Saturday, July 30, 2011

Book Giveaways in Blogworld (07-30-11 edition)

NOTE: A reminder that you are free to email me about any giveaways that you are having, if you want me to blog them, and I'll be happy to try to post them even if I am not entering them. Just include a link to the giveaway, what you are giving away, how many copies are being given away, and the deadline in order to assure being included. Email me at nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com.

Here is a list of some giveaways going on in Blogworld*. Please note that new giveaways that were added this week are indented in Blockquotes:

Peeking Between the Pages is giving away 2 copies of Fallen. Deadline is July 30. US/Canada only.

Debbie's Book Bag is giving away a copy of The King's Witch. Deadline is August 1. US only.

Peeking Between the Pages is giving away 2 prize packs for One Day. Deadline is August 6. US/Canada only.

Peeking Between the Pages is giving away The American Heiress. Deadline is August 6. US/Canada only.
Esther's Ever After is giving away your choice of any YA Summer 2011 release to 2 winners. Deadline is August 7. International!
Debbie's Book Bag is giving away a copy of Reign of Madness. Deadline is August 11. US/Canada only.
Dark Faerie Tales is giving away 2 copies of Forever and necklaces. Deadline is August 12. US only.
Peeking Between the Pages is giving away a copy of The Girl in the Garden. Deadline is August 13. US/Canada only.

Read Me Bookmark Me Love Me is giving having two giveaways. Both giveaways are for your choice of book from eight. The first giveaway offers your choice out of eight May-July releases, and the other is for your choice out of August-October releases.  Deadline is August 15. International!

Don't forget that I'm having a giveaway for three Lori Foster books to a single winner! Deadline is July 31. US/Canada only.

*Courtesy Note: Please keep in mind the many, many hours of work that goes into me compiling this list each week. Please be courteous and thoughtful, and do not steal my text. Either recreate your own list, or link to this list and direct your readers here for giveaway information. Thank you so much for your consideration.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Introducing...Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran

In this deft historical novel, Madame Tussaud (1761-1850) escapes the pages of trivia quizzes to become a real person far more arresting than even her waxwork sculptures. Who among us knew, for instance, that she moved freely through the royal court of Louis XVI, only to become a prisoner of the Reign of Terror? Her head was shaven for guillotining, but she escaped execution, though she was forced to make death masks for prominent victims. Novelist Michelle Moran covers this breathtaking period without losing the thread of its subject's singular story.

First paragraph:

Although it is mid-December and everyone with a sense is huddled near a fire, more than two dozen women are pressed together in Rose Bertin's shop, Le Grand Mogol. They are heating themselves by the handsome bronze lamps, but I do not go inside. These are women of powdered poufs and ermine cloaks, whereas I am a woman of ribbons and wool. So I wait on the street while they shop in the warmth of the queen's favorite store. I watch from outside as a girl picks out a showy pink hat. It's too pale for her skin, but her mother nods and Rose Bertin claps her hands eagerly. She will not be so eager when she notices me. I have come here every month for a year with the same request. But this time I am certain Rose will agree, for I am prepared to offer her something that only princes and murderers possess. I don't know why I didn't think of it before.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Man Booker 2011 Longlist

The Man Booker Prize 2011 longlist has been released, and I got to add a few more books to my Wish List (my new additions in bold):
Julian Barnes "The Sense of an Ending" (coming Aug. 2)
Sebastian Barry "On Canaan’s Side" (coming Sept. 8)
Carol Birch "Jamrach’s Menagerie" (out now)
Patrick deWitt "The Sisters Brothers" (out now)
Esi Edugyan "Half Blood Blues" (no U.S. publication date available)
Yvvette Edwards "A Cupboard Full of Coats" (out now)
Alan Hollinghurst "The Stranger’s Child" (coming Oct. 11)
Stephen Kelman "Pigeon English" (out now)
Patrick McGuinness "The Last Hundred Days" (no U.S. publication date available)
A.D. Miller "Snowdrops" (out now)
Alison Pick "Far to Go" (out now)
Jane Rogers "The Testament of Jessie Lamb" (no U.S. publication date available)
D.J. Taylor "Derby Day" (no U.S. publication date available)
Check out the LA Times article here or The Man Booker Prizes website for more on this.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

REVIEW: Ghellow Road by T.H. Waters

Synopsis

Ghellow Road is a literary diary of a young girl's journey through the tangled labyrinth that is her life. Theresa's story begins in a large midwestern city where she is born to loving parents in 1965. For a brief moment in time, her life is full, as is her heart, and the world is hers to receive without consequence. As time passes and Theresa grows, supernatural forces begin to shape her existence, no matter how carefully her father colors the empty spaces of her world. After a series of tragic events, Theresa and her family seek refuge in a small Minnesota town nestled near the shores of Rainy Lake. She creates a new life for herself there, sharing adventures with friends and riding the ups and downs of adolescence. Yet through it all, her mother remains forever lost in the prison of her own mind and forever lost to Theresa. The young girl feels as though she is leading a double life, one that no one else could possibly understand. She begins to peer at the world as if looking through a thick, black veil, never certain which pieces are illusion and which are not. Through the kindness and support of the townspeople, She eventually summons the strength to survive. This is a story of tragedy and triumph. This is the story of my life.
  • Pub. Date: October 2010
  • Publisher: Verefor Publishing Company LLC
  • Format: Paperback , 302pp
  • ISBN-13: 9780982893111
  • ISBN: 0982893116

About the Author

T.H. Waters lives in the charming city of Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she resides with her significant other and their two adorable kitty cats. She spent the first half of her childhood in Minneapolis before moving to International Falls, Minnesota, in 1975. Compelled to write this book based upon the unique experiences of her youth, she is grateful for the privilege of finally being able to live out loud.

Learn more about author T. H. Waters

Read an excerpt from Ghellow Road

My Thoughts
"I was born in the arms of the City of Lakes."

The story takes place in Minneapolis and International Falls, Minnesota.

I wasn't sure what to expect when I began this book, and I really kept my expectations low. However I found myself pleasantly surprised with the genuineness and honest humor used to share the author's story.

This story really hit home for me. Growing up, my best friend spent several years living in much the same way as the author, and I was the stable friend in her life.

While the circumstances may have differed, I could certainly identify with the feelings surrounding many of the situations the author dealt with as a kid. I came from a pretty stable home, but my best friend had a mother who mentally checked out for awhile, had two-way conversations with Jesus and Moses, and eventually was institutionalized. I’ve seen some of the behavior described in the book firsthand, and have sat and cried with my friend as we were separated from one another when she had to go live with other family members. I’m all too familiar with The Invisibles mentioned in the book, and remember the chills of listening to my friend's mother carry on conversations with her own invisible visitors.

The author's description of herself as a kid, and the way that she covered up her pain with a put-on bubbly personality, is even reminiscent of my friend, as well as the explosive way she would speak to her mother in anger, pain, frustration, embarrassment and helplessness.

I was really impressed with the author's writing style, as it far-exceeded my expectations. I found it engaging and effective, easy-to-read and unpretentious.

Happily, you are left in the end with hope and promise for the future of the author following a childhood of turmoil.


Quotes:

I swore that someday, when I grew up, I was going to have that, too, and the blood running through my veins would flow into a valley where the scent of despair never dared permeate. (p. 59)

The rest of that summer dragged on, and I dragged right behind it like a bunch of empty beer cans tied to a trailer hitch on the Charter Bus to Boredom. (p. 131)


My final word: I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this memoir to anyone. Fresh, heartfelt and sincere, I embraced this story wholeheartedly.


My Rating: 8 out of 10


Disclosure:

I received a copy of this book to review the author T.H. Waters, in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not financially compensated in any way, and the opinions expressed are my own and based on my observations while reading this novel.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Book Giveaways in Blogworld (07-23-11 edition)

NOTE: A reminder that you are free to email me about any giveaways that you are having, if you want me to blog them, and I'll be happy to try to post them even if I am not entering them. Just include a link to the giveaway, what you are giving away, how many copies are being given away, and the deadline in order to assure being included. Email me at nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com.

Here is a list of some giveaways going on in Blogworld*. Please note that new giveaways that were added this week are indented in Blockquotes:
Debbie's Book Bag is giving away a copy of  Dandelion Summer. Deadline is July 29. US only.
Peeking Between the Pages is giving away 2 copies of Fallen. Deadline is July 30. US/Canada only.
Debbie's Book Bag is giving away a copy of The King's Witch. Deadline is August 1. US only.
Peeking Between the Pages is giving away 2 prize packs for One Day. Deadline is August 6. US/Canada only.
Peeking Between the Pages is giving away The American Heiress. Deadline is August 6. US/Canada only.
Peeking Between the Pages is giving away a copy of The Girl in the Garden. Deadline is August 13. US/Canada only.
Read Me Bookmark Me Love Me is giving having two giveaways. Both giveaways are for your choice of book from eight. The first giveaway offers your choice out of eight May-July releases, and the other is for your choice out of August-October releases.  Deadline is August 15. International!
Don't forget that I'm having a giveaway for three Lori Foster books to a single winner! Deadline is July 31. US/Canada only.

*Courtesy Note: Please keep in mind the many, many hours of work that goes into me compiling this list each week. Please be courteous and thoughtful, and do not steal my text. Either recreate your own list, or link to this list and direct your readers here for giveaway information. Thank you so much for your consideration.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Mailbox Monday (07-18-11 edition)

 Image licensed from bigstockphoto.com
Copyright stands

Mailbox Monday is now hosted monthly by a different blog. Here is the official blog of Mailbox Monday.  Here is what I received over the last number of weeks:

The Outdoor Room by Jamie Durie
Won through BookTrib

Jamie Durie, international award-winning horticulturalist and landscape designer, reveals the secrets behind his incredible designs on the ever-popular HGTV series The Outdoor Room, now viewed in over twelve countries. With dynamic photography, including Jamie's personal travel photographs and a sneak peek of his private garden, this information-packed companion to his smash-hit t.v. show is as hardworking as it is stunning. Complete with detailed site plans, zonal plant lists, and helpful eco-tips, it covers everything from the basics of landscape design to practical, hands-on information, such as how to design your own private garden using Jamie's philosophy. From an exotic Balinese-inspired dining pavilion to a private English-style garden with an adjoining children's play area, Jamie shows you how to incorporate his techniques and design principles to create a personal and truly unique garden, giving you and your family and friends the opportunity to reconnect with nature in the privacy of your very own outdoor room. 


The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma
From Simon & Schuster

THE PHENOMENAL INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER 

Set in Victorian London with characters real and imagined, The Map of Time boasts a triple-play of intertwined plots in which a skeptical H.G. Wells is called upon to investigate purported incidents of time travel and thereby save the lives of an aristocrat in love with a murdered prostitute from the past; of a woman bent on fleeing the strictures of Victorian society; and of his very own wife, who may have become a pawn in a 4th-dimensional plot to murder the authors of Dracula, The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds, in order to alter their identities and steal their fictional creations. 

But, what happens if we change history? Felix J. Palma raises such questions in The Map of Time. Mingling fictional characters with real ones, Palma weaves a historical fantasy as imaginative as it is exciting, a story full of love and adventure that also pays homage to the roots of science fiction while transporting its readers to a fascinating Victorian London for their own taste of time travel. 

I received this one unsolicited from Simon & Schuster. I really don't think that I'd ever heard of it before, so we'll see how it goes. It sounds interesting!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Book Giveaways in Blogworld (07-17-11 edition)

NOTE: A reminder that you are free to email me about any giveaways that you are having, if you want me to blog them, and I'll be happy to try to post them even if I am not entering them. Just include a link to the giveaway, what you are giving away, how many copies are being given away, and the deadline in order to assure being included. Email me at nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com.

Here is a list of some giveaways going on in Blogworld*. Please note that new giveaways that were added this week are indented in Blockquotes:
What's on the Bookshelf is giving away $15 for the Book Depository. Deadline is July 17. International!
Cuzinlogic is giving away 2 copies of Flashback. Deadline is July 18. US/Canada only.

Sara's Organized Chaos is giving away The Ghost of Greenwich Village. Deadline is July 18. US/Canada only.

A Spark of Interest is giving away your choice out of a dozen new YA releases. Deadline is July 20. International!

2 Kids and Tired Books is giving away a copy of Ellis Island. Deadline is July 21st. US/Canada only.

And don't forget that I'm having a giveaway for three Lori Foster books to a single winner! Deadline is July 31. US/Canada only.

*Courtesy Note: Please keep in mind the many, many hours of work that goes into me compiling this list each week. Please be courteous and thoughtful, and do not steal my text. Either recreate your own list, or link to this list and direct your readers here for giveaway information. Thank you so much for your consideration.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Book Giveaways in Blogworld (07-09-11 edition)

NOTE: A reminder that you are free to email me about any giveaways that you are having, if you want me to blog them, and I'll be happy to try to post them even if I am not entering them. Just include a link to the giveaway, what you are giving away, how many copies are being given away, and the deadline in order to assure being included. Email me at nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com.

Here is a list of some giveaways going on in Blogworld*. Please note that new giveaways that were added this week are indented in Blockquotes:
A Few More Pages is giving away The Secret Lives of the Four Wives. Deadline is July 15. International!
Reading Cause I'm Addicted is giving away 2 copies of Flashback. Deadline is July 15. US/Canada only.
Cuzinlogic is giving away 2 copies of Flashback. Deadline is July 18. US/Canada only.
Sara's Organized Chaos is giving away The Ghost of Greenwich Village. Deadline is July 18. US/Canada only.
A Spark of Interest is giving away your choice out of a dozen new YA releases. Deadline is July 20. International!
2 Kids and Tired Books is giving away a copy of Ellis Island. Deadline is July 21st. US/Canada only.

*Courtesy Note: Please keep in mind the many, many hours of work that goes into me compiling this list each week. Please be courteous and thoughtful, and do not steal my text. Either recreate your own list, or link to this list and direct your readers here for giveaway information. Thank you so much for your consideration.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

REVIEW: The Civilized World by Susi Wyss

Synopsis

A glorious literary debut set in Africa about five unforgettable women—two of them haunted by a shared tragedy—whose lives intersect in unexpected and sometimes explosive ways 

When Adjoa leaves Ghana to find work in the Ivory Coast, she hopes that one day she'll return home to open a beauty parlor. Her dream comes true, though not before she suffers a devastating loss—one that will haunt her for years, and one that also deeply affects Janice, an American aid worker who no longer feels she has a place to call home. But the bustling Precious Brother Salon is not just the "cleanest, friendliest, and most welcoming in the city." It's also where locals catch up on their gossip; where Comfort, an imperious busybody, can complain about her American daughter-in-law, Linda; and where Adjoa can get a fresh start on life—or so she thinks, until Janice moves to Ghana and unexpectedly stumbles upon the salon. 

At once deeply moving and utterly charming, The Civilized World follows five women as they face meddling mothers-in-law, unfaithful partners, and the lingering aftereffects of racism, only to learn that their cultural differences are outweighed by their common bond as women. With vibrant prose, Susi Wyss explores what it means to need forgiveness—and what it means to forgive.
  • Pub. Date: March 2011
  • Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
  • Format: Paperback, 256pp
  • ISBN-13: 9780805093629
  • ISBN: 0805093621
About the Author
from her website

Susi Wyss was born in Washington, D.C. to Swiss parents. When she turned seven, her family relocated to Abidjan, Ivory Coast for three years—a period that would have a lasting impact on her view of the world.

After graduating from Vassar College, Susi pursued a career in international health, hoping she could make a positive difference in places like the ones she’d seen as a child. She earned a master’s degree in public health from Boston University and joined the Peace Corps, working on a child survival project in the Central African Republic. For the next 16 years, she visited and worked in more than a dozen African countries, eventually living for another three years in Abidjan. It was during this second stint in the Ivory Coast that she began writing fiction, much of it inspired by people she’d met, stories she’d heard, and experiences she’d had in Africa.

Upon her return to the U.S., while continuing her work in international health, Susi earned a master’s degree in fiction writing from Johns Hopkins University. She subsequently took a two-year sabbatical to write The Civilized World, a novel-in-stories set in Africa that was published by Henry Holt in April 2011.

Since completing her debut book, Susi has been balancing her creative writing with her work as an editor at Jhpiego, a Baltimore-based international health organization. Her stories, including several from The Civilized World, have appeared in numerous literary magazines, including Bellevue Literary Review, Bellingham Review, and The Massachusetts Review. She has served as an associate editor for the Potomac Review, and her writing has been recognized by awards from the Maryland State Arts Council, the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, and the Money for Women/Barbara Deming Memorial Fund.

For more information, read the author's personal reflections on the African countries where The Civilized World is set.


Contact Susi via email
Fan her on Goodreads
Like The Civilized World on Facebook
Check out her website

Town/Location/Environment:
Stories take place across Africa, including Ghana and Malawi, and one of the characters lives outside of Washington D.C.

My Thoughts
Adjoa had been going to Madame Janice's every week for the last three months, but she still couldn't put her finger on why her stomach clenched and her shoulders stiffened every time her twin brother, Kojo, drove her to the white woman's well-kept house.
This book is a collection of stories intertwined together by people and places. Adjoa is a young Ghana woman, trying to make a better life for herself and her family. Janice is a single American woman who has been working in Africa most of her adult life. Comfort is a widowed Ghanian woman with a son and new grandbaby in Washington D.C., and daughter-in-law Linda has her own issues. Ophelia is a young childless wife hoping and trying for a baby.

I loved this book. The characters and their different stages in their lives held my interest. This story followed the characters at different points in their lives over an 8-10 year period. Some of the characters were more likable than others, and I found that I liked different characters at different times, and was less fond of them at other times of their lives.

Much of this book really revolves around motherhood: desiring it, striving for it, achieving it or not. There is pain, the disillusionment that often comes with age, as you discover that life is not all milk and honey after all. There is friendship and love, and there is forgiveness.

The Cover: I like this cover. Very simple, it just depicts hair braided with fabric, which makes you think of the main central character Adjoa, who is a hair stylist.

Content Rating: A very clean book. I can't recall any vulgarity and only perhaps one brief sexual situation.

My final word: A beautiful, stirring melange of stories, I would strongly recommend this one to everyone.

Buy Now:


My Rating: 8.5 out of 10


Disclosure:

I received a copy of this book for review from Henry Holt and Company, in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not financially compensated in any way, and the opinions expressed are my own and based on my observations while reading this novel.

GIVEAWAY: When You Dare, Trace of Fever and Savor the Danger by Lori Foster

Synopsis

Professional mercenary Dare Macintosh lives by one hard and fast rule: business should never be personal. If a cause appeals to him and the price is right, he'll take the mission he's offered. But then the lovely Molly Alexander asks him to help her track down the men who'd had her kidnapped—and for the first time, Dare's tempted to combine work with pleasure.

Fiercely independent, Molly vows to trust no one until she's uncovered the truth. Could the enemy be her powerful estranged father? The ex-fiancĂ© who still holds a grudge? Or the not-so-shy fan of her bestselling novels? As the danger heats up around them, the only anchor Molly has is Dare himself. But what she feels for him just might be the most frightening thing of all…. 

On Sale April 26, 2011
HQN/Mass Market/Original/Fiction
$7.99 ($9.99  Canada)
978-0-373-77575-2●0-373-77575-X     


Synopsis

Undercover mercenary Trace Rivers loves the adrenaline rush of a well-planned mission. First he'll earn the trust of corrupt businessman Murray Coburn, then gather the proof he needs to shut down the man's dirty smuggling operation. It's a perfect scheme—until Coburn's long-lost daughter saunters in with her own deadly plan for revenge.

With a smile like an angel and fire in her eyes, Priscilla Patterson isn't who she seems to be. But neither is the gorgeous bodyguard who ignites all her senses. Joining forces to plot Coburn's downfall, Priss and Trace must fight the undeniable heat between them. For one wrong move, one lingering embrace, will expose them to the wrath of a merciless opponent…. 

On Sale May 24, 2011
HQN/Mass Market/Original/Fiction
$7.99 ($9.99  Canada)
978-0-373-77575-0●0-373-77575-X


Synopsis

She may be aloof, and more pretty than gorgeous, but Alani Rivers is the kind of woman a hot-blooded mercenary can't forget, no matter how hard he tries. So when Jackson Savor wakes up next to the naked, sleeping beauty—with no memory of what happened— he knows he's been drugged…even if Alani doesn't.

After she was kidnapped, Alani vowed never to trust another man again. Still, something about this strong, sexy hero with the tender touch makes her want to believe him. As Jackson hunts down a mysterious intruder, he swears he'll move heaven and earth to keep Alani safe. But what really happened that night? And will the truth bring them closer than they ever thought possible—or put Alani squarely in harm's way again? 

On Sale June 28, 2011
HQN/Mass Market/Original/Fiction
$7.99 ($9.99  Canada)
978-0-373-77582-8●0-373-77582-2
 
Check out Lori Foster's website
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Check out Lori's new iTunes app

EXCERPT FROM SAVOR THE DANGER-

A little slack-jawed, Alani watched as Jackson meandered down the hall and disappeared into her home office. His long-legged, rangy walk set her heart to tripping; the thought of him going through her personal files slowed it again.

She snapped her mouth shut.

Had that parting shot of his been mockery, or a sincere statement reflecting what they’d shared, the bond they’d forged last night?

A bond that only she could remember.

Groaning, she put her hands over her face and slumped into her bedroom. She quietly closed the door and dropped back against it.

Being honest with herself, she had to admit that deep inside, she’d been expecting – maybe even hoping – that he’d press the issue of intimacy. He wanted her again. He’d been more than open and upfront about that.

But instead, he chose to honor her wishes, the wishes she knew to be more responsible. More reasonable.

It would be a very long night.

Taking her time, Alani freshened up, tidying her hair, brushing her teeth, giving her make-up a boost. With nothing more to do, she girded herself for Jackson’s impact, both emotional and physical, and went in search of him.

She opened her bedroom door and found him right there in the hallway, leaning on the wall, relaxed, waiting for her.

Before she could apologize for making him wait, he straightened.

“Ready?”

“Yes.”

She stepped out, and his warm palm curved to the small of her back.

Alani felt the touch everywhere. But then, even if he hadn’t touched her, she’d have been acutely aware of him beside her. When Jackson was in a room, he occupied everything, the space, the air, the attention.

Knowing they were alone, with the bedrooms at their backs, quickened her breath.

“I parked down around the corner.”

Surprise slowed her steps, but since Jackson kept walking, she did too. It hadn’t occurred to her that his car was missing. If she’d seen it on the street in front of her house or in her driveway, she’d have been forewarned of his visit.

And maybe she would have avoided him.

“You didn’t want me to know you were here?”

“I didn’t want anyone else to know.” His hand slid to her hip, nudged her a little closer to him. “In case I was followed, no way did I want to lead anyone to you.”

Another reminder of the danger they might be in. “Well, you should bring your car up to my driveway now.”

“Maybe later.” He stopped at the entrance to her small living room, where so much drama had already gone down. “For now, how about we take your car?”

“All right.” She didn’t mind that. With all he’d been through, it’d probably be better if he wasn’t driving. Sure, he had to be macho and swear he felt no side-effects from being drugged, but how could that be? If she took cold medicine, it wiped her out, and he’d been given a drug so heavy-duty that it had obliterated his memory.

In the kitchen, she found her purse, keys, and Jackson’s hat. She rejoined him in the foyer.

He took the hat from her, slid it onto his head, and then held out a hand.

One brow raised, Alani looked at him in question.

“Keys?” he prompted.

She slid her purse strap over her shoulder. “That’s okay. I’ll drive.”

A priceless expression fell over his face.

“Oh please.” Alani had to laugh. “It’s not like I asked to carry your gun.”

Heartfelt, he tipped back his hat and scoffed. “I’d say no to that, too.” He scrutinized her. “But you do know how to shoot, don’t you?”

“I know enough.” And after her kidnapping to Tijuana, she’d done plenty of practicing to ensure she could handle a weapon.

He reached for her purse. “You carrying?”

“No!” Alani snatched the bag away. “Of course not.”

Considering that, Jackson declared, “We’ll get you a piece. You shouldn’t be out and about without it.” He gave her small designer purse a look of dislike. “You’ll need to carry something bigger, though.”

She did not want to be armed. “You’re here, so what do I need with a gun? Aren’t you protection enough?”

He went so still, it almost made her laugh again. Until he said, “You suggesting I should stick around 24/7?”

“What?” A rush of heat hit her cheeks. “No, of course I wasn’t.”

Keeping her caught in his gaze for far too long, he studied her, and finally smiled. “Yeah, I’m protection enough. I guess as long as you’re with me, you don’t need anything else.” He snatched the keys out of her lax hand. “Come on. Let’s get out of here….”
GIVEAWAY: Win all three books: When You Dare, Trace of Fever or Savor the Danger, all by author Lori Foster!

Rules (you knew there had to be some):
  • You must be 18 years or older
  • Open to US residents only
  • To enter, just comment below. Be sure to leave your email address in your comment, or have it visible in your profile.
  • For extra entries, follow my blog, follow me via Facebook/Networked Blogs, or blog about this contest. One extra entry for each. Sidebars are okay. Three possible extra entries.
  • Leave a separate comment for each entry.
  • That's a total of 4 possible entries!
  • Those who don't follow the rules risk being disqualified.
  • The books will be shipped out by the publisher.
Deadline is July 31, 2011
 
Good Luck! Ready, Set, Go!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Book Giveaways in Blogworld (07-02-11 edition)

NOTE: A reminder that you are free to email me about any giveaways that you are having, if you want me to blog them, and I'll be happy to try to post them even if I am not entering them. Just include a link to the giveaway, what you are giving away, how many copies are being given away, and the deadline in order to assure being included. Email me at nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com.

Here is a list of some giveaways going on in Blogworld*. Please note that new giveaways that were added this week are indented in Blockquotes:
2 Kids and Tired Books is giving away a copy of Ellis Island. Deadline is July 21st. US/Canada only.
*Courtesy Note: Please keep in mind the many, many hours of work that goes into me compiling this list each week. Please be courteous and thoughtful, and do not steal my text. Either recreate your own list, or link to this list and direct your readers here for giveaway information. Thank you so much for your consideration.

Mailbox Monday (07-04-11 edition)

Image licensed from bigstockphoto.com
Copyright stands

Mailbox Monday is now hosted monthly by a different blog. Here is the official blog of Mailbox Monday.  Here is what I received over the last number of weeks:

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
Won from One Book Shy

Beth and Jennifer know their company monitors their office e-mail. But the women still spend all day sending each other messages, gossiping about their coworkers at the newspaper and baring their personal lives like an open book. Jennifer tells Beth everything she can't seem to tell her husband about her anxieties over starting a family. And Beth tells Jennifer everything, period.

When Lincoln applied to be an Internet security officer, he hardly imagined he'd be sifting through other people's inboxes like some sort of electronic Peeping Tom. Lincoln is supposed to turn people in for misusing company e-mail, but he can't quite bring himself to crack down on Beth and Jennifer. He can't help but be entertained-and captivated- by their stories. 

But by the time Lincoln realizes he's falling for Beth, it's way too late for him to ever introduce himself. What would he say to her? "Hi, I'm the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you." After a series of close encounters and missed connections, Lincoln decides it's time to muster the courage to follow his heart . . . even if he can't see exactly where it's leading him. 

Written with whip-smart precision and charm, Attachments is a strikingly clever and deeply romantic debut about falling in love with the person who makes you feel like the best version of yourself. Even if it's someone you've never met. 

Dancing with Gravity by Anene Tressler
Won from Overstuffed

Father Samuel Whiting does not set out to be a hero. He doesn't want to save the world or even save the day. Instead, he simply exists, asleep in his own life, adrift in a loneliness of his own creation. And then the circus comes to town and his self-imposed isolation is shattered. As he gradually awakens to a world of possibility, he embarks on the hero's journey of discovery through the uncharted terrain of his own heart. His is a tale of insecurity and false hopes, of self-absorption and self-denial, of reaching out and falling short. It is a tale of struggling with integrity and striving for valor by someone who, if left to his own devices, would willingly remain an extra in his own life. Finally, blinded by self-delusion and at the brink of despair, a challenge to serve changes everything he believes about the true cost of love.

In Dancing with Gravity, Anene Tressler, an Emmy Award-winning writer, paints an unforgettable portrait of the grand and petty motivations of the human heart. Her poignant exploration of lost, unrecognized and courageous love will prompt you to consider your own journey toward purpose and fulfillment. 

Wrecker by Summer Wood
Won from Redheaded Book Child

After foster-parenting four young siblings a decade ago, Summer Wood tried to imagine a place where kids who are left alone or taken from their families would find the love and the family they deserve. For her, fiction was the tool to realize that world, and Wrecker, the central character in her second novel, is the abandoned child for whom life turns around in most unexpected ways. It's June of 1965 when Wrecker enters the world. The war is raging in Vietnam, San Francisco is tripping toward flower power, and Lisa Fay, Wrecker's birth mother, is knocked nearly sideways by life as a single parent in a city she can barely manage to navigate on her own. Three years later, she's in prison, and Wrecker is left to bounce around in the system before he's shipped off to live with distant relatives in the wilds of Humboldt County, California. When he arrives he's scared and angry, exploding at the least thing, and quick to flee. Wrecker is the story of this boy and the motley group of isolated eccentrics who come together to raise him and become a family along the way.

For readers taken with the special boy at the center of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, Wrecker will be a welcome companion.

The Midwife's Confession by Diane Chamberlain
Won from Booking Mama

Dear Anna,

What I have to tell you is difficult to write, but I know it will be far more difficult for you to hear, and I'm so sorry…

The unfinished letter is the only clue Tara and Emerson have to the reason behind their close friend Noelle's suicide. Everything they knew about Noelle—her calling as a midwife, her passion for causes, her love for her friends and family—described a woman who embraced life.

Yet there was so much they didn't know.

With the discovery of the letter and its heartbreaking secret, Noelle's friends begin to uncover the truth about this complex woman who touched each of their lives—and the life of a desperate stranger—with love and betrayal, compassion and deceit.

Island Girl by Lynda Simmons
Won from Reviews by Molly

There are people who try hard to forget their problems. All Ruby wants to do is remember...
 
Ruby Donaldson has been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's Disease, and she'll be damned if she won't straighten out her troubled family before she no longer knows how. 

Ruby spent years fighting to hold on to the home her grandmother built on Ward's Island. The only way she can ensure that her younger, mentally scarred daughter Grace can live there for the rest of her life is to convince her older daughter, Liz, to sober up and come home. 

Ruby always thought she'd have a lifetime to make things right, but suddenly time is running out. She has to put her broken family back together quickly while searching for a way to deal with the inevitable- and do it with all the grit, stubbornness, and unstoppable determination that makes Ruby who she is...until she's Ruby no longer. 

Song of the Silk Road by Mingmei Yip
Won from Knitting and Sundries

In this richly imaginative novel, Mingmei Yip--author of Peach Blossom Pavilion and Petals From the Sky--follows one woman's daunting journey along China's fabled Silk Road.

As a girl growing up in Hong Kong, Lily Lin was captivated by photographs of the desert--its long, lonely vistas and shifting sand dunes. Now living in New York, Lily is struggling to finish her graduate degree when she receives an astonishing offer. An aunt she never knew existed will pay Lily a huge sum to travel across China's desolate Taklamakan Desert--and carry out a series of tasks along the way. 

Intrigued, Lily accepts. Her assignments range from the dangerous to the bizarre. Lily must seduce a monk. She must scrape a piece of clay from the famous Terracotta Warriors, and climb the Mountains of Heaven to gather a rare herb. At Xian, her first stop, Lily meets Alex, a young American with whom she forms a powerful connection. And soon, she faces revelations that will redefine her past, her destiny, and the shocking truth behind her aunt's motivations. . . 

Powerful and eloquent, Song of the Silk Road is a captivating story of self-discovery, resonant with the mysteries of its haunting, exotic landscape.

The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb by Melanie Benjamin
Won through LibraryThing Early Reviewers

In her national bestseller Alice I Have Been, Melanie Benjamin imagined the life of the woman who inspired Alice in Wonderland. Now, in this jubilant new novel, Benjamin shines a dazzling spotlight on another fascinating female figure whose story has never fully been told: a woman who became a nineteenth century icon and inspiration—and whose most daunting limitation became her greatest strength.

“Never would I allow my size to define me. Instead, I would define it.”
She was only two-foot eight-inches tall, but her legend reaches out to us more than a century later. As a child, Mercy Lavinia “Vinnie” Bump was encouraged to live a life hidden away from the public. Instead, she reached out to the immortal impresario P. T. Barnum, married the tiny superstar General Tom Thumb in the wedding of the century, and transformed into the world’s most unexpected celebrity.


Here, in Vinnie’s singular and spirited voice, is her amazing adventure—from a showboat “freak” revue where she endured jeering mobs to her fateful meeting with the two men who would change her life: P. T. Barnum and Charles Stratton, AKA Tom Thumb. Their wedding would captivate the nation, preempt coverage of the Civil War, and usher them into the White House and the company of presidents and queens. But Vinnie’s fame would also endanger the person she prized most: her similarly-sized sister, Minnie, a gentle soul unable to escape the glare of Vinnie’s spotlight.

A barnstorming novel of the Gilded Age, and of a woman’s public triumphs and personal tragedies, The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb is the irresistible epic of a heroine who conquered the country with a heart as big as her dreams—and whose story will surely win over yours.

Thanks to everyone!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

REVIEW: Secrets of the Vine for Women: Breaking Through to Abundance by Darlene Marie Wilkinson

Synopsis

Talking with His disciples the night before He died, Jesus used a vineyard analogy to reveal His plan to bring every one of His followers to a place of genuine spiritual abundance. But if we don't understand how God works in our lives to bring that wonderful harvest about, we can actually work against His good hand in our lives without ever knowing it.
 
In this little book based on John 15, I invite you to listen carefully to what Jesus said. You'll learn how to cooperate with your Father for your greatest fulfillment and for His awesome glory.

And you'll discover how Jesus responds to our cry as women for transformation, a rich spiritual harvest...and deeper intimacy with Him.



My Thoughts
The train creaked to a stop. A young woman standing ready at the door gazed out over the rooftop of the railway station to the golden hills of Tuscany. "How beautiful it is!" she sighed. The bustling cities of the north were behind her now. Finally, she was home.
This book is based on John 15 from the scripture, and guides you through the "vineyard" speech that Jesus made the night before He died.

I loved the imagery in this book, the use of the girl and her father in his vineyard to help visualize and explain the meaning of the words spoken by Jesus to his disciples. One of my favorites was the discussion of John 15:2...
Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away.
It is explained that "takes away" has historically been interpreted as "cut off", but a more appropriate translation of the Greek word airo is "lift up" or "take up", and a lovely visual is offered:
And according to the California vineyard keeper, 'lift up' is exactly what growers do to grape branches that are trailing in the dirt. The branch is too valuable to cut off and throw away. Instead, the vinedresser carefully lifts the dirty branches, washes them off, and ties them up in the sun so they can begin producing again.
This book is very easy to read and brief, covers a beautiful and inspirational speech, and offers up what every woman can take from the words that Jesus spoke.

Buy Now:

Purchase directly from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

My Rating: 7.5 out of 10

Disclosure:


I received a copy of this book to review through WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not financially compensated in any way, and the opinions expressed are my own and based on my observations while reading this novel.