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10/31/12

Review & Giveaway MOMNESIA by Lori Verni-Fogarsi WIN $100 AMAZON GC


Book Description

March 16, 2012

FROM THE BACK COVER:
She's smart, pretty, and runs her own business. So then why does she feel so dead inside? Between work, two kids, and a husband who finds her about as exciting as furniture shopping, this is the story of a (formerly-exciting but now way-too-typical) suburban mom who diagnoses herself with "Momnesia" and sets about finessing a new version of her old vivaciousness:

MOMNESIA (mahm-nee-zhuh) -noun-
Loss of the memory of who you used to be. Caused by pregnancy, play dates, and trying to keep the house cleaner than the Joneses.

She finds some adventure pursuing her own interests, and does make some new friends (including the battery operated variety), but still feels like nothing more than a caretaker.

In between dealing with her husband's manic-depressive behavior, drama with her friends, and some naughty Internet escapades, she keeps facing the question, "Is it that I haven't been myself? Or is it that I am being myself but just different than I used to be?" It isn't until she tosses the Invisible Rule Book altogether that she discovers life--and love--have more to offer than she ever imagined!





About the Author
Lori Verni-Fogarsi has been a freelance writer, journalist, columnist, and seminar speaker for more than fifteen years. Momnesia is her first novel and she is also the author of the nonfiction book,Everything You Need to Know About House Training Puppies and Adult Dogs.She is a happily married mom of two, step mom of two more, and has two cats, both rotten. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, boating, napping, attending her childrens' activities, and traveling with her husband.
Verni-Fogarsi divides her time between Raleigh, NC, and Lake Gaston, VA, where she is hard at work on her next novel.

SOURCE:  AUTHOR

MY THOUGHTS
REALLY LIKED IT

When I first started reading this book, I didn't realize it was fiction.  It read just like a memoir and I enjoyed it a lot. It centers around a Mom that is at her wits end, realizing that no matter how successful she is as a mother and business owner, her husband just doesn't "get" her nor does he want to interact with her at all.  I could feel her frustration and anger at the whole situation.  In her case, divorce was by far the best answer, but I really wondered why she married this guy in the first place.  


The story dips and twirls as she reenters the dating scene and having sex again.  Her kids are rarely mentioned except to say they adjusted to everything just fine.  I guess when the guy you are married to doesn't want to discuss any major issues, he is pretty much "not there".  The "mom" is the main character and told in first person and while it bugged me a bit that I didn't know her name until the very last page, it was still a fun read.  I wanted to warn Mom that once she hits 50, she will have a totally worse case of Momnesia than she could ever possibly imagine.  





WANT TO WIN THIS  BOOK?

Contest is open to anyone over 13 years old with a US mailing address 
Contest ends on 12.15.12 Winner will be chosen by Random.org 
Winner will have 48 hours to respond to email or a new winner will be chosen.
Duplicate entries will be deleted.  Void where prohibited.
This giveaway is sponsored by me and ONE book is available.

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My secret Treasure Hunt word is DOGMOTHER 


Dystopian Giveaway Hop WIN CREWEL by GENNIFER ALBIN





Welcome to the DYSTOPIAN Giveaway Hop! 

This hop is hosted by: 
I Am a Reader, Not a Writer (HERE
My Shelf Confessions (HERE)


There are over one hundred blogs participating and each has their own entry rules and geographic limits, so be sure to read the rules for each one.  This hop starts November 1st and and ends on November 7th,  midnight. 


HERE IS WHAT I HAVE FOR ONE LUCKY WINNER:

+ a really cool band bracelet!




WANT TO WIN THIS arc  BOOK?

Contest is open to anyone over 13 years old with a reliable mailing address within the free shipping areas of The Book Depository.
Contest ends on 11.7.12 Winner will be chosen by Random.org 
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Waiting on Wednesday LAST GIRLFRIEND ON EARTH by SIMON RICH @LittleBrown




"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:


Book Description

January 22, 2013
 In "Center of the Universe," God struggles to balance the demands of his career with the needs of his long-term girlfriend. In "Magical Mr. Goat," a young girl's imaginary friend yearns to become "more than friends." In "Unprotected," an unused prophylactic recalls his years spent trapped inside a teen boy's wallet. The stories in Simon Rich's new book are bizarre, funny, and yet...relatable. Rich explores love's many complications-losing it, finding it, breaking it, and making it-and turns the ordinary into the absurd. With razor-sharp humor and illustrations, and just in time for Valentine's Day, Rich takes readers for an exhilarating, hilarious ride on the rollercoaster of love.

About the Author

Simon Rich is a graduate of Harvard University. He has written for The New Yorker and was the youngest staff writer at "Saturday Night Live." He is the author of Ant Farm, Free Range Chickens, Elliot Allagash, and What in God's Name, and he has written scripts for Lorne Michaels and Judd Apatow. He currently writes for Pixar. 

  Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books (January 22, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316219398
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316219396

10/30/12

Book Trailer Tuesday THE SHORTEST WAY HOME by JULIETTE FAY @PenguinUSA


Giveaway MARK TUFO'S HAUNTED BLOG TOUR






Hello fellow ghosts and ghoul hunters! Welcome to Mark Tufo’s Haunted Blog Tour. The Haunted Blog Tour will be a ten day chill fest that will take you from one Haunted Blog to another! Today is the ninth day of our Haunted Blog Tour...and it looks like it is coming to a close. Our host for this adventure, THE SPIRIT CLEARING’s Michael Talbot is currently guiding a very scared group of people through a very haunted penitentiary. Read his adventure and don’t forget to enter the giveaways. Along the Haunted Blog Tour you will have a chance to win Michael’s twisted story along with some other very exciting prizes (don’t get too excited it is only - over $200 in awesome prizes)! But, let’s get back to Michael Talbot...maybe now they’ve found the exit...




 “What if they need help?” Alan asked.
“Altruism is greatly over-rated.” I told him.
The door silently swung open, which was strange in itself because it had moderately squealed when we got Derek out. A bone white arm shot out.
“Oh shit!” I said startled.
“What?” Jed asked.
“Really?” I asked Jed. “You don’t see that?”
“I see the door opening.” He said staring hard at the door.
The arm moved further out. The top of the hooded girls head poked out.
“Nobody sees this?” I entreated to the crowd.
“Same as Jed.” Trip S said, just an open door, probably wasn’t shut all the way or it was busted.
Hoodie girl had pulled herself half way out when she finally looked up. That was at the point I guess I had gone insane, she had no face, no eyes, no ears, no mouth and no damn nose. It was as flat and smooth as if someone had taken a belt sander to her features and erased them from her countenance.
“Jed point the friggen way man, we gotta go!” I yanked him and put him in front.
He couldn’t see what I did, but he could pick up on my terror easy enough considering it was coming off me in sheets.
We were out of the morgue proper when I heard something wet plop down against those cold ceramic tiles behind us.
It was a good hundred feet as we raced (okay shuffled fast) to the exit. It was difficult traversing the hazards strewn throughout the hallways.
“Something’s coming.” Peter said.
“Can you see it?” I asked not daring to turn around and impale myself on some exposed rebar.
“No but I can hear it.” Fear was finally creeping into his voice.
Then came a blood-curdling scream (and it wasn’t from me). I turned so had Jed, somehow he had got the light back and was quick enough to catch Trip S being hurled against the wall. His head slammed off the concrete and shattered much like a melon would under Gallagher’s mallet (hope that reference isn’t too old - look it up on youtube). Blood cascaded down all around us.
“RUN!” I yelled stooping to grab something, anything, ended up with an old walker, not a very formidable weapon when dealing with specters.  It was too late for Trip S, parts of him were dripping down the wall.  He would never shop the boy’s department for clothing again. We were within 20 feet of the exit and the thing behind us still hadn’t shown itself but it was gaining.   Unfortunately I couldn’t see it.
Jed’s light was bobbing up ahead as he made great time, something snapped in half not a stride from me, I turned wanting to face my demise instead of being shredded from behind. I figured I could delay it just long enough for the rest of the group to get free.  I was slightly dismayed that Goth couldn’t share this moment with me but can’t have everything I suppose. I swung my aluminum walker not hitting anything.  It did however make a cool whooshing sound as its sliced through the air.
In my peripheral vision I realized that the flashlight was not moving anymore, I turned as much as I dared to see what was keeping us from our forward momentum, I nearly dropped my weapon of mass destruction. The flashlight was on the ground spinning and the group was gone.
“What?” I asked trying to figure out what had happened.
The light came to rest pointing back the way we had come.  Faceless was staring back at me, no more than a foot away. I’m sorry, I’m a big bad ass former Marine but I was screaming like a little girl those last ten feet as I pushed through the exit door.
I ran ten more feet before the biggest blackest bestest friend in the whole world grabbed me.
“Whoa Talbot man you alright?”
“BT, BT is that really you?” I asked reaching up and touching his face.
“You gonna be taking me to dinner now?”
“It is you.” I said hugging the giant.
“What the hell is going on here? I got your text, so I called your wife. Tracy said you left some cryptic message about leading some group down here on a tour.”
“Yeah, yeah, I’ll explain maybe let’s just get a little further away from this place first.” I told him.  It looked like the door might be opening up ever so slightly.
“Yeah but Talbot, your missus she checked the name of the paranormal group you said you were leading there’s no such group. And certainly not walking through Eastern State Penitentiary, it’s condemned, no one is allowed in there anymore.”
“Wait....what? So I’m not getting my two hundred and fifty bucks?” I asked him.
“I don’t think you’re getting it man, there’s no paranormal group and certainly no tour.”
“BT I just spent the last hour or so in that effen place, I can assure you there was both.”
“Talbot I’ve been trying to find you for 24 hours, Tracy most likely has the National Guard on the way.
“I’d rather have Marines.”
“Are you alright, my friend?” BT asked stooping down to look carefully into my eyes.
“I don’t think I’ll ever be alright BT.” I told him as we walked away from my latest waking nightmare.




ABOUT THE BOOK
Title: THE SPIRIT CLEARING
After a horrific accident Mike wakes to find himself blind in one eye. He now sees things that others can’t and nobody will listen to him.
That is until he meets Jandilyn Hollow. Will she be able to pull him out of the depths of his despair?
Can love transcend even death?


About The Author
Mark Tufo is the author of several books, including Indian Hill, Indian Hill 2: Reckoning, and Timothy. A graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, he is a former member of the U.S. Marine Corp. Mark lives in Maine with his wife, three kids and two English bulldogs.  You can find Mark at www.marktufo.com or on Facebook.



(The Following will be chosen through the Rafflecopter Widget)
Grand Prize (Tour Prize)
$50 Amazon Gift Card & The Zombie Fallout Audio Book Set
1st Prize (Tour Prize)
The ZOMBIE FALLOUT series on eBook



YOU CAN WIN A COPY OF THE SPIRIT CLEARING by Mark Tufo,  
BY COMMENTING ON THIS POST 
AND ANOTHER ENTRY BY ANSWERING THIS QUESTION:

What military branch did Talbot serve?
a Rafflecopter giveaway





For more entry chances, check out these other stops on the tour!
              10/22 Book Me!
              10/23 Bending The Spine
              10/24 Librarian Mouse
              10/25 Booked & Loaded
              10/26 BookSpark
              10/27 Romancing the Darkside
              10/28 Books Are Magic
              10/29 The Happy Booker
              10/30 BookHounds
              10/31 Unabridged Bookshelf

10/29/12

Giveaway & Review THE SHORTEST WAY HOME by JULIETTE FAY @juliettefay @penguinusa


Book Description

October 30, 2012

A NOVEL FULL OF HUMOR AND HOPE FOR FINDING YOURSELF WHERE YOU LEAST EXPECTED

Sean has spent twenty years in Third World war zones and natural disaster areas, fully embracing what he’d always felt was his life’s mission. But when burnout sets in, Sean is reluctantly drawn home to Belham, Massachusetts, the setting of Fay’s much-loved Shelter Me. There, he discovers that his steely aunt, overly dramatic sister, and quirky nephew are having a little natural disaster of their own. When he reconnects with a woman from his past, Sean has to wonder if the bonds of love and loyalty might just rewrite his destiny. Completely relatable, The Shortest Way Home is another perfect serving of a slice of life from the irresistible Fay.



Details

  • Reading level: Ages 18 and up
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (October 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014312191X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143121916

About the Author
Juliette Fay’s first novel, Shelter Me, was a 2009 Massachusetts Book Award Book of the Year. Her second novel, Deep Down True, was short-listed for the Women’s Fiction Award by the American Library Association. She received a bachelor’s degree from Boston College and a master’s degree from Harvard University. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and four children.The Shortest Way Home is her third novel.

SOURCE:  PUBLISHER

MY THOUGHTS
LOVED IT
Sean's mother died young of Huntington's Disease, something he has a 50-50 chance of inheriting.  As a nurse who has devoted his life to helping those in need in the most desperate of areas, he is now burned out and heading home, something he has avoided through his good deeds. When he arrives there, he realizes that his aunt Vivian might have dementia or Alzheimers while his sister, Deidre, is clueless while she tries to be an actress.  His nephew, Kevin, has his own issues, mainly he is raising himself because his mother is so self-absorbed.  As Sean connects more with Kevin, a friend points out that his nephew may be suffering from a disease himself, possibly a sensory processes disorder.  Sean promises to himself that he will only stay until he gets his family in order.  

Although, Sean is now at age where he may have dodged the Huntington bullet, he wonders if he has been running away from life itself.  Of course, there is a slight detour in his plans as he reconnects with a girl from high school, so a bit of romance is in play here.  I really enjoyed the way the medical information was worked into the story, full of interesting details that added to the story, rather than detract.  Even with the seriousness of the topic, Fay reveals a good amount of humor for this subject. If you read Shelter Me, a few of the characters are roaming around this one as well and you get a few updates on their statuses.  I really enjoy Fay's style of writing, full of things that make you feel good after reading them.




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10/27/12

A CONVERSATION WITH MARISOL MURANO Author of Valentina Goldman’s Immaculate Confusion



A CONVERSATION WITH MARISOL MURANO
Author of Valentina Goldman’s Immaculate Confusion




About the book:
Set against the backdrop of contemporary Venezuela and the United States, Valentina Goldman’s Immaculate Confusion explores issues of identity, clashes and reconciliations universal to us all. The novel is an eccentric and witty exploration of the immigrant life in the United States.


Q What is Valentina Goldman’s Immaculate Confusion about?
Speaking broadly, this is a humorous story about the life of a sassy Latina in the United States. More specifically the book explores issues of identity, of what it means to straddle two cultures while trying to figure out where home is. Like so many of us, Valentina ends up getting a life she never imagined.

Q What is Valentina confused about?

For starters, Valentina is desperate to assimilate, to blend in. But given how opinionated and eccentric she is, this is next to impossible. In the process of trying to adapt to her adopted country she does crazy things: getting blue contact lenses, then green, dying her hair, changing her name, moving, changing jobs, changing careers. In fact, her favorite saying is: “The secret to happiness is to keep moving.” But while she’s bent on hiding her plight with humor, deep down, Valentina feels like a fugitive on the run. She has no idea where she belongs.

Q In her offbeat way, Valentina paints us a picture of both: her life in the States and in her native Venezuela, complete with details of the whacky lives of the family she left behind. There are roosters involved, eight uncles, mistresses, bows and arrows and a hamster who commits suicide. Do any of her experiences mirror your own life?
When my first book came out people asked me if that was my life. Now you’re asking me the same question. (Laughs).

I think all the stories we tell are like reflections -- angles that shed light on some part of us. I say reflections because they are not the reality itself. For instance, Valentina can’t cook to save her life, whereas I am a chef by training. In order to buck the stereotype that all Latinas have abuelitas who taught them to how to cook, I made Valentina’s first husband -- Jean-Pierre -- the food connoisseur instead. I have worked with many great French chefs and I speak French, so the character of Jean-Pierre came practically fully formed.
 
I think good fiction cannot be a copy of reality, but rather a sharp observation of reality which you then mold in the service of telling a memorable story.
Q Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
Not at all. As a child, I dreamt of being a painter. My high school notebooks are full of renderings of various objects and cartoon characters. The year I turned twelve, my art teacher called my parents to tell them they should not encourage me to pursue painting. As proof, he showed them my oil painting of a seagull which was too large for the rest of the scene, and told them I had no perspective. Almost overnight my parents enrolled me in piano lessons, which I hated.

I don’t know if my decision later in life to pursue an MBA had anything to do with my oversized seagull being rejected. But that’s what I did. After my MBA, I went to work for Citibank in New York. But whenever I went inside the bank building I would stare at all the art on the walls. To this day, if I see art on a wall, any wall, I walk up to it. In fact, one of my favorite scenes in Valentina Goldman takes place at MoMA when she believes she looks like Jackie Kennedy and goes there for an audition.

Q Your first novel, The Lady, The Chef, and The Courtesan, was received to wide acclaim. Where you surprised at how successful it became? How did your life change after that?
The short answer is that my hands and mind became paralyzed. Odd as this might seem, good reviews can be crippling. As the days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months I realized that I was terrified of putting another word to paper. I was so unnerved by the expectations of the second novel that I enrolled in writers’ workshops and attended writers’ conferences.
Most unsettling of all were the constant requests for interviews, talks and public appearances. I have always been a very private person. I remember this particular television interview in L.A. where two reporters from Univision were asking me questions at the same time. I couldn’t even keep up with the answers I was giving them. I was going back and forth from Spanish to English, not knowing if I was making any sense. Afterwards, I felt like a clown. I went back to my hotel and cried myself to sleep. What’s most vivid about that time was how emotionally charged it was.
In the end -- probably subconsciously -- I enrolled in culinary school to escape writing altogether. Being a chef has given me distance and perspective. It’s a pressure-filled job, but it is never as terrifying as facing a blank piece of paper. As a chef, you always have ingredients at hand. I can’t say the same of being a writer.
Q What comes first to you, a voice or a story?
I don’t know for other writers, but for me it is the voice that inhabits me first. I say inhabit because I can be happily going about my day when a voice gets inside my head and it won’t let me go until I come up with a story for it.
Q Is that how Valentina Goldman came about?
Almost. I heard Valentina’s voice in my head one day when I was working as a chef in Istanbul. But it took years to get to that point, to allow myself to hear her voice, any voice for that matter.

At the risk of sounding like a schizophrenic who “hears voices,” let me explain. Before I could write again I had to go through a painful re-alignment of priorities. It took many years to come to the understanding that I like writing for the fun of it -- whether it gets good reviews, bad reviews, or no reviews.
It wasn’t until I left the chaos, the pressures, and the unrealistic expectations that come with being a writer that I was able to create someone as eccentric, as flawed, as offbeat as Valentina. That may be why everyone who reads her story says that her voice is very fresh.
Despite other people’s opinions, despite the ups and downs of the publishing business, despite what is and isn’t popular right now, whenever I think of Valentina, I smile. After all those years fumbling in the dark, it’s good to be able to smile again.



About Marisol Murano:
A native of Venezuela, Marisol Murano is the best-selling author of The Lady, The Chef, and The Courtesan (Harper Collins), set in 1950’s Venezuela and modern-day Chicago. The novel won numerous awards, was selected as an Original Voices from Border’s, was picked as a BookSense selection and was has been translated into several languages. Valentina Goldman’s Immaculate Confusion is Murano’s second novel.  She is also the author of a cookbook, Deliciously Doable Small Plates from Around the World, based on stories and recipes she collected during her travels as an international chef.

Check out the book on Goodreads HERE

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