Saturday, January 30, 2010

Book Review of The Last Surgeon by Michael Palmer

The Last Surgeon
The blurb:
"It's not if I'm going to kill you, it's how."
Everyone told Gillian Coates that her sister's suicide was just that: a suicide. Everyone told Dr. Nick Garrity that his best friend, Lieutenant Umberto Vasquez, had simply disappeared, battling the demons of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Gillian doesn't believe it. Nick doesn't believe it. And soon, they discover a chilling connection between these two seemingly random events...a common denominator that will lead a killer to the next victim...and the last surgeon.

A shocking thriller from New York Times bestselling author and master of medical suspense Michael Palmer - filled with insider details that follows a psychopath's terrifying trail.

This is my first time to read a medical thriller by Michael Palmer. In The Last Surgeon, Michael Palmer has created a dark villain who has made the artful masking of murder his life's work. The book is fast paced and the lead protagonists, Gillian Coates and Dr. Nick Garrity, work well

I had hoped for a different ending - and would love to hear what others think of this book.

ISBN-10: 031258749X - Hardcover $26.99
Publisher: St. Martin's Press (February 16, 2010), 384 pages.
Review copy provided by the author.

About the Author, courtesy of his website:
Michael Palmer, M.D., is the author of the forthcoming The First Patient (2008), The Fifth Vial, The Society, Fatal, The Patient, Miracle Cure, Critical Judgment, Silent Treatment, Natural Causes, Extreme Measures, Flashback, Side Effects, and The Sisterhood. His books have been translated into thirty-five languages. He trained in internal medicine at Boston City and Massachusetts General Hospitals, spent twenty years as a full-time practitioner of internal and emergency medicine, and is now an associate director of the Massachusetts Medical Society’s physician health program.

Intrigued? Read the prologue at
Follow Michael Palmer on Twitter and Facebook at and

Thank you so much to Bostick Communications and Michael Palmer for this review opportunity!

Book Review of My Dearest Mr. Darcy: An Amazing Journey into Love Everlasting

My Dearest Mr. Darcy: An Amazing Journey into Love Everlasting
The blurb:
Darcy is more deeply in love with his wife than ever. As the golden summer draws to a close, and the Darcys look ahead to the end of their first year of marriage, Mr. Darcy could never have imagined his life could grow even deeper with the passage of time...

Lizzie is full of surprises...Elizabeth is unpredictable and lively, pulling Darcy out of his stern and serious demeanor with her teasing and temptation. Looking ahead and planning for celebrations and life events large and small, Lizzy can still catch Darcy unawares when he least expects it...

But surprising events force the Darcys to weather absence and illness, and to discover whether they can find a way to build a bond of everlasting love and desire...

If you enjoy novels that extrapolate on the love story of Lizzie Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy and Sharon Lathan's books, My Dearest Mr. Darcy will surely entertain.

I enjoyed this the most because in My Dearest Mr. Darcy, Lathan tells the story partly from Dr. George Darcy's point of view. Dr. George Darcy is Fitzwilliam's uncle who lived and worked in India for years and as he writes to Jharna, his love, about his impressions of England and his family during this first visit in decades, Dr. Darcy brings a lively and interesting perspective. I enjoyed reading Dr. Darcy's observations of how Fitzwilliam Darcy had changed and his view on the relationship between Lizzie and Darcy.

I don't want to give anything away, but the other passages that I enjoyed involved (1) a snob who is finally put in her place and is made speechless and (2) the comeuppance of a lady who oversteps.

If you want a quiet escape into the period and people of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, you may want to give My Dearest Mr. Darcy a try.

I think that this winter weather has got me antsy, I'm ready to dive into something actionpacked next!

ISBN-10: 1402217420 - Trade Paperback $14.99
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark; 1st edition (January 1, 2010), 352 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

Thank you to Danielle and SourceBooks for this review opportunity!

Come to NYC May 25-29, 2010 for Book Expo America (BEA) & the Book Bloggers Convention -

I just wanted to give a shout out for the Book Expo America on May 25-27, 2010 and the Book Bloggers Convention on Friday, May 28, 2010 in New York this May 2010. There's early bird pricing for the Book Bloggers Convention, it's $90 until Feb. 14 and from Feb 15 onwards it is $115. The price depends on when payment is received, not when you register!

If you have the time and can get to NYC, I am certain that you'll love experience of being surrounded by books, authors, and booklovers. I'll post more about these events soon, just want to raise the prospect of a visit!

The Book Bloggers Convention has arranged for bloggers and authors to answer questions about the Book Expo in the next few days, so stay tuned or head over to the Book Bloggers Convention site. UPDATE: The Book Bloggers Convention has affiliated with BEA, so a ticket to the Book Bloggers Convention gets you a pass to the BEA.

Book Blogger Convention

Friday, January 29, 2010

Blog Tour of Sherrill Bodine's A Black Tie Affair

Welcome to the Blog Tour for Sherrill Bodine's A Black Tie Affair with the dashing Clayworth bachelors and the gorgeous Smith sisters.

A Black Tie Affair

The blurb:

Fashion curator Athena Smith will do anything to get her perfectly manicured hands on the Clayworth family's celebrated couture collection for her exhibit. So when she's called in to make sure the gowns are the real deal, she's ecstatic. . .unitl a dress she's examining turns out to be loaded with toxins (talk about killer threads!) and Athena faints, only to wake up face-to-face with the One That Got Away, notorious Chicago bachelor Drew Clayworth.

Drew still believes Athena betrayed him all those years ago, and he's sure he can't trust her. But when the priceless gowns go missing, sh offers to help track them down. Reluctantly allied in the quest, Drew and Athena are soon stunned by the barely restrained passion still sizzling between them. . .and the memories both bitter and sweet. Is their new partnership just a business arrangement? Or is this something more than A Black Tie Affair.


A Black Tie Affair introduces us to two influential and good looking families, the Clayworth men and the celebrated Smith sisters, in such a way that if this doesn't turn into a series I will be deeply disappointed.

Bodine builds up the Clayworth fortune and mystique, I keep wondering about their family's history and lifestyle. If you like shows like Dirty Sexy Money or Gossip Girl like I do, you'll probably find A Black Tie Affair thoroughly entertaining.

While A Black Tie Affair is a love story first and foremost, Bodine has woven in details from her love and knowledge of high fashion. These fashion details and the undercurrent of mystery make A Black Tie Affair a stand out romantic read! My only negative criticism: the book seemed much too short. I look forward to learning what happens to the next Smith sister and Clayworth heir.

ISBN-10: 0446618594 - mass market paperback $6.99
Publisher: Forever (January 1, 2010), 220 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

About the Author, courtesy of the publisher:

Sherrill Bodine has been writing stories since junior high, when she won a pair of silver skates in a state-wide essay contest. While moving twenty-two times back and forth across America and rearing her four children, she published fifteen award-winning novels under two pseudoynyms (Lynn Leslie/Leslie Lynn). Now she's decided to be herself and write about the people, parties, and high-life in the city she knows best: Chicago. When she's not in the Windy City with her husband, family, and Newfoundland and pug dogs, she's fulfilling her passion to travel to exotic locales around the world.

Listen to Anna interview Sherrill Bodine on Blog Talk Radio at

Interested? Want your own copy? Sign up for the contest which ends on Jan. 31! Or visit these blogs to read more about the book and join giveaways! Sherrill Bodine is holding her own giveaway of $100 Barnes & Noble gift certificate - check it out on Sherrill Bodine's website at Sites: Review, Giveaway, Q&A 1/18/2010 Giveaway 1/18/2010 Review 1/18/2010 Review, Giveaway 1/18/2010 Giveaway, Guest Post 1/18/2010 Review, Giveaway 1/18/2010 Review 1/18/2010 Review, Giveaway 1/18/2010 Review, Giveaway 1/18/2010 Review, Giveaway 1/18/2010 Review 1/18/2010 Review, Giveaway, Q&A 1/19/2010 Review, Giveaway 1/20/2010 Review 1/20/2010 Giveaway, Guest post 1/20/2010 Review, Giveaway 1/21/2010 Review, Giveaway 1/21/2010 Review, Giveaway 1/22/2010 Review, Giveaway 1/22/2010 Review, Giveaway 1/22/2010
http://therempels4.blogspot Review, Givewaway 1/22/2010 Review, Giveaway 1/23/2010 Review, Giveaway 1/25/2010 Review, Giveaway 1/25/2010 Review, Giveaway, Guest post 1/26/2010 Review, Giveaway 1/27/2010 Guest post and giveaway 1/27/2010 Review, Giveaway 1/27/2010 Review, Giveaway 1/28/2010 Review, Giveaway 1/29/2010 Review, Giveaway 1/29/2010 Review, Giveaway 1/29/2010 Review, Giveaway 1/29/2010 Review, Giveaway 1/29/2010

Thank you so much to Sherrill Bodine, Anna and Hatchette Book Group for sponsoring the giveaway and this review opportunity!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Friday 56: Week 30 - Jon Land's Strong Justice: A Caitlin Strong Novel

* 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:

He'd turned the volume down so passerby would think he was simply text messaging someone. He could feel the dark metal hot in his hands, superheated by the sun that reddened his skin on contact and left his nerve endings raw and inflamed. The side effects of the drugs were to blame for that along with the hair loss that left him wearing an ill-fitting toupee he'd taken off a man he'd killed in Chochilla.

- Strong Justice: A Caitlin Strong Novel by Jon Land

Fill out a survey, get a Zagat Guide

Zagat offers free copies of their restaurant, nightlife and shopping guides in exchange for readers' help reviewing places. I regularly fill out the NYC survey for my updated restaurant guide. At the moment, they have surveys for Washington D.C., Chicago and London. Interested? Head over to

Surveys end soon:
Chicago - Jan 31, 2010
Washington D.C. - Feb. 21, 2010
London - March 14, 2010

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Book Review of The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker

The Little Giant of Aberdeen County

The blurb:
Introducing Truly Plaice, a woman of indomitable spirit whose heart is far larger than her giant exterior...

When Truly Plaice's mother was pregnant, the whole town of Aberdeen lined to bet on the weight of the baby who could stretch a woman to such epic proportions. Young Truly would pay the price of her enormity. Her father blamed her for her mother's death in childbirth and was totally ill equipped to raise either this giant child or her older sister and polar opposite, Serena Jane, the epitome of feminine perfection. His early death would leave Serena Jane to a life of privilege as the town's May Queen and Truly to an existence with an outcast family on a rattletrap, rundown farm.

While Truly's remarkable size makes her the subject of constant curiosity and humiliation, Serena Jane's beauty proves to be both a blessing and a curse. Being the prettiest girl in town will make her the obsession of Bob Bob Morgan, the youngest in a line of Robert Morgans, Aberdeen's family doctors for generations. And Bob Bob will set off a chain of events that change the destiny of all Aberdeen County.

As Truly grows older - and ever larger - she will become linked to Sarah Jane's fate. . .and in a different way from her sister's become a target of Bob Bob's intense interest. But when she uncovers the Morgan family secret, a centuries-old shadow book penned by the first doctor's witch-wife. Tabitha, she may have found the key to her own unique future

Armed with dangerous secrets from Aberdeen's past, Truly soon confronts life altering moral decisions about whether or how she should use her newfound knowledge. As she practices her herbal healing, she is drawn ever more tightly into the circle of the town until she learns of a betrayal so huge, even she is dwarfed by it. In the end, Truly will be forced to face her own larger-than-life demons, redefine mercy, and consider the possibility that love cannot be ordered to size.

A poignant story of friendship, love, and identity that is laced with magic and humor, The Little Giant of Aberdeen County breaks new ground with its larger-than-life heroine and her entrance into the ranks of modern literature.

If you enjoy John Irving's tales set in New England towns, especially A Prayer for Owen Meany, then Tiffany Baker's The Little Giant of Aberdeen County will likely appeal to you. Tiffany Baker gives us the same sense of fantastic when she recounts the town's history, events in Truly's life, and those of her closest friends.

This sense of fantastic is complemented by the close look into small town life. The most powerful and haunting parts of the book come from the insults, and unkindness that Truly and other "misfits" undergo and the quiet conversations between Truly and her friends as she makes sense of her world.


The Little Giant of Aberdeen County is carefully crafted, funny, and haunting. As I read the book, I kept wishing that Truly would push back and teach the bullies a lesson. I am likely more bloodthirsty than your usual reader, and though I enjoyed The Little Giant of Aberdeen County, I would have loved scenes of revenge!

ISBN-10: 0446194220 - Paperback $13.99
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (January 25, 2010), 368 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

About the Author, courtesy of the publisher:
Tiffany Baker lives in Tiburon, California with her husband and three children. This is her first novel.

Listen to an interview of Tiffany Baker at BlogTalkRadio @

Join an online discussion with Tiffany Baker on GoodReads at

Interested? Want your own copy? Join my contest before Jan 31.

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

Book Blog Tour of A Highlander's Destiny by Melissa Mayhue

A Highlander's Destiny (Daughters of the Glen, #5)

The blurb:
Jesse Coryell, a descendant of the Fae, is a man in search of his destiny. He's tried to lose himself in his work, taking on the worst mankind has to offer, but what he really needs to find is his true love. When he sets out to help a mysterious woman find her sister, what he gest is much more than he bargained for: battling an undeniable attraction to his sexy new client while fighting an ancient evil to keep her safe.

Destiny Noble, abandoned by everyone she's ever loved, will stop at nothing in her desperate quest to find her sister. Authorities have declared Leah a runaway, but Destiny knows better. Her dream visions have shown her the frightening truth. They've also shown her Jesse But finding her Soulmate could result in the most painful loss of all, when she's forced to choose between loving Jesse and saving Leah.

Jesse and Destiny race against time to save an innocent girl from a powerful ancient evil. Is true love their best weapon. . .or will they be required to sacrifice their own destiny?

In A Highlander's Destiny, Melissa Mayhue combines contemporary romance with the myths of the fae. The disappearance of a young woman, her sister's desperate search, and an unexpected attraction between Destiny and Jesse set the tone for this playful, romantic read. If you enjoy fantasy with your romance, A Highlander's Destiny is a fun, light escape!

ISBN-10: 1439144214 - Mass Market Paperback $7.99
Publisher: Pocket; Original edition (December 29, 2009) 384 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

Participating Sites:
My Book Views:
Brizmus Blogs About Books:
Renee’s Reads:
Seductive Musings:
All About {n}:
Book Junkie:
Pam’s Private Reflections:
My Book Addiction and More:
Starting Fresh:
Frugal Plus:
Books, Books Everywhere:
Broken Teepee:
I Heart Book Gossip:
My Guilty Pleasures:
Just Another New Blog:
My Overstuffed Bookshelf:
The Bibliophilic Book Blog:
My Own Little Corner of the World:
A Book Bloggers Diary:
Book Soulmates:
The Cajun Book Lady:
Wendy’s Minding Spot:
Between the Pages:
Marta’s Meanderings:
Chaotic Book Obsession:
Savey Spender:
Books & Needlepoint:
Sharon's Garden of Book Reviews:

Thank you so much to Simon and Schuster, PocketBooks and Sarah for this review opportunity!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Book Blog Tour of Gwendolyn Zepeda's Lone Star Legend

Welcome to the Book Blog Tour for Lone Star Legend by Gwendolyn Zepeda!

Dominga Saavedra goes by Sandy. Sandy is the name that her mother had picked out based on her favorite musical, Grease. Sandy's boyfriend Daniel never goes by Danny, but that's never stopped Sandy's mother from giving him that moniker.

As Sandy feels that she has to accommodate the people she loves, from her graduate student boyfriend Daniel to her prying (a.k.a. "concerned") mother to her employers. The one place that Sandy doesn't have to suppress her feelings or sugarcoat her reactions is on her new blog, My Modern TragiComedy. As MissTragiComic Texas, Sandy can say whatever she wants without fear. So she does!

But when her old newspaper gets taken over by an online news and entertainment entity, Sandy has to learn to write for the Nacho Papi's Website. Serious journalism goes out the window as Sandy is asked to come up with short, exciting posts that generate hits. Nothing is off-limits, the more personal the better! Her new boss Angelica Villanueva O'Sullivan is trim, glamorous, and takes no prisoners. As Sandy revises her style, her look, and her life, she gradually realizes that the new Sandy isn't much of an improvement.

Lone Star Legend and Sandy's story is made richer by Tio Jaime, an unexpected friend who teaches Sandy and her readers about generosity and keeping things real. Tio Jaime is incorporated into Sandy's site and writings as Chupacabre, the Wise Goat Man. Though Tio Jaime's refusal to sign the legal waiver foreshadows problems in the future. (Lawsuit waiting to happen, anyone?)

A light, witty and heartwarming read, Lone Star Legend is sure to make you chuckle, wince (in sympathy), and cry. I recommend it highly!

ISBN-10: 0446539600 - Paperback $13.00
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; Original edition (January 25, 2010) 354 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

About the Author, courtesy of her website:
Gwendolyn Zepeda was born in Houston, Texas in 1971 and attended the University of Texas at Austin. She began her writing career on the Web in 1997, with her long-running site and as one of the founding writers of entertainment site Television Without Pity. Her first book was a short-story collection called To the Last Man I Slept with and All the Jerks Just Like Him (Arte Público Press, 2004).

Zepeda’s first children’s book, Growing Up with Tamales (Piñata Books) is a 2009 Charlotte Zolotow Award Highly Commended Title. Her first novel, Houston, We Have a Problema (Grand Central Publishing, 2009) won praise from Publisher’s Weekly and Booklist for its wit and upbeat story. Novelist Alisa Valdez Rodriguez calls Zepeda “a master wordsmith.”

A two-time Houston Arts Alliance literary fellowship winner and award-winning poet, Zepeda regularly lectures at universities throughout Texas.

Her latest books include another children’s book – Sunflowers (Piñata Books, 2009) – and a new novel from Grand Central Publishing called Lone Star Legend. Visit Gwendolyn Zepeda's website at to learn more.

Participating Sites:

January 25
January 26

Thank you so much to Gwendolyn Zepeda, Miriam and Hatchette Book Group for this review opportunity!! Congratulations on a job well done!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Book Blog Tour of The Forgotten Legion by Ben Kane

Welcome to the TLC Book Blog Tour of The Forgotten Legion by Ben Kane! We're fortunate to have Ben here with us today to share his experience writing his first novel, The Forgotten Legion and what it was like getting his book to market.
The Forgotten Legion

I asked Ben if he could write about his experience writing the book, finding an agent, and getting the book to market? What would he tell aspiring writers?

Starting on the path to write The Forgotten Legion, my first published novel, was a little unusual.

From as early as I can remember, I wanted to be a veterinarian. I duly became one, but after more than a decade in the workplace, I was totally disillusioned. Incredibly long hours, the difficulty of finding a practice where I wanted to stay long-term and the nightmare of being ‘on call’ had finally revealed that this was not the life for me.

But what else could I do? The highly trained field of veterinary medicine is such a narrow one that there are precious few options when it comes to changing career. Naive and full of enthusiasm, I rashly decided that I would become a bestselling historical fiction author. I sat down the same night and began writing about a Roman centurion in second century A.D. Britain. I spent two years on that book, spending approximately 10-20 hours a week writing or researching, as well as working full-time as a veterinarian. I spent large amounts of money on textbooks, and many weekends visiting Hadrian's Wall, becoming in the process somewhat of a Roman geek. I went on a residential writing course run by the Arvon Foundation, a charitable organisation in the UK. In short, writing became an obsession. Along with a rather wide stubborn streak, I believe this single-mindedness is one of the reasons for my breakthrough into mainstream publishing.

Needless to say, that first novel is still on the hard drive of my computer. After about two years, thinking it was ready, I sent the first three chapters to a number of agents. From each I received standard refusal letters, all of which include the immortal line: ‘This book is not for us’. I think it means ‘We don't think this book is good enough.’ It was then that luck, or fate, entered my life and I received a personal introduction to an agent. He read my three chapters, gave positive feedback and asked for a meeting. This in itself was a major step in the right direction.

The good news was that a week later, I had been signed up by my agent. To my delight, he reckoned that my writing wasn't too far off the mark to win a publishing deal. The bad news was that I had to write a totally new novel, something with broader scope and much greater public appeal. Some time, and a great deal of idea bashing later, the plot for The Forgotten Legion had emerged into the light. Over the next 18 months, I repeated the process that I had undergone for my first novel, except this time I spent 20-40 hours a week on my computer, all the while working full-time.

When it was done, I paid a freelance professional editor recommended by my agent to go over my manuscript. Her fees, while extremely expensive, were worth every single cent. The proof was in the pudding: when my agent put The Forgotten Legion on the market, six of the largest publishing houses in the UK engaged in a bidding war for it, and it subsequently sold to five countries worldwide.

Three pieces of advice to aspiring writers: write every day, get professionals to critique it, and most importantly, never give up!

The Forgotten Legion
The blurb:
Romulus and Fabiola are twins, born into slavery, and then later sold; Romulus to gladiator school and Fabiola into prostitution, where she will catch the eye of one of the most powerful men in Rome.

Tarquinius is an Etruscan, a warrior, born enemy of Rome and trained in the forgotten arts of divination. He has a long-foretold destiny that will take him to the ends of the known world.

Brennus is a Gaul whose entire clan was killed in a battle against the Roman army. After being sold as a slave he rises to become one of the most famous and feared gladiators of his day.

In a story that ranges from a Rome riven by corruption, violence, and political enmities to very edges of the empire, The Forgotten Legion is a novel of the most powerful empire in history told from the perspective of the lowest rungs of society.

I am fascinated by stories of Ancient Rome and am excited to be part of the book blog tour for Ben Kane's debut novel, The Forgotten Legion!

The Forgotten Legion differs from most novels of Ancient Rome in that Ben Kane chose conquered people for the lead characters. Through the stories of the Etrucscan Tarquinius and the Gaul Brennus, we share the experience of conquest by Rome. Somehow, Rome's system of conquest allows the strong and skilled to serve Rome. So, Tarquinius and Brennus who had stood out in their own communities, find that their strength and skills still bring them some recognition and respect in their new lives.

Through the experience of the young twin slaves, Romulus and Fabiola, we see what life can be like for the Roman house slaves born and raised in Rome. When their master decides to tear their family apart, he sells Romulus to a gladiator school and Fabiola to a brothel. Forced to survive by their wits, the love that they have for each other and their desire for revenge sustains them.

The Forgotten Legion is riveting. Ben Kane weaves together these different stories - we find romance, action, unexpected twists and opportunities for revenge. The important figures and moments in Rome's history affect our heroes' lives and make for a fascinating and satisfying read! I am looking forward to the next in the series, The Silver Eagle.

ISBN-10: 0312601247 - paperback $14.99
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1 edition (January 5, 2010), 544 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher and TLC Book Tours.

About the Author, courtesy of the publisher:
Ben Kane is the author of the critically acclaimed,The Forgotten Legion, and is at work on the concluding volume of this trilogy. He lives in England. Learn more on The Forgotten Legion website at

Thank you so much to Ben Kane, Trish, and TLC Book Tours for this review opportunity!