Giveaway: Ravens (audiobook)

When Shaw McBride and Romeo Zderko drive into the small town of Brunswick, Georgia, their only thought is to fix their car's leaky right tire and continue on to Key West, Florida, away from their dead-end jobs as computer technicians in Ohio. But when Shaw discovers that the 318 million dollar Georgia State Lottery has just been claimed by an ordinary Georgia family, he sees an opportunity - he and Romeo will blackmail the Boatwright family for half their winnings and ditch their deadbeat lives for good.

GIVEAWAY: This giveaway is to win one of three Audiobooks. As always, leave a comment for one entry. Second entry if you follow, third if you follow on Twitter, and so forth. Extra entry for commenting on my review.

Rules: Audiobooks will be delivered directly from Publisher so giveaway is only available to residents of the US and Canada. No P.O. Boxes please. Winners will be drawn this Friday, August 21.

Giveaway: The Castaways (audiobook)

Greg and Tess MacAvoy are one of four prominent Nantucket couples who count each other as best friends. As pillars of their close-knit community, the MacAvoys, Kapenashes, Drakes, and Wheelers are important to their friends and neighbors, and especially to each other. But just before the beginning of another idyllic summer, Greg and Tess are killed when their boat capsizes during an anniversary sail. As the warm weather approaches and the island mourns their loss, nothing can prepare the MacAvoy's closest friends for what will be revealed.
GIVEAWAY: This giveaway is to win one of three Audiobooks. As always, leave a comment for one entry. Second entry if you follow, third if you follow on Twitter, and so forth. Extra entry for commenting on my review.

Rules: Audiobooks will be delivered directly from Publisher so giveaway is only available to residents of the US and Canada. No P.O. Boxes please. Winners will be drawn this Friday, August 21.

Giveaway Results: The Moon Looked Down; Tamed by a Laird; America Libre

Winners are in! (drumroll please)

The Moon Looked Down

Tamed by a Laird

America Libre

Congrats to all you winners. Winners were chosen using I will be e-mailing each of you and/or leaving you a comment. You have until Wednesday to provide me with your mailing addresses. If I haven't heard from you by Thursday, a new winner will be chosen.

If you haven't entered already, I also have a giveaways for My Forbidden Desire by Carolyn Jewel (ends tomorrow), How to Score by Robin Wells (ends 8/07/09) and The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer (ends 8/14/09). More giveways will be posted throughout next week so keep an eye out for those.

Author Spotlight: A. Manette Ansay

So I headed to my local independent book store for a reading of A. Manette Ansay's newest book Good Things I Wish You last week. Manette is a South Florida resident so there was a packed room full of her students and friends and she even brought her little daughter and their friends to help. She explained a lot about how she went about researching her book and also how long it took her to write it. I love all that insider info. Although I still haven't read her newest title, I am a fan of Vinegar Hill so I took that one with me for her to sign. Here are some pics of the event:

Manette was super nice and did a fab job with her reading as well as giving us all those tidbits that we like to hear about - what went into writing her book and so forth. I, for one was intrigued and have now placed it on my TBR list (so what's new? right?). That's her little girl on her lap and her friend between Manette and I.

Here is a quick synopsis of Good Things I Wish You:

The acclaimed author of Vinegar Hill returns with a story of two unlikely romances—one historical, the other modern-day—separated by thousands of miles and well over a century.

Battling feelings of loss and apathy in the wake of a painful divorce, novelist Jeanette struggles to complete a book about the long-term relationship between Clara Schumann, a celebrated pianist and the wife of the composer Robert Schumann, and her husband's protégé, the handsome young composer Johannes Brahms. Although this legendary love triangle has been studied exhaustively, Jeanette—herself a gifted pianist—wonders about the enduring nature of Clara and Johannes's lifelong attachment. Were they just "best friends," as both steadfastly claimed? Or was the relationship complicated by desires that may or may not have been consummated?

Through a chance encounter, Jeanette meets Hart, a mysterious, worldly entrepreneur who is a native of Clara's birthplace, Leipzig, Germany. Hart's casual help with translations quickly blossoms into something more. There are things about men and women, he insists, that do not change. The two embark on a whirlwind emotional journey that leads Jeanette across Germany and Switzerland to a crossroads similar to that faced by Clara Schumann—also a mother, also an artist—more than a century earlier.

Accompanied by photographs, sketches, and notes from past and present, A. Manette Ansay's original blend of fiction and history captures the timeless nature of love and friendship between women and men.


The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer

When Sophy Stanton-Lacy arrives at her aunt’s doorstep little did they know what was in store for them. Sophy’s father is off on business and has asked his sister to mind after Sophy (quite possibly even find her a suitable match). Her aunt, although a bit reluctant at first, agrees to take Sophy in and introduce her to the ton. But upon her arrival Sophy finds that her cousins’ lives are in a bit of disarray. For one, her cousin Cecilia is smitten with what the family considers an unsuitable suitor (a poet). Then there is her high-strung cousin Charles Rivenhall who is determined to marry a horribly prosy bluestocking. Using unorthodox methods, Sophie sets out to put everything to rights... but staying with her relatives could be her biggest challenge yet... especially since it seems that she has finally met her match.

Sophy is a this fantastic, fun-loving, unconventional, and adorable heroine. In my book of heroines, she is only second to one Miss Elizabeth Bennett. The fact that her motivation for all her escapades is a desire to make other people happy makes her absolutely endearing. Her determination to force Mr. Rivenhall to lighten up and the inevitable battles that ensue provide pure delightful entertainment. Although at first you are not too fond of Mr. Rivenhall, he actually turns out to be the perfect gentleman with a need for exactly someone like Sophy to provide just what his life was lacking. All the secondary characters were just as entertaining as her main characters. I loved them all - from the distracted poet to the lazy, Spanish Marquesa, even all of the crazy animals. In the span of a few pages, Heyer manages to break three betrothals, create two new engagements, one marriage, and through it all leaves everyone, including the reader, perfectly satisfied.

This is regency romance with a sense of humor. Sophy grabs you and takes you on a ride you don’t want to end. With fabulous characters, zany laugh-out-loud moments, and the need to see just what she will come up with next.

You just HAVE to read this!

and.... thanks to Danielle at Sourcebooks I can help two lucky readers with that. That's right I have two copies of The Grand Sophy to giveaway. As always, leave a comment for one entry. Second entry if you follow, third if you follow on Twitter, and so forth.

Rules: Books will be delivered directly from Publisher so giveaway is only available to residents of the US and Canada. P.O. Boxes are okay. Winners will be drawn Friday, August 14.

I guarantee you won't want to miss out on this one. Good luck!


Fairy Tale by Cyn Balog

Morgan Sparks and Cam Browne are the couple that every one is jealous of in school. Cam is the cute quarterback - Mogan is the "normal" girl (I know, I found it refreshing that she wasn’t the mega-hot cheerleader). They have been the best of friends since they were in nursery school and it was only natural for their friendship to evolve into love. They are so meant for each other they even have the same birthday. In celebration of their Sweet 16 - they have decided to throw a joint 16 birthday bash. A week short of the party - Morgan starts noticing some slight changes in Cam. He’s not his normal happy-go-lucky self. She’s worried there might be another girl involved... she just can’t figure it out. That is until Cam shows her the wings growing out of his back. It seems Cam isn’t being seduced by a new girl but by a whole other realm. He’s slowly becoming a Fairy. Seriously... a Fairy.

Things start getting weird when a mysterious cousin named Pip appears, Cam can no longer throw a football, not to mention he’s getting smaller by the day, and he has no time to spend with her because he’s in "fairy" training. Once he confesses that he is a fairy king being called to the throne on his 16th birtday, it is up to Morgan to fight for their "perfect" love and do anything in her power to keep Cam... even if it means fooling the fairys and possibly putting herself in danger.

This is another one that I've been gushing to everyone about. I absolutely loved this story. It has such a unique blend of fantasy and reality. Morgan (our narrator) has this witty, sarcastic humor that I found myself laughing out loud over. I totally got her! Cam and Pip were just adorable and I was going through all the mixed emotions Morgan was experiencing. I enjoyed that it wasn't your average tale about a girl in love with a fairy - but instead it was a struggle to stay together when so many obstacles were driving them apart. I also found it neat that it wasn't told through the girl becoming the fairy but through the eyes of the person in love with the fairy... which was a very different take for me. Although towards the middle I had an inkling as to what the ending would be - I think Ms. Balog did a fantastic job in getting us there and making us (the readers) feel good in the end.

Fairy Tale is a charming story you won't want to miss - full of delightful characters, star-crossed lovers and plenty of magic.


Before I Die by Jenny Downham

Tessa is 16 years old and she is dying. She has made a list of things she wants to do before she dies. This is not your average list of course.... some of the things on her list include having sex (for the first time), doing drugs, saying "yes" for a whole day, even breaking the law. All of Tessa’s feelings, her relationships with her family and best friend are painfully brought to closure the precious weeks before Tessa’s time finally runs out.

This is not your conventional novel about a young girl dying. It had some very strong emotions and I felt it really captured the way any person would feel if they had a limited time to live. Tessa had mood swings ranging anywhere between mad, happy, sad. There were times where she hated herself and times where she hated everyone around her. She was hateful at times, but at the same time, I felt this was credible. I can really envision feeling this way being placed in her shoes. Ms. Downham is a very talented writer. She has created a character that you will grow to love and will miss terribly as she slowly fades away. The ending was perhaps the most powerful part of the whole book, the specific way it was written brought tears to my eyes. Although this novel is aimed at young adults, I would also recommend to adults. It is sad, it is poignant, it will linger with you long after you are done with it.


My Forbidden Desire by Carolyn Jewel

Alexandrine is in terrible danger. She is still in shock after finding out her brother, Harsh, is alive. It’s been years since she’s heard from him - but it gets even worse when he tells her that her biological father wants her dead. It seems she has acquired a Talisman that he wants and will stop at nothing to get it... even if it means killing his daughter for it. In order to protect her, Harsh asks his friend Xia for help in protecting his sister. The problem with this scenario is that Xia hates her for being a Mage (or witch). He especially doesn’t like Alexandrine because her father was the Mage who enslaved him for years. Due to honor and the respect he has for Harsh he agrees to protect Alexandrine not knowing the danger she’d be to his own heart.

I liked this story. It was not your average paranormal romance. It had plenty of new concepts that I found quite unique and interesting (i.e. magehelds and blood-twins, etc.) - with a nice, little glossary at the front to explain same. Xia is the epitome of the bad boy and I really enjoyed him as a character. Alexandrine was the perfect mate for him. They were both strong, intense, flawed, yet also very likeable. I really loved the dialogue and interaction between them.

This was a fantastic introduction to Ms. Jewel’s writing and I’ll definitely be on the lookout for more titles from her. This is required reading for any paranormal romance lover.

GIVEAWAY: I have 5 copies of MY FORBIDDEN DESIRE by Carolyn Jewel to giveaway.

As always, leave a comment for one entry. Second entry if you follow, third if you follow on Twitter, and so forth.

Rules: Books will be delivered directly from Publisher so giveaway is only available to residents of the US and Canada. No P.O. Boxes please. Winners will be drawn this Saturday, August 1.

What are you Reading on Mondays? (Week 7/27/09)

For everyone elses responses, please visit J. Kaye at J. Kaye's Book Blog. What am I reading this week?

Last week I read the following:
- Fairy Tale by Cyn Balog [review]
- Benny & Shrimp by Katarina Mazetti [review]
- The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer [review]

I reviewed the following:
- Bound to Please by Lilli Feisy [review]
- The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister [review]
- Ravens by George Dawes Green [review]

What are you reading this week?


Giveaway: How to Score

Her Life Coach

Museum curator Sammi Matthews isn't just in a dating slump, she's putting men on the injured list. After giving one date a black eye and cracking another's rib, Sammi decides she needs professional help. Enter life coach Luke Jones, who advises Sammi on how to overcome her klutziness. And their phone sessions work! Sammi soon meets a sexy FBI agent who seems to know just what she needs.

Is Changing Her Life

When his brother Luke goes into federal protection, FBI Special Agent Chase Jones agrees to cover for him. Then Sammi's hot voice sizzles down the line, and the usual "phone only" rule is out. With "Luke" coaching her by day, and Chase dating her by night, Sammi's confidence soars, along with her appeal. Chase falls hard, but how will Sammi feel if and when he comes clean? Chase would rather she break all his bones than risk breaking her heart.

In Ways She's Never Imagined!

I have 5 copies to giveaway!

As always, leave a comment for one entry. Second entry if you follow, third if you follow on Twitter, and so forth.

Rules: Books will be delivered directly from Publisher so giveaway is only available to residents of the US and Canada. No P.O. Boxes please. Winners will be drawn this Friday, August 7.

Giveaway Results: My Name Is Will; The Impostor's Daughter; Julie & Julia; One Scream Away

Winners were chosen! (drumroll please)

My Name is Will
3- Ginny
4- Glenn
5- MJ

The Impostor's Daughter

Julie & Julia

One Scream Away
2- Jane
5- Sue

Congrats to all the winners. Winners were chosen using I will be e-mailing each of you and/or leaving you a comment. You have until Wednesday to provide me with your mailing addresses. If I haven't heard from you by Thursday, a new winner will be chosen.

If you haven't entered already, I also have a giveaways for The Moon Looked Down, Tamed by a Laird, America Libre (ends 7/30/09). More giveways will be posted throughout next week so keep an eye for those.


Author Spotlight: Jennifer Haigh

I had the opportunity of sitting in for a reading of The Condition by Author Jennifer Haigh. Jennifer did a great job and I was once again pleased with myself for buying her book months ago. Sadly, I haven't had the opportunity of reading it yet, but I definitely bumped it up on the TBR pile.
Here are some pictures of Vanessa from Book ♥ Soulmates (4th picture down) and I with Jennifer. She was sweet as pie and took pictures with us as well as authographed my copy of The Condition.

Here is a quick synopsis of The Condition:

"The Condition" tells the story of the McKotches, a proper New England family that comes apart during one fateful summer. The year is 1976, and the family--Frank McKotch, an eminent scientist; his pedigreed wife, Paulette; and their three beautiful children--has embarked on its annual vacation at the Captain's House, the grand old family retreat on Cape Cod. One day on the beach, Frank is struck by an image he cannot forget: his thirteen-year-old daughter, Gwen, strangely infantile in her child-sized bikini, standing a full head shorter than her younger cousin Charlotte. At that moment he knows a truth that he can never again unknow--something is terribly wrong with his only daughter. The McKotch family will never be the same.

Twenty years after Gwen's diagnosis with Turner's syndrome--a genetic condition that has prevented her from maturing, trapping her forever in the body of a child--all five family members are still dealing with the fallout. Each believes himself crippled by some secret pathology; each feels responsible for the family's demise. Frank and Paulette are acrimoniously divorced. Billy, the eldest son, is dutiful but distant--a handsome Manhattan cardiologist with a life built on compromise. His brother, Scott, awakens from a pot-addled adolescence to a soul-killing job, a regrettable marriage, and a vinyl-sided tract house in the suburbs. And Gwen is silent and emotionally aloof, a bright, accomplished woman who spurns any interaction with those around her. She makes peace with the hermetic life she's constructed--until, well into her thirties, she falls in love for the first time. And suddenly, once again, the family's world is tilted on its axis.

Compassionate yet unflinchingly honest, witty and almost painfully astute, "The Condition" explores the power of family mythologies--the self-delusions, denials, and inescapable truths that forever bind fathers and mothers and siblings.

I can't wait to read it!


New Moon Official Site

For those of you who haven't already googled or heard about this yet, there is a new website for you Twilight fans full of New Moon goodies. Click here and enjoy. :D

Random Reading Challenge

August 1, 2009 – July 31, 2010

Are you stuck in a rut? Do you always find yourself reading from set lists or feeling committed to reading one book while another book screams at you from your TBR mountain? Has your reading become completely scheduled? If so, the Random Reading Challenge may be just the thing to put the spontaneity back into your reading.

For this challenge, readers will be choosing books randomly from their TBR stacks. You may select one of three levels of participation:

Level I:
You are just a tad compulsive about your reading – you love your lists and schedules. Being spontaneous is not something that comes naturally to you. To complete the challenge, force yourself out of your rut and read just six books.

Level II:
You really want to break away from all those lists, but you do still have a responsibility to your reading groups, other challenges and all those review books. Six books is too little, but twelve is too much. Stretch a little and read nine books for the challenge.

Level III:
Throw away the lists, don’t look at your schedule, bring on the joy that comes with the freedom to chose books randomly. Read twelve books for the challenge.

Rules (come on, you didn’t think I would be THAT random did you?!?!?):

NO lists allowed. Books for the challenge are chosen one at a time when the mood strikes.

Sign up at any time during the challenge period using Mr. Linky below. Please give me a direct link to your blog post about the challenge. If you do not have a blog, no worries. Simply enter your name and leave the URL box on Mr. Linky blank.

Book reviews are not required, but if you want to write a review I will be providing a review Mr. Linky after August 1st.

Books are selected one at a time using the following procedure:

Randomly select any number of books from either your physical OR your virtual TBR pile (I don’t care how you do this, but it must be random…no “cherry picking” allowed)

Assign a number to each book based on how many books you selected (ie: if you selected 14 books, assign each book a number from 1 through 14; if you selected 28 books, assign each book a number from 1 through 28…you get the idea)

Go to THIS SITE and use the TRUE RANDOM NUMBER GENERATOR located in the upper right hand corner of the page to randomly select the book you will read. NO CHEATING – whatever the random number generator generates is the book you must read!

Each time you select a book for the challenge, you will use this procedure. You many select different books each time, choose a different amount of books each time, etc…have fun, mix it up, keep it random.

I have decided to draw names for at least one prize during the challenge period (I may do more, but I haven’t decided yet). I will be drawing names from the sign up Mr. Linky and I will announce it on my blog – so if you don’t have a blog link in Mr. Linky and are not subscribed to my blog and have no interest in checking back here…then leave me a comment with a way to contact you if I draw your name.

Ready to get random!??!? Challenge begins August 1st!


I haven't done any challenges in quite some time now and this one seems just perfect. I love random reading. I do it all the time so this sould be super simple for me. I will go with Level III and I'm sure I'll be surpassing the 12 books required. :D

Ravens by George Dawes Green

Shaw McBride and Romeo Zderko are on their way to Florida for a much-needed vacation. While stopped at a gas station in Brunswick, Georgia, Shaw overhears the clerk on the phone gossiping about a local family who won the lottery. The winning lottery ticket of $300+ million dollars was purchased at that store but the family was still unknown. As is common with most small towns, the news of who the family is begins to spread and due to some clever detective work, the internet and that ever popular MySpace, Shaw is able to find out everything about the winning family, the Boatwright’s.

The Boatwright’s are down in their luck. They are stressing over bills and living week to week on their paychecks. Tara their teenage daughter is working and putting herself through college just to flee the ‘Wick’ and her crazy parents. Her mother Patsy is an alcoholic who tends to take her anger out on her - she plays the lottery religiously on a weekly basis - and when they hit the jackpot they expect all their prayers to be answered... little did they know that their happiness would be short-lived.

That night Shaw visits the Boatwright home and holds the family hostage. He threatens all the family’s relatives and loved ones (everyone from the grandmother to Tara’s BFF). He has Romeo driving around town from home to home and tells the family that if something goes wrong with his plan of taking half their winnings, Romeo is instructed to stop at the nearest home in his list and kill whichever loved one resides there. While the news of their win is made public they must act normal and hope that Shaw’s plan comes to fruition without anyone getting hurt.

For some reason this hit a nerve with me. I was frightened and at the same time couldn’t put it down. I just had to know what would happen next. This was a roller coaster ride for me. There were times where I laughed and times were I just wanted someone to fight Shaw and Romeo back. I was frustrated and then there were times where I was plain scared for them. It brought out the best and worst in me I guess. All in all, I enjoyed it. I can see where this would make a great movie. The fact that Shaw was was able to do all his research on MySpace totally blew me away. It’s amazing how much information is made public on the world wide web. Scary!

If you are in the mood for a chilling, edge of your seat - can’t put it down thriller, then check this one out.


The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister

The School of Essential Ingredients is the story of eight individuals who come together for one Monday a month to participate in a cooking class. This class is hosted by Lillian who has quite the knack for making food bring the best out in a person. Each chapter focuses on a particular student and deals with topics/issues that can be considered deep and thought provoking.

I absolutely fell in love with Ms. Bauermeister’s writing. Her descriptions of food were so rich that I could actually envision and practically smell what was being cooked. Too bad there weren’t any actual recipes - some of the meals were just mouth watering. Each of the characters were interesting in their own way. Some of their stories were sad (yes, I admit it, I did shed a tear or two) and others were quite uplifting. And although the stories are short, they contain the "essential elements" of each character, and I found myself unexpectedly moved by their stories. For each character, food has had an impact on their lives and you enjoy getting to know these people and reinforcing the idea that food is much more than sustenance. This book is a celebration of the senses with the added beauty of personal growth of its characters.

I am definitely adding this to my list of favorite books in 2009. It was a quick, simple read that teaches you how to cook without a cookbook. My only complaint would be that it was too short. The story is beautiful and the writing is just lovely - this is one of those books that you just have to own.


Wings is being made into a movie!

I'm sure you guys remember a review I had up a couple of weeks ago about Wings by Aprilynne Pike. I really enjoyed it and I had a feeling that this was going to be the next big hit - similar to Twilight... well, I just found this article from Variety stating that Disney bought the film rights and it seems Hannah Montana Miley Cyrus will play Laurel.

Can I tell you how excited I am about this?!?

I can't wait to see it!

Bound to Please by Lilli Feisty

Ruby Scott is a beautiful, quiet event planner who leads an oh-so-respectable life. Yet the things that go on in her secret fantasies are anything but. She has every intention of keeping her hidden desires under wraps-until she meets a gorgeous, hard-muscled man ten years her junior. Mark St. Crow is a gifted, up-and-coming musician who collects erotic art and loves to "play" women as much as his piano. After one night of uninhibited passion, Ruby realizes there's no turning back. But as she surrenders to her deepest needs and lets Mark control every forbidden thrill, her passion for him builds. Can the wild, intoxicating nights they share lead to a love that will last forever? (taken from the back cover)

I will say that there is a reason why this book comes with a warning... it is smoking hot! I found it rather odd that there was a warning label about how hot this story was on the back cover of the book. I thought it was cute and didn’t pay much more attention to it. Well let me forewarn you that this book has some very descriptive erotic romance with scenes of both BDSM and SM. I personally am not much of an erotica reader... so I normally do not read anything this hot and will confess to blushing quite a lot while reading it. But I will say that I really liked the main characters. Both Ruby and Mark were very likeable and rather memorable. The dialogue alone was phenomenal. I quickly found myself drawn into their irresistible romance. This is definitely not for the faint of heart - but for those of you who enjoy erotica or are looking for something spicy with fantastic characters (full of tattoos, piercings, and fond of bondage) combined with great writing, then this is one you’ll definitely want to grab.

You will never think of a strawberry in quite the same light after reading this *snickers*.


What are you Reading on Mondays? (Week 7/20/09)

For everyone elses responses, please visit J. Kaye at J. Kaye's Book Blog. What am I reading this week?

Last week I read the following:
- Summer House - Nancy Thayer [review]
- Ravens - George Dawes Green [review]
- Before I Die - Jenny Downham [review]

I actually had a horrible reading week last week. Bleh. Don't know why to be honest.

I reviewed the following:
- Last Light Over Carolina - Mary Alice Monroe [review]
- One Scream Away - Kate Brady [reivew]
- Ghostgirl - Tonya Hurley [review]

What are you reading this week?

Giveaway Results: Off Season,The Disappearance of Irene Dos Santos and Knight of Desire

Sorry you guys... once again I have been slacking and am late posting winners. I have just been bombarded with work and the weekend was just out-of-control hectic. So I won't keep you any longer... here goes.

Off Season:

The Disappearance of Irene Dos Santos:

Knight of Desire:

Winners were chosen using I will be e-mailing each of you and/or leaving you a comment. You have until Wednesday to provide me with your mailing addresses. If I haven't heard from you by Thursday, a new winner will be chosen.

If you are interested in more giveaways, please check out the following: My Name Is Will; The Impostor's Daughter and Julie & Julia (ends 7/24/09); One Scream Aaway (ends 7/25/09); The Moon Looked Down, Tamed by a Laird, America Libre (ends 7/30/09). More giveaways to be posted throughout the week. Have a Happy Monday!


What's in a Name Challenge 2009 Wrap-Up

I completed the What's in a Name Reading Challenge. Here is the link to my original post. These were the final titles I chose for the challenge.

My list:
1. The Thief Lord - Cornelia Funke (completed 1/29/09)
2. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - Mark Haddon (completed 1/07/09)
3. The Mistress's Daughter - A.M. Homes (completed 3/03/09)
4. Where the Heart Is - Billie Letts (completed 1/05/09)
5. Summer House - Nancy Thayer (completed - 7/16/09)
6. Blindness - José Saramago (completed 1/11/09)

Summer House by Nancy Thayer

Summer House is told through the viewpoints of three women in the same family. Nona- is the 90 year old grandmother and head of the family. Helen- in her late fifties, she is married to Nona's son Worth. And Charlotte- thirty, she's Helen's daughter and is residing yearlong at the summer house in Nantucket along with her grandmother Nona. The Wheelwright family is all gathering together in their summer house for what they call "Family Meeting" (a meeting where the whole family comes together to discuss their assets, finances, and family matters), Nona's 90th Birthday and well, just to sail, swim, play tennis and relax.
The chapters switch back and forth between all three women:

Charlotte started an organic garden on a portion of her grandmother’s land three years ago - she works long, hard days. She has become rather fond of her garden and her business is blooming. She's the dreamer in the family but her work in the garden has really opened her eyes and you can tell that it is helping her firmly plant her feet on steady ground.

Helen has her share of issues - for one, she has been molded to be the perfect wife and more importantly, a Wheelwright - even if it meant giving up on some of her dreams and aspirations. Over the summer she learns of her husbands unfaithfulness and is questioning if she made the right choices over her life. Not to mention she is questioning her mothering skills - neither of her three of children has accomplished what she and her husband envisioned for them in life. Charlotte is stil not married and is running her garden - with no suitors in sight... but especially no grandbabies. Oliver lives with his partner (Owen) in San Francisco - as far away from the family and the family business as possible. And then there's her youngest, who is an alocholic and drug addict - he shows up at the summer house with news of his marraige and a very pregnant wife.

Nona spends most of her days reliving the past. Her beloved husband Herb passed away several years ago leaving her as head of the family. Although she is 90, she is seen as quite a force and is very respected by all. With the family meeting and the whole bunch reunited at her home she has to give up her peaceful daily routine and be the one to help guide and pacify her crazy family members.

This is family drama at it's best. I loved that there were so many characters (some liked and some not so much) and they all had one problem or another including with eachother. I really enjoyed reading the three viewpoints - the age differences made the same event be seen in three different perspectives. This is the second book I read about Nantucket this summer and I am really considering planning a vacation there. Ms. Thayer creates wonders with her words of what life on Nantucket would be like.

This is definitely the book you want to grab and stuff in your beachbag as you are running out the door - it's a light read full of drama, and plenty of family secrets that keep you guessing... I really enjoyed this and would definitely recommend it.

My thanks to Dorothy at Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tours for sending me this copy for review.


Numbers Challenge Wrap-Up

I completed the Numbers Challenge - this was actually a little harder than I originally anticipated but I still completed it with time to spare. :D

Here is my final list:
1 One Fifth Avenue - Candace Bushnell (completed 2/09/09)
2 One Silent Night - Sherrilyn Kenyon (competed 2/12/09)
3 Nineteen Minutes - Jodi Picoult (completed 3/28/09)
4 One Deadly Sin - Annie Solomon (completed 4/16/09)
5 Twenty Boy Summer - Sarah Ockler (completed 5/19/09)
6 One Scream Away - Kate Brady (completed 7/12/09)

This was fun though - I like a "challenging" challenge like this. Will definitely jump on the bandwagon again next year.

Ghostgirl by Tonya Hurley

Charlotte Usher is your typical teenager - her only problem, she’s basically invisible to the kids in school. She’s the type of person who just blends into the background... has no real friends, isn’t overly academic nor into sports. She is excited this first day of school because she spent her whole summer preparing herself to finally catch the attention of Damen Dylan (yes, he’s the hottest boy in school). Although Damen already has a girlfriend (Petula) - Charlotte plans on not letting anything or anyone get in her way - that includes Petula and her BFF’s - The Wendys. Just as things start looking up for Charlotte when it comes to Damen - she has a mishap with a gummy bear and (dum dum dum) SHE DIES. But she refuses to let something as minuscule as being dead get in the way of her plans. Shortly after her death she learns that she has to complete Dead Ed in place of high school. All “dead” students have to learn something important (something they never learned in life) before crossing over.... and Charlotte is definitely lacking in that subject. Be prepared for possessions (consensual, of course), major stalking issues and even a love triangle.

I must confess I purchased Ghostgirl because I fell in love with the cover (it reminded me of Tim Burton and I ♥ anything a-la Tim Burton). I loved the elongated cover and pages, the color scheme, great illustrations, the font, the borders on every page, etc. In between each chapter there was this fantastic little blurb that caught my attention and I just bought it... very spontaneous-like, since I had never really heard of it before.

With that said, I had some issues with it. Don’t take me wrong, I did find the story unique at first, but then it slowly disintegrated for me. I definitely could not relate to Charlotte - not even thinking back to when I was her age. She was very shallow and I found some of her actions even annoying at times. Luckily, she did outgrow most of this - but it was towards the end of the book so she didn’t fully redeem herself in my eyes. I did like how the story ended (although it did feel a bit rushed) and I can definitely appreciate the message that the author was trying to convey but it was still confusing and I felt as though it left a few plot holes. There were some great characters and some fantastic lines thrown in that made me laugh, but in the end, I must confess I was disappointed with this.


One Scream Away by Kate Brady

Beth Denison is being stalked and harassed by serial killer Chevy Bankes. Chevy was just recently paroled and is after Beth since she’s the one who sent him to jail seven years ago. He keeps calling her cell phone to threaten her and her young daughter Abby. She is terrified by his antics but at the same time she feels that she has the strength to take him on.

Former FBI agent, Neil Sheridan has been called in for his expertise by his friend and colleague, Rick. Neil once handled a murder case whose actions were quite similar to Chevy’s. Their investigation leads them to Beth’s doorstep but they know that she isn’t being honest when questioned as to her connection to these killings. Beth has no other choice but to trust and believe in Neil... but as their feelings grow stronger and Chevy draws nearer she worries about what the truth of that fateful night, years ago with Chevy, might cost her.

This was a fast-paced thriller, full of twists and turns that had me at the edge of my seat. It had these great characters - Beth, Neil and even Chevy, that were broken in one way or another, but who were strong, clever and downright terrorizing (Chevy). Although some scenes were graphic in nature - they were not overly disturbing. I thought it was neat that Chevy had his own chapters so you were able to get these glimpses into his disturbed mind. He was always one step ahead of the good guys and the whole Jenny thing was just creepy. The romance was very subtle - I would classify this more as a thriller than a romantic suspense - which is a good thing. I really enjoyed this and I’m sure that fans of detective/murder mysteries, thrillers and action novels will too.

GIVEAWAY: I have 5 copies of ONE SCREAM AWAY by Kate Brady to giveaway.

As always, leave a comment for one entry. Second entry if you follow, third if you follow on Twitter, and so forth.

Rules: Books will be delivered directly from Publisher so giveaway is only available to residents of the US and Canada. No P.O. Boxes please. Winners will be drawn this Saturday, July 25.


Last Light Over Carolina by Mary Alice Monroe

Bud and Carolina Morrison have been married for well over 30 years. They reside in the small coastal town of McClellanville, South Carolina where Bud captains the Miss Carolina - his shrimping boat. Although being a shrimper is not the easiest of lives (long, hard-working days) - it is something that he would not give up for the world. Like any marriage - Bud and Carolina’s has not been an easy one they have definitely had their share of bumpy roads, but they have found a way to overcome these obstacles and have held strong to their lives together.

The story takes place in the course and scope of one day. Bud wakes up that morning well before dawn and heads out for the day’s catch. Once his ship is ready to sail out and after waiting for his deckhand, who is late, he decides to head out on his own - not an easy thing for one man to do (and definitely not for one well into his sixties now). Due to bad weather and an accident at sea Bud is missing causing Carolina’s nightmares to become a reality. Most of the day Carolina has had a dreadful feeling in her stomach... she feels as if something is wrong but just can’t pinpoint what it is.

While Bud is at sea and Carolina runs around doing her daily errands, we slip back and forth between flashbacks of their lives together. The realities of being a shrimper and a shrimper’s wife, how they first met, making a home, having a baby, the destruction of Hurricane Hugo, long separations (if the shrimp don’t come to you, you must go to where the shrimp is), and how the local shrimping market is being affected by foreign shrimp being used at much lower rates. Prepare to be taken on a roller coaster journey through the lives of two people as they come to realize how precious life really is and how important they really are to one another.

I really enjoy character driven novels like this. The flashbacks are told in a way where you get both sides of the story which give these characters a depth that you feel as if you know them and you can't help but fall in love with them (flaws and all). I love that you learn so much about shrimping... and I could even relate somewhat to Carolina’s feelings - since my grandfather was a fisherman (back in the day). I remember the nights that my grandmother stayed up waiting for him or the days that went by while she waited by the phone for that call from a dock somewhere just to let her know that he was okay. The writing is superb - you can almost feel the Southern twang while reading it. This was a beautiful and poignant story about life, love and hope that I honestly loved and highly recommend.

My thanks to Sarah at Pocket Books for sending me this copy for review.


What are you Reading on Mondays? (Week 7/13/09)

For everyone elses responses, please visit J. Kaye at J. Kaye's Book Blog. What am I reading this week?

Last week I read the following:
The Wolves' Keeper Legend - Silvia Weber [review]
Last Light Over Carolina - Mary Alice Monroe [review]
One Scream Away - Kate Brady [review]
Summer House - Nancy Thayer [review]

I reviewed the following:
How Perfect Is That - Sarah Bird [review]
Knight of Desire - Margaret Mallory [review]

What are you reading this week?
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