Thursday, January 31, 2008

I Won Again!

This definitely goes on record as one of my luckiest weeks, as far as winning books in concerned. I found out first thing this morning that I won a copy of THE MONSTERS OF TEMPLETON from Girls Just Reading. Please check out their blog -- I just love it! They have lots and lots of summaries and reviews on good books. It's a great place to get ideas for future reads or even possible bookclub selections. As I mentioned here yesterday, I have been anxiously awaiting THE MONSTERS OF TEMPLETON'S release on February 5th. It looks like a book that I'm sure to love. After checking out the reading guide, I'm sure it would also make for a great bookclub discussion.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Girls Just Reading Contest

Fortunately for me, I can across a great blog today Girls Just Reading. I count myself "lucky" for two reasons: 1) I love the blog and all the reviews, and 2) they are having a contest today (and I LOVE contests for free books). If you visit their site and leave a comment before the end of today, you will be entered to win a copy of THE MONSTERS OF TEMPLETON. This book is definitely on my short-list of books to read! Good luck to all of you!

Random House Reader's Circle

One of my absolute favorite websites is Random House Reader's Circle. I love getting new reading ideas from the books they feature, and my bookclub has actually read quite a few of their books. You can "Join the Circle" where you register your bookclub and receive a free copy of their Book Club Companion in the mail. Occasionally, you might even receive free books or Advance Reader Copies (if you're lucky). While you're there, you should also sign up for their monthly newsletter which provides terrific suggestions for bookclubs. Check out the Reading Our Readers section at the bottom of January's newsletter, and you will see a comment by me! Of course all of the books featured have reading guides which are also available on this site, and many of the books' authors are available for author chats. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I've Been Tagged!

My new friend Lisa from Books on the Brain has just tagged me with five questions for a Travel Reading Meme. She is heading to Vegas in a few days (I'm so jealous) and wants some ideas for good reads on trips. Unfortunately for me, my husband and I never go anywhere besides a few days a year at the Jersey Shore and occasional day trips to my parents' and grandparents' homes. I thought this was a fun exercise, and I enjoyed thinking about her questions. I can't wait to check back on her site and see what everyone else said!

1. What book are you reading right now? Do you like it?

I am reading The Tortilla Curtain by TC Boyle because it is the selection for my February bookclub. Having said that, I did read it a few years ago and I wasn't blown away by it. I am about halfway through it this time; and while I wouldn't say that I love it, I definitely have a better appreciation of what the author is trying to do with the book. I do think it will make a great discussion book at next month's bookclub!

2. What was the last book you read on a plane?

This is a really hard one for me since I can't even remember the last time I flew anywhere. I think it was a trip to Disneyworld about four and a half years ago. Since I was flying with my husband and four year old daughter, I don't think I actually got any reading done on the plane. Prior to that, I went to New Orleans about six years ago (I know -- pretty sad)! I remember reading Lisa Jewell's Thirty Nothing (obviously a very light read) during that trip.

3. What was the last book you read on a roadtrip?

I think I can answer this one a little better. Over Labor Day weekend, we went to Ocean City, NJ, and I read Bones to Ashes by Kathy Reich. I also read Roots (our September bookclub selection -- not something I would usually read at the beach) by Alex Haley, and The Last Summer of You and Me by Ann Brashares

4. What is the most unusual place you found yourself reading?

I'm probably pretty boring on this one too. Although I always have a book with me, I guess I'd have to say in the bleachers during a Major League playoff game. I have to add that I do love baseball, but I was reading a really good book!

5. What books would you take to keep you occupied on a 2 week vacation to the beach?

Wow - a two week vacation! Is that with or without kids? I would probably take some books that I could "get lost" in like Anna Karenina, Sense and Sensibility, and maybe some of my new "winnings" that I mentioned in earlier posts.

My Favorite New Cookbook

I admit that I have an obsession with all types of books, but I especially love leafing through cookbooks. I definitely don't do gourmet (that's up to my husband), but I do want to feed my family somewhat healthy dinners. That's why I'm so excited that my sister-in-law recommended The Six O'Clock Scramble: Quick, Healthy, and Delicious Dinner Recipes for Busy Families by Aviva Goldfarb. What mom is not totally busy around dinnertime with kids getting home from school, homework, and evening activites? This book has such healthy, simple recipes that I've been cooking almost every night during January (think: New Year's Resolution to cook more). The cookbook is divided into 52 weeks of recipes according to seasons: Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer; and the author tailors the meals for what's in season. I've just begun trying recipes from this book, but so far I've had some pretty good results. Some of our favorites include Salmon in a Foil Packet, Light Cheese Tortellini with Broccoli, and Ginger Chicken. One of my favorite things about this cookbook is that the recipes use mainly fresh (healthy) ingredients that even my 3 year old with severe food allergies can eat. In addition to the cookbook, Ms. Goldfarb also has a website where you can learn more about the cookbook and get a paid subscription to her weekly newsletter.

Monday, January 28, 2008

B&N First Look Book Club

This afternoon Barnes and Noble announced their March selection for the First Look Book Club. It will be THE SISTER by Poppy Adams. The First Look Book Club is a great opportunity to receive an Advanced Reader Copy, absolutely free of charge, months before the book is published. Enrollment began today and space is limited, so visit the website and register soon if you are interested. THE SISTER, which will be released in June 2008, is the story of two sisters who are brought together for a weekend after a decades long estrangement. I was fortunate enough to participate in the last First Look Book Club - THE HOUSE AT RIVERTON - and had a wonderful time "discussing" the book with so many people. I am still waiting for final notification that I will be a participant, but I'm definitely keeping my fingers crossed. If THE SISTER is half as good as THE HOUSE AT RIVERTON, it will be a great read!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

I Won Another Contest

I don't know what's going on, but I like it! I just found out that I won another free book from a contest on Author Buzz. This time, it's JEZEBEL by Lesley Hazleton. This book is a biography about the rise and fall of Jezebel, the ancient queen of Israel who had a reputation for being a harlot. Ms. Hazleton takes a different approach to the traditional bible version of the story (that Jezebel was framed), so it should provide for a great discussion. I'm thinking that this book might be a terrific book club pick, especially if you're looking for a change from fiction. Just in case you're interested, I have provided a link for the reading guide.

I Won a Free Book!

There are few things in life that I like more than "winning" free books. Yesterday, my latest win came in the mail -- ONCE IN A PROMISED LAND by Laila Halaby. I entered the contest a few weeks ago on Author Buzz. I was thrilled to receive an e-mail from Ms. Halaby telling me that I had won an autographed copy of her book. I had seen this book show up on a few of my favorite book club websites, and I actually had it written down as a book I wanted to read! This books looks wonderful -- it is the story of two Arab Americans as they face the after-effects of 9/11. Ms. Halaby's book has been honored with numerous awards including: a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection, a Book Sense Notable Title, and a Washington Post 100 Best Fiction Books of 2007. Of course, there is also a reading guide available if you want to choose it for your book club discussion. I am looking forward to reading it in the near future, and I'll let you know what I think.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Tips for Conducting an Author Chat

If you are like me, I was a little intimidated about the idea of talking to an author. I read the book twice and worked on questions for hours. The thought of talking to an actual "celebrity" had me pretty anxious, but the author (Lori Lansens who wrote THE GIRLS) was extremely gracious and very interesting. The minute my book club hung up the phone, we were so excited that we immediately wanted to schedule more chats. We are now averaging about one a month. Now that I have a few under my belt I feel more confident, but I still admit that I get very anxious a few minutes before we start!

I came across this post Book Club Tips for Author Chats on a great blog (Books on the Brain). This is almost exactly the steps that my book club has been following, and I think we've had a lot of success. I can't recommend enough how much these author chats have enhanced our book club experience. We always feel that we get terrific insights into the authors and what they were thinking when they wrote these books.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Celestial Seasonings Book Club

I recently stumbled across Celestial Seasonings Book Club - An Adventure at Every Turn when I was surfing on the web. I was thrilled to find this site since it combines two of my favorite things - books and teas! Their latest pick is THE END OF THE ALPHABET by CS Richardson. The site includes tea suggestions, decorating ideas, music selections and other activities to enhance your book club experience. You can sign up on the website to join the book club -- all you need is two UPS codes from Celestial Seasonings tea boxes. You will receive free shipping on featured books, downloadable discussion guides and e-mail invites. I signed up a few weeks ago and a gorgeous pillow box of goodies came in the mail on Tuesday filled with a welcome letter, some bags of tea, and recipe cards with bookmarks to share with my book club.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Author Chats

Nefertiti - Michelle Moran

Piece of Work - Laura Zigman
Family Tree - Barbara Delinsky
Matrimony - Joshua Henkin
The Reincarnationist - M.J. Rose
Fifteen Minutes of Shame - Lisa Daily
Sweet Love - Sarah Strohmeyer
Whistling in the Dark - Lesley Kagan

The Girls - Lori Lansens
The Hindi-Bindi Club - Monica Pradhan
Hard Row - Margaret Maron
One Mississippi - Mark Childress
Loving Frank - Nancy Horan

Here we go!

I love books and I thought a blog would be a great way to "talk about" books with other book enthusiasts. I was pleasantly surprised how easy it is to get started! I'm looking forward to making new friends.

My author chat book club met on Tuesday night (we don't have an official name -- I should really get started on that). We were so fortunate to have the chance to talk with Laura Zigman, author of PIECE OF WORK. I definitely related to many parts of the book, especially going back to work with a little one. Ms. Zigman is an extremely funny woman and it's reflected in her books. I read ANIMAL HUSBANDRY and DATING BIG BIRD a few years ago, but after "meeting" her, I want to read HER too!

Mother Daughter Book Club

Sarah, Plain and Tall
Anne Frank, Life in Hiding
Pippi Longstocking
Meet Kit
The Mouse and the Motorcycle
Bed-Knob and Broomstick
The Tiger Rising
From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
The Doll People
The Lightning Thief
Nancy Drew 22: The Clue in the Crumbling Wall
The Tail of Emily Windsnap
Each Little Bird That Sings
Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls: Moving Day
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh
The Witches
The Penderwicks
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Al Capone Does My Shirts
The Name of this Book is Secret
When You Reach Me
Our Only May Amelia
The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles
The Mother-Daughter Book Club
The Naked Mole-Rat Letters 
Jake Ransom and the Skull King's Shadow
Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life
Chasing Vermeer
The Postcard 
I Could Tell I Love You But I'd Have to Kill You
The Nick of Time
The Allegra Biscotti Collection 
Criss Cross
The Candymakers
Elephant Run
My Life in Pink and Green
A Mango-Shaped Space
The Clique
After Ever After
The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet 
Deep and Dark and Dangerous
The Year the Swallows Came Early 
Out of My Mind
Twice Upon a Time #1: Rapunzel, The One With All the Hair
Oh. My. Gods.
Viola in Reel Life
Models Don't Eat Chocolate Cookies
The Apothecary
Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25
My Sister Lives on the Mantlepiece
Far Far Away

Books Read in 2010

300. The Girl in the Green Raincoat - Review
299. A Crazy Day with Cobras
298. Voyage on the Great Titanic
297. Big Nate Strikes Again
296. Lily of the Nile - Review
295. On Maggie's Watch - Review
294. Nonna's Book of Mysteries - Review
293. Road to Revolution - Review
292. The Strange Case of Origami Yoda - Review
291. At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream - Review
290. The Murderer's Daughter - Review
289. The Great Christmas Bowl - Review
288. The Snow Globe - Review
287. Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor - Review
286. Delcroix Academy: The Candidates - Review
285. Chasing Vermeer - Review
284. Let the Great World Spin - Review
283. Winter Bloom - Review
282. Suck on This Year - Review
281. Lost Mission
280. And the Pursuit of Happiness - Review
279. The Christmas Journey - Review
278. Mini Shopaholic - Review
277. Taking the Reins - Review
276. My Nest Isn't Empty, It Just Has More Closet Space - Review
275. Ivy + Bean: What's the Big Idea? - Review
274. The Fat Man - Review
273. Life In Defiance
272. Promise Me (Evans) - Review
271. Life After Yes - Review
270. The Adventure of Ook and Gluk Kung-Fu Cavemen From the Future - Review
269. Earth - Review
268. ZooBorns - Review
267. Hint Fiction - Review
266. What I Thought I Knew - Review
265. Stranger Here Below - Review
264. The Perfect Love Song - Review
263. My Reading Life - Review
262. The Kneebone Boy - Review
261. Half Broke Horses - Review
260. Girls Gone Green - Review
259. Mr. Rosenblum Dreams in English - Review
258. Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk - Review
257. The Prince of Mist - Review
256. Don't Sing at the Table - Review
255. Lucky Baby
254. Promise Me - Review
253. I Still Dream About You - Review
252. The Naked Mole-Rat Letters - Review
251. Zora and Me - Review
250. The Mischief of the Mistletoe - Review
249. The Love Goddess' Cooking School - Review
248. Holidays on Ice - Review
247. Up from the Blue - Review
246. Falling Home - Review
245. Sweet Treats & Secret Crushes - Review
244. Promise Bridge - Review
243. The Christmas Glass - Review
242. Blast from the Past - Review
241. America - Review
240. Emily of Deep Valley - Review
239. Bury Your Dead - Review
238. Pushing Up Daisies - Review
237. The Reversal - Review
236. The Blue Orchard - Review
235. Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life - Review
234. Dearly Devoted Dexter - Review
233. The Gendarme - Review
232. The Magnificent 12: The Call - Review
231. Safe from the Sea - Review
230. Friday Mornings at Nine - Review
229. The Good Daughters - Review
228. Fish - Review
227. Crossing Oceans - Review
226. A Hope Undaunted - Review
225. Hush - Review
224. The Mother-Daughter Book Club - Review
223. Room - Review
222. Pope Joan - Review
221. Hiroshima in the Morning - Review
220. Maybe This Time - Review
219. Storyteller
218. Darkly Dreaming Dexter - Review
217. Pies & Prejudice - Review
216. Open - Review
215. Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters
214. Dear America: The Winter of Red Snow - Review
213. Akashan'te - Review
212. Artichoke's Heart - Review
211. Up and Down the Scratchy Mountains - Review
210. Russian Winter - Review
209. Charlotte Figg Takes Over Paradise - Review
208. Sleepless - Review
207. Fairy Tale - Review
206. One Season of Sunshine - Review
205. Valeria's Cross - Review
204. Dangerous Neighbors - Review
203. The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin - Review
202. Mockingjay - Review
201. The Blessings of the Animals - Review
200. Come Sunday - Review
199. She's Gone Country - Review
198. Spaceheadz - Review
197. The Kitchen House - Review
196. I'd Know You Anywhere - Review
195. Bamboo People - Review
194. Simply from Scratch - Review
193. Whirlwind - Review
192. The Life You've Imagined - Review
191. The Hypnotist - Review
190. Mackenzie Blue #3: Best Friends Forever? - Review
189. You Lost Me There - Review
188. The Improper Life of Bezellia Grove - Review
187. The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles - Review
186. Holly's Inbox: Scandal in the City - Review
185. The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder - Review
184. Please Ignore Vera Dietz - Review
183. The Red Queen - Review
182. Horrid Henry and the Abominable Snowman - Review
181. Get Real: What Kind of World are You Buying? - Review
180. The Language of Trees - Review
179. Commuters - Review
178. Mackenzie Blue #2: The Secret Crush - Review
177. One Day - Review
176. How Dolly Parton Saved My Life - Review175. Soccer Team Upset - Review
174. Throwing Heat - Review
173. The Doctor and the Diva - Review
172. Hardcourt Comeback - Review
171. Touchdown Trouble - Review
170. Fragile - Review
169. Georgia's Kitchen - Review
168. The Book of Peach - Review
167. Red Hook Road - Review
166. The Stuff That Never Happened - Review
165. Rosie and Skate - Review
164. Change of Heart - Review
163. Lucy - Review
162. The Cookbook Collector - Review
161. Scout, Atticus & Boo - Review
160. Ice Cold - Review
159. Our Only May Amelia - Review
158. East of Eden
157. To Kill a Mockingbird - Review
156. Sea Escape - Review
155. Skeletons at the Feast - Review
154. Finny - Review
153. For the King - Review
152. The Sister Wife - Review
151. Fly Away Home - Review
150. Roseflower Creek - Review
149. The Popularity Papers - Review
148. Free to a Good Home - Review
147. The Invisible Bridge - Review
146. Queen of Secrets - Review
145. What I Learned From Being a Cheerleader - Review
144. Sweet Misfortune - Review
143. The Island - Review
142. The Sons of Liberty #1 -Review
141. Amy & Roger's Epic Detour - Review
140. Milo: Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze - Review
139. Turtle in Paradise - Review
138. Lunch Lady and the Summer Camp Shakedown - Review
137. Shoulder Bags and Shootings - Review
136. The House on Oyster Street - Review
135. Guest House - Review
134. This Totally Bites! - Review
133. Heart of the Matter - Review
132. A Fierce Radiance - Review
131. She Walk in Beauty - Review
130. Bonobo Handshake - Review
129. Toy Story 3 - The Junior Novelization - Review
128. Time of My Life - Review
127. So Cold the River - Review
126. Backseat Saints - Review
125. The Confessions of Catherine de Medici - Review
124. Promises to Keep - Review
123. Day for Night - Review
122. The Whole World - Review
121. Ape House - Review
120. Bogus - Review
119. Girl in Translation - Review
118. Sweet Dates in Basra - Review
117. The Summer I Turned Pretty - Review
116. Half Life - Review
115. Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Popular Party Girl - Review
114. The One That I Want - Review
113. The Summer of Moonlight Secrets - Review
112. Lift - Review
111. Countdown - Review
110. My Name is Mary Sutter - Review
109. Cutting for Stone - Review
108. The Summer We Read Gatsby - Review
107. Magickeepers: The Pyramid of Souls - Review
106. A Soft Place to Land - Review
105. House Rules - Review
104. Whiter Than Snow - Review
103. The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors - Review
102. The Ocean Between Us - Review
101. Motherhood is Murder - Review
100. The Threadbare Heart - Review99. The Name of this Book is Secret - Review
98. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake - Review
97. The Icing on the Cupcake - Review
96. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks - Review
95. Rumor Has It - Review
94. Cassie Was Here - Review
93. The Queen of Palmyra - Review
92. The Queen's Pawn - Review
91. Big Nate - Review
90. The Heart is Not a Size - Review
89. Daughters of the Witching Hill - Review
88. Tortilla Sun - Review
87. How to Survive Middle School - Review
86. The Fiddler's Gun - Review
85. Next - Review
84. Mistress of Rome - Review
83. Making Waves - Review
82. Magna - Review
81. The Devil's Star - Review
80. Love in a Time of Homeschooling - Review
79. This Is Me From Now On - Review
78. The Postmistress - Review
77. Poor Little Bitch Girl - Review
76. Al Capone Does My Shirts - Review
75. Claude and Camille - Review
74. The Sweet By and By - Review
73. Between Friends - Review
72. The Teashop Girls - Review
71. Winging It - Review
70. Seeing Stars - Review
69. Love in Mid Air - Review
68. Impatient with Desire - Review
67. Diamond Ruby - Review
66. 11 Birthdays - Review
65. Doors Open - Review
64. The Year of Goodbyes - Review
63. Vintage Veronica - Review
62. Merlin's Harp - Review
60. Magic Tree House Research Guide #21: Leprechauns and Irish Folklore - Review
59. Magic Tree House #43: Leprechauns and Irish Folklore - Review
58. The Scarlet Stockings - Review
57. The Island - Review
56. Fireworks over Toccoa - Review
55. Beautiful Dead Book 1: Jonas - Review
54. The Creation of Eve - Review
53. Artsy-Fartsy - Review
52. Little Bee - Review
51. Raven Stole the Moon - Review
50. Marriage and Other Acts of Charity - Review
49. Classic Starts - Great Expectations - Review
48. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - Review
47. The Opposite of Me - Review
46. Forever - Review
45. Pieces of Happily Ever After - Review
44. Hush - Review
43. Brava, Valentine - Review
42. The Wife's Tale - Review
41. Tiger Eyes - Review
40. Home Is Where the Wine Is - Review
39. A Crooked Kind of Perfect - Review
38. Side by Side - Review
37. Happy Hour - Review
36. It's Not the End of the World - Review
35. Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself - Review
34. Frankie Pickle and the Pine Run 3000 - Review
33. Then Again, Maybe I Won't - Review
32. The Sweet Life of Stella Madison - Review31. Wounded - Review
30. Wherever Nina Lies - Review
29. O, Juliet - Review
28. Deenie - Review
27. The Unnamed - Review
26. Blubber - Review
25. Devil in Winter - Review
24. The Westing Game - Review
23. Mia the Magnificent - Review
22. Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter - Review
21. Between Here and April - Review
20. Catch of a Lifetime - Review
19. The View from Saturday - Review
18. The Book of Fires - Review
17. In Over Her Head - Review
16. Lunch Lady and the Author Visit Vendetta - Review
15. A Field Guide to Burying Your Parents - Review
14. Speak - Review
13. Ivy + Bean - Doomed to Dance - Review
12. Summer of My German Soldier - Review
11. The Summer We Fell Apart - Review
10. Living the Vida Lola - Review
9. Shanghai Girls - Review
8. The Penderwicks - Review
7. Truly, Madly - Review
6. The Girl Next Door - Review
5. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Review
4. Fifteen - Review
3. Saving CeeCee Honeycutt - Review
2. Calamity Jack - Review
1. Nanny Returns - Review