Monday, December 21, 2009

HP TouchSmart 600 Giveaway at DaddyForever!

Happy Monday everyone! Just wanted to give you all a heads-up on a wonderful opportunity to enter to win the incredible HP TouchSmart 600 computer.
This awesome giveaway is being hosted by DaddyForever and you can get up to 7 entries in for this one.

You need to hurry though because the deadline to enter is Wednesday, Dec.23rd!

So get on over to DaddyForever and get those entries in!

Good Luck.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Blog Tour: A Blue and Gray Christmas by Joan Medlicott

About the book from simon&

In this stunning holiday story, a cache of Civil War-era letters and diaries sweeps the ladies of Covington up into a dramatic and heartwarming historical saga that inspires them to plan an unforgettable Christmas for two families forever changed by war.

When a rusty old tin box is unearthed at the Covington Homestead, longtime housemates Grace, Amelia, and Hannah discover that it contains letters and diaries written by two Civil War soldiers, one Union and one Confederate.

The friends are captivated by the drama revealed. The soldiers were found dying on a nearby battlefield by an old woman. She nursed them back to health, hiding them from bounty hunters seeking deserters. At the end of the war the men chose to stay in Covington, caring for their rescuer as she grew frail. But while their lives were rich, they still felt homesick and guilty for never contacting the families they'd left behind.

Christmas is coming, and the letters inspire Amelia with a generous impulse. What if she and her friends were to find the two soldiers' descendants and invite them to Covington to meet? What better holiday gift could there be than the truth about these two heroic men and their dramatic shared fate? With little time left, the ladies spring into action to track down the men's families in Connecticut and the Carolinas, and to make preparations in Covington for their most memorable, most historic Christmas yet

My Thoughts:

I joined this blog tour thinking this might be a charming holiday story, but I realized a few pages into the book
that this was a flat-out good read.

After discovering a cache of old letters and diaries, three best friends, Hannah, Amelia and Grace set out to reunite the lost families of two Civil-War soldiers.

A very charming and inspiring tale that also has a sub-plot of how three "Golden Girls" reinvented their lives anew, and met the challenges that life as a Senior had brought them.

Book Tour Participants:

Books Reviews by Buuklvr81
The Life (and Lies) of an Inanimate Flying Object
Good Books & Wine
I Read
Morbid Romantic
Book Junkie
Drey’s Library
My Book Addiction and More
Red Headed Book Child
Blog Business World
My Reading Room
Frugal Plus
Book Magic
All About {n}
The Bibliophilic Book Blog
One Person’s Journey Through a World of Books
Psychotic State
That’s a Novel Idea
My Friend Amy
Brizmus Blogs About Books
Found Not Lost
Jen’s Book Talk
The Princess and the Monkey
Marta’s Meanderings
Broken Teepee
Books, Books Everywhere
Books, Books, The Magical Fruit
Reading at the Beach

About the author:
Joan Medlicott was born and raised on St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. She lives with her husband in the mountains of North Carolina. Visit her website at

Pocket, November 2009
Hardcover, 336 pages
ISBN-10: 1-4165-9735-2
ISBN-13: 978-1-4165-9735-3

I received my review copy for this tour courtesy of Simon &

Monday, December 7, 2009

BOGO Today at!

It's 2 for the price of 1 Monday at

You need to hurry though-this is a 24 hour only special, and the clock is ticking!
This is a great time to pick up an extra pair of prescription glasses and while you're there, check out their Deal of the Week on these great frames.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Old Gringo Boots-A Love Affair

There are boots and there are boots.
And then there are Old Gringo boots.

I've long lusted after this brand but they've always been just a tad too pricey for my limited (sigh...) shoe budget.
Even on Ebay they go like hotcakes if you can actually find a pair without a high reserve to bid on.
I have a few times, and although I pride myself on being a crafty sniper when faced with a bidding war, some wily shoe maven has always beaten me to the punch...damn her.
I finally found a fairly reasonably priced pair over at a website called Actually there were a few that I liked but I chose the ones pictured above.

First off let me say that these boots are so pretty that I just want to display them somewhere so everyone can see the details.
The distressed leather is so soft and the craftsmanship that went into making these boots is just meticulous.
Now a few words about the fit.
A good fitting cowboy boot is different than what you expect or want in a regular shoe.
The foot should feel snug across the instep and will be a little loose about the heel until they are broken-in. As you break them in, the heel will naturally conform to your foot. Here is a great little guide to properly fitting a western boot.
No way in hell is your foot ever supposed to reach all the way into the toe box..can you imagine the pain?
Always buy your boot true to size. Unfortunately some people think that the classic western style boots "run big", and will order a half or full size lower than normal.
This is a common mistake.

Now as far as comfort goes my pair of Old Gringos would have been absolutely perfect if only for one important detail...the insole.
Or lack of one to be precise.

Don't get me wrong-these boots are gorgeous with leather detailing inside and out, but they have no padding whatsoever and I'm at the age where I don't care how good a shoe looks on the outside, if there is no shock-absorption in the heels and at the ball of my great toe, I won't be doing much dancing or anything else in them.

This problem was easily solved by inserting a pair of good old Dr. Scholl's foam insoles, but for the price of these boots I really wish this were not necessary.
Take Dan Post boots for example, another one of my favorite brands-their insoles are outstanding-more comfortable than sneakers in my opinion.

I don't know if this is true of all Old Gringo boots or just for the style I bought, but don't let this deter you from this brand. The more I wear them the more I love them, and I've received tons of compliments.
I'm already saving up for my next pair.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Review: Life After 187 by Wade J. Halverson

Penal Code 187:
Murder, to take the Life of another...

About the book from

Sentenced to life in prison when he executes the men who murdered his wife, Kane Silver is singled out by the warden for his fighting ability. Along with inmates Valentino Lopez and Si’Ling Lee, Kane is drafted into service and forced to fight for money in high-stakes tournaments. But when the three friends escape during a New Year’s Eve match in Lake Tahoe—saving the warden’s life in the process—their situation becomes more complicated.

Their status undetermined, they vanish underground and sign on to help a young woman whose parents are being held by an Argentinean drug kingpin. Follow Kane and his friends as they compete and grow closer while rediscovering what it means to be free. From Lake Tahoe and the western United States to Costa Rica, Hong Kong, Buenos Aires, and Thailand, Life After 187 takes readers on an exhilarating ride filled with big money, intense action, justice, and the pursuit of honor

My thoughts:

What a thrill ride! This book grabbed me right from the get-go and kept me glued to my seat with every twist and turn of the page.
The hero, Kane Silver is a charismatic figure who due to the most unfortunate of circumstances, finds himself teamed up with two ex cons, and even though the scenario was incredulous at times, the fast-paced action of their adventures has left me wanting to know more about this trio.
Bravo Mr. Halverson-this was a great read!

About the Author from

Wade J. Halverson is the author of the 187 book series. For the past twenty years he has owned kickboxing gyms and has worked as a bodyguard. Living in Alaska, Miami, Colorado, Thailand, and Los Angeles. He currently resides in Southern California.

Readers may correspond with him at:

Paperback: 238 pages
Publisher: Xlibris Corporation (August 4, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1441540261
ISBN-13: 978-1441540263

I received my review copy of this book courtesy of the author.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Enter The Coach Handbag Giveaway Extravaganza!

If I had a Fairy Godmother like Cinderella,
I'd definitely want her to turn my pumpkin into a Coach but only if it were the kind I could carry on my arm!

I was just over visiting at The Fashionable Housewife's blog and Yowsa!
She is taking part in the most fabulous giveaway of this Holiday season.

She's teamed up with none other than Coach as one of the blogs that are participating in their "Holiday Blog-A-Day Handbag Giveaway"

Be sure and visit her blog and check out all the different ways you can gain entries to win a gorgeous bag just like the one pictured above.

You have until Dec.20th at 11:59 pm est to enter.
Good Luck!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Review: Children Of Dust by Ali Eteraz


Ali Eteraz's Children of Dust is a spellbinding portrayal of a life that few Americans can imagine. From his schooling in a madrassa in Pakistan to his teenage years as a Muslim American in the Bible Belt, and back to Pakistan to find a pious Muslim wife, this lyrical, penetrating saga from a brilliant new literary voice captures the heart of our universal quest for identity.

Children of Dust begins in rural Islam at the lowest levels of Pakistani society in the turbulent eighties. This intimate portrayal of rustic village life is revealed through a young boy's eyes as he discovers magic, women, and friendship.

After immigrating with his family to the United States, Eteraz struggles to be a normal American teenager under the rules of a strict Muslim household.

In 1999, he returns to Pakistan to find the villages of his youth dominated by the ideology of the Taliban, filled with young men spouting militant rhetoric, and his extended family under threat. Eteraz becomes the target of a mysterious abduction plot when he is purported to be a CIA agent, and eventually has to escape under military escort.

Back in the United States, with his fundamentalist illusions now shattered, Eteraz tries to find a middle way within American Islam. At each stage of Eteraz's life, he takes on a different identity to signal his evolution. From being pledged to Islam in Mecca as an infant, through Salafi fundamentalism, to liberal reformer, Eteraz desperately struggles to come to terms with being a Pakistani and a Muslim.

Astonishingly honest, darkly comic, and beautifully told, Children of Dust is an extraordinary adventure that reveals the diversity of Islamic beliefs, the vastness of the Pakistani diaspora, and the very human search for home

My thoughts:
I was interested in reading this book because since Nine-Eleven, I have attempted to gain some understanding into the Muslim beliefs and culture.
This book is a memoir of one man's reflection of his life growing up in the Islam faith. It begins with his humble childhood in Pakistan, and extends through his immigration to the US, ending up as a teenager in Alabama, then back to Pakistan.

The religious zeal with which he was brought up was actually not unlike a couple of people that I knew back in grammar school.
I knew a couple of girls in my class who weren't allowed to cut their hair or wear pants. There was no television in their household, no dancing or rock'n'roll, and wearing make-up was of course, out of the question.
Not surprisingly, it was these same girls who rebelled the loudest when we were all thrust into high school.
As they began to question their parents beliefs, and search for their own identities, out came the scissors and the eyeshadow.I recall one of them coming to school with huge welts on her calves from the whipping she'd received from her mother after she had defiantly taken a razor and shaved her legs for gym class.

Back then it wasn't considered child abuse for a parent to do that.

The Author's detailed descriptions of his youthful upbringing left me amazed at the all encompassing fervor of the Islam faith.
So many details and points to remember and live by. And the punishments seemed barbaric and harsh. At least to me.
I also couldn't help but wonder at the almost superstitious beliefs that the adults held on to and instilled in their young.
When his baby brother died, the women of the household actually blamed it on a barren sister-in law, as if she'd cast some sort of spell or curse in this case.
After reading this memoir I can't help but be grateful that over-zealous, religious baggage was the one thing that I didn't have to drag with me into adulthood.
Why should Life be such a struggle?
Thank you Mama.

About the Author from
Ali Eteraz, author of Children of Dust: A Memoir of Pakistan, was born in Pakistan and has lived in the Middle East, the Caribbean, and the United States. A graduate of Emory University and Temple Law School, he was selected for the Outstanding Scholar's Program at the United States Department of Justice and later worked in corporate litigation in Manhattan. He is a regular contributor to True/Slant; has published articles about Islam and Pakistani politics in Dissent, Foreign Policy, AlterNet, and altMuslim; and is a regular contributor to The Guardian UK and Dawn, Pakistan's oldest English-language daily. His blog in the Islamosphere received nearly two million views as well as a Brass Crescent award for originality. Eteraz has spoken publicly about the situation inside Pakistan, Islamic reform, and Muslim immigration. He currently divides his time between Princeton, New jersey, and the Middle East, and is working on a novel.

Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: HarperOne; 1st edition (October 13, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061567086
ISBN-13: 978-0061567087

I received my review copy of this book courtesy of FSB

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

ALERT! HP Touchsmart 600 Computer Giveaway!

While perusing my emails this morning I came across this incredible giveaway that is going on at Jolly Mom's blog.

She's bringing us a fabulous giveaway with this incredible prize of the HP TouchSmart 600 computer valued at $1,497 retail! How awesome is that?
If you're in the market to upgrade your old machine (or etch-a-sketch with a cord as I fondly refer to mine) you'll want to get on over to JollyMom's and get your entry in.

The giveaway officially launches Monday, Nov.23 but JollyMom's generously offering us the opportunity to get in a few extra entries early on so click on over there and see what it's all about!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Review:The Manufactured Identity by Heath Sommer

I invite you to read this FIRST CHAPTER. As I was invited to read it by the author himself.

My thoughts:
The Manufactured Identity tells the story of lives that are connected by deceit of the worst kind.
Imagine if the person that you have spent your life with, and built a relationship with did not even really exist?
Their whole identity simply made-up.
How would you feel?
Would it change your perceptions of your memories of time spent with this person?
Would you begin to even doubt your own existence, if someone squandered your love and time this way?
Suppose you learned there were others involved.
Just like you.
Innocent and unaware.

Lory Latchley's husband is missing.
Unfortunately, several other ladies partner's have flown the coop also.

As Lory seeks to unravel the mystery of her husband's disappearance, she stumbles upon a common thread that ties them all together in this absorbing and suspenseful tale.
As a reader I found myself drawn in to Lory's character, and I kept reading to learn each new discovery about her husband as she made them.

While some of the characters storylines seemed disjointed, I knew they were all going to tie together somehow, but I admit that the ending surprised me.
This is probably one of the best psychological thrillers I've read all year.

About the author:

Doctor Heath Sommer earned his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Idaho State University and holds an additional degree in Marriage, Family, and Human Development. A native of Sacramento, California, he has enjoyed many opportunities for public speaking and regularly conducts workshops/gives lectures on psychologically related as well as theologically related domains. In addition to his literary interests, Dr. Sommer specializes in the assessment and treatment of trauma, anxiety, and marriage, family, and child development.

For further information please visit the author's website at

Paperback: 308 pages
Publisher: Tate Publishing & Enterprises (June 23, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1606965506
ISBN-13: 978-1606965504

Disclosure:I received my review copy of this book courtesy of the author Heath Sommer.

And The Winner's Are...

The Funky silver bracelet goes to:

Pamela S said...
I love the "Rome" earrings. pamelashockley(AT)netscape(DOT)net

The Glacier earrings go to:

erma said...
I like the Hip Hoop Bling gold.

Congratulations to Pamela and Erma and a big Thank You to everyone who entered my impromptu little giveaway!

Remember if you didn't win you can always get the items at and be sure to sign up for their emails 'coz there is always something great happening there.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Blog Tour: To Desire A Devil by Elizabeth Hoyt

About the book from

Reynaud St. Aubyn has spent the last seven years in hellish captivity. Now half mad with fever he bursts into his ancestral home and demands his due. Can this wild-looking man truly be the last earl's heir, thought murdered by Indians years ago?

Beatrice Corning, the niece of the present earl, is a proper English miss. But she has a secret: No real man has ever excited her more than the handsome youth in the portrait in her uncle's home. Suddenly, that very man is here, in the flesh-and luring her into his bed.

Only Beatrice can see past Reynaud's savagery to the noble man inside. For his part, Reynaud is drawn to this lovely lady, even as he is suspicious of her loyalty to her uncle. But can Beatrice's love tame a man who will stop at nothing to regain his title-even if it means sacrificing her innocence?

Elizabeth Hoyt has done it again with this fourth installment of The Legend of the Four Soldiers series. In To Desire a Devil we follow the steamy and delicious tale of Viscount Reynaud St. Aubyn and Lady Beatrice Corning.
If you missed the first three books in this series
To Taste Temptation, To Beguile A Beast,and To Seduce a Sinner,
-not to worry.
Each is a "Stand-Alone" saga by themselves.

Be sure and check out these other stops along the tour for reviews and giveaways!
Tour stops:

Oct. 30: My Overstuffed Bookshelf, Maria's Space, Just Another New Blog,
Oct. 31: Bookin' with Bingo
Nov. 1: Froggaritaville's Bookcase,
Nov. 2: Readaholic
Nov. 3: Reading with Monie
Nov. 4: I'm Booking It, Book Soulmates, A Journey of Books, Find the Time to Read
Nov. 5: Bookfan, Seductive Musings
Nov. 6: Found Not Lost,Book Junkie
Nov. 7:Starting Fresh
Nov. 8: 'Manda Blogs About...
Nov. 10: My Reading Room, Anna's Book Blog
Nov. 11: Morbid Romantic
Nov. 12: The Eclectic Book Lover I ♥ Book Gossip

About the author from

Elizabeth Hoyt is a USA Today bestselling author of historical romance. She also writes deliciously fun contemporary romance under the name Julia Harper. Elizabeth lives in central Illinois with three untrained dogs, two angelic but bickering children, and one long-suffering husband. Please visit her websites for chapter excerpts, book extras, and author appearances: and

Disclosure: My copy of To Desire a Devil was provided courtesy of the Hachette Book Group for this blog tour.
Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Vision (November 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0446406945
ISBN-13: 978-0446406949

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Review: Feddie Girl by Nona David

Back Blurb: from

Carlotta Ikedi (A.k.a Feddie Girl) has never liked school. Not in California. Not in Oklahoma. When her exasperated parents ship her off to boarding school–in West Africa–Carlotta faces a life, culture, and existence unlike anything she’s ever known.

School rules and regulations, rising bell, lights-out, manual labor, inspections, dining time, prefects, punishments, mean bunk mates, and visiting days–it’s all here. But author Nona David takes Carlotta’s story a step further when her adventure’s lead to unfortunate incidents that threaten to drive her American family into the clutches of infidelity and organized crime.

Boarding school doesn’t get any better than this…

For those who have experienced the boarding school life, the adventures of Feddie Girl will bring those memories crashing back… For anyone else, get ready to see the world as Feddie Girl.

My thoughts:

I love to promote reading, especially for teens so I picked up Feddie Girl, and after skimming the back cover
I thought "Oh good, a YA book I'll pass along to one of my nieces after I'm through".
Not entirely so though as I was soon to discover.
The central character Carlotta aka Feddie girl, an almost stereotypical rebellious teen is after all, a product of her upbringing, whose parents I found dysfunctional as well.
Ward and June Cleaver they are not.

You have a philandering father with a somewhat shady past, and an alcoholic mother whose solution to being called to the Principal's office one too many times is to ship their daughter off to boarding school, preferably one halfway around the world.
And not just any boarding school.

Federal Government Girls College Uddah-or FGGC Uddah- is not your typical finishing school for well-bred young ladies, as Carlotta soon discovers. Thus begins Carlotta's life at Sapphire House where she soon learns to adapt to the rather institutionalized, somewhat rigid curriculum with rules set forth by the Senior girls or "Prefects" as they are called.

The cover of this book bears the description of "The Hilarious Adventures of an American Teen in a Nigerian Federal School"
I kept waiting to be amused, but maybe something got lost in translation because nothing that happened to Carlotta tickled my funny bone.

The book periodically would jump back to Carlotta's parents Richard and Shelley, but mainly told the story of Carlotta's adjustments and maladjustment's at school.There were also some rather improbable plot twists towards the end of the book which frankly, left me a little bewildered. Perhaps you had to have attended boarding school to appreciate this "adventure".

About the author from

Nona David currently lives with her husband in Cincinnati Ohio. She has a passion for foreign cultures and zeal to visit new places, learn new languages, and experience new things. Her background, friends, and experiences in Nigeria, West Africa is the major influence for her debut novel, FEDDIE GIRL...

disclosure: I received my copy of this book for review courtesy of

TITLE: Feddie Girl: The Hilarious Adventures of an American Teen in a Nigerian Federal School
AUTHOR: Nona David
GENRE: Women's Fiction, International Adventure, Thriller
PUBLISHER: Bernard Books Publishing
TARGET AGE: 13 and above
ISBN: 978-0-9824526-0-8


Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Fabulous Twisted Little Giveaway!

It's no secret that I love to win stuff-who doesn't? Right?
And among my favorite things to try and win is jewelry.
Especially the cutting-edge, trendy jewelry like they have at Twisted Silver

I was fortunate enough to be selected as a winner during a recent giveaway at and as part of my prize I got to select 2 incredible pieces of jewelry from Twisted Silver-Yay Me!

Unfortunately (or maybe not;))due to a recent move, my prize went to my old address and I never received it.
I wrote to Elizabeth at Twisted Silver and she tracked the package for me and discovered the mistake. Being the awesome person that she is, she immediately sent me out a duplicate package, as it appeared that the original was being returned to her.
Imagine my surprise (and embarrassment) when 2 identical packages containing both items of jewelry showed up in my mail on the same day? Gotta love the Post Office right?
Well now for the fun part.
I immediately emailed Elizabeth about my prize faux pas, and I rather boldly proposed doing a giveaway here instead of returning the duplicate items.
To my delight (but not surprise because as I mentioned Elizabeth is an awesome and amazing gal,) she agreed that a giveaway would be a smashing idea!

So here goes! There will be 2 winners!
First prize will be the incredible Funky Silver Bracelet
And I will draw a second winner for a lovely pair of Glacier Earrings.
Let me describe these items a bit for you-the pictures do not do them justice.
The Funky Silver bracelet is huge! It is bold and shiny-It rolls up and down your wrist with the trademark Twisted Tag dangling and jingling-I tell you, it is a party for your arm-I love mine!

The Glacier earrings are rather elegant-long and sexy with a light catching crystal bead on the ends.They are perfect for the upcoming holidays.

For an entry just click on over to Twisted Silver and come back here and leave a comment telling me which piece of jewelry is your favorite. Make sure to leave your email address in your comment, so I'll have a way to contact you if you win. You can get a 2nd entry if you follow my blog but please leave a 2nd comment letting me know.

Additional RULES-Please Read!
This contest is open to USA and Canada.
Deadline for entering is November 15th 2009 at 11:59 pm eastern standard time.
The Winners will be drawn the following day and notified by the email address they provided in their comment.
They will have 48 hours to respond with their shipping info or I will choose an alternate winner.
The prizes will be shipped directly from me.

Good Luck Everyone!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Get Your Read On: A Highlander's Temptation by Sue Ellen Welfonder

About the book from

Darroc MacConacher spends sleepless nights dreaming of a raven-haired beauty who makes him ache with desire. Then his dream comes true: the lady with her lush curves and fair skin appears shipwrecked on his shores. Darroc is immediately drawn to her strength and beauty, and from the moment she lays eyes on this powerful, broad-shouldered warrior, Lady Arabella MacKenzie knows she'll never want another man.

But theirs is a forbidden love. The MacKenzies drove the MacConachers from their lands and destroyed their honor. Now, Darroc can use this sapphire-eyed seductress to shatter his foes. Yet how can he deny the passion that burns between him and Arabella, and ruin the one woman who touches his very soul?

Whew! I was in the mood for a little romance reading and I'm so glad I grabbed this one up.
There are a couple of elements that always make for a great romance book, and one of them is of course the Love Triangle.
My next favorite hook is Forbidden Love.
It worked for Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet, and it still works today in A Highlander's Temptation, only so smoking hot that it would curl the Bard's hair if he read it.

The characters are well-defined and the Author's use of Scottish dialect will have you wanting your own castle by a misty loch for an afternoon tryst with his lordship...aye...
Throw in a romantic historical setting like the windswept shores of medieval Scotland and you've got yourself an afternoon of curled-up in your favorite spot, self-indulgent reading-and isn't that what a good romance book is all about?
My thanks to Anna from for my review copy.

About the author from

Sue-Ellen Welfonder is a dedicated medievalist of Scottish descent who spent fifteen years living abroad, and still makes annual research trips to Great Britain. She is an active member of the Romance Writers of America and her own clan, the MacFie Society of North America. Under the pseudonym Allie Mackay, she has also written contemporary Scottish-set paranormals for Signet. Sue-Ellen Welfonder is married and lives with her husband, Manfred, and their Jack Russell Terrier, Em, in Florida.

Blog Tour: 9 Dragons by Michael Connelly

About the book from

LAPD Detective Harry Bosch is off the chain in the fastest, fiercest, and highest-stakes case of his life.

Fortune Liquors is a small shop in a tough South L.A. neighborhood, a store Bosch has known for years. The murder of John Li, the store's owner, hits Bosch hard, and he promises Li's family that he'll find the killer.

The world Bosch steps into next is unknown territory. He brings in a detective from the Asian Gang Unit for help with translation--not just of languages but also of the cultural norms and expectations that guided Li's life. He uncovers a link to a Hong Kong triad, a lethal and far-reaching crime ring that follows many immigrants to their new lives in the U.S.

And instantly his world explodes. The one good thing in Bosch's life, the person he holds most dear, is taken from him and Bosch travels to Hong Kong in an all-or-nothing bid to regain what he's lost. In a place known as Nine Dragons, as the city's Hungry Ghosts festival burns around him, Bosch puts aside everything he knows and risks everything he has in a desperate bid to outmatch the triad's ferocity.

I am excited to be part of the 9 Days of 9 Dragons book tour.
Award-winning author Michael Connelly, has written another fast-paced thriller with the twists and turns his books are known for, and crime-fiction addicts will not be disappointed.

Although homicide detective Harry Bosch is a recurring character from Connolly's' earlier work beginning with The Black Echo, don't let it stop you from picking up this book, even if you've never read the earlier books.

This book is a "stand alone" roller-coaster ride all the way through the final pages.
Be warned though, after reading 9 Dragons you're going to want to go out and read those other Harry Bosch books.

My thanks to Miriam From Hatchette Book Groups for my copy.

Check out the other tour stops along the way for other reviews and giveaways, and visit for news, excerpts and more.

Blog Tour Participants:









Friday, October 16, 2009

Winners-We Have Winners!

A big "Thank You" goes out to everyone who entered my giveaway for Bo's Cafe'.
All of the winners have been notified and I am waiting for their replies for confirmation.
Without further ado they are:


The Book Pixie-confirmed

So if you see your name here-Congratulations and be sure and check your email and reply with your mailing address.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Blog Tour and Giveaway:Bo's Cafe' by John Lynch, Bill Thrall and Bruce McNicol

About the book from

High-powered executive Steven Kerner is living the dream in southern California. But when his bottled pain ignites in anger one night, his wife kicks him out. Then an eccentric mystery man named Andy Monroe befriends Steven and begins unravelling his tightly wound world. Andy leads Steven through a series of frustrating and revealing encounters to repair his life through genuine friendship and the grace and love of a God who has been waiting for him to accept it. A story to challenge and encourage, BO'S CAFE is a model for all who struggle with unresolved problems and a performance-based life.

Steven Kerner is your typical "A-type" personality.
Over-worked and over-stressed, he finds salvation through an unlikely encounter with a group of B-types (or, are they?)
This book is for anyone who has ever felt at the end of their rope-I swear my blood pressure went down just by reading it. You'll stop and think, you may just be tempted to take the book and go sit in a park or garden to read it-this is the mood it will put you in-if you allow it. :-)
Bo's Cafe' is a collaboration, written by John Lynch, Bill Thrall, and Bruce McNicol.
You can learn more about these writers by visiting here.

I am pleased as punch to be participating in my very first Blog Tour and Giveaway.
To learn more about the book Bo's Cafe' please visit and check out the other tour stops below for reviews, author Q&A and more chances to win.

Participating Blogs:

September 28th

September 29th

September 30th

October 1st

October 2nd

Thanks to Miriam at The Hatchette Book Group, I have 5 copies of this book to give to 5 lucky commenter's.

If you'd like to win this book, just leave a comment about which personality traits you most identify yourself with (Type A-multi-tasking over-achieving stress-junkie, or Type B,patient, relaxed, easy-going-or maybe you're a combination of both?) IMPORTANT! Include your email address-leave it in code if you like-example:you(at)yahoo(dot)com. After all, I can't notify you that you win otherwise!
I will notify the winners individually by email for their shipping address to forward to Miriam at the Hatchette Book Group. The winners will have 48 hours to reply with their shipping info, or I will draw new winners.

The winners will receive their books directly from Hatchette. Sorry no PO boxes.
This contest is open to US and Canada.
This giveaway ends on October 15th at midnight EST.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Review: Playing House a novel by Fredrica Wagman

About the book from FSB Media:

When Playing House appeared in 1973, Publishers Weekly hailed it, "A probing descent into madness that will fascinate the same audience that appreciated I Never Promised You a Rose Garden." This nationally bestselling story of one woman’s struggle with the lasting effects of a childhood sexual relationship with her brother shocked American readers; it remains a literary work of enduring quality and value. In his foreword Philip Roth writes, "The traumatized child; the institutionalized wife; the haunting desire; the ghastly business of getting through the day -- what is striking about Wagman's treatment of these contemporary motifs is the voice of longing in which the heroine shamelessly confesses to the incestuous need that is at once her undoing and her only hope."

When I began this book I wasn't quite sure what to expect.
I knew it was about incest.
I quickly realized that I needed to put other thoughts aside to be able to fully grasp the story.
If you've ever read I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, or even to some extent, The Catcher In The Rye then you'll know what I'm talking about.
This novel is a first person narrative told by someone with a shattered psyche.
You hear the child and the woman's voices interwoven throughout the story.
The voice is different, yet it is one and the same.

I could feel the intense anger and the deep yearning for something that she could never get back. She could never rationalize her feelings, or the events that took place. In telling the story, she never tries to. She simply can't. Everything stopped for her.

While some readers may perceive that the narrator was longing for the taboo relationship she had with her cruel sociopath brother,
I felt that what she truly wanted was her childhood.
Unspoiled. Pure. Innocent.
She was never a child. But she also never matured.
Everything was frozen in time with her lost innocence.

While one is tempted to make the brother the one villain, the whole dysfunctional family dynamic comes into play in this tale.
The absentee father. The cold uncaring mother. The suicidal sister. They are not without blame. And one senses that they are also victims with their own stories to tell.
This narrative is a haunting portrait of one woman's life in a curious and sad limbo.

My thanks to Julie from FSB Media for my review copy.

About the Author:

Fredrica Wagman is the author of six previous novels. She has four grown children and lives with her husband in New York City.

For more information, view Fredrica Wagman's Web site

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Coveted Zombie Chicken Award

Recipients of this award believe in the Tao of the zombie chicken – excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all.

Rachel over at Bookwormwannabe has bestowed the much sought-after Zombie Chicken award to me, so rather than face the wrath of the Feathery Fowl, I must pass it along to 5 other worthy bloggers.

Without further ado, I hereby bestow this most coveted of bloggy awards to the following blogs. Some I've followed for a while, and some are new discoveries.
Check them out!

1-Mandatory Blog Here

2-The Peach Tart

3-Chaotic Compendiums


5-The Ladies Room

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Review: Deconstructing Sammy by Matt Birkbeck

Book Description from

Adored by millions, Sammy Davis Jr. was considered an entertainment icon and a national treasure. But despite lifetime earnings that topped $50 million, Sammy died in 1990 near bankruptcy.

Years later his once-vivacious wife, Altovise, heir to one of the greatest entertainment legacies of the twentieth century, was living in poverty. With nowhere else to turn, she asked a former federal prosecutor, Albert “Sonny” Murray, to try to resolve Sammy's debts and restore his estate. For seven years Sonny probed Sammy's life and came to understand the tormented artist as a man of tragic complexity.

Deconstructing Sammy is the extraordinary story of an international celebrity whose outsize talent couldn't save him from himself.

I was eager to read this book. I find that one of the most fascinating facts of our celebrity culture has always been their ability to continue earning long after they have left us.
They cease to be individuals and in fact, become corporations and icons, their names and likenesses a logo, with every part of their existence licensed and trademarked.

According to Forbes, Elvis Presley was the top earner in 2008 for the 2nd year in a row, pulling in an impressive $52 million dollars...(which is incidentally, 8 million more than Justin Timberlake earned, and 12 million more than Madonna, who are both still alive and kickin'.)

And depending on which source you read, there are reports that Michael Jackson has already topped $100 million just since his death in June.
To quote Forbes reporter Peter Hoy "While things might be topsy-turvy in the financial markets above ground, it's still a bull market in the boneyard."

So my question is not why did a cultural icon of the sixties and seventies like Sammy Davis Junior die over 15 million dollars in debt and owing half of that to the IRS,
but how come 20 years later his estate is still in shambles?

By all accounts Sammy should still be bringing home the bacon with his heirs enjoying a handsome income from their father's legacy. He was Mister Bojangles, he was the Candyman, (ironically that hit was a song that Sammy hated and didn't want to record) There would've been books, a movie deal or two, merchandising, and royalties that should have long ago satisfied the IRS and other outstanding debts.

He was part of The Rat Pack, that infamous group that included Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, who ruled Vegas for almost a decade.
These men, or rather their estates still earn tidy sums of money posthumously-why doesn't Sammy?

Matt Birkbeck has written an in depth probe into the entertainer's life and death and all that followed afterward.
It's a tragic report of greed, excess, and mismanagement.
This book was so well researched and written, that it held me enthralled from start to finish. I knew I was watching a train wreck but I couldn't look away.

I guess I am always amazed to see that someone who had it all could end up with so little, and this book is a hard lesson on what happens to someone who chooses to live their life "In the moment".

My thanks to Kateri Benjamin of Harper Collins for my review copy.

About the author: from

Matt Birkbeck is an author and award-winning investigative journalist. A reporter for the Morning Call, he has written for the New York Times, Reader's Digest, People Magazine, Boston Magazine, and the Philadelphia Inquirer. He is the author of Deconstructing Sammy, the critically acclaimed book on Sammy Davis, Jr.; A Beautiful Child - the remarkable true story of a brilliant young woman raised by the felon who kidnapped her as a toddler - and A Deadly Secret, which was the subject of an MSNBC documentary. He also coauthored Till Death Do Us Part with Dr. Robi Ludwig.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Review: The Man Who Loved Books Too Much by Allison Hoover Bartlett


Rare-book theft is even more widespread than fine-art theft. Most thieves, of course, steal for profit. John Charles Gilkey steals purely for the love of books. In an attempt to understand him better, journalist Allison Hoover Bartlett plunged herself into the world of book lust and discovered just how dangerous it can be.

Gilkey is an obsessed, unrepentant book thief who has stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of rare books from book fairs, stores, and libraries around the country. Ken Sanders is the self-appointed “bibliodick” (book dealer with a penchant for detective work) driven to catch him. Bartlett befriended both outlandish characters and found herself caught in the middle of efforts to recover hidden treasure. With a mixture of suspense, insight, and humor, she has woven this entertaining cat-and-mouse chase into a narrative that not only reveals exactly how Gilkey pulled off his dirtiest crimes, where he stashed the loot, and how Sanders ultimately caught him but also explores the romance of books, the lure to collect them, and the temptation to steal them. Immersing the reader in a rich, wide world of literary obsession, Bartlett looks at the history of book passion, collection, and theft through the ages, to examine the craving that makes some people willing to stop at nothing to possess the books they love.

I love to read but I am not a bibliophile.
Perhaps that is why I had trouble getting into this particular book.
Or maybe I just don't care for the subject matter.
And I don't mean collecting rare books.
I'm referring to thieves.

It's the true story of John Gilkey, a man who stole a fortune in rare books simply for the pleasure of owning them.
It's also the story of Ken Sanders,a book dealer/detective, who made it his mission to put John Gilkey and his like behind bars.

Gilkey is just like any other sociopath.
From the author's interviews, he presents as narcissistic, and totally unrepentant of his crimes, although he robbed legitimate collectors of their treasures.

He doesn't feel that what he's done is wrong,
and he repeatedly justifies himself for his deeds.
Even the simple act of being put on hold by an unsuspecting bookstore clerk
during a phone call, makes him feel validated in robbing the same store.

Not to mention all of the stolen credit card numbers he used to "purchase" the books with.
Anyone who has ever had their credit information stolen, and suffered fraudulent charges,and knows what a pain in the ass it is to straighten the mess out, will not feel empathy for this man.

I sometimes felt that the author was trying to (maybe unintentionally) romanticize this man, because after all, it's not like he was some drug-addled thug who stole simply to sell the books for profit.
He was a collector. He truly loved his acquisitions. He wanted to build himself a fine library.
He just didn't feel that he had to pay for his hobby like everyone else.

That having been said, I don't give a rats patooty how much he adores and cherishes books, he is nothing but a thief-plain and simple.
Frankly, I don't know if he was worth the couple of years this author spent interviewing him, let alone, writing a book about.
And those are my thoughts.

Like I said before, I'm not a bibliophile,
but as I also stated, I do love to read, so my thanks to Lydia from The Penguin Book Group for my review copy.
This book has a release date of September 17th.

About the author from

Allison Hoover Bartlett's writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post,, the San Francisco Chronicle Magazine, and the San Francisco Magazine, among others. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and two children.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Award Time Again!

I just got an awesome award from Rachel over at Bookworm Wannabe
If you haven't checked her blog out yet I highly recommend doing so.
You'll find great reviews and fun book giveaways there!

Now I am going to pass this sweet award onto some other people with great content.

B-loody Good Blog- Bloody Bad a Book Blog
I-nvestigative Blog- True Crime Book Reviews
N-aughty but Nice Blog- Seductive Musings
G-enerous and giving Blog- Sweeps4Bloggers
O-utrageously funny blog- Pretty But Shallow

Amazing What a Little Paint Can Do.

We decided to paint.
It came out so nice that it made us realize how shabby the carpet looked, so up came the carpet and I talked Yankeeman into hardwood.
He's a do-it-yourself-er, so the floor is about halfway done but looking beautiful.
So beautiful that the furniture looks like recycled yard sale decor in it's reflection.
So with his blessing, I have been touring the furniture stores looking for sales.

Next comes the kitchen. Of course we can't do the kitchen and just leave the same old bathroom.
Then the bedrooms.
I may end up with a new house out of this yet.
All because we decided to paint.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Review: The Sum of His Syndromes by K.B.Dixon

About the Book from

“This is a strangely, enigmatic novel, which is kind of addictive, the story of a young man on the cusp of something . . . With passages that are so well turned they can be called lyrical—and others that are laugh out loud funny. This is the kind of book where we see a bit of ourselves and grimace—but keep reading.” —A.M. Homes

The Sum of His Syndromes is a wry, odd, idiosyncratic book. A collage of notes written in a sixth-floor men’s room, it is the story of a dissatisfied, slightly disturbed young man named David who has found himself at a personal and professional crossroads. He has a job he hates, but cannot leave, and a girl he loves, but cannot fully understand. With help from his friend, Peter, and his therapist, the irrepressible Dr. Costa, he struggles to make sense of his complicated young life.

A fractured, fragmented, unconventional narrative, Syndromes offers a comic look at office angst, contemporary psychiatric practice and romantic uncertainty.

A conglomeration of thoughts, observations, commentary, overheard conversations and cameo appearances, its story—David and Kate’s story emerges surreptitiously from this innovative presentation of a confused and chaotic time.

This little (126 pages) novel is a first-hand collection of observations told by a young man named David as he sits in the men's room at work.
Through his comments we learn about David's relationships with his therapist Dr. C., co-workers, best friend Peter, and girlfriend Kate.

Almost like reading someone's journal, I followed along David's commentary,
often funny, sometimes sad, and I began to wonder if this was all leading to some psychological break-through for him or, maybe he was just going to go "postal" one day.

He clearly hates his job and loves Kate.
He's also very insecure in his relationship with her.
He refuses to let his therapist prescribe antidepressants for him, and one senses that he is in fact, waiting for some sort of epiphany that will give meaning to everything.
Or,(to quote Jack Nicholson's character Melvin Udall from the movie,) "What if this is as good as it gets."

Overall, I found this book to be an engaging, quick, and quirky read.
My thanks to Michael from Academy Chicago Publishers for my review copy.

About the Author from
K.B. Dixon’s work has appeared in numerous magazines, newspapers and journals. The recipient of an OAC Individual Artist Fellowship Award, he is the author of Andrew (A to Z), a novel, and My Desk and I, a collection of short stories.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Review: Insatiable by Gael Greene

From Insatiable-

The tastiest, most uninhibited memoir in years, INSATIABLE is a feast for the senses and an aphrodisiac for the soul.

"Nobody knows the truffles I've seen," writes Gael Greene, the revered restaurant critic for New York magazine whose fierce wit and sensuous prose changed the way Americans think about food. Now Greene, the author of the sensational bestseller Blue Skies, No Candy , lifts the lid on her most outrageous subject yet—herself. And, oh, what a pot-au-feu it is, bubbling over with piquant humor, saucy celebrity sex (Elvis, Eastwood, assorted star chefs), and some of the most epic, lovingly described meals in literature (at Troisgros, Tour d'Argent, Moulin de Mougins, La Pyramide, Lutece). From Manhattan's swankest boĆ­tes to the gourmet shrines of France and Italy, this is the story of a woman who made a fabulous career out of dining on someone else's dime.

With her passion for fine food, her nose for hypocrisy and social humbug, and, above all, her appetite for love and adventure, Greene traces her rise from Midwestern Velveeta beginnings to Detroit journalist wannabe to powerful critic of New York magazine, un grand fromage in the world of food, just when food was becoming a national obsession. Love and food, foreplay and fork play, haute cuisine and social history—all become inextricably linked as the author embarks on a lifelong quest for a god in the kitchen and a master chef in bed. Along the way there are intimate portraits of the culinary icons of our time - Henri Soule, Andre Soltner, James Beard, Craig Claiborne, Alice Waters, Jean Troisgros, Julia Child, Michel Guerard - and revealing looks at New York's legendary "in" spots and their invisible caste systems - The Colony, Elaine's, La Grenouille, "21," Le Cirque, Odeon, and Balthazar.

Earthy and delicious but also penetrating and astute, Greene's memoir belongs on the narrow shelf of amorous and gastronomic classics.

I became interested in reading this book after watching the entire Bravo series called Top Chef Masters, which is a reality show that pits professional chefs against each other as they cook their way to a one hundred thousand dollar prize for their favorite charity and the honorary title of being a "Top Chef Master" (which by the way, went to Chef Rick Bayless on the season finale.)

Author Gael Greene is also one of a panel of three judges on the show who get to taste the culinary endeavors each competing chef produces each week as they vie for the top prize.

This memoir first published in 2006, is a delicious account of Ms. Greene's fascinating life as a food critic for New York magazine.
My God, this woman has figuratively eaten her way across Europe and back, and she tells all as we follow her on her sojourn from some of New York's most famous, and infamous dining establishments, to the quaint little bistros, and great restaurants of France and Italy.
And she made a handsome living doing this-how grand is that?

Her lusty appetite is not limited to the dining room either-This author embraces life fully-she names names and dates, and describes her encounters in such a tantalizing, yet tasteful way. Compared to most of us, she has lived "larger than life" and makes no apologies-(I loved it when she wrote of seeing two very famous men together on the cover of Time, and realized that she had slept with both of them.)

Foodies will love this book for the almost poetic, gastronomic descriptions, and Ms. Greene's own recipes peppered throughout the pages.
Biographiles will adore her sheer honesty,delight in her amazing adventures, and sympathize with her disappointments.
You almost feel like you are there with her for the ride.

I'll rate this book the same way they judge the food on Top Chef Masters- It was a juicy, decadent,utterly satisfying read.
I give this book 5 stars.

Disclosure: I purchased this book myself and my opinions as always, are my own.