Sunday, July 31, 2011

Girl in the Garden - Summer Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the Summery Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & BookHounds. This hop is scheduled to run August 1st to 7th.

I am giving away Girl in the Garden by Kamala Nair.  Have you heard about this book - it is so good! It is getting outstanding reviews everywhere. This is Kamala debut novel too. She is, for sure, an author to watch.  I can't wait for her second book to come out.  Kamala, when will that be and what will it be about?  I must know!



Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Grand Centeral Publishing
Rating: MUST read

Synopsis:  The redemptive journey of a young woman unsure of her engagement, who revisits in memory the events of one scorching childhood summer when her beautiful yet troubled mother spirits her away from her home to an Indian village untouched by time, where she discovers in the jungle behind her ancestral house a spellbinding garden that harbors a terrifying secret.

My Review:  LOVED IT!  The story is told in a letter (but not letter format, you know I love that format!) from Rakee's to her fiancĂ©e.

"By the time you read this I will be flying over the Atlantic on my way to India."

How can you not keep reading?  Like me, I had to keep going with an opener like that!

"I would like to say it began with the letter I received two days ago, but it goes back much further than that. It goes back to the summer I turned eleven, when Amma took me to India and everything changed."

The last paragraph  in chapter one....

"I am finally ready to share it {the story}. I hope that when you are finished reading, you will understand why I have left like this with no warning, no explanation, no good-bye; only this story, the ring, and an address in India where you can find me. Most of all, I hope that I am not too late."

I dove right into this book!  I had to finally stop reading at 2 am when I realized that I was only going to get 3 hours of sleep.  I couldn't wait for the kids to go to bed the next night, so I could keep on reading!  I couldn't get enough! I am afraid if I type anymore about this book, it will become a spoiler alert and will take away from your own journey.

To win this book, all you have to do is one of the following (please don't do both)....AFTER you become a follower:

  • Complete the form below (my favorite and always so easy!)
  • Leave a comment (with your email address)

Remember you must be a follower to win.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

32 Candles Review - TLC Book Tours and Giveaway

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Amistad; Reprint edition (June 28, 2011)
Tour: TLC Book Tours
Rating: Must read!

Snyopsis: Davie Jones—an ugly duckling growing up in small-town Mississippi with a mother who couldn't get any meaner—is positive her life couldn't be any worse. Just when she's resigned herself to her fate, she sees a movie that will change her life—Sixteen Candles. But in her case, life doesn't imitate art. Tormented in school and hopelessly in unrequited love with a handsome football player, Davie finds it bittersweet to dream of Molly Ringwald endings. When a cruel school prank goes too far, Davie leaves the life she knows and reinvents herself in the glittery world of Hollywood—as a beautiful and successful lounge singer. Just as she's about to ride off into the L.A. sunset, the past comes back with a vengeance, threatening to crush Davie's dreams—and break her heart again.
With wholly original characters and a cinematic storyline, 32 Candles introduces Ernessa T. Carter, a new voice in fiction with smarts, attitude, and sassiness to spare. 

About Ernessa Carter

Ernessa T. Carter has worked as an ESL teacher in Japan, a music journalist in Pittsburgh, a payroll administrator in Burbank, and a radio writer for American Top 40 with Ryan Seacrest in Hollywood. Carter’s also a retired L.A. Derby Doll (roller derby). A graduate of Smith College and Carnegie Mellon University’s MFA program, she now lives in Los Angeles. 32 Candles is her first novel. She blogs at



TLC Book Tours Stops

Monday, July 4th: Reflections of a Bookaholic
Thursday, July 7th: Picky Girl
Friday, July 8th: Book Reviews by Molly
Monday, July 11th: Helen’s Book Blog
Tuesday, July 12th: StephTheBookworm
Wednesday, July 13th: 1330v
Thursday, July 14th: The Englishist
Friday, July 15th: The Englishist - guest post
Monday, July 18th: Steph Su Reads
Tuesday, July 19th: Freda’s Voice
Wednesday, July 20th: Sara’s Organized Chaos
Thursday, July 21st: Reading Through Life
Friday, July 22nd: Dreaming in Books
Monday, July 25th: Amy Reads
Tuesday, July 26th: The Feminist Texican [Reads]
Wednesday, July 27th: Bibliophilia – Maggie’s Bookshelf
Thursday, July 28th: Life In Review
Thursday, July 28th: Seaside Book Nook
Friday, July 29th: Love to Read for Fun
Friday, July 29th: Write Meg

My Review:  This is a laugh out loud, fall in love with the characters, walk down memory lane of the 80's, chick lit kind of book.  Davie, you ROCK girl.  I so loved her.  This book is filled with twists and turns that had me wanting more.  Just when I thought I had it figured out, the plot twisted and I was so shocked (in a good way). 

The cast of characters come to life through this book.  I could clearly picture them and how they fit into Davie's life through out her journey.  After I finished 32 Candles, I was in my local library and spotted the book on CD.  I grabbed it at once, I just needed to hear the voices of the characters.  To my wonderful surprise, they were spot on! Just as I had pictured (or heard them in my mind!) everyone, they came through on audio.  I often find that is not the case.

Being a person who rocked through the 80's, I loved all the references in the book, especially to 16 Candles and Pretty in Pink!  The title of this book is SO appropriate I can't imagine it with any other title.  I couldn't put this book down and it was so well written.  Standing O, Ms. Carter!

Giveaway:  I have one copy of 32 Candles to giveaway.  Just already be follower or become a follower and complete the form below.  If you prefer to leave a comment instead of using the form, that is fine too, just remember to leave your email address.  I will be picking a winner quickly, August 1st!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Follower Appreciation Winner Update

Thanks to you all for helping reach my goal of 150 followers and beyond. I will have to set another goal with a great prize if reached.

The prize has not been claimed and it has been much longer than 48 hours.  I was hoping the winner was on vacation and thought by allowing more time I would hear from the winner.  However, I still haven't heard anything; therefore, have picked another winner. 

The winner of a book (or ebook) of your choice (up to $25) from Barnes & Noble or Book Depository is......

An email has been sent.  If the prize is not claimed within 48 hours, I will pick another winner.  Congrats Knitting and Sundries!  Did you know I LOVE to knit?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Smokin' Seventeen

My Rating:  A Must Read! (10 out of 10)
Source: Library

Where there’s smoke there’s fire, and no one knows this better than New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum.

Synopsis (form Dead bodies are showing up in shallow graves on the empty construction lot of Vincent Plum Bail Bonds. No one is sure who the killer is, or why the victims have been offed, but what is clear is that Stephanie’s name is on the killer’s list.

Short on time to find evidence proving the killer’s identity, Stephanie faces further complications when her family and friends decide that it’s time for her to choose between her longtime off-again-on-again boyfriend, Trenton cop Joe Morelli, and the bad boy in her life, security expert Ranger. Stephanie’s mom is encouraging Stephanie to dump them both and choose a former high school football star who’s just returned to town. Stephanie’s sidekick, Lula, is encouraging Stephanie to have a red-hot boudoir “bake-off.” And Grandma Bella, Morelli’s old-world grandmother, is encouraging Stephanie to move to a new state when she puts “the eye” on Stephanie.

With a cold-blooded killer after her, a handful of hot men, and a capture list that includes a dancing bear and a senior citizen vampire, Stephanie’s life looks like it’s about to go up in smoke.

My Review:  One of my very favorite series is Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum! Her latest, Smokin' Seventeen was no let down. I laughed right out loud while reading this book. We still don't know who or when Stephanie will settle down. Do you want her to pick Joe or Ranger? I want her to pick both for separate reasons! Grandma Bella is back in this book and it is too funny.  She puts the "eye" on Stephanie. We don't get to hear much from Grandma Mazer, but get our fill of Lula and Mooner!

The only thing I hate about this series is the time in between finishing the latest book and waiting for the next one.  I just don't get why Janet can't write faster and the publisher publish them faster.  I just can't get enough of them!

In case you don't know - I rate this book A Must Read!

Have a great week!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Super DIaper Baby 2 Review With a Very Embarrassing Story Included!!

Warning: Do not let your child read this book during church, or they might just say something out loud you wish they hadn't! 

Okay, I will be the first to admit that I sometime (okay all the time) let me kids take a book to read while at church.  I know, I know, I know, but hear me out.  There are times when they don't have the "children's liturgy" and it makes it very hard for everyone to enjoy mass, especially for the mom breaking up the fighting children and others seated around us.  Also, my kids attend a Catholic school and already go to mass weekly. So in order for me to get something out of church (beside my kids not fighting for an hour), I let them bring a notebook or a book.  I only let them write in the notebook or read the book during the Homily (goes way over their heads anyway).

This past Sunday one of the twins grabbed Super Diaper Baby 2, The Invasion of the Potty Snatchers, which we read while on vacation.  During the Homily, she said rather loudly, "I love this part, where the evil guy is turned into pee."  Not the most appropriate thing to say a church.....during the Homily.  I have never been so embarrassed.  Thank goodness we have an awesome priest and he just kept going, even though there was such an outburst of laughter all around us.  I didn't even know what to say or how to react.
Besides that, this book really is way too funny. I don't know any child who wouldn't laugh out loud while reading this book.  It is all about super heroes (a baby and dog) and evil villain whose cat turns him into pee. The cat turns on the evil villain and the heroes save the day!  Any book that has to do with bodily fluids makes my kids laugh and grabs their attention at this age. 

Yes, I have to admit that I was laughing at parts of this book too. The best part, is my 7 year old twins were able to read it with very little help.  I love it when they read out loud and we all enjoy a book.  They are so proud of their accomplishments and I get to multi-task! 

"George and Harold (the co-stars of the enormously popular Captain Underpants series) are in big trouble again! Their mean principal, Mr. Krupp, has had it with their comic books. But the boys aren't giving up, and they decide to create an all-new epic novel about a subject they've never tackled before!"

"Dr. Dilbert Dinkle started his career as an ordinary, everyday evil genius/inventor/bank robber. But when he awakens one day transformed into a walking, talking puddle of pee, he vows to destroy every toilet in town. Will the devious Dr. Dinkle and his conniving cat, Petey, ruin restrooms for the rest of us? Or could this be a job for the death-defying, dynamic duo of Super Diaper Baby and Diaper Dog?"

"Oh, no! It's not enough that George and Harold have invented Captain Underpants, the greatest superhero of all time, and that they've also saved the world FIVE times-defeating Dr. Diaper, punishing Professor Poopypants and whacking the wicked Wedgie Woman! What task could be worse? As punishment, the boys have to write a 100-page report on "good citizenship," and they have been specifically ordered NOT to write another comic about Captain Underpants. So what do they do? Meet Super Diaper Baby!!!"

My kids and I really enjoyed these books and had some great laughs.  Even my 9 year old was listening and laughing while the girls read them out loud.  My nephew, who is going to be a freshman in high school, and passed his Captain Underpants down to my son, even picked up the two books and read them quickly.  He was also laughing out loud while reading!  This would make a GREAT summer read too.

You can buy Super Diaper Baby 2: The Invasion of the Potty Snatchers ($6.99) and The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby ($5.99) from Scholastic Books by clicking here.   Connect with Scholastic Books on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

Would You Like To Win It?  Check out Outnumbered 3 to 1, which is a blog that I write reviews for and share craft posts.  While you are there entering to win the, see what Mel, Amanda, Ashley, Farrah and myself have going on for giveaways.  You won't be disappointed.  The giveaway ends July 28th at midnight (EST).

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Next to Love by Ellen Feldman

Synopsis from  A story of love, war, loss, and the scars they leave, Next to Love follows the lives of three young women and their men during the years of World War II and its aftermath, beginning with the men going off to war and ending a generation later, when their children are on the cusp of their own adulthood.

Set in a small town in Massachusetts, the novel follows three childhood friends, Babe, Millie, and Grace, whose lives are unmoored when their men are called to duty. And yet the changes that are thrust upon them move them in directions they never dreamed possible—while their husbands and boyfriends are enduring their own transformations. In the decades that follow, the three friends lose their innocence, struggle to raise their children, and find meaning and love in unexpected places. And as they change, so does America—from a country in which people know their place in the social hierarchy to a world in which feminism, the Civil Rights movement, and technological innovations present new possibilities—and uncertainties. And yet Babe, Millie, and Grace remain bonded by their past, even as their children grow up and away and a new society rises from the ashes of the war.

My Review:  I loved this book. The story takes us through the lives of three friends (since young children), Babe, Grace and Millie.  Given the story transports us back to WWII, the story takes us through the ladies struggles with their men off to war, the men's return (or lack of) and the struggles that continue for next 25+ years.  The story is so well written and does an excellent job of transporting you back to the WWII era.  It is filled with drama and emotion, you can't wait to turn the page to see what is going to happen. I loved the ending and that is all I will say, since I don't want to spoil for you all!

I highly recommend this book and give it a "must read!"  Look for it in bookstores July 26th or pre-order now!

I have to go order another of Ellen Feldman's book - The Boy Who Loved Anne Frank.  Doesn't that sound so good.  I love Anne Frank stories.

Check out Ellen's website by clicking here.

Thanks to the publisher, Spiegel & Grau for providing me a copy of the book.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Follower Appreciation Winner!

Thanks to you all for helping reach my goal of 150 followers and beyond. I will have to set another goal with a great prize if reached.

The results of the question (do you prefer form over leaving a comment) was hands down form. There were a few that preferred the comment, so for now on I will use the form and have leaving a comment optional for giveaways.

The winner of a book of your choice (up to $25) from Barnes & Noble or Book Depository is......

An email has been sent.  If the prize is not claimed within 48 hours, I will pick another winner.  Congrats Veronica!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Heaven is for Real Winner!

The winner of the Literary Book Blog Hop will receive a copy of Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo. 

Congratulations to Giselle!  An email has been sent!

Thank you to everyone who left a comment and became a follower!