Literary Quote of the Month

“For poems are not, as people think, simply emotions (one has emotions early enough)—they are experiences,” … Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Sunday Salon... "Books with Buzz" and a peek at a new eReader!


What is the Sunday Salon? Imagine some university library's vast reading room. It's filled with people--students and faculty and strangers who've wandered in. They're seated at great oaken desks, books piled all around them, and they're all feverishly reading and jotting notes in their leather-bound journals as they go. Later they'll mill around the open dictionaries and compare their thoughts on the afternoon's literary intake.

Summer finally came in Connecticut and by the end of the week the rain came back! But rainy days just give us an excuse to stay inside and crack open a book- without too much guilt...

This week I finished a "spicy" read by Allyson Roy called Babydoll. This wednesday, the husband & wife team of Alice and Roy, who make up the author "team" Allyson Roy, will visit Chick with Books and talk a little about their working relationship. I'll have a review of Babydoll, which they call Madcap Noir, where crime, comedy and romance meet- and such a fun read! Think of it as a Stephanie Plum novel with a bit more "heat"- you see Saylor Oz, our "detective", is a sex therapist who handles the occasional murder... this is the second novel starring Saylor Oz and I'm sure there will be more in this series. Then we can take the fun little quiz Alice & Roy wrote up especially for us here! Wednesday will be a fun guest post to promote the recent release of Babydoll and is part of their virtual book tour!

Gregory Maguire is well known for his adult books, Wicked, Confessions of an Ugly Step Sister and A Lion Among Men, where he re-imagines the stories of well known fictional characters. But he is also a children's author. And recently he published a YA book, Missing Sisters, which I picked up for my Kindle this week. The story of a young 12-year old girl living in an orphanage, not being adopted because of hearing and speech problems, but with a lot of spunk touched me... "Set in 1968, Alice, a 12-year-old beset by hearing and speech impediments, lives in an orphanage run by nuns in upstate New York. After Sister Vincent de Paul, Alice's closest friend and supporter, is severely injured in a fire, no one explains to Alice that the sister has been sent for a long stay in a nursing home. Alice, worrying that Sister Vincent has died, makes a pact with God: until she knows that Sister Vincent will recover, she won't even consider an offer of adoption that has been extended to her--her first. A girl Alice despises gets her place, but Alice has a drama of her own, inadvertently learning that she may have a twin sister. With a mixture of cunning and courage, Alice finds her." I haven't seen too much publicity for this book, but sounds like a wonderful read! Look for a review this coming week...

Last sunday, Marie of The Burton Review recommended Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie. She called it one of her most engrossing reads! She also pointed out that Burnt Shadows is shortlisted for the 2009 Orange Prize... The Orange Prize for Fiction is awarded to the woman who, in the opinion of the judges, has written the best, eligible full-length novel in English and first published in the United Kingdom. Burnt Shadows starts on that fateful day in 1945, when the bomb dropped in Nagasaki and ends in a prison cell in the United Stateds in 2002. "Hiroko Tanaka is 21 and in love with the man she is to marry, Konrad Weiss. As she steps onto her veranda, wrapped in a kimono with three black cranes swooping across her back, her world is suddenly and irrevocably altered. In the numbing aftermath of the atomic bomb that obliterates everything she has known, all that remains are the bird-shaped burns on her back, an indelible reminder of the world that she has lost. From here she starts her search for new beginnings..." An epic tale that touches on a tragedy and the way our own histories can be transformed by one... I picked it up this week and opened it up to find Kamila Shamsies writing to be simply wonderful. Not only is the writing beautiful, but so it the cover! This is a book that should not disappoint! Thanks Marie for the recommendation!

And now a peek at a new eReader that just came out this week... Sony just released 2 new eReaders- The Sony Reader Touch, and the Sony Reader Pocket Edition. I had the opportunity to look at both this week and was impressed with the Pocket Edition that Sony released. It's just shy of being the size of a mass market paperback. It's easily held in one hand, although you need to click the wheel to turn the pages with the other hand, and it's slim. The text has a nice contrast- one of the problems Sony has been dealing with in it's development of their eReaders. There is no wireless connection with this eReader, but it's easy enough to download books from your computer. The Sony eReaders also work with ePub format, which Google just announced that it was going to use with it's book downloads and also quite a few text book publishers announced that it was going to use. Although I'm still a Kindle girl, this eReader is a temptation. And it might tempt other people as well because the Pocket Edition is about $100 less expensive than the Kindle 2.

Ok, that's what I've been reading and reading about this week, what about you?! What books have you read?! Don't be shy, share what you've been reading this week! Or let me know what you think of this week's "Books with Buzz"!

Happy Reading.... Suzanne

Friday, August 28, 2009

Undone by Karin Slaughter... Virtual Book Tour & International Giveaway!

Undone
A Masterpiece of Suspense...

Thanks to EVERYONE for joining in the giveaway! The giveaway has officially ended and the winner is Brande! Congrats! Enjoy the book! It's on it's way!

Karin Slaughter's Virtual Book Tour makes a stop at Chick with Books today! And what a book she's just published! But first, a little about Karin...

Karin Slaughter is the New York Times bestselling author of eight novels, including Beyond Reach and A Faint Cold Fear, which was named an International Book of the Month selection. In an interview with Time.com Karin was asked how she did research for her books. Her answer was "I just start thinking about different crimes that I've seen in the news, or that I know about from my childhood." And she does a great job putting it all down on paper! She also loves reading Anne Rule, the leading true crime writer. She is a native of Georgia, where she currently lives and is working on her next novel, which Delacorte Press will publish in 2010.

About the Book:

In the trauma center of Atlanta’s busiest hospital, Sara Linton treats the city’s poor, wounded, and unlucky—and finds refuge from the tragedy that rocked her life in rural Grant County. Then, in one instant, Sara is thrust into a frantic police investigation, coming face-to-face with a tall driven detective and his quiet female partner…. In Undone, three unforgettable characters from Karin Slaughter’s New York Times bestselling novels Faithless and Fractured collide for the first time, entering an electrifying race against the clock—and a duel with unspeakable human evil.

In the backwoods of suburban Atlanta, where Sara’s patient was found, local police have set up their investigation. But Georgia Bureau of Investigation detective Will Trent doesn’t wait for the go-ahead from his boss—he plunges through police lines, through the brooding woods, and single-handedly exposes a hidden house of horror buried beneath the earth. Then he finds another victim.…

Wresting the case away from the local police chief, Will and his partner, Faith Mitchell—a woman keeping explosive secrets of her own—are called into a related investigation. Another woman—a smart, upscale, independent young mother—has been snatched. For the two cops out on the hunt, for the doctor trying to bring her patient back to life, the truth hits like a hammer: the killer’s torture chamber has been found, but the killer is still at work.

In her latest suspense masterpiece, Karin Slaughter weaves together the moving, powerful human stories of characters as real as they are complex and unforgettable. At the same time she has crafted a work of dazzling storytelling and spine-tingling mystery—as three people, each with their own wounds and their own secrets, are all that stands between a madman and his next crime.

What did I think of Undone? This book will satisfy your need for mystery & suspense! I had never read Karin Slaughter before, but this will not be my last book by the author! I was immediately drawn into the story, with well developed characters and a great plot! And for fans of Karin Slaughter, the three main characters in Undone are from 2 different series- Sara Linton is from the Grant County series and Will Trent & Faith Mitchell are from the Atlanta series. I didn't know this when I started reading Undone, and it didn't seem to matter- I didn't feel I needed to know the history of the characters to enjoy the story. Although I did grow to like the characters & got to know their history along the way and I credit this to the fantastic writing of the author. If you like crime fiction, with a good dose of suspense, this is a book for you! The story hooked me from the beginning and the great writing kept me turning the pages!

You can visit Karin Slaughter’s website at http://www.karinslaughter.com/ . Would you like to read an excerpt? Here's a Link to the first chapter!

AND NOW for a little surprise! Jaime from Pump Up Your Book Promotions, who coordinated Karin's Virtual Book Tour, send me an extra copy of Undone so I could give it away to one of my lucky readers! And since I'll be mailing it out myself I'm going to open this up to my international readers too! So, if I can mail a book to you thru the Post Office you are eligible to enter! Thanks Jaime for the review book! I loved the book! And thank you for the extra book for the giveaway!

To Enter this Giveaway...

*For one entry leave me a comment with your email address!

*You'll get an extra entry for following my blog! Just leave a comment letting me know you're a follower! ( you can also become a follower to get an extra entry! Just let me know you became a new follower!)

*For another entry Blog or tweet about this giveaway and leave me the link.

This giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian residents, plus anywhere I can mail a book thru the post office! (No P.O. Boxes, please) Contest ends 11:59 pm EST on Sept. 19th. I'll randomly pick the winner the next day and email that person. Please check your email... winner must reply to me within 3 days...

Good luck everyone!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Kindle Korner and a Literary Kindle Treat...

The Sari Shop Widow
Pungent curry…sweet fried onions…incense…colorful beads…lush fabrics

In October Shobhan Bantwal will be a guest here at Chick with Books! It's going to be such a treat because I've been looking forward to reading her newest book, The Sari Shop Widow, and it's always nice to have the author visit... In the meantime, this past tuesday was the official release date of The Sari Shop Widow by Shobhan Bantwal and if you own a Kindle you are in for a treat!! Until August 31st you can download The Sari Shop Widow for FREE!

About the Book...
Shobhan Bantwal’s compelling new novel is set on the streets of Edison, New Jersey’s Little India, where a young businesswoman rediscovers the magic of love and family…

Since becoming a widow at age twenty-seven, Anjali Kapadia has devoted herself to transforming her parents' sari shop into a chic boutique, brimming with exquisite jewelry and clothing. Now, ten years later, it stands out like a proud maharani amid Edison’s bustling Little India. But when Anjali learns the shop is on the brink of bankruptcy, she feels her world unraveling…

To the rescue comes Anjali’s wealthy, dictatorial Uncle Jeevan and his business partner, Rishi Shah—a mysterious Londoner, complete with British accent, cool gray eyes, and skin so fair it makes it hard to believe he’s Indian. Rishi’s cool, foreign demeanor triggers distrust in Anjali and her mother. But for Anjali, he also stirs something else, a powerful attraction she hasn’t felt in a decade. And the feeling is mutual…

Love disappointed Anjali once before and she’s vowed to live without it—though Rishi is slowly melting her resolve and, as the shop regains its footing, gaining her trust. But when a secret from Rishi’s past is revealed, Anjali must turn to her family and her strong cultural upbringing to guide her in finding the truth…

So until Shobhan stops by here for a visit, and until I post my review, we all can enjoy reading this on our Kindles! Here's the LINK to The Sari Shop Widow by Shobhan Bantwal. Remember you only have until August 31st!

Happy Reading...
Suzanne

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Be With You by Takuji Ichikawa... A Review

Be With You
A Haunting Love Story....

"Soon I won't be with you any longer," 29-year-old Mio says to her husband Takumi, "But when the rainy season returns, I will come back to see how the two of you are getting along."

These simple words spoken a week before Mio leaves this world for the world beyond, somehow comforts Takumi, as he struggles to take care of himself and their 5 year old son Yuki... But one year later when the rainy season returns, so does Mio! In a walk thru the woods Takumi & Yuki are stunned to see a confused Mio standing before them. As Takumi calls out to her in disbelief, "Mio?" She asks "Is that my name?" She has no memory.... and Takumi decides then and there that he will lie to her and act as if she's been ill and has lost her memory due to her illness. And of course he's not going to tell her that she is a ghost. Takumi takes Yuki aside in secret and explains to him that they must not let on that she died - so they form a pact to act as normal as possible...

Mio is a bit apprehensive, things just don't seem right somehow... But she wants to know what she's forgotten, so Takumi begins to tell her their story, and in simple prose Takumi weaves a most unusual love story that slowly pulls the reader in and slowly makes Mio fall in love all over again with Takumi. At a steady pace, between the story of the present day, we learn the everyday mundane to the poignant moments that make up this love story. From the time they met at age 15 to the time just before Mio died. But what may appear to be a romantic ghost story is really much more than that. There is a twist to this story ...the present is the future and has a link to the past... On the surface it appears to be a simple story, but looks are deceiving... Just as we are taking the story for granted, we are suddenly found stirred by that surprising twist! And then the story takes on a whole different meaning!

There are also other concepts that Takuji Ichikawa deals with- such as the afterlife. In a beautifully written opening paragraph, our main character Takumi is describing Mio's death to their 5 year old son...

"When Mio died, this was how I thought.
Whoever made our planet must have made
another planet at the same time,
somewhere in the universe.
That would be the planet where people go when they die.
The name of that planet is Archive."

We are never far from the truth of the story because Ichikawa never hides the fact that Mio dies, but with the reappearance of Mio comes renewed hope for a happy ending and the question of what makes us love another person? A simple yet beautiful story....

Monday, August 24, 2009

Giveaway: The Woman Who Named God by Charlotte Gordon

The Woman Who Named God
Abraham's Dilemma and The Birth of Three Faiths

Congrats to Brenda, Melanie & Jeanette! And Thanks to EVERYone for joining in on the fun!

"The saga of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar is the tale of origin for all three monotheistic faiths. Abraham must choose between two wives who have borne him two sons. One wife and son will share in his wealth and status, while the other two are exiled into the desert. Long a cornerstone of Western anxiety, the story chronicles a very famous and troubled family, and sheds light on the ongoing conflict between the Judeo-Christian and Islamic worlds. How did this ancient story become one of the least understood and most frequently misinterpreted of our cultural myths? Gordon explores this legendary love triangle to give us a startling perspective on three biblical characters who–with their jealousies, passions, and doubts–actually behave like human beings. THE WOMAN WHO NAMED GOD is a compelling, smart, and provocative take on one of the Bible’s most intriguing and troubling love stories."

The Woman Who Named God by Charlotte Gordon weaves history, archaeology and myth into an amazing and respectful story. Written with a historical perspective Charlotte Gordon explores the stories that have been passed down to us , and explores the characters as individuals... "Why did they do what they did?" Not a dry commentary, but an interesting read because of her insights into the people and places that existed then and now. A look at how different people interpreted the actions of these individuals and how Abraham and his sons fathered three major world religions - Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Very readable and also well researched. I found it so interesting! If you belong to a book club, Charlotte has discussion questions you can download HERE. Plus you'll find links there to learn more about Charlotte and a behind the scenes look at her writing of the book. Would you like to read an excerpt? Follow this LINK. Listen to an interview with Charlotte Gordon HERE!

Courtesy of Valerie of Hachette Book Group I have 3 copies of The Woman Who Named God for a giveaway! Thank you Valerie for letting me share this with my readers! And thanks for my review copy!

To Enter this giveaway...

*For one entry leave me a comment with your email address!

*For another entry, sign up to follow my blog and leave a comment to let me know you just became a follower. (if you're already a follower you will get an extra entry!)

*Blog or tweet about this giveaway and leave me the link.

This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only.(No PO boxes). The books will be shipped to the winners directly from the publisher. Contest ends 11:59pm EST on Sept. 12th. I will randomly pick the winners the next day and email them! (please check your email.. winner must reply to me within 3 days! Thanks!) Good Luck!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sunday Salon... with a few Books with Buzz!

What is the Sunday Salon? Imagine some university library's vast reading room. It's filled with people--students and faculty and strangers who've wandered in. They're seated at great oaken desks, books piled all around them, and they're all feverishly reading and jotting notes in their leather-bound journals as they go. Later they'll mill around the open dictionaries and compare their thoughts on the afternoon's literary intake....

Another week of reading has gone by! And a wonderful surprise came my way too! Not just in my mailbox on the street either- in my email box! I was nominated for Best New Blog in this years BBAW, or BookBloggers Appreciation Week! I am thrilled to have been nominated!

A BIG thank you to whoever nominated me! There are so many wonderful blogs out there that just being nominated is an honor! And I do feel honored! Thank you so much! A panel of judges will review all the blogs nominated (there are quite a few categories!) and on Sept. 7th the shortlist of nominees will be announced and voting will begin! I'll keep you posted if I make the shortlist... And to everyone that was nominated for an award, I wish you all the best of luck! So now you may be wondering about BBAW...

"Book Blogger Appreciation Week (BBAW) was started by Amy Riley of My Friend Amy in an effort to recognize the hard work and contribution of book bloggers to the promotion and preservation of a literate culture actively engaged in discussing books, authors, and a lifestyle of reading. The week spotlights and celebrates the work of active book bloggers through guest posts, awards, giveaways, and community activities." So, Sept. 14 - 18th the big celebration begins with contests, awards, and interviews! So far 150 bloggers have signed up to participate, last year there were over 400! It should be a lot of fun and I'm glad Chick with Books is around this year to enjoy all the festivities! More on BBAW later...

For my reading this week I finished my first Japanese Literature Challenge book! I read Be With You by Takuji Ichikawa and will have the review posted this week! The challenge is to read at least one, but I will be continuing the challenge with a few more selections by Haruki Murakami- The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles, After Dark, and Kafka on the Shore! Have you read any Japanese fiction lately? Remember to visit The Japanese Literature Challenge page to see what everyone has read and reviewed!

In the mail this week I received David Morrell's newest book, The Shimmer! "When police officer Dan Page’s wife disappears, her trail leads to Rostov, a remote Texas town where unexplained phenomena attract hundreds of spectators each night. Not merely curious, these onlookers are compelled to reach this tiny community and gaze at the mysterious Rostov Lights. But more than the faithful are drawn there. A gunman begins shooting at the lights, screaming “Go back to hell where you came from!” then turns his rifle on the innocent bystanders. As more and more people are drawn to the scene of the massacre, the stage is set for even greater bloodshed. To save his wife, Page must solve the mystery of the Rostov Lights. In the process, he uncovers a deadly government secret dating back to the First World War. The lights are more dangerous than anyone ever imagined, but even more deadly are those who try to exploit forces beyond their control." I just cracked the spine last night and started to read it, and David Morrell's writing is great! This will be my first David Morrell novel. He is the co-founder of the International Thriller Writers organization and has been called “the father of the modern action novel.” And thanks to Anna of FSB Associates for sending me the review copy! Look for my review in the next week or so...

And speaking of review & giveaway... I will be hosting a giveaway for The Woman Who Named God by Charlotte Gordon this week! " A story of fidelity and abandonment, birthright and expulsion, the saga of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar is the myth of origin for three monotheistic faiths... And Charlotte Gordon gives us a startling new perspective on this legendary love triangle, revealing three biblical characters who behave like real people..." I'll also be posting a review!

Another book this week with a lot of buzz... impossible by Nancy Weblin. "Werlin combines magic, romance, and a family curse in this 21st-century fairy tale based on the ballad Scarborough Fair." It's a YA novel, dealing with serious issues such as date rape and teen pregnancy, but the romance and fantasy of solving a family curse should intrigue all of us girls!

A few books to look forward to in the future... Her Fearful Symmetry, Sept. 29th, by the author of The Time Travelers Wife, Audrey Niffenegger... And An Echo in the Bone, Sept. 22nd, the new novel in the epic love story of Jamie and Claire by Diane Gabaldon. (If you've never heard of Diane Gabaldon and you like historical romance- look her up NOW!)

That's about it for this week's buzz.. What bookish things have you been doing? What books are you reading!? Leave a comment and let us all know what's going on with you this week!

I want to also thank everyone who sent their good wishes BJ's way! BJ (my fuzzy four legged reading companion seen below) is feeling much better! Thanks for your concerns and being such good friends!

BJ says woof too! .......

Thanks for stopping by! And Have a Happy reading week!...... Suzanne

Friday, August 21, 2009

How it Ends by Laura Wiess... Blog Tour

how it ends
true love reveals it all...

Laura Wiess talks about how she came about writing how it ends, and I think it describes perfectly the feelings that haunted me after turning the last page...






At the beginning of the story we meet a very young Hanna, whose parents asked the next door neighbor Helen to take care of her during those times that Hanna needed refuge from a home that wasn't a place for a little girl to be. Helen became Grandma Helen and a bond was formed when a small sad little girl asked if "she was going away too?" And Grandma Helen answered that she would never leave her and her & Grandpa Lon's house became her safe haven. A place for chocolate chip pancakes, and homemade carrot cake, walks in the woods, and honest talks about anything that came to mind.... it was wonderful to read the first chapter and see how the bond between Hanna and Grandma Helen was formed... but as time passed, and Hanna grew up a bit, she spent less and less time at Grandma Helen's. Hanna was a teenager, dealing with boys and partying, and her growing sexuality- all the things that a teenager thinks is important at the time. She wants Seth, but once she's finally got him, things aren't as perfect as she had thought they would be. He treats her terribly! She turns to the one person she always has had for advice and comfort, but Helen isn't that person anymore. She's terminally ill and unable to speak or interact. Hanna decides she'll fulfill her community service requirement by spending time with Helen (something that would never would have been a chore before, but Helen's illness is so upsetting to Hanna). They start to listen to an audiobook that Helen had out, and Hanna is drawn into the story of real love & passion. Something she had wondered if true love could really exist. The story is is about a love between two people who cling to each other for survival, and then because of a deep and satisfying love. Feelings awaken in Hanna... and then the story becomes "too real...."

Laura Wiess did a wonderful job of writing this story within a story. Each chapter is either Hanna or Helen "speaking" to us, and eventually the audiobook becomes it's own separate chapters. I like these "alternate" voice chapters because it gives us insights into the thoughts of each of the characters pertaining to a particular event. Laura Wiess also knows how to write about teenage angst! You can feel Hanna's pain as she grows up, matures and comes to realize things that only a mature young lady can see.

The book was wonderful and sad at the same time. It will make you reflect about the people in your life that you may pass by every day without a thought....

Laura Wiess is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Such a Pretty Girl, chosen as one of the ALA’s 2008 Best Books for Young Adults and 2008 YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers, and Leftovers. Originally from Milltown, New Jersey, she traded bumper-to-bumper traffic, excellent pizza, and summer days down the shore for scenic roads, bears, no pizza delivery, and the irresistible allure of an old stone house surrounded by forests in Pennsylvania’s Endless Mountains Region. Learn more about Laura at from her author page at Simon & Schuster. And a big thank you to Sarah of Pocket Books for sharing the review copy of how it ends with me! Thanks Sarah it was a wonderful book!

P.S. This Book is Kindle Ready!

Check out some of the other blogs hosting Laura Wiess and the how it ends Blog Tour:

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

In Hovering Flight by Joyce Hinnefeld... A Review

In Hovering Flight by Joyce Hinnefeld
The Beauty of Nature is all around us...

Joyce Hinnefeld describes In Hovering Flight as "the story of the struggles and triumphs of bird artist and activist Addie Sturmer Kavanagh, ornithologist and musician Tom Kavanagh, and their daughter, poet Scarlet Kavanagh. It’s a novel about mothers, daughters, and art; about illness, death, and burial; about fragile eco-systems and tenacious human relationships—all explored through characters who are inspired by the lives, and particularly the songs, of birds."

I found In Hovering Flight to be thought provoking and stirring. I started reading it and couldn't put it down until I finished it. It begins with a daughter coming home to say goodbye to her mother dying of cancer. Addie, the mother, a famous bird artist and environmental activist, is surrounded by her best friends from college, Cora & Lou, and her dear husband, Tom. In saying goodbye, we are whisked off to the beginning of Addie and Toms humble beginnings as student and college professor, lovers who are passionate about the natural world around them. We learn of a complicated life, of the strength of friendship and the agony of betrayal and how the sum of everything draws everyone back to Addie in the end. With the gentle remembrances of the people most important to Addie, Addies daughter Scarlet gains a better understanding of her mother and who she really was. On the surface it is a love story of Addie & Tom and Addie's struggles with being activist, mother and wife. But just below the surface it is a beautifully written story of the nature that surrounds us and the gifts that it can give us if we just stand still for a moment and take it all in.... listen to the song of the birds... feel the crush of the grass underneath our feet... Watch the soar of a hawk... and how life is precious for all of nature and we should try and appreciate it all while we can.

Bird lovers will appreciate the poetic voice Joyce Hinnefeld lends to the descriptions of the patient wait in the woods to see a scarlet tanger, a wood thrush or a beautiful cardinal, and the mysterious deciphering of a bird song heard in the distance. I've actually gone to Cape May birding during fall migration and this story captures the wonder of it all...

It's a beautifully written story. One that you may find yourself reading passages from again just to revisit the beauty of nature....

Would you like to read an excerpt? You'll find excerpts HERE . To learn more about Joyce Hinnefeld, please visit the author's website HERE! You'll also find an interview with Joyce there too!

In Hovering Flight will be in bookstores this Tuesday, August 25th! I want to thank Caitlin of Unbridled Books for sharing this book with me! It was a very special read and I enjoyed it very much!

*P.S. This Book is Kindle Ready!

Happy reading...
Suzanne

Monday, August 17, 2009

Giveaway & Review : Up for Renewal by Cathy Alter

Up for Renewal... Opening yourself up for change in the magazine aisle!

Hi Everyone! And the winner is.... Victoria! Congrats! I'll post all the great magazine advice titles everyone came up with soon with a link here so you can read them all! So you'll have to come back to check them all out- they are all GREAT! And a BIG Thank you to EVERYone who joined in on the fun!

Up For Renewal, What magazines taught me about love, sex, and starting over by Cathy Alter. "By age thirty-seven, Cathy Alter had made a mess of her life. With a failed marriage already under her belt, she was continuing down the path of poor decisions, one paved with a steady stream of junk food, unpaid bills, questionable friends, and highly inappropriate men. So she sat down and asked her-self what she truly wanted. A decent guy. A nicer home. More protein. When she took a closer look at her wants, she noticed something that seemed very familiar—with the addition of exclamation points, her list could easily be transformed into the cover lines on every women’s magazine: Find the love you deserve! Paint to the rescue! Eggs-actly perfect meals! ...So Cathy gave over her life to the glossies for the next twelve months, resolving to follow their advice without question. By the end of her subscriptions, she would get rid of upper-arm jiggle, crawl out of debt, host the perfect dinner party, run a mile without puking, engage in better bathtub booty, ask for a raise, and rehaul her apartment."

Up for Renewal was funny & charming! And I really enjoyed it! With Cathy's life so out of control it didn't seem such a stretch to let all the magazines screaming advice on the rack to take over her life, so that's what she did- for one year she followed the advice from these magazines without question and the result was a funny, unbelievably honest look at how she changed her life with the flip of a page.

Each month was a different 'goal'. She started out slow & easy - eating healthier was her first month. She wasn't overweight, but had a lot of bad habits including junk food. So brown bagging it to work would be healthier and save her some money. Real Simple magazine had an tutorial on sandwich wrapping (an actual tutorial!?) and which was the best wrap to use... then she tackles "keep fear from running your life" , fashion month, sex month, cooking month and in the middle of all this change she finds a "healthy" relationship and begins to apply her new found magazine advice to her relationship with Karl - from moving in together to dealing with his mother. Some of her 'experiments' were a riot! And some were very heartwarming. Her sarcasm and wit make for a great story. She is the real "Bridget Jones Diary"!

Along the way, she questioned whether these women's magazines were really designed to make women feel bad about themselves by always making us feel like we'd never have the perfect "_____" (you fill in the blank), but ultimately her verdict was that these magazines "were just the vehicles (ambulances during some months) she took to the road to self-discovery." She, like each of us, is the person who ultimately makes the positive changes in our own life.

It's funny that since I've read this book I really pay attention to all the magazine covers to see what advice they are offering 'this month'... Do you ever buy a magazine for the advice on the cover? When you don't subscribe to a magazine, isn't that the reason why you buy one off the stand- something in that issue is calling your name. Advice, recipes, paint choice it's all there! If you'd like to learn more about Cathy Alters and her book Up for Renewal, check out her Home Page! Would you like to read the first chapter? Here's the Excerpt!

Now about the giveaway! Courtesy of Minjae O., Cathy Alters PR consultant, I had the privilege of receiving a copy of Up for Renewal for review! PLUS, Minjae generously sent me another copy so I could give it away to one of my readers! Since I'm sending it along to one lucky person, I am opening this giveaway up to my international readers too! So if I can mail a book to you thru the post office you are eligible to enter!

To Enter this Giveaway...
*For one entry leave me a comment with your email address!

*For another entry, follow my blog and leave a comment to let me know you just became a follower. (if you already are a follower you will get an extra entry!)

*For another entry Blog or tweet about this giveaway and leave me the link.

*For a bonus entry write your own magazine advice headline and leave it in a comment! (Such as... "Make your skin glow with mayonnaise and water") Remember we're having fun here, don't be shy!

This giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian residents, plus anywhere I can mail a book thru the post office! (No P.O. Boxes, please) Contest ends 11:59 pm EST on Sept. 5th. I'll randomly pick the winner the next day and email that person. Please check your email... winner must reply to me!

Good luck everyone!

*P.S. Not part of the giveaway, but just wanted to let my Kindle readers know, this book is Kindle Ready!
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