Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Giveaway - The Wave - Susan Casey

Thanks to the lovely folks at Doubleday Publishing, I have two copies of Susan Casey's new book The Wave to giveaway.

What's it about? From the publisher:

"From Susan Casey, bestselling author of The Devil’s Teeth, an astonishing book about colossal, ship-swallowing rogue waves and the surfers who seek them out.

For centuries, mariners have spun tales of gargantuan waves, 100-feet high or taller. Until recently scientists dis­missed these stories—waves that high would seem to violate the laws of physics. But in the past few decades, as a startling number of ships vanished and new evidence has emerged, oceanographers realized something scary was brewing in the planet’s waters. They found their proof in February 2000, when a British research vessel was trapped in a vortex of impossibly mammoth waves in the North Sea—including several that approached 100 feet.

As scientists scramble to understand this phenomenon, others view the giant waves as the ultimate challenge. These are extreme surfers who fly around the world trying to ride the ocean’s most destructive monsters. The pioneer of extreme surfing is the legendary Laird Hamilton, who, with a group of friends in Hawaii, figured out how to board suicidally large waves of 70 and 80 feet. Casey follows this unique tribe of peo­ple as they seek to conquer the holy grail of their sport, a 100­-foot wave.

In this mesmerizing account, the exploits of Hamilton and his fellow surfers are juxtaposed against scientists’ urgent efforts to understand the destructive powers of waves—from the tsunami that wiped out 250,000 people in the Pacific in 2004 to the 1,740-foot-wave that recently leveled part of the Alaskan coast.

Like Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air, The Wave brilliantly portrays human beings confronting nature at its most ferocious."

Read an excerpt of The Wave.

Two copies up for grabs. Open to the US only, no po boxes please. Simply comment to be entered. Ends Sunday December 19th at 6 pm EST.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Dead Head - Rosemary Harris

Rosemary Harris is an author new to me. She pens the 'A Dirty Business' mystery series featuring Paula Holliday. Paula runs a one woman landscaping business in the small New England town of Springfield. Paula has also gained a reputation as an amateur sleuth in the previous two books in this series - Pushing Up Daisies and The Big Dirt Nap.

Dead Head finds Paula knee deep in dirt again. A local (wealthy) woman, Caroline, has proposed a business partnership with Paula. But before Paula can make a decision, Caroline is arrested. Can she really be an escaped prisoner who has been on the lam for the last twenty years?

While I enjoyed the unravelling and mystery of Caroline's past, it was the characters I enjoyed the most in this book. Paula is an intriguing, engaging lead. I like her outlook on life. But I must admit - I am enamored with one of the secondary characters. Babe, owner of the Paradise Diner is herself a mystery just waiting to be plumbed. Her attitude and dialogue just struck a chord with me. The diner is a perfect venue for introducing some interesting characters, such as the truckers who stop in. There's unresolved romantic tension as well between Paula and local cop Mike O'Malley.

There were italicized first person chapters from Caroline inserted throughout the book. While they did go towards explaining the plot/past, I'm not sure they worked for me.

Those who enjoy the cozy, amateur sleuth genre will 'dig' this charming series. I'm sure there's more crime to be 'unearthed' in Springfield.

Read the first chapter of Dead Head.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Winner - After the Falls - Catherine Gildiner

And the lucky winner of a copy of After the Falls by Catherine Gildiner is:


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

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Winners - Safe Haven- Nicholas Sparks

And the three lucky winners of a copy of Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks, courtesy of The Hachette Book Group are:

1. John Ferris
2. Aik
3. Just Mom

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.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Over the Counter #31

It's that time of the year when gorgeous coffee table books appear. The latest book to catch my eye as it passed over my counter and under my scanner was Smithsonian Natural History - The Ultimate Visual Guide to Everything on Earth.

From the publisher Dorling Kindersley:

"A landmark in reference publishing and overseen and authenticated by the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History, Natural History presents an unrivaled visual survey of Earth's natural history. Giving a clear overview of the classification of our natural world-over 6,000 species-Natural History looks at every kingdom of life, from bacteria, minerals, and rocks to fossils to plants and animals. Featuring a remarkable array of specially commissioned photographs, Natural History looks at thousands of specimens and species displayed in visual galleries that take the reader on an incredible journey from the most fundamental building blocks of the world's landscapes, through the simplest of life forms, to plants, fungi, and animals.Booklist 2010 Editors’ Choice Award."

(Over the Counter is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World. I've sadly come the realization that I cannot physically read every book that catches my interest as it crosses over my counter at the library. But... I can mention them and maybe one of them will catch your eye as well. See if your local library has them on their shelves!)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Forever Romance Holiday Giveaway

Okay, it's getting cold outside. So how about heating things up with a steamy romance giveaway? Thanks to The Hachette Book Group, three (!) lucky winners will win a four pack of guaranteed to warm you up reads including:


Open to US and Canada, no po boxes please. One winner per mailing address. This one's open to followers only -simply comment to be entered. Ends Saturday, Dec 18th at 6 pm EST.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Giveaway - Sundays at Tiffany's - James Patterson

Sundays at Tiffany’s by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet is now a Lifetime original movie from Sony Pictures Television, which will be airing on Monday, December 6 at 9:00 PM ET/PT, 8:00 PM CT.

The synopsis from The Hachette Book Group:

Jane Margaux is a lonely little girl. Her mother, the powerful head of a New York theater company, makes time for her only once a week, for their Sunday trip to admire jewelry at Tiffany's. Jane has only one friend: a handsome, comforting, funny man named Michael. He's perfect. But only she can see him. Michael can't stay forever, though. On Jane's eighth birthday he leaves, promising that she'll forget him soon. He was there to help her until she was old enough to manage on her own, and now there are other children who need his help.


Years later, in her thirties, Jane is just as alone as she was as a child. And despite her own success as a playwright, she is even more trapped by her overbearing mother. Then she meets Michael again--as handsome, smart and perfect as she remembers him to be. But not even Michael knows the reason they've really been reunited.


Sundays at Tiffany's is a heart-wrenching love story that surpasses all expectations of why these people have been brought together. With the breathtaking momentum and gripping emotional twists that have made James Patterson a bestseller all over the world, Sundays at Tiffany's takes an altogether fresh look at the timeless and transforming power of love."

You can find James Patterson on Facebook. And Lifetime is on Twitter and Facebook as well.

I have one copy of the movie tie book to giveaway. Open to US and Canada, no po boxes please. Ends Sunday Dec 12 at 6 pm EST.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Winner - Perfection - Julie Metz

And the lucky winner of a copy of  Julie Metz's book  Perfection is:


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

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Winners - Dont' Blink - James Patteson & Howard Roughan

And the three lucky winners of an audio book copy of Don't Blink by James Patterson & Howard Roughan, courtesy of The Hachette Book Group are:

1. jewelknits
2. sweetertheberry
3. Rachel

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.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Review & Giveaway - A Christmas Carol - a Pop Up book - Chuck Fischer

I have always loved pop up books. It just seems like a intimate peek at a secret little world and I am fascinated with the physical engineering that goes into making such a book. Chuck Fischer and Bruce Foster have teamed up for another truly spectacular book for the Christmas season - Charles Dicken's A Christmas Carol .

Fischer has painted the scenes of the classic Dickens tale A Christmas Carol and Foster has made the story literally jump off the page!

The entire text of the story and one about Dickens are reproduced in 5 little booklets that accompany each of the scenes. The town and street is the first setting, but the next three were the ones that I loved. Each of the ghosts has their own page. Christmas present has a fold out that pops as well!

I literally opened and closed each page dozens of times, sometimes fast, sometimes slow just observing the magic of all the pieces fitting and folding together and 'peering behind the scenes.' The illustrations are beautiful and full colour - also on the back side. Lots and lots of attention to detail here.

I can see this becoming a Christmas tradition for families - reading the text while the book stands with the pop up scenes as illustration.

This one's destined for the  'special shelf' in my library. And if you'd like to have it on your shelf as well, I have one copy to giveaway,  thanks to the generosity of The Hachette Book Group. Open to US and Canada, no po boxes please, one winner per mailing address. To be entered - leave the name of a Dickens tale or one of your family traditions. Ends Sunday, Dec 5 at 6 pm EST.

Peek inside yourself!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Over the Counter #30

I used to save my allowance to buy Archie comic books when I was younger and still have many of them. So of course Archie Marries caught my eye this week as it passed over my library counter and under the scanner.

I have to say that the flip side of the book has a shot of Archie marrying Betty. So who did you want him to date? I was always a Betty fan.

From the publisher Abrams Books:

"The eternal love triangle that has been the cornerstone of Archie comics for almost seven decades is finally untangled in this seven-part story written by Michael Uslan and illustrated by veteran Archie artist Stan Goldberg. The journey begins when Archie finds himself strolling up Memory Lane, and marries the wealthy and cultured Veronica Lodge. Later we see what happens when he strolls down Memory Lane and marries the wholesome, peppy girl next door, Betty Cooper.

This pivotal series of seven issues is bound in hardcover, encased in a double diecut slipcase, and packaged with a reprint of a classic Archie comic. The book includes all-new material created especially for this edition, including script outtakes, never-before-seen sketches, annotations, vintage covers, and exclusive interviews with the creators. "

You can peek inside here.

(Over the Counter is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World. I've sadly come the realization that I cannot physically read every book that catches my interest as it crosses over my counter at the library. But... I can mention them and maybe one of them will catch your eye as well. See if your local library has them on their shelves!)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Safe Haven - Nicholas Sparks

I listened to Dear John earlier in the year and found it overly saccharine for my taste. I was pleasantly surprised by Nicholas Spark's latest novel Safe Haven. I really enjoyed it.

A woman calling herself Katie arrives in the small town of Southport NC. She has few belongings and keeps to herself as much as possible. She buys her few groceries at a small store run by single dad Alex. When circumstances throw them together, they begin a tentative friendship. Katie lives in a run down cottage on a dirt road. She makes another friend when Jo moves into the other cabin on the lot.

Piece by piece we learn the truth of Katie's past. This is told in flashbacks and memories - very addictive and quite frightening in parts. Without giving the plot away, Sparks has captured and portrayed an issue that needs telling. The burgeoning relationship between Alex, his kids and Katie is just as addicting. Sparks successfully combines romance, mystery and danger into a really good read/listen. Fans of Joy Fielding would enjoy this one.

I chose to listen to Safe Haven. The reader was Rebecca Lowman. Her voice has a soft, melodious resonance that captured the tone of the story. Listen to an excerpt of Safe Haven. Or read an excerpt.

You've got until Saturday November 27th, 2010 to enter to win an audio book copy of Safe Haven!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Don't Blink - James Patterson & Howard Roughan

James Patterson and Howard Roughan team up again for the stand alone thriller Don't Blink. Past collaborative efforts include Sail and You've Been Warned.

Nick Daniels is a reporter. He heads to a New York steakhouse to interview a reclusive baseball legend. What he gets instead is a front row seat to what appears to be a gangland killing. Nick can't help himself - he start investigating on his own. And what he finds? Everyone has their own agenda - the cops, the mayor, the mob, even the baseball legend.

Definitely an entertaining story. Over the top? Yes. But really isn't that why we all indulge in a Patterson story? What I initially believed was going to happen took a distinct left turn, holding my interest until the end.

I listened to this one in audio format. The reader was David Patrick Kelly and I really enjoyed his voice. It's slightly wavery, yet gravelly and brought the character of Nick to life. Hachette seems to always include music and sound effects in Patterson's audio books, which adds to the whole listening experience.

Listen to an excerpt of Don't Blink. Read an excerpt.

Enter to win an audio book copy of Don't Blink. Closes Saturday November 20th at 6pm EST.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Knit the Season - Kate Jacobs - Review, Q&A and Giveaway!

It's the time of the year when I start snuggling in to read Christmas stories. First one up this year was Knit the Season - the 3rd book in the Friday Night Knitting Club series by Kate Jacobs - newly released in paperback. Knit the Season continues the story of the diverse and multi generational women who formed such close bonds at the Walker and Daughter knitting shop. But the focus is on Dakota - the daughter in the shop's name. She's in college now, pursuing her dreams. But the women who have watched her grow are pursuing their own dreams as well. Christmas, Hanukkah and the New Year brings family gatherings, old and new memories and a wedding....or two.

I enjoyed the first two books in this series and was happy that Knit the Season picked up where the last one left off. The characters feel like old friends that I'm catching up with. Now, that's not to say you couldn't read this book as a stand alone. It's a feel good story that reminds us this is the time of the year to reaffirm and cherish our ties with family and friends. Memories of Dakota's mother Georgia play a part as well - it was neat to get some of the story not included in the first books. Knitting and food play a big part in these books as well, and Jacobs has included both patterns and recipes at the end. (and a gluten free one!!) This series appeals to readers of all ages as the characters span from teens to nineties! And this reader cannot wait to see what Jacobs has in store for the club in the next book. Knit the Season would make a great book club selection. (readers's guide here.) What a warm fuzzy read to start my holiday reading! Read the first chapter of Knit the Season.

I was thrilled to have Kate stop by to answer some of my questions. Make sure you read through to the end - I have two signed copies to giveaway!

1.   Your characters have become so 'real' for me and I feel like I know them. (I bet you hear that a lot!) Are any of them based on people in your own life/that you've met? Parts of your own life?

KJ: Well, the business of being a fiction writer is making up stuff! And that’s what I do, although I will sometimes use quirks of personality from individuals who’ve passed away. For example, the character of Gran (Dakota’s great-grandmother in Scotland) has much in common with my grandmother Nanny, who was a wonderful knitter and a wonderful lady. Having a character that is similar to her is a writer’s way to revisit good memories. But when it comes to real-life living people, I try to avoid putting them into my stories. It’s a sure-fire way to upset someone! Especially because I tend to write flawed characters – I think that’s more realistic. Also it’s easier to root for characters that make whopping mistakes and have some growing to do. And while parts of my own life and experience inform the emotional content of my work, I don’t write autobiographical fiction. Or, at least, I haven’t yet.

2. Certainly the characters are the big draw for me in the Friday Night Knitting Club series, but I also enjoy the descriptions of the yarn and projects in the books. I've actually given knitting a whirl again after many years away. (mittens are proving to be a challenge for me....) Why do you think there's such a resurgence of interest? And of course I have to ask - what do you enjoy knitting?

KJ: Personally, I enjoy knitting anything that is rectangular! I’m big into blankets, and I’ve just had the suggestion to try placemats, which sounds right up my alley. You know, my grandmother was a wonderful knitter and would make these gorgeous sweaters, but I put so much of my energy and creativity into my writing that I look to knitting as a way to let my mind fuzz out and just relax. So I never want to try anything too complicated! I do write the easy patterns in the back of the knitting books but those are for readers who are curious about taking up the craft. Likewise, the recipes are tasty and fun, but I’m just a home cook – I’m not a chef! As for knitting’s renewed popularity, I think it’s a combination of nostalgia, irony, and the fact that knitting can be a fantastic creative outlet as well as a means of connecting with a new community.

3. I'm sure that the Walker&Daughter website has people actually trying to find the shop. Have you ever thought of opening/owning a yarn shop? With maybe a resident writer in the back office?

KJ: I receive a lot of email, especially when FNKC was first published, asking for directions to the Walker & Daughter yarn store. And some folks were really upset to find out they couldn’t go there! But what I always explain is that the shop in the story is meant to be just like your very own local yarn shop, so you could find your own knitting group no matter where you are based. It’s not as though fabulous community-based yarn shops only exist in Manhattan! As for me, I would probably buy out my own entire inventory if I owned a yarn shop – and I don’t think that’s a good business model! I’ll stick to writing stories at my desk while Baxter, my sweet Springer Spaniel, snores at my feet.

4. Tell us that there are plans for more books in this series!? What are you working on now? Hopefully a new book in The Friday Night Knitting Club?

KJ: My current project is a new novel titled Relativity, which is about our complicated connections with our relatives and how family shapes our identity. It looks at mothers and daughters, but has a bit of a twist that I won’t give away! I should be finished the book in a few months, and then I’ll figure out what’s next. The nice thing about having a series, like the knitting books, is that I can always revisit these characters. So I just tackle my writing book by book and see what I feel like doing creatively when it’s time to start something fresh.

5. Do you ever come home to Canada to visit? Tour? Celebrate Thanksgiving at the right time of the year? Just joking!

KJ: I spend a lot of time in Canada. Actually, I finished both FNKC sequels, Knit Two and Knit the Season, while enjoying summers back in Hope, BC. Although my husband and I live in California, we try to visit family up in Canada as much as possible. Plus one of my best friends just moved back to Canada from the US – she’s in Ottawa, which is where we went to university – so I see many trips to the capital in my future. Having a proper turkey dinner on Canadian Thanksgiving has proved to be quite difficult, however, as I always seem to be in the US in October. I don’t quite want to go to the bother of a big dinner for just us, so I have resorted to turkey sandwiches and declared it festive.
Thank you so much for stopping by Kate. (You can keep up with Kate on Twitter) I look forward to reading Relativity.  I have two signed copies of Knit the Season up for grabs. Open to Canadian mailing addresses only. Simply comment to be entered. Make sure I have a way to contact you - either through your blog or by email. Ends Saturday, Dec 11th at 6 pm EST. Good luck and check the sidebar for ongoing giveaways.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Winners - The Tower, The Zoo and The Tortoise - Julia Stuart

And the two lucky winners of a copy of The Tower, The Zoo and The Tortoise by Julia Stuart, courtesy of Doubleday Publishing are:

1. Colleen Turner
2. Renee G.

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!

Giveaway - Dewey's Nine Lives - Edited by Vicki Myron

Here's your chance to win a copy of Dewey's Nine Lives - a follow up to the bestseller Dewey: The Small Town Library Cat by Vicki Myron. Perfect for the feline lover on your Christmas list. Check out the Q&A with the contributors and then enter! And enter your cat in the "I Believe in Dewey's Magic" contest.

From the publisher Dutton (an imprint of Penguin Books):
"The cat that captured America's hearts returns, to share more of his special brand of magic.

Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World was a blockbuster bestseller and a publishing phenomenon. It has sold nearly a million copies, spawned three children's books, and will be the basis for an upcoming movie. No doubt about it, Dewey has created a community. Dewey touched readers everywhere, who realized that no matter how difficult their lives might seem, or how ordinary their talents, they can-and should-make a positive difference to those around them. Now, Dewey is back, with even more heartwarming moments and life lessons to share.

Dewey's Nine Lives offers nine funny, inspiring, and heartwarming stories about cats--all told from the perspective of "Dewey's Mom," librarian Vicki Myron. The amazing felines in this book include Dewey, of course, whose further never-before-told adventures are shared, and several others who Vicki found out about when their owners reached out to her. Vicki learned, through extensive interviews and story sharing, what made these cats special, and how they fit into Dewey's community of perseverance and love. From a divorced mother in Alaska who saved a drowning kitten on Christmas Eve to a troubled Vietnam veteran whose heart was opened by his long relationship with a rescued cat, these Dewey-style stories will inspire readers to laugh, cry, care, and, most importantly, believe in the magic of animals to touch individual lives.'

Q&A with the Contributors to DEWEY’S NINE LIVES
Why did Dewey’s story inspire you?

Lynda Caira (Cookie Cat): Dewey's story inspired me because it is so unfathomable to conceive that a cat could change the lives of so many people. It makes me think, if we tried, how could people change each others’ lives.

Kristie Graham (Marshmallow): Dewey's story inspired me throughout his entire life. I have known Vicki since I was 2 years old. … Dewey's Magic is real. It has opened the door to my heart to make sure people know what they have done for me.

Bill Bezanson (Spooky): I wouldn’t say it “inspired” me so much as it touched my soul. I saw a LOT of the feelings Spooky and I shared throughout the story.

Barbara Lajiness (Sir Bob Kittens): I have always loved animals-- especially cats. So many things about Dewey spoke to me and my own experiences in life. Dewey was rescued, we rescued animals. Vicki only had one child, a daughter; I only had one child, a daughter; and many of those moments during teen years between a daughter and a mother were very similar to my own feelings as a mom of a teenager. Also the effects of poverty and alcoholism on my childhood were all themes I could easily relate to in Dewey. Although I didn’t know it at the time…I would also face my own battle with breast cancer. So as you can see my connection and inspiration to the book really happened on many levels, not just how deeply I can appreciate and relate to that significant bond and relationship with a cat.

Kim Knox (Church Cat): I know cats are known for having "nine lives" but I was really impressed by the toughness of that little kitten in the book drop off box. It's like he knew if he could just hang on, something so much better was coming his way!

Vicki Kleuver (Christmas Cat): Dewey's story inspired me because it is a story of Life. Not only Dewey's amazing life, but also Vicki Myron's life. Life can really throw us into the toilet or into a book drop on a frigid winter night, yet there is a spark, or a will to live that ignites within us to survive and thrive through the adversity of life. There were many similarities to the story of my “CC,” or Christmas Cat. … I was also amazed at the similarities between Vicki Myron's life story and my own.

What do you hope readers will take away from your story?

Barbara Lajiness (Sir Bob Kittens): That every one and everything, no matter how quirky or unusual, no matter if they are animal or human, has its place, meaning and value in the world. That we need to slow down, relax and realize how important all of us animals and humans, and even moments are. We all may be different shaped and colored pieces of a puzzle, but you need us all to make a complete picture.

Lynda Caira (Cookie Cat): What I hope that people see in my Cookie's story is that she was in a way, a life safer to me! I have had cats before and after Cookie, but Cookie just ingratiated herself into my life in a way that most people haven't even been able to do!

Kristie Graham (Marshmallow): I hope readers take away from my story that relationships are important. I think [my connection with my cat Marshmallow] was so valuable. He was always there. He was a symbol of my childhood. He was part of my identity.

Bill Bezanson (Spooky): If you relax the little guards we put up each day and let an animal just be itself, it will show you love and affection without boundaries. As humans we put up small (and even large) walls when dealing with each other. But an animal doesn’t have an ego. It just knows whether it likes you or not.

Carol Ann Riggs (Church Cat): Church Cat was "Special" to a lot of the members of the Camden United Methodist Church. She was a rescue cat and that made us happy too!

Kim Knox (Church Cat): You don't always know why God puts someone or "somepet" into your life and we shouldn't take something like that for granted.

Vicki Kleuver (Christmas Cat): I hope readers will gain from my story about CC a sense of understanding that love comes from many different sources in our lives, often when we least expect it and even at times from a source that we would never have considered, and we should approach each situation with an open mind. When CC came into my life, I didn't want a cat. I didn't even like cats! Or so I thought. CC was intended as a gift for my young daughter. Yet he turned out to be mine. Or as my mother says, I became "his people.I also hope readers will find in themselves a desire to do something new or different, to live life to its fullest. Norman Vaughn said "dream big, dare to fail. I would also like readers to come explore Alaska, the land of my people. It is a great land, enormous with cultural history, diversity, opportunity, adventure, and tranquility."

As your story and all the stories in Dewey’s Nine Lives show, the bond between humans and cats can be very special. Why do you think this is?

Barbara Lajiness (Sir Bob Kittens): I love all animals, but I really think cats have complicated personalities that create more complicated relationships with their owners. I have often heard that cats do not have owners, they have staff, which I think kind of sums up the playing field we are all on when building that bond with our feline friends.

Bill Bezanson (Spooky): I don’t think it’s any different between a human and any animal. In Spooky’s story there’s a story about Pierre, my raccoon. It shows the amount of love we shared. I’ve had foxes, skunks, deer, even opossums demonstrate love toward me. There were times in my life when I thought I’d never see real love in a person. But I found it in nature. I think that it would be a real healing point for veterans suffering the ugliness of PTSD to work with rescued animals and feel what that kind of love is like.

Lynda Caira (Cookie Cat): I think it depends on the cat and the person, and if they came into each others’ lives at the right time. I've had cats I've taken care of, and cats (strays) who I have felt that I HAD to take care of. My Cookie was the only cat who took care of me!

Carol Ann Riggs (Church Cat): Animals can become members of your family just like humans. Church Cat became a beloved member of our family when we brought her home with us.

Kim Knox (Church Cat): I have had a number of cats in my life and I don't think any two were ever alike! There is just something in their personality that clicks with your personality and next thing you know you're in love.

Vicki Kleuver (Christmas Cat): As I said to Vicki Myron several times, I believe God brings these little critters into our life so we can rescue them, while they help to rescue us too. Whether it's a cat or a dog or another animal, there can be a strong bond. Cats have very unique personalities. I particularly enjoy cats that are independent, like me.

What’s the most surprising or unexpected thing you learned from your cat?

Bill Bezanson (Spooky): Unrequited love. And I’m still learning and trying to lower my walls like my animals and really love again.

Lynda Caira (Cookie Cat): The most surprising thing I learned about Cookie was that she completely killed the stereotypical idea of how aloof cats can be. She had an actual personality! She treated people exactly the way they treated her! Another surprise was how for a small little cat that she was, she was more ferocious than a lion in her protection of me! If she thought someone was upsetting me or hurtling me, they had better watch out!

Kristie Graham (Marshmallow): The most unexpected thing I learned from Marshmallow is that he would leave such a legacy. I really didn't acknowledge the impact he made on my life and the power he would have on my future. When I told [my acquaintances] that I participated in [Dewey’s Nine Lives], it surprised me how many people knew how close we were and how "different" our relationship was.

Barbara Lajiness (Sir Bob Kittens): [I learned] that love comes in many forms and to enjoy every one. Sir Bob Kittens is not, nor will he ever be, the beloved lap cat Smokey from my childhood. He doesn’t sit on laps, and you can only tell he is purring if you are lucky enough to place a gentle finger on his throat at just the right moment. But he has his moments where he will look up at us with this look of happiness/love and very slowly, in unison, open and close his eyes; you can just tell he is trying to let us know he cares about us. And on those nights when he is lonely or nervous, he will come and snooze against my chest, face-to-face. It may sound funny, but I really believe that is his way of telling us he cares.

Kim Knox (Church Cat): Church Cat seemed very lost and somewhat needy when she turned up at the church office. I felt like she needed to be taken care of. This was true, but what was so surprising was how street savvy she was. She always looked both ways and made sure it was safe before she crossed! She may not have needed me nearly as much as I thought.

Mary Nan Evans (The Cats of Sanibel Island): [I was surprised to learn] that so many cats get along, and not a fight between them!

Vicki Kleuver (Christmas Cat): The most surprising thing I learned from CC is that I like cats! CC was loyal, loving, affectionate, playful. He was adventurous--it was that sense of adventure that landed him in the toilet that Christmas eve night, and it was his sense of adventure that cost him his life. Some people, some animals, become afraid when they have experienced trauma. Not my CC. Not me either. I like that. While it broke my heart that CC died at such a young age, I respect that he died while doing something he loved; it takes a bit of the sting out of our loss. Regardless if we're a cat or a humanoid, isn't life what we make of it?

Do you currently have a cat in your life?

Barbara Lajiness (Sir Bob Kittens): Yes Mister Kittens is still alive and well. Even though he attacks our ankles when we walk up the steps, and runs at us on his hind legs, sideways down the hall, he is a special spirit that is a very important part of my life, and my family’s. I have often told people that he is the one member of the household that no matter what, when he walks in a room, everyone says “Mister Kittens!” (Similar to when Norm would walk into the Cheers bar.) I am sure he thinks he is famous.

Lynda Caira (Cookie Cat): My Cookie died at the age of 19 , on July 31, 2009. I am blessed with another kitty named Chloe who is now Sweet 16, and I do have a wonderful little girl named Lucy, who was born in my garden two years ago, and has lived there ever since!

Vicki Kleuver (Christmas Cat): Sadly, right now I don't have any cats. Two years ago we adopted an older dog from the Kodiak Animal Shelter and right now, due to frequent travel, he is our only pet. It is our hope to adopt from the animal shelter this winter either a cat or another dog.

Kristie Graham (Marshmallow): I do not have a cat right now. I have a Red Fox Lab. My husband is a dog person. But I am a goal setter—I have a bucket list. Owning a cat is on the list.

Kim Knox (Church Cat): After we lost Church Cat's son ChiChi we were catless for a couple of years. We now have two orange tabbies named Marmalade (2 yrs) and Macaroon (3 months). Both are house cats and help make our house a home.

Bill Bezanson (Spooky): I have a dog and two cats. (Spooky and Zippo taught me that a cat needs another cat to pal around with. We humans have boundaries. Another cat doesn’t.)

You can join the Dewey community on Penguin Books. Watch the You Tube trailer. Or find Dewey on Facebook!

To be entered, leave the name of your cat, or what you would name a cat! Open to US and Canada. Ends Saturday Dec 11th at 6 pm EST.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Winner - Bury Your Dead - Louise Penny

And the lucky winner of a copy of Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny, courtesy of The Miami Book Fair International is:

Amber Y

Congratulations! I've contacted you by email for your mailing address. Thanks to all who entered. Check the sidebar for ongoing giveaways.

The Broom of the System - David Foster Wallace

I have had an audio book version of The Broom of the System by David Foster Wallace for an embarrassingly long time without writing a review. It sounded like a tale I would enjoy.

From the publisher The Hachette Book Group:

"The "dazzling, exhilarating" (San Francisco Chronicle) debut novel from the bestselling author of Infinite Jest, available for the first time as an audio book.

At the center of The Broom of the System is the bewitching (and also bewildered) heroine, Lenore Stonecipher Beadsman. The year is 1990 and the place is a slightly altered Cleveland, Ohio, which sits on the edge of a suburban wasteland-the Great Ohio Desert. Lenore works as a switchboard attendant at a publishing firm, and in addition to her mind-numbing job, she has a few other problems. Her great-grandmother, a one-time student of Wittgenstein, has disappeared with twenty-five other inmates of the Shaker Heights Nursing Home. Her beau (and boss), editor-in-chief Rick Vigorous, is insanely jealous. And her cockatiel, Vlad the Impaler, has suddenly started spouting a mixture of psychobabble, Auden, and the King James Bible, which may propel him to stardom on a Christian fundamentalist television program.
Fiercely intelligent and entertaining, this debut novel from one of the most innovative writers of our generation explores the paradoxes of language, storytelling, and reality."

The reader was Robert Petkoff, whom I've listened to before. He has a sardonic quality to his voice that seems perfect for the tone of the book.It does take a bit to get used to his breakneck speed. But it perfectly matched the pacing of the writing, so it was good fit. But the book just wasn't a good fit for me.  I have stopped and started quite a few times now and it just doesn't capture me or hold my interest at all. And I feel like it should, as Wallace is such a 'decorated' author. But I've come to the conclusion I can't finish it (or get past disc 3). And I feel bad, but when it really isn't enjoyable, it just defeats the purpose.

Listen to an excerpt of The Broom of the System. Wallace is on Facebook as well.

So instead, I am linking to listeners who did love it/finished it - check out what they thought. And please send me your link if you've reviewed it - I'll add it to the post.

Steph and Tony Investigate
K & K's

Friday, November 12, 2010

Giveaway - The Swan Thieves - Elizabeth Kostova

Thanks to the generosity of The Hachette Book Group, I have 3 paperback copies of The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova to giveaway. I reviewed this title in audio format earlier this year. This would make a great selection for a book club - there's a reading guide available as well.

From the publisher:

"Andrew Marlow, a psychiatrist, has a perfectly ordered life--solitary, perhaps, but full of devotion to his profession and the painting hobby he loves. This order is destroyed when the renowned painter Robert Oliver attacks a canvas in the National Gallery of Art and becomes Marlow's patient.

When Oliver refuses to talk or cooperate, Marlow finds himself going beyond his own legal and ethical boundaries to understand the secret that torments this silent genius, a journey that will lead him into the lives of the women closest to Robert Oliver and toward a tragedy at the heart of French Impressionism.
Moving from American museums to the coast of Normandy, from the late nineteenth century to the late twentieth, from young love to last love, THE SWAN THIEVES is a story of obsession, the losses of history, and the power of art to preserve human hope."

Get started now - read an excerpt of The Swan Thieves. Listen to an excerpt of The Swan Thieves. Watch a video of Elizabeth discussing her book. Also on Facebook.

Simply comment to be entered. Open to US and Canada, no po boxes please. One winner per mailing address. Ends Sat. Dec 4 at 6 pm EST.  Good luck and check the sidebar for ongoing giveaways.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Over The Counter #29

The latest book to catch my eye as it passed over my library counter and under the scanner this week was Candy Construction by Sharon Bowers.

From Storey Publishing:

"How to Build Edible Race Cars, Castles, and Other Cool Stuff out of Store-Bought Candy.

Build a candy fantasy! Sharon Bowers shows you how to use ordinary store-bought candy and cookies as the raw material for a brand-new kind of crafting. Top a sheet cake with a crushed-cookie racetrack, tiny candy cars, and a candy pit crew—and watch the delight on your birthday boy’s face. Set out fudge-striped cookies and peanut butter cups to keep small family members busy making pilgrim hats on Thanksgiving Day. Spend a rainy afternoon with your kids, making a pirate ship complete with little pirates made of licorice and candy corn. You’ll find simple, step-by-step instructions for making dozens of things children love, including spaceships, butterflies, a fairy-tale castle, a dump truck, planes, Egyptian pyramids, aliens, a steam train, Christmas trees, Easter eggs, and much more — all crafted with candy. The sweet possibilities are endless!'

Peek inside.

(Over the Counter is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World. I've sadly come the realization that I cannot physically read every book that catches my interest as it crosses over my counter at the library. But... I can mention them and maybe one of them will catch your eye as well. See if your local library has them on their shelves!)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Green Books Campaign: Keeping Chickens - Ashley English

This review is part of the Green Books campaign.Today 200 bloggers take a stand to support books printed in an eco-friendly manner by simultaneously publishing reviews of 200 books printed on recycled or FSC-certified paper. By turning a spotlight on books printed using eco- friendly paper, we hope to raise the awareness of book buyers and encourage everyone to take the environment into consideration when purchasing books.

The campaign is organized for the second time by Eco-Libris, a green company working to make reading more sustainable. We invite you to join the discussion on "green" books and support books printed in an eco-friendly manner! A full list of participating blogs and links to their reviews is available on Eco-Libris website. You can also find the 2010 Green Books Campaign on Facebook and on Twitter.
My review choice for the Green Books Challenge was Keeping Chickens with Ashley English.  The publisher is Lark Books, a division of Sterling Publishing. This book was printed and bound in Canada using recycled materials and agri-based inks and is FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) chain of custody certified.

Now you may be saying, Luanne why ever would you pick a book about keeping chickens? Well in a former job at a living history museum, we kept heritage and threatened species of chickens, they were part of a working farm and we used the eggs to cook with. Honestly, I kind of grew attached to them, they were a lot smarter than the turkeys!

Eating local and the interest in growing your own food has just skyrocketed. "What could be more local than foods gathered from your own backyard, stoop, balcony or deck?" There was a great debate and bylaw vote in the large city closest to me about keeping chickens within city limits. Lots of ruffled feathers with the final verdict being no.

But as a rural dweller, it's definitely something that interests me and this book is an excellent resource.
It encompasses all aspects, from initial considerations - cost, laws, neighbours and lifestyle to picking the breed best for your climate and what you want - layers or for your table. Lots of colour photos are included in this chapter. Where do you get your birds - and there's a great appendix at the end lots of links and resources. Where will you keep your chickens - plans for lots of different housing solutions and actual plans are included. What to feed - covered. How to raise healthy birds from chick to full grown, health concerns and loads about everyday care. And of course eggs! The last chapter was a lovely surprise - lots of recipes - I'm going to give the sweet potato soufflé a try.

I really enjoyed the portraits of chicken owners scattered throughout the book, covering those who keep just a few to those supplying local restaurants.

Keeping Chickens is well laid out and easy to read and reference. Ashley English has put together a comphrehensive resource for anyone thinking of keeping a flock of their own. Keeping Chickens is part of a series called Homemade Living Series that covers a lot of 'back  to the basics'. Canning and Preserving is out, with Keeping Bees and Home Dairy due out in the Spring.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Review & Giveaway - Katie Up and Down the Hall - Glenn Plaskin

Animal tales seem to abound lately and here's another good one to add to the list - Katie Up and Down the Hall by Glenn Plaskin. The subtitle says it all - The True Story of How One Dog Turned Five Neighbours into a Family.

Plaskin lives in a high rise in Battery Park City in Manhattan. He works as a journalist, author and interviewer. He has tried having a dog as a pet before, but it wasn't a good fit. When he meets Katie, he know she is 'the one'.

What separates this book out from being just another I love my dog story' is the unique 'family' unit that created as a result of Katie's interaction with Plaskin's high rise neighbours. Pearl and Arthur are an older couple in their eighties. Childless,with not close family nearby, they too had had a cocker spaniel as a pet. Katie soon becomes the bond that unites Glenn, Pearl and Arthur. They become surrogate grandparents to Glenn, as well as Katie - looking after her through the day and when Glenn is away. Katie is also the catalyst for another relationship. Single dad John and his son Ryan end up moving into the same hallway and building as Glenn, Pearl and Arthur. Ryan and Katie become fast playmates, John and Glenn great friends and Pearl (grand) mothers them all.

I listened to this in audio format and was happy to see that the reader was the author himself. Plaskin has a calm, moderated tone of voice. Once in a while I did become irritated with the inflections he placed or the laughter he inserted - it seemed a bit canned and forced. While the beginning of the book does follow Glenn's professional life as it involves Katie going on some celebrity interviews, those aren't the chapters I enjoyed the most. Rather I enjoyed the day to day interaction of the hallway. Over the course of Katie's lifespan - almost 15 years, there were good times and bad, all dealt with as a family. Most notable was 9/11.

Without giving away the entire book, I applaud Plaskin - his dedication to his family is commendable. You can find "Katie" on Facebook and on Glenn on Twitter.

Thanks to The Hachette Book Group I have three audio book copies of Katie Up and Down the Hall to giveaway. Simply comment to be entered, please ensure I have a way to contact you, either through email or your blog. Open to US and Canada, no PO boxes please, one winner per address. Ends Sunday December 5th at 6 pm EST.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Review & Giveaway - The Distant Hours - Kate Morton

Kate Morton's latest book, The Distant Hours, releases tomorrow.

A letter, lost for 50 years, finally arrives at the home of Meredith Burchill. Her daughter Edie is there when she opens it. Her Mum's reactions startles her - "... horrid, guttural gasp, followed quickly by a series of rasping sobs". Yet her mother won't discuss the letter any further other than to stay it was from one of the Blythe sisters at Milderhurst Castle, where she lived as an evacuee during the blitzes of 1941war torn England. When a business trip for her publishing firm takes Edie within a few miles of the castle, she impulsively stops by the gates. And remembers being there as a child.

The three elderly Blythe sister are still in residence and welcome Edie. After all "The castle likes to be visited, it needs it."

Edie becomes fascinated with the moldering castle and it's residents - both past and present. What connection does her mother have to these women and the past? Although one of the Blythe sisters says " My family lives on in the stones of Milderhurst Castle and it's my duty to keep them. It's not a task for outsiders", they specifically ask for Edie when a new edition of their father's classic bestseller 'The Mud Man' is planned. Edie accepts the job and is inextricably drawn in.

The story alternates between Edie's world in 1992 and the past in 1941. Slowly and deliciously we are able to piece together the story of the castle and the tragedy that haunts the Blythe family. The past comes to light, but is told through many voices, each adding their slant and twist on the way to the truth of those distant hours.

Morton has written a richly atmospheric novel with a lovely, gothic feel that just makes you want to curl up late at night reading under a single lamp in the dark. The story builds slowly, with layer upon layer added as the tension builds over the course of 500 plus pages. Morton's descriptions add to the eeriness and the atmosphere.

"In a small cupboard at the very top of the house there lies a secret doorway. Behind the doorway is the entrance to an entire scheme of hidden passages. It's possible to crawl along them, room to room, attic to cellar, just like a little mouse. If one goes quietly enough, it's possible to hear all manner of secret things; to get lost inside if one isn't careful. They're the castle's veins."
I loved this description of the sky.
" Outside, the sky grumbled like a full stomach, the gluttonous belly of a gentleman who'd escaped the frugalities of a rationed pantry."
Morton is an excellent storyteller. Although there is no 'action' in the book, I was completely caught up in the story of the 'Sisters Blythe'. Tragedy, romance, mystery and secrets abound in The Distant Hours - a book to be savoured and enjoyed.

Read an excerpt of The Distant Hours.

And thanks to Simon and Schuster Canada, I have a brand spankin' new ARC to giveaway. Let's open up this giveaway and make it international! To be entered - have you read Kate Morton before? Please ensure I have a means to contact you - either through your blog or by email. Closes Wednesday, Dec 1 at 6 pm EST.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Winners - Dewey - Vicki Myron & Bret Witter

And the three lucky winner of a copy of Dewey - The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World, by Vicki Myron and Bret Witter, courtesy of The Hachette Book Group are:

1. billiondollarprincess
2. the yyyguy
3. kakihara

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.

Friday, November 5, 2010

5 Ingredient Fix - Claire Robinson

The first thing that caught my eye when I picked up 5 Ingredient Fix was the photography. Absolutely beautiful full colour pictures that had me drooling before I even read the recipes. I actually leafed through looking at the all the photographs first! Mouth watering you could say...

Claire Robinson is a host on Food Network and the star of 5 Ingredient Fix and Food Network Challenge.

Claire's style? She describes it as:
..."the result of learning from a classic entertainer and a do-it-from-scratch, all-natural bohemian. I take the best part of these women, throw in my French culinary education, pay attention to seasonal ingredients, keep it fresh, and add my wholesome an delicious southern taste. This is my world of food: one inspired by an effortless elegance , and my five-ingredient approach keeps it simple( and possible!) for everyone."
And photographs aside, this is what really grabbed me. I'm not fond of cooking, but I have come to appreciate good food. For me - the simpler, the better works, and five ingredients sounds perfect!
Why five? "...to choose the best main ingredient - my star-  and figuring out how to enhance and maintain its natural flavour by adding a small supporting cast of ingredients to dance with it and make it shine. After years..I've found that my magic number of ingredients is five or fewer."
The cookbook is divided into sections covering the gamut - breakfast, appetizers, soups, salads, mains, desserts and more.

I loved each and every breakfast suggestion. I made the Pumpkin Seed and Dried Cherry Trail Mix and sprinkled (okay more than sprinkled - it was really good) over my yogurt for a really satisfying and nutritious start to the morning. French toast with strawberries and cream anyone?

Any gardeners out there that still might have a zucchini or two hanging around, try the Zucchini-tinis in the appetizer/cocktail section! Definitely inventive!

Oh there were so many that appealed to me -  Lemon-Tarragon Chicken Soup, Beef Stew - Stuffed Potatoes (using the potatoes as a bowl), Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Basil Butter. The recipe for Dry-Rubbed BBQ Chicken produced incredibly tender, juicy breasts.
And the desserts and comfort food sections! Oh boy! I want to try the Ginger Pumpkin Tart and the Flourless Chocolate-Lover's Cake!(gluten free!)

Each recipe also has a neat 'What makes this recipe really sing' suggestion and a 'What to toss in if you have it' section. The instuctions are clear, consise and easy to follow. The layout of the book is clean and easy to read.

And yes, none of the recipes calls for more than 5 ingredients! Yet, they look and taste like you spent a lot more time and money on them than you really did.  Simple, local if possible and enhancing the natural flavour of food is a philosophy that works. 5 Ingredient Fix is a book I will use and enjoy!

Get a peek inside 5 Ingredient Fix.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Over the Counter #28

The latest book to catch my eye as it passed over my library counter and under the scannerthis week was Regretsy - where DIY meets WTF by April Winchell. I've subscribed to her blog for awhile now - it features the 'best' of the worst sold on the crafting site Etsy.

From the publisher Villard - an imprint of Random House:

A chicken poncho. A painting of a corn dog. A clock made out of an old “mostly clean” cheese grater. All this and more await you in the pages of Regretsy, a veritable sideshow of handcrafts gone wrong. Based on the eponymous hit blog and arranged in categories such as Décor, Pet Humiliation, and Christmas, Regretsy showcases the best of the worst, ranging from the hilariously absurd to the purely horrifying. Each page of this jaw-dropping volume features the actual seller’s online listing with a light coat of snarky commentary to give it a good shellacking. So join us as we descend into handmade hell and gawk, gasp, and marvel at the disturbingly odd artifacts that Regretsy has collected for your viewing pleasure, proving that you can never have too much of a bad thing."
Michele  - this one's for you!
(Over the Counter is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World. I've sadly come the realization that I cannot physically read every book that catches my interest as it crosses over my counter at the library. But... I can mention them and maybe one of them will catch your eye as well. See if your local library has them on their shelves!) But I did read this one cover to cover!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Q&A and giveaway with Catherine Gildiner - After the Falls

I am thrilled to welcome Cathy Gildiner to A Bookworm's World today! I reviewed Cathy's second memoir After the Falls yesterday - loved it - and welcomed the chance to do some Q&A! Make sure you enter to win a copy at the end of the post!

Have your children read your books? Your husband? What did they think?

Everyone in my family read my first book. They were all shocked and had no idea that I had had a ‘different’ childhood. I had never talked about it. I also had no idea I had an unusual childhood until readers commented on my ‘strange’ upbringing. I thought it was normal.

My husband is Jewish from Europe. His family came to North America in the late 50’s when he was a teenager. His parents live near us in the same city. They had some harrowing experiences during the war and the children know them as their grandparents. They often talked about the trauma of the past so I never mentioned what I thought was my idyllic childhood.

My husband was surprised by two things: The first was that I was a writer at all. He thought I was only a practicing psychologist. I used to get up early every morning to write what became Too Close to the Falls so he was shocked by the fact that a book existed. When I invited him to my book launch he asked ‘Who wrote a book?” Secondly, he was surprised by the content. He said ‘for someone who talks a lot, I realized I knew nothing of your past other than you worked in your Dad’s store from a young age.’ He had met my mother so there were no surprises there.

My eldest son, who was in his twenties when Too Close to the Falls was published, said that now he understood so much more about me. He said my attitude toward work and my loathing of kitchen activity made more sense. He said that he always felt I was different from other mothers, but he couldn’t put his finger on the specifics. He said he first noticed it when he was two years old when we went to the park -- he thought it was strange that I used to swing on the swings with him while the other mothers sat on the benches and talked. (He preferred the latter.)

My twins liked Too Close to the Falls. One of my twins, Sam, was on a train in a remote part of northern India and saw a gorgeous American woman reading Too Close to the Falls. He went up to her and said that his mother wrote the book. She said, “I bet” and he had to show her his driver’s license before she believed him. Then they started dating. He said that he was glad I had written the book as it was a great pick-up line.

By the time I wrote After the Falls it was ten years later and now two things had happened. I was known as a writer, at least in local circles, and my children were now in their thirties.

My husband was not shocked by the book as he has met many of the people who are portrayed within it. I am still close to my friends from high school and he has been present when we have laughed over our past antics. He was surprised by the painful parts of the book as I had never presented that side of the story to him or to anyone.

My eldest son refused to read After the Falls saying he had no desire to know of his mother’s past romances since it was ‘creepy’. I can’t say as I blame him. The Twins read it and both said they were proud of me for having been in the civil rights movement. I have one twin, David, who is now in Sierra Leone, Africa working on a legal commission. He pointed out that while reading the book he realized he was now doing similar work to what I had done over forty years ago.

How much influence did your parent's style have on your parenting methods? Any of your sons remind you of yourself as they grew?

I did not parent as I was parented because I have a completely different personality. I am very type A and I parented that way. My mother had the opposite type of personality. I wish I had parented much more like both of my parents. It would have made life easier on all of us. Kids are going to do pretty much what they want anyway. I did find it difficult to discipline three little boys since I had no idea how to do it. (When I was really bad my mother just went to bed with a headache.) My twins were exactly as wild as I was in school—then add the testosterone. I got paid back –doubly! We had some tough times, as I am sure my parents did, but everyone has turned out well. No one makes me laugh as hard as those guys and I am proud of the fact that they all are involved in careers that directly deal with issues of social responsibility and saving the planet.

Although names are changed, did you hear from anyone from the past after the book(s)were published? What happened at your high school reunion!?

When Too Close to the Falls was published in 1999, both of my parents had long been deceased.I was an only child so I had no relatives. My cousins were nuns and they wrote “My prayers are with you” when they read the book. When I gave a talk in my home town of Lewiston, New York, I was surprised by the hundreds of people who came and who had remembered the delivery car so well. I was happy to find that no one had any real quibbles with the book and most people laughed over some of the scenes. My mother’s old bridge club remembered the scene where they ran out the door when I told them that the local prostitute we delivered drugs to said they were hypocrites and that she saw their husbands more than they had. These people were now in their 80’s and enjoyed reliving all the memories.

After the Falls was supposed to be published at the time of my high school reunion. I had even organized a booth set up to sell it last August at my huge high school in Buffalo. However, the publication was postponed until this November so I have not had any reaction yet. It should be interesting.

Although many events are recounted in After the Falls, is there one that particularly stands out in your mind and why?

There are several surprises in the book. There are also a few traumas. In both cases I have made terrible judgment errors that I will have to live with for the rest of my life. In one I realized that I have been horribly selfish and there was no way to repair the wrong. It was too late to fix it no matter how hard I tried. In the other I had been a naive fool and everyone knew it but me. I had to live with that as well. If I tell you exactly what these moments were you will not be surprised when you read them. I prefer that you realize them as I did -- as a shock.

In After the Falls, you go head to head with civil rights/racism and more. What causes/challenges/etc have caught your interest now?

I have not been involved in any causes since I left civil rights. After leaving that movement under duress, I have never been involved in anything like it ever again. I have had many people ask me to join movements but refused.

Any plans to go beyond age 25 in your memoirs - I know that the third volume is due out in 2011?

The end of the trilogy will be on my wedding day in 1975 at the end of my third volume. (We all know nothing happens after marriage anyway!) My husband and children have made it clear that they do not want to be portrayed in my book. Since there is no way to camouflage them, I will have to turn elsewhere for inspiration.

Cathy, thank you so much for stopping by. I have really enjoyed your books and look forward to the third.  You can catch up with Cathy on Facebook or on Twitter. And I'm quite enamored with her new blog.

Read an excerpt of After the Falls.

I have a copy of After the Falls to giveaway. Open to US and Canada. Leave a comment to be entered. Ends Sunday Nov 28 at 6 pm EST.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

After the Falls - Catherine Gildiner

If you missed Friday's post - I reviewed Catherine Gildiner's first memoir Too Close to the Falls - you know how much I was looking forward to reading the next book in her planned trilogy of memoirs.

Well, After the Falls was just as addicting as the first. For many reasons (Cathy being one of them) she and her family have left Lewison and relocated to Buffalo, NY. The suburb they settle in is completely different than the small town atmosphere of their former home. The house is smaller, her mother no longer has her social clubs and church and her research seems to no longer interest her. Her father is no longer a front line pharmacist and seems to miss the respect that went with his former position in Lewiston. Everything has changed....

Cathy analyzes the lay of the land and plots her plan to fit in - becoming a cheerleader, buying the right clothes, borrowing the family car late at night etc. But 'fitting in' is not in her nature. Although her parents have moved to the Amherst subdivision so that she can be enrolled in a well thought of academic high school, academics aren't a priority.
"My father never said a word about my dismal school record in terms of scholastics or behaviour. He never mentioned the call from the guidance counsellor, Mr. Myshenko, who'd said I was a 'born leader who had gone astray.' I only found out about it when he threatened to call Dad again. When I asked Mr. Myshenko why he had called my father instead of my mother, he said that whenever they called my home and asked the woman who answered if she was the mother of Cathy McClure, she said no."
Cathy is still questioning why things are and what she can do to change them. Having worked so closely with Roy, the black delivery driver for most of her childhood, Cathy is stunned when racism openly appears in her new surroundings. One response? The Black Lawn Jockey Elimination squadron is born. The drive for social justice continues when Cathy attends Ohio University. It is the 60's and the civil rights movement is in full swing. Cathy  falls in love with a young black poet and together they become deeply involved in the fight for equality. She also discovers the joy in learning, finally embracing academics.

After the Falls focuses on much of the turbulent 1960's - civil rights, war, sex, drugs and politics, But, Cathy's relationship with her father plays an integral part of her life during this period. Since the move from Lewiston, their interactions have been adversarial. When her father falls ill, she is forced to re evaluate their relationship.

After the Falls is darker than Too Close to the Falls, dealing with heavier issues. Some of them are disturbing, but all are thought provoking, handled with humour, candor and openness. Gildiner paints a picture of a turbulent time in history as well as allowing us to share in her coming of age during this time. Her writing style is effortless, almost reading as fiction. Highly, highly recommended. I can't wait to read the third memoir.

Read an excerpt of After the Falls.

Make sure you stop by tomorrow for some entertaining Q&A with Cathy Gildiner AND your chance to enter to win a copy of After the Falls.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Giveaway - Safe Haven - Nicholas Sparks

Thanks to the generosity of The Hachette Book Group, I have three audio book copies of Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks to giveaway.

From the publisher:

"When a mysterious young woman named Katie appears in the small North Carolina town of Southport, her sudden arrival raises questions about her past. Beautiful yet self-effacing, Katie seems determined to avoid forming personal ties until a series of events draws her into two reluctant relationships: one with Alex, a widowed store owner with a kind heart and two young children; and another with her plainspoken single neighbor, Jo. Despite her reservations, Katie slowly begins to let down her guard, putting down roots in the close-knit community and becoming increasingly attached to Alex and his family.

But even as Katie begins to fall in love, she struggles with the dark secret that still haunts and terrifies her . . . a past that set her on a fearful, shattering journey across the country, to the sheltered oasis of Southport. With Jo's empathic and stubborn support, Katie eventually realizes that she must choose between a life of transient safety and one of riskier rewards . . . and that in the darkest hour, love is the only true safe haven."

Listen to an excerpt of Safe Haven.

You can find Nicholas Sparks on Facebook and on Twitter.

Simply comment to be entered. Ends Sat. Nov. 27 at 6 pm EST. Open to residents of the U.S. or Canada. No P.O. boxes, please. Winners will be subject to the one copy per household rule, which means that if they win the same title in two or more contests, they will receive only one copy of the title from that publisher.