Thursday, March 31, 2011

It's that time of the week, hop hop hop!!

Book Blogger Hop

Every week Jennifer at Crazy-for-Books hosts a blog hop. Put your link in, post a comment and you can discover a lot of great blogs. The Hop lasts Friday-Monday every week. This week's question/task: Since today is April Fool's Day in the USA, what is the best prank you have ever played on someone OR that someone has played on you? Oh boy. I'm not a big prankster, but I have had pranks played on me. The one that sticks out the most was during a high school biology class. It was my turn to go up and write on the board. As I got up someone stuck a sign on my ***. I guess this qualifies as a prank, but I didn't really find it funny. I was in tears afterward. It might have been funny to a few people, but imagine that happening to you in a room FULL of people. So glad I'm out of high school and beyond that childish crap.

Here are some blogs I came across:
That's What Liz Read
The Bookish Brunette
The Flashlight Reader

Note: A review of My One and Only by Kristan Higgins will be posted on Tuesday. Also, I'm looking for takers for my What's Up Tweeps?! feature. Here is April's question: Do you post negative book reviews? Why or why not? E-mail responses to Entries are open until April 21. If you have a question or topic that you would like to see discussed here, feel free to e-mail me. Who knows what we can come up with. Happy reading everyone!

Monday, March 28, 2011

It's Monday, what's on the cover?

The Bonus

After all of the romance themed novels, it's time for a little history. The Bonus by Georgia Lowe is a fictionalized account of Depression-era war veterans marching toward Washington, D.C. They converge on the nation's capital to demand payment on bonuses they earned during World War I. The government wants to withhold payment. Who knew such a thing happened? I never hear of the Bonus bill until a few weeks ago. I think the cover gives a good sense of the situation. A group of men banding together. It seems very relevant now. They are many who feel present-day soldiers aren't treated fairly.

There Is No Year: A Novel

Every now and then I have to step outside my comfort zone. I read a steady diet of chick lit, YA, literary fiction and memoirs. I'm not sure where There is no Year by Blake Butler fits. I'm about 30 pages in, and I'm intrigued. So far the characters have no names. It's like they're living in a post-apocalyptic world. Nothing is what it seems. They could be anybody. Maybe that's why the cover is so bland. The cover gives no indication as to what the book is about. So far there is no real plot. The chapters are very short. I don't know what is really going on, but I want to. Stay tuned!!

Note: I'm looking for takers for next month's edition of What's Up Tweep's. Here is April's question: Do you post negative book reviews? Why or why not? E-mail responses to Entries are open until April 21. If you have a question or topic that you would like to see discussed here, feel free to e-mail me. Who knows what we can come up with. Happy reading everyone!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

BEA, BBC here I come!!!

My wallet final gave me permission to register for BookExpo America and the Book Blogger Convention. A big thank you to my wallet. Going to BEA and BBC last year was an adventure. It was a brief adventure. I found out about both too late to get the full experience. I was only able to attend the last day of BEA. Who knows who I could have met and what books I could have come across if went for the entire conference?

This year, when the vacation slips came around I made sure to put in for the last week of May. I didn't have the money for it in January, but I'm like a dog with a bone. I wanted that time off as soon as possible. I'm not attending the first day of BEA because it sounds ceremonial more than anything. But when the exhibit hall opens, I will be there.

The Book Blogger Convention is a one-day event. Follow the link on their web site. The price right now is $120, it increases to $135 if you register after a certain date. I'm not sure of the exact date, but I think three weeks prior and the price increases. By registering for BBC, you also get a pass for BEA. Two for the price of one, who can beat that?!!!

The Book Blogger Convention will be different this year. There is still a keynote speaker, but then we break into individual groups instead of everyone taking in the same information. I think that's a nice change, there were some panels at last year's convention I could have done without.

Is anybody out there planning on attending both? If you can swing it, I highly recommend it. Need a few tips for attending BEA? I definitely needed them last year. Here are a few nuggets of wisdom:

1. PLAN AHEAD!!! Go to the BEA web site and plot out the booths you want to visit. It can be a bit of sensory overload if you don't plan ahead. Last year, I mapped out which publishers I wanted to visit. I went to those booths first and then went elsewhere.

2. Bring a small rolling suitcase with you. This little tidbit would have saved my shoulders. I carried around three big bags of books ALL DAY. There is an area set aside for the suitcases. For three bucks (assuming the price hasn't changed) you can leave your bag there and put your books in it throughout the day. Also, I think they help you ship your books home if you need it. I saw the spot last year and wondered what it was for. Imagine my surprise when I found out at the END of the day. That walk from the Javits Center to Penn Station is very short, but not when you're loaded down with books.

3. Bring snacks and drinks with you. Take it from a New Yorker, the food in that place is expensive!!

4. Avoid taxis, if you can, and buy a metrocard. Buses, trains, and your own two feet are the best modes of transportation. I can't really speak about hotels and airfares because I live within commuting distance. All I can tell you is to book early and shop around for the best deal. If you have family in New York, ask them to take pity on you. If you know any other bloggers attending, perhaps you can share a hotel room.

5. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. You will be doing a lot of walking, so comfort is important.

6. Have a business card. This event is all about making connections. You will be meeting so many people, it helps to have a business card. You will want to develop a list of contacts, and publishers want to do the same thing. And be sure to follow up when you get home.

7. Make sure your blog is in tip-top shape. A review policy and contact information are musts. My own blog will be under construction next month. I want to streamline a few things.

8. Take pictures. How many opportunities will you get to experience an event like this? You will want to remember it. I'm planning on buying a camera. My cellphone camera wasn't up to snuff last year.

9. Attend a panel. There will be panels discussing books and book-related content throughout the day. The list isn't up yet on the BEA web site, but it should be soon.

10. One to a customer. Don't be greedy. Last year when the exhibit hall opened, people ran to the bookstacks. You would think they hadn't seen a book in years.

11. If you didn't get it before, please PLAN AHEAD!!!

12. Have fun!! Of course be professional, but don't forget to have fun.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

My take on: Enough About Love

Enough About Love"Right now, she is asking him to find the words that will help her draw on her own strength to give up what each photo says. Look at this happiness, my happiness, my husband, my house, my children, my parents, look. It's all there, spread out on this kitchen table, years of life in fading colors, I give them to you, I'll abandon them for you, my love. But what about you, what are you offering? Tell me that." -- Pg. 102

Is it worth it to give up your life, marriage, and family for another person? You've spent years working on a marriage and suddenly you meet a charismatic person, who makes you question everything you thought you knew. Is it worth it to change everything? I've never been in that situation nor do I want to. The characters in Enough About Love by Herve Le Tellier (translated from french by Adriana Hunter) give into their passions, but not without consequences.

Anna and Louise don't know each other, but the problems in their lives are very similar. When she's not working, Anna spends her days whining to her psychiatrist, Thomas le Gall. After a 1,000 appointments, Thomas wonders where Anna's treatment is going. A chance encounter with an intriguing writer, Yves, leads Anna to lie constantly. She's so seduced by Yves, but is unsure if he's worth giving up her life for him. Will her children except him? Can he fit into her life?

Meanwhile, Thomas becomes downright giddy when he meets Louise at a party. The emotions don't make sense to Thomas. Why is he so in smitten with Louise? She's married with children, and therefore unavailable, but he can't resist. Louise is equally smitten.

Louise and Anna both become more bold in their encounters. Anna feels confident in asking for more sexually. Louise isn't afraid to proclaim her love for Thomas publicly. Louise can bring Thomas around her children without fear. Is their attraction right? Are they just living in the moment? Can these feelings last forever? Is it just infatuation?

"...what attracts us about another person has more to do with what makes them fragile, the chink in their armor. Love is kindled by the weakness we perceive, the flaw we get in through, wouldn't you say?"

Are we attracted to someone we think we can fix? Are we attracted to someone we think can fix us? I'm sure some people don't want to admit that. Some of the characters in the book don't want to admit it.

The book is told from several points of view. You kind of feel like a peeping tom. Should we be seeing this? The emotional breakdowns of the husbands in the book is heartbreaking. They both have a chance to meet the competition, and can't help but feel empathy for them. I don't feel so sorry for Anna or Louise. It seemed like Anna was looking for an adventure. Why not turn to your husband for that adventure? And I thought Louise had an affair because she could. They are all flawed characters, and thankfully the ending isn't wrapped up in a bow.

Rating: Give it a try

Note: I received a copy of the book from the publisher (Other Press) in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Hop, Hop, Hop!!

Book Blogger Hop
Every week Jennifer at Crazy-for-Bookshosts a blog hop. Put your link in, post a comment and you can discover a lot of great blogs. The Hop lasts Friday-Monday every week. This week's question/task: If you could physically put yourself into a book or series...which one would it be and why? Wow it's been a long time since I read a series. But if I had to choose I would pick any Agatha Christie novel. The time periods and locations in some of the books are fascinating. Death on the Nile, Murder on the Orient Express and Evil Under the Sun are at the top of my list.

Death on the Nile (Hercule Poirot)Evil Under the Sun: A Hercule Poirot Mystery (Agatha Christie Collection)Murder on the Orient Express: A Hercule Poirot Mystery (Hercule Poirot Mysteries)

Here are some blogs I came across:

Note: I'm looking for takers for next month's edition of What's Up Tweep's. Here is April's question:  Do you post negative book reviews? Why or why not? E-mail responses to Entries are open until April 21. If you have a question or topic that you would like to see discussed here, feel free to e-mail me. Who knows what we can come up with. Happy reading everyone!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

My take on: The Tapestry of Love

The Tapestry of Love"Why did we put it off? We should have had the party last year for our fortieth. But we were busy, and it would have been a bit of work, and we thought fifty might be more of an event. You expect sunny weather to last forever, don't you, somehow? You never expect storm clouds. You think there will always be time." -- Pg. 288

We always think we have enough time to do the things we want to. Go on a cross-country adventure, write a novel, ride the space shuttle (Ok that last one is just me). In The Tapestry of Love by Rosy Thornton the lead character, Catherine Parkstone, is leaving her comfortable life in England behind. A life where her children Tom and Lexie are grown and out of the house. Tom is living his life working and camping with his girlfriend. Lexie wonders ever other day if she should quit her job. Catherine is divorced from their father, and is now ready to live her own life.

Living her own life leads to a remote town on the French countryside. She isn't fully fluent in French and doesn't know anyone in town. Sound like a great idea? I don't know. It sounds kind of isolating. Who do you turn to? What do you do when you get homesick? Do you pack up and leave? Why am I here? Catherine faces all of those emotions.

Eventually she does adapt to the town and the town adapts to her. She finds friends in an elderly couple, who often try to feed her and ply her with tea at every turn. Catherine isn't sure when to say yes or no to their kindness. Will they think she is rude? Will they think I'm too English?

She starts her own business as seamstress, which is slow going at the start but soon flourishes. One person in particular, her neighbor Patrick, is intriguing. They can talk to each other easily about food, books and life. There is a chemistry there, but it's a chemistry that Catherine tries to deny herself. Reading between the lines, Patrick clearly wants a relationship with Catherine but she is reluctant. In my opinion, Catherine felt like she didn't deserve to be happy again. She had her chance in her first marriage, it's not worth it to try again. Who needs the complications of a relationship? When her sister, Bryony, visits and begins a relationship with Patrick, Catherine chooses to suffer in silence. Why? Why? Just open your mouth, he is right there.

This is a very sweet book. The descriptions of the food, wine, and scenery make me want to visit the French countryside now. But I would probably have to brush up on my French. There are no complicated plots in this book. It's just about a woman trying to navigate the second half of her life, which is something a lot of people can relate to.

Rating: Give it a try

Note: I received a copy of the book from the author Rosy Thornton in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My take on: Nickel Plated

Nickel PlatedLast week, I came across a group of pre-teen boys at a local deli. They were begging the owner for some free soda. Pleading for soda!! They said they were broke and would pay the owner back later. I thought to myself, "It will be 10 years before they truly know what the word BROKE means." If they had to, would they know how to survive on their own? What do they know about the world? Which leads me to my latest review, Nickel Plated by Aric Davis.

The title character, Nickel, is a very resourceful 12-year-old boy. We don't even know his real name. Nickel is an acronym he picked up after his turbulent time in foster care, which included sexual abuse. Nickel once had a foster father he could look up to, but his death was the end of anything good in his life. Leaving foster care and adult supervision behind, Nickel finds ways to survive. Years of abuse have left Nickel with a thick skin, making his actions seem more like that of an adult.

He blackmails would-be pedophiles, sells marijuana and offers his services as a private investigator. He develops the financial freedom that even some adults don't have. Nickel even manages to rent a house. He has allies in a local gym owner and several other adults who ignore Nickel's lack of parental supervision. This is where I have slight problem. How long could a child really do this without raising eyebrows? How many 12-year-olds would have the ingenuity to trap pedophiles on the internet and then scam them out of money? Of course this 12-year-old is a special one.

However, Nickel does have a soft spot for fellow children. Nickel is instantly smitten by Arrow, a local high school girl. Her sister is missing and feared dead. Arrow seeks Nickel's help, fearing the police won't find her sister. It is Nickel's interactions with Arrow that remind me he truly was a child. He wishes he was her boyfriend, even going so far as to imagine a future together. I'm sure most pre-teen boys have fantasies like this. Arrow's beauty manages to crack Nickel's hardened shell.

The conclusion is filled with violence, including dodging bullets. While there are moments in the book that are a stretch of the imagination, Nickel is definitely an interesting character. He experiences moments of fear, but doesn't show it. He is more resourceful than most adults. The end will leave you hopeful for his future. I wonder what's in his future?

Rating: Give it a try

Notes: I received a copy of the book from the author's publicist, Little Bird Publicity, in exchange for an honest review. For more on author Aric Davis, visit

Monday, March 21, 2011

What's up Tweeps?! No. 6

Normally on Monday I discuss the covers of books I'm reading, but today we're taking a break from that. "It's Monday, What's on the Cover?" will return next week. Now it's time for my monthly feature, "What's up Tweeps?!" So far the questions have ranged from, "Why do you read book blogs?" "Have you found your writing voice?" "'s questionable business practices" "How to encourage a non-reader to read?" to "James Frey's fleecing the future writing talent of America." For March, I thought we would go back to the lighter side of things.

"With so many blogs out there, do you feel pressure
to pick a genre/niche? Ever wonder how you stand
out among the masses?"

When I started blogging, I wanted to get out of a rut. I needed a creative outlet. I have that book idea in my head, but I'm too scared to start trying that now. One day I hope to put the words down on paper. Instead, I decided to do the next best thing --- blogging about books. I was also in a reading rut. Before last April, it would take weeks, sometimes months, to finish a book. Blogging has definitely sped up my reading pace.

I started reviewing books I owned. I wasn't sure how to get books from publishers, but BookExpo America and the Book Blogger Convention changed all of that. Pass your business cards around to a few people at these events, and watch what happens! Everything changed for me after that. Soon marketing people, publicists, and authors were coming to me. After a while I wondered, "How do these people know about my blog?"

I read just about everything (except sci-fi, can't stand it). I read YA, memoirs, literary fiction, and chick lit. There are blogs out there that focus on just one of those. What makes me different? Why would someone choose me over another person? How do I stand out?

I don't think I have to choose and I think I do stand out. A personal blog is all about what you want, who you want to be, and what you want to write about. We all have different opinions. What we have to say about a particular won't necessarily be the same as another person. You can reach more people than you think with a blog. People from various states and countries read my blog. Who knew I had any reach in the UK? But a writer from the UK contacted me to review her book. I have my place in the rather large book blogosphere, we all do.

Next month's question: Do you post negative book reviews? Why or why not? E-mail responses to Entries are open until April 21. If you have a question or topic that you would like to see discussed here, feel free to e-mail me. Who knows what we can come up with. Happy reading everyone!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy Birthday to the blog hop!!

Update: It's Monday, What's on the Cover will return on March 28. Instead the latest edition of What's Up Tweeps will be posted on March 21. Happy reading everyone!!

Book Blogger Hop
One year Jennifer at Crazy-for-Booksstarted the Book Blogger Hop, so Happy Happy Birthday!! It's great and still going strong. There are so many people out there who love books, and it's great to interact with them.

On to the business at hand, Every week Jennifer hosts a blog hop. Put your link in, post a comment and you can discover a lot of great blogs. The Hop lasts Friday-Monday every week. This week's question/task: Do you read only one book at a time, or do you have several going at once? Oh boy! When I started blogging, I told myself no more than two books at a time. With only two books at a time it was easier to distinguish the two plots. But as I've gotten more and more requests for reviews, I've had to change my reading habits. I read 3-4 books at a time and I take notes. Some people might feel that taking notes makes it feel like homework, but that is not the case with me. I think since I started taking notes I have written better reviews. The notes have helped me write more comprehensive reviews. If I had a different job and work schedule, one where I could read on the way to work, I think I could get away with two books at a time. But I drive to work, and reading while driving isn't the safest thing to do!!

Here are some blogs I came across:

Notes: A review of Nickel Plated will be posted on Tuesday. A review of The Tapestry of Love will be posted shortly after. I'm looking for takers for March's edition of What's Up Tweeps?!. Here is the question: With so many blogs out there, do you feel pressure to pick a genre/niche? Ever wonder how you can stand out among the masses? E-mail entries to I'm extending entries until Saturday. Happy reading everyone!

Monday, March 14, 2011

It's Monday, what's on the cover?

Enough About Love

Of the four books I'm currently reading, three of them fall on the romantic side. Enough About Love by Herve Le Tellier is the latest one. Two women, who don't know each other, engage in extramarital affairs. At some point their lives will collide. The cover doesn't give much away, but look at the letter "O" in each word. The faint hint of a face is there. Happy or sad, I can't tell, but there is a story there.

Night Road

I've read one book by Kristin Hannah, True Colors, and wasn't a big fan. I thought the book teetered on Lifetime Movie of the Week territory. But a so-so book isn't enough to turn me off a particular author. I saw the description for Night Road on Goodreads and was intrigued. A happily married couple with two children welcomes a mysterious girl into their family. A tragic accident has everyone blaming the new girl and the family tries to put the pieces back together. So I thought why not? I entered the giveaway on Goodreads, but I didn't win. I forgot about it and thought I'll just buy the book when it comes out. But fate intervened again, St Martin's Press held a giveaway. I entered and won an ARC.

The cover of Night Road is gorgeous too. You can see part of this girl's face, with two people walking in the distance. Whatever happens on this road can't be good. Can't wait to find out!!

Notes: A review of The Tapestry of Love by Rosy Thornton should be up within the next week. I'm looking for takers for March's edition of What's Up Tweeps?! Here is the question: With so many blogs out there, do you feel pressure to pick a genre/niche? Ever wonder how you can stand out among the masses? E-mail entries to Entries are open until March 18. Happy reading everyone!  

Friday, March 11, 2011

My take on: Pictures of You

Pictures of You"Charlie Nash lived just six blocks away from her. She'd probably seen him a million times, at the beach, the supermarket, getting pizza. She had most likely seen April and Sam with him, a family splashing beside her in the surf, buying ice cream cones at Jelly's. They all lived in the same small town, and yet they were somehow strangers." Pg. 112

That quote in Pictures of You by Caroline Leavitt made me think about my own neighborhood. I've lived in the same house for 17-plus years. I know of the people in the surrounding homes, but I can't say I really know them. I see the same people in local stores and supermarkets, but I can't say I really know them. We see lots of people everyday, sometimes the same people, and most times don't give them a second thought -- unless we're forced to.

A tragic accident forces the characters of Pictures of You to come together. By the end you'll be asking yourself, "Do I know how to forgive?"

April Nash and Isabelle Stein are both running from their marriages.

April thinks there is a better life out there for her, a life away from her son, Sam, and husband Charlie. After reading the book, April's motives for leaving seem very selfish. The frequent adventures, which often come at the expense of school, April and Sam go on had me thinking she was a devoted but slightly misguided mother. According to April, her parents were too wrapped up in their own relationship to pay attention to their daughter. For this reason, April wants Sam to have a better life than she did. She wants to her husband say, "I love you." Not matter how much Charlie shows his love, the words seem to matter more to her. The new life April was running to didn't seem to have enough room for Charlie. I know everyone wants to be loved and to know they matter to the people in their lives, but April seemed to be running for the wrong reasons.

On the flip side, I think Isabelle was running for the right reasons. Her mother has wanted nothing to do with her for years and her marriage is in shambles. She's a photographer in a small town, stuck taking pictures of children and families at a small studio. Families and children Isabelle believes she will never have. With no ties, what's stopping Isabelle from running? Nothing. But, the lives of both of these women collide -- literally. Isabelle accidentally kills April in a car crash.

April's death creates an unlikely friendship between Sam, Charlie, and Isabelle. Sam sees Isabelle as an angel sent to help him communicate with his mother. Rather than acknowledge her death, Sam like most children (and adults) is in denial. Talking about it is too painful. Instead, taking photographs together proves therapeutic for April and Sam. At first, Charlie wants nothing to do with Isabelle but eventually he sees her in a new light. Instead of hating the woman who took his wife, Charlie starts to have feelings for Isabelle. But are those feelings right? Can he forgive her? What if she leaves just like April tried to? What will other people think? Can he allow himself to move on or will he hold onto a ghost?

The ending doesn't wrap everything up in a bow, but it leaves you with hope for the future of Sam, Charlie, and Isabelle. It's an ending that seems very true to real life. Life is complicated but eventually we can find our way to happiness.

Rating: Superb

Note: I received a copy of the book from the publisher (Algonquin) for an honest review. For more information on Caroline Leavitt, visit

Blog Q&A with Caroline Leavitt

Here are a few questions I had for Caroline Leavitt author of Pictures of You

1. I'm torn between liking April and hating her. She has good intentions, but constantly pulling your child out of school to go on adventures doesn't seem very helpful. Was that your intention with April's character? Is she a villian?

Great question. April is a contradiction. I absolutely understood and loved April, though I would NOT want to go out to lunch with her or have her be my friend. I think because I understood why she did the things she did--her deep feelings of pain, her desperation to be the perfect mother coupled with her inability to do so--I could feel for her, and I knew she was under a lot of pain. I don't think she is a villain per se, but frankly, even though I could understand why she did what she did, I couldn't forgive her for it. (Which is why, she'd never be a friend of mine!)

2. Sam goes to through different stages of grief, from not talking about the accident to thinking Isabelle is an angel. What type of research did you do? Did you talk to children or parents to understand their mindset?
I talked to a lot of child psychologists and I showed them pages, asking, "Would a child say this? Do this? Feel this way?" I also read a lot of books about grief, and I thought back to how my own son was at that age when grieving over much smaller things, like a lost toy! Mostly, I tried to tunnel so deeply into Sam that I felt that I was him, that I was experiencing what he was experiencing, and at some point, it began to seem organic to me.

3. Do you think writing books helped in your career as a book critic? Do you look at books differently? Any backlash from other writers?

I definitely look at books differently now. Being a critic forced me to look at why and how books work, and why and how they don't. Being able to do that really helped me when I look at my own work. I haven't gotten any backlash, though some writers kept telling me reviewing would kill my writing. I've found it to be the opposite. The only real difficulty for me is that ethically, I can't review my friends! I interview them on my blog, instead.

4. In three words how would you describe your book?

Oh, what a good question. Hmmm. Haunting, eerie, psychological. How's that? Thank you for this great interview.

Chance at a retreat and blog hop

Feeling tired from the daily grind? Interested a little retreat? How about a mountain top retreat? If that sounds good to you, then enter M.L Malcolm's contest. The contest is in preparation for the publication of her novel ...

Heart of Deception: A Novel

Heart of Deception is the continuing saga of Leo Hoffman. I reviewed the previous book Heart of Lies and loved it. The contest is aimed at those who pre-order Heart of Deception (due out on April 1), but no purchase is necessary. Sounds like fun, give it a try!!

No on to the business at hand...
Book Blogger Hop

Every week Jennifer at Crazy-for-Books hosts a blog hop. Put your link in, post a comment and you can discover a lot of great blogs. The Hop lasts Friday-Monday every week. This week's question/task: If I gave you £50 (or $80) and sent you into a bookshop right now, what would be in your basket when you finally staggered to the till? Hmmmmm!! Let me think. I had to go to my list on Goodreads. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (I know it's bad not have a copy. Plus, I've never read it), Backseat Saints by Joshilyn Jackson, So Much for That by Lionel Shriver, Dark Song by Gail Giles, Perfect Peace by Daniel Black, Skippy Dies by Paul Murray and Even Silence has an End by Ingrid Betancourt. I'm sure that's more than $80, but I'm sucker for books!!

Monday, March 7, 2011

It's Monday, what's on the cover?

**Update: Alyssa is the winner of the CSN Giveaway. Congrats!!**
My One and Only (Hqn)

Look at that cover. Doesn't that look romantic. Some reviews over the next month and half will be on the romantic side. I'm still reading The Tapestry of Love by Rosy Thornton, it's getting interesting. My latest foray into the romance genre is My One and Only by Kristan Higgins. Don't let the cover deceive you. The couple on that cover is divorced, and years later are brought together again. Maybe love will be better the second time around. Do some of you believe that? Can you find love with someone years later? Have they changed? Have they changed enough? Have you changed? Are there new problems? What about the old problems. I'm a bit of a cynic, so I can't wait to see what happens with this couple. A review and Q&A will be posted next month. Stay tuned!!

Note: I'm looking for takers for March's edition of What's Up Tweeps?! Here is the question: With so many blogs out there, do you feel pressure to pick a genre/niche? Ever wonder how you can stand out among the masses? E-mail entries to Entries are open until March 18. Happy reading everyone!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

My take on: Home to Woefield

Home to Woefield: A NovelWhat do a 24-year-old naive city girl, an alcoholic, an 11-year-old and a curmudgeon old man have in common? Some might say nothing. But in Home to Woefield by Susan Juby, they have a lot in common. An unlikely friendship and a desolate farm in Canada. It's aptly named, Woefield. It's a place where nothing grows, but someone does have hope for it. Misguided hope perhaps.

Prudence Burns tried to live an environmentally friendly and organic lifestyle in Brooklyn, but some people found her to be a little extreme. Inheriting a farm in Canada from her dead uncle comes at the right time. She has big ideas, but really has no idea how to run a farm. She thinks she does. Prudence has this wide-eyed, innocent quality about her. For her everything is possible even when others say it isn't.

Part of inheriting the farm includes letting her uncle's longtime friend Earl live on the land. Earl is a cantankerous old man. Texting, DVDs, Blackberry and too much talking are like a foreign language to Earl. At first he thinks Prudence is one of those "slow" relatives. He tries to understand Prudence, but sometimes there are miscommunications. She says "foyer" and he hears "four year." She needs his help in making Woefield great again, an idea that he thinks is ridiculous.

Seth lives across the road from Woefield. He ends up living and working for Prudence after his mother throws him out. His mother wants him to grow up after the "thing" with the high school drama teacher. I was curious as to what the "thing" was. It's hinted at, but you don't find out until later in the book. The "thing" with the drama teacher led Seth to alcohol. When he's not drinking he blogs about celebrities and music. Seth thinks blogging gives him a clue as to how the world works, but how wrong he is. Seth doesn't want to grow up. He doesn't know how to take care of himself. He sabotages his job with Prudence every chance he gets with alcohol binges. Earl can only roll his eyes as "chubnuts" fails at everything in his life.

Then there is 11-year-old Sara. Her parents fight constantly. Sara retreats into caring for her chickens. whom Prudence allows to live and grow on her farm. Sara is super-organized and constantly worrying about people going to hell. Books are portals of knowledge for her. Knowledge that Earl questions, but eventually comes around too. Sara wastes no time ordering Earl around when it comes to building a chicken coop.

Who would put this grow together? There are generation gaps, philosophical differences, educational differences. The list could go on. But there is a strong friendship there. When everyone else wants to give up on Seth, Prudence gives him another chance. Earl retreats within himself, but Sara finds a way in. When necessary everyone sticks up for each other.

For Susan Juby's adult debut, it's great. There is a good mix of drama and laughter, check it out.

Rating: Superb

Note: I received a copy of the book from the publisher (HarperCollins) in exchange for an honest review. For more information on Susan Juby visit:

Friday, March 4, 2011

A book lover meets Jodi Picoult

It was fate. I saw a review of Jodi Picoult's latest book, Sing You Home, on Tuesday. Later that day, I went to her web site to take a look at her tour dates. NYC had to be a stop right? Yes. Two in fact. Just one problem, the dates conflicted with some family obligations. At least I assumed they did, but I found out I was wrong (which rarely happens I'm always right!!). So Thursday afternoon I made my way to Barnes and Noble in Union Square, which by the way is a lovely store. I don't live in Manhattan, but I might have to trek to Union Square more often.

I got there shortly after five. I thought I was too early, boy was I wrong. People where already marking their territory in that insanely hot room. I peeled my sweater, coat and scarf off quickly. Just a tip Barnes and Noble, a room that you expect to be filled to capacity shouldn't feel like a sauna!! The long line at the cafe, just for a bottle of water didn't help. But eventually I cooled off and started reading Sing You Home. I'm only 65 pages in, and I'm already hooked. My review pile is a little on the thick side, but I think I have some room for Sing You Home.

This was my first book signing, and I had a great time. The event came complete with music, sung by Jodi Picoult's good friend Ellen Wilber. The lyrics were written by Jodi, and having read the first few chapters it's a nice compliment to the book.

Listen to me wax poetic on my Jodi Picoult collection....(excuse the hat, but it's a bad hair day!!)

I even have a few pictures. I probably should have sat closer, but I was happy just to be there.

Jodi Picoult after entering the room to loud applause!!

Jodi Picoult reading from Sing You Home, which was very engaging!!

Ellen Wilber singing

CSN Giveaway and Blog Hop!!!

When the time comes to leave the nest, I want an apartment with at least two bedrooms. I'm not married and I don't have any children. So why exactly do I need the extra bedroom? I want one room to be a library/office. A place where I can blog and read. at an L Shaped desk. I'm drooling over several of them, especially the Saratoga desk. With so many price ranges, I know I'm getting one in the future. I can already see myself in one. I'll prop my feet up on my desk after writing about the latest bestseller, and just relax in my home library. I know many of you have a similar fantasy.

CSN is offering a $25 gift card to one of my wonderful followers. All I ask is that you be a follower of my blog, and leave a comment on this post or e-mail me at I will pick a winner at random on Monday. Good luck!!

Now on to the next piece of business on the agenda....the blog hop!!

Book Blogger Hop
Every week Jennifer at Crazy-for-Books ( hosts a blog hop. Put your link in, post a comment and you can discover a lot of great blogs. The Hop lasts Friday-Monday every week. This week's question/task: Who's your all-time favorite book villian? That's a tough one? I had to look at the stacks of books I've read recently. And my eye feel on this book...

Darkest Child: A Novel

The Darkest Child by Delores Phillips. The mother in this book is evil. She tortures and belittles her children. I can't fathom such things because I didn't grow up that way.
Note: I got to meet Jodi Picoult on Thursday. It was awesome and she signed a copy of her latest book Sing You Home and my copy of My Sister's Keeper. I'm working on post about it and I have a few pictures. If I have enough nerve, I will make another vlog. Stay tuned.