Monday, August 31, 2009

Millie's Fling - Jill Mansell

Millie's Fling is Jill Mansell's latest North American release from Sourcebooks.

Millie Brady is just trying to figure out how to avoid what she thinks may be a marriage proposal from Neil, when she spots a woman standing near to the edge of a cliff. She can't be thinking of....Millie hops out of the car and runs to the woman. Author Orla Hart was indeed thinking of jumping, but Millie's intervention changes her mind. Orla is so taken with Millie that she decides to make her next novel reality based. Millie's reality that is - with the names changed of course. And Orla just might help the plot along a little bit.....

Tangled love lives, missed opportunities and signals, mistaken cues and Millie's job as a rollerskating gorillagram all combine to create a wonderfully charming, humorous and absolutely delightful tale. We know what's going on (or not as the case may be) and the plot pieces fall neatly into place by the end, but it is the ride (read) there that is so much fun.

Mansell has created yet another warm, wonderful lead character in Millie. She is quirky, endearing and someone you would love to have as a friend.

The supporting cast is no less appealing. Everyone knows someone just like Millie's best friend Hester - not quite content with what she has until it's too late. Millie's ex-employers - the couple that do everything together had me laughing out loud. Lothario Lucas turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Being a fan of all things British, I instantly had a mental image once Lawrence Llewellyn Bowen was used as a reference.

This is a great read that will have you laughing out loud and wishing you lived in Newquay with Millie and her friends. Fans of chick lit - if you haven't read Mansell yet - what are you waiting for!?

Jill is on virtual tour this week - stops are listed below. Make sure you stop back tomorrow for a guest post and giveaway with Jill!

Aug. 31: Novel Thoughts Blog
Sept. 1: A Bookworm’s World
Sept. 2: Booking Mama
Sept. 3: Cindy’s Love of Books
Sept. 4: Savvy Verse & Wit
Sept. 7: My Friend Amy
Sept. 8: Night Owl Romance
Sept. 9: Scribe Vibe
Sept. 10: Books by TJ Baff
Sept. 11: Diary of an Eccentric

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Winners - The Divorce Party - Laura Dave

And the five very lucky winners (chosen by of a copy of The Divorce Party by Laura Dave, courtesy of Penquin US are:

1.Carol EL
2.Joanne R
3.Upper West Side Writer
4.David Johnson
5.Suburban Prep

Congratulations and thanks to all who entered. I've contacted you by email for your mailing addresses. Please respond within 48 hours. Check the sidebar for ongoing giveaways.

**bgcchs was kind enough to let me know she had already won a copy**

Happy Birthday Follower winner

Back on my birthday on August 12th, I promised the 300th follower a book from my library. Well that person is Janel! Send me your address Janel and I will send you something good to read! Thank you to all of my followers!!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Fear the Worst - Linwood Barclay

It's the kind of cover that grabs me, there's a Steve Berry blurb, but it's the new Linwood Barclay from Random House Canada and I don't need to be 'sold' on him - I just know I'm in for a fantastic, suspense filled read!

How could you not be hooked by the opening line?

"The morning of the day I lost her, my daughter asked me to scramble here some eggs."

Tim Blake is a divorced car salesman. He is thrilled that his teenage daughter Sydney will be living with him for the summer. She's working at a local hotel. Or so he thought....When Syd is late for supper one night, he decides to pick her up from work. It's the first time he's seen where she works. Or doesn't work.....No one at the hotel has ever heard of her. Where has she been going every day? Where is she now? Every parent's nightmare - she has vanished into thin air. While Tim is frantically searches for Syd, so are others....but not for the same reasons.

Barclay is back with yet another page turner in Fear the Worst, that kept me up all night, reading 'just one more chapter', until I fell asleep with the lights on.

The plot is full of twists and turns that you don't see coming. Lots of red herrings and an abrupt ending I didn't predict. Tim is an everyday guy thrust into a nightmare. He is likable, funny and believable as an anguished father. We get to know bits and pieces of Syd's life through her friends, mother and stepfather, but the driving question remains - where is Syd?

If you're looking for a fast paced, hugely entertaining thriller, this is the book for you. Actually Linwood Barclay is the author for you. Every one of this Canadian author's books have been winners for me!

*** Breaking news - you can read the first FIVE chapters of Fear the Worst on Shortcovers. Fair warning though - you'll be hooked! ***

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Winners - Giveaway - Just Food

And thanks to the generosity of The Hachette Book Group the three lucky winners (chosen by of a copy of Just Food by James E. McWilliams are:

1. brownhairgirl7

2. Wanda

3. Lisanne624

Congratulations! I've contacted you by email for your mailing addresses. Please respond within 72 hours. Thanks to all who entered. Check the sidebar for ongoing giveaways!

** updated Sunday Aug 30 - I never heard back from Colengal, so Lisanne624 was next on the list. ***

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Lux's Practical Erotica Adventures - Lisa Beth Kovetz

This the second in Lisa Beth Kovetz's series - A "Tuesday Erotica Club" novel.

There's Lux (that's her on the cover) - a young woman from ' the wrong side of the tracks' and her friends , Brooke - an aspiring artist from a wealthy family, Aimee - a suddenly single new mom and Margot - a high powered lawyer. A seemingly disparate group, but they have become fast friends sharing their ups and downs and ....the writing and sharing of erotica.

It took me a few pages to catch up as there are references to what happened in the last book, but I was soon up to speed.

Lux is hoping to build a financial empire. When she see a run down mansion with good bones, she figures she can fix it up and flip it quickly. Her financing options and her past threaten to jeopardize her dreams at every turn. The other have troubles as well, but Lux is the main storyline.

Kovetz has created a caste of different and colourful characters. Lux herself I found to be slightly exaggerated, but then again, I don't know anyone from Queens, New York. They play off each other well.

Now, I must admit, I don't read erotica. But the erotica featured isn't of the steamy hard core kind. In fact it's more of the bodice ripper kind that you might find in a romance novel. Although some of it stretches belief - remote control panties in the grocery store?? To be honest, I read a few of the erotic entries presented in the Tuesday group, but then just started skipping them. I was much more interested in the story of Lux's budding empire.

Kovetz has used this erotic 'hook' to add an element to her books, which are basically chick lit in flavour. Sometimes it felt forced to me - "insert fireman story here." Again, just my opinion. I would have been happy with just the main story. The ending was a bit abrupt with some unanswered questions as to what happened to some secondary characters. Set up for a third book?

Kovetz has found great success with her first book - it's been published in over 14 countries and this one is slated for foreign publication as well. Lisa Beth Kovetz is a stand up comedian and television writer and producer in New York. I can see Lux's Practical Erotica Adventures being made into a chick flick.

Here's a You Tube video of Kovetz talking about herself and her books.

Thanks to Sourcebooks for the review copy.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Way Home - George Pelecanos

The Way Home was the first book I've read by George Pelecanos.

Chris Flynn has had every advantage in life. His father Thomas wants him to succeed in life. But teen aged Chris seems determined to do everything in his power to make sure he doesn't. He winds up in a juvenile detention centre. Thomas cannot understand where he went wrong with Chris.

When Chris is released, he tries to make a go of things. He's working for his father's flooring company, lives on his and has met a woman he believes he can spend his life with. When Chris and his partner Ben come across a cache of money during a carpet installation, things start to deviate from the path of straight and true.

Although this is a crime story and a heck of a good one, the story of the relationship between Chris and his father was what intrigued me. Thomas is such a hard a**, expecting so much from his son, but unable to give Chris back the love and respect he craves. As Chris tries to do the right thing, he is constantly battling his father's notion of who he was, not who he has become. A really intense story of love between a father and son.

Now when I say that this was the first Pelecanos I had read, I actually listened to the unabridged version on CD. It was read by Dion Graham , who won Audiophile magazine's 2008 best voice in mystery and suspense award. And what a voice. Deep and husky, harsh and grating, full of smoky mystery. I actually didn't like the character of Thomas very much. Graham conveyed the petulance and anger of Thomas through his voice. Chris' laconic drawl and slow burning resentment are captured in yet another voice that drew a perfect picture in my mind. Various other characters, including the boys in juvie jump to life as well. Graham uses his voice to capture the nuances of the conversations and narration.

I enjoyed this very much. A good, gritty story that used the mystery as a vehicle to explore relationships between fathers, sons and friends.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Winner - Giveaway - 3 books by George Dawes Green

Woo hoo! The one lucky winner (picked by of a three pack of books by George Dawes Green, courtesy of The Hachette Book Group is:


Congratulations! I've contacted you by email for your mailing address. Thanks to all who entered - I had great fun seeing all the different types of birds everyone came up with for their entry! Check the sidebar for ongoing giveaways!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Guest Post - Elle Newmark - The Book of Unholy Mischief

A Bookworm's World is thrilled to have Elle Newmark, author of The Book of Unholy Mischief, guest posting today. (My review posted yesterday.)


Recently, someone asked me to name three things I couldn’t live without. Only three? That’s not as easy as it sounds and I started thinking about it.

I remembered that after my Italian publisher launched The Book of Unholy Mischief with a gorgeous feast in a Venetian palazzo, I convinced myself—briefly—that I would never again be able to live without adulation, a hovering sommelier, and my blue velvet Renaissance gown. But in fact, I groaned with relief when I finally loosened the laces of that bodice, tossed off the heavy tiara, and sank into bed.

Sometimes I think it might be fun to be one of those women who can’t live without designer clothes, $500 haircuts, and a villa in the south of France but, honestly, I don’t want to bother keeping up with fashion trends or maintaining a second home. The constant dieting, managing the servants…pah!

I truly would not like to live without my comfy writing chair and my new MacBook Air, but I could. I’d also put up a pretty good fight to protect my mineral makeup, my favorite cotton nightie and a fresh cup of strong coffee in the morning. Especially the coffee—very, very important.

But in the end it’s all just stuff.

So let’s get real. Like everyone else, I literally can’t live without food, but not just food to survive. I can’t live without good food. I come from a big Italian family in which good food is the centerpiece of life. To gather without good food is unthinkable. To celebrate or mourn without good food would be a travesty. Bad food is an insult to body and soul. I curse bad food!

Not surprising then that The Book of Unholy Mischief is full of extended food metaphors. Readers talk about my food descriptions as if they were soft porn, edible panties or some such, because food, like sex, appeals to all the senses—if it’s done right. I’d rather be celibate than have bad sex—all that bother for nothing—and I’d rather skip meals than eat bad food.

I also can’t live without water, and not just water to quench the thirst but all the water in the world. My skin feels better in slightly humid climates, the sight of large bodies of water calms me, and getting caught in the rain makes me laugh. The tide going in and out reminds me that life has its ups and downs and nothing stays the same, so it’s no good getting too worked up about any of it.

I set my book in Venice because her mystery and decaying opulence suits the story, but it was a bonus to be able to write about the sluggish green canals, the salt air, greedy swooping gulls, and the lush, well-watered gardens hidden behind old, stone walls.

Once my body and soul are properly sustained by good food and plenty of water, I must have knowledge—any knowledge, all knowledge, constant knowledge. I must continue to learn and when I can no longer do that I’d just as soon throw in the towel. A beloved uncle wrote in my high school yearbook, “Never stop learning.” He was an uneducated man himself, but very wise. It is this hunger for knowledge and the ability to build on what we learn that pushes us forward as a species. Knowledge grows exponentially and has taken us from squatting in caves to sending e-mail. One of the characters in my book says, “Civilization is built on the bones of the dead.”

I can’t live without good food, lots of water and continuing learning, but as a public service, I would advise against getting between my morning coffee and me.

Lots of food for thought! Thank you so much Elle for stopping by!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Book of Unholy Mischief - Elle Newmark

Before I even started to read I was intrigued by the textured cover, but it was the gorgeous colour flyleaves that really caught my eye. They depicted a rich, succulent gastronomic feast. And once I began reading, that feeling continued....

In 1498 Venice, a young street beggar, Luciano, is plucked from poverty, to apprentice with palace chef Ferrero. Secrets and deceit run rampant in the palace. Rumours abound about a mysterious book that may contain the secrets and formulas of ancient sorcerers and alchemists. All of Venice - young, old, rich and poor - desire this book. Luciano is not immune from this desire. Ferrero seems to know more about this book and the palace goings on than a chef would......

Elle Newmark's writing is rich and sensual in descriptions, sights, smells and flavours. The simple act of chopping an onion becomes an experience.

"Look at the naked onion, Luciano. She's newly stripped and no one but you has ever seen her before. Her colors are virgin white tinged with spring green. Handle her gently. For the first cut, slice cleanly down the center and behold what you've exposed. Lay open the intimate center and admire the perfect nests within nests."

The story is alternately told from Luciano's point of view as a youngster and as a man. The meat of the story is slowly revealed with tantalizing foreshadowing.

"My Venetian lust to know everything stoked the bonfire that eventually consumed us all."

The search for the mysterious book is the backbone of this tale, but for me it was the descriptions of the food and environs that made me read passages twice. Newmark draws on her own travels for inspiration.

Although the chef's reasons for drawing Luciano into his confidence are explained, I had to suspend disbelief a little bit as I thought it happened too quickly for something so important.

Elle has some discussion questions for book clubs available on her website and is willing to schedule conference calls as well. Historical fiction fans will enjoy this interesting mix of the past and cuisine.

Thanks to Atria Books for the review copy.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Doomsday Key - James Rollins

Sigma Force returns in The Doomsday Key, new from Harper Collins Canada.

Commander Gray Pierce and his Sigma team are sent to investigate when three murders on three continents are linked. All the victims were branded with a Druid symbol. A discovery in a peat bog in England is unthinkably tied to a bio tech company producing genetically modified seeds and crops. The bio tech company - Viatus- has revived something that may have been better off left buried in the past. Gray and his team race around the world to discover the key - the Doomsday Key - that may be the only way to stopping Viatus and saving the world.

Rollins writes non stop adventure with lots of action. His characters are bigger than life and twice as tough. There are sub plots involving interpersonal relationships, but the book is plot driven. What's intriguing is the appendix at the end of the book - Truth or Fiction. Many of the story lines Rollins uses in his plots are true. Fascinatingly and frighteningly true, combining modern day science and the mysteries of the past.

If you're looking for a rollicking adventure tale, you'd be hard pressed to beat Rollins.

Fans of Steve Berry and Clive Cussler would enjoy James Rollins.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Twenties Girl - Sophie Kinsella

Sophie Kinsella is best known for her Shopaholic series (and recent movie). But she has written 'stand alone' novels, such as this new release from Random House Canada that are just as captivating.

Twenties Girl introduces us to Lara Lington. She's attending the funeral of her Great Aunt Sadie, who has passed away at the ripe old age of 105, with her family. None of the family really seems to have known or visited Sadie. When a voice shouts out in the middle of the funeral "Where's my necklace?", Lara is taken aback. it seems that no one else can hear the voice - or see the beautiful young woman, dressed in twenties flapper style, doing the shouting.

Lara is stressed - she's still in love with her former boyfriend and is having work issues and money woes. Is she losing it or is she really seeing the ghost of her Aunt Sadie? Yes, she really is..... Lara reluctantly agrees to help Sadie find her lost necklace.

Kinsella has created not one, but two characters that you immediately fall in love with. Lara is scattered, but warm hearted and the kind of person you'd love to have as a friend. Sadie is by turns exasperating, funny, loving and tragic. Their combined story is comic and heartwarming. The interaction between Sadie and Lara is priceless.

I enjoyed this story very much. It combined the best of Kinsella's warm writing with a little bit more. My grandmother is 95 and I so enjoy hearing stories of her life. Twenties Girl will entertain you, but will hopefully make you think about an older person that you know who may have some amazing stories to tell.

Destined to be another bestseller and a five star read for me - highly recommended.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Giveaway - Close Encounters of The Third Grade Kind - Phillip Done

My daughter is a teacher and she's just heading back for another school year. I'm looking forward to hearing tales of her classroom, as it's always entertaining.

Phillip Done thinks so too...From the publisher:

"A twenty-year veteran of the classroom, elementary school teacher Phillip Done takes readers through a lively and hilarious year in the classroom. Starting with the relative calm before the storm of buying school supplies and posting class lists, he shares the distinct personalities of grades K-4, what he learned from two professional trick or treating 8-year-old boys, the art of learning cursive and letter-writing, how kindergartners try to trap leprechauns, and what every child should experience before he or she grows up. These charming, sweet, and funny tales of Mr. Done's trials and triumphs as an award-winning schoolteacher will touch readers' hearts and remind them of the true joys of childhood. We all have that one special, favorite grade school teacher whom we fondly remember throughout our adult lives - and every teacher also has students whom they will never forget. This is the perfect book for teachers, parents, and anyone else who is looking for a lighthearted, nostalgic read."

Sounds fun doesnt' it? Thanks to the generosity of The Hachette Book Group I have FIVE copies to giveaway. Simply comment to be entered. An extra entry for followers. Open to both US and Canada, no po boxes please. Closes Saturday Sept 12 at 6 pm EST. Check the sidebar for ongoing giveaways.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Winner - The Devils Company

And the lucky winner (chosen by of a copy of the Devil's Company by David Liss is:

I've contacted you by email for your mailing address. Please respond within 72 hours.

Thanks to all who entered and check the sidebar for ongoing giveaways.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Do the Web Write - Dan Furman - Review and Giveaway

You may have read my review (and giveaway) last week of Furman's other title - How to Start a Real Home Based Business from Self Counsel Press.

Furman's own home based business is as a professional writer, business and marketing consultant. Do the Web Right is written from Furman's own experiences -what works and what doesn't.

Furman starts from the beginning of setting up a successful website. He has written clear concise chapters dealing with just about everything - conversion rates, advertising and search engine optimization. His six questions to ask yourself may seem basic, but they lay the foundation for success. The physical layout of a website is also discussed in depth. Where Furman shines is with his writing skills, geared specifically towards the web. There are examples are given of what works and what doesn't, with case study examples. Furman's style is light hearted and entertaining, yet informative. There is a CD included with this book as well. There are some templates, but I thought that some of the resources, such as The Importance of a Nice Home Office could have been included in the book itself.

If you're looking to set up a website to promote yourself, your business or your service, this is a great guide on how to do it right the first time. Like a copy of your own. Thanks to the generosity of Self Counsel Press, I have one to giveaway. Simply comment to be entered. Open to US and Canada. Closes Saturday Sept 5 at 6 pm EST.

Here's another review by Anysia of Booklorn.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Horse Boy - Rupert Isaacson

Subtitled: A Father's Quest to Heal His Son

I really enjoy a good biography or memoir and The Horse Boy did not disappoint.

When Rupert and Kristin's son Rowan is diagnosed with autism, they try everything they can think of to help him. Nothing seems to be bringing their boy back to them. Until the day when Rowan runs into a neighbouring pasture at their home in Texas and straight at a horse named Betsy. Hot on his heels, Rupert is terrified that his son will be injured. Instead, the unexpected happens - Betsy puts her head down in submission to the boy . Rupert, a former professional horse trainer, encourages this interest. Father and son begin riding together. Rowan's behaviour is markedly changed during interaction with the horse.

In addition to horse training, Rupert is "the founding director of the Indigenous Land Rights Fund, a non-profit organization that helps threatened and displaced indigenous tribes obtain tenure of their ancestral land." He has participated with the shamans of Botswana in healing ceremonies. (He's also an award winning author)

Could these two seemingly disparate interests help his son? He believes that they can. Kristin, Rupert, Rowan and an entire film crew set off to Outer Mongolia and Siberia. Much of the journey will be on horseback to visit the shamans of these areas and see if they can help Rowan.

And that's as much as I'm going to give you......

I listened to this in unabridged audio format. The reader was the author himself. And I don't think the story would have has as much impact for me if it been anyone else. Isaacson was born in England. I enjoyed his accent. His heartache, anguish and happiness are conveyed through his voice. Life with Rowan and all that goes with it is projected through his narrative. The screaming, the repetitiveness, the coping mechanisms employed by both Rowan his parents. The love for their child. I was so caught up in this story and the possibilities that were offered.

The Horse Boy has been made into a film and is a Sundance 2009 selection and has won other awards as well. Definitely one I want to watch. The Isaacsons have started a foundation in Texas that pursues the horse/autism connection.

Watch this great video to get just a taste....

This one goes on my best of 2009 list. Highly, recommended.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

Yes, it's my birthday today. And no - I'm not going to mention how many candles should be on that cupcake! In my head, I'm still in my 20 somethings, until I hear myself creak as I go up and down stairs!

So to celebrate - the 300th follower of A Bookworm's World will win a book from my library - what one I have no idea yet, but it will be something I've enjoyed as well!

Now ... off to work.....

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Giveaway - The Castaways - Elin Hildebrand - audio book

Summer isn't over yet and thanks to the generosity of The Hachette Book Group, here's your chance to win one of three audio book copies of one of the summer's hottest reads - Elin Hildebrand's The Castaways. You can read my review here.

From the publisher:

"Greg and Tess MacAvoy are one of four prominent Nantucket couples who count each other as best friends. As pillars of their close-knit community, the MacAvoys, Kapenashes, Drakes, and Wheelers are important to their friends and neighbors, and especially to each other. But just before the beginning of another idyllic summer, Greg and Tess are killed when their boat capsizes during an anniversary sail. As the warm weather approaches and the island mourns their loss, nothing can prepare the MacAvoy's closest friends for what will be revealed."

Listen to an excerpt. or Read an excerpt. And then leave a comment to be entered. Three copies to be won. Open to US and Canada, no po boxes please. Ends Saturday Sept 5th , 6 pm EST. Good luck and check the sidebar for ongoing giveaways.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Penny Pinchers Club - Sarah Strohmeyer

The first book I read by Sarah Strohmeyer was the Sleeping Beauty Proposal - a great fun chick lit read that I enjoyed. So on a rainy Sunday I happily settled down with her latest - The Penny Pinchers Club.

Kat Griffiths is unpacking her husband's luggage after his business trip. But when she discovers two Mint Tingle Trojan wrappers and a receipt for a fancy dinner on a night she couldn't reach him at the hotel, she is caught unawares. Convinced he is having an affair with his young assistant, Kat visits a divorce attorney, who advises her that she will need at least $15,000 of her own money to land on her feet. The problem is - Kat loves to shop. What she doesn't love is knowing what she spends - Visa bills are the enemy. But forced with no choice, she vows to stop shopping, cut corners and save money. To that end, she joins the local 'Penny Pinchers' club. The plot thickens when a former lover appears back in her life.

Strohmeyer is a witty writer. The dialogue is funny and fast paced. Her characters are warm and engaging. The members of the club are an eclectic interesting group that I enjoyed. The secondary plots involving their lives added to the story. The group has some good realistic ideas on saving money - especially timely in today's economy. There's a list of their suggestions included at the end of the book. Although it's a light hearted entertaining read, the degree of happiness Kat achieves without the purchase of 'things' is worth noting, as is the degree of satisfaction she finds in taking control of her own life. The ending isn't quite what I envisioned or would have preferred, but I enjoyed it very much. If you're looking for a fun light hearted read, this would be a great choice. A little more hen lit than chick lit.

Read an excerpt of the Penny Pinchers Club.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Winners - Far North - Marcel Theroux

And the two lucky winners (chosen by of a copy of Marcel Theroux's Far North, courtesy of Harper Collins Canada are:

1. Marjorie
2. John Mutford (an appropriate win as John is up in the NWT!)

I've contacted you by email for your mailing addresses. Congratulations! It's a fantastic book!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Fragile Things - Neil Gaiman

I chose to read Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman for Harper Collins Canada's Summer Reading Challenge.

Although to be honest, it feels like summer hasn't even begun in my part of the country....

With all the publicity surrounding the release of Coraline the movie, I thought Gaiman would be a great choice. In the introduction I found it interesting that the stories have 'life' - that they are the ones directing the writing, refusing to take form until they are told the 'right way'.

What an absolutely delicious books of treats Fragile Things was. The stories are quirky, disturbing, dark, odd and humorous -utterly original and downright addicting.

In 'October in the Chair', we find the months of the year sitting around a campfire trying to outdo each other in storytelling.

In many, the titles were to be savoured before beginning to read. How can you not love these?

"Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Secret House of the Night of Dread Desire" This was a fascinating story within a story. An author penning what he hopes will be a masterpiece while madness surrounds him. Darkly humorous.


"Pages From a Journal Found in a Shoebox Left in a Greyhound Bus Somewhere Between Tulsa, Oklahoma and Louisville, Kentucky"
This one left me wanting so much more. What happened before and after these pages? Who is the nameless author? Who found them?

And I think that's the genius of Gaiman. In the space of a few pages, he kept me on my toes, unable to see what was coming. His endings are unpredictable and sometimes downright enigmatic. I could not wait to see where Gaiman's imagination would take me next. An entirely intriguing mix.

Read an excerpt of Fragile Things.

It's not too late to join this challenge - visit The Savvy Reader for details.

Anyone else participating or have some good short story recommendations they want to share?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Start and Run a Real Home-Based Business - Dan Furman Review and Giveaway

Many of us have day dreamed ( yours truly included!) about starting a home based business. And even more so in today's economy.

This is the second edition of How to Start a Real Home-Based Business from Self Counsel Press. Furman is the author of both editions. He has had home based business both fail and succeed and it is from these experiences that he writes. His writing style is clear, easy to read and down to earth.

Furman covers many, many ideas and topics. He asks you to take a good look at the nuts and bolts of starting a business. What kind of commitment are you willing to make in time and money? What is involved - registering/partnerships/business plan or a plan for business/ the need to have your business look professional and many more. Is this something you will be happy doing every day? Do you need insurance? What about an office and equipment? Advertising? Do you take credit cards?

Whew - lots of food for thought eh? This is a great book to get you asking those questions. It's a solid reference to get you started as well. It doesn't go in depth, for example, how to accept credit cards as payment - you need to do the research yourself. It does include a CD with word doucments such as worksheets, proposals, and press releases. There are also some links included.

Want to read it yourself? One copy to be given away courtesy of Self Counsel Press. Ends Saturday Sep 5, 6pm EST.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Angel's Game - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Translated from Spanish by Lucia Graves.

I loved Zafon's breakaway bestseller novel The Shadow of the Wind and have eagerly awaited the release of The Angel's Game from Random House Canada.

David Martin is raised in poverty in Barcelona in the early 1900's. Orphaned, his love of words is what saves him. The owner of a bookstore - Sempere and Sons - also plays a significant role in his life. David lands a position at a newspaper and over the years works his way up to being a writer. He is befriended by a wealthy, older writer - Don Pedro Vidal - and begins writing successful, sensationalistic fiction under a pseudonym. When a mysterious French publisher, Corelli, offers him a small fortune to write a book that Corelli thinks will change the course of a belief system, he leaps at the chance. David moves into a small mansion that has been shuttered for years and begins to write. But Corelli is not what he seems and David's new home has secrets that threaten to consume him and those he loves.

The Angel's Game is intriguing, combining subtle supernatural elements with an actual mystery. It has a very gothic feel to it. There are many twists and turns, that change the story and keep you glued to the edge of your seat. Obsession is a theme running throughout the book - with love and language. David's love of Cristina - Vidal's wife and the written word are captured by Zafon's prose. His language is beautiful, seizing settings and bringing them to life. I could taste the dust in the bookstore.

The Cemetery of Lost Books plays a part in The Angel's Game as well. For those who haven't read The Shadow of the Wind, here's a passage that absolutely captivated me:

" This place is a mystery. A sanctuary. Every book, every volume you see, has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and the soul of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it. Every time a book changes hands, every time someone runs his eyes down it's pages, it's spirit grows and strengthens. In this place, books no longer remembered by anyone, books that are lost in time, live forever, waiting for the day when they will reach a new readers hands, a new spirit..."

The ending is another one that I think will gender discussion. It is definitive, but may not necessarily be the one you saw coming.

Although Angel's Game and Shadow have connections, it is not necessary to have read Shadow to enjoy this new book. There are four books planned around The Cemetary of Lost Books - each able to be read as a 'stand alone.'

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Giveaway - Friends Like These - Danny Wallace

My Worldwide Quest to Find My Best Childhood Friends, Knock on Their Doors, and Ask Them to Come Out and Play.

Do you ever wonder what happened to all those friends from long ago? Danny Wallace did...

From the publisher:
"Danny Wallace has friends. He has a wife and goes to brunch, and his new house has a couch with throw pillows. But as he nears 30, he can't help wondering about his best childhood friends, whose names he finds in a long-forgotten address book. Where are they now-and where, really, is he?Acting on an impulse we've all had at least once, he travels from London to Berlin, Tokyo, Australia, and California, risking rejection and ridicule to show up on his old pals' doorsteps. Memories of his 1980s childhood-from Michael Jackson to Ghostbusters-overwhelm him as he meets former buddies who have blossomed into rappers and ninjas, time-traveling pioneers, mediocre restaurant managers, and even Fijian royalty.Danny's attempt to re-befriend them all gives remarkable new resonance to the age-old mantra, "friends forever!"

Thanks to The Hachette Book Group I have five copies to giveaway. Ends Wednesday Sept 2/09 at 6 pm EST. Open to both US and Canada, no po boxes. Please make sure I have a way to contact you by either leaving your email or through your blog.

To be entered let me know if you're still in touch with any old friends. I still keep in touch with my oldest friend (Janice V you know who you are!) from grade 2 - not as much as we should, she's across the country - but it's still so easy to pick up where we left off every year or two when we do get together.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Cemetery Dance - Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child

The successful writing duo of Preston and Child is back with the 9th novel in the Pendergast series.

Pendergast is an enigmatic FBI agent with a seemingly unending store of knowledge, skills and talents. He ends up investigating (or seeking out) "X-File" types of cases. There is a cadre of recurring characters, including Detective Vinnie D'Agosta, journalist William Smithback, his archaeologist wife Nora and Wren - a researcher who seems to live in the bowels of The New York Public Library.

In Cemetery Dance, one of these recurring characters is killed. According to eyewitnesses the killer was someone who was declared dead ten days ago....

Preston and Child novels are plot driven, usually involving otherworldly elements. They are great suspense/thriller reads. But it is the character of Pendergast that people talk about the most when you mention this writing duo. His mysterious ways and endless abilities are great fun, reminding me somewhat of Sherlock Holmes. The locales chosen for their novels are fascinating as well. I have especially enjoyed the New York ones - I would love to see The New York Museum of Natural History. (the site of their first collaboration 'Relic' - also made into a movie)

I listened to this latest offering in audio format. I was halfway through the first disc by the time I realized who the reader was - Rene Auberjonois. Who? He has numerous film and television credits, but the one I remembered his voice from was his role as Odo on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. He has read seven of the Pendergast books and I soon forgot Odo. The different characters are easily identified by voice changes and inflections. The suspense of the book is easily heard and projected through his reading.

I have read all the previous books in this series, but I'm really getting hooked on audio books and may just listen to the next one as well.

Listen to an excerpt.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Book Blogger Appreciation Week - BBAW

I particiapted last year in the Book Blogger Appreciation week and it was fantastic! Amy and crew have been working hard and this year's event is set for Sept 14-18/09.

What is it you ask? Well to quote from the BBAW website:

"Last year over 400 blogs came together to celebrate the art of book blogging during the first ever Book Blogger Appreciation Week! I am so pleased to announce that the second annual Book Blogger Appreciation Week will be taking place September 14-18, 2009.

WHO Anyone who blogs about books is invited to participate. In fact, we want everyone who blogs about books and reading to be a part of this week!

WHAT A week where we come together, celebrate the contribution and hard work of book bloggers in promoting a culture of literacy, connecting readers to books and authors, and recogonizing the best among us with the Second Annual BBAW Awards. There will be special guest posts, daily blogging themes, and giveaways.

WHEN September 14-18, 2009

WHERE Here at the new Book Blogger Appreciation Week Blog!

Please note that this year there are three separate blogs and feeds—one for the main event, one for giveaways, and one for awards.)

WHY Because books matter. In a world full of options, the people talking about books pour hard work, time, energy, and money into creating a community around the written word. I, Amy, the founder of Book Blogger Appreciation Week love this community of bloggers and want to shower my appreciation on you!

WANT TO PARTICIPATE?Please help us spread the word about Book Blogger Appreciation Week by posting about it on your blog, stumbling this post, twittering about it, and telling everyone you know that it’s time to have a party and celebrate book bloggers!
Please register by filling out the registration form! Registering ensures your inclusion in the BBAW 09 Database of Book Bloggers and enters you into the drawing for the BBAW 09 Grand Prize!
Come back often as there will be many updates! And follow us on Twitter."

Fantastic idea eh? See you there!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Winner - The Juror - George Dawes Green

And the three lucky winners (chosen by of an audiobook copy of The Juror by George Dawes Green, courtesy of The Hachette Book Group are:

1. lilyk
2. morethananumber
3. Pam

I've contacted you by email for your mailing addresses. Please respond within 48 hours.Thanks to all who entered. Check the sidebar for ongoing giveaways.

Winners - Swimsuit - James Patterson

And the three lucky winners (chosen by of an audiobook copy of Swimsuit by James Patterson, courtesy of The Hachette Book Group are:

1. Nelsby
2. Suzanne
3. Jake Lsewhere

I've contacted you by email for your mailing addresses. Please respond within 48 hours. Thanks to all who entered. Check the sidebar for ongoing giveaways.