Thursday, July 30, 2009

Current Giveaways!!!

Here is just a sample of some giveaways that I found this last week:

Bookin' With Bingo is giving away The Spies of Warsaw by Alan Furst--Contest ends 8/2.

Bookin' With Bingo is giving away Happiness Key by Emilie Richards--Contest ends 8/3.

Passages to the Past is giving away The King's Grace by Anne Easter Smith--Contest ends 8/9.

Diary of an Eccentric is giving away The Spies of Warsaw by Alan Furst--Contest ends 8/9.

Bermudaonion's Weblog is giving away American Lion by Jon Meacham--Contest ends 8/10.

Luxury Reading is giving away The Devil's Company by David Liss--Contest ends 8/14.

Bookin' With Bingo is giving away Benny and Shrimp by Katarina Mazetti--Contest ends 8/15.

Peeking Between the Pages is giving away The Lost Dog by Michelle de Kretser--Contest ends 8/16.

Good luck everyone and thanks to all of these wonderful people for hosting these contests!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Winner of Cutting Loose by Nadine Dajani

And the winner of Cutting Loose by Nadine Dajani is


Congratulations Janel! I will be emailing you shortly to get your mailing information so I can get this book sent out to you right away.

If you happened to miss my review of this fun and carefree book you can still read it here.

Thanks for entering everyone!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Teaser Tuesday-July 28

Check out Teaser Tuesdays from Should Be Reading. TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:

Grab your current read.

Let the book fall open to a random page.

Share with us two “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.

You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!

This week my teaser is from Circle of Friends Book III...James by L. Diane Wolfe:
Once James slipped into a pair of sweats, he did manage to give her a grateful smile.
She had no trouble coaxing him back to bed.

pg. 109

**Please note that this is from an ARC so the final printing may change.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Monday's Movie-The Family Stone

A Novel Menagerie asks us to post about a movie that you watched the week before. We usually watch quite a few movies over the weekend and it is sometimes difficult to only discuss one.

The movie that we watched this weekend that was a pleasant surprise was The Family Stone.

Here are some of the details from the film:

Genre: Comedy

Starring: Sarah Jessica Parker, Claire Danes, Diane Keaton, Luke Wilson, Durmot Mulroney, Rachel McAdams

Runtime: 1 hr, 43 mn

MPAA Rating: PG13

Here is a summary of the movie from the MSN Movie website:
A woman meets her future in-laws and discovers they don't much care for her in this comedy from writer and director Thomas Bezucha. Everett Stone (Dermot Mulroney) is a successful young businessman who is dating Meredith Morton (Sarah Jessica Parker), and has asked her to spend Christmas with his family, with plans to ask his mother Sybil (Diane Keaton) for the titular family wedding band and propose to Meredith on Christmas. Meredith is more than a bit nervous about meeting Everett's folks, and things only get worse when they arrive -- Meredith is by her nature straight-laced and a bit uptight around strangers, while Sybil and family patriarch Kelly (Craig T. Nelson) are free-thinkers who, except for Everett, have raised a family of cheerfully rebellious children, most notably younger daughter Amy (Rachel McAdams), older brother Ben (Luke Wilson), and adopted sibling Thad (Tyrone Giordano, who is both deaf and gay.

Meredith and the Stone family do not get along well at first, especially Sybil, who is appalled at the prospect of Everett giving Meredith the family's heirloom wedding ring; in dire need of moral support, Meredith asks her younger sister, Julie (Claire Danes), to join her for Christmas with the Stones. However, the plan runs into a snag when Everett's head is turned by pretty Julie, and Meredith finds herself on the receiving end of attention from slobby Ben. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

My Movie Thoughts:

This movie was full of actors that I thoroughly enjoy so I can't believe that I waited so long to watch it. Even though this is a Christmas themed movie, I think it can be enjoyed any time of the year. For Christmas, Everett decides to bring his girlfriend Meredith home to meet his family. Unfortunately, everyone in the family seems to dislike Meredith, or is it the fact that they don't think Meredith is the right girl for Everett? It makes for a very uncomfortable holiday get-together, as the only person that Meredith can seem to carry on a normal conversation with is Everett's brother Ben. And how much worse can it possibly get when Meredith finds herself waking up in the bed of her boyfriend's brother? Oh my goodness, this movie had me both laughing and crying. I must admit that I wasn't expecting to enjoy it as much as I did. The twists and turns of the family events were quite predictable, but it was enjoyable all the same. I love movies that focus on family dynamics, and this one did an excellent job of that. Since we also watched Paul Blart Mall Cop this weekend, and I probably laughed more while watching The Family Stone, I can't help but rate this movie 5 out of 5 bags of popcorn!

Giveaway: The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

Well I am so happy to be able to celebrate my 200th post with you all! In honor of this momentous occasion I have decided to have a little giveaway for my lightly read copy of The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. I know that many of you have probably already read this book, but I figure there are a couple left out there that haven't.

Here is a brief summary from Sue Monk Kidd's website:

In this New York Times bestseller, a young girl’s search for the truth about her mother leads her to three beekeeping sisters who take her into their mesmerizing world of bees and honey and of a mysterious Black Madonna. A novel about mothers and daughters and the women in our lives who become our true mothers. A story about the divine power of women and the transforming power of love.

Here's how to enter the giveaway!

To enter this contest you must be 18 or older and live in the US or Canada.

For one entry leave me a comment including your email address below.

For two additional entries, blog about this contest or add the link to your sidebar.

Please include your email so I will have a way to contact you if you win.

You will have until August 14th to enter and I will draw for a winner on August 15th.

Good luck everyone!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Awards Galore!

Well it has definitely been a busy couple of months for me so I do apologize for not recognizing these awards earlier. Even though it takes me awhile to get to posting recognition for these I want to let you know that they really do mean the world to me! It is so fun to go to view your comments and see that you've been given an award! Gee Wiz, it just makes me all tingly inside!

So without further is what I received!

The Literary Blogger Award was given to me by TexasRed Books, Desert Rose Booklogue and Stacy's Bookblog. Thanks so much! Here is what the award signifies:

The Literary Blogger Award acknowledges bloggers who energize & inspire reading by going the extra mile. These amazing bloggers make reading fun & enhance the delight of reading!

I have also been honored by receiving One Lovely Blog Award from Historically Obsessed. Thanks so much for thinking of me Lizzy!

I also received the You Don't Say Award from She Reads and Reads. Avis has an awesome blog and you can't help but leave a comment on one of her posts...check it out!

I recently received the Kreativ Blogger award from Laura's Reviews. I feel very honored to receive this one since I consider myself to be one of the least creative people I know! I am supposed to share seven of my favorite things, so here they are:

My husband
My kids
Movie nights with my family
Lazy days on the lake with friends and family
Bon Jovi
My book club

And now I have received the Queen of all Things Awe-Summm award from A Novel Menagerie. Now that's it, I have finally arrived! This is quite hillarious as I am known as the office 'princess' at my place of employment. Wait until they hear that I have been promoted to a Queen! So now I have to share seven Awe-Summm thing about myself, and I am not really one for tooting my own horn, but I will give it a shot.

1. I'm a good cook-My daughter wanted me to add "when you cook that is." lol
I have definitely come a long way from when all I could manage on the stove was hot dogs and beans!

2. Good listener-When people talk to me I take the time to listen.

3. I'm committed-If I say I will do something for you, I will get it done when I say it will be done. Ok...I have been known to be a day or two late on a book review.

4. Good friend-I am there for my friends in good times and bad.

5. I'm faithful-To God, my family, and my friends.

6. I'm an organizer-I've organized my book club, a birthday club, and several other occasions for my friends and family to get together and have fun.

7. Unselfish-At least my husband says so!

So I want to pass the Queen of All Things Awe-Summm to the following blogs:

Historically Obsessed
Savvy Verse and Wit
Reading Extravaganza
TexasRed Books
A Circle of Books
Peeking Between the Pages
Laura's Reviews

If you aren't familiar with some of these blogs, please check them out. They all have something wonderful and fun to share almost every day. Thanks so much for thinking that I deserve all of these awards...they really mean a lot to me!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday Finds-July 24

Should Be Reading asks you to share what books you discovered this week that interest you!

A couple of books have caught my eye this week. The first one is The Devil's Company by David Liss that I spotted over at A Bookworm's World(you can also enter to win a copy there).

Here is what The Devil's Company is about from David Liss' website:

The year is 1722. Thief-taker, ex-boxer, “ruffian for hire,” and master of disguise, Weaver finds himself caught in a deadly game of cat and mouse, pitted against Jerome Cobb, a wealthy and mysterious schemer who needs Weaver’s strength and guile for his own dark purposes.

Weaver is blackmailed into stealing documents from England’s most heavily guarded estate, the headquarters of the ruthless British East India Company, but the theft of corporate secrets is only the first move in a daring conspiracy within the 18th century’s most powerful corporation. To save his friends and family from Cobb’s reach, Weaver must infiltrate the Company, navigate its warring factions, and uncover a secret plot of corporate rivals, foreign spies and government operatives. With millions of pounds and the security of the nation in the balance, Weaver will find himself in a labyrinth of hidden agendas, daring enemies and unexpected allies.

Another book that I have seen popping up here and there is A Change in Altitude by Anita Shreve. I haven't read any reviews of this one yet, but she is one of my favorite authors so I know that I will want to get my grubby paws on this one. This book was first revealed to me by a couple of Mailbox Monday posts from Diary of an Eccentric and Savvy Verse and Wit. So ladies, I am green with envy over this one!

I had to search pretty hard for a summary of this book, but I finally found one at the UK Division of the Little, Brown Book Group:

Newlyweds Margaret and Patrick set off on a great adventure -- a year living in Kenya in a dizzying and sometimes dangerous city. Shuttling between expat suburbs and squalid shantytowns, Margaret realizes there is a great deal she doesn’t know about the complex culture of her new home, and about her husband.

The newlyweds eagerly take part in a climbing expedition to the summit of Mount Kenya. But during their arduous ascent a horrific accident occurs. In its aftermath, Margaret struggles to understand what happened on the mountain and how it has transformed her and her marriage, perhaps for ever.

When small actions have unintended, catastrophic consequences, where does responsibility lie, and can blame ever truly be laid to rest? With stunning language and striking emotional intensity, A Change in Altitude illuminates the inner landscape of a couple, the irrevocable impact of tragedy and the elusive nature of forgiveness.

Anita Shreve is one of my very favorite authors and you can see a list of her complete works at her website.

So what caught your eye this week?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Current Giveaways!!!

Here are a some giveaways that caught my eye this week:

A Novel Menagerie is giving away the soundrack from My Sister's Keeper--HURRY beacause this contest ends TODAY!

Savvy Verse and Wit is giving away Rubies in the Orchard by Lynda Resnick--Contest ends 7/24.

Pudgy Penguin Perusals is giving away Once Scream Away by Kate Brady--Contest ends 7/28.

Reading Extravaganza is giving away The Divorce Party by Laura Dave--Contest ends 7/31.

Books N' Border Collies is giving away The Blue Notebook by James Levine--Contest ends 7/31.

The Reading Journey is having her first giveaway! You can win either Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner or Mercury in Retrograde by Paula Froelich--Contest ends 8/1.

Drey's Library is giving away Ravens by George Dawes Green--Contest ends 8/5.

Peeking Between the Pages is giving away Holly's Inbox by Bill Surie--Contest ends 8/12.

J.Kaye's Book Blog is giving away The Lost Hours by Karen White--Contest ends 8/29.

And don't forget about my contest for Cutting Loose by Nadine Dajani that ends this weekend, you can enter that one here. You should also check back sometime within the next week because I will have another special surprise as I celebrate my 200th post!

Good luck everyone!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Review: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Here is a summary of Twilight from the Hachette Book Groupwebsite:

Bella Swan's move to Forks, a small, perpetually rainy town in Washington, could have been the most boring move she ever made. But once she meets the mysterious and alluring Edward Cullen, Bella's life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. Up until now, Edward has managed to keep his vampire identity a secret in the small community he lives in, but now nobody is safe, especially Bella, the person Edward holds most dear. Deeply romantic and extraordinarily suspenseful, Twilight captures the struggle between defying our instincts and satisfying our desires. This is a love story with bite.

My Review:

So my first thought is, what could I possibly say about Twilight that hasn't been written by every possible book reviewer out there? I am not going to share a very detailed review with you, as most of you in blogland have already read this book. I am glad that I have finally read this book, so now I know what all of the hoopla is about.

Although this is a story about vampires, I think the general theme of the novel is a forbidden romance. Edward knows that as a vampire he can never have a normal relationship with Bella, knowing that every moment that they are together he is putting her life at risk. Once Edward finally realizes that he loves Bella with all of his vampire heart, he learns to control his natural instincts of wanting to drink the blood that flows through her veins.

After Edward introduces Bella to the rest of his family, they decide to show her some of their recreational activities by taking her to watch them play a baseball game. This turns out to be a game like no other that Bella has ever seen, but unfortunately it also puts her in grave danger. When the "bad" vampires catch the scent that Bella gives off, Edward and his family must do everything within their power to protect her.

As the novel ends Edward is still struggling with the fact that he can never be with Bella the way two partners that are in love usually are. It doesn't help as she continually tempts him by begging him to turn her into a vampire so they can love each other for as long as possible.

Although I did enjoy this story, I think I can honestly say that I didn't love it. Will I read the other books in the series? Probably, but they won't be added to the top of my TBR pile. Stephenie Meyer does weave a good story and you can find out more about the entire Twilight series at her website. I haven't read much young adult fiction so please keep in mind that my rating takes into account that this is from a young adult reading genre.

My Rating: 3/5

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Teaser Tuesday-July 21

Check out Teaser Tuesdays from Should Be Reading. TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:

Grab your current read.

Let the book fall open to a random page.

Share with us two “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.

You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!

I haven't started this book yet, but this weeks teaser is from The Light, The Dark, and Ember Between by J.W. Nicklaus:

"Dad..." I turned toward her voice. "What was the last thing she said to you, I mean, in the last dream?"

pg 16
Please note that this is from an ARC so the finished copy may be different.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Summer Vacation Reading Challenge Completed

Hurray! I completed the Summer Vacation Reading Challenge that is hosted by My Cozy Book Nook. I signed up for the Beach Bum option, which required me to read three books by September 7, 2009, that brought me to locations that I would like to travel to. So here is what I read, and feel free to click on the titles to read my reviews:

1. Cutting Loose by Nadine Dajani, brought me to London and Miami--Completed 6/25/2009

2. Lost and Found by Carolyn Parkhurst, brought me all over the world--Completed 7/8/2009

3. Beach Trip by Cathy Holton, brought me to a little island off the North Carolina coast--Completed 7/10/2009

Even though this challenge is completed I am expecting to hit a couple more destinations before the end of summer. One of them being a relaxing trip to Africa with Alexander McCall Smith...I can't wait until I get there! So is your literature taking you to exciting places this summer?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Book Blogger Appreciation Week!

Since I have started my blog less than a year ago, I continue to be amazed by the sense of community that I find among all of the great book bloggers out there.

I didn't get to participate last year, but the second Book Blogger Appreciation Week will take place from September 14-18, 2009 and it is sponsored by My Friend Amy.

I've heard that last year over 400 blogs came together to celebrate this new event together and this year I am going to be one of them. We have until August 15th to nominate our favorite blogs, so get on over there and check it out!

I hope you all join in the fun!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

My Book Review Policy

If you are an author, publisher, or publicity agent and would like me to review a book for you on Jo-Jo Loves to Read, I would prefer that you read the information that I have provided below for a list of my reading preferences and guidelines. This should help the review process be more enjoyable for you, myself and my readers.

Genres that I enjoy reading include classics, contemporary fiction, literary fiction, historical fiction, women's fiction and multi-cultural fiction.

Other genres that I do not enjoy quite as much, but may consider reviewing include memoirs, young adult, christian fiction, science fiction, mysteries and fantasy.

Genres that I do not enjoy reading and will not review include horror, erotica, graphic, romance novels and non-fiction.

I have acquired a Kindle, so I now have the ability to read a book in that format.  I am technolgically challenged so please be sure to give good instructions if supplying me with an e-book that is not purchased as an Amazon Kindle.

Reviews: My goal is to write honest reviews of the books that I read, so please realize that this does not guarantee a positive review. If I do publish a less than favorable review, I will still try to find several positive aspects of the book. I do not want to insult an author that put his or her hard work into a book that I didn't like, because several others may find the same book very enjoyable. If I dislike a book so much that I feel I would not be able to prepare a fair review for you, I reserve the right to not post a review. If this does happen, I will email you to let you know.

Scheduling: I already have a full-time job and I am not a speed reader by any means. Presently, my review obligations have me busy for the next couple of months but I will work with you to try to post a review that fits into both of our schedules.

Blog Tours and Giveaways: I love participating in blog tours, so if my schedule allows it and your book is of interest to me, please contact me to schedule a tour date. I will also work with you if you are interested in submitting a guest post or having a book giveaway.

I may also have giveaways for review copies or ARC's that I have received. If you prefer that I don't give away one of these books that you have provided me, please let me know.

So if you feel that Jo-Jo Loves to Read is the place to review your book, please email me at joannelong74 AT gmail DOT com.

**In an effort to work on personal projcts, I will not be accepting any book review requests until further notice.**

Updated 5/4/2013

Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday Finds-July 17

Should Be Reading asks you to share what books you discovered this week that interest you!

The book that caught my eye this week was Veiled Freedom by Jeanette Windle that I found over at the Book Movement website.

Here is a summary of the book from Jeanette Windle's website:

Kabul, 2001--American forces have freed Afghanistan from the Taliban. Kites have returned to the skies. Women have removed their burqas. There is dancing in the streets.

Eight years later, Afghanistan is a far cry from those first images of a country freed from Taliban rule. When Special Forces veteran Steve Wilson returns to Kabul as security chief to the Minister of Interior, he is disillusioned with the corruption and violence that has overtaken the country he fought to free. Relief worker Amy Mallory arrives in Afghanistan ready to change the world. She soon discovers that as a Western woman, the challenges are monumental. Afghani native Jamil returns to his homeland seeking work, but a painful past continues to haunt him.

All three search for truth and freedom when a suicide bombing brings them together on Kabul's dusty streets. But what is the true source of freedom--or its cost?

I don't know about you, but this sounds like an amazing novel to me! So did anything catch your eye this week?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Current Giveaways!!!

It just amazes me every week how many giveaway opportunities there are out there in blogland! And it is so gracious of these wonderful bloggers to host these contests. Here are just a few that I have found:

The Eclectic Reader is giving away A Worthy Legacy by Tomi Akinyanmi--Contest ends 7/18.

Bookin' With Bingo is giving away The Devil's Company by David Liss--Contest ends 7/19.

A Sea of Books is giving away Galway Bay by Mary Pat Kelly--Contest ends 7/20.

Beth Fish Reads is giving away The Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand--Contest ends 7/25.

At Home With Books is giving away Saffron Dreams by Shaila Abdullah--Contest ends 7/27.

Peeking Between the Pages is giving away A Worthy Legacy by Tomi Akinyanmi--Contest ends 7/31.

Passages to the Past is giving away The Virgin's Daughters by Jeane Westin--Contest ends 8/3.

Peeking Between the Pages is giving away Song of Renewal by Emily Sue Harvey--Contest ends 8/8.

A Bookworm's World is giving away The Devil's Company by David Liss--Contest ends 8/15.

Good luck everyone!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Review: Beach Trip by Cathy Holton

Here is a summary of Beach Trip from Cathy Holton's website:

A reunion between four friends becomes a cathartic journey into the past in Cathy Holton’s luminous new novel. Mel, Sara, Annie, and Lola have traveled distinct and diverse paths since the early 1980s and their years together at a small Southern liberal arts college. Mel, a mystery writer living in New York, contends with the aftermath of two failed marriages and a stalled writing career. Sara, an Atlanta attorney, struggles with guilt over her son’s illness and her own slowly unraveling marriage. Annie, a successful Nashville businesswoman married to her childhood sweetheart, can’t seem to leave the regrets of her youth behind her. And Lola, sweet-tempered and absent-minded, whiles away her hours and her husband’s money, on little pills that keep her happy.

Now the friends, all in their forties, converge on Lola’s idyllic North Carolina beach house in an attempt to relive the carefree days of their college years. But as the week wears on, and each woman’s hidden story is gradually revealed, they find they must inevitably confront their shared past; a failed love affair, a discarded suitor, a betrayal, and a secret that threatens to change their bond, and their lives, forever.

My Review:

I just love the premise of this story! Four women that were best friends in college decide to enjoy a week long beach vacation together. Wouldn't that just be great to do with some of your closest girlfriends? These women are all in their forties now and even though they have tried to stay in touch for the most part, life seems to have taken them all on different paths. This book alternates very well between the past and the present. You will see little snippets along the way as to why some of these ladies have turned into reserved, nervous, distant, and distrustful people.

Since they graduated from college they haven't really gotten together, so Lola decides that it is time and invites them all to stay at her beach house on a little island just off the North Carolina coast for a week. After college Lola married Briggs Fuhrman and really hasn't pursued any personal interests of her own, so she puts all of her love and energy into raising her son Henry. She finds herself not wanting or needing anything at all, but also trying to keep a very demanding and possessive husband at bay.

Sara and Mel were best friends since they were young girls as they grew up in the same town together. Sara's family had a rough time of it, where as Mel had lived a very privileged life and really didn't have to work hard for anything. Their relationship is put to the ultimate test when they both fall for the same young man in college. Mel realizes that she doesn't ever want to focus on a relationship, so she flees her one love and her best friends to move to New York after college graduation to start a new and exciting life as a writer. The following is an excerpt from page 129 that I enjoyed that describes how Mel was pondering the loneliness that Lola must have been feeling:

It occurred suddenly to Mel that Lola was lonely. And Mel knew a thing or two about loneliness, although with her it was a condition she had chosen. Her career as a writer made a solitary life necessary but it was a choice she'd never really regretted. Well, most of the time, anyway. But with Lola the loneliness was forced, and that was different. Briggs had his money, Mel had her writing, Sara and Annie had their own families, but all Lola had ever had was Henry. And now Henry had found someone else.

Annie is an interesting character as she is probably considered the mirror of perfection to all of her friends. She was always known for her schedules running like clockwork and her meticulous house cleaning skills. When Annie went to college, she left her high school sweetheart at home, but eventually marries him after her graduation. Annie's secret life from her college days is revealed throughout the novel, and she finds herself needing to pour out her feelings to her friends to come to terms with the mistakes that she made.

When the trip started these ladies were very reserved and seemed to be hiding their deepest fears from each other. But by their final evening together they were able to share their secrets and offer the love and support to one another that has been missing for way too long. This was such a great novel that delved into the themes of friendship, love and forgiveness. I think it will make a great beach read as it will probably make you laugh and cry. You may want to call up that friend that you haven't talk to in the last five years just to catch up. This book will make you realize that good friends are worth the heartache and they don't come a dime a dozen.

I want to give a special thank you to Caitlin from Ballentine Books for providing me with this review copy. In the genre of women's fiction I definitely recommend this novel and give it a high rating.

My Rating: 5/5

Wondrous Words Wednesday-July 15

Bermudaonion asks you to share new words that you have learned during your reading adventures in the last week. Feel free to join in the fun!

Here is a new word that I learned this week while reading Twilight by Stephanie Meyer:

Misogynistic:(mĭ-sŏj'ə-nĭs'tĭk) Of or characterized by a hatred of women.

Here is how misogynistic was used on page 143:
"Whether Shakespeare's treatment of the female characters is misogynistic."

So did you learn any new words this week?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Teaser Tuesday-July 14

Check out Teaser Tuesdays from Should Be Reading. TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:

Grab your current read.

Let the book fall open to a random page.

Share with us two “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.

You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!

This week my teaser is from Twilight by Stephanie Meyer:

"And as for her other question...well, I'll be listening to hear the answer to that one myself." One side of his mouth pulled up into my favorite uneven smile.

pg. 201

Monday, July 13, 2009

Monday's Movie-The Haunting in Conneticut

A Novel Menagerie asks us to post about a movie that you watched the week before. We usually watch quite a few movies over the weekend and it is sometimes difficult to only discuss one.

I just love a good scary movie and one that we enjoyed this weekend was The Haunting in Conneticut.

Here are some of the details from the film:

Genre: Horror, Action

Starring: Virginia Madsen, Martin Donovan

Runtime: 1 hr, 32 mn

MPAA Rating: PG13

Here is a summary of The Haunting in Conneticut from the MSN Movie website:

Inspired by the frightening true-life tale of a family that moved into a converted funeral home and subsequently fell under supernatural attack, director Peter Cornwell's The Haunting in Connecticut follows the quest of a desperate mother to free her family from the grip of an evil beyond human comprehension. Sara (Virginia Madsen) and Peter Campbell (Martin Donovan) have just moved to Connecticut with their young son, Matt, when the young boy experiences a series of disturbing events that lead him to believe a malevolent force is attempting to take control of his family. Back when the home was still a funeral parlor, the original owner's clairvoyant assistant, Jonah, served as a gateway for restless spirits seeking to cross over into the physical realm. When Jonah returns to unleash a new kind of horror on the innocent family, Sara enlists the aid of enigmatic priest Popescu (Elias Koteas) in driving the evil out before it consumes her son's body and soul. At first it appears that Popescu has been successful in driving the spirits away, but then the terror becomes more intense than ever before. ~ Jason Buchanan, All Movie Guide

My Movie Thoughts:

I was just saying within the last week that it is hard to find a good scary movie that isn't actually a slasher film. This is one of the better horror movies that I have seen lately, but I have noticed some reviews of this movie that indicated that people were left disappointed because it was so different from the original story. I guess the thing to keep in mind is that like other movies that are based on a true story, that is just what it is--BASED on a true story. The Campbell family has a teenage son Matt, that is battling cancer. In an attempt to make the commute to the hospital easier, they rent a home that is closer for Matt. Little did they know that this home was not only originally used as a funeral parlor, but also for someone to practice his clairvoyant gifts. Unfortunately, the spirits try to take over the home once again, until the family finds a way to stop what is happening. I enjoyed this story and it really had a good element of surprise, as I probably even screamed once or twice. As I already indicated, there are differences from the original story but I think that is to be expected. I am going to rate this one 4 out of 5 bags of popcorn.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Audiobook Review: Lost and Found by Carolyn Parkhurst

Here is a summary of Lost and Found from Carolyn Parkhurst's website:

What do a suburban mom and her troubled daughter, two recently divorced brothers, a pair of former child stars, born-again Christian newlyweds, and a couple of young millionaires have in common? They have all been selected to compete on Lost and Found, a daring new reality TV show. In teams of two, they will scour the globe - from Egypt to Japan, from Sweden to England - to battle for a million-dollar prize. They must decipher encrypted clues, recover mysterious artifacts, and outwit their opponents to stay in play.

What starts as a lark turns deadly serious as the number of players is whittled down, temptations beckon, and the bonds between partners strain and unravel. Before long the question is not only who will capture the final prize, but at what cost.

My Review:

I do believe that if you enjoy reality television shows that you will probably like this novel. The only reality shows that I really watch are Survivor and The Apprentice, but I loved this book. Even though this novel is centered around a reality show, that the winner happens to win a million dollars, it is more about the secrets and inner fears that are revealed by the characters that are playing the game. You find yourself getting to know these contestants quite well, as the alternating chapters are written in first person of the different contestants.

The book opens with Laura and Cassie, a mother and daughter team straining to keep their relationship intact. Laura is awakened in the middle of the night by her daughter Cassie to inform her that she has just given birth to a little girl. Cassie is still in high school, so you can only imagine how confused Laura was to learn that her daughter who lives in her own home was not only pregnant but just gave birth to a baby! So when Laura realized that the reality show Lost and Found was looking for contestants she thought it would be a great opportunity for the two of them to build their relationship as they see the world.

Justin and Abby were another interesting team that participated in the game. Justin and Abby are a married couple that happened to meet at a church that helps to rehabilitate homosexuals and help them live a straight life. When they met, Justin and Abby were both homosexuals but they figured they could get married and live a normal life with the help and support of each other and their church. Quite often, Abby would share her feelings with Justin when she would feel that her homosexual tendencies were about to get the best of her. Little did she know that her strong and supportive husband was struggling with his own faith and beliefs.

Carl and Jeff are a team of brothers that are competing for the grand prize. They are both recently divorced but Carl also has some pretty serious issues that are weighing him down. Later in the game the teams get switched around a little bit and you really see a different side of Carl that is quite appealing. As he shares some of his personal problems with a new team mate a new relationship is blooming.

And then we have Juliette and Dallas, who were a couple of former child-stars looking for a way to try to get in the spotlight again. It is just amazing the lengths that some people will go to just to get a little media coverage. There are many other contestants in the beginning of the novel, but as more tasks are completed, more teams are voted off.

It seems that Lost and Found is very comparable to The Amazing Race reality show, although I haven't watched this one myself. The teams are given clues and they find themselves spanning the globe with a Network credit card to get to the next location to find the answer. Through this journey, some of the contestants lives unravel and spin out of control, while others find peace and enjoyment out of the whole charade.

Like I said earlier, if you enjoy reality shows you will probably enjoy this one. The story kept my attention and I didn't find my mind wandering. Even though the chapters changed depending upon which character was narrating, it was quite easy to follow along. I just loved this one as an audiobook!

My Rating: 5/5

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Current Giveaways!!!

The hot book giveaway this week is for The Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand that you can find at the following blogs:

BermudaOnion --Contest ends 7/15.
Jenn's Bookshelf--Contest ends 7/17.
Booking Mama--Contest ends 7/20.
Drey's Library--Contest ends 7/21.
Peeking Between the Pages --Contest ends 7/28.

And here are a couple of other contests that you can enter:

Stacy's Bookblog is giving away The Triumph of Deborah by Eva Etzioni-Halevy--Contest ends 7/10.

A Novel Menagerie is giving away Easy on the Eyes by Jane Porter--Contest ends 7/15.

Chocolate and Croissants is giving away Off Season by Anne Rivers Siddons--Contest ends 7/22.

Peeking Between the Pages is giving away The Local News by Miriam Gershow--Contest ends 7/31.

And then don't forget about my giveaway for Cutting Loose by Nadine Dajani--Contest ends 7/25.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wondrous Words Wednesday-July 8

Bermudaonion asks you to share new words that you have learned during your reading adventures in the last week. Feel free to join in the fun!

Here are a few new words that I learned as I was reading Beach Trip by Cathy Holton:

Psilocybin: (sĭl'ə-sī'bĭn,) A hallucinogenic compound obtained from certain mushrooms.

Here is how psilocybin was used on page 97:
She had once written a college paper on the Mazatec people in Mexico and their use of the hallucinogenic psilocybin mushrooms in religious rituals.

Masochistic: (mās'ə-kĭz'əm) The deriving of pleasure, or the tendency to derive pleasure, from being humiliated or mistreated, either by another or by oneself.

Here is how masochistic was used on page 126:
She'd take Brigg's side like she'd always done, like she'd taken the side of the masochistic Charlotte Hampton all those years ago.

So have you learned any new words in your reading adventures this last week?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Teaser Tuesday-July 7

Check out Teaser Tuesdays from Should Be Reading. TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:

Grab your current read.

Let the book fall open to a random page.

Share with us two “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.

You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!

My teaser is from Beach Trip by Cathy Holton:

She had come home expecting to do battle with the bully of her youth, and instead she found a doddering old man. Leland, the rogue tyrant, had disappeared and in his place was a thin, frail creature, a wispy little gnome of a man who looked like he might blow away in a heavy breeze.

pg 298

Friday, July 3, 2009

Friday Finds-July 3

Should Be Reading asks you to share what books you discovered this week that interest you!

The book that caught my eye this week was Labor Day by Joyce Maynard that I found over at Bibliophile by the Sea. Although I do hate to even bring up the subject of Labor Day when it seems like summer is just beginning, it sounds like a great story.

Here is a summary of Labor Day from Joyce Maynard's website:

With the end of summer closing in and a steamy Labor Day weekend looming in the town of Holton Mills, New Hampshire, thirteen-year-old Henry -- lonely, friendless, not too good at sports -- spends most of his time watching television, reading, and daydreaming about the soft skin and budding bodies of his female classmates. For company Henry has his long-divorced mother, Adele -- a onetime dancer whose summer project was to teach him how to foxtrot; his hamster, Joe; and awkward Saturday-night outings to Friendly's with his estranged father and new stepfamily. As much as he tries, Henry knows that even with his jokes and his "Husband for a Day" coupon, he still can't make his emotionally fragile mother happy. Adele has a secret that makes it hard for her to leave their house, and seems to possess an irreparably broken heart.

But all that changes on the Thursday before Labor Day, when a mysterious bleeding man named Frank approaches Henry and asks for a hand. Over the next five days, Henry will learn some of life's most valuable lessons: how to throw a baseball, the secret to perfect piecrust, the breathless pain of jealousy, the power of betrayal, and the importance of putting others -- especially those we love -- above ourselves. And the knowledge that real love is worth waiting for.

So did you find anything new this week?

Current Giveaways!!!

Here are a few giveaways that I wanted to share with all of you this week:

Chocolate and Croissants is giving away The Night Gardener by George Pelecanos--Contest ends 7/13.

Passages to the Past is giving away Sacred Hearts by Sarah Dunant--Contest ends 7/13.

Chocolate and Croissants is giving away I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti by Giulia Melucci--Contest ends 7/15.

Redlady's Reading Room is giving away The Local News by Miriam Gershow--Contest ends 7/16.

A Bookworm's World is giving away Sunnyside Blues by Mary Carter--Contest ends 7/18.

Peeking Between the Pages is giving away an audiobook of Any Minute by Joyce Meyer and Deborah Bedford--Contest ends 7/19.

Alaine-Queen of Happy Endings is giving away Cleopatra's Daughtter by Michelle Moran or Blood Promise by Richelle Mead--Contest ends 7/31.

And last but not least, don't forget about my contest for Cutting Loose by Nadine Dajani that ends on 7/25. You can enter that one here.

Well that is all that I have for this week so good luck everyone. I hope you all have a happy and safe 4th of July weekend!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Giveaway: Cutting Loose by Nadine Dajani

Nadine Dajani has been generous enough to offer a copy of her fun and colorful novel Cutting Loose to one of my readers! If you missed my review you can see it here. Nadine also has a wonderful website that gives information about her first novel and a little hint at what she is working on now.

Here's how to enter the giveaway!

To enter this contest you must be 18 or older and live in the US or Canada.
For one entry leave me a comment below.
For two additional entries, blog about this contest or add the link to your sidebar.
Please include your email so I will have a way to contact you if you win.

You will have until July 25th to enter and I will draw for a winner on July 26th.

Good luck everyone!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Review: Cutting Loose by Nadine Dajani

Here is a summary of Cutting Loose from Nadine Dajani's website:

Meet three women who are as different as could be—at least that’s what they think—and the men who’ve turned their lives upside down as their paths collide in sizzling, sexy Miami. . . .

Ranya is a modern-day princess—brought up behind the gilded walls of Saudi Arabian high society and winner of the dream husband sweepstakes . . . until said husband turns out to be more interested in Paolo, the interior-decorator-cum-underwear-model, than in his virginal new wife.

Smart, independent, but painfully shy, Zahra has managed to escape her impoverished Palestinian roots to carve out a life of comfort. But she can’t reveal her secrets to the man she adores or shake off the fear that she doesn’t deserve any of it. Neither can she stop herself from thinking that if she holds on to anything—or anyone—too dearly, they will be taken away in the blink of a kohl-lined eye.

Rio has risen above the slums of her native Honduras—not to mention the jeers of her none too supportive family—to become editor in chief of Suéltate magazine, the hottest Latina-targeted glossy in town, and this in spite of Georges Mallouk, her clueless boss, and in spite of Rio’s affair with Georges’ delicious but despicable younger brother, Joe.

In this city of fast cars, sleek clubs, and unapologetic superficiality, Ranya, Zahra, and Rio wrestle with the ties that bind them to their difficult pasts, each wondering if she will ever manage to cut loose.

My Review:

I think that the title of this book, Cutting Loose, was very appropriate as the story seemed very easy and carefree. This was a fast read but it was also very fun and refreshing to be immersed into the Miami clubs and social society. The story deals with three women all with different problems and at various points in their lives. Ranya is the pampered Arabian socialite, Rio the tough Latina magazine editor that worked hard to get to where she is today, and the talented Palestinian Zahra, who is very talented but can't seem to let go of her past mistakes.

The story opens with Ranya in London, who recently left her newly married husband because she learned that he was gay. Ranya came from a well-off family and her husband was prepared to offer her the same luxurious lifestyle. When she informs her family that she will not be returning to her husband they cut her off financially, leaving her to figure out how she will survive without their support.

As Ranya spends time in London she runs into the handsome Georges a couple of times and although she is married, there is an attraction between the two of them. Georges is an entrepreneur and has various businesses in the works and is always accompanied by Zahra, who heads his financial team. Ranya cannot figure out why Zahra seems to instantly dislike her since they hardly know each other, but this comes to light soon enough in the novel.

When Georges and Zahra complete their business in London, they return to the main office in Miami, Florida. This is where Rio enters the novel. Rio is the editor and chief of the Sueltate magazine that Georges owns. Rio works very hard at her job and she is good at it, and it also helps that she is having a passionate affair with her bosses playboy brother Joe. Rio may be tough on the outside, but there was a part on page 194 that revealed Rio's raw emotions as she was always trying to stay on top of her game:

I shake--with what? Rage? Fear? The contained fury of impotence? I don't know. It's all too much. Sometimes I just want to bury my head in my hands and cry at the hopelessness of it all. Then, a second or three later, I'm over it. Moving on with my life.

Ranya doesn't know where to turn for help so she finds herself at the door of the Sueltate magazine. Georges wants to help her and keep her around as long as possible so he asks Zahra if Ranya could stay with her and offers her a job at the magazine. Rio finds herself quite upset with the hiring of this new employee without any experience and struggles to think of projects to keep Ranya busy.

As the story goes on, all of these women find themselves dealing with new emotions that come into play with the changes that are thrown at them. You could definitely tell how their ethnic backgrounds influenced decisions that were made by these women. This is a fast paced story that will make a great beach read, as you are visualizing life in the fast lane in Miami. Nadine seems like such a fascinating and down-to-earth lady, she even sent me a hand written Thank You card for reviewing her book. Now this was sent from Grand Cayman, and I'm sure there are better things to do down there than send out Thank You cards! Thanks so much for giving me the opportunity to review this book for you Nadine!

If you want to find out more about Nadine Dajani and her novels there is a great author interview over at Bookends. Nadine also has a very informative website here. So if you are ready to Cut Loose for the summer pick up her book-it's an enjoyable retreat from life. Stop back here in the next day or so if you are interested in winning a copy for yourself.