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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Book Giveaway!! Who doesn't love free books??!

Another great giveaway!!

An Advance Readers Edition of The Mercedes Coffin by Faye Kellerman due out in hardcover on August 12.

Here's my review
The Mercedes Coffin

From Amazon:

Billionaire genius Genoa Greeves never got over the shocking death of her favorite teacher, Bennett "Dr. Ben" Alston Little, murdered execution-style and stuffed into the trunk of his Mercedes-Benz. No arrests were ever made, no killer charged for the brutal crime. Fifteen years later, the high-tech CEO reads about another execution-style murder; this time the victim is a Hollywood music producer named Primo Ekerling. There is no obvious connection, but the case is eerily similar to Little's and Genoa feels the time is right to close Dr. Ben's case once and for all—offering the L.A.P.D. a substantial financial "incentive" if justice is finally served for Little.

Lieutenant Peter Decker resents having to commit valuable manpower to a fifteen-year-old open case simply because a rich woman says "Jump!" Still, the recent murder of Primo Ekerling does bear a disturbing resemblance to Little's case, even though two thug suspects are currently behind bars for the Ekerling murder. Decker can't help but wonder about a connection. His first phone calls are to the two primary investigators in the Little case, retired detectives Calvin Vitton and Arnie Lamar. Lamar is cooperative, but Vitton is not only reluctant to talk, he winds up dead of a suspicious suicide twelve hours later. Plunging into this long-buried murder, Decker discovers that even though the two slayings are separated by a decade and a half, there is still plenty of greed, lust, and evil to connect the dots.

Decker's team of top investigators not only includes his favorite homicide detectives, Scott Oliver and Marge Dunn, but also his newly minted Hollywood detective daughter, Cindy Kutiel, whose help proves to be invaluable. His wife, Rina Lazarus, continues to be his backbone of support, offering a cool, rational outlook despite her growing concern for her husband's welfare and safety. Rina's worries and fears begin to build at a fevered pitch as past and present collide with a vengeance, catapulting an unsuspecting Peter Decker closer and closer to the edge of an infinite dark abyss.

A relentlessly gripping tale spun by a master, Faye Kellerman's The Mercedes Coffin races through a dangerous urban world of fleeting fame and false dreams, making heart-pumping hairpin turns at each step of a terrifying journey, where truth and justice are fine lines between life and death.

If you'd like to win this copy, just leave a comment with your email address and you're automatically entered. If you put a link to the contest in your blog, you'll receive two entries.

The contest runs until 9:00am PST August 6, and I'll send the book out by August 8th. (U.S. and Canada only please)

Book Giveaway!! Ends tomorrow!

Don't forget, my very first book giveaway ends tomorrow, August 1st, click below to win a free copy of The Dangerous Joy of Dr. Sex and other True Stories

From the back cover:

Can a British biologist reinvent himself as a sex guru in California? That's just one of the surreal stories in the groundbreaking collection of nonfiction lit. In the title piece, Alex Comfort, author of The Joy of Sex, hatches a plan to destroy monogamy forever. In the stories that follow, Kennedy documents other visionaries bent on remaking the world. A retired chemist finds a way to turn a wasteland into paradise--but there's a catch. An aspiring tyrant tries to become the Emperor of America. An artist rigs himself up to a "brain machine" made from parts he bought at Radio Shack. Two of the people profiled in this collection went on to win the MacArthur "genius" award. All of them are memorable, passionate, and poignant as the best characters in literature. In these stories--most of which first appeared in The New York Times Magazine and The Boston Globe Magazine--Kennedy proves that truth is funnier than fiction.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

More Yikes..

A 44 pound cat is currently residing at the Camden County Animal Shelter in Camden, NJ. Where are its owners we ask....I think it ate them.

Say Goodbye by Lisa Gardner

There are so many different adjectives to be used in describing Lisa Gardner’s newest novel, Say Goodbye. Scary, creepy, intense, suspenseful; choose any of them, or choose them all. Say Goodbye follows FBI agent Kimberly Quincy, 5 months pregnant as she is drawn into the web of a spider obsessed serial killer. Not your average everyday garden variety murderer, this killer has been shaped and formed since childhood in circumstances that fill the reader with fear and have you double checking your locks and closing your child’s window every night.

In writing a series of novels with the same character, it is sometimes difficult to keep the readers interest. We feel sometimes as if we know the character almost too well. Lisa Gardner has made a smooth and seamless transition in her novels from featuring FBI agent Pierce Quincy as the main character. Allowing this character to step out of the spotlight and making his daughter, Kimberly the main character allows the author to change things up, but still gives frequent readers a comfort zone. We feel comfortable with both of the Quincy’s, father and daughter, and can empathize with the struggles they go through in their personal lives.

Say Goodbye is a gem of a suspense novel, one of those “ I’m just going to read three more pages, then I’ve gotta get to bed” books. Then, you look at the clock and realize an hour has passed and you wonder exactly how much sleep you really need to get through tomorrow, because you want to keep reading.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Gas taxes and Politicians

I just read that Congress is considering raising the gas tax by 10 cents a gallon. I guess that we've all been driving less, (duh! gas is over 4.50 here) thus generating less revenue for the govt. And since we all know the govt can't simply spend less like all of us do, they want to raise the tax on gas so they can generate more revenue to blow like a kid at a candy stand.

It reminds me of a few years ago, in Los Angeles people were be exhorted to save water. They saved so much water that the LA Dept of Water and Power didn't make enough money, so the DWP raised rates on the consumers.

I'm starting to think that a new book I read about, "None of the Above: Why 2008 Is the Year to Cast the Ultimate Protest Vote" by Joseph Farah might be one I have to pick up and read.... But I suspect its only meant to be for the Presidential election, and I'm thinking the idea might be valid for every level of elected officialdom!

Earthquake...uh...ok....sort of......

A few years ago, we had a nice little 4.8 late one night that woke everyone up, today's quake reminded me of what I decided then.

You realize you've become a true Californian when:

They're filming something, and you don't care who it is, or what they're doing, you just want them to get the hell out of the way, and stop blocking traffic.


when you're in bed asleep, late at night and a quake hits. You wake up,and lay there counting, thinking....dammit, if I get to fifteen mississippi I'm gonna have to get up, and I'm comfortable and sleepy and I don't want to get up! (because we're all told that the BIG one won't be any stronger than the Northridge quake, it'll just last 30 seconds or so) When the shaking stops at 14 Mississippi, you go back to sleep.

Today's quake...+/- 5.4 no big deal. Of course the crazy news media down here has worked themselves into a tizzy!

According to Channel 2, there is a 1 in 20 chance that this is the precursor to "THE BIG ONE!!!" EEEEEKKK! Omigosh, what will we ever do? Oh wait, isn't that like a 5% chance? Doesn't that mean its like a 95% chance THAT IT ISN'T? Sheeeesh...

But rest assured, the crack Channel 2 news team has promised us Southern California residents, that they're on the job, and if we can just get through the next 24 hours without...THE BIG ONE...then our odds drop to 1%. *smacks forehead.....double sheesh....

Headlines to make you...."Say What??"

Manager: Cops Shoot Dead Man After Threat on Pa. Radio Station"--headline, FoxNews.com, July 26

(Seems like a waste of bullets to me.....)

Tuesday Thingers and stuff

The Boston Bibliophile asks, "What cataloging sources do you use most? Any particular reason? Any idiosyncratic choices, or foreign sources, or sources you like better than others? Are you able to find most things through LibraryThings's almost 700 sources?"

I use mostly Amazon, my tastes in literature are really pretty mainstream, and I seldom have any difficulty in finding what I need there. I think there has been only one book that I couldn't find using LT's sources and for the life of me, I can't remember what it was.

I'm hosting a gaggle of cheerleaders this afternoon. We went to the team party yesterday and the girls all made t-shirts to wear at camp. The time frame was a tad optimistic though and only about half got done. So....I guess some girls are coming by this afternoon to paint shirts. Do I know how to paint shirts? Oh hell no....guess I'll learn. *smacks forehead...sheesh...I'm a "cheer" mom......

Monday, July 28, 2008

Book Giveaways!!

The Boston Bibliophile is hosting a giveaway as well! The Lace Reader, which looks like an excellent read, (and I hope I win!!) to enter click here, (but while you're there, spend some time, its a great blog):

The Boston Bibliophile

Another great giveaway is being hosted by LisaLynne. Her contest for Shining City can be found here:

minds alive on the shelf

Check out her rave review. I know I want to read it!!

Don't forget, I'm giving a way a book also, click below to win a free copy of The Dangerous Joy of Dr. Sex and other True Stories

Sunday, July 27, 2008

What is your favorite literary quote?

I'll start, but I'm going to cheat because I have two that stand out, both from the same book, Losing Julia by Jonathan Hull.

"Like most bookworms I read so as not to be alone, which often annoys those who are trying to make conversation with me."

"Books aren't just my defenses, the sandbags I use to fortify my position; they are also the building blocks of my soul, and I am the sum of all I read."

Drop me a comment with your favorite quote.

And don't forget to enter my free giveaway below!!

Friday, July 25, 2008

My first Book Giveaway!! Love those free Books!!

Here's my very first book giveaway!! (Hope I don't mess it up!!)

The Dangerous Joy of Dr. Sex and Other True Stories by Pagan Kennedy.

Here's my review
The Dangerous Joy of Dr. Sex and other True Stories

I was going to have everyone write a limerick to enter, (you'll get it when you read the book), but that would be a pain in the behind for everyone, so to enter, just comment me and to get an extra entry, all you have to do is blog about the contest. I'm just getting my blogroll up and running, so don't be surprised if you find yourself on it after you comment me!

The contest runs until 9:00 PST August 1, and I'll send the book out by August 4th. (U.S. only please)

The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti

The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti is the story of an orphan boy named Ren who was raised by monks in a large orphanage. Adopted by a clever grifter named Benjamin Nab, Ren learns the fine art of the con as he and Benjamin join up with grave robbers, thieves, and scam artists.

This book is written with a contemporary flair for words, but it’s really an old time adventure story. The characters are well fleshed out, and even though they’re all doing really reprehensible things, it’s impossible not to like them. Charming and glib, Benjamin Nab and his often surly companion, Tom, take Ren along with them as a foil, to make their thievery easier. Ren, however, becomes the conscience of the trio by sometimes unexpectedly doing the right thing. Ren’s inherent goodness comes shining through and has an interesting impact on those around him.

Hannah Tinti spins a good yarn with this novel, smoothly paced and well written. This book has heart and will leave you with a slightly wistful smile on your face.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The White Mary by Kira Salak

While on a sort of "working vacation" I finished reading The White Mary by Kira Salak. I'm having some difficulty writing a review of this book. Not because the book isn't good, quite the contrary, it is a very good novel. I think the problem is that this novel is difficult to categorize. The novel follows a young journalist, Marika Vecera, as she risks her life in war zones throughout the world. The atrocities she documents and the threats to her own life are portrayed with such detail, you wonder if the author of the novel has lived this herself.

Marika admires another older journalist, Robert Lewis, and aspires to emulate his life. When he commits suicide, she focuses her energies on writing a biography about him. In her research, she stumbles across a letter to his sister indicating that he may still be alive and living in the deepest jungles of Papua New Guinea. Marika enters the jungle to search with a primitive tribal guide. Again, the novel is written with such detail that you wonder how much time the author herself has spent amongst these primitive tribes far from civilization.

Although the novel is a wonderful story, part travelogue, part National Geographic/Discovery Channel special, it is ultimately a story about Marika and her personal journey toward discovering all that life has to offer us. It is a story about the choices we all have that can bring us either happiness, contentment and joy; or keep us restless, unfulfilled and alone. The book shows masterfully that striving for peace and happiness in one's life isn't merely an invention of the civilized world, but something everyone, from primitive tribal shaman's to educated PhD's seeks.

I found this an interesting novel, well written and completely enjoyable. Marika draws conclusions in the end, that seem to coincide with my own perspectives on life. I certainly have never lived a life like Marika's and never will, but I have always believed that being happy is a choice we can all make for ourselves.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

In the Woods by Tana French

Twenty years ago, three children ran into the woods adjacent to their neighborhood to play and disappeared. Hours later, after the Dublin police had been called, a single little boy was discovered, clinging to a tree, his shoes filled with blood, t-shirt torn, with no memory of what had occurred.

Detective Rob Ryan is that little boy. He has changed his first name, gone to boarding school in England and acquired a nice English accent and no one, save his partner, Cassie Maddox knows his past. Cassie and Rob are called to the same woods, to investigate the murder of another child, 12 year old Katy Devlin. This case will be the toughest that Rob has ever investigated, and brings him to the brink of memory long suppressed.

Tana French, in her debut novel, In the Woods, promises a double fisted “bang for our buck”. We wonder and hope that both of these crimes will be solved, and the book does not disappoint. French has an amazing ability to develop her characters and bring them to life. At times, it’s as if we are reading a non-fiction account, filled with real people brought to life on these pages. Ryan is a flawed and witty man, with a tendency to drink a bit too much. Cassie is simply one of the most likable female characters I’ve ever encountered.

The prologue of this novel is so beautifully written its almost poetry.. The author is one of those rare people that can bring a scene to life so vividly; you can close your eyes and be there. There is an almost lyrical quality to the opening of this novel. If you weren’t fortunate to have a summer like this in your childhood, you want very much to pretend you did. From start to finish, In the Woods is an excellent read. I look forward to many more novels by Tana French, and hope they will revisit many of her characters in this novel.


I've just been too busy getting ready for the family trip to even read very much. I really want to finish In the Wood before we leave, its quite good. I have a stack of at least 8 ARC's and hardcovers that I've gotten from publishers that I can't wait to tackle. My ideal vacation would be plopped down on a comfy chair and reading from sunrise to sunset. However, as all moms know, vacations for us usually mean just taking all the crap we do everyday and simply moving it to a different geographical location. Clothes still gotta be washed, meals still gotta be cooked and dishes still gotta be done. Someday.....a vacation where all this is done for me.....hey, a woman can dream, right?