Saturday, August 8, 2009

A 9 book giveaway at Mrs Magoo Reads

Just a quick note about the 9 book giveaway at Mrs Magoo Reads. Today's the last day to sign up for the chance to win

  • ARC of Castration Celebration by Jake Wizner
  • ARC of La Petite Four by Regina Scott (used)
  • ARC of The ABC's of Kissing Boys by Tina Ferraro
  • Slept Away by Julie Kraut-The Diamonds by Ted Michael
  • ARC of (Re)Cycler by Lauren McLaughlin (gently used)
  • ARC of Work What You Got by Stephanie Perry Moore
  • ARC of Hancock Park by Isabel Kaplan
  • ARC of 30 Days to Finding and Keeping Sassy Sidekicks
  • BFFs by Clea Hantman

You can sign up at . Limited to the U.S. She usually has excellent book contests, so after checking it out, you might also want to become a follower (shameless plug!).

Friday, August 7, 2009

All the books have been claimed!

Thanks so much for responding, everyone. I'll email the winners directly.

Quick book giveaways

There are a few unclaimed book prizes. If you're interested in any of the following books, shoot me an email with your mailing address and the particular books that you'd like. I'll give those who reply first preference. I'll email the winners. If you don't receive an email from me, it means that the book has been claimed.

Here are the available items:

  • audiobook of The Ravens The Juror by George Dawes Green
  • audiobook of How Successful People Think by James C. Maxwell
  • Julie & Julia by Julie Powell
  • My Name is Will: A Novel of Sex, Drugs & Shakespeare by Jess Winfield
  • Off Season by Anne Rivers Siddon
  • The Moon Looks Down by Dorothy Garlock
  • $20 Per Gallon by Christopher Steiner

Good luck!


I'm posting from the Gold Coast of Chicago today. Randy and I are here for his friend's wedding. We got in yesterday afternoon and used their subway, the "el", to get into town. It was easy to navigate, $14 for the unlimited 3 day pass (versus $2.25/ride with $0.25 transfer within a 2 hr period), and unbelievably clean. We've only been here a day, but everything I've seen is clean. There are open spaces. The city doesn't have that pervasive NYC summer smell.

We're debating whether to go to Oak Park with Frank Lloyd Wright's office and house or the new wing of the Art Institute of Chicago. Today is our one free day, but we'll be here until Sunday.

If you have any recommendations of places to see, buildings to see, or unusual bookstores, or anything at all, please send me a quick note at gaby317nyc AT gmail DOT com or leave a comment.

If you're thinking of coming to Chicago, you might want to consider AT Home Inn Chicago instead of a hotel. We have a very clean and well organized studio with a well furnished kitchenette. I'm gulping down a hot cup of decaf as my husband is eager to seize the day - or as my mother and Randy like to say, "Sayang ang araw" (which means "don't waste the day". He's back after a run. Meanwhile, I've just reread my favorite parts of Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Review to follow.

Have a wonderful Friday!

Friday 56: Week 11

* 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 at
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

Here's mine:

"As you know, it's customary to reflect the flavor of the district."

For the opening ceremonies, you're supposed to wear something that suggests your district's principal industry. District 11, agriculture. District 4, fishing. District 3, factories. TThis means that coming from District 12, Peeta and I will be in some kind of coal miner's group. Since the baggy miner's jumpsuits are not particularly becoming, ourtributes usually end up in skimpy outfits and hats with headlamps. One year, our tributes were stark naked and covered in black powder to represent coal dust. It's always dreadful and does nothing to win favor with the crowd. I prepare myself for the worst.

-Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Everything Austen Challenge

I really enjoy how reading one blog will sometimes lead me to visit another. For instance, Book Club Girl's post about the Everything Austin Challenge brought me to Stephanie's Written Word.

everythingausten1 Here are the details of the Everything Austen Challenge:

(1) The Everything Austen Challenge will run for six months (July 1, 2009 – January 1, 2010).

(2) Just choose what six Austen-themed things you want to finish to complete the challenge. Aside from Austen's books, movie versions of her books, or sequels by various authors or books or movies based on Jane Austen or derived from characters that she's created.

Since I've enjoyed whatever Jane Austen books I've read so far and have been planning to read more, and this challenge seems like a great way to get me on track. I've also joined a few Austen oriented book tours in July, too.

Here are 3 of my 6 items:

Loving Mr. Darcy: Journeys Beyond Pemberley by Sharon Lathan

My Cousin Caroline by Rebecca Ann Collins

Mr. Darcy, Vampyre by Amanda Grange

If you'd like to sign up or read more about the Everything Austen Challenge, head over to

Stephanie's Written Word is holding a giveaway of The Plight of the Darcy Brothers until Saturday, August 8.

Book Review: I Can See You by Karen Rose

Review of I Can See You by Karen Rose


Detectives Jack Phelps and Noah Webster of Minneapolis Homicide Department or "Hat Squad" are media darlings. Magazine covers with Detective Jack Phelps and glowing articles on their joint accomplishments have added turned up the tension on their already complex jobs. Phelps is distracted by his growing celebrity status while Webster becomes increasingly certain that several deaths that been classified as "suicides" may occupy the press for a day or so.

Homicide detective Noah Webster of Minneapolis notices that two recent suicides are disturbingly similar. Acting on a hunch, he determines that the deaths were murders not homicides. As he and his partner Jack Phelps review recent "suicides", it becomes apparent that a serial killer seems to be targeting women. Webster and Phelps face the added pressure of increased media scrutiny with the recent positive press given to the Minneapolis Homicide Detectives.

Eva Wilson survived two violent attacks that left her disfigured. It's taken her years to go back to school and build a life. But her current study involving the addictive power of online communities is dragging her into danger. Eva isn't supposed to know the identities of her test subjects, but the sudden spate of deaths among her heaviest users leads Eva to get involved despite the risk.

Detective Webster had been interested in Eva Wilson, even before her reconstructive surgery. When she turns up at two murder scenes on the same day, Webster looks for her connection to the victims. Eventually, Detective Webster and Eva Wilson work together to search for missing women and stop the criminal before he kills again.


I Can See You strikes me as a book that would appeal equally to thriller lovers and romance lovers because of the strength of Karen Rose's writing.

Carefully crafted, the characters are nuanced and complex. Eva and Noah both have such strong and sympathetic personalities that the action and suspense scenes build on their personalities and those of the people around them. But the Even the villains are fully developed while Karen Rose keeps their identities carefully hidden. Karen Rose builds the tension steadily so that as you get anxious, you can't bear to put the book down. I found that the computer and internet angle helped the book. The action/thriller side helped the romance while the romance helped build the tension.

This is my first Karen Rose novel, and I'm off to look for her earlier books!

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (August 5, 2009), 496 pages.
Courtesy of Hatchette Books Group.

Read an excerpt of I Can See You.

The book will be available tomorrow, August 5, 2009.

Thanks so much Miriam and Hatchette Books Group for this opportunity!

Blog Tour of Seduce Me and Q & A with Robyn DeHart

I am so excited to be part of the Seduce Me blog tour!

a brief interview with Robyn DeHart

I'd like to welcome the author, Robyn DeHart and thank her for taking the time to stop by and answer questions.

Q: When did you start writing fiction?

RD: I’ve always written, wrote my first “novel” in the 4th grade. The teacher even bound it. I still have it. But I started writing my first romance novel while I was still in college so somewhere in the early 90’s, I guess.

Q: Please tell us a little about your most recent work, Seduce Me.

RD: Seduce Me starts my new Legend Hunters series and I’m so excited about it. It’s about Esme Worthington a spinster who fancies herself a scholar of Pandora’s Box and Fielding Grey a treasure-hunter for hire. The quest for Pandora’s Box brings them together then causes them all kinds of trouble in the form or curses and a criminal mastermind. It’s action-packed and sexy and was a hoot to write. And so far I think most of my reviews have commented that it’s similar to Indiana Jones, which is exactly the feel I was going for.

Q: I enjoyed reading about The Men of Solomon in Seduce Me. How do you research and develop the characters in your books?

RD: Well, thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed it. I actually do quite a bit of character work before I ever write a single word. I start with an archetype book I use, that’s my starting point for my characters and then I expand, figure out their goals and conflicts and motivations. I also like to scour the internet to find the right picture of my characters – it’s not so much that I pick a specific actor for my hero, but rather a specific picture of an actor, a precise image that somehow captures the essence of my character. I find this a crucial step to my character creation. Even though I do a lot of preliminary work on the characters, it’s often not until I’m done with the first draft of the book that I really have them completely figured out. It’s definitely a learn-as-you-go kind of method.

Q: When you create a series, like The Legend Hunters, how much do you plan out the different characters and plots at the start? Could you tell us a little about your writing process or your writing schedule?

RD: I did some preliminary planning to select the heroes I wanted to write about and which legend they would seek, but I didn’t do much more than that. Since the Legend Hunters doesn’t have any over-arching storylines each book can be plotted as I go, which is nice and freeing. But I did have to make some decisions about the world in which Solomon’s and my Legend Hunters live.

Writing process, you know I love talking about this, not just my process, but other writers as well. It’s just one of those fascinating things. My process is pretty straight forward and I have a love/hate relationship with it. I suppose that’s pretty normal for most writers. I generally start with an idea, which is often a character in a situation. With a series like the Legend Hunters then that initial stuff is done for me. Then I work on my characters, do a ton of work with them and from what I discover about them I create the plot. I tend to plot from the inside out, meaning initially I focus a lot on the romance and the internal/emotional journey of the hero and heroine. With the Legend Hunters books I’ve had to really stretch my focus to include the external plotline since the adventure is such a huge part of the story. So I do some scene work and then I write the synopsis, which is often quite helpful (though often painful at the same time) in making everything more cohesive. Then I start writing. And I write the rough draft from start to finish, I don’t stop to research (though I do often have blips where I have to stop and have an emergency brainstorming session to figure out plot snags) I just get it done. Once the rough draft is done I start the layering, I tend to go through the book no fewer than four times before I deem it worthy to send to my agent and editor. And then of course there are usually more revisions from them. It’s a long process, but there’s much in that process that I love.
Q: What are you working on next?

RD: I just turned in the second Legend Hunters book, which is slated for June 2010 and is about Atlantis. I’m pretty excited about it too, and while that book had it’s own unique struggles that made it challenging, it also had a storyline that I just love. Right now I’m working on the brainstorming for book 3, no details yet to share about it though.

Q: Which writers have influenced you the most? Who do you enjoy reading?

RD: Oh wow, what a great question. Well, first and foremost, definitely Judy Blume. How I loved her books when I was growing up and like that one scene in You’ve Got Mail so beautifully illustrates – the books you read as a child become a part of you in a way that no other books do. I feel like I grew up with Judy. Reading my first Kathleen Woodiwiss book solidified the type of writing I wanted to do. Before that I knew I wanted to write fiction, but I was unsure of what I wanted to write, but there in my bedroom reading that as a teenager, I just instinctively knew and I went after that dream from that moment on. Pamela Morsi who has become a dear friend, but before that I was such a big fan of hers, has been very instrumental in my career. As for authors I love, well, there’s Teresa Medeiros, JK Rowling, JD Robb, Jim Butcher, Suzanne Enoch, Amanda Quick, Allison Brennan, and man, I could go on and on. I so love to read and while my reading has slowed down as my career has progressed I still binge on books between deadlines.

Q: Is there anything that you wish someone had asked you but didn't?

RD: Not that I can think of. But I would like to remind everyone that they can find Seduce Me in a bookstore near them and I knew when they do they’ll have a great time reading it. Thanks again for having me.

Thank you again, Robyn! Congratulations on the new book. I look forward to the next in the Legend Hunters series.

Visit Robyn DeHart's website and enter her contest at

About the Author:

Robyn DeHart has published four books with Avon: Courting Claudia, A Study in Scandal, Deliciously Wicked, and Tempted At Every Turn. Known for her unique plotlines and authentic characters, Robyn is a favorite among readers and reviewers. Publishers' Weekly claims her writing to be "comical and sexy" while the Chicago Tribune dubs her "wonderfully entertaining." A two-time Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice award nominee, Robyn has earned 4 star and 4 star top pick reviews on all her books and Kathe Robin says, "Like Amanda Quick, DeHart [will] keep you up all night."

Review of Seduce Me

Synopsis of Seduce Me:

Seduce Me introduces Fielding Grey, Viscount of Eldon, who lives the dangerous life of a treasurer seeker in the 1880s. Unlike his father who approached archeology as a scholar, Fielding Grey has had to accept clients and pursue artifacts based on their monetary value. His latest assignment from The Men of Solomon involves the fabled Pandora's Box. It's this search that leads him to Esme Worthington, a scholar and specialist on Pandora's Box.

Esme Worthington has always loved archeology and has built a reputation as a scholar. Esme's expertise draws danger to her and disrupts her quiet life. She's fortunate to come across Fielding Grey, an unexpected hero. As Esme and Fielding learn to work together to solve the mysteries of Pandora's Box, Esme's curiosity causes her to release one of the Box's curses.


Seduce Me has a fun blend of romance and adventure. Esme's the sort of intelligent, outspoken, beautiful, good hearted and slightly clumsy heroine that I always find myself rooting for. Fielding is mysterious and likable. As Fielding searches for the story behind his father's death while fighting his growing attraction to Esme, the book draws you in.

From the light banter between Fielding and Esme to the excitement during the hunt for the solution to the curse. this book makes a wonderful escapist read. This is my first Robyn DeHart novel and I look forward to reading many more.

To read more about Robyn DeHart and Seduce Me, visit other sites participating in the Seduce Me blog tour.

Book Tour Stops – Aug. 1 – 14 – Aug. 1 – 14 – Aug. 2 – Aug. 3 – Aug. 3 – Aug. 4 – Aug. 4 – Aug. 5 - Aug. 5 – Aug. 6 – Aug. 6 – Aug. 7 – Aug. 7 – Aug. 9 – Aug. 10 – Aug. 10 – Aug. 11 – Aug. 11 – Aug. 12 – Aug. 12 – Aug. 12 – Aug. 13 – Aug. 13 – Aug. 14 – Aug. 14 – Aug. 14 – Aug. 14


To enter, please comment on Robyn's interview or ask Robyn a question. Please include your email address, so that I can contact you if you win.

The contest is limited to US and Canada only. No P.O. boxes. The contest ends at 6 pm on August 21, 2009.

Winners of The Moon Looked Down by Dorothy Garlock


The Moon Looked Down by Dorothy Garlock

  1. wandanamgreb - confirmed
  3. janemaritz - confirmed
  4. hurdler4eva - confirmed
  5. cyeates - confirmed
Congratulations! I've contacted the winners and they have until 6 pm on Thursday to send their mailing information. Thanks for participating in the contest!

Thanks so much to Anna and Hatchette Books Group for sponsoring this giveaway!

Winners of $20 Per Gallon by Christopher Steiner


$20 Per Gallon by Christopher Steiner

foojersey - confirmed
ignoramoose - confirmed
aitmama alexa n. - confirmed
bkrnhrt - confirmed
mesreads - confirmed

Congratulations! I've sent your details to the publisher and they'll mail the books directly.

Thank you so much to Valerie and Hatchette Books Group for sponsoring this giveaway!

Winners of The Bourne Deception by Robert Ludlum


Bourne Deception by Robert Ludlum (audiobook)

  1. firebee - confirmed
  2. roylsue - confirmed
  3. park avenue princess - confirmed

Congratulations! I've contacted forwarded your information to the publisher. You'll receive the audio books from them directly. Thanks again for participating!

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

Winners of Off Season by Anne Rivers Siddons


Off Season by Anne Rivers Siddons

lilibethramos - confirmed
dlodden - bea - confirmed
delilah0180 - confirmed
denise_22315 - confirmed

Congratulations! Thanks for participating in the contest!

Thanks to Valerie and Hatchette Books Group for sponsoring this giveaway!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Winners of My Name is Will: A Novel of Sex, Drugs & Shakespeare by Jess Winfield

My Name is Will: A Novel of Sex, Drugs & Shakespeare by Jess Winfield

  1. mittens0831 -confirmed
  2. rachelhwallen-confirmed
  3. budletsmom
  4. Lauren - confirmed
  5. oheeyore
  6. liztapioka14 - confirmed
Congratulations! I've contacted the winners and they have until 6 pm on Thursday to send me their mailing addresses.

Thank so much to Valerie and Hatchette Books Group for this giveaway!

Winners of How Successful People Think by John C. Maxwell

Winners of How Successful People Think by John C. Maxwell (audio)

  1. jake.lsewhere - confirmed
  2. firebee - confirmed
  3. kalea_kane revraquel - confirmed
Congratulations! I've contacted the winners. They have until midnight of Wednesday to send me their mailing addresses. Thanks for entering the contest!

Thank you so much Anna and Hatchette Books Group for sponsoring this contest!

Winners of Julie & Julia by Julie Powell


Julie & Julia by Julie Powell

Julie - confirmed
Pam Bea - confirmed
Cindy Daphne - confirmed

Congratulations! Pam was kind enough to let me know that she'd won the book on another site. Thanks for entering the contest!

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

Winners of The Juror by George Dawes Green

The Juror by George Dawes Green

  1. cabadov Jason - confirmed
  2. janetfaye - Pam S. - confirmed
  3. dag888888 -confirmed
Congratutions! I've emailed the winners. Carrie Anne was kind enough to let me know that she'd won this on another site. The others have until 6 pm on Wednesday to send me their mailing addresses. Thanks for participating in the contest!

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

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Book Review: Holly's Inbox by Holly Denham

Holly’s Inbox
Review of Holly's Inbox by Holly Dedham

I was fortunate to receive a review copy of Holly's Inbox from Holly/Bill directly!


"Ever wanted a peek at someone else's emails?" That's one of the teasers for Holly Inbox, a 672 page novel, composed entirely of emails by, for or about Holly Dedham. Don't be put off by the book's length - the characters are engrossing and the book flies by!

Young, vivacious, and relatively inexperienced, Holly has a new job as a receptionist at a busy corporate bank in London. We read about her ups and downs as she faces bullying co-workers, social mishaps, well meaning but socially aggressive parents, her flaky entrepreneur brother Charlie, an ex-boyfriend who joins the bank, and a gorgeous and flirtatious banker. Fortunately, Holly has her old friends Jason and Aisha to keep her grounded and amused plus her work friends Trish and Jennie to advise her.


Holly's Inbox has all the likability, humor, plot twists and romance that exemplify good chicklit. The book reminded me of Marian Keyes's Watermelon and Sophie Kinsella's Undomestic Goddess. Although I had to adjust to the "all email" format, this was easy enough once I became familiar with each of the characters. From Holly's grandmother to her frenemy from boarding school to her crazy single woman friend Aisha to her accident prone brother Charlie, her cheery gay friend Granger and her office mate Trish, each of the characters are carefully crafted and fun companions. Holly herself may seem a bit flaky, especially when she's getting her bearings, but you'll find yourself rooting for her soon enough. The ups and downs of an office romance were fun, but like in real life, it's banter and the friendships that made the book come alive so vividly. At close to 700 pages, Holly's Inbox is bulky but you won't want to put it down. I took it with me everywhere - even on the crowded NYC subway during rush hour. A fun summer read!

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca (June 1, 2009), 672 pages.
Review copy courtesy of the author.

Thank you so much, Bill/Holly for this opportunity!

Teaser: Coming up soon - a guest post from the author of Holly's Inbox - date to be announced.

Also - head over to Peeking Between The Pages to win a copy of Holly's Inbox