Friday, March 5, 2010

Book Giveaway of The Undervalued Self by Elaine N. Aron

Anna and Hatchette Book Group are generously sponsoring a giveaway of 3 copies of The Undervalued Self by Elaine N. Aron.

About the Book, courtesy of the publisher:
Elaine Aron follows up her bestsellers on the highly sensitive person with a groundbreaking new book on the undervalued self. She explains that self-esteem results from having a healthy balance of love and power in our lives. Readers will learn to incorporate love into situations that seem to require power and deal with power struggles that mask themselves as issues of love. From the bedroom to the boardroom, her strategies will enable us to escape feelings of shame, defeat, and depression; dissolve relationship hostility; and become our best selves.

About Author

Elaine Aron, Ph.D., is recognized internationally as one of the leading scientists studying the psychology of love and close relationships. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Time Magazine, and National Geographic, and she has appeared on national morning shows on many networks. She is the author of The Highly Sensitive Person, The Highly Sensitive Person in Love, and The Highly Sensitive Child. She divides her time between New York and San Francisco.

Audio and Video

About the Author:
Elaine Aron, Ph.D., is recognized internationally as one of the leading scientists studying the psychology of love and close relationships. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Time Magazine, and National Geographic, and she has appeared on national morning shows on many networks. She is the author of The Highly Sensitive Person, The Highly Sensitive Person in Love, and The Highly Sensitive Child. She divides her time between New York and San Francisco.


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 March 31, 2010.

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

Book Review of Tim Green's False Convictions

False Convictions
The blurb:
Casey hoped to have an open-and-shut case, a sure success for her first effort with the Freedom Project, the renowned charity group dedicated to helping free wrongfully convicted prisoners. The Freedom Project not only gave Casey the chance to help innocent people, but its founder, Robert Graham, offered Casey a one-million-dollar annual pledge to her legal clinic for taking on just two cases a year.

Her first assignment is to revive the case of Dwayne Hubbard, an indigent black man serving a life sentence for the rape and murder of a college student twenty years ago. Using DNA evidence, Casey expects to prove Hubbard's innocent easily. However, when she arrives in rural Auburn, NY, she meets immediate and aggressive resistance.

Death threats and assassination attempts torment Casey as her investigation reveals a prosecution rife with lies. From the judge, the lawyers, the jury, to the police, Casey hunts a complex trail of corruption around the destruction of one young man. But in all the chaos, Casey's hardest challenge may be just staying alive.

False Convictions is a legal thriller, full of suspense and plot twists. Casey Jordan is a seasoned lawyer who has survived the scandal of having been duped by a former client. She'd once represented a serial killer, helped win his freedom, and then discovered he wasn't just guilty but that he was prepared to kill again. She was able to rectify the mistake and found herself the star of a movie on Lifetime. She rehabilitated her career and heads a nonprofit law clinic in Texas.

When Robert Graham, a billionaire and the head of the Freedom Project, offers her $1 million for her nonprofit in exchange for handling the appeal of a black man accused of raping and murdering a young college student in Upstate New York. Casey agrees to take Dwaynne Hubbard's appeal and flies with Robert Graham and discovers that the town of Auburn, New York is still very much a small town. Through the assistance of Marty, a local lawyer, Casey is able to wade through much of the social and political hurdles - and focus on solving the mystery behind the twenty-year-old murder.

Casey, Robert, and Marty, and a TV reporter named Jake work together, digging through the deception and searching for the true killer while facing pressure from the town's leaders. As one cover up leads to another, Casey wonders whether she has finally discovered the truth.

Tim Green's False Convictions is a fast-paced legal thriller, full of twists and interesting characters.

ISBN-10: 0446401528 - Hardcover $25.99
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; 1 edition (February 10, 2010), 304 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

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

Book Review of Laura Kinsale's Lessons In French

Lessons in French The blurb:
He's always been trouble. . .Trevelyn and Callie are childhood sweethearts with a taste for adventure. Until the fateful day her father discovers them embracing in the carriage house and in a furious frenzy drives Trevelyn away in disgrace. . .

Exactly the kind of trouble that she's never been able to resist. . .

Nine long lonely years later, Trevelyn returns. Callie is shocked to discover that he can still make her blood race and fill her life with mischief, excitement, and scandal. He would give her the world, but he can't give her the one thing that she wants more than anything - himself. . .

For Trevelyn, Callie is a spark of light in a world of darkness and deceit. Before he can bear to say his last goodbyes, he's determined to sweep her into one last, fateful adventure, just for the two of them. . . .

Lessons In French
is a fun, historical romance set in England soon after the French Revolution. Trevelyn is French nobility with blood ties to the French royal family. Unfortunately, his background hasn't made his life any easier. Instead, the family fortune and ties have meant a heavy burden for Trevelyn as he's tried to reacquire the family estates and Dukedom with his limited resources. After their escape from France, his family settled in the English countryside with limited resources. When Trevelyn's romance with Callie ends in disaster and he's forced to leave, he never expects to return. When he does make it back to England, years later, he is surprised to find Callie living in her old home and unmarried.

His childhood friend and sweetheart, Callie, is of good background and considerable wealth, but Callie's been unlucky in love. She had fallen for Trevelyn when they were younger and though she had made three matches since that time, each of the men had cried off. In her late twenties, Callie is helping her younger sister make a match and doubts that she'll have a home of her own. When Trevelyn returns and speaks of love, while Callie knows that she can trust her old friend, her experience with men makes her skeptical. Trevelyn is willing to do whatever it takes to protect Callie and to prove his loyalty and love.

Lessons in French is a fun, satisfying romance! The friendship and banter between Trevelyn and Callie draw you in and provide a wondreful escape.

ISBN-10: 1402237014 - Mass Market Paperback $7.99
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca (January 26, 2010), 480 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

Thank you to Danielle and SourceBooks for this review opportunity!

Friday 56: Week 35 - Lessons In French by Laura Kinsale

* 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 from Laura Kinsale's Lessons In French, about the heroine Callie and her pet bull:

Callie scratched his broad forehead while he chewed with an air of satisfied contemplation.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Book Review of Brava, Valentine by Adriana Trigiani

I am my best self, the most alive I can be, when I'm creating in the shop. I would never admit this to a man I was interested in, but it's the truth. Love is not the main course in the banquet of my life. It's dessert. My mother would say that's why I'm still single. And my sisters would say that I'm lying. But I know this to be true, that love is my treat, my tiramisu, because I'm living it.

I have not been tempted to scrap my life in Greenwich Village and get on a plane and go to Italy to be with Gianluca, even though I crave the idea of him. I know about women who drop the lives they lead in one place to go and be with a man in another. I'm fascinated by their impulse to choose the possibility of love over the certainty of work. I would never leave my work behind for a man, no matter how scrumptious he might be. I am, however, interested in romance on my own terms, and in my own time. I'm no master craftsman when it comes to love, strictly an apprentice in waiting.
-Brava, Valentine by Adriana Trigiani

Brava, Valentine: A NovelThe blurb:
As Brava, Valentine begins, snow falls like glitter over Tuscany at the wedding of Valentine's grandmother Teodora to her longtime love, Dominic. Valentine's dreams are dashed when Gram announces that Alfred, "the prince," Valentine's only brother and nemesis, has been named her partner at Angelini Shoes. Devastated, Valentine falls into the arms of Gianluca, a sexy Tuscan tanner who made his romantic intentions known on the Isle of Capri. Their delicious romance heats up, fueled by Gianluca's heartfelt love letters, but more than an ocean keeps them apart.

When a once-in-a-lifetime business opportunity takes Valentine from the winding streets of Greenwich Village to the sun-kissed cobblestones of Buenos Aires, she discovers a long-buried secret hidden deep within a family scandal. Once unearthed, the truth rocks the Roncallis, yet Valentine is determined to hold her family together. Even more, she longs to create a family of her own but is torn between a past love that nurtured her and a new one that promises to sustain her.

Brava, Valentine is Trigiliani's best novel yet, delivering a hilarious and poignant mix of colorful worlds and unforgettable characters as only she can create them, proving once again she is "one of the reigning queens of women's fiction."

Brava, Valentine is the fun, satisfying sequel to Very Valentine. Adriana Trigiani develops the characters and their relationships with sympathy and complexity.

With Teodora's wedding, Valentine is now the head of Angelini Shoe Company and working with her brother, Alfred. The sibling rivalry and resentment still exist, but their close proximity gives Valentine and Alfred a chance to see each other's strengths.

While Teodora and Dominic have married and have effectively retired, Valentine and Gianluca carry their former mentors' workloads. Busier than ever, it seems unlikely that Valentine or Gianluca they'll be able to plan a visit any time soon. But they find other ways to stay in touch and develop their romance. Nearby or far apart, the road to love for Valentine doesn't run smoothly. But Valentine's story keeps us engrossed throughout.

A satisfying sequel to Very Valentine and equally hard to put down, Brava, Valentine is a book that you'll want to re-read and share with friends!

ISBN-10: 0061257079 - Hardcover $25.99
Publisher: Harper; 1 edition (February 9, 2010), 352 pages.
Review copy provided by TLC Book Tours and the publisher.

About the Author, courtesy of the publisher:
Adriana Trigiani is an award-winning playwright, television writer, and documentary filmmaker. The author of bestselling Big Stone Gap series and the bestselling novels Very Valentine, Lucia, Lucia, The Queen of the Big Time, and Rococo; she has also written and will direct the big-screen version of her first novel, Big Stone Gap. Viola in Reel Life, the first novel of her young adult series debuted in September 2009. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.

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


Winners of Beyond Blue by Therese Borchard

Beyond Blue: Surviving Depression and Anxiety and Making the Most of Bad Genes by Therese Borchard

bekki1820cb - confirmed
Aimala127 - confirmed
womackcm - confirmed
r_lapus - confirmed

Congratulations! I've contacted the winners and they have until Saturday to send me their contact details. Thank you for participating! Thank you so much to Anna and Hatchette Books Group for sponsoring this giveaway!

Winners of Corked by Kathryn Borel

Corked by Kathryn Borel

rhoneygtn - confirmed
Tore923 - confirmed
cheznishilia - confirmed
deb55106 - confirmed

Congratulations! I've notified the winners and they have until noon on Saturday to send me their mailing addresses. Thank you so much to Anna and Hatchette Book Group for sponsoring this giveaway!

Book Review of The Yellow House by Patricia Falvey

The Yellow House: A Novel
The blurb:
Eileen O'Neill will always remember the lazy summer day when she was just a girl. Her da brought home buckets of lucky yellow paint to celebrate that a hundred years ago to the day, his grandda had won their house in a game of cards from the wealthy Sheridan family. Though her practical ma thought it was a foolish extravagance, she soon joined in the laughter as the family painted the house a sunny color that could be seen from the summit of Slieve Gullion.

The joy of that day soon falls into shadow, however, as religious intolerance, personal tragedy, and devastating secrets seep into the O'Neills' lives and ultimately tear the family violently apart. Young but strong in body, spirit, and passion, Eileen makes her own way in the world, and she is determined to reclaim the Yellow House and bring her broken family back home. Eileen finds work at the local mill owned by the Sheridans - the Quaker family that once owned her childhood home - who are among the few employers in Ulster who don't openly discriminate against Catholics in favor of Protestants. Though her defiance of authority often brings her trouble, Eileen escapes repercussions when she catches the interest of the owner's son Owen, the black sheep in the family.

As civil strife is overshadowed by the advent of World War I, Eileen cannot separate the politics from the personal impact of the conflicts in her life. Her warrior's soul is further encouraged when she meets her friend's older brother, James Conlon. Attractive, charismatic, and a passionate political activist, James is determined to win Irish independence from Great Britain at any cost and by any means. But Eileen also finds herself increasingly drawn to level-headed Owen Sheridan, who believes that peace can never be achieved through violence. As war rages at home and abroad, Eileen finds her actions and choices will change the course of all their lives and give her a true understanding of herself.

Set in Ulster in the early twentieth century, The Yellow House brings to life the dramatic conflicts leading up to the birth of the border that divided the island of Ireland.

Patricia Falvey's first novel, The Yellow House, has been described as firmly and unapologetically on the side of Republican/Nationalist perspective. I didn't feel that this point of view detracted from the novel. Eileen O'Neill is strong-willed, determined, and often excessively stubborn, but these same traits help keep her sane as she faces amazing personal tragedies. The events in Eileen's life are tied to the growing hostilities and political unrest in Ireland. Eileen faces the loss of both her parents and the disintegration of her family and responds by trying to recover their old home, the Yellow House, which represents the life that the O'Neills once had. Eileen's political awareness and willingness to take risks leads her to greater tragedies and disappointments. As Eileen would jump headlong into dangerous situations, I would shake my head, just waiting for the inevitable pain and disappointment.

The Yellow House is the story of Ireland in the early 1900s - it's part historical fiction and part love story. It's a story of hardship, love, loyalty, and hope against all odds.

ISBN-10: 1599952017 - Hardcover $21.99
Publisher: Center Street; 1 edition (February 15, 2010), 352 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

About the Author, courtesy of the publisher:
Patricia Falvey was born in Northern Ireland and raised in Ireland and England before immigrating to the U.S. at the age of twenty. A former managing director with a financial services firm, she now devotes herself full-time to writing and teaching and divides her time between Dallas, Texas and County Armagh, Northern Ireland. The Yellow House is her first novel. You can learn more at Patricia Falvey's website at

Listen to an interview with Patricia Falvey at Blog Talk Radio at

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

Book Giveaway of The 3-Day Cleanse: Drink Fresh Juice, Eat Real Food, Get Back into Your Skinny Jeans by Zoe Sakoutis and Erica Huss

Anna and Hatchette Book Group are sponsoring a giveaway of 5 copies of this health and fitness book, The 3-Day Cleanse by Zoe Sakoutis and Erica Huss. The authors own and manage Blueprint Cleanse, a highly successful health food company famous for its juice cleanses and fasts.

About the Book, courtesy of Amazon:
Celebrities, foodies and media people rely on the Blueprint Cleanse for relief from the excess, overindulgence and toxins we are all exposed to every day. Now, the founders of the cleanse praised in Elle, Vogue and Every Day with Rachel Ray, offer The 3-Day Cleanse, an at-home juice cleansing program for everyone.

Cleansing allows the digestive system to rid itself of the toxins everyone accumulates from unhealthy eating or from the environment. This is a customized program based on your own personal health and lifestyle. Unlike other programs the Blueprint Cleanse includes enough calories and natural fats for an easier yet incredibly effective cleanse.

This book, 3-Day Cleanse, guides readers through step-by-step guidelines for a 1-day, 3-day and 14-day cleanse, as well as a long-term maintenance plan. There are sidebars with quick tips, secrets and advice from people who have done the cleanse and in addition to the juice, raw and part-raw recipes the authors include advice on battling the urge to cheat and working the cleanse into a busy lifestyle. It will boost your immune system, alleviate allergies and PMS, improve your mood and sex drive and clear up your skin.

About the Authors, courtesy of the publisher:
Zoe Sakoutis and Erica Huss Jones are the founders of the Blueprint Cleanse. Huss Jones has a background in Public Relations, and Sakoutis is an accredited Nutritional Consultant. Find out more about Blueprint Cleanse at


To enter please share a goal that you have for this year.

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 March 31, 2010.

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

Book Review of The Crazy School by Cornelia Read

The Crazy School

After an irregular childhood and traumatic personal event, Madeline Dare accepts a post at Santangelo Academy, a boarding school for disturbed teenagers. The school is notoriously expensive and experimental and set in gorgeous grounds in the Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts. Everyone on campus, teachers and students alike, must submit to the founder's bizarre therapeutic treatments and regimen.

Madeline responds to the demands and requirements with humor, cynicism, and good sense. While this doesn't endear her to everyone, it does make her a sympathetic and teacher and an interesting lead character.

When sudden violence erupts on campus, Madeline finds herself right in the middle of it. And as she tries to make sense of what happened and how to protect herself and her students, we get drawn into the mysteries and secrets going on in The Crazy School.

The Crazy School gives us the quirky, cynical Madeline Dare and her impressions as a new teacher in the dangerous and unusual Santangelo Academy. As a crisis emerges at Santangelo Academy, the story turns into a mystery thriller as Madeline and her students try to discover the truth behind the mysterious deaths. The Crazy School is accessible, engrossing and fun.

ISBN-10: 044619820X - Paperback $13.99
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; 1 edition (February 12, 2010), 352 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

About the Author, courtesy of the publisher:
Cornelia Read knows old-school WASP culture firsthand, having been born into the tenth (and last) generation of her mother's family to live on Oyster Bay's Centre Island. She was subsequently raised near Big Sur by divorced hippie-renegade parents. Her childhood mentors included Sufis, surfers, single moms, Black Panthers, Ansel Adams, draft dodgers, striking farmworkers, and Henry Miller's toughest ping-pong rival.

At fifteen, Read returned east, attending boarding school and college on full scholarship. While in New York, she did time as a debutante at the Junior Assemblies, worming her way back into the Social Register following her expulsion when a regrettable tantrum on the part of her mother's boyfriend's wife landed them all on "Page Six" of the New York Post.

Today, her Bostonian Great-Grandmother Fabyan's Society of Mayflower Descendants membership parchment is proudly displayed at the back of Read's tiny linen closet in Berkeley, California. She continues to rebel against familial tradition by staying married to a lovely sane man who is gainfully employed. They have twin daughters, the younger of whom has severe autism. Learn more at Cornelia Read's website at

Would you like your own copy? Sign up for the giveaway - ending March 21, 2010!

Reading Group Guide:

1. Maddie is the only Santangelo Academy teacher who lives off campus. How does this affect her views of what is “normal”?

2. Wiesner tells Maddie she is “too whacked to maintain appropriate boundaries” and has issues with authority. Do you agree? Does anyone at Santangelo maintain “appropriate” boundaries?

3. Maddie claims she hates Mindy because she is so shallow. What does this assessment reveal about Maddie herself? How does the generally negative nature of Maddie’s worldview affect the outcome of this particular narrative?

4. Maddie wants to believe that Santangelo can “fix” her. What is broken in her life?

5. The school uses a lot of phrases such as “firing yourself ” and “doing a turn-in.” Many groups use language to create a shared sense of identity. When can this be beneficial, and when can this be dangerous?

6. What are the author’s views on therapy, as expressed by Maddie? Do you agree with her?

7. Why does Maddie stay on as a teacher at Santangelo? Is it only about the paycheck for her?

8. While he never appears in the novel, Maddie’s father is discussed twice during the course of the story. What impact do you think his mental illness has had on her development and on her issues with “authority”?

9. What might be different about this novel if Dean had a steady job? What do you think of his attitude about drug testing—is he standing up for individual rights, or should he put down the bong and get over himself already?

10. Could Maddie have been a more effective advocate for her students if she’d played by the Santangelo rules? What would this have meant for Fay and Mooney, specifically? Should she have “done a turn-in” with regard to their secret?

11. What impact has the advent of psychotherapeutic drugs such as Prozac had on the public perception of “talk therapy”?

12. Has the influence of such psychiatric authorities as Freud and Jung been diminished or enhanced by advances in our understanding of neurochemistry over the last two decades? Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

13. How do you think Maddie will respond when she hears about the events of the final chapter? Did what happened change your perception of Wiesner and Sitzman?

14. Is the final word of the book, uttered by Sitzman, significant? Does its use here tie in with the discussion of campus prohibitions against it in chapter one? How would the novel be impacted if there were no profanity used by any of its characters?

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