Saturday, May 16, 2009

Jenn's Bookshelf's 200th Post Giveaway #2 - ends May 22

I'd  just come across this contest on Jenn's Bookshelf which celebrates her 200th post.  

Congratulations, Jenn!!  This is quite a milestone - and it comes with close to 120 followers and 226 readers.   Her site has quite a lot of data collectors, which seem like a good addition.  As a complete aside, if anyone is particularly happy with their data collectors, I'd love recommendations or advice.  

Back to the contest!  

One lucky winner gets this whole bunch:

The Memory Keeper's Daughter
The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency
Valley of the Dolls
The Bookseller of Kabul
The Mercy of Thin Air
Full of Grace
Under the Tuscan Sun
The Secret Life of Bees
Mrs. Kimble
Living History
A Gift Upon the Shore
Second Glance
A Million Little Pieces
Measure of A Man
Two Old Woman
The Time Traveler's Wife
Kite Runner
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Son of A Witch
The Sound and the Fury
A Light in August
As I Lay Dying

To find out more and enter the contest, please click here or go to:

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Friday 56, courtesy of Just Jennifer Reading and Storytime with Tonya and Friends

I saw The Friday 56 on Just Jennifer Reading and decided to sign up too!  This was started by Storytime With Tonya and Friends.  Here's how it works:

1.  Grab the book nearest to you. Right now.  No hunting for the coolest, smartest, funniest book.  Just the closest!
2.  Turn to page 56.
3.  Find the fifth line.
4.  Post that sentence (plus one or two more if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or if you don't have a blog in the comments section of this blog. Or both!
5.   Post a link along with your post back to this blog, Storytime With Tonya and Friends.

Before I start,  I think it's so cool to find these things that lead you from one blog to finding another!  

Here's what I have:

And I've got a brain.  In fact, my momma assured me on countless occasions that I have a good head on my shoulders.  Then she would follow up with something along the lines of, "I wish you would use it occasionally."  And she was right.  
from The Principle of the Path by Andy Stanley

I'd just received this book yesterday from Thomas Nelson - it's my first non B&N ARC!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Joining J.Kaye Book Blog's Support Your Local Library Challenge

I just came across the J.Kaye's Support Your Local Library Challenge on Alyce's blog At Home With Books.

I'd grown up partly in the Boston/New England area and partly in the Philippines. I'd always loved books and when we lived in the US as children we would regularly visit the Newton Public library. The Philippines isn't a wealthy country and when I was growing up we would buy the books we wanted or borrow them from friends or family. I tended spend much of my pocket money on books and when we'd travel abroad, I would spend a large chunk of my spending money on them as well. By the time that I was in my twenties, we had the British Council library, which is a UK international organization that established libraries and various educational and cultural programs to help promote goodwill and cultural exchange. I loved the British Council and learned to drive so that I could go there on my own. In fact, my first regular driving route was from our house to the British Council library, then the supermarket and then home. At that time the British Council library was in a beautiful old house in New Manila, Quezon City. The library later moved to a smaller space in a central business district. They decided to reduce their holdings and sold off most of the literature and social science books. I am still hugely grateful to the British Council for making all those lovely books available for free. To learn more about the British Council's work worldwide, please click here or visit:

The long digression is supposed to explain my admiration and love for the public libraries in the U.S. cities that I've lived these last five years. Here is the list of libraries that I'd gotten to know and love: the Philadelphia Free Library, the Boston Public Library, the New York Public Library, and the Brooklyn Public Library. I can write much more about each of these libraries and various branches of the NYPL, but I'll save that for a post about the best places to find books and to read in NYC.

The main digression about libraries was to explain my enthusiasm for this Support Your Local Library Challenge. Let me summarize the rules laid out in J.Kaye's post (

1. Select which level challenge you want: 12 book in 2009 or 25 books in 2009 or 50 books from your local library in 2009. Plan this carefully because you can't switch once you've made your choice.

2. You can join at anytime as long as you don't start reading your books prior to 2009.

3. The challenge is limited to 2009 and the last day to finish all the books is December 31, 2009 in your time zone.

4. You have to go to J.Kaye's Book Blog to sign up using Mr. Linky and list the exact URL with the post of the library books that you intend to read.

5. The books can be audiobooks, downloads, children's books, YA. As long as it is a book, it counts towards the challenge. The format and target age do not matter.

6. Do post a link to your reviews in the comment section of J. Kaye's Book Blog so that the other participants can visit your blog and read your reviews. There is also a Yahoo Groups that you can join and where you can post reviews.

7. There is no need to decide your books ahead of time, you can add or subtract from your list throughout the year. But you can't adjust the number of books.

8. Questions should be directed to or to J.Kaye through commenting at her blog, J.Kaye's Book Blog at

I'm signing up for Support Your Local Library Challenge at the 25 book level. I tend to borrow books from both the Park Slope branch of the Brooklyn Public Library or from several branches of the New York Public Library

My list isn't complete. Here is what I have so far:

1. The Dragon Scroll by I.J. Parker
2. A Dog About Town by J.F. Englert
3. Princeps Fury by Jim Butcher
4. The Sword that Cut Burning Grass by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler
5. Tea Time for the Traditionally Built by Alexander McCall Smith
6. In Darkness, Death by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler
7. Good Things by Mia King
8. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Quick update on Cindy Pon's Silver Phoenix

The Story Siren posted this interesting interview with Cindy Pon, the author of The Silver Phoenix.  

I'd mentioned the Silver Phoenix in an earlier post because it intrigued me.  The author is Taiwanese American and it's her debut novel. Already I was cheering for her, but then I saw the trailer and read the blurb. It sounded like the sort of story that I would have loved to have read twenty five years ago!  Then I realized, what the hell, I can still read it now!   I've made a start and will head off to read it in a bit.  I promise to write a real review of it once I do.   A hint though, I feel strongly enough to be lobbying the branch of my local library purchase a copy once the Brooklyn Public Library is able to purchase books in July.  

Until then, here's a link to the the feature on Cindy Pon, the latest installment in  The Story Siren's   Author Tales series.

Plus, the link to my previous post on Cindy's worldwide contest, the blurb and video about Silver Phoenix.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

J.Kaye's Book Blog

I just wanted to share something else that is making my week!

J. Kaye's Book Blog listed me in "This Week's Top Contributors". I kept visiting her blog to read the reviews and join the contests. I really liked it, so I signed up to be a follower and receive updates by email but hadn't realized that she'd noticed.

Check out her blog here.

I'm pretty new to the world of book blogs, as my husband can attest. I'd discovered it through a post by a fellow B&N First Look Book Club member, Jennifer with the blog Just Jennifer Reading. Her suggested sites and link to the post by Presenting Leonore that led me to this exciting new world of book blogs.

So, thank you Jennifer and Leonore for the start. And thank you so much to J. Kaye for the welcome into this world!! And again to Becky from One Literature Nut for the award she gave to Starting Fresh this last Monday. People here are so kind and generous!

Celebrating Daphne du Maurier's 102th Birthday with giveaways at Peeking Between the Pages & by Booking Mama & by The Tome Traveller's Weblog!

I just wanted to share these wonderful giveaways from Sourcebooks and Peeking Between the Pages, Booking Mama and The Tome Traveller's Weblog to celebrate Daphne du Maurier's 102th birthday.

Peeking Between the Pages and The Tome Traveller's Weblog are both offering their readers the choice of either Frenchman's Creek or My Cousin Rachel until May 31, 2009.

Booking Mama is also holding a special Daphne du Maurier birthday giveaway which ends on May 27. She's giving a copy of Frenchman's Creek here.

I know Dame Daphne du Maurier mainly for her novel Rebecca, one of my mother's favorites. Rebecca's first line is quite famous, "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again..."
The book was made into an Alfred Hitchcock movie and won an Oscar.

From these contests and Daphne du Maurier's website, I learned quite a bit more about du Maurier. Did you know that Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds was based on a du Maurier short story?

Check out the giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages:

And the giveaway at The Tome Traveller:

And the giveaway at Booking Mama:

When you do, please let them know that Gaby317 at Starting Fresh sent you. Thanks!

Update: Barnes and Noble First Look for Of Bees and Mist is closed!

The Barnes & Noble  First Look Book Club for Erick Setiawan's  Of Bees and Mist is now closed for membership. I'll post an announcement when I hear of another First Look Book Club selection.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Free Zagat Guides in exchange for your review & One Literature Nut's award!!

Zagat Guides continues its policy of sending free review books in exchange for your review. Right now they're collecting reviews for New York City Restaurants (until May 17, 2009), Miami & South Florida Restaurants (until June 14, 2009), Portland's Top Restaurants (until May 25, 2009), and St. Louis Top Restaurants (until May 25, 2009). Do check it out at

I've been submitting Zagat reviews for over a year now and aside from getting the free guide, it's fun to review the best and worst places you've visited during the year. I particularly like suggesting new restaurants and stores, hoping that other folks will enjoy them as much as me.

The places and guides change quite often, so check back periodically and you might find one that you particularly like. You can also submit reviews as you go and send them along when the relevant guide promotion begins.

Zagat also sponsors events - they'd asked for volunteers to participate in the filming of the new (and newly cancelled) cooking show on NBC with Marco Pierre White, The Chopping Block last year. I was among the audience receiving a free meal while the contestants battled it out to create, run, and win their own restaurant from Marco Pierre White. The show was interesting enough, though the main thing that struck me was that the two Asian cousins who weren't in danger of being kicked off the show, voluntarily removed themselves because the dialogue was getting mean! I could understand how they felt and why they did it, but had really wished that they stayed in and fought it out.

I also have some great news - I received an award from Becky at One Literature Nut.


This is totally exciting and amazing for me - and such a generous welcome to a newbie blogger. I'm giddy - do check out her site and say hello.

She mentioned heading off to the gym in her post, which inspired me to head over to my gym for the first workout in a LONG time. I'll try to follow it up with a healthy dinner. I'd like to thank her for all of those things that helped make my day!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

I won Julie's Jewel's Giveaway!

I can't believe that I just won The Girl Who Stopped Swimming from Julie's Jewels!!  This is the first time I've won anything online and it feels wonderful.

Here's the description of The Girl Who Stopped Swimming

Laurel Gray Hawthorne needs to make things pretty, whether she's helping her mother make sure the very literal family skeleton stays buried or turning scraps of fabric into nationally acclaimed art quilts. Her estranged sister Thalia, an impoverished Actress with a capital A, is her polar opposite, priding herself on exposing the lurid truth lurking behind middle class niceties. While Laurel's life seems neat and on track--a passionate marriage, a treasured daughter, and a lovely home in suburban Victorianna--everything she holds dear is suddenly thrown into question the night she is visited by the ghost of a her 14-year old neighbor Molly Dufresne.

The ghost leads Laurel to the real Molly floating lifelessly in the Hawthorne's backyard pool. Molly's death is inexplicable--an unseemly mystery Laurel knows no one in her whitewashed neighborhood is up to solving. Only her wayward, unpredictable sister is right for the task, but calling in a favor from Thalia is like walking straight into a frying pan protected only by Crisco. Enlisting Thalia's help, Laurel sets out on a life-altering journey that triggers startling revelations about her family's guarded past, the true state of her marriage, and the girl who stopped swimming.

Thank you so much Julie and Victoria at Hatchette. I am eagerly awaiting this fun read!  I'll post more about the book once I've read it.

If you'd like to read more about the book, here's the author's website:  Visit