Saturday, July 18, 2009

Book Giveaway - The Imposter's Daughter: A True Memoir by Laurie Sandell

Thanks to Anna and Hatchette Books Group, we're giving away 5 copies of the unusual graphic memoir The Imposter's Daughter: A True Memoir by Laurie Sandell.


The Imposter's Daughter: A True Memoir is described as a "graphic memoir" because the cartoons are supposed to be largely nonfiction. The work is divided into two main parts. In Part One of The Imposter's Daughter, we follow Laurie Sandell from her childhood hero worship of her father through the slow discovery of his lies and deception to how this experience shaped Laurie's early adult years. Charismatic, good looking and confident, Laurie knew her father to be a former green beret with a law degree from NYU and a PhD from Columbia University who served as an economist and advisor to Henry Kissinger and had grown up with fabulous wealth in Argentina. He was larger than life and full of exciting stories of his past, his teaching career, and the businesses that he was working on. As the eldest and his favorite child, they shared a special bond. But after her father left the post as an economics professor, he spent his time at home and became increasingly paranoid, eccentric controlling. As his life unravelled, so did their closeness. It wasn't until after college and when she was applying for her first credit card that Laurie discovered that her father had taken out credit cards and thousands of dollars of debt in her name. Justifiably upset, she contacted her family - and they learn that he'd taken out credit cards and loans under all of their names. Their house is nearly lost from under them. Laurie's life is fluid and she decides to spend the next four years exploring the world. She travels to Israel, Japan, Jordan, Paris, Egypt, Mexico, and Thailand, undoubtedly breaking hearts while experimenting. She works as a stripper in Tokyo, seduces lesbian women in Israel, and grows addicted to presciption drugs. Laurie returns to America and works as a secretary by day while researching and writing about her father's deceptions at night. Part One ends with the publication of Laurie's article "My Father, the Fraud" in Esquire Magazine.

In Part Two, Laurie starts work at a popular woman's magazine where she excels at celebrity interviews and builds her reputation. She discovers that she has a gift for building relationships with celebrities - "most of them lived in emotional castles surrounded by moats, and I'd been building a tower around myself for thirty-two years." While she builds her professional life, Laurie slowly becomes addicted to prescription drugs. Although her relationship with her father and family deteriorates, but Laurie continues digging into her father's past. Reaching out to distant acquaintances, strangers, and estranged family, Laurie slowly pieces together her father's life.


I had intended to just glance through the book and somehow read it all in one sitting. The first surprise was that the entire work is a graphic memoir - a "nonfiction cartoon" written and illustrated by Laurie Sandell. The book is beautifully done - from the cover and the drawings to the writing and pacing. It worked together so well that I find it hard to believe the story is true, although it likely is, after all it's even called The Imposter's Daughter: A True Memoir. Warning: some of the graphics are explicit. The book targets an adult audience.

This as a fun summer read. I'm looking forward to more of Laurie Sandell's work in the future.

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (July 29, 2009), 256 pages. The book will be available on July 29, 2009 but can be ordered in advance through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, and Powells.

Courtesy of Hatchette Books Group.

Laurie Sandell, author photo

About the Author:

Laurie Sandell is a contributing editor at Glamour, where she writes cover stories, features, and personal essays, and has published cartoons. She has also written for Esquire, GQ, New York, and InStyle, among other publications. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Read more about on Laurie Sandell's website at

If you'd like to meet the author, here's the schedule of Laurie Sandell readings:

  • August 10 @ 7 pm at Powell's City of Books (Portland, OR)
  • August 12 @ 7 pm at Books, Inc. (San Fransisco, CA)

  • August 13 @ 7 pm at Book Soup (Los Angeles, CA)

  • August 27 @ 7 pm at Barnes & Noble (New York, NY)


To enter, (a) share the biggest lie that you've ever told or (b) visit Laurie Sandell's website at and tell us which cartoon you like best.

1. Please include your email address, so that I can contact you if you win.
2. For an extra entry, sign up to be a follower. If you're already a follower, let me know and you'll get the extra entry as well.
3. For another extra entry, subscribe via googlereader or blogger or by email and let me know that you do.
4. For another entry, blog about this giveaway and send me the link.
5. Leave a separate comment for each entry or you'll only be entered once.

The contest is limited to US and Canada only. No P.O. boxes. The contest ends at 6 pm on August 9, 2009.

Thank you so much, Anna and Hatchette Books Group!

The Inconvenient Adventures of Uncle Chestnut: based on the Life and Works of G.K. Chesterton by Paul Nowak

Interview with Paul Nowak, author of The Inconvenient Adventures of Uncle Chestnut: based on the Life and Works of G.K. Chesterton

It is my pleasure to introduce Paul Nowak, the author of a new series of children's books with G.K. Chesterton, otherwise known as "Uncle Chestnut".

Q: What drew you to G.K. Chesterton? How did you decide to write this series?

A: I started reading Chesterton's works just before college, and found in incredible how relevant his writing was to issues of our time. Secondly, upon reading about his interactions with children, his own autobiography, and even little hints from his essays I got the picture of him as a comic character. Since only one collection of works of his for children has survived (and is rather unknown) I thought of presenting him to children of today through Uncle Chestnut.

Q: You mentioned G.K. Chesterton's influence on people like C.S. Lewis, Agatha Christie, Mahatma Gandhi. Could you expound on this a little?

A: That could be a book in itself! This post summarizes and sources the greatest of his impacts:
There is also a short video introduction to his legacy here:

Q: How did you do research for these stories? He was such a prolific writer, how did you select these 4 anecdotes for the book?

A: Selecting stories, quotes, plots, and concepts to boil down into 4 stories for the first book was the hardest - in fact over the whole series I think it will continue to be challenging as I keep finding more elements to tie into story ideas. Each story itself has numerous pieces of Chesterton strewn throughout. For example, in the last story, "The Easy Job" Chesterton's remarks on "believing in yourself" are found in "Orthodoxy," his forgetting to write his column in the midst of a house full of children is from an essay in the Illustrated London News, his puppet theatre antics were recorded by his biographers, and his thoughts on the the value of the mother in the home came from his book "What's Wrong with the World."

Q: Is there anything that you would like to add? Is there something that you wish previous interviewers had asked and has not yet been asked?

A: Not yet - you've asked some great questions, thanks again!

Thank you, Paul for taking the time to stop by and chat with us!

Review of The Inconvenient Adventures of Uncle Chestnut by Paul Nowak


Gilbert Keith Chesterton had a profound influence on various historical figures. C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Mahatma Gandhi, and Alfred Hitchcock have all credited G.K. Chesterton with influencing their lives. G.K. Chesterton wrote thousands of essays and articles, over 100 books, poems and plays.

In the first of a series, Paul Nowak shares four boyhood anecdotes with his Uncle Chester, the famous G.K. Chesterton. Each story has a moral, the lesson that Uncle Chestnut taught to his nephew Jack. The book also contains quotations taken from G.K. Chesterton's numerous writings.


The Inconvenient Adventures of Uncle Chestnut is a brief introduction to G.K. Chesterton. Although I had previously heard of G.K. Chesterton but knew little about him. The four short stories give a glimpse of the kindly and insightful man. While the book wasn't to my taste, I expect that it will appeal to many children and parents. It will provide people of all ages many hours of enjoyment and introduce a new generation to an important literary figure.

Here's one quote that gives a sense of Uncle Chestnut:

"An adventure is only an inconvenience considered the right way, and an inconvenience is an adventure considered the wrong way."

Publisher: Eternal Revolution (May 29, 2009), 64 pages.
Courtesy of Bostick Communications.

Thank you to Bostick Communications and Paul Nowak for this opportunity!

To learn more about the author or preview the book, visit the Uncle Chestnut website at

Friday, July 17, 2009

Book Giveaway - The Moon Looked Down by Dorothy Garlock

Thank you so much, Anna and Hatchette Books Group for this giveaway!

About The Moon Looked Down, courtesy of the publisher:

Sophie Heller's family immigrated from Germany to Victory, a small town in Illinois, before WWII began. Now that the war has affected the town, the townspeople discriminate against Sophie and her family. When a train derails, it is an accident but the Heller family is blamed. Coming to Sophie's rescue is a teacher from the high school, and despite their cultural differences, a romance starts to bloom.

About the Author:

Dorothy Garlock has more than 20 million books in print world wide. The author of 49 published books is a native Texan, but considers Clear Lake, Iowa her home since moving here with her husband Herb Garlock Sr. in 1955. The mother of two and grandmother of three started her book-writing career in 1976 after working for 14 years as bookkeeper/columnist for the local newspaper. Always an avid reader and history buff, her success as a novelist came as a complete surprise to her.

She has been written about in almost every major newspaper, interviewed on numerous radio and television shows, baked biscuits the old-fashioned way on national television and was selected Oustanding Western writer for 1986.

Dorothy Garlock's books have been translated into 18 different languages and are published in 36 different countries. She receives mail from all over the world.

Learn more through Dorothy Garlock's website at


To enter please post a question for Dorothy below.

1. Please include your email address, so that I can contact you if you win.
2. For an extra entry, sign up to be a follower. If you're already a follower, let me know and you'll get the extra entry as well.
3. For another extra entry, subscribe via googlereader or blogger or by email and let me know that you do.
4. For another entry, blog about this giveaway and send me the link.
5. Leave a separate comment for each entry or you'll only be entered once.

The contest is limited to US and Canada only. No P.O. boxes. The contest ends at midnight of Monday, August 3, 2009.

Friday 58: Week 8

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions
on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
Post a link along with your post back to this blog and to Storytime with Tonya and Friends here or at
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

Here's mine:

From: Holly

To: JasonGrangerRM:

I woke up the next day in my own bed.

From JasonGrangerRM:

To: Holly


You are the only person I know who could invite people for a dinner party and

not give them any bloody dinner.

- Holly's Inbox by Holly Denham

Winners of Swimsuit by James Patterson


Swimsuit by James Patterson

Belinda M.-confirmed
Janetfaye Donna - confirmed
Amy - confirmed
Jake L. - confirmed

Congratulations! I've emailed the winners and they have until Sunday noon to respond before I select replacement winners.

Thank you to Anna and Hatchette Books Group for making this possible!

Winners of My Forbidden Desire by Carolyn Jewel


My Forbidden Desire by Carolyn Jewel

Budletsmom - confirmed
Throuthehaze Libby - confirmed
Upper West Side Writer - confirmed

I have emailed the winners. Congratulations!

Thank you so much, Anna and Hatchette Books Group for your generosity.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Book Review: Her Name Was Beauty by Deborah A. Williams

Her Name Was Beauty
Review of
Her Name Was Beauty by Deborah Williams

Her Name Was Beauty is a children's story of a young girl of mixed heritage and her first day at preschool. Her father is a police officer in the local town and is of mixed heritage himself: Hispanic, African American and Native American. Her mother, Selena, is a school teacher of French Creole and African American descent. They live in a town that does not accept cultural differences well."

The author goes on to prove this point as she describes Beauty's first day at preschool and experiences rudeness, meanness and prejudice for the first time. At the end of the day, William finds his daughter crying and alone. He comforts her and shares the difficulties that he and his parents endured as Cherokee and Latino. Then he reminds Beauty of her strengths and bucks up her spirits.

I received this book through Bostick Communications and through the author. I would not be surprised to discover that the book was written with a particular young girl in mind. The story sounds as though it may have happened - and much like a story that occurs too often in many places.

The book reads like a self published and first work by the author. But the book shares an important message and I can see how it would comfort both children and parents after a difficult and painful encounter with prejudice.

Publisher: BookSurge Publishing (February 22, 2008), 28 pages.
Courtesy of Bostick Communications.

Thank you, Bostick Communications and Deborah Williams for this opportunity.