Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Book Blog Tour of Feelin' the Vibe by Candice Dow + giveaway

Thanks so much Anna and Hatchette Book Group are sponsoring a giveaway of 5 copies of Feelin' The Vibe by Candice Dow.


About the Book, courtesy of the publisher:
Clark Winston nearly had a nervous breakdown after her dream man, Devin Patterson, married the other woman. The untimely death of her best friend--the mother of her niece and nephew--only added to her mental instability. Given sole custody of her ten-year-old niece, Clark knew she had to go on and did so with her therapist Dr. Kenneth Winston.
Now ten years later, Clark is the director of a Baltimore group home for girls. By stroke of luck she and Devin are brought back together through their career choices and suddenly find themselves in an affair just as intense as their early relationship. Can they make love work? Or will they decide to try again at their failing marriages?

About the Author,
courtesy of the publisher:
Candice Dow is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and graduate of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and Johns Hopkins University. She resides in Maryland with her son and loves to travel. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Candice is the author of six novels and is currently hard at work on her next. For more information visit

Participating Blogs: - Oct. 14 giveaway - Oct. 14 review and giveaway - Oct. 15 review and giveaway - Oct. 16 Giveaway - Oct. 16 Review and giveaway - Oct. 17 Review and giveaway - Oct. 19 Review and giveaway - Oct. 20 Giveaway - Oct. 20 review - giveaway - giveaway


To enter, please share why you'd like to win this book.


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, follow me on twitter (startingfreshny) and let me know that you do.
5. For another entry, blog about this giveaway and send me the link.
6. 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 November 15, 2009.

Book Blog Tour of Night of Flames by Douglas W. Jacobson

Night of Flames begins in September 1939, as Germany invades Poland. Through the characters of Anna and Jan Kopernik, Douglas Jacobson takes us through the days of Poland's occupation, the bravery of vastly outnumbered Polish troops, the overwhelming force of the German military, and the heroism of the underground resistance.

Jan Kopernik, an officer in the famous Wielkopolska Cavalry Brigade, a.k.a. the Polish cavalry, is a career officer sees firsthand the gaps in their intelligence sources. After barely surviving disastrous battles with German troops, Jan escapes to Britain to assist British intelligence. He is sent back to occupied territories on several undercover missions. While back in Poland, Jan searches for his missing wife, Anna.

Anna Kopernik was with her Jewish friend Irene and Irene's son Justyn when the Germans began the blitzkreig. Narrowly surviving the nighttime bombings of Warsaw, Anna leads Irene and Justyn from Warsaw back to Krakow. The granddaughter of a Polish nobleman, daughter of a law professor and a professor in her own right, Anna might have been safe in Krakow, even after the "open city" succumbed to German control. But when the Germans rounded up the intellectuals, Anna's father was dragged to a concentration camp and Anna's position becomes precarious. Her friends Irene and Justyn are ordered to wear armbands with yellow stars identifying their Jewish heritage. Offered travel visas out of Poland, Anna, Irene and Justin attempt the dangerous journey.

Years later, Justyn comes across an American aviator in the fields of the village Warempage, Belgium while checking out "drop sites" for the Allied Forces. Anna helps bring the young American to the safe house operated by the Comet Line. So begins Anna's involvement in the Comet Line and the White Brigade.

Suspenseful, engrossing, and skillfully executed, Night of Flames brings us a close look into Polish resistance movement during World War II. Douglas W. Jacobson artfully combines a complex plot with deep and sympathetic characters. The bravery and heroism of ordinary citizens in the face of grave personal danger and overwhelming odds will stay with you long after you've finished the book.

Publisher: McBooks Press; illustrated edition edition (October 1, 2008), 384 pages.
Review copy provided by Pump Up Your Book Promotion.

About the Author, courtesy of his website:
Douglas W Jacobson is an engineer, business owner, and World War Two history enthusiast who has traveled extensivley in Europe. Night of Flames was inspired by the war-time experiences of his Belgian relatives and his own Polish heritage. Doug and his wife, Janie, live in Elm Grove, WI.

Thank you so much to Douglas Jacobson, Dorothy and Pump Up Your Book Promotion for this opportunity!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Book Blog Tour of Night of Flames by Douglas W. Jacobson

I am excited to be one of the tour hosts for the Book Blog Tour of Night of Flames: A Novel of World War II by Douglas W. Jacobson. When I first read about the book Pump Up Your Book Promotion, I couldn't wait to sign up!

Today, I'd like to welcome the author, Douglas W. Jacobson who will share what he loves about war stories and the people that we celebrate through these stories of war.


Why I love war stories . . .

by Douglas W. Jacobson

I must correct myself straight off. I don’t really love war stories as much as I do stories about the people caught up in them. War is as much a part of the human experience as breathing. Throughout history there have always been conflicts among people and there always will be. It is part of our nature as fallible human beings.

War is an extension of conflict taken to the extreme. And the ultimate tragedy of war is that the people who suffer the most are the common people swept up in it, those who had nothing to do with starting it and whose only desire is for the strength and good fortune to live through it.

In his book, World Crisis, Winston Churchill wrote, “Thus when all the trumpets sounded, every class and rank had something to give . . . but none gave more, or gave more readily than the common man or woman.” In those eloquent words lie the essence of the story I endeavored to tell in writing Night of Flames. Through the characters in the story—Anna Kopernik, a university professor in Krakow, Poland and her husband, Jan, a cavalry officer—I have attempted to pay tribute to the countless acts of nobility and courage performed by common people caught up in the catastrophe of humanity’s darkest hour. What Anna and Jan endured during the long night of Nazi occupation is exactly what hundreds of thousands of real life people endured during this greatest and most damaging of all wars. I have tried, through this work of fiction, to honor their bravery and their memory so that future generations may know the real tragedy of war.

In closing I would repeat the quotation from the legendary general of the 1st World War, Ferdinand Foch, which has served as an inspiration in my writing; “The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul of fire.”


Thank you so much for taking the time to drop by, Douglas! Your respect for acts of bravery and heroism comes through so well both in this post and in the novel. Thank you again - and congratulations on Night of Flames!

About the Author:

Douglas W. Jacobson is an engineer, business owner and World War Two history enthusiast. Doug has traveled extensively in Europe researching stories of the courage of common people caught up in extraordinary circumstances. His debut novel, Night of Flames: A Novel of World War Two was published in 2007 by McBooks Press, and was released in paperback in 2008. Night of Flames won the 2007 Outstanding Achievement Award from the Wisconsin Library Association. Doug has also published articles on Belgium’s WW2 escape organization, the Comet Line; Poland’s 1st Armored Division; and the liberation of Antwerp. Doug has just completed his second novel set in Europe at the end of WW2. You can visit his blog at

Thank you so much, Dorothy and Pump Up Your Book Promotion for the chance to participate in this book blog tour. Come back tomorrow to read my review of Douglas W. Jacobson's Night of Flames.

Book Blog Tour of The Return by Victoria Hislop

I'm excited to be part of the TLC Book Blog Tour of The Return by Victoria Hislop.

Sonia visits Granada to celebrate a friend's birthday with a dance class. Unfamiliar with the city's past and the brutality under Franco's regime, a chance encounter at a neighborhood cafe introduces Sonia to the brave and complex story of the Rodriguez family's suffering and survival through the Spanish civil war.

Seventy years earlier, Concha and Pablo owned and managed the same cafe with no notion of the danger and pain that would soon visit their family. Their eldest son, Antonio, is an idealistic young teacher. Their second child, Ignacio, is a star matador. Their only daughter, Mercedes only loves to dance and would spend her days honing her skills with their third child, Emilio, a gifted musician. But when Ignacio is seduced by General Franco's policies, the civil war tears the family apart.

Book Review:
Beautifully written, The Return transports you to the Spain during the complex and extraordinary time of the Spanish Civil War. You will be drawn in as Concha and Pablo try to keep the Rodriguez family together and safe. The children battle their fates. Bullfights, Spanish dancers, Federico Garcia Lorca, warring brothers, loving parents, and star-crossed lovers, the story offers beauty, drama and violence. The stories of love and sorrow will linger with you for a long time.

Publisher: Harper Paperbacks (October 6, 2009), 416 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher and TLC Book Tours.
Thanks so much to TLC Book Tours, the publisher and Victoria Hislop for this opportunity!

About the Author, courtesy of author's website:

Victoria Hislop read English at St Hilda’s College, Oxford, and writes travel features for The Sunday Telegraph, The Mail on Sunday, House & Garden and Woman & Home. Her first novel The Island was published by Headline Review and held the number 1 slot in the paperback charts for eight consecutive weeks, selling over a million copies in the UK. The book has also been published in over twenty languages and has also been a number 1 bestseller in Greece. Victoria was the Newcomer of the Year at the Galaxy British Book Awards 2007 and won the Richard & Judy Summer Read competition. She lives in Kent, with her husband and their two children.

Interested in discussing the book further? Visit Victoria Hislop's website for a reading group guide for The Return at

Intrigued by the book? Visit the other host blogs listed below.

Participating Sites:

Monday, October 5th – Life and Times of a “New” New Yorker
Tuesday, October 6th – Starting Fresh
Thursday, October 8th – As Usual, I Need More Bookshelves
Tuesday, October 13th – Bending Bookshelf
Wednesday, October 14th – All About {n}
Thursday, October 15th – The Tome Traveller
Monday, October 19th – The Scholastic Scribe
Tuesday, October 20th – Dreadlock Girl Reads
Wednesday, October 21st – Write Meg
Thursday, October 22nd – Literate Housewife
Monday, October 26th – Diary of an Eccentric
Tuesday, October 27th – Drey’s Library
Wednesday, October 28th – Book Chatter and Other Stuff

Monday, October 5, 2009

Book Blog Tour of Breaking The Bank by Yona Zeldis McDonough & Guest Post for Booklovers + giveaway

I'm excited to be part of the Book Blog Tour of Breaking The Bank by Yona Zeldis McDonough. When I first heard about this book, a whimsical story of a young divorcee living in Brooklyn with her ten-year-old daughter who comes across an ATM machine that gives her free money that enables her to change many lives, I couldn't sign up fast enough! Doesn't it sound good?

Not only is Breaking The Bank largely set in Park Slope, Brooklyn, Yona McDonough is a Brooklyn resident herself! She's taken the time to chat with us about her favorite places in New York City. I asked her where she would take book-loving visitors from out-of-town. Without further ado, please welcome Yona Zeldis McDonough and her recommendations for places in New York City!


Favorite places in New York City for booklovers
by Yona Zeldis McDounough

Favorite places in NYC? I have so many! But if I were planning a trip for book lovers, I’d start off with the Strand. Dominating the corner of 12th and Broadway for decades, Strand is the mother of all used book stores. Miles and miles of books, books, books. Great poetry section; cool fashion section. Fiction section is mind boggling. And for the budget conscious (which today is practically everyone on the planet) there are tons of books for a buck. You never know what you’ll find and that’s the beauty of it. I liked this store so much I even gave it a small shout out in my new novel, Breaking The Bank. The protagonist, Mia Saul, visits the Strand; read about her experience on pages 92-94.

For a more uptown experience and vibe, I’d go to Argosy books on East 59th Street. In addition to the ample selection of first editions, there are scads of prints, illustrations from old books and other ephemera, just waiting to be bought, framed and cherished in your very own digs.

Two other not-to-be-missed book emporia are the swanky Rizzoli on 57th Street and the equally glam new Assouline shop inside the Plaza Hotel. But bookstores aren’t the only game in town.

Let’s not forget the grand dame of the Main Library, flanked by that pair of majestic lions and perched like a temple atop a wide flight of stairs on 42nd and Fifth; the incomparable collection (including nearly-impossible-to-find DVDs) at the Jerome Robbins Dance Division of the NYPL; the newly renovated main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library.

All that reading making you hungry? I’d recommend the restaurant atop Bergdorf Goodman’s, for its delightful, inside-of-a-jewel-box ambience and stunning views of Central Park or the Marie Belle Cacao Bar/Tea Salon, with outposts both uptown on Madison Avenue and downtown in Soho. I’m wildly partial to the chocolate rose tea (best iced) and the hand decorated chocolates that will delight the eye before totally conquering the palate.
Happy reading—and eating!


Thanks so much, Yona!! That's a wonderful introduction NYC. I love the New York Public Library and the Brooklyn Public Library. Not just for the book collections and the staff but for the character and atmosphere in each of the branches. I used to haunt the 58th St, Yorkville, 67th St, Donnell and Midtown branches of the NYPL on a bi-weekly basis.


Mia Saul lives with her ten-year-old daughter Eden in a fourth floor rental in Park Slope, Brooklyn. It's a neighborhood that they love with Prospect Park, the green market, the public library, playground, stores and eateries. Ever since her ex-husband Lloyd left, things have been difficult and it's all Mia can do to keep her head above water. Her beloved Eden has gone beyond vegetarian: the list of things that she refuses to eat grows larger every day. Plus, Eden has been getting into fights and all sorts of destructive behavior. Between losing her job, looking for contractual publishing gigs, meeting with Eden's teacher, therapist and school principal, Mia doesn't have time to look for love or make any large changes in her life.

After difficult parent-teacher talk, losing the week's groceries, and beating herself up, Mia drops by a nearby ATM machine and where she receives a windfall of cash. Though she worries that there must be some mistake, she keeps some, splurges a little, and gives some away. And Mia starts to believe that her luck is changing.

Book Review:

Breaking The Bank is sure to give magical did-I-just-read-that?! moments. The people and places in Mia Saul's neighborhood easily become real. It's not hard to imagine ten-year-old Eden trying to control the changes in her life with a growing love of Barney's, imaginary vacations, and her growing list of boycotted foods. Or sharing Mia's longing for the camaraderie shared with her brother Stuart before he became the Park Avenue corporate lawyer with the house in Greenwich, a corporate lawyer wife and two sets of blond, long haired twins. Or frustration with ex-husband from Phillips Academy and Princeton who, hit with sudden yellow fever, has money for splurges but irregular child support.
Or growing fond of Mia's best friend, Julia, the generous and sage bartender with an extensive shoe collection. It's not just because I live in Brooklyn that the places and people that Yona'd described came alive for me, she paints a New York I would love to imagine living right under my nose. Tough, exciting, full of magic.

Downtown Press (September 8, 2009), 368 pages.
Courtesy of the publisher.

About the Author, courtesy of her website:

Yona Zeldis McDonough presently lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and their two children and two small, yappy dogs. She has been "setting recent novels in her own backyard so to speak; Brooklyn has been a fertile ground in all sorts of ways." Learn more on Yona Zeldis McDonough's website at


To enter, please comment on Yona Zeldis McDonough's post, ask Yona a question or share why you'd like to win this book.

Please include your email address, so that I can contact you if you win. No email address and answer, no entry. The contest is limited to US only. No P.O. boxes. The contest ends at noon on October 31, 2009.

Other participating sites:

Drey’s Library:
Found Not Lost:
The Brain Lair:
My Own Little Corner of the World:
My Reading Room:
All About {n}:
Bookin’ with Bingo:
Chicks with Books:
I’m Booking It:
My Guilty Pleasures:
Blog Business World:
Crazy For Books:
Libby’s Library News:
Jeanne’s Ramblings:
Just Another New Blog:
My Book Addiction and More:
That’s A Novel Idea:
Bookfoolery and Babble:
Booksie’s Blog:
So Many Books, So Little Time:
My Five Monkeys:
Chicks Love Lit:
Hers For The Reading:
Lit and Life:
Psychotic State:
Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews:
Book Magic:
Starting Fresh:
Keep on Booking:
Foreign Library Circus:

Thanks so much, Yona, Sarah and Pocket Books for this opportunity!