Saturday, January 16, 2010

Book Review of Breakfast in Bed by Robin Kaye

Breakfast in Bed
The blurb:
He'd be Mr. Perfect if he wasn't a perfect mess. . .

Rich Ronaldi is almost the complete package - smart, sexy, great job - but when his girlfriend dumps him, Rich swears he'll learn to cook and clean just to win her back. . .

She'll be happy to make him over, but not for another woman. . .

Rich is the only guy Becca Larsens ever met who hasn't tried to change her. She's glad to help him master the domestic arts, but she'll be damned if he'll start cooking in another woman's kitchen - or bedroom. . .

Breakfast in Bed is a fun, contemporary romance. Rich Ronaldi is a sympathetic romantic lead. He's attractive, willing to to learn to cook, clean, and do laundry to win back the woman he loves. Becca Larsen is independent, down-to-earth, and deserves a good man. I enjoyed watching these two characters fall in love and handle the hiccups along the way. If you're looking for a light, fast and romantic read, give Breakfast in Bed a try.

ISBN-10: 1402218958; mass market paperback $6.99
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca; 1 edition (December 1, 2009), 384 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

About the Author, courtesy of her website:
Robin Kaye was born in Brooklyn, New York, and grew up in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge next door to her Sicilian grandparents.

Living with an extended family that's a cross between Gilligan's Island and The Sopranos, minus the desert isle and illegal activities, explains both her comedic timing and the cast of quirky characters in her books.

She's lived in half a dozen states from Idaho to Florida, but the romance of Brooklyn has never left her heart.

She currently resides in Maryland with her husband, three children, two dogs, and a three-legged cat with attitude.

Learn more on Robin Kaye's website at

Thank you so much to Danielle and SourceBooks for this review opportunity!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Book Review: Among Thieves by David Hosp

Among Thieves
The blurb:
Inspired by the true story of the biggest art theft in the twentieth century, bestselling author David Hosp returns with his latest blockbuster thriller featuring attorney Scott Finn.

In the early morning hours of March 18, 1990 two men dressed as police officers entered Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, tied up the guards, and escaped with 500 million dollars' worth of paintings. The heist provoked a massive search for both the thieves and the lost masterpieces. But the paintings never resurfaced and the mystery remained unsolved. Now, almost twenty years later, the case threatens to break wide open.

When attorney Scott Finn agrees to help an old friend from Southie, Devon Malley, he has no idea of the trouble he is bringing upon himself. Members of Boston's criminal underworld start turning up dead, and the M.O. of the attacks suggests the involvement of someone trained by the IRA. But when Finn learns of Malley's role in the heist, he's quickly drawn into the crossfire, and into the renewed hunt for the missing artwork. . . A hunt that may cost Finn and his colleagues their lives.

I've been fascinated with the theft at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, so I was intrigued by the storyline of David Hosp's latest novel. Fortunately, Among Thieves did not disappoint!

Location is as much a character in the novel as the people; David Hosp captures the atmosphere of Boston well from Gardner Museum in the Fenway area to South Boston and the streets of Boston.

While attorney Scott Finn is a convincing and likable lead character, I was drawn in by Finn's colleagues Lissa Krantz and former detective Kozlowski. Lissa Krantz is a strong independent attorney from a privileged background who cares fiercely about her small circle. Tough and burly, Kozlowski ("Koz") built a reputation for integrity and competence in the Boston Police Department but hadn't gotten along with his superiors; after retiring from the police, Koz built a niche as the investigator of their group. When Finn, Koz, and Lissa take on Malley's case in the course of their practice, they approach his case with professional distance. But the three grow increasingly invested and Malley becomes more than a client as the story evolves.

Among Thieves is a satisfying and compelling escape - an art theft mystery and a legal thriller to enjoy.

ISBN-10: 0446580155; $24.99 - hardcover
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (January 11, 2010), 384 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

About the Author, courtesy of Amazon:
In addition to being a novelist, David Hosp is a lawyer and a partner in the Trial Department at Goodwin Procter LLP, one of Boston's oldest and largest law firms. He was born in New York and grew up primarily in Manhattan and Rye, New York. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College and of The George Washington University Law School. During college, he also studied at the London School of Economics.

After graduating from Law School, Mr. Hosp returned to New York, where he practiced law at a large Wall Street law firm before moving to Boston and beginning his practice with Goodwin Procter. He spends a significant portion of his legal career working pro bono with organizations like The Boston Public Library and The New England Innocence Project. His third book, Innocence, was inspired by his representation of a man wrongly convicted of the attempted murder of a Boston police officer in 1997, who was exonerated through DNA evidence in 2004.

Hosp's first novel, Dark Harbor, was a Barry Award nominee for Best First Novel and a Book Sense Pick of the Month. Hosp's third novel, Innocence, was named one of 2009's best summer reads by The Daily Telegraph.

Hosp lives south of Boston with his wife and two children.

Thank you so much to Miriam and Hatchette Book Group for this review opportunity!

Book Review: Baking Cakes in Kigali by Gaile Parkin

Baking Cakes in Kigali
Angel and her husband Pius Tungaraza and their five grandchildren came to Rwanda by way of their home country Tanzania. Pius works as a special consultant at the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology; Angel has a thriving business as a cake designer and baker of unparalleled cakes. They live in a modern apartment building, largely populated by fellow expats. Among their neighbors is one of Angel's best customers, the generous Japanese American Ken Akimoto. Not only does Ken regularly order cakes at expat ("Wazungu") prices, but Ken's Pajero and driver Bosco are available to Angel and other neighbors without fail. The building also houses the Wazunga feminists Sophie and Catherine who work as volunteers teaching women and young girls English and skills. The other neighbors work at aid agencies and non-governmental organizations, as doctors, and one is rumored to work for the CIA.

No matter where they work, whether they are Wazungu or fellow African or local Rwandan, it seems as though they all share the need to celebrate and do so through Angel Tungaraza's special homemade cakes. Angel's creativity and masterful baking draw in clients, but once people taste Angel's kindness, warmth, and caring, they leave as friends. Gaile Parkin's Angel Tungaraza reminds me of Precious Ramotswe from Alexander Mccall Smith's No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. Not because are both "traditionally built" African women, but because they're both independent businesswomen whose humor and caring, problem-solving skills and gentle maneuvering, constantly benefit everyone around them. Expat neighbor, Rwandan driver, ambassador's wife, doctor, nurse, student, bank teller, restaurant owner, sex worker, unwed mother, or child - all receive Angel Tungaraza's attention and friendship.

Although Baking Cakes in Kigali touches on dark and difficult issues such as AIDs, genocide in Rwanda, suicide, poverty, government corruption, the many displaced and homeless children, and the hunting and extinction of wild animals, Gaile Parkin and Angel Tungaraza approach them with such sensitivity and humor that the stories combine the bitter with the sweet. Baking Cakes in Kigali is a delightful debut novel and a fun, satisfying read.

Publisher: Delacorte Press (August 18, 2009), 320 pages.
ISBN-10: 0385343434
Review copy provided by the publisher.

About the Author, courtesy of Amazon:
Gaile Parkin was born and raised in Zambia and studied at universities in South Africa and England. She has lived in many different parts of Africa, including Rwanda, where Baking Cakes in Kigali is set. She spent two years in Rwanda as a VSO volunteer at the new university doing a wide range of work: teaching, mentoring, writing learning materials, working with the campus clinic to counsel students with HIV/AIDS, and doing gender advocacy and empowerment work. Evenings and weekends, she counselled women and girls who were survivors. Many of the stories told by the characters in Baking Cakes for Kigali are based on or inspired by stories Parkin was told herself. She is currently a freelance consultant in the fields of education, gender, and HIV/AIDS.

My Reading Log

I have been trying to systematize my reading list which has become unwieldy. I'd like to keep a log of the books that I've read since I started the blog, the books that I intend to read going forward, and a wish list I'm adding all read books to this list and linking reviews to those that I've been able to review. How do you keep track of the books that you read and review? Do you have any practical suggestions? Please share!

Books Read in 2010

To Be Read List
  • The Darcys at Year End: An Amazing Journey into Love Everlasting by Sharon Lathan
  • Searching for Tina Turner by Jacqueline E. Luckett
  • The Forgotten Legion by Ben Kane
  • A Black Tie Affair by Sherrill Bodine
  • Roses by Leila Meacham
  • Who Owns the World: The Surprising Truth About Every Piece of Land on the Planet by Kevin Cahill with Rob McMahon
  • The Bone Collector by Ted Dekker
  • Burn by Ted Dekker
  • Impact by Douglas Preston
  • One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson
  • Not the End of the World by Kate Atkinson
  • Case Histories by Kate Atkinson
  • The Survivors Club: The Secrets and Science that Could Save Your Life by Ben Sherwood
  • Sleep No More by Susan Crandall
  • A Highlander's Dream by Melissa Mayhue
  • Countess of Scandal by Laurel McKee
  • Seduced by a Rogue by Amanda Scott
  • Denise's Daily Dozen: The Easy, Every Day Program to Lose Up to 12 Pounds in 2 Weeks by Denise Austin
  • The Highest Stakes by Emery Lee
  • Within the Hollow Crown: A Valiant King's Struggle to Save His Country, His Dynasty, and His Love by Margaret Campbell Barnes
  • The Founding by Cynthia Harrod Eagles

My Wish List

  • The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag: A Flavia de Luce Mystery by Alan Bradley
  • The Hunger Games: Book 3 by Suzanne Collins
  • Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
  • Dragon Keeper: Volume One of the Rain Wilds Chronicles by Robin Hobb
  • 61 Hours: A Reacher Novel by Lee Child

Book Review: i am neurotic (and so are you) by Lianna Kong

i am neurotic: (and so are you)
The blurb:
Did you wash your hands?
Set the alarm clock?
Lock the front door?

Better yet: Do you like even numbers? Do you fold all of your trash neatly into squares? Do you count steps? Do you carry a bottle of hand sanitizer with you at all times? Everyone has his or her own neuroses. On a routine trip to the office bathroom, Lianna Kong discovered one of hers: "How could I possibly pee with my coworker sitting right next to me doing her business?" And, in that quiet moment of panic, was born.

i am neurotic (and so are you) is a smorgasbord of anonymous confessions that reveal people's deepest, strangest, and funniest compulsions - quirks that are triggered in the boardroom, the bedroom, and everywhere in between.

Another HarperStudio book, i am neurotic (and so are you) is a light compilation of different "neurosis" depicted in clever photographs. Lianna Kong uses the term neurosis loosely and for effect. i am neurotic (and so are you) didn't appeal to me as much as I'd expected, some of the quirks seemed a bit contrived to me and I may have fixated on the loose use of the term neurosis. I expect that the book will be better appreciated by other readers, the book is a fast read and quirky with artful photographs.

ISBN-10: 0061791474
Publisher: HarperStudio; Original edition (October 13, 2009), 240 pages.
Review copy courtesy of the publisher.

About the Author:
Lianna Kong graduated from Wellsely College with a degree in Economics and French. She prints T-shirts and bakes pies in her spare time. She feels very secure in her neuroses. Learn more on Lianna Kong's website at

Book Review: This Is Why You're Fat: Where Dreams Become Heart Attacks by Jessica Amason & Richard Blakely

This Is Why You're Fat: Where Dreams Become Heart Attacks

This Is Why You're Fat: Where Dreams Become Heart Attacks by Jessica Amason and Richard Blakeley is a funny and frightening compilation of some of the most decadent, fattening, artery blocking dishes in the United States today and the restaurants and towns that created them.

Here are a few of featured dishes:

The McNugettini - which combines vodka, a chocolate shake, bbq sauce and McDonald's McNuggets;
Twinkie Weiner Sandwich - inspired by a Weird Al Yankovic film, combines a hotdog with a Twinkee with Cheez Whiz;
Turducken - a chicken stuffed into a duck, stuffed into a turkey;
Deep-Fried Coke - do you really need a description?!;
The Elvis Donut - peanut butter-glazed donut topped with bananas and bacon; and
The 29,559 Calorie Sandwich

Many of these dishes are accompanied by their recipes. There are a great deal more mind-boggling dishes and recipes.

Needless to say, none of the dishes have their calories listed, but we can safely assume that any one of them likely surpasses the daily recommended calories for most adult males.

This Is Why You're Fat: Where Dreams Become Heart Attacks is a crazy compilation and a sure conversation starter. It's sure to take away your appetite!

ISBN-10: 0061936634
Publisher: HarperStudio; 1 Original edition (October 27, 2009), 144 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

Thank you to HarperStudio for this review opportunity!

Friday 56: Week 28

* 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:

"You can do it."

Brac held the two hunting dogs close, stroking them softly to stop any whining.
- The Forgotten Legion by Ben Kane

Book Review of M.C. Beaton's Death of a Valentine

Hamish Macbeth had been promoted to sergeant. Having been promoted before and then reduced to the ranks, he had not even had to sit the necessary exams. Many a constable would have welcomed the promotion and the extra money that came with it, but Hamish was dismayed for two reasons. He was not an ambitious man and saw every rise up the ranks as a move to get him transferred to the city of Strathbane. All he wanted was to be left peaceably alone in his village police station.
- Death of A Valentine by M.C. Beaton

Death of a Valentine
The blurb:
Amazing news has spread across the Scottish countryside. The most famous of highland bachelors, police sergeant Hamish Macbeth, will be married at last. Everyone in the village of Lochdubh adores Josie McSween, Macbeth's newest constable and blushing bride-to-be.

While locals think Josie is quite a catch, Hamish has a case of prenuptial jitters. After all, if it weren't for the recent murder of a beautiful woman in a neighboring village, there wouldn't be a wedding at all. For it was a mysterious Valentine's Day package-delivered to the victim before her death-that initially drew Hamish and Josie together on the investigation. As they work side by side, Hamish and Josie soon discover that the woman's list of admirers was endless, confirming Hamish's suspicion that love can be blind, deaf...and deadly.

Death of a Valentine, the 25th Hamish Macbeth mystery, M.C. Beaton gives us a detective cozy with a romantic comedic subplot set in Lochdubh, a picturesque Scottish village. The tone, pace, and setting take you to a fictional village where everyone knows each other and each other's business quite well. Even if you're new to M.C. Beaton's Hamish Macbeth series as I am, you'll easily figure out Lochdubh's characters, from Angela Brody, the doctor's wife and good friend of Hamish Macbeth, to crotchety Mrs. Wellington, who rents out rooms to the new constable Josie McSween, to Sir Andrew Etherington who lends out the diamond tiara for the annual fair day parade.

Hamish Macbeth, our lead character and a perpetual bachelor, is clearly set in his ways. Hamish wants to keep his pets, his police station/home, his village and his personal life just the way it is. But the sudden murder of a young beauty queen, Annie Fleming, disrupts Hamish's routine. The murder draws Hamish and Josie into a complex investigation, full of twists and turns, and unexpected discoveries. Things are never as they seem, even in this small Scottish village.

A mystery cozy of the best sort, M.C. Beaton's
Death of a Valentine, is a fun, entertaining read. If you're looking for a mystery of the Agatha Christie sort with the quirks of Scotland, I recommend Death of a Valentine!

ISBN-10: 0446547387
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (January 12, 2010), 256 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

About the Author, courtesy of Amazon:
M.C. Beaton has won international acclaim for her bestselling Hamish Macbeth mysteries, and the BBC has aired twenty-four episodes based on the series. Also the author of the Agatha Raisin series, M. C. Beaton lives in a Cotswold cottage with her husband.

Thanks so much, Miriam and Hatchette Book Group for this review opportunity!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Book Review of Ron Insana's How to Make a Fortune from the Biggest Bailout in US History

How to Make a Fortune from the Biggest Bailout in U.S. History: A Guide to the 7 Greatest Bargains from Main Street to Wall StreetThe blurb:
There is a well-worn saying on Wall Street that the time to buy is when there is "blood in the streets." There has been no time in modern economic history when more "blood" has been spilled on the streets of now infamous financial capitals - but from such chaos always arises opportunity.

In How to Make a Fortune from the Biggest Bailout in U.S. History, financial expert, author, and CNBC senior analyst Ron Insana shows you how to make the most of the current economy. While teaching you how to protect yourself from the hyperinflation that may hit, Insana helps you:
  • Find up-to-the-minute resources to hit the jackpot
  • Identify which stocks to look for and how to buy low - really low - and sell high
  • Cash in on distressed credit
  • Understand why you should take TIPS (Treasury Inflated Protected Securities) from Uncle Sam
  • Take the right risks in sifting through junk bonds
  • Learn why, where, and how to jump on the property wagon
  • Tap into the right fed programs for big rewards
More important, Insana shows how the pros put together a balanced portfolio of deep-value stocks, government-backed bonds, distressed debt, and the now hidden, but solid, values in real estate, using the actual assets or some very effective proxies, like Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and other tax-efficient and inexpensive mutual funds.

Bringing together the investment acumen he developed as an active participant in one of Wall Street's wildest periods and the unique perspective that comes from being an active and accurate observer of financial market history for the last twenty-five years, Insana will teach you how to take back your lost money and make the most of it-by doubling, tripling or quadrupling your fortune!

How to Make a Fortune from the Biggest Bailout in U.S. History is divided into seven parts:
  • The Sub-Prime Primer
  • Don't Look Back! (Well, Look Back a Little)
  • Dressed for Distress
  • Wall Street in Distress
  • A Crisis in Credit
  • Homes, Suites, Homes
  • The Really Big Bailout
Insana starts by briefly explaining how this current recession fits in the U.S.'s economic history, then describes how people like Warren Buffett and Sam Zell use these difficult times to scout for value opportunities. Insana then points out that Uncle Sam's present help is creating unique opportunities at this time through the"drop in interest rates, government support programs or assistance to buy both old and new assets."

Insana organizes a resource guide at the start of the book to help readers prepare for and research investment opportunities. The guide includes: (1) financial news websites like and; (2) the basic array of periodicals, like The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Financial Times, The Washington Post, and The Drudge Report; (3) research services like Morningstar; (4) sites specific to real estate and foreclosure opportunities; and (5) helpful sites provided by a wide range of government agencies and institutions.

Insana urges the consumer/"average investor" to recognize that while the average investor's response to this decline in stock and asset prices is to run from the decline, a rational and professional investor would recognize that "America is on sale" and look around to identify bargains. Insana claims that "many asset classes remain 40 to 50 percent below their all-time highs." Insana points out how the average investor behaves differently when buying on Main Street versus on Wall Street: she hurries to drops in prices of electronics or home goods but when investing, she usually buys when the prices rise instead of when they dip.

Insana warns that as inflation accelerates the value of cash will be reduced considerably and recommends that investors explore investing in stocks, Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS), municipal bonds, and new federal bonds ("Obama Bonds"). To help the average investor evaluate stocks, Insana compares the current "Great Recession" to the Great Depression and points out areas of risk. He includes clear explanations of investment concepts such as dollar cost averaging and "buying the market" through choosing proxies for market averages through index funds and ETFs (exchange-traded funds) by way of explaining how an average investor might invest without having to select specific stocks. Insana explains the concept behind TIPS, which are Treasury bonds that pay a nominal yield and a premium for rising inflation. Since interest rates are at historic lows, Insana points out that they can only be expected to rise, but the TIPS protect the investor from the risk of inflation.

In Homes, Suites, Homes, Insana delves into his family's experience with homeownership and makes the point that a home is not necessarily an investment but it is likely to be the largest single purchase that an investor will make. Insana also recommends against taking out home equity lines of credit and instead suggests several ways to avoid having to rely on a second mortgage or a home equity line of credit. Insana offers specific suggestions for purchasing distressed real estate, whether through an actual house, whether out of foreclosure or through a short sale or from the owner directly, or through investment in real estate investment trusts (REITS) or other funds that buy residential real estate.

It is in The Really Big Bailout: TAF, TARP, TALF, PDCF, AMLF, CPFF, MMIFF, and PPIP, that Insana gives an overview of the new programs that the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury have put into place to absorb the enormous amounts of bad debt held by U.S. financial institutions. Isana clearly supports the "lifeline" extended to these critically important financial institutions, but he points out that several of these programs, such as the TALF and PPIP, will also benefit individual investors directly. Instead of going into the details, he steers the average investor to websites that can serve as starting points for investment research.

Overall, in How to Make a Fortune from the Biggest Bailout in U.S. History, Ron Insana recommends areas for investment in an upbeat and straightforward manner. He suggests where an average investor might research investment opportunities based on her tolerance for risk, time horizon, asset mix and interest. I found the sections on the federal bailout programs, TIPS, municipal bonds, and Obama Bonds particularly interesting and potentially useful. If you're looking for an overview of the investment opportunities available during this "Great Recession" or if you want to make sure that you're properly tending to your money, I recommend giving Ron Insana's latest book a read.

ISBN-10: 1583333649
Publisher: Avery (December 31, 2009), 224 pages.
Review copy provided by TLC Book Tours.

About the Author, courtesy of CNBC:
Ron Insana is CNBC’s senior analyst and commentator giving his perspective on important business stories. He also appears on Squawk Box once a month. Previously, Insana was the anchor of CNBC's Street Signs.

Insana began his career in 1984 as an FNN production assistant, rising to managing editor and chief of FNN's Los Angeles bureau at the time the two networks combined. While at FNN, he was nominated for a Golden ACE Award for his role in covering the 1987 stock market crash. Trendwatching: Don't be Fooled by the Next Investment Fad, Mania, or Bubble, his third book, was published by Harpers Business in November, 2002. His first book, Traders' Tales (John Wiley), a compendium of anecdotes about Wall Street Life, was published in 1996. His second book, The Message of the Markets, was published by Harpers Business in October 2000.

Insana was nominated for a News and Documentary Emmy Award as part of NBC’s coverage of 9/11, and in 1999, Insana was named one of the top 100 business news journalists of the century by TJFR Group.

Learn more at Ron Insana's website at

Thank you so much to Ron Insana, Lisa and TLC Book Tours for this review opportunity!

Book Review of Worst Case by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge

Worst Case
Michael Bennett, the lead detective from James Patterson's recent Run For Your Life, is back in this equally fast-paced and absorbing thriller. In Worst Case, Michael Bennett faces another serial killer with a "larger message." While Bennett's last opponent, The Teacher, had sought to punish the rudeness of wealthy New Yorkers, this new killer targets the children of wealthy with a hidden message. As this new criminal holds New York City hostage, Michael Bennett works closely with a beautiful FBI counterpart and Abduction Specialist, Agent Emily Parker. NYC's large resources are at their disposal, but absent demands from the kidnapper/killer, can Bennett and Parker find a way to save innocent, young lives?

Worst Case brings back James Patterson's latest detective Michael Bennett and it doesn't disappoint. Michael Bennett is as witty, good humored and sharp as ever. The interaction between Bennett and Agent Emily Parker works well; they're effective partners with some underlying romantic tension. In Worst Case, Patterson delivers another satisfying, action-packed thriller. I look forward to the next installment in the Michael Bennett series.

ISBN-10: 0316036226
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (February 1, 2010), 368 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

About the Author, courtesy of Amazon:
James Patterson is one of the bestselling writers of all time, with more than 170 million copies of his books sold worldwide. He is the author of the two most popular detective series of the past decade, featuring Alex Cross and the Women's Murder Club. He has won an Edgar Award--the mystery world's highest honor--and his novels Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider were made into feature films. His lifelong work to promote books and reading is reflected in his new website,, which helps parents, grandparents, teachers and librarians find the very best children's books for their kids. He lives in Florida.

Michael Ledwidge is the author of The Narrowback, Bad Connection, and most recently,the coauthor, with James Patterson,of The Quickie, Step on a Crack, and Run For Your Life.

Thank you so much to Miriam and Hatchette Book Group for this review opportunity!

Update on Corked giveaway

I've just learned that it won't be possible to send Kathryn Borel's Corked to Canada for this particular giveaway. I apologize but I'll have to limit the winners to U.S. residents.

Book Giveaway: A Good Talk by Daniel Menaker

Anna and Hatchette Book Group are generously sponsoring a giveaway of 5 copies of A Good Talk by Daniel Menaker.

About the Book:
A Good Talk is an analysis of and guide to that most exclusively human of all activities-- conversation.

Drawing on over forty years of experience in American letters, Menaker pinpoints the factors that drive and enliven every good conversation: the vagaries (and joys) of subtext; the deeper structure and meaning of conversational flow; the subliminal signals that guide our disclosures and confessions; and the countless other hurdles we must clear along the way. Moving beyond self-help musings and "how to" advice, he has created a stylish, funny, and surprising book: a celebration of "the most excusively human of all activities."

In a time when conversation remains deeply important-- for building relationships, for relaxing, even for figuring out who we are-- and also increasingly imperiled (with Blackberries and texting increasingly in vogue), A Good Talk is a refreshing celebration of the subtle adventures of a good conversation.

About the Author, courtesy of the publisher:
Daniel Menaker has been a part of America's life of letters for almost forty years. As a writer, he has met and talked to thousands of people about their work and their lives. He is widely read and well versed in psychological literature and practices and, as an editor at Random House, has had countless meetings and other exchanges with writers, agents, public figures, and ordinary people. His own writing has appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, and Slate; he lives in New York with his wife and their two children.


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. No email address, no entry.
2. You must be a follower to join the contest.

The contest is limited to US and Canada only. No P.O. boxes. The contest ends at noon on February 7, 2010.

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

Book Giveaway: Prime-Time Health by William Sears, M.D.

Anna and Hatchette Book Group are generously sponsoring a giveaway of 5 copies of William Sears's Prime-Time Health.

About the Book:
Twelve years ago, renowned physician and author Dr. William Sears was diagnosed with cancer. He, like so many people, wanted-and needed-to take control of his health. Dr. Sears created a comprehensive, science based, head-to-toe program for living a long, fit life-and it worked. Now at the peak of health, Dr. Sears shares his program in Prime-Time Health. This engaging and deeply informative book will motivate readers to make crucial behavior and lifestyle changes. Dr. Sears explores how to keep each body system healthy and delay those usual age-related changes.

About the Author, courtesy of the publisher:
William Sears, MD, has practiced pediatrics for more than 30 years, and is an associate clinical professor at the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine. Martha Sears is a registered nurse, childbirth educator, and parenting and health consultant. They are the authors of more than 30 books and live in southern California. Learn more on Dr. Sears's website at


To enter please share a healthy habit that you have developed or intend to practice.

1. Please include your email address, so that I can contact you if you win. No email address, no entry.
2. You must be a follower to join the contest.

The contest is limited to US and Canada only. No P.O. boxes. The contest ends at noon on February 7, 2010.

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

Sunday, January 10, 2010

J. Kaye's Support Your Local Library Challenge

One of the best things about living in New York has been access to the New York Public Library and the Brooklyn Public Library. Even though the Park Slope branch is closed for two years, I still rely on the library for most of my DVD rentals. I usually read a book before I decide to buy it - there just isn't enough space in our apartment for books that I don't want to reread.

So, I when I read about J.Kaye's Support Your Local Library Challenge, I knew it was for me. I'll keep a list of the books that I intend to read and do read here. I'm signing up for the "Just My Size" level of 50 books.

Here's the list of books that I have on hold/on my TBR library list:

  • The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  • The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
  • Killing Floor by Lee Child
  • Street Fighters: The Last 72 Hours of the Bear Stearns, the toughest firm on Wall Street by Kate Kelly
  • The girl who played with fire by Stieg Larsson
  • The Girl with the dragon tatoo by Stieg Larsson
  • Too Big To Fail: the inside story of how Wall Street and Washington tried to save the financial system from crisis - and themselves by Andrew Sorkin
  • Die Trying by Lee Child
  • Behind the scenes at the museum by Kate Atkinson
  • An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon
  • Stone's Fall by Iain Pears
  • Six Suspects by Vikras Swarup
  • When the elephants dance by Tess Uriza Holthe
Would you like to sign up? Head over to J.Kaye's Book Blog to read more about it: