Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser from My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier, page 120:

'No,' she said. 'I would have welcomed a pedestal, after my rough life. A halo can be a lovely thing provided you can take it off, now and again, and become human'


Monday, March 30, 2009

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday is hosted by The Printed Page .

In my mailbox/hanging from a waterproof bag on my doorstep this week:

When Skateboards will be free by Said Sayrafiezadeh The Nonesuch by Georgette Heyer

The Convenient Marriage by Georgette Heyer
Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead
My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunday Salon

The Sunday Salon.com

The dratted snow and cold weather has made it a week of comfort reads for me. You know the kind that you can cozy up with when a March snow storm is whirling around outside. Yes, I needed something to dull the longing for spring, to distract me from the seemingly endless days of snow in the forecast when all I want is to sit in the sun. Early this past week I read Frenchman's creek (read my review). Also had to catch up on some books for review: Dr. Gott's No Flour, No Sugar Diet; and Dr. Gott's No Flour, No Sugar Cookbook (read my review). Yesterday I finished Georgette Heyer's The Nonesuch, and also started Heyer's The Convenient Marriage .

Today I plan on finishing The Convenient Marriage, I am half-way through, so should manage to finish with no problem. Then we will see, I will either start Confessions by Augustine, or read the other du Maurier on my shelf My Cousin Rachel, but it only got here a couple of days ago, and I have other books which need to be read first.

I thought when I was approached with the Heyer books to review that I had somehow managed to miss out on ever reading one of her books, but as I am reading The Convenient Marriage I find that I have read it before. I think that my grandmother must have lent it to me when I was a teenager. I remember finding it quite racy. Yes, I was extremely sheltered.


Friday, March 27, 2009

The Friday 56


* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of Storytime with Tonya and Friends.
*Post a link along with your post back to Storytime with Tonya and Friends.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

Well, the closest book to me is Aristotle's Biological Treatises: History of Animals.

"And from the gut downward extend black and rough formations, in close connexion, something like the formations in the tortoise, only not so black. Marine snails, also, have these formations, and the white ones, only that the formations are smaller in the smaller species."

Right, well, there is something that I did not know.


Review: Dr. Gott's No Flour, No Sugar Diet & Cookbook

Rating: 4/5
Author: Dr. Peter H. Gott, MD

There are so many diets out there. Some are so detailed and restrictive that they are almost impossible to follow because it takes so much time and planning just to figure out what you are able to eat. Some diets entirely cut out whole categories of food, leaving you with an unhealthy, unbalanced eating plan. Dr. Gott's diet does neither of these things. It is very simple, all you have to remember is four words, "No, flour, No, sugar". The only things that are cut out are flour and sugar, both of which only provide you with empty calories, no nutritional benefits.

Dr. Gott claims that just by cutting out flours and sugars you will be able to loose the recommended 1 to 2 pounds a week. True, on some fad or crash diets, you may loose more quickly that this, but most of the time this is done by a method that cannot be sustained, and then the pounds are gained back when you eventually cave. While meat and dairy products are allowed, Dr. Gott suggests, for optimal health, staying with low-fat varieties.

I found a good deal of useful information in the book on diet and health in general, such as: the correct balance of protein, carbs, and fats, and a simple way of counter-secting your dinner plate to make sure you have the correct balance; weight loss methods which should be avoided; how the use of the diet may affect you if you suffer from specific medical conditions; how to calculate your BMI, and estimate a good goal weight; and how to read food labels.

The last half of the book is full of recipes, and a meal plan to help you get started on this diet. The recipes look tasty and fairly simple. Dr. Gott is obviously a very knowledgeable and experienced man, and I felt he was able to impart this knowledge in an accessible way. The one thing I don't agree with him on is the use of artificial sweeteners, but I know that there are millions of people who regularly use these, and have no problem with it. Overall I think that this would be a simple and fairly healthy diet to follow. I personally cut out sugar in November, and with regular exercise, and a healthier diet, have managed to lose 35 lbs, so I know this can work.

Rating: 4/5

Dr. Gott's No Flour, No Sugar Cookbook contains on overview of his diet, and general, useful information on healthy eating. The rest of the book us full of recipes of all sorts without any flours or sugars. For a sugar substitute in this book he regularly uses Splenda (which I prefer not to use, but know many people swear by). Some tasty sounding alternatives of favorites that usually use flour include the Chicken Pot Pie with hash browns as a crust. With these recipes I can see how you would not even miss the flour or sugar.


Giveaway: Girls in Trucks

Thanks to Valerie with Hatchette Book Group , I have five copies of Girls in Trucks by Katie Crouch available for giveaway.

Book Description:
Sarah Walters, the narrator of GIRLS IN TRUCKS, is a reluctant Camellia Society debutante. She has always felt ill-fitted to the rococo ways of Southern womanhood and family, and is anxious to shake the bonds of her youth. Still, she follows the traditional path laid out for her. This is Charleston, and in this beautiful, dark, segregated town, established rules and manners mean everything.

But as Sarah grows older, she finds that her Camellia lessons fail her, particularly as she goes to college, moves North, and navigates love and life in New York. There, Sarah and her group of displaced deb sisters try to define themselves within the realities of modern life. Heartbreak, addiction, disappointing jobs and death fail to live up to the hazy, happy future promised to them by their Camellia mothers and sisters.

When some unexpected bumps in the road--an unplanned birth, a family death--lead Sarah back home, she's forced to take another long look at the fading empire of her youth. It takes a strange turn of events to finally ground Sarah enough to make some serious choices. And only then does she realize that as much as she tried to deny it, where she comes from will always affect where she ends up. The motto of her girlhood cotillion society, "Once a Camellia, always a Camellia," may turn out to have more wisdom and pull to it than she ever could have guessed.

To Enter:
1. Leave a comment telling me that you would like to win this book (please make sure that I have a way to contact you, or your entry will be deleted).
2. For extra entries: become a follower of my blog (if you already are that counts, just let me know); Subscirbe to my blog (if you already do that counts, just let me know); or blog about this contest, and leave me the link.
3. Please only US and Canadian addresses. No PO Boxes.
4. Contest ends April 7, 2009.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Review: Frenchman's Creek

Author: Daphne Du Maurier
Rating: 5/5
Grade: C - 14 and up (mild language and sexual suggestion)

Thank you to Danielle with Sourcebooks for sending me this newly reprinted edition of Du Maurier's novel originally published in 1941. I read and loved Rebecca as a teenager, and am unsure why I never sought out any of the other novels by the author, but after reading this book I will be sure to do so. I am so glad that Sourcebooks is reprinting this, and hope that it can find its way to many other people who have missed it, as I have.

On the rare occasion I have the experience where book and mood meet perfectly. This happened with Frenchman's Creek, a book I am sure that I would have very much enjoyed no matter my mood, but which was exactly the book I was seeking at the time I read it. The wild, windy March days--with looming storm, and gathering clouds, the brief hours of sunshine tempered by drops of ice cold rain, and mud-causing snow--have left me restless and wild myself, longing for escape.

And so enter Dona St. Columb, the beautiful but restless Lady, tired of London high society, longing for escape from the falsity and uselessness of her life. After a foolish escapade, and stupid flirtation, she sets off, with her two young children and their nurse, to her husband's country estate surrounded by forest river and ocean. All she wants is to find some solitude and peace--far away from the stench of the stifling London summer, and a husband who can not understand her.

Forget the children's tears, forget Prue's grievance, forget the pursed up mouth of the coachman, forget Harry and his troubled distressed blue eyes when she announced her decision. "But damn, Dona, what have I done, what have I said, don't you know that I adore you?" Forget all these things, because this was freedom, to stand here for one minute with her face to the sun and the wind, this was living, to smile and to be alone.

The descriptions of the nature and life teeming around the estate--the birds and butterflies, wildflowers and trees, creeks and ocean--bringing joy and peace to Dona and her children, are so well done that I feel as if I were there, in the Cornish countryside. I am transported away from the cold wind, the six inches of March snow I shoveled off of the walks this morning, the snow which keeps coming and will necessitate another shoveling in a few short hours. Instead I drowse lazily, being baked by the sun; I tramp through the thick woods; I stand above the ocean, the salty breeze enlivening me.

The birds were astir again, after their noonday silence, and the silent butterflies danced and fluttered, while drowsy bumblebees hummed in the warm air, winging their way to the topmost branches of the trees...

and there, suddenly before her for the first time was the creek, still and soundless, shrouded by the trees, hidden from the eyes of men. She stared at it in wonder, for she had had no knowledge of its existence, this stealthy branch of the parent river creeping into her own property, so sheltered, so concealed by the woods themselves. The tide was ebbing, the water was oozing away from the mudflats, and here, where she stood, was the head of the creek itself, for the stream ended in a trickle, and the trickle in a spring. The creek twisted around a belt of trees, and she began to walk along the bank, happy, fascinated, forgetting her mission, for this discovery was a pleasure quite unexpected, this creek was a source of enchantment, a new escape, better than Navron itself, a place to drowse and sleep, a lotus-land.

Her stodgy neighbor had warned her about pirates who have been robbing from the estates up and down the coast, and reportedly having their way with the womenfolk. Their leader a dangerous frenchman, so stealthy and with a ship so fast that he has not been aprehended. Dona had listened to the reports with some amusement, but really paid them no mind until she caught sight of the ship in the creek on her land, and at the same time found herself covered with a coat, and forced onto the pirate ship.What she finds there astounds her, there is no sign of the steriotypical pirate, but an educated, tidy, considerate artist. And beyond the peace which she had sought and found, Dona finds the adventure and passion her spirit had been seeking, and someone who understands.

...she had known then that this was to happen, nothing could prevent it; she was part of his body, and part of his mind, they belonged to eachother, both wanderers, both fugitives, cast in the same mould.

Danger, excitement, love, a meeting of souls, Lady St. Columb has found it all. Unfortunately she can not keep it all, something must be given up: her children and husband and very way of life, or the new love and adventure which she so craved. Yet events transpire that make it not even such a cut and dried choice as this.

Anyone who has ever felt the need to escape from the cage of daily life will identify with and love this book. It has found its way into my heart, and will be added to the stack of favorites I pull out when I feel in the right restless mood, and need a satisfying read.

To learn more about the author visit: http://www.dumaurier.org/


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
Grab your current read.Let the book fall open to a random page. Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12. You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given! Please avoid spoilers!

My Teaser from Frenchman's Creek by Daphne DuMaurier:

The guest stood a moment, looking about him at the blaze of candles, at the bright silver, at the shining plates with the rose border, and then he turned to the hostess, with that same slow mocking smile she had grown to expect: 'Is it wise of you, do you think, to put all of this temptation before a pirate?'


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Lisa in her natural habitat.

I thought that I would post a picture of myself as I usually am while reading--not made-up, hair freshly dried from the shower, in my comfort clothing of choice (jeans).

*So, it seems that people want to know what book I am reading in this picture. It is Galway Bay by Mary Pat Kelly, which I recently reviewed and gave a 5 star rating to.


Booking Through Thursday Question of the week

This Weeks BTT :

“What’s the worst ‘best’ book you’ve ever read — the one everyone says is so great, but you can’t figure out why?”

I try not to remember really horrible books. Actually, I try not to read them in the first place. I have been reading enough books for enough years that I am generally able to tell if I will like a book before I read it--partly by what I hear about the book, partly by the synopsis, partly by the book cover, partly by the publisher--you begin to get a feeling for these things. There are still those books which baffle me with their mediocrity, or even if well written, just really should not have been.

Unfortunately I have a poor memory, which is why I started this blog, so that I could recall the books I have read and what I thought of them. Only one book would fall into this category that I have read since blogging, and I don't know that it would be considered a 'best' book. However, one of the 'best' awarded and lauded books which I really did not like, and could not finish even though I tried a number of times was The Sound and The Fury. Yes, I am sure that this is a brilliantly written novel, groundbreaking, an important work. Maybe I would feel differently if I finished it, but as it stands, I hated it.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Review: The Silent Man

Alex Berenson's CIA agent, John Wells, returns in The Silent Man. As strong, powerful and determined as ever, but troubled from some of the things he has experienced. As the revenge of one of his enemies nearly kills he and his girlfriend--fellow agent, Jennifer Exley--Wells becomes a man possessed. The CIA is unable to make headway into the investigation because of the precarious Russian/American politics, so Wells sets out to find justice on his own, even while Exley begs him not to.

The Silent Man is everything that a spy novel should be. The book moves quickly through the world, following it's characters from Russia to Iraq, Germany to D.C., the Baltic Sea to the calm New England countryside. It is filled with action and excitement: nuclear bombs stolen from Russia; Wells' violent mission to hurt those who hurt Exley; the anger and cold plotting of terrorists; a race against time, searching for the tiniest piece of information that may save the world from nuclear destruction.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a crisp exciting read by a fairly new and fresh author in the spy thriller world.


Teaser Tuesday

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
Grab your current read.Let the book fall open to a random page.Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!Please avoid spoilers!

My teaser from The Ten Year Nap :

He was sometimes so ardent and tender, but increasingly she glimpsed bits of what she considered a kind of male remove, as Penny had mentioned. Maybe this was the thing to make it possible for him to go out into the world eventually.


Review and Blog Tour: Galway Bay

In Celebration of St. Patrick's Day, Miriam Parker, with Hatchette Book Group , has set up a blog tour for Mary Pat Kelly's novel Galway Bay. I am pleased to be a part of this tour.

Rating: 5/5
Grade: D - 18 and up (sexual reference, mature themes involving starvation and death)

Book Description from the publisher:

"Here at last is one Irish family's epic journey, capturing the tragedy and triumph of the Irish-American experience. In a rousing tale that echoes the myths and legends of Ireland herself, young Honora Keeley and Michael Kelly wed and start a family, inhabiting a hidden Ireland where fishermen and tenant farmers find solace in their ancient faith, songs, stories, and communal celebrations. Selling both their catch--and their crops--to survive, these people subsist on the potato crop--their only staple food. But when blight destroys the potatoes three times in four years, a callous government and uncaring landlords turn a natural disaster into The Great Starvation that will kill one million. Honora and Michael vow their children will live. The family joins two million other Irish refugees in one of the greatest rescues in human history: the Irish Emigration to America. Danger and hardship await them there. Honora and her unconventional sister Maire watch their seven sons as they transform Chicago from a frontier town to the "City of the Century", fight the Civil War, and enlist in the cause of Ireland's freedom. The Kelly clan is victorious. This heroic story sheds brilliant light on the ancestors of today's 44 million Irish Americans.

In the author's colorful and eclectic life, she has written and directed award-winning documentaries on Irish subjects, as well as the dramatic feature Proud. She's been an associate producer on Good Morning America and Saturday Night Live, written books on Martin Scorsese, World War II, and Bosnia, and a novel based on her experiences as a former nun - Special Intentions. She is a frequent contributor to Irish America Magazine and has a PhD in English and Irish literature."

My Thoughts:

This book was amazingly written, I am so impressed with Mary Pat Kelly's ability to take the history of her own family and bring it to life. The characters in the book are so strong and so vivid. They come to life and you are so swept up in their story and their struggles and triumphs. Suddenly all of my complaints about life disappeared, and I found myself to be so grateful that my children and I are safe. That we have an overabundance of food to eat, and a cozy and warm house to live in through the winter. At night, when I finally had to pull myself away from the pages of this book, and back into the 21st century, I tiptoed into my children's rooms, and softly touched the rosy full cheeks, and chubby baby legs--so grateful.

The lushly beautiful scenery and culture of Ireland were also painted very skillfully in this novel. I felt that I was there, in the green, listening to the haunting and jaunty melodies played by Michael Kelly's pipes. Sometimes historical fiction can feel as if you were reading a history text book--the dates flung at you in such a way that they will never be remembered, the facts dry and uninteresting. This is not the case in Galway Bay. The history is woven so beautifully into the story that instead of feeling that a bunch of facts are being shoved down your throat, you feel that you are living in the past, experiencing it for yourself. I feel that I have been enlightened, and my knowledge of history and the world expanded through reading this book. More importantly I was able to enjoy it as this happened.

Essay by the Author:

It was an honor to write Galway Bay because through the process I met my great-great-grandmother, who kept her children alive in the most horrific circumstances and got them to America. How did she do it?

Her family faced the Great Starvation in Ireland of 1845-1849. One million died. Yes, a natural calamity destroyed the potato, the people’s food, but it was the policies of the British government that allowed the famine to happen.

The more I learned, the more impossible it seemed that anyone from the devastated West of Ireland had survived. But they did. They escaped to America in one of the greatest rescues in human history. The victims saved each other. I was alive because of the courage of this woman, yet I had no notion of the story until I started to read Irish literature in the 1970s. And even then, the famine was a kind of black hole - not spoken about.

Certainly, growing up in Chicago, I had never realized that my ancestors had suffered. I was Irish and delighted to be, but I didn’t connect that with the actual country of Ireland, nor did most Irish-Americans. We’d created an identity and prospered but I don’t think we understood how much they had to leave behind - a language spoken for two thousand years, stories that informed their lives and shaped their consciousness and because of that surely had some influence on who we were - all gone or diminished.

I only started to touch the truth in conversations with my father’s cousin, a nun who lived to be a hundred and seven and who knew my great-great-grandmother Honora in the 1880s. For twenty-five years I’ve been researching here and in Ireland and trying to imagine this young couple, Honora and Michael Kelly – married at eighteen and nineteen years old - with three little children when the blight struck. I knew Honora had a sister and I know how sisters support each other. I learned Michael Kelly was a piper, evicted from his land. I saw that in spite of all the persecution, injustice and suffering, the Irish spirit was not broken.

“We wouldn’t die, and that annoyed them.” Yes, the English had been trying to rid Ireland of the Irish for centuries, but inexplicably they held on, nourished by songs and stories and a faith much deeper than the institutional Church. Only the Great Famine defeated them, and even then they escaped and triumphed - they built America, fought the civil war and survived.

Discovering the details of the Irish story brought me closer to every immigrant’s story, and all the strong women who have somehow survived and kept their children alive.

I’m grateful for this sense of connection.

-Mary Pat Kelly

Visit Mary Pat Kelly's website
And Blog

Also, don't miss hearing the author on Blog Talk Radio today at 11am EST: Blogtalkradio

See what others on the tour have to say about this book:


Monday, March 16, 2009

Blog talk radio interview with author, Mary Pat Kelly

Tomorrow, in honor of Saint Patrick's day, there will be a blog tour for Mary Pat Kelly's novel, Galway Bay. I will have a review of this book up tomorrow, but just wanted to let anyone who is interested know that the author will be on blogtalkradio tomorrow. Details below:

Time: March 17, 2009 from 11am to 12pm
Location: (646) 378-0039 and http://www.blogtalkradio.com/stations/HachetteBookGroup/grandcentralpub/2009/03/17/Live-St-Patricks-Day-Interview-with-Mary-Pat-Kelly-author-of-GALWAY-BAY
Organized By: Miriam Parker

Event Description:
Join us on St. Patrick's Day and Blog Tour Day to chat with GALWAY BAY author Mary Pat Kelly. She is the author of a novel Special Intentions, and nonfiction on subjects as varied as Martin Scorcese and the rescue of Scott O'Grady from Bosnia. In her life, she has been everything from a nun to a documentary filmmaker to a producer of short films for "Saturday Night Live". She lives in New York, NY. GALWAY BAY is a novel based on her own family's immigration story from Ireland to the US.


Musing Mondays

Musing Mondays is hosted by Just One More Page

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about talking to strangers…

We were all warned as children to 'never talk to strangers', but how do you feel about book-talk with random people? When you see people reading, do you ask what it is? Do you talk to people in the book store or the library? Why or why not? What do you do if people talk to you? (question courtesy of Dena)

I am generally a rather shy person, I usually try not to bother people. People with books somehow seem a bit different, though. I would not interrupt someone who was intently reading a book--eyes darting from line to line, perched on the edge of their seat. I might, however, talk with someone who was reading something that I had read, or that I had heard about, or which looked interesting, if the person seemed to be taking a slight break from the book. Or if they had returned eye contact and seemed open to conversation. The same would be true with someone in a bookstore or library. I have a deep seeded, generational fear of inconveniencing or disturbing people, so I would have to be sure conversation was welcome.

As for myself, I am always happy to talk books, and all the better if it is with strangers. Fresh opinions and ideas possible. As long as they don't seem too creepy, or start following me.


Monday, March 9, 2009

Giveaway: The Engine 2 Diet

Thanks to Anna with Hatchette Book Group I have Five copies of The Engine 2 Diet to give away. Read my review

Book Description from the publisher:

"Professional athlete-turned-firefighter Rip Esselstyn is used to responding to emergencies. So, when he learned that some of his fellow Engine 2 firefighters in Austin, TX, were in dire physical condition-several had dangerously high cholesterol levels (the highest was 344!)-he sprang into action and created a life-saving plan for the firehouse. By following Rip's program, everyone lost weight (some more than 20 lbs.), lowered their cholesterol (Mr. 344's dropped to 196), and improved their overall health. Now, Rip outlines his proven plan in this book. With Rip as your expert coach and motivator, you'll transform your body and lifestyle in a month. His plant-powered eating plan is based on a diet of whole foods, including whole grains, fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds. This invaluable guide features: **Dozens of easy, mouthwatering recipes-from pancakes to pizza, Tex-Mex favorites to knockout chocolate desserts-that will keep you looking forward to every bite **Pantry-stocking tips will take the panic out of inevitable cravings and on-the-fly meals **Guidelines on menu choices that will allow you to eat out, wherever and whenever you want **Rip's simple, firefighter-inspired exercise program that will boost your metabolism and melt your fat away.Medically approved, easy-to-follow, and amazingly effective, this diet is designed for anyone who wants to make heroic strides in his or her health, weight, and well-being-all without heroic effort. "

To Enter:
1.Leave a comment telling me why you would like to win this book.
2. For extra entries: become a follower of my blog (if you are that counts, just tell me); subcribe (if you already do that counts, just let me know); or blog about this contest (let me know where).
3. Only U.S and Canadian addresses, please. No PO Boxes.
4. Contest ends March 22, 2009.


Review: The Engine 2 Diet

Thank you to Anna with Hatchette Book Group for providing this book for my review. Author: Rip Esselstyn
Rating: 4.5/5
Grade: A - All ages

The Engine 2 Diet, written by the firefighter and professional athlete, Rip Esselstyn, is a twenty-eight day plan which "lowers cholesterol and burns away the pounds". This is quite the claim, and in general I would be skeptical, but since Rip promotes a plant-based diet, phasing out or getting rid of meat and dairy products, and even oils, I've no doubt this program would work. Rip explains how our American diet is making us fat, and killing us with illness' such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, and why eating a plant based diet can change our health so drastically. He combats many of the myths that we have about protein requirements, and weak vegetarians, with himself--as the ultimate example of a professionally competitive athlete and strong firefighter--as a shining example.

Also included: an exercise program with simple exercises anyone can do with no equipment, just a bunch of reps and sweat; directions for taking your stats before starting the program; information on how to correctly read labels; and food and equipment to stock your kitchen with to make a success of the program.

The last half of the book is full of delicious recipes, and an easy weekly meal planner. I have done a plant based diet for over two years at one point in my life, and am able to recognize good recipes when I see them. These are very healthy, and not boring--many versions of favorites such as pizza and sloppy joes.

This book is clearly written, and easy to understand, it is full of useful information and is a program I would recommend for anyone wanting to have a healthier life and not just bounce around on another fad diet.

*Edited to add: Visit the Engine 2 website to find out more: http://www.theengine2diet.com/


Winners Announced: Dear John

Thanks to all of you who stopped by with the book giveaway carnival. It was great fun, and I will definitely participate again. The winner has been selected for Dear John...

Congratulations to Nickolay. I hope you enjoy the book.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Winners Announced: Castle In The Mist: Planet of the Dogs Volume 2

Thanks to the author, Robert J. McCarty, for providing this book for the giveaway.

Congratulations to Annie, winner of Castle in the Mist. Hope you enjoy the book.


Winners Announced: The Terror

The winners have been drawn for Dan Simmons' The Terror, hosted by Hatchette Book Group.
And the winners are:

Congratulations, the winners will be contacted by email. If they do not respond within 48 hours, new winners shall be drawn.


Book Giveaway Carnival

Bookroomreviews is hosting another book giveaway carnival. Visit http://www.bookroomreviews.com/ to see all of the great giveaways!

I am a little late getting in on the fun, but wanted to join in. So...

I have one gently used hardcover copy of Nicholas Sparks' Dear John for giveaway.
Book Description:
"An angry rebel, John dropped out of school and enlisted in the Army, not knowing what else to do with his life--until he meets the girl of his dreams, Savannah. Their mutual attraction quickly grows into the kind of love that leaves Savannah waiting for John to finish his tour of duty, and John wanting to settle down with the woman who captured his heart. But 9/11 changes everything. John feels it is his duty to re-enlist. And sadly, the long separation finds Savannah falling in love with someone else. "Dear John," the letter read...and with those two words, a heart was broken and two lives were changed forever. Returning home, John must come to grips with the fact that Savannah, now married, is still his true love--and face the hardest decision of his life. "


1. Leave a comment telling me that you would like to win this book. (Please make sure you leave a way for me to contact you.)

2. Contest is open worldwide.

3. For extra entries: follow my blog, and tell me about it; subscribe, and tell me about it; blog about this, and tell me about it.

4. Contest ends 3/8/2009

Good Luck


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Winners Announced: My Little Red Book

We have winners for My Little Red Book:

liane66, olympianlady, Valorie, Ann Diana Dinh, and Debdesk.

Congratulations, I hope you enjoy the book! Winners will be contacted by e-mail. If they do not respond within 48 hours, new winners shall be chosen.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Review: A Child's Journey Out Of Autism: One Family's Story of Living in Hope and Finding a Cure

Author: Leeann Whiffen
Rating: 5/5
Grade: A - All ages
Publication: March 1, 2009 by Sourcebooks,Inc.

A Child's Journey Out of Autism is the true story of a young boy, Clay Whiffen, who was diagnosed with autism when he was a year and a half. Written by his mother, Leeann, the book starts at his birth, showing him as a normal, happy baby with some colic and digestion difficulties. The book follows along with him as he hits the developmental milestones, walking and saying a few words by his first birthday. Then we see his gradual and terrifying regression at a year and a half. His mother's refusal, at first, to accept autism as a diagnosis for her son. Then her fierce and determined effort to do whatever it takes to reclaim her son. Years of struggle is what it takes. Financial struggle to pay for the treatments; emotional struggle as the family pours so much energy and time into every aspect of their sons life, even to the extent of a special diet; health struggles as both parents face burn out. Yet in the end, their sacrifices are worth it. Just before time to start kindergarten, Clay is tested and taken off of the autism spectrum. What does that mean? A cure.

This is a truly important and brave book. I hope that it helps to give the autism epidemic in this country some further attention. Through her own family's story, Leeann is able to give hope that autism can be overcome. She explores some of the possible causes, siting her research, and even the opposing studies; and she also explores in detail the methods which helped to cure her son. I was impressed with her openness in the book. How can we help to inspire and encourage others if we are not honest with our own emotions: the positive and negative. Whiffen does not appear to try and whitewash herself, which is why I think this book is so powerful. Those suffering with similar issues know that they are not alone in their feelings. Those of us you have no experience with autism are able to clearly see the struggles inherent. I laughed and cried while reading this book, and can't imagine anyone making it through with a dry eye.

I would recommend this book to anyone who cares about the health and future of the children in our country; whether you have children with autism, or no children at all. This is an important issue that effects 1/165 children born after 2000. It needs more attention so that more funding can go into the research, and more children can be saved.

Visit the Whiffens: http://www.leeannwhiffen.com/, or the family blog: http://www.whiffenfamily.blogspot.com/.


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Review and Blog Tour: The Kingmaking

I am happy to be a part of the blog tour for The Kingmaking set up by Paul Samuelson with Sourcebooks . To read the reviews of other participants please see the bottom of this post.

Author: Helen Hollick
Rating: 4.5/5
Grade: D - 18 and up (graphic violence and sex, mature themes)

The Kingmaking is the first book in the Pendragon's Banner Trilogy, written by Helen Hollick. The book purports to show the Arthur of reality instead of legend. The mythical elements--such as Merlin and magic--are taken away from the story, as are the well known legends of Arthur many of us have become familiar with. Instead the author has spent ten years delving into the history of Wales, and archaeological discoveries, to come up with as historically accurate a novel of the times as is possible with the limited information available. The research put into the writing of this book is very evident, and I felt myself transported to a time long, long ago. A time of violence, war, and chaos.

The book opens in 450 A.D., not long after the Romans have left Britain to its own defenses. The Saex (Saxons) are beginning to make their way into the country, and there is not a united kingdom. Uthr, who is viewed--by himself and his people, at least--as the rightful king of the British, has been banished to the isles. After years away he has finally decided it is time for him to fight the present King, Vortigern, and win back his kingdom. He comes to seek the aid of Cunneda, King of Gwyneth. Together the face Vortigern, but are defeated, and Uthr is killed in the battle.

At this time the boy, Arthur, known as the bastard child of one of Uthr's servants, is revealed to be the actual son of Uthr and his wife. His identity hidden in order to protect him from Vortigern. And so begins the long and political battle of Arthur to work every possible advantage, to do whatever it takes, including joining the army of the hated Vortigern, in order to eventually gain what rightfully belongs to him. Arthur is painted as a very strong, passionate, charismatic, and easily angered man. A man of his time. This passion goes beyond battle to drink and women. A much different picture than the sainted Arthur of legend, but probably more closely in line with history.

And what of Guinevere? Yes, she is there, in her Welsh name of Gwenhwyfar. The daughter of the Pendragon's ally, Cunneda. A strong, daring and passionate girl and woman. Full of fire and defiance, she is not about to take the roll of women and let her life be decided by others. Early on she pledges herself and her love to Arthur, and she holds on to this promise and love through much adversity and many setbacks.

Overall, a very well written and researched book. Of course a 500+ page novel written at a time with few historical records has to be largely speculation, but Hollick's view of the story is very entrancing, and feels very realistic (At times, for me personally, a bit too realistic, as some very horrible war related atrocities were related). This book was both educational and entertaining.

Visit the author at her website: http://www.helenhollick.net/

Blog tour participants:
http://harrietdevine.typepad.com/harriet_devines_blog/2009/02/the-kingmaking.html 2/20
http://lazyhabits.wordpress.com/2009/02/20/the-kingmaking/ 2/21 and interview 2/27
http://carpelibrisreviews.com/the-kingmaking-by-helen-hollick-book-tour-giveaway/ 2/23
http://www.historicalnovels.info/Kingmaking.html 2/23
http://www.bibliophilemusings.com/2009/02/review-interview-kingmaking-by-helen.html 2/23
http://lilly-readingextravaganza.blogspot.com/2009/02/kingmaking-by-helen-hollick.html 2/23 and guest blog 2/25
http://chikune.com/blog/?p=488 2/24
http://booksaremyonlyfriends.blogspot.com/ 2/25
http://peekingbetweenthepages.blogspot.com/ 2/26 and guest blog 2/27
http://webereading.blogspot.com/ 2/26
http://www.caramellunacy.blogspot.com/ 2/26
http://bookthoughtsbylisa.blogspot.com/ 3/1
http://www.skrishnasbooks.com/ 3/1
http://jennifersrandommusings.wordpress.com/ 3/1
http://rhireading.blogspot.com/ 3/1
http://passagestothepast.blogspot.com/ 3/2
http://thetometraveller.blogspot.com/ 3/2
http://steventill.com/ 3/2
http://savvyverseandwit.blogspot.com/ 3/2 and interview 3/3
http://readersrespite.blogspot.com/ 3/3 and interview on 3/5
http://libraryqueue.blogspot.com/ 3/4
http://thebookworm07.blogspot.com/ 3/4
http://www.myfriendamysblog.com/ 3/5
http://samsbookblog.blogspot.com/ 3/5
http://goodbooksbrightside.blogspot.com/ 3/5


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