Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday 56: Week 18

* 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:

"If she wanted to get herself killed, it was her decision. She was a grown woman and perfectly able to make whatever stupid decisions she wanted."

- Love You To Death by Shannon K. Butcher

Book Blog Tour of Ginger High by Melissa Burmester

Ginger High

The blurb:
Ginger High is no ordinary school. It is a school for students with "special powers." Many years ago people came to Earth from the kingdom of Animist, a parallel universe. Two longtime friends, Matthias and Amanta, attended the school and then returned home to Animist.

The school has had many unexplained deaths. Daisy Fisher attends the school after her old school to help solve the mysteries. What are powers? And what is with the crazy school? Welcome to Ginger High!

Ginger High is an interesting and dialogue heavy book. I found the shifts from different time periods and from Earth to Animist a bit confusing, but it's a valiant first effort by Melissa Burmester. It's hard to believe that it is a work of a fourteen-year old.

Publisher: Infinity Publishing (May 15, 2009), 229 pages.
Review copy provided by the author and Pump Up Your Book Promotion Tours.

Pump Up Your Book sig

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Book Review & Giveaway of Love You To Death by Shannon K. Butcher

International journalist Elise McBride flies from Hong Kong back to the Midwest deeply worried about her artist sister Ashley. Ashley and Elise share the same beautiful looks, but while Elise is practical and responsible, Ashley is creative and flighty. So flighty that the local police don't take Elise's missing person complaint seriously.

But Elise is able to convince Ashley's neighbor, ex-cop Trent Brady. Though Trent suffers from post traumatic stress, he has confidence in his investigative skills and finds himself strangely protective of Elise. Together Trent and Elise enter the dangerous underbelly to search for clues to Ashley's disappearance. With a serial killer on the loose, the stakes have risen and Elise must decide how best to trap her sister's captor.

If you're looking for a romantic thriller and an escapist read, Love You To Death will not disappoint. The two lead characters, Trent and Elise, are interesting and sympathetic - you feel a connection to them. Building on each scene, Shannon K. Butler weaves the plot to a dramatic climax. This is my first time to read a Shannon K. Butler book and I am looking forward to reading more by her!

Publisher: Forever (October 1, 2009), 400 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

About the Author, courtesy of the publisher:
Shannon K. Butcher learned to write from her husband, bestselling author Jim Butcher, as she helped him with his stories. Soon she found the idea of creating he own too compelling to resist and, after too many years workign as an industrial engineer, gladly left that career to write full time. Shannon lives in Missouri with her husband and son, where conversations at the dinner table are more often about fictional things than things that actually happened. Visit Shannon K. Butcher's website at


To enter, please recommend a romance or thriller that you read recently.

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 and Canada only. No P.O. boxes. The contest ends at noon on November 15, 2009.

Thanks so much to Anna and Hatchette Book Group for this opportunity!

Book Giveaway of The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent

About the Book, courtesy of the publisher:

Martha Carrier was one of the first women to be accused, tried and hanged as a witch in Salem, Massachusetts. Like her mother, young Sarah Carrier is bright and willful, openly challenging the small, brutal world in which they live.

Often at odds with one another, mother and daughter are forced to stand together against the escalating hysteria of the trials and the superstitious tyranny that led to the torture and imprisonment of more than 200 people accused of witchcraft.

This is the story of Martha's courageous defiance and ultimate death, as told by the daughter who survived.

Kathleen Kent is a tenth generation descendent of Martha Carrier. She paints a haunting portrait, not just of Puritan New England, but also of one family's deep and abiding love in the face of fear and persecution.

About the Author, courtesy of the publisher:

Kathleen Kent is a tenth-generation descendant of Martha Carrier. She is also a masterful storyteller, and in her first novel she paints a haunting portrait, not just of Puritan New England but also of one family’s deep and abiding love in the face of fear and persecution. Learn more about her on Kathleen Kent's website at

Reading Group Guide, courtesy of the publisher:

1) How was Sarah changed by living with her cousin Margaret? How was she changed by returning to her family?

2) What was it about Martha's character that seemed to antagonize so many neighbors?

3) What do you think was the most compelling reason that Martha was eventually brought to trial?

4) Discuss the various factors that lead to the witch hysteria.

5) Why did Martha choose to take a stand of innocence knowing that a refused confession meant death?

6) Why did Thomas, despite his size and capabilities, not seek to persuade or deter Martha from her course of action?

7) Why did the community of Salem, and the magistrates, so easily believe in and rely on "spectral evidence”?

8) How has reading the book changed your opinions about the men and women hanged as witches?

9) Are there modern day "witches”?

10) Can we, or should we, redefine the meaning of the word "witch"?


To enter, tell us how you plan to celebrate Halloween.

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 and Canada only. No P.O. boxes. The contest ends at noon on November 15, 2009.

Thanks so much, Valerie and Hatchette Book Group for this generous giveaway!

Book Giveaway: Life After Genius by M. Ann Jacoby

I'm excited to announce that Valerie and Hatchette Book Group are sponsoring a giveaway of 5 copies of Life After Genius by M. Ann Jacoby.

About the Book:

Theodore Mead Fegley has always been the smartest person he knows. By age 12, he was in high school, and by 15 he was attending a top-ranking university. And now, at the tender age of 18, he's on the verge of proving the Riemann Hypothesis, a mathematical equation that has mystified academics for almost 150 years. But only days before graduation, Mead suddenly packs his bags and flees home to rural Illinois. What has caused him to flee remains a mystery to all but Mead and a classmate whose quest for success has turned into a dangerous obession.

At home, Mead finds little solace. His past ghosts haunt him; his parents don't understand the agony his genius has caused him, nor his desire to be a normal kid, and his dreams seem crushed forever. He embarks on a new life's journey -- learning the family business of selling furniture and embalming the dead--that disappoints and surprises all who knew him as "the young Fegley genius."

Equal parts academic thriller and poignant coming-of-age story, Life After Genius follows the remarkable journey of a young man who must discover that the heart may know what the head hasn't yet learned.

About the Author:

M. Ann Jacoby has been an art director at Penguin Group USA for the past 20 years. LIFE AFTER GENIUS is her first novel.

Audio and Video


To enter, please share a book recommendation.

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 and Canada only. No P.O. boxes. The contest ends at noon on November 15, 2009.

Book Review & Giveaway of Mrs. O: The Face of Fashion Democracy by Mary Tomer

Building on the success of the Mrs. O website, Mary Tomer's recent book is a beautifully photographed and annotated description of Michelle Obama's fashion style as it progressed over the very public months of Barack Obama's presidential campaign and his first months in office.

Mrs. O: The Face of Fashion Democracy is more than a gorgeous collection of photographs. I found it an education in how Michelle Obama used her political savvy, visibility, and fashion sense to make political statements and to promote young designers from the US and around the world. I am not particularly well versed in the different designers and enjoyed the book's extensive interviews of different designers, stylists and publicists.

It is easy to imagine the excitement at the J.Crew headquarters when Michelle Obama appeared on Jay Leno's Tonight Show wearing her yellow outfit. And the "general joy" that all the Gap employees felt on seeing Michelle Obama in her off-the rack dress on the Fourth of July, 2008. It was touching to read Thakoon Panichgul's reaction to seeing Michelle Obama in his crossover V-back dress on the last night of the Democratic Convention: "I was so shocked and honored to have been part of that moment for her, for her family, for the country."

I recommend Mrs. O: The Face of Fashion Democracy - it goes beyond photographs to capture and analyze unique political moments from the lens of fashion.

Publisher: Center Street (October 28, 2009), 248 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

About the Author, courtesy of the publisher:
Mary Tomer is the founder and contributing editor of In the summer of 2008, captivated by Michelle Obama's arrival on the national stage, Mary realized the future first lady had the makings of a style icon - the genesis of The site launched in September 2008, and has quickly grown to attract more than 2 million site visits, with traffic from 221 countries and territories. Mary has appeared on the Today Show, MSNBC, Access Hollywood and BBC Radio, speaking as an authority on the first lady's style.


To enter, please tell us about your favorite public figure.

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 and Canada only. No P.O. boxes. The contest ends at noon on November 15, 2009.

Thanks so much, Anna and Hatchette Book Group for this opportunity and sponsoring the generous giveaway!

Winners of the Hatchette Hispanic Heritage Month Giveaway


chrismejia - confirmed
Hee-Kyong @ soyhky - confirmed
daphneramos - confirmed
BevE @ merryweatherbookblog - confirmed
easagredo - confirmed

You won the Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration contest sponsored by the Hatchette Book Group.

Zumba by Beto Perez with Maggie Greenwood- Robinson
Evenings at the Argentine Club by Julia Amante
Tell Me Something True by Leila Cobo
Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz by Belinda Acosta
Amigoland by Oscar Casares

Please send me your mailing addresses by noon on Sunday and I'll forward these details to the publisher. Thanks so much for participating, everyone!

Thanks so much to Valerie and Hatchette Book Group for sponsoring this generous giveaway!

Book Review & Giveaway of Angels: A Pop-Up Book by Chuck Fischer

The blurb:

Whether you consider angels to be divine messengers, spiritual guides, or the stuff of legend, you will find something to marvel at in Chuck Fischer's beautifully illustrated Angels: A Pop-Up Book.

Fischer's original art, inspired by classic images from art history, is crafted into astoundingly intricate three-dimensional pop-ups with fold-outs and movable parts. Angels brings to life the most captivating stories of these celestial beings, from the angels of the zodiac to Biblical angels to angels in the arts and popular culture. Much like its subject, Angels: A Pop-Up Book inspires awe and wonder and is a unique gift book for all ages.


Angels: A Pop-Up Book is not to be confused with a children's pop-up book. This is geared towards adults. The book is divided into three sections: "Messengers," "A Hierarchy of Angels," and "Secular Angels." Each section is well researched and relies on the works of philosophers, artists and authors to provide information and images.

In Messengers, Fischer explores the concept of Angels in the ancient kingdoms of Mesopotamia, Babylon, Egypt and in the religions of Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. The Section A Hierarchy of Angels covers references from the Old Testament, the mystical and philosophical writings in The Celestial Hierarchy (De Coelesti Hierarchia), Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologica, Jewish tradition, and Islam. The artwork for depicting Archangel Michael fighting the dragon and Archangel Gabriel and the Annunciation are particularly captivating. The Section On Secular Angels begins with the secular interest in angels during the Renaissance. This section touches on the work of artists, the writings of Greek scholars during the fall of Constantinople in 1453, artists during the 18th and 19th centuries, Lord Byron, Victor Hugo, even recent portrayals of angels in film and television.

The pop-up art is elaborate, intricate and richly decorated. Angels: A Pop-Up Book is sure to be enjoyed by people with an interest in the art and concept of Angels.

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; Pop edition (October 19, 2009), 18 pages.

Review copy provided by the publisher.

About the Author:

Chuck Fischer is a New York City artist whose paintings hang in some of the finest residences in the world. Many of his designs are in the permanent collection of the Cooper-Hewitt Museum. He is the author of two previous pop-up books, The White House and Great American Houses and Gardens. Visit Chuck Fischer's online studio at


To enter, please comment below.

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 and Canada only. No P.O. boxes. The contest ends at noon on Nov. 15, 2009.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Nine Days of Nine Dragons Blog Tour - Michael Connelly's Nine Dragons

Welcome to the Book Blog Tour of Nine Dragons by Michael Connelly. I'd heard so many wonderful things about Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch series, that I jumped at the chance to review Nine Dragons. Thanks so much to Miriam and Hatchette Book Group for the opportunity to be part of this tour!

The 15th and latest in the Harry Bosch series, Nine Dragons, opens with a murder of John Li, the owner of a liquor store in a tough South L.A. neighborhood. Having met John Li years earlier and during one of the most dangerous nights of his life, Bosch is determined to find Li's killer even if this involves taking on the Triads.

Bosch looks to Detective Chu of the Asian Gang Unit for help. Just as Bosch and Chu investigate the robbery and murder, they discover that their main suspect has ties to the Triads. As the detectives pursue the link to the Triads, Bosch is confronted with his worst fear. Bosch is warned off the case and his daughter in Hong Kong is kidnapped. Bosch must track her down without knowing the language or the territory.

Harry Bosch fans will surely enjoy Nine Dragons! His characteristic distrust keeps Bosch unsure of who to trust but when Bosch enters into unfamiliar territory he must learn to work with Detective Chu and his knowledge of Asian gangs. As Bosch delves into the Chinese immigrant experience and the world of the triads, Nine Dragons shows you both sides of Harry Bosch - the deeply committed homicide detective and the fiercely protective father. A fast-paced and unpredictable, Nine Dragons is an exciting and satisfying read!

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (October 13, 2009), 384 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

About the Author, courtesy of the publisher:

Michael Connelly, a #1 New York Times bestselling novelist and a former journalist, has won numerous crime fiction prizes. He lives in Florida. Learn more on Michael Connelly's website at

Michael Connelly's Book Tour:

October 13, 2009 Scottsdale, Arizona
The Poisoned Pen October 13, 2009, Pasadena, California Vroman's Bookstore October 14, 2009, Los Angeles, California Barnes & Noble (The Grove) October 15, 2009, Kansas City, Missouri
Rainy Day Books
(Admission package required.)

October 16 - 17, 2009, Indianapolis, Indiana
Bouchercon 2009

October 18, 2009, Thousand Oaks, California
Mysteries To Die For

October 18, 2009, South Pasadena, California
Book 'Em Mysteries

October 18, 2009, Northridge, California

October 21, 2009, Houston, Texas
Murder By The Book

Participating Blogs:

October 13

October 14

October 15

October 16

October 17

October 18

October 19

October 20

October 21

Do you want your own copy? Drop by Drey's Library to enter the contest for one of 5 copies of Nine Dragons by Michael Connelly. Contest ends 10/28. US and Canada only.

Book Blog Tour of Hot and Irresistible by Dianne Castell

Hot and IrresistiblePlease join me in welcoming Dianne Castell, author of Hot and Irresistible, to Starting Fresh! Thank you so much, Dianne for sharing your thoughts on "North or South...Which one are You?"


North or South... Which one are You? by Dianne Castell

One of the reasons I wrote Hot and Irresistible was to set a book in the South and not just geographically but in characters and language and food! Characters in NY are way different than characters in Savannah . You won’t hear the doorman at the NY Hilton say Y’all come back now, ya’ hear. And food? Just try getting a cream egg in Savannah or sweet tea in Manhattan.

I’m more Savannah then Manhattan. Not that I don’t looove NY City, I do. But I live in Cincinnati and feel connected to the South. I fry chicken and make cream gravy and make my own pumpkin pie. I don’t have a hidden tiara in my panty drawer but I do subscribe to Southern Living, think Paula Deen is the cutest thing on earth and have actually waited in line for two hours to eat at Lady and Sons. Yep, it’s worth the wait! And I can twirl a baton!

I have a pair of white gloves in my drawer and use cloth tablecloth and napkins and set the table proper with flowers for Sunday dinner. If my kids don’t mind their manners they get “the look of death” from their mama and I buy hair spray two bottles at a time and wouldn’t dream of leaving the house without putting on my face.

I love the South. My heart is there...except for those Palmetto bugs. I’m sure they are what keep me from moving south of the Ohio River. Sweet mother, are those things ugly as sin!

So, who are you? North or South? Even if you’re Midwest you probably lean more one way or the other and I’m willing to bet you have a little Southern in you just begging to get out. Let me know and I’ll give away two Hot and Bothered T-shirts from the answers.

Thanks for chatting.


Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by, Dianne! The civility of the South sounds lovely. Congratulations again on the launch of Hot and Irresistible!

About the Author, courtesy of her publicist:

USA Today best selling author Dianne Castell writes for Kensington Books. She also writes a monthly editor interview column for Romance Writers Report. Her books have won Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award, been on the cover of Romantic Times Magazine and included in Rhapsody Book Club, Doubleday Book Club and have made the Waldenbooks Bestseller list.

The second book in her Savannah Sizzles series for the BRAVA line, Hot and Irresistible, hits the shelves Nov‘09. Dianne lives in Cincinnati with her two cats and will do just about anything to get out of housework. You can visit her website at or email her at dianecastell AT hotmail DOT com.

Pump Up Your Book sig

Thanks again to Dianne Castell, Dorothy and Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Tours for this opportunity!

Book Blog Tour of Hot and Irresistible by Dianne Castell

Welcome to the Book Blog Tour of Hot and Irresistible by Dianne Castell organized by Dorothy and Pump Up Your Book Promotion.

Hot and Irresistible

The blurb:
In a city of history, mystery, and more than a few ghosts, four best friends who have never fit in anywhere except with each other are about to get close - and closer still - to four sexy bachelors with some very alluring secrets...Bebe Fitzpatrick's hard upbringing taught her how to take care of herself, how to tell true friends from false, and how to be a good cop. She can also sweet-talk a man like she means it...until she stumbles into the arms of a damn sexy Yankee who's gunning for Savannah's favorite shady entrepreneur...As far as Donovan McCabe is concerned, the main obstacle to his investigation is the one thing he can't help wanting in his way. Bebe's smart, sassy, and utterly oblivious to her own appeal. Add the fact that a Boston cop trying to arrest one of Savannah's best-loved citizens is about as popular as the reincarnation of General Grant. What Donovan needs is a better game plan. What he's about to get is southern "hospitality" that'll make his toes curl...

Hot and Irresistible mixes the danger and mystery of an unsolved murder and a missing heirloom diamond necklace with spicy romance. Four mysterious adoptions, gambling casinos, boats, a squeaky clean judge, a missing baby, suspicious deaths, and packed with action, Hot and Irresistible is a fun escape.

Publisher: Brava (October 27, 2009), 352 pages.
Review copy provided by Pump Up Your Book Tour.

Pump Up Your Book sig

Thank you so much to Dianne Castell, Dorothy and Pump Up Your Book Promotion Tour for this opportunity!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Book Blog Tour of In A Perfect World by Laura Kasischke

Welcome! We're kicking off the TLC Book Tour of In A Perfect World by Laura Kasischke here at Starting Fresh.

Set sometime in the near future but in a world ravaged by an epidemic of the deadly Phoenix flu, In A Perfect World is a close look at the demands and sacrifices of love.

Thirty-two-year-old Jiselle is ready to be swept off her feet by the dashing Captain Mark Dorn and shrugs off her mother's warnings. It didn't matter to Jiselle that she'd only known Mark for a few months and that she would be inheriting a ready-built family. Captain Dorn is universally regarded as a catch and the other flight attendants are jealous. After handling the tantrums of drunken passengers during transatlantic flights, the prospect of spending time with three children in a quiet New York town strikes Jiselle as a peaceful and positive change . So, Jiselle succumbs to the romance and trades in her flight attendant's wings for motherhood and married life. Then the Phoenix flu spreads into Jiselle's world, and alters it forever.

Kasischke takes complex and believable characters and drops them into an apocalyptic future. The effect is a suspense novel that holds all the emotional layers of a rich family drama.

I expected to be frustrated by Jiselle's naivete, but she proved to be such a sympathetic character. I was charmed by her kindness and thoroughly enjoyed Kasischke's approach to storytelling. In A Perfect World is an absorbing and satisfying read - I strongly recommend it!

Publisher: Harper Perennial (October 6, 2009), 336 pages.
Review copy provided by TLC Book Tours and the publisher.

About the Author, courtesy of the publisher:
Laura Kasischke teaches in the University of Michigan MFA program and the Residential College. She has published seven collections of poetry and seven novels. She lives with her family in Chelsea, Michigan.

If you'd like to meet Laura Kasischke or learn more about the book, check out Laura Kasischke's Book Tour Stops:

Participating Bookstores
Oct. 8 - Ann Arbor, MI at Nicola's Books
Oct. 14 - Birmingham, MI at Borders
Oct. 15 - Novi, MI at Borders
Oct. 21 - Milwaukee, WI at Next Chapter Bookshop
Oct. 22 - Minneapolis, MN at Magers & Quinn
Oct. 27 - St. Joseph, MI at Forever Books
Oct. 29 - Chicago, IL at Book Cellar
Nov. 3 - Ann Arbor, MI at Borders

Participating Blogs:
October 12th – Starting Fresh
October 14th – BookNAround

October 15th – Book Club Classics!

October 19th – A Reader’s Respite

October 23rd – The Book Nest
October 26th – Galleysmith

October 29th – A High and Hidden Place

November 2nd – Word Lily

November 3rd – Books on the Brain

November 5th – Write Meg

Thanks so much to Laura Kasischke, Trish and TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to participate in this book blog tour!