Monday, November 30, 2009

Giveaway - The Gate House by Nelson DeMille (closed)

CONGRATS TO LUCKY WINNER - BRENDA!

In The Gate House New York Times bestselling author Nelson DeMille delivers the long-awaited follow-up to his classic novel The Gold Coast.

When John Sutter's aristocratic wife killed her mafia don lover, John left America and set out in his sailboat on a three-year journey around the world, eventually settling in London. Now, ten years later, he has come home to the Gold Coast, that stretch of land on the North Shore of Long Island that once held the greatest concentration of wealth and power in America, to attend the imminent funeral of an old family servant.

Taking up temporary residence in the gatehouse of Stanhope Hall, John finds himself living only a quarter of a mile from Susan who has also returned to Long Island. But Susan isn't the only person from John's past who has reemerged: Though Frank Bellarosa, infamous Mafia don and Susan's ex-lover, is long dead, his son, Anthony, is alive and well, and intent on two missions: Drawing John back into the violent world of the Bellarosa family, and exacting revenge on his father's murderer--Susan Sutter. At the same time, John and Susan's mutual attraction resurfaces and old passions begin to reignite, and John finds himself pulled deeper into a familiar web of seduction and betrayal.

In The Gate House, acclaimed author Nelson Demille brings us back to that fabled spot on the North Shore -- a place where past, present, and future collides with often unexpected results.

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GIVEAWAY

The Prize

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

To Enter
  • Visit Hachette Books and comment here with one of their upcoming books that you'd love to read.
  • 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 January 12, 2010.

Eligibility  US & Canada only. Note - Sponsor will not ship to PO boxes.

Please read the Disclaimer. Good luck!
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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Blog Tour - Buckley's Story by Ingrid King (& a Giveaway!)

Readers, please join me welcoming Ingrid King, author of Buckley's Story who's guest blogging here today, as part of her virtual tour from Pump Up your Book Promotion!

Buckley’s Story is the story of how one small cat changed the author’s life in ways she never could have imagined. In this warm-hearted memoir, Ingrid King shares the story of Buckley, a joyful, enthusiastic and affectionate tortoiseshell cat she meets while managing a veterinary hospital.

Writing about Cats – Amber’s Story

One of the questions most frequently asked of me since the release of Buckley’s Story – Lessons from a Feline Master Teacher has been why Buckley? What was so special about this particular cat, rather than any of the other cats who have been part of my life, that inspired me to write a book about her? You’ll have to read the book to find out how she changed my life in ways I never could have imagined by teaching me universal lessons about opening my heart and living a joyful life. As the old saying goes, when the student is ready, the teacher appears. In my case, the teacher came in a seven pound feline. Inevitably, the second most frequently asked question I get is will you write a book about Amber? Amber is the cat I currently share my life with. Who knows, some day, she may get her own book. As it is, she is the inspiration behind my blog, The Conscious Cat. This is her story.

Amber and her five kittens were brought to the Middleburg Animal Hospital in the spring of 2000 by a client who had found the little family in her barn. Despite being emaciated and scrawny-looking, Amber’s eventual beauty was evident even then. She is a dark Tortoiseshell color, with an amber-colored heart-shaped spot on top of her head, which became the reason for her name. Her kittens found new homes in fairly rapid succession.

However, nobody was interested in the beautiful mommy cat. She spent her days in the big adoption cage in the hospital’s waiting area, but with the constant inflow of homeless kittens that is typical for spring and summer, nobody wanted to adopt an adult cat. I had recently lost my almost sixteen-year-old soul mate cat Feebee, and the grief over his loss was still very fresh. I did not think I was ready for another cat, but coming home to an empty house was becoming increasingly difficult.

One weekend in July, I decided to take Amber home, “just for the weekend”. I wanted to give her a break from the abandoned feral kitten we had placed with her after her own kittens had all found homes. The kitten was a rambunctious six-week old grey tabby, and Amber was becoming increasingly exasperated with his constant need for attention. As far as she was concerned, she had done her mommy duty with her own kittens.

After living in a cage for all these months, Amber was initially a little overwhelmed by having access to an entire house, and she spent most of that first weekend near or under my bed. By Sunday evening, she had relaxed a little and started exploring her new environment. I liked having her gentle and peaceful energy around the house, and I decided that she could stay a little longer. Not quite ready to acknowledge that she was home with me to stay, I told everyone that I was “just fostering her”.

Somehow, the flyers advertising that she was available for adoption never got distributed, and she only returned to the animal hospital for regular check ups.

Amber is a gentle, loving cat with a wise old soul. For the past nine years, her peaceful and solid presence, not to mention her almost constant purr, have been bringing love and affection into my life every day. She enjoys sleeping in our sunny living room, curling up with me when I sit down to read or to watch television, and watching the birds at the feeder on our deck.

She is a teacher to the core of her being, and she is my writing muse. There are days when I sit down in front of the computer and stare at the blank screen with no idea of what I’m going to be writing about, but as soon as she comes into the room and curls up on the window perch next to my desk for a long nap, I feel inspired, and the words start flowing.

Animals come into our lives for many reasons. Some very special animals touch our souls and change us forever. Amber is one of these special animals.

I love being a cat writer. I’ve been fascinated by these mysterious and wonderful creatures all my life, and now that I’ve started to write about them, I don’t think I’ll ever stop.
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GIVEAWAY

The Prize

An autographed copy of this book will go to one lucky reader.

To Enter
  • Recommend any other book with a plucky animal (four legged, winged, whichever) in it.
  • 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 January 9, 2010.

Eligibility  US only.

Please read the Disclaimer. Good luck!
Note - This book was received for review/feature consideration.
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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Review - Creature ABC by Andrew Zuckerman

Creature ABC
Ages 4-8, 120 p, Chronicle Books, Isbn-0811869784

An elegant addition to any library, this deluxe alphabet book features 120 pages of Andrew Zuckerman's breathtaking wildlife photography. From alligator to zebra, each featured animal boasts two striking studio portraits against a clean white background, offering a unique up-close view of the animal kingdom. Readers can flip to a helpful glossary in the back for extra information. From the sleek beauty of a smiling hippo to the powerful majesty of a roaring lion, this gorgeous new book is both a stunning work of art and a ferociously fun way for young animal-lovers to learn their ABCs.

The book is good. The glossy photos - the details in them as if the creatures were about to leap off the pages - were just perfect! I just wish all the letters were represented by the appropriate creature.

Don't get me wrong - most of them are, but some aren't. Like N is for nocturnal creatures (which is more the category than an actual creature) etc. And in some other cases, the creatures don't really start with the letter they're paired with. Like X is Oryx - ?? Now that's really not right. Without thinking I could come up with N is for Newt. X did took a little of online searching, but I found a ton of creatures that begin with the letter X here. I understand the author is a photographer and it's his stunning photos featured here. Maybe he didn't photograph those particular creatures. Maybe...

Whatever the reason, I was looking forward to using this book to teach my toddler his letters and I simply don't want him learning wrong associations with some of these letter-photo combos. I'd say the book is intended more for the older kid who already knows his letters and is into learning more about the creatures themselves, than the alphabet.


Overall, I like this book, but don't love it.


Note - This book was received for review/feature consideration.
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Friday, November 27, 2009

Anna Campbell talks about Captive of Sin (& a Giveaway - closed)

Anna Campbell decided to become a writer shortly after she learned to walk. Then she discovered romance novels and realized she just had to be a romance writer and tell stories about love and hope and triumph through adversity, not forgetting gorgeous, passionate men. Her latest romance, Captive of Sin, tells the tale of two tortured souls who, despite the odds, find a once-in-a-lifetime love. More from lovely Anna herself...


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Something’s Gotta Give by Anna Campbell 

Hello, everyone at A Book Blogger's Diary! Thank you so much for having me as your guest today to talk about my latest historical romance from Avon, Captive of Sin, which came out in November.

Growing up, I was addicted to the movies of Hollywood’s golden age. One of my favorites was DADDY LONG LEGS starring Fred Astaire and Leslie Caron. Lovely romantic story, gorgeous dancing and a brilliant score by Johnny Mercer, including the famous “Something’s Gotta Give”, the irresistible force meeting the immovable object song.

This song was playing continually in my mind as I wrote Captive of Sin. This is a marriage of convenience story with a Regency noir twist. After torture and imprisonment in India, Sir Gideon Trevithick returns to England as a national hero. But Gideon can’t escape the effects of his ordeal and he’s convinced he will never lead a normal life.

On his way back to the family estate, he stumbles across a runaway heiress, Lady Charis Weston, in a stable in Winchester. When he pledges himself to her protection, little does he know that this rash gallantry will lead him into a dangerous elopement and a marriage to a woman he knows he can never deserve.

He’s determined to do the honorable thing and save Charis from the effects of his tragic past. The marriage will be in name only and he will make no claim on her once she gains her majority and takes control of her fortune. So we have our immovable object.

Our irresistible force is Charis. At first, she suffers a powerful case of hero worship for the brave man who saves her from her greedy, violent stepbrothers. But this girlish emotion ripens into a deep, steadfast, passionate love. And there’s no way she’s going to let Gideon surrender to the demons that hold him in thrall. She will not accept that her love is unrequited and that she can’t save him.

The battle lines are drawn. Who do you think will win? Yeah, right. My money’s on Charis too. But there’s lots of drama and emotion and derring-do and passion before they reach their happy ending.

Do you have a favorite Immovable Object/Irresistible Force romance? I’m currently re-reading PRIDE AND PREJUDICE for a review and it definitely falls into the category so we’re talking a really classic theme here.
Sounds like a great read, just like P&P! I always like books with feisty leading ladies in them. Gives it an extra zing, so to speak, whatever the era.

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GIVEAWAY

The Prize

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

To Enter
  • Just leave a thoughtful question or comment for the author. Winner will be picked based on their comment, instead of randomly.
  • Please list your email address within your comment so that you can be notified should you be chosen as a winner
  • Readers who've won here in the last 3 months are not eligible to win the giveaway, but are always welcome to leave their comment. 
For Extra Entries

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

Deadline   Midnight CST of January 7, 2010

Eligibility  US only.

Please read the Disclaimer. Good luck!
Note - This book was received for review/feature consideration.
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Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Century of Flavors (& a Giveaway! - closed)

CONGRATS TO LUCKY WINNER - CAROL!

A Century of Flavors at A Book Blogger's DiaryA Century of Flavors
The Cookbook Marketplace, 127p, Isbn:9780979599101

The delightful aroma of the kitchen during the holidays – with smells of cinnamon, peppermint, chocolate and vanilla – is a scent that many associate with long lived memories. The holiday season is a perfect time to create flavorful memories with your family and loved ones. Nielsen-Massey Vanillas A Century of Flavors cookbook provides us with a variety of holiday recipes. Vanilla Carmel Corn Crunch can be made with a young chef, while Creamy Vanilla Sweet Potatoes is a perfect side to a family’s main course.

This vanilla-inspired cookbook, published by family-owned Nielsen-Massey Vanillas, celebrates the exciting nuances of one of America’s most-loved and versatile ingredients – pure vanilla. It is filled with 50 of the most tantalizing recipes, highlighting the intricate, yet delicate flavors of pure vanilla and is written for the novice cook as well as the seasoned chef.

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GIVEAWAY

The Prize

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

To Enter
  • What's your favorite cookbook? Or leave a vanilla-inspired recipe!
  • 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 December 15, 2009.

Eligibility  US only.

Please read the Disclaimer. Good luck!
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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Author Guest Post - Eva Etzioni-Halevy (& a Giveaway - closed)

CONGRATS TO LUCKY WINNER - CYNTHIA

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Readers, please join me welcoming Eva Etzioni-Halevy, author of The Triumph of Deborah who will be guest blogging here today! Eva is a professor emeritus of political sociology at Bar- Ilan University in Israel.
The search of her roots led her to the discovery of the rich world of the Bible, and to the intention of bringing it to life for contemporary readers through the writing of Biblical novels.

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How the Fascinating Women of the Bible Can Empower us Today

A while ago, I participated in a symposium on women of the Bible at which a lady in the audience asked: Why should we be interested in biblical women? They were concerned mainly with marriage and bearing sons, while we, today, have so many more ambitions for our lives. But this is very challenging question, is based on a misconception. While the women of the Bible lived thousands of years ago, in essence we are still similar to them in our hopes and anxieties. Hence listening to their voices may have an empowering effect on us.

For one thing, although they lived in a male dominated society, in which they were downtrodden, most of them were strong women. They did not merely sit around, meekly accepting fate. Instead, they took destiny into their own hands and shaped it to do their bidding. What we can learn from biblical women is that women are strong and capable. That, no matter what the obstacles, we can draw on our feminine strength to achieve what we aspire to.

Also, contrary to their image, biblical women were NOT concerned solely with marriage and bearing sons, but also with a whole variety of other issues. In this sense they are particularly close to us today, an era in which we celebrate diversity, and each woman realizing herself in her own way. For instance, Tamar in the book of GENESIS struggled successfully to become a single mother. Deborah in the book of JUDGES "broke the glass ceiling" and became a religious and national leader. And there are many more examples. So what today's women can also learn from women in the Bible is: "I don't have to fit into a stance. Whatever is right for me, I can achieve it."

I decided to turn the spotlight on these amazing women, and amplify their voices, so that they could be heard loud and clear across the generations. I wrote some of their stories in a manner that is faithful to the Scripture, but makes for light, entertaining reading and can be enjoyed no less by people who have never held a Bible in their hands.

Wow, those women sound a lot like women these days, don't they? Thanks for that enlightening post, Eva. If you've read her books and/or would like to ask the author a question, use the comment form!


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GIVEAWAY

The Prize

A copy of Triumph of Deborah 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 real life historical female (Biblical or otherwise) would make a fascinating topic for a book today?
  • Anonymous comments without an email address will not be considered.
For Extra Entries

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

Deadline   Midnight CST of January 10, 2010.

Eligibility  US only.

Please read the Disclaimer. Good luck!
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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Wendy Tokunaga Guest Blog & Giveaway

CONGRATS TO LUCKY WINNER - CARRIE!

Love in Translation by Wendy Tokunaga at A Book Blogger's DiaryAuthor Wendy Tokunaga guest blogs at A Book Blogger's Diary

The San Francisco Chronicle called her debut novel, Midori by Moonlight 1, a “terrific first novel.” Now Author Wendy Tokunaga is back with her second book, Love in Translation, which again explores the themes of Japan and Japanese culture and being a stranger in a strange land, which have played a major role in her life and writing.

I now turn the stage over to Wendy, who's here telling us all about: 


Love and Songs in Translation

As someone whose second novel has just come out, it may surprise you that when I was young, my dream wasn’t to be a writer; I wanted to be a rock star. The only writing I did was songwriting for the bands I put together on my quest to become the next Joan Jett, Blondie or Pat Benatar. At the same time I’d become mad for Japan and Japanese culture and was studying the language. When I heard about something called karaoke, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.

The Japanese actually invented karaoke (singing popular songs to pre-recorded backing tracks). The term means “empty orchestra” and is pronounced kah-rah-okay— not karey-okie, which makes my ears hurt when I hear it pronounced that way!

By now I was a frustrated vocalist who had performed for peanuts (and less) with my unsuccessful bands. So I jumped at the chance to learn Japanese pop songs (J-pop) and perform them without the need for backup musicians. No more worrying about drunk guitarists or no-show drummers. Like the protagonist Celeste Duncan in my novel, LOVE IN TRANSLATION, I found singing in Japanese to be easier than speaking it, and it was fun to pretend to be fluent for the duration of a song.

I honed my skills at karaoke bars in San Francisco’s Japantown and even briefly worked at one as a singing bar hostess. Soon I was performing in Japanese karaoke recitals and contests, usually the lone female Caucasian in the group, and racked up a few trophies and prizes. When I ended up moving to Tokyo for a while I appeared on a wacky television show that was a karaoke contest for foreigners (gaijin). I even had my own backup dancers, way before Gwen Stefani and her Harajuku Girls.

At that time I was singing songs by the Japanese pop idols of the day, but I also enjoyed singing enka, a more traditional type of torch song. In LOVE IN TRANSLATION, Celeste has come to Japan to search for a long lost relative who may hold the key to the identity of the father she never knew. It is when she learns to sing a Japanese enka song called The Wishing Star (Nozomi no Hoshi) that everything begins to change for her.

My love of Japan and Japanese culture inspired me to write LOVE IN TRANSLATION, but so has my love of music. And because of this book, I also had the unique opportunity of making this fictional song a reality. Listen to The Wishing Star here! [http://tinyurl.com/yfsuebh](Music and Arrangement by Manabu Tokunaga, Lyrics by Hiro Akashi and Wendy Nelson Tokunaga; Vocal by Wendy Nelson Tokunaga).
Now that sure makes me wish I could go to Japan one day and maybe even sing in a kah-rah-okay bar!

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GIVEAWAY

The Prize

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

To Enter
  • I'd love to get your recommendations of books set in Japan or Asia, in general.
  • 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 January 13, 2010.

Eligibility  US only.

Please read the Disclaimer. Good luck!

Note - This book was received for review/feature consideration.

1. Midori in Moonlight Synopsis - Trouble is exactly what Midori finds after following English teacher Kevin Newbury from her native Japan to San Francisco, where Prince Charming quickly becomes Prince Alarming after a nightmarish engagement party.
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Monday, November 23, 2009

A Conversation with Donna VanLiere

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Donna VanLiere is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Christmas Hope series, with over 2 million books in print. Her next novel in this series, The Christmas Secret (304p, St.Martins Press), combines the heartbreaking with the humorous to tell a story that illuminates the true meaning of Christmas.

Q. What inspired the storyline of The Christmas Secret?

A. I know several single mothers (my own sister is a single mother) and I watch how they struggle and try to juggle every aspect of life. A couple of those women have had horrendous ex-husbands and I've sat alongside of them as they cry and try to cope with all the emotions involved in that fractured relationship. Being a single mother is the most difficult job on earth!


Q. You deal with some difficult subjects: grief, heartbreak, even drug addiction. How do you handle writing about these topics?

A. I pull from real people who have walked down similar roads. My husband and I are currently walking alongside a good friend in rehab whose life has been rocked by drug and alcohol addiction for nearly 15 years. Every conversation is punctuated with raw emotion and overwhelming feelings of failure and loss. We try our best to offer hope and encouragement on this painful road and this is what Christine does in The Christmas Secret. She doesn't have the right words to say but she offers hope and belief in a person's life who has lost all hope and in the same way, several characters offer that same hope to Christine in her situation.


Q. Can you discuss the role of coincidence and connectedness in this novel?

A. Life is all about connectedness. In The Christmas Secret the character of Gloria says, "At some point you figure out that we're all here to help one another." People who have experienced the greatest pain and heartbreak are usually the first to pass along help to someone else. Selfish, self-absorbed people have no concept of empathy or lending a hand but you can always count on someone who has gone through great loss because it's the wound of that loss that connects them to you and you to someone else.


Q. Is there a message you want your readers to come away with?

A. Life is full of obstacles and on occasion we'll come up against a boulder in the road which can't be moved by our own power or will. Sometimes those boulders take help from lots of people along the way. Our greatest gift to them and to ourselves is to let them walk alongside of us and help move the boulder because that's when we'll discover the gift beneath it.


Q. What is your favorite thing about Christmas?

A. Being with my husband and children. Last Christmas we went to the Nashville Rescue Mission and served dinner to the homeless. My 8-year-old still talks about that! We hope to do that every year so the kids will know life's not all about them. God gave his greatest gift at Christmas. We try to show them that we need to give back as well.

**Published with permission from St.Martins**

Note - In addition, Lifetime will be premiering the TV movie of The Christmas Hope, and showing all of the previous movies made from this series all on one day - December 13! In December, LifetimeMovieNetwork.com will post an excerpt from THE CHRISTMAS SECRET and an original essay by VanLiere. The site will also sponsor a contest to win signed copies of the "Christmas Hope" books. Details will be forthcoming on LifetimeMovieNetwork.com.
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Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold - Audiobook Review & Giveaway - closed

CONGRATS TO LUCKY WINNER - EMILY!




"My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973."

So begins the story of Susie Salmon, who is adjusting to her new home in heaven, a place that is not at all what she expected, even as she is watching life on earth continue without her -- her friends trading rumors about her disappearance, her killer trying to cover his tracks, her grief-stricken family unraveling. Out of unspeakable tragedy and loss, The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold succeeds, miraculously, in building a tale filled with hope, humor, suspense, even joy.

I was in a hurry when I opened this audiobook and didn't realize at first it was the author herself reading it out loud! It certainly made for a unique reading experience, and that made it all the more fulfilling somehow. I hadn't read the paper version of the novel and was unprepared for the gamut of emotions the story takes a listener through. I was quite intrigued by the heaven or a version of it described and have spent quite some time since, imagining my own version of heaven. Poignant, beautiful and fulfilling, this is a great book for any reader, whether listening to it or reading it.

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GIVEAWAY

The Prize

This audiobook will go to one lucky reader.

To Enter
  • Do you or do you not believe in Heaven? Tell me your reasons.
  • 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 January 12, 2010.

Eligibility  Only residents of the U.S. or Canada are eligible to win. No P.O. Boxes

Please read the Disclaimer. Good luck!
Note - This book was received for review/feature consideration.
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Saturday, November 21, 2009

True Blue by David Baldacci - Audiobook Review and Giveaway (closed)

CONGRATS TO LUCKY WINNER - FREDA!

True Blue by David Baldacci - Audiobook Featured at A Book Blogger's Diary
Mason "Mace" Perry was a firebrand cop on the D.C. police force until she was kidnapped and framed for a crime. She lost everything-her badge, her career, her freedom-and spent two years in prison. Now she's back on the outside and focused on one mission: to be a cop once more. Her only shot to be a true blue again is to solve a major case on her own, and prove she has the right to wear the uniform. But even with her police chief sister on her side, she has to work in the shadows: A vindictive U.S. attorney is looking for any reason to send Mace back behind bars. Then Roy Kingman enters her life.

Roy is a young lawyer who aided the poor until he took a high-paying job at a law firm in Washington. Mace and Roy meet after he discovers the dead body of a female partner at the firm. As they investigate the death, they start uncovering surprising secrets from both the private and public world of the nation's capital.

Soon, what began as a fairly routine homicide takes a terrifying and unexpected turn-into something complex, diabolical, and possibly lethal.

The plot is stellar and Ron McLarty does a great job of reading this book and depicting the various characters. Ron does the male voices very well including accents, emotions, and putting emphasis where required, but I didn't find his female voices to be that different. Still, the power of Baldacci's True Blue is such that the miles flew by and I sat waiting in the car at the parking lot, listening mesmerized to the story and for the chapter to finish. If not for my family getting impatient, I'd have sat in the car all day long, just listening.

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GIVEAWAY

The Prize

A copy of this audiobook will go to one lucky reader of this blog!

To Enter
  • Which audiobook have you listened to recently? If you haven't, then tell me why you want to win this one?
  • 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 January 11, 2010.

Eligibility  Only residents of the U.S. or Canada are eligible to win. No P.O. Boxes

Please read the Disclaimer. Good luck!
Note - This book was received for review/feature consideration.
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Friday, November 20, 2009

Blog Tour - Dianne Castell's Hot and Irresistible

Once again, I'm very happy to welcome Best selling author, Dianne Castell, on the blog tour of her lastest book, Hot and Irresistible. This virtual tour comes courtesy Pump Up Your Book Promotion. And I received a copy of this book for hosting this tour.

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Why I am a Closet Southern Belle

One of the reasons I wrote Hot and Bothered and Hot and Irresistible was I wanted to set a book in the South, the real South. It has a flavor all its own from the way folks talk...How’s your mamma and daddy?...to the food...anything that has a stick of butter and cup of cream has got to be delicious! Just ask Paula Deen...to the way gals and guys behave.

So my question today is... Are you a closet Southern Belle? Now you ask, Okay what the dickens makes a Southern Belle? Well, I just happen to have a little list...

Do you never wear white after Labor Day or before Easter

Do you own a strand of real pearls and wear them with pride

Always drink sweet tea and love it when they have it on the menu

A part of you truly believes in those Yankees Civil War? What Civil War? Now that unfortunate Northern Occupation...that you know about

Have Lee as part of your name or your children’s

Fav movies are GWTW and Steel Magnolias and Fried Green Tomatoes

Actually read GWTW and reread parts from time to time. Wish you had the name Scarlet

Have a tiara hidden in your panty drawer and know how to twirl a baton

Have an umbrella that looks a bit like a parasol

Make sure your children know manners and use them

Love Red-eye gravy, grits, country ham and make your own biscuits

Know that prime real estate is The Mall, The Country Club and The Beauty Salon

Buy more then one can of hair spray at a time

Have actually said Y’all come back, Bless your your heart, Drop by when you can, How’s your mamma?

Love white gloves and wear hats

Have a subscription of Southern Living or ripped a recipe from that magazine at the doctor’s office

Have a pineapple decoration somewhere in your House

Think the magnolia is a piece of heaven on earth

And what about the food? Do you own a Paula Deen Cookbook? Catch her on TV whenever you can? Actually copied a recipe and made it and know how to make cream gravy from scratch and would rather poke yourself in the eye with a sharp stick than put cool whip on your homemade pumpkin pie! Is there anything better than southern cooking? Well maybe Italian but that’s another blog.

So, how do you measure up? Is a part of you a Southern Belle? Know someone who is? I really tried to keep these characteristics in mind when writing Hot and Bothered. A gal in NY city is way different than a gal in Savannah and I sure wanted it to feel that way.

I am definitely a closet Southern Belle! I do make fried chicken and bathtub gravy. That’s what my kids call my cream gravy because they could eat a bathtub full of it. I do make my own pies, have white gloves, crab at my kids if they don’t use their manners, buy extra-hold hair spray, subscribe to Southern Living, have a fancy umbrella that I’ve been known to twirl from time to time and do know how to twirl a baton for real. Even took lessons.

On the Southern Belle scale I’m about a 7. What about you? What is your Southern Belle Score?

Thanks for being here!

Hugs, Dianne Castell 

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USA Today best selling author Dianne Castell writes for Kensington BRAVA. She also writes a monthly editor interview column for Romance Writers Report. Her books have won Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award, been on the cover of Romantic Times Magazine and included in Rhapsody Book Club, Doubleday Book Club and have made the Waldenbooks Bestseller list.


The second book in her Savannah Sizzles series for the BRAVA line, Hot and Irresistible, hits the shelves Nov‘09. Hot Summer Nights is out May ’10.


Dianne lives in Cincinnati with her two cats and will do just about anything to get out of housework.


You can visit her website at www.DianneCastell.com.
Now, my cheeks are true Scarlet for indeedy, I'm nowhere near to being a Southern Belle. Score=0. What about you?!

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Blog Tour - Dark Stranger by Susan Sizemore (& Giveaway - closed)

CONGRATS TO LUCKY WINNER - SUE!

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Readers, please join me welcoming New York Times and USA Today bestseller Susan Sizemore, author of Dark Stranger who's guest blogging here today! DARK STRANGER (Pocket Star, 384 pp, Isbn:978-1416562139) is a fun, fresh "extra" in the Vampire Primes romance series, featuring a vampire hero who rescues a captured human princess-in-disguise in a futuristic paranormal world. But don't worry! This also makes a great stand-alone.

Thanks to Sarah of Pocket Books, I was able to request Susan to write about how difficult or different it is to write a vampire into a futuristic romance and here is her great response!

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I've been asked to blog about how difficult it is to write a vampire into a futuristic romance. This is a fantastic topic! First off, I have to say that I do not believe in "real" vampires. It's my job to make myself and readers believe in the fictional vampires I create. It's not just the vampires that have to seem real, but the world they live in has to be a believable place. Inside any fictional book is a totally made up world. For example, the world of the book will only have telephones and cars and fast food restaurants because the author decided to put them there. In the Primes series of vampire romance novels, I've set all but DARK STRANGER in a world very close to our own, where technology, culture and history is very much like our won, but I've added vampires and werefolk and vampire hunters to it, along with their cultures and histories. This is "Worldbuilding", and it is a requirement for every work of fiction. The writer makes it up, but the reader needs to believe it -- that's called "Suspension of Disbelief".

In DARK STRANGER I took the premise that Primes vampires exist in the future and built the world of the story around that. What was the future world like? How did it affect the lives of vampires, and what affect did vampires have on the future world? Since these future vampires are from the Primes universe, I brought the history and values of the Primes into this update of their world. Since the hero, Doc Raven, is a Clan Prime he is a brave protector of mortals. Because that is what Clan Primes have done for thousands of years, they aren't going to change because it's a few hundred years in the future.

Of course the future has different technology, different history, mortal and immortal culture is different. Where humans live is different -- there is faster than light travel and humans have settled on many worlds. Some of these worlds orbit stars where vampires can live in the light without the drugs they use in the 21st century Primes universe. The technology also give them access to forceshields that let them live in the daylight without the drugs. In the future the Primes existence is no longer secret from the rest of humanity. Vampires are full citizens of the Byzant Empire (the future form of government is an empire of many worlds ruled from Earth). But there are also vampire hating fanatics in the future, so vampires constantly have to defend their rights and mostly keep a low profile. In the future vampires and mortals still become bondmates and this is a perfectly normal occurrence. Except when the mortal bonding with the vampire happens to be the heiress to the imperial throne. He's a vampire. She's a princess. This causes all sorts of trouble the hero and heroine of DARK STRANGER have to overcome to get to their futuristic happily ever after.

Follow me at http://twitter.com/SusanSizemore
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GIVEAWAY

The Prize

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

To Enter
  • Recommend another furturistic romance that stars a vampire. If you don't know of any, tell me why you want to read this book or leave a question for the author.
  • 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 December 19, 2009.

Eligibility  US only.

Please read the Disclaimer. Good luck.
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