Saturday, August 1, 2009

Winner Announced: The Black Garden

The winner has been selected for the autographed copy of The Black Garden by Joe Bright. Using's random number generator, the number 202 was chosen, which was assigned to Kathy.

Congratulations to Kathy. I will be contacting her by email. If she does not respond within 48 hours, another winner will be chosen.

Thank you to all who participated in this giveaway. Check back soon for more fun giveaways and reviews.


Friday, July 31, 2009

Last Chance to win The Black Garden

I just wanted to remind everyone that today is the last day to enter to win your own autographed copy of The Black Garden (click the book title or link on the sidebar to enter) by Joe Bright. Contest ends at midnight mountain time. Winners will be announced tomorrow, so check back.

Also make sure you check out the author's website and read a tantalizing excerpt from this incredible novel:

If you aren't the luck winner, or just can't wait to read the book, find it from your favorite retailer:

Powell's Books (recommended if you want to support an independent bookstore).

Barnes and Noble


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Book Review: The Black Garden

Author: Joe Bright
Publisher: BeWrite Books
Rating: 5/5
Grade: 14 and up (mild language, themes involving murder and rape)

First of all, let me just say that mystery is not my favorite genre, especially murder mysteries: I tend to find them dark, depressing, or gory. The Black Garden, however, is none of these things. Author, Joe Bright, has done an expert job of weaving a realistic story with heavy themes and rife with tragedy, yet which still leaves you with a light feeling, and the hope that there is true goodness in mankind.

In The Black Garden university student and aspiring writer, Mitchell Sanders, accepts a job in a small Vermont town. His plan is to spend his days doing the work he was hired for—cleaning years of junk from an old Victorian house—and use his free time to finish his masterpiece of a novel. Leaving behind an ex-fiancé, and the drama he left to escape, he looks forward to the peace and uncomplicated friendliness of small town life.

However, this dream doesn’t last long. As he gets to know his employer, the ornery George O’Brien, and George’s granddaughter, the beautiful but reclusive, Candice; he finds himself pulled into the mystery which surrounds their lives. Why does the whole town seem to despise them? Why do they never leave the house or have any interaction with other people?

Mitch’s lifelong resolve to stay uninvolved and avoid conflict is compromised as he learns more about the O’Brien’s, and is able to see beyond George’s crusty exterior, and Candice’s aloof façade. As he begins to let them into his heart, he finds himself desiring to change their lives for the better. Yet this is harder than he had anticipated, since George has done such a good job of alienating everyone, so:

“I did what any unethical, good-intentioned man would have done: I lied.”
His efforts begin to pay off, but as his work on the house continues, events from the past are stirred up, and Mitchell finds the indirect effects of his actions threatening the happiness of the very people he is trying to help.

Joe Bright has managed to perfectly blend a large variety of elements to produce a very satisfying read: The dialog is witty and crisp, flowing effortlessly. The prose is beautiful and descriptive, and yet non-effusive; each word obviously carefully chosen. The characters are well developed, and lovable, even with their glaring faults. Humor is a major player in the novel: from joking between characters, to laugh-out-loud hilarious events.
“He didn’t do anything but laugh, but George adored him. I think if George could have traded me for Quinn, he’d have done it without a second thought. They say imitation is the truest compliment. Well, I think laughing at someone’s odd sense of humor ranks right up there with it. I’d never seen George smirk so much or look so pleased with himself.”
Another strong element is the author’s insight into human nature and the psychological motivations behind actions. Along with ethical dilemmas which challenge the characters' views of right and wrong, good and bad, and true justice.

The setting is very strong. I felt myself transported to the late 50’s as I read - among the poodle skirts, corner diners, and red thunderbirds. It is obvious that research has gone into producing this accuracy, but beyond this the author has managed to capture the feel of the time period.

And, of course, we can’t forget the tender blossoming of young love:

“We: the word hung in the air like a note composed by Mozart, a note so perfect that it brought the whole world into harmony.”

I would recommend this book to mystery lovers and skeptics alike. It truly has something for everyone, universal appeal. I will definitely be watching for more of Joe Bright.

Read an excerpt of the book at the author's website: ,but be careful, it will leave you wanting more.

If you haven't already, make sure that you enter to win your own copy of The Black Garden .


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Book Giveaway: The Black Garden

Thanks to the generosity of the author, Joe Bright, I have an autogrpahed copy of his new novel The Black Garden (read my review) to give to one of my lucky readers. I recently read this delightful mystery, and will be posting a review and author interview within the next couple of days. For now just let me assure you that you do not want to miss out on your chance to win this book.

Book Description:
A young university student from Boston takes on the summer job, in a small rural town, of clearing the accumulated rubbish from the house and garden of an elderly man, George O'Brien, and his granddaughter, Candice. The task is not as straightforward as he at first thought and Mitchell finds himself drawn into the mystery surrounding the Black Garden and the lives of his employers. Can he solve the secret behind the animosity of the townspeople? Can he do so without endangering George's freedom and leaving Candice even more isolated?

To Enter:
For one entry: leave a comment telling me that you would like to win this book.(Please make sure that I have a way to contact you if you are the winner.)
For five extra entries:
Visit the author's website:, read the excerpt from The Black Garden, then come back and answer the five questions Joe has devised:

1. How long did it take Carolyn to walk to Grant Baxter's home?

2. What make of revolver did George O'Brien buy to protect his family?

3. In which newspaper did Mitchell Sanders read about the job in Winter Haven?

4. What was the granddaughter's name?

5. What was Mitchell studying at Boston University?

Winners will be randomly chosen from all comments and correctly answered questions. (Email entries will also be accepted. Send them to:

For an extra entry: become a follower of my blog; blog about this giveaway on your own blog; subscribe to my blog; or follow me on twitter. (If you already do any of these let me know.)

Contest ends July 31, 2009. Make sure your entry is in by midnight mountain time.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Virtual Book Tour--Mary Stanton--Guest Post

I am happy to be a part of the virtual book tour for Mary Stanton's new mystery novel Angel's Advocate , which was released for publication yesterday, June 2, 2009. This book is the second in the Beaufort and Company Mystery series, the first book being Defending Angels . To see other stops on the tour, and to enter to win a free copy of Angel's Advocate, visit (The pin # to enter the giveaway is: 2685)

Book Description from the publisher:

In Angel's Advocate (Berkley Prime Crime, ISBN: 978-0425228753, $7.99) Bree is back to business unusual at Beaufort & Company. With her most peculiar (a.k.a. 'dead') clientele and her anything-but-angelic staff, Bree finds that money's a bit tight at Beaufort & Company. After all, while the dead certainly need Bree's help in appealing to a higher court, they're not exactly paying clients.

Bree finally lands a case to help pay the bills when she is hired to represent Lindsey Chandler, a spoiled teenager accused of stealing a Girl Scout's cookie money. But this isn't exactly a case of petty theft, since Lindsey allegedly tried to run over said Girl Scout with her Hummer. And if that weren't bad enough, Lindsey is anything but remorseful, making this case -and Bree, by association - the talk of Savannah.

To her dismay, Bree soon finds that Lindsay's deceased father, millionaire Probert Chandler, also needs her help to prove that his death was no accident.

Caught between defending the living and the dead, Bree finds herself in extraordinary circumstances. But this time, Bree finds some extraordinary danger along the way.

Will Bree finally learn how to make a living off the living? Or will the cases of this unsavory father/daughter duo lead Bree - and Beaufort & Company - to a dead end?

Set in Savannah, Georgia, the world's most haunted city, Angel's Advocate is a charming, inventive and wildly entertaining tale.

In a starred review, Publishers Weekly calls Defending Angels, book one of the Beaufort & Company mystery series, 'Engaging and charismatic. A breath of fresh air for fans of paranormal cozy mysteries.'

Guest Post by the Author, Mary Stanton:


"Every writer I know is asked this question. (And every writer I know has a totally inadequate answer—including me!) I wish I had a short, pithy response that told the truth. First, because people who don’t write really want to know. And second, if I did know where I go to get my ideas, I’d go there more often.

In a general way, the ideas for novels and short stories come in the continuous barrage of daily living. You overhear a really weird conversation in a restaurant. Or you’re witness to outrageous behavior in a store or on the highway. Or somebody has a striking turn of phrase or accent during day to day conversation, or you see a passer-by who has a unique look. Writers store all this stuff up. Writers are observers first, and analyzers second, I think. My very first novel came about because I sat and watched my seven horses in their pasture day after day. They had very interesting behaviors and I stored all that up and used it as background for my first novel, THE HEAVENLY HORSE FROM THE OUTERMOST WEST.

In a more specific way, ideas come when an emotion strikes hard and stays with you. The beginning of ANGEL’S ADVOCATE came from a newspaper story about somebody who robbed a Girl Scout of her cookie money. My first reaction to that story was a shriek of dismay: “Who’d rob a Girl Scout!” Then I found myself making up a whole bunch of answers to that question—and the character of Lindsey Chandler was born. The deeper the emotion, the more urgent it is to tell the story. I had to write my first novel because my much-loved mare had died in a terrible way, and I had to write a story to expunge the grief. Strong emotions are perhaps the best source of ideas a writer has.

So, for me, at least, my ideas for stories are born of observation plus emotion. But that’s just the start of the idea: the next, most terrifying step is to turn the beginning of the idea into an idea for a novel. And that’s a whole different set of problems. An idea for a novel or a short story is built on a set of basic principles: stories need a beginning, a middle, and an end. Something has to happen, a conflict has to occur, and a resolution is necessary. And if you write genre fiction, as I and most of my friends do, the idea has to incorporate the conventions of the genre. In the case of mysteries, you need a crime, a victim, and a perpetrator. On top of that, you have to bring a theme and a dramatic premise to the story.

On my darker days wish I were a journalist—so I could just report facts and not have to add all the bells and whistles. (Once in a while, when I’m stuck on a plot point, I’ll add up how many corpses I’ve created in my career—with twenty mystery novels and an average of 2.5 bodies per book, that’s fifty murders, and I try like heck not to repeat the M.O.) On my sunnier days, like this one, where I’m anticipating the publication of my newest Beaufort & Company novels, I am very very thankful to be able to turn my ideas into novels for a living. On days like this, it’s all worthwhile."


Friday, May 15, 2009

Review: The Nonesuch

Rating: 4/5
Grade: C - 14 and up
Author: Georgette Heyer

Proving the theory of the rich getting richer, Sir Waldo Hawkridge is left the rather run-down estate of a childless relative. This because he was the only relative 'who paid as little notice of me as I did of him'. This causes some discussion and upset among the other relatives. Why should Sir Waldo, who already has so much and certainly has no need of another estate, be the one to inherit? Of course, Sir Waldo has no desire of the crumbling estate in Yorkshire, and soon makes plans to turn it into an orphanage. He only hopes that once he has pored some of his own money into it, eventually it will be able to pay for itself.

Intending to set the estate in order, Sir Waldo journeys into the country with his young cousin, Lord Lindeth, and the two set the countryside into commotion. Sir Waldo's reputation is well known, and the young men of the area are thrilled to have 'the nonesuch' to entertain and socialize with. Though some serious accidents are barely avoided as they try to impress and emulate him. An equal amount of stir is roused among the young ladies, who are dazzled by Lord Lindeth's handsome manners and boyish good looks.

Two of the women involved in the story are the stunningly beautiful, impetuous and willful Tiffany Wield, and her well-bred intelligent governess/companion opposite, Ancilla Trent. Selfish disasters are averted left and right by Miss Trent, who knows how to handle her charge as no one else in her life is able. Soon Miss Trent finds an unlikely ally in her scheme to keep Tiffani from ruining her own or anybody elses' life, in the figure of the nonesuch, who ends up being surprisingly kind, level-headed, and down to earth.

This was an enjoyable and entertaining read. Much in the style of Jane Austen. Georgette Heyer's historical accuracy is superb, and her writing style very subtle. This book was full of witty humor, and slow and deliberate romance. Though the characters tend to seem a bit one sided, it left me with a satisfying and hopeful glow.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Daphne du Maurier Birthday Celebration Giveaway

Today, in honor of Daphne du Maurier's birthday--May 13, 1907-- I am hosting a giveaway of a couple of her books. Sourcebooks has offered one copy each of My Cousin Rachel, and Frenchman's Creek (read my review)to one of my lucky readers. These are lovely editions reprinted by Sourcebooks earlier this year.

I adored both of these books, and have given them both 5 star ratings. Daphne du Maurier was a genius of suspense. She knew how to write a very satisfying story. To learn more about her writings and life visit:

The first person to leave a comment with the correct name of the mansion in Cornwall where Daphne du Maurier spent her married life, will be the winner of these two books.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Review: The Ten Year Nap

Rating: 3.5/5
Grade: C - 14 and up (mild language and sexual reference)

Meg Wolitzer takes a realistic look at the lives and thoughts of stay at home mothers in The Ten Year Nap . The title to this book I found slightly offensive at first. I have been home with my children for ten years, and I would think 'Ten years without a nap' would be a more accurate title for the story of my life. Because of this, I was unsure that I would agree with the conclusions drawn in the book. But as there are no conclusions drawn, this was not so much of an issue.

The story follows the lives of four women who have opted to stay home and be full time mother's to their children. At this point in their lives, their children are in school for most of the day, and have become much more independent. This leaves the mothers feeling rather out of sorts and out of place. Guiltly. Trying to find a purpose and figure out how and when and why to get back into the work force or find something meaningful to do. The book was also interspersed with clips into the lives of the mothers of these women, and their fight for feminism.

I don't know if it was the intent of the author, but what I took away from it was the mixed blessing the feminist movement was. Yes, women have more freedom and more respect in the man's world, but now they are expected to do it all, and invariably a ball will be dropped. Someone or something will suffer: the children; the marriage; the job. But if you decide not to try and have it all, and to stay home with your children full time, then you are looked down upon, taught to think less of what you are doing.

To me Wolitzer's answer seems to be the next generation, the up and coming mothers. She seems to think that the feminist mindset has finally reached the men. She points out men who take equal responsibility in the raising of the children and the household tasks, or even decide to stay at home, and let the mothers work. Well, maybe in New York this is true, but I don't think it has reached Wyoming yet.

There was not much of a plot to this book, it felt more like just watching these woman's lives. The writing was very detailed and academic. Overall a book to make you think, but not one which draws conclusions, or really raises a definite point.


Winners Announced: Beauty Books

Three winners have been chosen to receive one of each of these books: How Not To Look Old and Living Beauty. Thanks to all who participated.

Congratulations to: Roblynn and Rebekah, Lady Roxi, and Jake! I hope you enjoy the books!

(Winners will be contacted by email, and if they do not respond within 48 hours, new winners will be chosen)


Monday, April 13, 2009

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page . Head on over to see what everyone recieved.

Books which came to my mailbox this past week:

The Lake that Stole Children by Douglas Glenn Clark

The Midwife: A memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times by Jennifer Worth

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe

The Blue Sweater by Jacqueline Novogratz

Reclaiming Our Children by Robby G. Dixon

The Wish Maker by Ali Sethi

Follow Me by Joanna Scott

Spiced by Dalia Jurgenson


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Booking Through Thursday Question of the week

Here’s the question:(to participate or read other answers visit BTT )
Some people read one book at a time. Some people have a number of them on the go at any given time, perhaps a reading in bed book, a breakfast table book, a bathroom book, and so on, which leads me to…
1. Are you currently reading more than one book?
2. If so, how many books are you currently reading?
3. Is this normal for you?
4. Where do you keep your current reads?

1. Yes, I am currently reading more than one book.

2. Umm. I don't really know how many books I am reading, let me think about that.Hmm, I am curretnly reading:
Girls in Trucks by Kate Crouch
Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys by Stephen James and David Thomas
Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn
The Quintessential Gentleman by Henrly Russell, Elegent Englishman
Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat
The Towering World of Jimmy Choo by Lauren Goldstein Crowe and Sagra Maceira de Rosen
This is your brain on Joy by Dr. Earl Henslin
Follow Me by Joanna Scott
--So I guess that makes eight books.

3. Yes, I have always kept a number of books going at the same time. Sometimes I will race through one book if it is very involving, and leave the others, but there are always 2-7 books that I am in the middle of.

4. I keep books that I am currently reading, or will soon be reading, on the top shelf of the bookcase in my hallway. They are also scattered through-out the house--abondoned wherever I last happened to be reading them.


Tuesday, April 7, 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!

My teaser this week comes from Being Peace by Thich Nhat Hanh (page 46):
In Buddhism, knowledge is regarded as an obstacle to understanding, like a block of ice that obstructs water from flowing. It is said that if we take one thing to be the truth and cling to it, even if the truth itself comes in person and knocks on our door, we won't open it. For things to reveal themselves to us, we need to be ready to abandon our views about them.


Monday, April 6, 2009

*This review is a guest review written by my nine year old daughter, Sarah, all thoughts and opinions are her own.* Rating: 4.5/5
Grade: B - 8 and up - (scary parts, a few bad words)

This book is about this boy who's parents die by this very powerful wizard. He is given to his most hated relatives. One day there are all these letters that his uncle keeps destroying, and then his uncle says, "that's it, we are going very far away." Once they leave this wizard named Hagrid finds them and gives Harry a birthday cake. Hagrid tells him that he has been asked to go to the school of witchcraft and wizardry. Harry gets all of his school supplies in London, then he gets on the train and meets Ron Weasley. They have lots of fun talking. Then this girl named Hermione introduces herself. These two become Harry's friends, and they have lots of adventures together.

I like this book because I like reading books about magic and wizards, I find it very interesting. I like when Harry gets assigned on the Grifindor Quiditch team, because he learns all about Quiditch and how to play the game, and how to catch the snitch. I like how many adventures the characters have in this book. I like that there is always something that Harry gets himself into--for example when he gets detention. And how Neville is always the one who gets in trouble in classes like when the defense against the dark arts teacher lets out the pixies, and he gets hanged by the chandelier. He is funny.

If you like wizards and magic, you will like this book, it is very exciting and fun.


Mailbox Mondays

Mailbox Mondays is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page

I only recieved two books this week:

1. Stone's Fall by Iain Pears

2. Outcasts United by Warren St. John


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Giveaway: Beauty Books

Anna with Hatchette Book Group is providing me with three of each of these books: How Not To Look Old, and Living Beauty. Three winners will be chosen to receive one copy of each book.

Bobbi Brown began the trend toward natural-looking cosmetics with a simple philosophy: Women want to look and feel like themselves, only prettier and more confident. Today, top editors at elite fashion magazines--including In Style, Vogue, Allure, and Harpers Bazaar--revere her, and celebrities and millions of regular women throughout the world swear by her beauty advice. Now Bobbi Brown has written THE book redefining beauty for women over 40, BOBBI BROWN LIVING BEAUTY. In this refreshing look at beauty and aging, Bobbi offers specific makeup tricks for a stunning face--showing how makeup can solve most of the flaws that many women go under the knife to fix. In fact, the right makeup can create an even skin tone, lift the cheeks, plump a smile...even take years off any woman's face. The key is to use makeup to enhance each woman's best features and showcase her natural beauty. With step-by-step makeup instructions and quotes from beautiful women like Marcia Gay Harden, Vera Wang, Susan Sarandon, and Lorraine Bracco, Bobbi Browns natural, celebratory approach to aging will enlighten and inspire women everywhere.

How Not to Look Old the 15-week New York Times bestseller is now in paperback updated with over 150 new Brilliant Buys!Charla Krupp knows that aging sucks! So she's here to help. It's every woman's dream: looking hip, sexy, fresh, and pretty--whether you're in your 30's, 40's, 50's, or 60's. Now it's every woman's necessity: looking younger will help you hold onto your job and your partner--particularly when everyone around you seems half your age. It's about making the ultimate "to-do" list of LITTLE beauty and fashion changes that pay off BIG TIME.Charla Krupp, beauty editor and expert, known for her real woman's approach to looking fabulous, offers brutally frank and foolproof advice on how not to look old.

1. Leave a comment telling me that you would like to win this book.
2. For extra entries: become a follower of my blog (if you already do that counts, just be sure to remind me); subscribe to my blog (be sure to let me know if you already do; blog about this contest and leave me a link.
3. Contest open only to U.S. and Canadian mailing addresses. No PO Boxes, please.
4. Contest ends April 15, 2009

Good Luck!


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Wondrous Words Wednesday

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Bermuda Onion where participants share new (to us) words we encounter in our reading.

This is my first time participating, I always forget to write down the words.

These come from The Nonesuch by Georgette Heyer:

animadversions - 1. Strong criticism. 2. A critical or censorious remark.

fustian (which word I have read a number of times but never bothered to find out what it meant) - 1. a stout fabric of cotton and flax.
2. a fabric of stout twilled cotton or of cotton and low
quality wool, with a short nap or pile.
3. inflated or turgid language in writing or speaking.


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

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:


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.


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