Monday, October 5, 2009

Claire LaZebnik Giveaway!

Vera over at is giving away 5 copies of Claire LaZebnik's novel, "The Smart One and the Pretty One".

From Booklist
Ava is the smart sister, an L.A. lawyer who hasn’t dated in years. Lauren is the pretty sister, an unemployed New York stylist buried in debt. Lauren returns to L.A. when their mother is diagnosed with breast cancer. Between chauffeuring her to chemo appointments, Lauren finds an old “contract” betrothing Ava to Russell, the son of family friends, and decides a reunion is in order. Though Ava finds herself uncharacteristically falling for Russell, she can’t believe a man would choose her over her glamorous sister. She nearly lets her skepticism ruin her shot at love until Lauren meddles again. LaZebnik, author of Knitting under the Influence (2006), writes a funny and endearing novel that truly captures the devotion and rivalry between sisters. Whether they relate to the smart one or the pretty one (or both), readers will find this book irresistible. --Aleksandra Walker

Here's the link to Vera's giveaway:

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Suzanne Collins Giveaway--Catching Fire

The much anticipated follow-up to "Hunger Games" is finally here! Enter for your chance to win a copy of "Catching Fire," a limited edition T-shirt, and a collectible mocking jay pin at

Here's a link:

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Cleopatra's Daughter/Heretic Queen Giveaway

Go to for a chance to win signed copies of "Cleopatra's Daughter" and "Heretic Queen" by Michelle Moran.

Here's the link:

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Cindy's Contest

Cindy is hosting one of the biggest giveaways I have ever seen! If you want to win ARCs of upcoming YA releases and an official copy of "Catching Fire" by Suzanne Collins, head over to:

The contest is open through August 24th.

Friday, August 7, 2009

My Longed For Next Great Read

What elements does a book need in order to be sought out, lusted after, and generally longed for like nothing Olive Garden has to offer for you?

Enchanting, says Amazon Best of the month. A touch of mystery, says Booklist. And who doesn't remember telling scary stories with their friends? Ok, maybe not about Jack the Ripper, like the kids in Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton. (In case you haven't guessed, the book I'd love to read is Forgotten Garden.)

But the strongest appeal to me for this book is its interweavings of The Secret Garden, a much beloved children's story that I could read again and again.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Cindy's Giveaway

Check out my pal Cindy's "Twilight" and more giveaway at her blog:

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Jodi Picoult

A few months ago I tried a book called "My Sister's Keeper" by Jodi Picoult. That was November or December in 2008. I'm one of those people that can't read the same author back to back. Consider my love/hate relationship with Anne Rice; it's like pulling teeth to make it through one of her books. I needed at least a year or longer in between reading her Vampire Chronicles. I started them when I was 18. 8 years later and I still haven't finished the series. I've thrown the towel in and will be giving all the hardbacks I collected over the years in anticipation of finishing the series to my mother-in-law, who loves Anne Rice.

And then there's Jodi Picoult. Since December I've read "Plain Truth" and "Songs of the Humpback Whale." Today I just started "Salem Falls." When I finish one of her books, I'm eager to start another. I have enough of her books to keep me busy for a few weeks. But once those are gone, I've got nothing left. 

Some would say that Jodi's books are formulaic, and maybe they are. She writes what works best for her, what comes naturally. And I can appreciate that. I love the way her characters are flawed and complex, raw and oh so very human. 

I know she's good. Otherwise I wouldn't be planning a year before I'm ready to read another.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

"The Gathering" by Anne Enright

For 40 years, the Man Booker Prize has been presented to an Irish novelist for penning the best novel of the year. The recipient is selected by book critics, other novelists/writers, and scholars. Anne Enright, a little known author of 4 previous novels, gained glowing praise and recognition for her writing when she received the 2007 Book Prize for "The Gathering." 

"The Gathering" is written in the first person from the perspective of middle-aged Veronica Hegarty, who contemplates the past, present, and future in the aftermath of her brother Liam's suicide. Veronica is assigned the task of bringing home her brother's body so the rest of her family can pay their respects. 

The novel sloppily moves from the present to the past and then back again as Veronica begins to remember past events from Liam's life that may or may not have happened, which may or may not have been the catalyst for Liam's desperate and selfish action.

Though Liam's alleged sexual abuse as a child is the reason why Veronica decides to put her thoughts to paper, he is only mentioned sparingly throughout the novel. The majority of her thoughts center around her unhappy marriage with Tom and an unreliable account of family history. 

Only 260 pages long, "The Gathering" proved to be a tedious read. The ending was very unsatisfying, leaving one to ponder what swayed the judges to honor this novel over several other appealing choices.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Chasing Rainbows

How many times have you read the original The Wonderful Wizard of Oz? What's that, you say? You haven't? Well, don't you think it's about time you do?

I saw the movie long before I ever read the book. And then one Christmas my parents gifted me a beautiful hardcover of The Wizard of Oz. At the time it seemed such a huge book to read. Looking at it now (unfortunately not the same beautiful hardcover; I stupidly let someone borrow it and never got it returned. I found the same edition--I think, though the cover art seems different--at King's English and brought it home with me. I have a paperback Del Rey that I'll loan out if someone wants to read it.) it is a slim volume and takes just a day or two to read. 

My dad, a teacher, often came home with oodles of Christmas treats from his students to show their appreciation for him. Among those goodies were jelly beans. While reading my beautiful new book I would eat jelly beans. The green ones particularly--every time I read the word "emerald", "green", or "Emerald city" I gleefully popped a green jelly bean in my mouth. 

I've left behind Never Land for the next Great Adventure, but I'll never forget this story that was so important in my childhood. I'm still waiting for someone who also shares my passion for this story to bring it to the big screen as it was meant to be seen: silver slippers rather than ruby slippers, the many deterrents the Wicked Witch of the West sent to stop Dorothy from reaching her domain, Dainty China Country (or was that in the third book? I can't remember!).

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Billie Letts Book Giveaway

Ever since reading "Where the Heart Is," I've been a fan of Billie Letts. I'd even count "Shoot the Moon" as one of my favorite reads of the year. I'm patiently waiting to get a copy of her latest, "Made in the U.S.A.", on but came across this free giveaway. You can find out about the drawing at the following blog:

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Book Review: Forever Princess by Meg Cabot

I started with The Princess Diaries a little late in life, at 19, when the first three books in the series had already been published. Several years Mia's senior, I still found it easy to relate to her high school trials and tribulations, her difficulty making friends, and her poor luck with attracting the man of her dreams.

Forever Princess is the riveting conclusion to this 10 book series. (For even more Princess Mia and Michael Moscovitz, check out the books that happen in between the whole numbered books!) Mia is just about to graduate high school, attend her senior prom, and part ways with her virginity. But things in Mia's life haven't gone exactly as planned--it's JP that Mia's in love with now (or is she?) and attending prom and the festivities after with. She's got a lot on her plate as she struggles with her birthday bash, her Grandmere's never-ending butting in, and Michael's permanent relocation to Manhattan. 

I love this series, and this truly was the perfect ending. Thank you, Meg, for an unforgettable ride. 

Friday, April 24, 2009

Mark Twain

When I was little my maternal grandmother gave me a Readers' Digest hardcover of Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer. I loved that book, reading it several times. I even bought another adaptation of it later on, which may have been an easier translation. That one I also read numerous times.

When I was in high school, I had to read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn for English class. I also enjoyed that book, though I have only read it that one time and my tastes might have changed since then.

For book club, we elected to read The Best Short Stories of Mark Twain. I'm not a fan. It's impossible for me to stay focused on the story I'm trying to read, as I imagine dozens of other books I'd rather read instead.

I don't really have a good argument for why I don't like these stories. I could probably count the number I've not minded reading on 2 fingers. So that's 2 stories out of 20 or so? Not a good percentage.

I wish I had something more prolific to say as to why I don't like Mark Twain short stories. I don't; I just think they are boring. Simple as that.

As for Tom Sawyer, I came to learn that Readers' Digest does some kind of editing to stories they publish, so what I read may not have been the story Mark Twain intended to tell. I have since ordered an actual NON Readers' Digest edition to see if I still enjoy this story.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Book Review: Stargazer by Claudia Gray

So here I am again, writing a review for a book I haven't finished reading.

For those of you just tuning in, I am an avid reader of Young Adult fiction, in particular Paranormal YA fiction. A few months ago a friend let me borrow a book called Evernight by Claudia Gray. It had just the right combination of ingredients: romance, mystery, suspense, intrigue, and of course, paranormal. 

Getting into the sophomore book in the series is proving quite a challenge. The twists and turns in her freshman book were aplenty, and I found myself wanting more. I couldn't wait to own a copy of the book. Just a few weeks ago, that came true. Since my opinion of the first book hasn't changed any, despite my gripes about Stargazer, I'll be adding it to my permanent collection as well.

It's probably good advice to not read book reviews when you are already reading the book. This can backfire on you for several reasons, including ruining key plot points; nothing will be a surprise after that. One reviewer on compared this book to Stephenie Meyer's sophomore book, New Moon. The reviewer has a very good case: Stargazer does indeed parallel the structure of New Moon. Not being a Twilight fan, I'm a little concerned for the future of this series. Will it continue to copycat Meyer's popular series, or will it get back on track?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Bored...So Very Bored...

There must have been a reason that this book didn't make the final cut. And then I had to go and screw things up by wanting to read it so badly. I should have left it alone, because now I am truly bored.

Friday, January 9, 2009

"Friday Night Knitting Club"

Normally I wouldn't write a review until I've finished a book, but I'm going to be a little different and write one halfway through. There isn't much I don't like about this book. A few word choices here and there that irk me, a character doing a dumb thing (but I admit, it's important to her individual story), the looming fact that something "bad" and irreversible is going to happen to one of these characters that I have come to love in the past few days. I only just started this book 2 or maybe 3 days ago, and I am whipping right through it, saddened at the thought that once it's over, I'll be moving on to some other book, and tragically not the sequel, because it's in hardcover and I'm on a book ban.

I had really hoped to read this for one of my book clubs, but the book fates had other plans in mind. I'm even a bit ashamed to admit I didn't vote for this book myself, though I had suggested it to the group. Too many other books caught my eye, and besides, I owned this one already and could read it any time I wanted. I'm even a bit tempted to start it over from the beginning, just to make it last longer. I know I won't; I'm on a mission to read as many books as I can handle in this one life. I know I'll read this book again someday. I have to. 

Eternally yours,

Monday, January 5, 2009

If Heaven Were a Library...

My afterlife would be set. But since there's a good chance it won't be, how does one choose what to read in one's short stay here?

I don't know, really. Some books are read because others tell us to read them, some because we've heard about them from others, and some we just pick up on a whim. 

And then there's those "series" books. You know the ones. They are three inches deep, filled with sword fights and political disputes, espionage and romance. I'm currently sucked into one. But I'm taking my time. I don't force myself to spend time reading it; there's too many other things out there not worth missing. That might mean you'll see "Stone of Tears" on this list for a very long time. I'm not worried. I've been reading it a few months already, so what are a few more?

Eternally yours,

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A Few Words About the Book List

At the top of the page it says "Currently Reading." That will change as I start to finish books and start new ones. The date will also change as I begin new books. When I finish a book, I will remove it from "Currently Reading" and start a list lower on the page. Along with the title and author of the book, I will record the date the book was finished. It's not so much about how long the book takes me to read, but that I finish it at all.

Eternally yours,

The Book List

Currently Reading
The Space Between Us

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova 01/01/09
Wicked by Gregory Maguire 01/03/09
Loving Frank by Nancy Horan 01/05/09
The Dangerous Days of Daniel X by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge 01/07/09
The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman 01/09/09
The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs 01/10/09
The Shack by Wm. Paul Young 01/12/09
An Abundance of Katherines 01/16/09
Stone of Tears by Terry Goodkind 01/21/09
The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman 01/24/09
Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin 01/24/09
Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult 01/26/09
Plainsong by Kent Haruf 01/27/09
Minion by L.A. Bank 01/30/09
The Graduate by Charles Webb 1/30/09

January: 15

Chocolat by Joanne Harris 02/01/09
Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman 02/05/09
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett 02/06/09
Gatsby's Girl by Caroline Preston 02/07/09
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield 02/10/09
Mademoiselle Boleyn by Robin Maxwell 02/12/09
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri 02/13/09
The Reader by Bernhard Schlink 02/15/09
The Abortionist's Daughter by Elisabeth Hyde 2/17/09
The Shack by Wm. Paul Young 2/22/09
Pandora by Anne Rice 2/23/09
What Shamu Taught Me about Life Love and Marriage by Amy Sutherland 2/25/09

February: 12

Eragon by Christopher Paolini 3/05/09
Envy by Anna Godbersen 3/05/09
Watchers in the Night by Jenna Black 3/10/09
Don of the Dead by Casey Daniels 3/11/09
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead 3/14/09
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach 3/22/09
Midnight's Daughter by Karen Chance 3/23/09
Sweep: Book of Shadows (bk. 1) by Cate Tiernan 3/23/09
Songs of the Humpback Whale by Jodi Picoult 3/27/09
Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science by Atul Gawande 3/29/09
The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell 3/31/09

March: 11

Blue Diary by Alice Hoffman 4/02/09
Queen of Babble by Meg Cabot 4/03/09
Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, bk. 1) by Ilona Andrews 4/06/09
Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser 4/08/09
Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris 4/11/09
Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn 4/13/09
Stargazer by Claudia Gray 4/15/09
Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler 4/19/09
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins 4/24/09
Forever Princess by Meg Cabot 4/26/09
The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd 4/30/09

April: 11

The Sleeping Beauty Proposal by Sarah Strohmeyer 5/04/09
Dhampir by Barb and J.C. Hendee 5/05/09
Frostbite (Vampire Academy, bk. 2) by Richelle Mead 5/09/09
The Bondwoman's Narrative by Hannah Crafts and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. 5/09/09
Sleeping with the Fishes by MaryJanice Davidson 5/11/09
Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress, bk. 1) by Jeaniene Frost 5/13/09
The Gathering by Anne Enright 5/16/09
North from Calcutta by Duane Evans 5/24/09
Nightwalker by Jocelynn Drake 5/25/09
Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning 5/28/09
Vampire Kisses by Ellen Schreiber 5/29/09
The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway 5/31/09

May: 12 Total 09: 61

Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult 6/04/09
Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier 6/09/09
The Veil by Diane Noble 6/12/09
The Autumn Castle by Kim Wilkins 6/16/09
Mina: The Dracula Story Continues by Marie Kiraly 6/21/09
Kitty Goes to Washington by Carrie Vaughn 6/23/09
Sweep: The Coven (bk. 2) by Cate Tiernan 6/23/09
Sweep: Blood Witch (bk. 3) by Cate Tiernan 6/24/09
Joy in the Morning by Betty Smith 6/25/09
Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America by Barbara Ehrenreich 6/29/09

June: 10 Total 09: 71

A Deadly Habit by Andrea Sisco 7/01/09
Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr 7/02/09
Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips 7/07/09
My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult 7/12/09
Go Ask Malice: A Slayer's Diary by Robert Joseph Levy 7/13/09
Italian for Beginners by Kristin Harmel 7/16/09
White Witch, Black Curse by Kim Harrison 7/18/09
The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell 7/26/09
Pride by Rachel Vincent 7/??/09
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak 7/30/09
Dreaming in French by Megan McAndrew 7/31/09

July: 11 Total 09: 82

Evermore by Alyson Noel 8/01/09
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho 8/01/09
Always Watching by Brandilyn and Amberly Collins 8/03/09
The Secret History of Vampires edited by Darrell Schweitzer 8/06/09
Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin 8/07/09
The Queen's Bastard by Robin Maxwell 8/11/09
The Rapture by Liz Jensen 8/13/09
Truth & Beauty: A Friendship by Ann Patchett 8/14/09
Twinkie, Deconstructed by Steve Ettlinger 8/18/09
Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs 8/20/09
Beastly by Alex Flinn 8/21/09
The Nazi Officer's Wife by Edith Hahn Beer 8/27/09
The Cinderella Pact by Sarah Strohmeyer 8/28/09
Dubliners by James Joyce 8/29/09
If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer 8/30/09

August: 15 Total: 97

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls 9/01/09
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare 9/02/09
Meridian by Amber Kizer 9/03/09
Chronic City by Jonathan Lethem 9/06/09
City of Souls by Vicki Pettersson 9/08/09
Soulless by Christopher Golden 9/08/09
To the Tower Born by Robin Maxwell 9/09/09
The Stolen Child by Keith Donahue 9/11/09
My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent 9/14/09
The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe 9/16/09
The Last Dickens by Matthew Pearl 9/22/09
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert 9/24/09
One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus 9/28/09
Sweep: Dark Magick (bk. 4) by Cate Tiernan 9/30/09

September: 14 Total: 111

Notting Hell by Rachel Johnson 10/01/09
On Call: A Doctor's Days and Nights in Residency 10/05/09
The House at Riverton by Kate Morton 10/??/09
Dearly Devoted Dexter by Jeff Lindsay 10/10/09
The Poison Apples by Lily Archer 10/12/09
Lies My Mother Never Told Me by Kaylie Jones 10/13/09
I Heard That Song Before by Mary Higgins Clark 10/14/09
Decked by Carol Higgins Clark 10/15/09
Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea by Chelsea Handler 10/16/09
Nine Parts of Desire by Geraldine Brooks 10/20/09
The Slow Moon by Elizabeth Cox 10/24/09
Vampire Close by Susanne Saville 10/27/09
The Birth House by Ami McKay 10/27/09
The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong 10/28/09
The Sugarless Plum by Zippora Karz 10/29/09

October: 15 Total: 126

Vigil: A Novel by Cecilia Samartin 11/04/09
Through Violet Eyes by Stephen Woodworth 11/06/09
How to Catch and Keep a Vampire by Diane Laurence 11/09/09
Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead 11/12/09
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins 11/13/09
Magic to the Bone by Devon Monk 11/16/09
My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok 11/20/09
Fallen by Lauren Kate 11/20/09
Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel 11/23/09
Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev 11/24/09
Hannah (Daughters of the Sea) by Kathryn Lasky 11/26/09
One Foot in the Grave by Jeaniene Frost 11/29/09
How to Teach Filthy Rich Girls by Zoey Dean 11/30/09

November: 13 Total: 139

Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr 12/05/09
Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving 12/08/09
V for Vendetta by Alan Moore 12/09/09
The Atlantis Code by Charles Brokaw 12/14/09
Master of Murder by Christopher Pike 12/16/09
The Fire Rose by Mercedes Lackey 12/16/09
The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks 12/18/09
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad 12/20/09
Julie and Julia by Julie Powell 12/23/09
A Separate Country by Robert Hicks 12/24/09
The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare 12/25/09
Succubus on Top by Richelle Mead 12/27/09
Queen of Babble in the Big City by Meg Cabot 12/28/09
The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist 12/28/09
Double Take: A Memoir by Kevin Michael Connolly 12/30/09
The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg 12/30/09