December 31, 2010

Giveaway: The Outside Boy by Jeanine Cummins



One of my readers will win a copy of this book
Open to residents of the US and Canada

WINNER HAS BEEN CHOSEN & NOTIFIED.

Giveaway ends: 1/13/2011

Winners will be notified via email.  The winners will have 48 hours to send me their mailing info or another winner will be chosen.

Official Rules - *No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. *Entry instructions, additional eligibility requirements, prize information listed on individual giveaway posts. By submitting an entry, entrants agree to these rules and agree that they are eligible to enter.  The sponsor is responsible for sending the giveaway items.


Disclosure:  The prize is being provided for free.



Review: The Outside Boy by Jeanine Cummins



A poignant debut novel of an Irish gypsy boy's childhood in the 1950's by the author of the bestselling memoir A Rip in Heaven. 
 
Ireland, 1959: Young Christy Hurley is a Pavee gypsy, traveling with his father and extended family from town to town, carrying all their worldly possessions in their wagons. Christy carries with him a burden of guilt as well, haunted by the story of his mother's death in childbirth. The peripatetic life is the only one Christy has ever known, but when his grandfather dies, everything changes. His father decides to settle down temporarily in a town where Christy and his cousin can attend mass and receive proper schooling. But they are still treated as outsiders. 

As Christy's exposure to a different life causes him to question who he is and where he belongs, the answer may lie with an old newspaper photograph and a long-buried family secret that could change his life forever...

The Outside Boy is a remarkable novel that will make you laugh and cry.  Christy is easy to relate to and you can't help but connect with him on a deep, meaningful level.  Jeanine's writing ability is phenomenal.  When you are looking for something to read that has substance, The Outside Boy is your best option.  Five stars!

Penguin Group (USA)
June 1, 2010
384 pages
$15.00 US

Visit Jeanine's website
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Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book for free.  All opinions expressed are 100% mine.  If you make a purchase using my Amazon or Barnes and Noble link, I will receive a small portion of the purchase price.


December 30, 2010

Review: Brooklyn Story by Suzanne Corso


To me, some people lived in the real world and others lived Brooklyn. . . .

It’s the summer of 1978, and Samantha Bonti is fifteen years old, half Jewish and half Italian, and hesitantly edging toward pure Brooklyn, even if her dreams of something more are bigger than the neighborhood girls’ teased hair. She lives in Bensonhurst with her mother, Joan, a woman abandoned and scarred in a ruinous marriage, poisoned with cynicism, and shackled by addictions; and with her Grandma Ruth, Samantha’s loudest and most opinionated source of encouragement. As flawed as they are, they are family. 

Samantha’s best friend is Janice Caputo, a girl who understands, as well as Samantha does, this close-knit community of ancestors and traditions that stand like roadblocks, this insular overcrowded little world of controlling mobsters who mold their women like Jell-O; and of the wannabes, the charismatic young guys who are willing to engage in anything illegal to get a shot at playing with the big boys. Yet, Samantha has something Janice doesn’t—a desire to become a writer and to escape the destiny that is assumed for all of them in the outer reaches of Bensonhurst. And it’s to be had just across the Brooklyn Bridge. 

Then comes Tony Kroon.

Older than Samantha, Tony is a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, half-Sicilian, half-Dutch mobster wannabe. A Bensonhurst Adonis. Taken in by his adoring attention, and empathetic to Tony’s own struggles with identity, Samantha is falling in love, even when she’s warned never to ask imprudent questions of Tony’s life. Even when her family and friends warn her to stay away. Even when Samantha knows she’s too smart to fall this deep . . . but the last thing she wants is the first thing to happen. Unable to resist Tony’s seductive charms, Samantha soon finds herself swallowed up by dangerous circumstances that threaten to jeopardize more than her dreams. Grandma Ruth’s advice: Samantha had better write herself out this story and into a new one, fast.

Told from the adult perspective, this is a powerful, true-to-life novel of leaving the past to history and the future to fate—of restoring hope where there was none, and reaching for dreams in an inspiring promise of paradise called Manhattan.

Brilliantly written and fascinating, Brooklyn Story is unique book that worms its way into your heart.  I will never forget this heartfelt book and all of the emotions that it invokes in the reader.  Suzanne's inspirational writing is pure and a breath of fresh air.  I highly recommend this book to other readers. 




Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
December 28, 2010
323 pages
$23.99 US

Visit Suzanne's website
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Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book for free.  All opinions expressed are 100% mine.  If you make a purchase using my Amazon or Barnes and Noble link, I will receive a small portion of the purchase price.


Review: Earl of Darkness (Heirs of Kilronan) by Alix Rickloff


The magic she tries to hide . . .
Born a lady, but reduced to surviving in the slums of Dublin, Catriona O’Connell has been hired to steal a mysterious book from Aidan Douglas, Earl of Kilronan. But Cat is secretly Other, an age-old mixture of Fey and human—something Aidan recognizes immediately when he surprises the lovely young burglar in his library, about to steal a magical diary. 

. . . is the magic he desperately wants.
From the moment Aidan sees her, Cat’s spirited beauty enchants him, but her uncanny abilities are what he truly needs, for Cat can understand the mystical language in the diary he inherited from his murdered father. So Aidan makes an offer: translate the book or be thrown in prison as a thief. And as Cat slowly deciphers each page, she and Aidan are drawn together by passion . . . and into the violence of the Other world that is the Kilronan legacy. Can they defeat those who seek the book, or are their lives in even greater danger than their hearts?

There is one word I can use to describe this book perfectly - delicious!  The dynamic characters and unrelenting plot make for one hell of a book!  My advice, make sure you have lots of time to read because once you start, you won't stop.  Earl of Darkness has a little bit of everything - suspense, mystery and a lot of steamy romance.  Five stars!

Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
December 28, 2010
368 pages
$7.99 US

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Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book for free.  All opinions expressed are 100% mine.  If you make a purchase using my Amazon or Barnes and Noble link, I will receive a small portion of the purchase price.

Review: The Scent of Jasmine by Jude Deveraux


Would you risk your life—on the love of a lifetime? 

Charleston, 1799: A daughter of Southern gentility and a gifted painter, Catherine Edilean Harcourt has no lack of suitors at home in Virginia, waiting to fulfill her dream of marriage and family. But Cay’s adventurous spirit, fostered by growing up with her three brothers, is piqued while visiting her godfather in South Carolina. Bedridden with a broken leg, he asks Cay to fill in for him on an urgent task: on her way to a fancy dress ball, she must deliver a packed horse to an old friend’s son—who also happens to be an escaped convict charged with murdering his wife! Cay agrees to the plan, which doesn’t go at all as planned . . . whereupon she finds herself fleeing Alexander McDowell’s captors, riding blind into the night with the fugitive Scotsman. Though she should fear him, Cay finds herself overwhelmingly attracted to Alex, and drawn into his tale of misguided justice and his innocence as they seek refuge in the steamy Florida everglades. Will trusting him be the worst mistake of her life? Or will falling in love be the salvation both of them have been looking for?

I was swept away by The Scent of Jasmine.  I was sucked in within the first few pages and Jude kept me intrigued throughout the entire book.  I haven't quite decided which part of the book I liked more, the historical aspect or the steamy, sensual romance.  The characters are easy to relate to and the story flows.  I recommend this book to historical romance fans.

Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
December 28, 2010
432 pages
$7.99 US

Visit Jude's website


Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book for free.  All opinions expressed are 100% mine.  If you make a purchase using my Amazon or Barnes and Noble link, I will receive a small portion of the purchase price.

December 23, 2010

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE: Transformers Prime (Transformers: Prime)



This all-new graphic novel adventure leads directly into the hotly anticipated TRANSFORMERS PRIME animated series! In this epic first adventure, battles across CYBERTRON have left CLIFFJUMPER and his fellow AUTOBOTS in desperate need of help against the threat of MEGATRON and the evil DECEPTICONS. What is it that leads them from war-torn CYBERTRON across the galaxy to Earth? Find out in this special feature-length story!

978-1-60010-832-7
September 2010
96 pages
$9.99 US

**This post contains affiliate link(s).**

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE: Transformers: The IDW Collection Volume 1


TRANSFORMERS UNIVERSE is presented in hardcover, in chronological order! Start at the very beginning and experience each story as its events transpire in the main storyline. Featuring series cover design by E.J. Su, this run is sure to redefine your experience with the Robots in Disguise. Volume 1 contains: MEGATRON ORIGIN #1–4, SPOTLIGHT: BLURR, SPOTLIGHT: CLIFFJUMPER, SPOTLIGHT: SHOCKWAVE, SPOTLIGHT: NIGHTBEAT, SPOTLIGHT: HOTROD, INFILTRATION #0–6.

IDW Publishing
978-1-60010-667-5
392 pages
$49.99 US

**This post contains affiliate link(s).**

December 22, 2010

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE: Witch & Wizard: Battle for Shadowland (Witch & Wizard (Idw))




In a blink of an eye, their world has changed, with the oppressive New Order declaring all magic as evil incarnate! In this action-packed tale spinning out of best-selling author James Patterson’s No. 1 novel, sibling teenagers Whit and Wisty Allgood use their newly discovered magical powers to infiltrate into enemy territory of the New Order to gain control of the inter-dimensional Shadowland.

IDW Publishing
978-1-60010-759-7
October, 2010
104 pages
$17.99 US

**This post contains affiliate link(s).**

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE Giveaway: How Music Works by John Powell



3 of my readers will win a copy of this book
Open to residents of the US and Canada
Cannot mail to a P.O. Box
The book(s) will be mailed out by the publisher

WINNER'S HAVE BEEN CHOSEN & NOTIFIED.
Giveaway ends: 1/5/2011

Winners will be notified via email.  The winners will have 48 hours to send me their mailing info or another winner will be chosen.

Official Rules - *No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. *Entry instructions, additional eligibility requirements, prize information listed on individual giveaway posts. By submitting an entry, entrants agree to these rules and agree that they are eligible to enter.  The sponsor is responsible for sending the giveaway items.

Disclosure:  The prizes are being provided for free.

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE Review: Booksfree.com Membership







Booksfree


The Details

Booksfree is often referred to as Netflix-for-Books. After signing up, browse the Web site and select titles (book rentals, audio books on CD, or audio books on MP3-CDs) you would like to add to your queue by clicking the red Add button. These titles are added to your queue. We automatically ship the number of titles your membership plan allows. The remaining titles in your queue will be ready to ship in future orders. We recommend keeping at least 10-15 titles in your queue at all times for the greatest enjoyment of our service. When you return titles you have read or listened to in the provided prepaid return mailer, we automatically ship your next selection(s). In the event your next selection is unavailable, we'll ship the first available titles in your queue in the priority added. If your queue currently has no available titles in it, we'll order them from one of our distributors and ship your order the following business day (older titles have limited availability).

Paperback books are shipped 2-3 books per order via Media Mail and should arrive within 5-10 business days. Paperback book members must return the same number of books they receive in order for the next order to generate properly. Audiobooks are shipped in their entirety, one title per order via First Class mail and should arrive within 2-5 business days. We always ship the entire audiobook, regardless of the number of discs.

If you prefer to rent books or audiobooks individually, please visit our À La Carte section.

Rent All You Want
With Booksfree you can rent as many titles as you want. The number of titles you rent depends on your membership plan and how quickly you return each order. Over 228,000 Titles
As a member, you'll be able to choose from more than 200,000 paperback titles, 28,000 children's books, and 26,000 audiobook titles-- from classics to new releases. Our Web site is open 24 hours a day and makes finding books simple and convenient.

Free Shipping Both Ways
Shipping is always free both ways. There are never any hidden charges or late fees.

About Booksfree
In business since 2000, Booksfree provides reading and listening enjoyment to thousands of satisfied customers each month.

I started a membership with Booksfree.com and it would make the perfect gift for your bookworm buddy.  Rent unlimited paperback or audiobooks and have them delivered to your mailbox.  It's easy, cost-efficient and you get to choose a program that is tailored just for you.  The books were in great shape and they made it to my home really fast.  This year, give the gift of reading, you won't regret it.

Like Books Free on Facebook
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Disclosure:  I received this service for free.  All opinions are my own.


Review: The Secret History of Elizabeth Tudor, Vampire Slayer by Lucy Weston



Sovereign Power. Eternal Pleasure.


Revealed at last in this new vampire saga for the ages: the true, untold story of the “Virgin Queen” and her secret war against the Vampire King of England. . . .

On the eve of her coronation, Elizabeth Tudor is summoned to the tomb of her mother, Anne Boleyn, to learn the truth about her bloodline—and her destiny as a Slayer. Born to battle the bloodsucking fiends who ravage the night, and sworn to defend her beloved realm against all enemies, Elizabeth soon finds herself stalked by the most dangerous and seductive vampire of all.

He is Mordred, bastard son of King Arthur, who sold his soul to destroy his father. After centuries in hiding, he has arisen determined to claim the young Elizabeth as his Queen. Luring her into his world of eternal night, Mordred tempts Elizabeth with the promise of everlasting youth and beauty, and vows to protect her from all enemies. Together, they will rule over a golden age for vampires in which humans will exist only to be fed upon. Horrified by his intentions, Elizabeth embraces her powers as a Slayer even as she realizes that the greatest danger comes from her own secret desire to yield to Mordred . . . to bare her throat in ecstasy and allow the vampire king to drink deeply of her royal blood.


As a vampire-addict, I have high standards for vampire books and The Secret History of Elizabeth Tudor, Vampire Slayer won me over!  It's brilliantly written and once I started reading, I could not put it down.  I love the author's voice and her ability to paint a picture with her words.  If you are looking for the next instant hit book, you've found it!




Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
December 21, 2010
303 pages
$15.00 US

Visit Lucy's website
Follow her on Twitter


Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book for free.  All opinions expressed are 100% mine.  If you make a purchase using my Amazon or Barnes and Noble link, I will receive a small portion of the purchase price.



HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE Review: How Music Works: The Science and Psychology of Beautiful Sounds, from Beethoven to the Beatles and Beyond




What makes a musical note different from any other sound? How can you tell if you have perfect pitch? Why do 10 violins sound only twice as loud as one? Do your Bob Dylan albums sound better on CD or vinyl? John Powell, a scientist and musician, answers these questions and many more in HOW MUSIC WORKS, an intriguing and original guide to acoustics. In a clear, accessible, and engaging voice, Powell fascinates the reader with his delightful descriptions of the science and psychology lurking beneath the surface of music. With lively discussions of the secrets behind harmony, timbre, keys, chords, loudness, musical composition, and more, HOW MUSIC WORKS will be treasured by music lovers everywhere.

I have been obsessed with music for as long as I can remember.  I've always wondered how music works and John's books really opened my eyes to the complexity of music.  I learned so much and because of that, I have an even greater appreciation for the music making process.  How Music Works would make the perfect holiday gift for the music lover in your life.

Little, Brown & Company
November 3, 2010
264 pages
$24.99 US

Like How Music Works on Facebook


Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book for free.  All opinions expressed are 100% mine.  If you make a purchase using my Amazon or Barnes and Noble link, I will receive a small portion of the purchase price.



December 20, 2010

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE Giveaway: Chicken Soup for the Soul: Christmas Magic: 101 Holiday Tales of Inspiration, Love, and Wonder



3 of my readers will win a copy of this book
Open to residents of the US and Canada
The book(s) will be mailed out by the publisher

WINNER'S HAVE BEEN CHOSEN & NOTIFIED.
Giveaway ends: 1/3/2010

Winners will be notified via email.  The winners will have 48 hours to send me their mailing info or another winner will be chosen.

Official Rules - *No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. *Entry instructions, additional eligibility requirements, prize information listed on individual giveaway posts. By submitting an entry, entrants agree to these rules and agree that they are eligible to enter.  The sponsor is responsible for sending the giveaway items.


Disclosure:  The prizes are being provided for free.


HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE Review: Chicken Soup for the Soul: Christmas Magic: 101 Holiday Tales of Inspiration, Love, and Wonder


Christmas is a magical time of year — a time of family, friends, and traditions. And all the joys, blessings, and excitement of the season are captured in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Christmas Magic with its 101 new holiday stories covering everything from finding the perfect Christmas tree, being with family, and seeing the wonder in a child's eyes to goodwill, love, and the true meaning of Christmas. This book will delight every reader, from the young to the young at heart, and bring back the magic of the holiday season. "Santa-safe" for kids!

I can still remember the first time I read a Chicken Soup for the Soul book. I was a teen at the time and I became addicted immediately. I love that the stories included have a positive meaning, even if some parts are sad. I also feel empowered when I finish and Christmas Magic was no exception. I really loved this book and I have decided to make it a Christmas tradition to read it every year around the holidays. This would make a fantastic gift!

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Christmas Magic: 101 Holiday Tales of Inspiration, Love, and Wonder
Chicken Soup for the Soul Series
9781935096542
October 12, 2010
400 pages
$14.95 US

Chicken Soup for the Soul is on Facebook & Twitter.


Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book for free.  All opinions expressed are 100% mine.  If you make a purchase using my Amazon or Barnes and Noble link, I will receive a small portion of the purchase price.

Giveaway: Beneath The Thirteen Moons by Kathryne Kennedy



He's a ruler in a divided world...
In a magical watery world of the Sea Forest, the divide between the rulers and the people is an uncrossable chasm. Handsome, arrogant prince Korl Com'nder has lived a life of luxury that is nothing more than a fantasy to the people he rules. Until the day he is accidentally kidnapped by a beautiful outlaw smuggler and is forced to open his eyes to the world outside his palace walls. 

She's an outcast, but at least she has her independence...
Mahri Zin would stop at nothing to save her village, and when they needed a healer she didn't think twice about kidnapping one. But when she realizes that the healer she so impulsively stole is none other than the crown prince of Sea Forest, Mahri knows that she has a chance to change the fate of her people... 

2 of my readers will win a copy of this book
Open to residents of the US and Canada
The book(s) will be mailed out by the publisher

WINNER'S HAVE BEEN CHOSEN & NOTIFIED.
Giveaway ends: 1/3/2010

Winners will be notified via email.  The winners will have 48 hours to send me their mailing info or another winner will be chosen.

Official Rules - *No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. *Entry instructions, additional eligibility requirements, prize information listed on individual giveaway posts. By submitting an entry, entrants agree to these rules and agree that they are eligible to enter.  The sponsor is responsible for sending the giveaway items.


Disclosure:  The prizes are being provided for free.

Author Guest Post: Kathryne Kennedy


Thank you for having me as a guest on your blog today, Bridget. I’m happy to be here to celebrate the release of Beneath the Thirteen Moons, and I’m looking forward to talking with you and your readers again! Here’s a list of the top ten reasons I hope readers will fall in love with my hero, Korl Com’nder:

Top 10 Reasons Why Readers Will Fall in Love with Korl, the Hero in Beneath the Thirteen Moons

Number Ten:  He is prince of Sea Forest, a watery world where trees grow up from the ocean floor, and all life is supported in the canopies. He lives in the Palace Tree, an enormous structure carved within the very tree itself. What woman wouldn’t mind falling in love with a prince?

Number Nine:  Although accustomed to a life of luxury, Korl considers himself a healer first, and being a prince secondary to that. He uses zabba, a special tree root that can either kill you--or if you have the tolerance--give you magical powers to heal beyond the scope of our own technology.

Number Eight:  Korl is also terribly arrogant. He knows nothing about the dangers of the wild swampland beyond the city, but refuses to consider himself at a loss. Perhaps that’s more of a flaw, but for my heroine, Mahri Zin, he makes her laugh, and sometimes that’s the greatest gift of all.

Number Seven:  He likes Jaja, Mahri’s pet monk-fish, who has the body of a monkey, little webbed hands, the scales of a fish, a tail that spreads out into a fin. But I think most importantly, Jaja also likes Korl. Jaja is a good judge of character and more intelligent than most people would at first guess.

Number Six:  He can wear a crown of flutterflies just as elegantly as he can one of precious stones.

Number Five:  He makes love to my heroine in a giant blossom called the xynth flower, which only blooms once every thousand moons.

Number Four:  In order to save a child’s life, Korl consents to a mind-bond with Mahri, using the magical powers of the zabba root. It binds their magic together; a joining that will risk his very life.

Number Three:  He follows Mahri into madness to save her life from an overdose of the zabba root. Once Korl realizes that he loves her, he will do anything to keep her by his side.

Number Two:  Korl puts his own happiness above Mahri’s, for life in the palace for a wilding makes her feel trapped and unhappy. He loves her enough to let her go.

And the Number One Reason readers will fall in love with Korl is: He changes the entire world to gain Mahri’s love.

Which reason do you like best? I’m looking forward to responding to any comments!

Warmly,
Kathryne

Thank you so much Kathryne for stopping by!  -Bridget



BENEATH THE THIRTEEN MOONS BY KATHRYNE KENNEDY—IN STORES DECEMBER 2010

He's a ruler in a divided world...
In a magical watery world of the Sea Forest, the divide between the rulers and the people is an uncrossable chasm. Handsome, arrogant prince Korl Com'nder has lived a life of luxury that is nothing more than a fantasy to the people he rules. Until the day he is accidentally kidnapped by a beautiful outlaw smuggler and is forced to open his eyes to the world outside his palace walls. 

She's an outcast, but at least she has her independence...
Mahri Zin would stop at nothing to save her village, and when they needed a healer she didn't think twice about kidnapping one. But when she realizes that the healer she so impulsively stole is none other than the crown prince of Sea Forest, Mahri knows that she has a chance to change the fate of her people...

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kathryne Kennedy is a multi-published, award-winning author of magical romances. She’s lived in Guam, Okinawa, and several states in the U.S., and currently lives in Arizona with her wonderful family—which includes two very tiny Chihuahuas. She welcomes readers to visit her website where she has ongoing contests at:  www.KathryneKennedy.com.

PURCHASE YOUR COPY:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Borders
BooksAMillion
Chapters/Indigo.ca
Kathryne’s Bookseller Directory

December 17, 2010

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE Review: Euphemania: Our Love Affair with Euphemisms by Ralph Keyes


How did die become kick the bucket, underwear become unmentionables, and having an affair become hiking the Appalachian trail? Originally used to avoid blasphemy, honor taboos, and make nice, euphemisms have become embedded in the fabric of our language. EUPHEMANIA traces the origins of euphemisms from a tool of the church to a form of gentility to today's instrument of commercial, political, and postmodern doublespeak. 

As much social commentary as a book for word lovers, EUPHEMANIA is a lively and thought-provoking look at the power of words and our power over them.

I had so much fun reading this book!  EUPHEMANIA is unbelievably witty and entertaining.  I never really gave much thought about where euphemisms came from and why they started.  Ever since I finished reading this book, I've noticed how much I use them and it's astounding!  When you're in the mood to learn something interesting, I recommend this book.  It would make a great gift!

Little, Brown & Company
December 14, 2010
279 pages
$24.99 US

Visit Ralph's website
Read an excerpt


Disclosure:  I received this item for free.


HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE Review: The Happy Baker: A Girl's Guide To Emotional Baking




20+ 30+ years of dating fiascos
60+ down-home, comforting recipes
1 pink baking hammer, with apron and lip gloss to match
Many (many) bottles of wine
Too many tears
A whole lotta laughter
Yields: 1 very happy baker
We've all been there.
The blind date from hell. The Big Hurt.
The guy who details his various surgeries over Caesar salad on the first date.
Who needs a pint of rocky road when you can head to the kitchen and work out your heartache with a whisk and a bottle of wine? Erin Bolger has been there, dated that and baked through it all. Turns out the more bitter the heartbreak, the sweeter the batter. So don't cry over bad dates, bad boyfriends or bad breakups—whip up a batch of My-Mom-Didn't-Like-You-Anyway Cupcakes and bake yourself happy.

The Happy Baker is the perfect companion for an emotional person, especially those who love to bake.  I'm addicted to baked goods and I've found myself in the kitchen when something upsets me.  Baking is a great outlet for stress because you get to focus your energy on something and in the end, you get to scarf down a delicious treat!  I love Erin's book because she puts her heart and soul into her book and the recipes are amazing!  This would make a great gift. 


Harlequin
October 1, 2010
160 pages
$17.95 US

Visit the Happy Baker website
Read an excerpt


Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book for free.  All opinions expressed are 100% mine.  If you make a purchase using my Amazon or Barnes and Noble link, I will receive a small portion of the purchase price.

December 16, 2010

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE Review: The Imperial Cruise: A Secret History of Empire and War


On the success of his two bestselling books about World War II, James Bradley began to wonder what the real catalyst was for the Pacific War. What he discovered shocked him. 

In 1905 President Teddy Roosevelt dispatched Secretary of War William Taft, his daughter Alice, and a gaggle of congressmen on a mission to Japan, the Philippines, China, and Korea with the intent of forging an agreement to divide up Asia. This clandestine pact lit the fuse that would-decades later-result in a number of devastating wars: WWII, the Korean War, and the communist revolution in China.

In 2005, James Bradley retraced that epic voyage and discovered the remarkable truth about America's vast imperial past. Full of fascinating characters brought brilliantly to life, The Imperial Cruise will powerfully revise the way we understand U.S. history.

When I was in school, I thought History class was so boring.  Ever since graduation though, I'm obsessed with learning what happened, how and why.  I really enjoyed reading The Imperial Cruise because it gave me insight to what went on during that period of time.  James is a brilliant writer with an ability to bring history to life.  This would make a great gift for the history buff in your life.  There is a lot of information and is written in a way that draws the reader in.  It's a really great book.

Little, Brown & Company
November 8, 2010
387 pages
$16.99 US

Visit the author's website
Like James on Facebook & follow him on Twitter


Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book for free.  All opinions expressed are 100% mine.  If you make a purchase using my Amazon or Barnes and Noble link, I will receive a small portion of the purchase price.


Giveaway: Goodnight Tweetheart by Teresa Medeiros



One of my readers will win a copy of this book
Open to residents of the US
The book(s) will be mailed out by the publisher

WINNER HAS BEEN CHOSEN & NOTIFIED.
Giveaway ends: 12/30/2010

Winners will be notified via email.  The winners will have 48 hours to send me their mailing info or another winner will be chosen.

Official Rules - *No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. *Entry instructions, additional eligibility requirements, prize information listed on individual giveaway posts. By submitting an entry, entrants agree to these rules and agree that they are eligible to enter.  The sponsor is responsible for sending the giveaway items.


Disclosure:  The prize is being provided for free.

Review: Goodnight Tweetheart by Teresa Medeiros


New York Times bestselling author Teresa Medeiros absolutely dazzles in this quick-witted, laugh-out-loud funny, and highly moving love story that will set readers’ hearts atwitter.
 
Abigail Donovan has a lot of stuff she should be doing. Namely writing her next novel. A bestselling author who is still recovering from a near Pulitzer Prize win and the heady success that follows Oprah’s stamp of approval, she is stuck at Chapter Five and losing confidence daily. But when her publicist signs her up for a Twitter account, she’s intrigued. What’s all the fuss?

Taken under the wing of one of her Twitter followers, “MarkBaynard"—a quick witted, quick-typing professor on sabbatical—Abby finds it easy to put words out into the world 140 characters at a time. And once she gets a handle on tweets, retweets, direct messages, hashtags, and trends, she starts to feel unblocked in writing and in life. After all, why should she be spending hours in her apartment staring at her TweetDeck and fretting about her stalled career when Mark is out there traveling the world and living?

Or is he?

Told almost entirely in tweets and DMs, Goodnight Tweetheart is a truly modern take on a classic tale of love and loss—a Griffin and Sabine for the Twitter generation.

I'm really glad Teresa decided to write a book about something that has taken the world by storm - tweeting.  It was nice to read a book that went in a new direction and I really enjoyed Abigail's story.  Goodnight Tweetheart will have you laughing and swooning from one second to the next.  Every romance lover should read this book.




Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
December 14, 2010
222 pages
$15.00 US

Visit Teresa's website and the book's website 
Like Teresa on Facebook & follow her on Twitter



Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book for free.  All opinions expressed are 100% mine.  If you make a purchase using my Amazon or Barnes and Noble link, I will receive a small portion of the purchase price.



December 15, 2010

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE Review: A Homemade Christmas: Creative Ideas for an Earth-Friendly, Frugal, Festive Holiday


Making something with your own hands—whether it's a plate of just-baked cookies, a handcrafted stocking, a homemade wreath, or a hand-folded origami ornament—is a great way to connect with the true meaning of Christmas.

From holiday decorating to gift giving, A Homemade Christmas is chock-full of projects, recipes, tips, and helpful hints that are guaranteed to add a homemade touch to your holiday season. Open this charming volume to any page and discover a wealth of practical and easy-to-accomplish ideas for a homemade holiday:

• create personal, distinctive holiday greetings
• deck the halls with festive, handmade trimmings
• cook simple but memorable homemade dishes
• make unique, handcrafted gifts
• share the joy of the season with friends and family

Packed with inspiration and how-tos for ideas that are family-friendly and eco-conscious, festive and meaningful, A Homemade Christmas will put homemade back into your holidays!

Lately I have been much more hands-on with my home.  I'm cooking more and creating my own decorations instead of purchasing items already made.  A Homemade Christmas is the perfect book for someone like me, who would rather add their own personal touches to holiday decor.  A lot of the crafts could be tweaked a little so that you could make an item to use all year round.  The recipes are great and so easy to follow.  I definitely recommend this book.

A Homemade Christmas: Creative Ideas for an Earth-Friendly, Frugal, Festive Holiday
Harlequin
9780373892228
September 1, 2010
128 pages
$14.95 US


Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book for free.  All opinions expressed are 100% mine.  If you make a purchase using my Amazon or Barnes and Noble link, I will receive a small portion of the purchase price.

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE Review: Barbie A Rare Beauty by Sandi Holder



What a Doll!

The year is 1959. It is an era of one-dimensional paper dolls and cherubic baby dolls. And then, seemingly out of nowhere, there is Barbie doll. Sophisticated and full of possibilities. Barbie changes everything--forever.

When Ruth Handler created Barbie doll five decades ago she not only introduced a wonderful toy for little girls, she helped create one of the most popular and prized collectibles in the toy market. Imagine, Handler's first doll, a Ponytail Barbie, sold for more than $25,000 at auction; a staggering amount for a doll that originally sold for $3.

Barbie: A Rare Beauty hosts an amazing visual feast of 50 years of beautiful dolls, showcasing more than 500 striking photographs of some of the finest and rarest dolls ever created. Author and celebrated Barbie doll expert Sandi Holder presents a banquet of gorgeous vintage dolls, classic fashion sets, prototypes, one-of-a-kind rarities, Japanese fashions, store displays, licensed products and many never-before-seen items in this stunning presentation of the grandest doll ever: Barbie.


As a child, I had an obsession with Barbie dolls. Even as an adult I have an appreciation for the doll that was with me all throughout my youth. I love the photos in Barbie: A Rare Beauty. Looking through Barbie's transformation over the years filled me with the giddiness. She really is a timeless princess and it was great to learn the history of the biggest child's item ever.  This book would make a great gift for the holidays.

KP Books
October 28, 2010
224 pages
$30.00 US

Visit the Doll Attic website. You can also friend Doll Attic on Facebook and follow on Twitter.


Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for free. All opinions expressed are 100% mine. If you make a purchase using my Amazon or Barnes and Noble link, I will receive a small portion of the purchase price.


December 14, 2010

Giveaway: Set the Night on Fire by Libby Fischer Hellmann



3 of my readers will win a copy of this book
Open to residents of the US 
The book(s) will be mailed out by the publisher

WINNER'S HAVE BEEN CHOSEN & NOTIFIED.
Giveaway ends: 12/28/2010

Winners will be notified via email.  The winners will have 48 hours to send me their mailing info or another winner will be chosen.

Official Rules - *No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. *Entry instructions, additional eligibility requirements, prize information listed on individual giveaway posts. By submitting an entry, entrants agree to these rules and agree that they are eligible to enter.  The sponsor is responsible for sending the giveaway items.


Disclosure:  The prizes are being provided for free.


Review: Set the Night on Fire by Libby Fischer Hellmann




Someone is trying to kill Lila Hilliard. During the Christmas holidays she returns from running errands to find her family home in flames, her father and brother trapped inside. Later, she is attacked by a mysterious man on a motorcycle. . . and the threats don't end there.

As Lila desperately tries to piece together who is after her and why, she uncovers information about her father's past in Chicago during the volatile days of the late 1960s . . . information he never shared with her, but now threatens to destroy her.

Part thriller, part historical novel, and part love story, Set the Night on Fire paints an unforgettable portrait of Chicago during a turbulent time: the riots at the Democratic Convention . . . the struggle for power between the Black Panthers and SDS . . . and a group of young idealists who tried to change the world.



Every now and then I come across a book that catches me so off guard that there are no words to describe it properly.  That's how I felt about Set The Night On Fire.  It's a touching story with so much heart that you almost forget that it's a work of fiction.  I highly recommend this book to mystery and thriller fans. 




Allium Press of Chicago
December 2010
364 pages
$16.99 US

Visit Libby's website 
Read an excerpt
Friend her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter


Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book for free.  All opinions expressed are 100% mine.  If you make a purchase using my Amazon or Barnes and Noble link, I will receive a small portion of the purchase price.


Review: Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King Audio Book


"I believe there is another man inside every man, a stranger . . ." writes Wilfred Leland James in the early pages of the riveting confession that makes up "1922," the first in this pitch-black quartet of mesmerizing tales from Stephen King. For James, that stranger is awakened when his wife, Arlette, proposes selling off the family homestead and moving to Omaha, setting in motion a gruesome train of murder and madness. 

In "Big Driver," a cozy-mystery writer named Tess encounters the stranger along a back road in Massachusetts when she takes a shortcut home after a book-club engagement. Violated and left for dead, Tess plots a revenge that will bring her face-to-face with another stranger: the one inside herself. 

"Fair Extension," the shortest of these tales, is perhaps the nastiest and certainly the funniest. Making a deal with the devil not only saves Dave Streeter from a fatal cancer but provides rich recompense for a lifetime of resentment. 

When her husband of more than twenty years is away on one of his business trips, Darcy Anderson looks for batteries in the garage. Her toe knocks up against a box under a worktable and she discovers the stranger inside her husband. It’s a horrifying discovery, rendered with bristling intensity, and it definitively ends a good marriage. 

Like Different Seasons and Four Past Midnight, which generated such enduring films as The Shawshank Redemption and Stand by Me, Full Dark, No Stars proves Stephen King a master of the long story form.

Stephen King has always been a master of horror.  I started listening to Full Dark, No Stars one night and I couldn't stop.  I ended up listening to six CD's before I finally decided to stop and get a couple hours of sleep.  The next morning, my first thought was, I have to finish it!  The plot was fantastically scary, the characters were addictive and I really liked being "told" a thrilling story.  This is a must have for King fans!  If you haven't read (or listened to) any of his books, this is a great one to start with.


Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King Audio Book
Simon & Schuster Audio
November 9, 2010
$39.99 US

Visit Stephen's website
Watch the commercial



Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book for free.  All opinions expressed are 100% mine.  If you make a purchase using my Amazon or Barnes and Noble link, I will receive a small portion of the purchase price.



Giveaway: Hexbound by Chloe Neill


Lily Parker is new to St. Sophia's School for Girls, but she's already learned that magic can be your best friend-or your worst enemy. That's why Lily has to learn how to control her newly discovered paranormal abilities while fighting the good fight with her best friend Scout as they take on Chicago's nastiest nightlife-including the tainted magic users known as Reapers...

2 of my readers will win a copy of Hexbound by Chloe Neill
Open to residents of the US
The book(s) will be mailed out by the publisher

WINNER'S HAVE BEEN CHOSEN & NOTIFIED.
Giveaway ends: 12/22/2010

Winners will be notified via email.  The winners will have 48 hours to send me their mailing info or another winner will be chosen.

Official Rules - *No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. *Entry instructions, additional eligibility requirements, prize information listed on individual giveaway posts. By submitting an entry, entrants agree to these rules and agree that they are eligible to enter.  The sponsor is responsible for sending the giveaway items.


Disclosure:  The prizes are being provided for free.


December 13, 2010

Review: Jimmy Stone's Ghost Town by Scott Neumyer



For Jimmy Stone, life in "Boredsylvania" has been pretty tough. His mom's died, his dad's completely checked out, and he spends his days running from the Coogan Boys, the local bullies. It isn't long, however, before "Boredsylvania" gets a lot more exciting. With his new friend, David and his dog, Trex, by his side, Jimmy discovers that the woods beyond his backyard hold the key to a world he could never even imagine. Soon, he ends up in Ghost Town, where he’s greeted by his ghost guide, Gasp, and receives an ominous prophecy.

“Seven things you must find.

One thing for each day.
Seven things you must find.
Or else they all will pay!
Suddenly Ghost Town becomes as scary as it sounds, and Jimmy Stone realizes that he's in way over his head.


About the Author

Scott Neumyer currently lives in New Jersey with his wife and daughter. He is a writer, publicist, and photographer who has over ten years experience in online PR & marketing. He also worked three years as a Media Buyer for a major national film distributor. Scott has appeared in Wanted Undead or Alive: Vampire Hunters and Other Kick-Ass Enemies of Evil (Citadel Press August 2010). He has also been published online and in print in presitigious magazines such as McSweeney's Internet Tendency, Pindeldyboz, and Hobart Pulp. Find him online at www.scottwrites.com and www.whoisjimmystone.com. You can reach him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/scottneumyer and Facebook at www.facebook.com/scott.neumyer

I read Jimmy Stone's Ghost Town on Saturday.  The synopsis sounded fun, so I expected it to be a good read but it was even better than I imagined.  I was immediately captivated by Jimmy and how easily the story flowed.  You know how sometimes, you pick up a book and before you know it it's over?  That's how it was for me.  I was only aware of what I was reading and I absolutely love it when that happens!  I can't wait to see what else Scott has in store.  I give this book five stars.

December 2010
Ages: 9-12







Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book for free.  All opinions expressed are 100% mine.  If you make a purchase using my Amazon or Barnes and Noble link, I will receive a small portion of the purchase price.