halt the translation itself.

But as more scholars are slain by the unknown killer, Brother Timon becomes torn between his loyalties. Soon, an even greater crisis looms as ancient and alarming secrets are revealed—secrets dating back to the earliest days of Christianity--that threaten the most basic of its closely held beliefs.

******  ******  ******  ****** 
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Author Guest Post - Hazel Statham

Today I'm pleased to welcome Author Hazel Statham, author of Lizzie's Rake. Her guest post here today is part of this book's virtual tour, courtesy Pump Up Your Book Promotion.

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Regency Romance and Me
By Hazel Statham


I read my first Regency Romance, Regency Buck by Georgette Heyer, when I was seventeen and knew that at last I had found my era.

I had been writing since I was fifteen but had mainly been influenced by authors like Austen, the Brontes and Sabatini, but Georgette Heyer opened up the romance and elegance of the eighteen and nineteenth century and I fell head over heels in love with it.

I devoured her books in very quick succession and wanted nothing more than to recreate my own Regency world. History had always been my favorite subject at school and it was just one small step to recreate it in my work.

However, despite today’s trend to produce ‘hotter’ novels, I write ‘traditional’ Regency Romance and close the door on my characters when they retire. So much emotion can be conveyed by a mere glance or a single word that I don’t feel it necessary to leave the metaphorical door open to convey the emotions of the moment. The merest hint is often sufficient to stimulate the reader’s imagination and to go into detail is totally unnecessary.

I want to preserve the mores of the era when a young lady was rarely left alone with a man prior to their marriage. When purity before marriage was a woman’s greatest asset and much prized by a future husband. It was not just a case of double standards, but a way a man could be certain that if his wife declared herself pregnant soon after marriage, the child was definitely his, which was an absolute necessity when succession was at stake. It is an issue that is raised in Lizzie’s Rake and was paramount to any noble with pride in his lineage. His blood and the blood of his heirs must remain pure.

Research shows that there was far less promiscuity amongst the Regency set than is portrayed in many novels, but does this mean they lived a life devoid of romance and love? I think not. It was the era when a gentleman treated a woman with respect and deference. Of course, as in every moment in time, there were exceptions; but on the whole, it was an era of gentility and elegance. Match this with a hero and heroine who despite all their trials and tribulations are meant to be together and you have the makings of a Regency Romance. In my work, there is sometimes pathos and sometimes humor, but always there is love.

Thank you for that entertaining post, dear Author! Readers, your thoughts / comments are most welcome.

About the Book
Can a rake reform his ways and truly love? Lizzie's head tells her one thing, her heart another.

Infamous rake and Corinthian, Maxim Beaufort, Earl of St. Ive, finding himself in possession of a property in Yorkshire, is unprepared for the changes it will bring into his life.

Irresistibly drawn to Elizabeth Granger, the former owner’s daughter, he attempts to help the family, finding himself filling the role of benefactor.

When the house is razed to the ground, he arranges for temporary accommodation for Elizabeth and her siblings on his estate and when Elizabeth rejects his proposal of marriage, he is nonetheless determined to win her over.

However, events and his reputation conspire to thwart his efforts and his course is one fraught with dangers.

Trust does not come easily and determined to protect her heart, Elizabeth struggles to resist her own longings. At times, their difficulties appear insurmountable but the earl is widely known as ‘The Indomitable’ and the name was not lightly earned.

About the Author
Hazel Statham lives in Staffordshire, England. She started writing at fifteen and has written on and off ever since. She has always been fascinated by history and writes mainly in the Regency and Georgian eras, although she has had a short medieval story published. When she was a child, she often told herself stories and this just progressed to committing them to paper to entertain family and friends. There have however, been gaps in her writing years where marriage and employment intervened, but now that she no longer works, she is able to return to her first love and devote her time to writing. She had her first two novels published in 2005.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Book Feature - The Compass

PhotobucketThe Compass
By Tammy Kling and John Spencer Ellis
Published by Vanguard Press
Release date, June 2009
ISBN: 978-59315-542-1

The Compass is a life transformation novel that will guide you on a journey of self-discovery. At the core of The Compass  are specific life lessons about belief systems, authenticity, and understanding who you really are in order to live out your destiny. Jonathan, the main character, escapes his suburban life after a tragedy that alters his existence and plans for the future.

Numb and paralyzed by grief, Jonathan decides to journey across the globe in an effort to realign his inner compass. He sets off with a backpack, leaving behind his career, friends, family, and home, to journey around the world. His travels begin in the dry desert of Nevada, and continue on to the pristine mountains of the Adirondacks, and then to a medieval village in Romania. In every destination Jonathan encounters one pivotal person who offers a major life lesson, and he begins to realize that each individual was placed there for a reason, and represents a specific element of life.

The Compass is a metaphor for the journey of life, with its intermittent peaks and valleys. Each destination Jonathan visits is unique with a diverse mix of people, representing the kaleidoscope of our individual lives. His journey of self-discovery will move you to contemplate your own life, gaining valuable lessons along the way.

In the tradition of The Alchemist, at its core The Compass  teaches specific life lessons about belief systems, authenticity, self-empowerment, believing in dreams, and understanding who you truly are. As humans we are all connected—by love, by pain, and sometimes even by tragedies or events we cannot control. Each one of us travels a very specific and unique path, yet we are linked by experiences and emotions. In this connectedness, there is life. Reading this story will lead you to ask the ultimate question:  What will move your inner compass?

About the Authors : John Spencer Ellis is America's leading expert on fitness, personal development, and healthy living. Tammy Kling is an international author and literary coach to the world's leading CEO's, celebrities and individuals who want to pursue their dreams of writing a book.

More Information: The film/DVD The Compass features spiritual, motivational, and inspirational leaders from across the globe, including many core cast members from The Secret. Cast members include bestselling author T. Harv Eker, as well as John Assaraf, Dr. Joe Vitale, Marie Diamond, and Dr. John Demartini. All twenty-three contributors to The Compass DVD will actively promote The Compass, the novel, through lectures, panels, websites, conferences, and e-mail blasts, utilizing a database of 2 million strong.

To learn more about The Compass and view the DVD trailer please visit: http://thecompass.tv/
 
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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Giveaway - The Night Gardener By George Pelecanos

*** Winner - Lisa A. (lahlstedt@...) ***
PhotobucketThe Night Gardener by George Pelecanos

From Publishers Weekly:  In 1985, the body of a 14-year-old girl turns up in a Washington, D.C., park, the latest in a series of murders by a killer the media dub "The Night Gardener." T.C. Cook, the aging detective on the case, works with a quiet, almost monomaniacal, focus. Also involved are two young uniformed cops, Gus Ramone, who's diligent, conscientious and unimpressed by heroics, and Dan "Doc" Holiday, an adrenaline junkie who's decidedly less straight.

Fast forward 20 years. Detective Ramone, now married with kids of his own, investigates the murder of one of his teenage son's friends. The homicide closely resembles the earlier unsolved Night Gardener murders. Holiday, now an alcoholic chauffeur and bodyguard, follows the case on his own and tracks down Cook, long retired but still obsessed with the original murders. While the three work together toward a suspenseful ending, Pelecanos emphasizes the fallacy of "solving" a murder and explores the ripple effects of violent crime on society.

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GIVEAWAY

The Prize

One copy of this book will be given away to a lucky reader, courtesy Hachette Books! Note - Prize cannot be mailed to PO Boxes.

To Enter
  • Just leave a comment with your email address in the body of the comment itself telling me the title of a murder mystery you think is the best.
  • Please list your email address within your comment (abc AT xyz DOT com) so that you can be notified should you be chosen as a winner.
For Extra Entries

Please leave a NEW comment for each extra entry you do.

Deadline   Midnight CST of July 7, 2009.

Eligibility  US & Canada only.

Please read the Disclaimer

Good luck!
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