Saturday, July 31, 2010

July Monthly News


BOOKS:
1. The Little Giant of Aberdeen County - Tiffany Baker (recommend)
2. Turnaround Summer - Paul Hansen
3. Alice in Wonderland and Philosophy - William Irwin
4. DK Biography: Princess Diana
5. To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee (recommend)
6. Web of Secrets - Ernesto Patino
7. Body Parts - Janet Cameron Hoult (poetry)
8. The Secret Keeper - Paul Harris (recommend)
9. Staring Into The Sun - Joshua Fields (poetry)
10. Audubon Practical Naturalist
11. Do No Evil: An Artemis Agency Novel - Kymberly Goltermann & Ashley L. Goltermann (recommend)
12. My Little Red Book - Rachel Kauder Nalebuff
13. Bug Zoo - Nick Baker (children)
14. Once Wicked Always Dead - T. Marie Benchley (recommend)
15. The Power of the Middle Ground - Marty Babits LCSW, BCD
16. A Summer Secret - Kathleen Fuller (recommend)
17. The Vatican - Father Michael Collins
18. The Little Brainwaves Investigates... Human Body (children)
19. The Dark Divine - Bree Despain (HIGHLY recommend)
20. Tattoos On The Heart - Gregory Boyle
21. Three Quarters Dead - Richard Peck (young adult)
22. It's Not Summer Without You - Jenny Han (young adult)
23. Journey Into Tomorrow - Veronica Camille Tinto (poetry)
24. The Little Brainwaves Investigates Animals (children)
25. Moment of Glory - John Feinstein (audiobook)
26. The Forty Rules of Love - Elif Shafak
27. DK Eyewitness: North American Indian
28. The One-Week Job Project - Sean Aiken (recommend)
29. The Language of Secrets - Dianne Dixon (recommend)

YEARLY TOTAL: 173 Books, 1 Product, 1 CD & 3 DVD


FAVORITE BOOK OF JULY:




CHALLENGES COMPLETED:
Summer Reading Challenge

The Language of Secrets - Dianne Dixon


Synopsis:
From a fresh and exciting new voice in women's fiction, The Language of Secrets unflinchingly examines the lifelong repercussions of a father's betrayal.
Justin Fisher has a successful career as the manager of a luxury hotel, a lovely wife, and a charming young son. While all signs point to a bright future, Justin can no longer ignore the hole in his life left by his estranged family. When he finally gathers the courage to reconnect with his troubled past, Justin is devastated to learn that his parents have passed away. And a visit to the cemetery brings the greatest shock of all—next to the graves of his father and mother sits a smaller tombstone for a three-year-old boy: a boy named Thomas Justin Fisher.
What follows is an extraordinary journey as Justin struggles with issues of his own identity and pieces together the complex and heartbreaking truth about his family. With great skill and care, Dianne Dixon explores the toll that misunderstandings, blame, and resentment can take on a family. But it is the intimate details of family life—a mother's lullaby for her son, a father's tragic error in judgment—that make this novel so exceptional and an absolute must for reading groups everywhere.
The Language of Secrets is the story of an unspeakable loss born of human frailty and an ultimate redemption born of human courage.


©2010


My Opinion:
This story started out a little slow, but quickly picked up and grabbed my full attention. Enough so, that I finished the book in a few hours.
I felt a connection to Caroline in the respect of being a mother. I would be just as tormented with the loss of a child. What really gets me, is her strength to continue in that marriage, when she knows what a man her husband really is. She is a better woman than me, because I couldn't have stayed.
To evoke this emotion from me, as a reader, takes a very talented writer. So Dianne Dixon, I tip my hat to you. Well done! LOVE the twist-ending!
(4/5)


~I received a copy from DoubleDay Books. I was not compensated for my opinion.~


The One-Week Job Project - Sean Aiken


Synopsis:
When Sean Aiken graduated from college, he had no idea what he wanted to do with his life—so he decided to try everything. Thus began the one-week job project, in which Sean would work a different job each week for a year.
Sean's remarkable journey took him across North America working as a bungee jump operator, tattoo artist, aquarium guide, advertising executive, brewmaster, and cancer fundraiser. In each new job, he learned not only about himself but also about the people around him, finding out what drives people to choose a certain career, what makes them successful, and, more importantly, what makes them happy.
Over the course of his year on the road, Sean learned more about work, friendship, love, and life than he ever imagined. This honest, hilarious, inspiring account is a must-read for anyone who’s ever asked themselves, “What should I do with my life?”



©2010


My Opinion:
This is one of the coolest books I have ever read! The idea behind it is what fascinates me most. When Sean couldn't figure out his career choice after school, he came up with this ingenious plan to try a bunch of jobs and see where his heart lies. I had the utmost fun reading through all the 52 jobs, and was admiring his dedication and compassion to each one.
This is not only a book that adults can appreciate, but I personally think a teen close to graduation would benefit from reading it too. They may learn the value of responsibility, and making good career choices.
A definite recommendation from me!
(5/5)


~I received a copy from Penguin Canada. I was not compensated for my opinion.~

DK Eyewitness Books: North American Indian


Synopsis:
Here is an original and exciting new guide to the fascinating civilizations of North American Indians. Superb, full-color photographs offer a unique and revealing "eyewitness" view of this rich culture. See a necklace made of bear claws, a model of a Blackfeet teepee, a false face made from cornhusks, how fish were trapped in a basket, and a Cheyenne feathered war bonnet. Learn about the kachina ceremony, why love dolls were important, how turtle shells made music, what's stored inside a parfleche, and how pemmican was made. Discover the meanings of carvings on a Haida totem pole, what's inside an Iroquois longhouse, what medicine men carried in their medical kits, how a bow drill works, and much, much more.


©2005


My Opinion:
I love this book, especially since I'm a North American Indian, from Canada though. And there's where the problem lies with this book, for me. No real content pertaining to Canadian Indians, it focuses on America. With that said, I still loved the book and valued the content in it!
This would be very useful for study or in a classroom.
(4/5)


~I received a copy from DK Canada. I was not compensated for my opinion.~

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Forty Rules of Love - Elif Shafak


Synopsis:
In this lyrical, exuberant follow-up to "The Bastard of Istanbul," acclaimed Turkish author Shafak unfolds two tantalizing parallel narratives--one contemporary and the other set in the 13th century--that together incarnate the poet Rumi's timeless message of love.


©2010


My Opinion:
This was a great story! One that is still resonating through me since I just put the book down.
How the story of love and its universal hold on us all, and how we need to see the value of love for what it is, is simply beautifully written. I admired the words I was reading more than once throughout this book. The author has such an eloquent way of telling a story.
Definitely one I would mention to my lady friends, but my manly ones, not so sure it's for you. If this book was a movie, it would be considered a chick-flick. I'm a chick though, so I can dig it!
(4/5)


~I received a copy from Penguin Canada. I was not compensated for my opinion.~

News from Bill Walker



Bill Walker is the author is A Note From An Old Acquaintance. It was a book I thoroughly enjoyed, read my review here.
Today the author contacted me, to let me know, the Kindle edition of this fantastic story is on sale at Amazon for $4.99! That is super cheap!!!
Here is the amazon link. (It says $6.99 on the website, but Bill stated me $4.99)
Point is, get a copy! It's worth it either way!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Friday 56


Rules:
* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find a teaser sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of Story Time With Tonya.


The Forty Rules of Love - Elif Shafak

Page 56, Line 5:

"So there you are, you little rascal!" yelled the cook as he ran toward me with a broom in his hand. "You are in big trouble, son, big trouble!"

Moment of Glory - John Feinstein


Synopsis:
In 2003, after winning six of the twelve majors from 2000 to 2002, Tiger Woods struggled with his swing, leaving him lagging behind the field at both the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship. With Woods out of the picture, the stage was set for a newcomer to claim the top position. Nobody expected that four virtually unknown players would rise to become first-time champions.
In his debut appearance in a major, Ben Curtis became the only player since Francis Ouimet in 1913 to prevail on his first time out. Mike Weir--who was considered a good player but not a great one--triumphed in The Masters, becoming the first Canadian to win a major. In the U.S. Open, Jim Furyk was victorious, and the PGA Championship was claimed by the unknown Shawn Micheel.
But after each player's history-making season, the four have had little further success. 2008 is the first year since that unexpected year, when it will be possible for the four golfers to qualify for the tour. In MOMENT OF GLORY, John Feinstein returns to the unlikely year of 2003 and chronicle the personal and professional struggles of these four players. With great affection for the underdog and extraordinary access to the players, he then looks to the 2008 season, giving readers an insider's look into to how winning (and losing) major championships changes players' lives.


Author Bio:
John Feinstein is the bestselling author of Let Me Tell You a Story, Caddy for Life, Open, The Punch, The Last Amateurs, The Majors, A Good Walk Spoiled, A Civil War, A Season on the Brink, Play Ball, Hard Courts, and two novels. He writes for Inside Sports, Golf, Tennis Magazine, and Basketball America and commentates on NPR and CBS. John Feinstein lives in Potomac, MD, and Shelter Island, NY.


©2010


My Opinion:
In lieu of this being an audiobook, I will first state that the narrator was easy to hear, easy to listen to, and it was smooth.
The story itself starts right out with Tiger Woods and his career. I really liked that, since he is the one I am most familiar with.
Who knew Tiger was sooooo competitive. I mean, I knew he was, but not to the degree at which you learn in this book. He actually thinks of the next tournament 15 minutes or so after winning the last. The "awesome" feeling doesn't linger long. That is really something, if you ask me. It shows why he is so good at the sport and was able to popularize it more.
This book was more interesting that I had initially thought it would be. I had no idea it would hold my attention like it did. I learned a lot from this book, and I thought I already knew much about the sport, and the four key players in the story. I was wrong. I knew very little.
The one thing I didn't like is how the author felt the need to tell us that Mike Weir, the Canadian, cheered for an American hockey team. If you know anything about us Canadians, and our love of hockey, you would know why I felt this was a slight towards us. I found it highly unnecessary, and it added nothing to the story he was already telling. It was actually redundant, if not a slight.
With that said, only sports or golf lovers will enjoy this. Don't think that because Tiger Woods is in it, you learn about his personal tabloid drama. That is not what this is about. It's about the career, good and bad, not so much the man.
(3/5)


~I received an audiobook copy from Hachette Book Group. I was not compensated for my opinion.~

Monday, July 26, 2010

Teaser


Host

* Grab your current read.
* Let the book fall open to a random page.
* Share with us two (2) “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.
* Please avoid spoilers!


My Teaser:

When darkness settled, I went to the tavern. The table by the window happened to be occupied by a scar-faced man who seemed to be in deep sleep.

~ Page 19, The Forty Rules of Love - Elif Shafak

The Little Brainwaves Investigates Animals


Synopsis:
Following on from the award-winning Brainwaves books for older children, DK introduces a brand new series for younger kids, featuring the Little Brainwaves. In each book, the illustrated Little Brainwaves characters poke, prod, and peer at their photographed subjects, providing an appealing and original way for kids to learn about an amazing variety of topics. In The Little Brainwaves: Animals, join the Little Brainwaves as they explore the world of animals, climbing around on a wide variety of creatures to see how they work.


©2010


My Opinion:
This is a must have book in every child's life, because it really teaches them a lot about animals. It is so informative and thorough, that I think it is a perfect teaching tool, or book just for a child's entertainment and enjoyment.
Definitely one I am going to recommend to all the mom's I know!
(5/5)


~I received a copy from DK Canada. I was not compensated for my opinion.~

A Journey Into Tomorrow - Veronica Camille Tinto


Synopsis:
Writing these poems began as a therapeutic process which turned into words that supported me during a very tumultuous period in my life. The poetry that unfolded manifested itself as an inspirational source that further comforted me during this difficult season. Ironically, the poems were able to transcend my own personal experiences and can be applied to anyone's life as an inspirational thought that can be carried through out your day. Then it becomes my hope for you my reader, that the poems found within these pages bring you the same amount of solace, inspiration, and contentment, that it provided me as I created them just for you.


©2010


My Opinion:
I love poetry, it has to be one of my favorite things of all time. So whenever I can be offered a chance at reading it, I jump on it. Always unprepared for what will arrive.
I feel that this poet, Veronica, really poured her emotion into these stanzas. I empathized with her on many levels. From the sadness to happiness. And all the while, not in my usually preference for prose. I prefer a bit of rhyme in my poetry, and this had none, but the emotion kept my attention while capturing my heart.
Fantastic job at connecting with the reader!
(3.5/5)


~I received a copy from the author. I was not compensated for my opinion.~

It's Not Summer Without You - Jenny Han


Synopsis:
Can summer be truly summer without Cousins Beach?
It used to be that Belly counted the days until summer, until she was back at Cousins Beach with Conrad and Jeremiah. But not this year. Not after Susannah got sick again and Conrad stopped caring. Everything that was right and good has fallen apart, leaving Belly wishing summer would never come.
But when Jeremiah calls saying Conrad has disappeared, Belly knows what she must do to make things right again. And it can only happen back at the beach house, the three of them together, the way things used to be. If this summer really and truly is the last summer, it should end the way it started--at Cousins Beach.


Author Bio:

Jenny Han has her master's degree in Creative Writing for children from the New School. Her previous books include Shug and The Summer I Turned Pretty. She lives in New York City.


©2010


My Opinion:
Once I sat down, and really gave the book a chance, I found it easy to get through. It was a nice, light, summer read. I felt the author rounded the characters out well, and I enjoyed the way the story transitioned throughout the chapters. My favorite character was not Belly though, I actually loved Jeremiah! I thought he stole the show!
Definitely a great story, but probably not for everyone.
(3/5)


~I received a copy from Simon & Schuster. I was not compensated for my opinion.~


Friday, July 23, 2010

Giveaway: The Body Shop - Paul Solotaroff


Synopsis:
As a scrawny college freshman in the mid-1970s, just before Arnold Schwarzenegger became a hero to boys everywhere and Pumping Iron became a cult hit, Paul Solotaroff discovered weights and steroids. In a matter of months, he grew from a dorky beanpole into a hulking behemoth, showing off his rock hard muscles first on the streets of New York City and then alongside his colorful gym-rat friends in strip clubs and in the homes of the gotham elite. It was a swinging time, when "Would you like to dance?" turned into "Your place or mine?" and the guys with the muscles had all the ladies--until their bodies, like Solotaroff''s, completely shut down.
But this isn't the gloom-and-doom addiction one might expect--Solotaroff looks back at even his lowest points with a wicked sense of humor, and he sends up the disco era and its excess with all the kaleidoscopic detail of Boogie Nights or Saturday Night Fever.
Written with candor and sarcasm, THE BODY SHOP is a memoir with all the elements of great fiction and dazzlingly displays Paul Solotaroff's celebrated writing talen


Thank you to Anna & Hachette Book Group for the giveaway! I have 3 copies up for grabs! Here is what you need to do to enter:

OPEN TO US & CANADA
NO P.O BOXES


Mandatory Entry:
Comment on the book, and leave an email address.

Additional Entries:
+1 Follower via Google Friend Connect, on sidebar (MUST be public profile to count)
+1 Facebook like Freda's Voice (leave first name, last initial to count, in a separate comment)
+1 Join my Blog Frog Community (leave Blog Frog name so I can find you, in a separate comment)
+1 Follow me on Networked Blogs (on sidebar, or click link, leave name in a separate comment.)
+1 Follow my Twitter, (leave Twitter user name, in a separate comment)
+1 Tweet or Blog, (leave link in separate comment)


Easy as 1-2-3! Ends August 11, 11:59 pm, est.





Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Friday 56


Rules:
* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find a teaser sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of Story Time With Tonya.


It's Not Summer Without You - Jenny Han

Page 56, Line 4 & 5:

She'd sing it right along with the mice. Cinderbelly, Cinderbelly.


Three Quarters Dead - Richard Peck


Synopsis:
Kerry is chosen by the coolest clique in school and so she thinks life has finally begun. But then it seems all over when her three friends are killed in a shocking car accident. Or are they? Only weeks after the accident, Kerry receives a text from one of the girls: We're all 3 here at my aunt's in the city. Take the 3:50 train. B there.
Exhilarating, terrifying suspense is crossed with a thought-provoking examination of peer pressure in Richard Peck's return to his contemporary teen- and ghost-story roots. This is a master author's gift to the Gossip Girl/Twilight generation: his own smart, stylish, and fun take on the paranormal.


Author Bio:

Richard Peck lives in New York City. His extensive list of honors includes the Newbery Medal, the Edgar Award, the Margaret A. Edwards Award, and the National Humanities Medal. He has twice been a finalist for the National Book Award.


AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE OCTOBER 2010


©2010


My Opinion:
I was so angry when I first received these books, over having to pay the duty on a review copy, that I just wanted to read them and get them out of my sight. The first part of the book didn't help any. It was slow-paced, and not much really forming as in way of a story, it was just four girls in school. Whoopie!
Then the second half, picked up almost out of nowhere.
It did make up for any feelings I previously had, as I swept through the pages like a madwoman. I had to know what was going on with the girls. I'm so glad I didn't stop, because I had no idea the ending would be that thrilling.
So as for whether I liked it, yeah after all, I did. It's not what I consider a best-seller, but it's good for a teen to get into, or people who enjoy ghost stories.
(3/5)


~I received a copy from IJustFinished.com, though I paid duty. I was not compensated for my opinion.~


Giveaway: The Disappearing Spoon - Sam Kean


Synopsis:
The Periodic Table is one of man's crowning scientific achievements. But it's also a treasure trove of stories of passion, adventure, betrayal, and obsession. The infectious tales and astounding details in THE DISAPPEARING SPOON follow carbon, neon, silicon, and gold as they play out their parts in human history, finance, mythology, war, the arts, poison, and the lives of the (frequently) mad scientists who discovered them.
We learn that Marie Curie used to provoke jealousy in colleagues' wives when she'd invite them into closets to see her glow-in-the-dark experiments. And that Lewis and Clark swallowed mercury capsules across the country and their campsites are still detectable by the poison in the ground. Why did Gandhi hate iodine? Why did the Japanese kill Godzilla with missiles made of cadmium? And why did tellurium lead to the most bizarre gold rush in history?
From the Big Bang to the end of time, it's all in THE DISAPPEARING SPOON.


Thank you to Anna & Hachette Book Group for the giveaway! I have 2 copies up for grabs! Here is what you need to do to enter:

OPEN TO US & CANADA
NO P.O BOXES


Mandatory Entry:
Comment on the book, and leave an email address.

Additional Entries:
+1 Follower via Google Friend Connect, on sidebar (MUST be public profile to count)
+1 Facebook like Freda's Voice (leave first name, last initial to count, in a separate comment)
+1 Join my Blog Frog Community (leave Blog Frog name so I can find you, in a separate comment)
+1 Follow me on Networked Blogs (on sidebar, or click link, leave name in a separate comment.)
+1 Follow my Twitter, (leave Twitter user name, in a separate comment)
+1 Tweet or Blog, (leave link in separate comment)


Easy as 1-2-3! Ends August 7, 11:59 pm, est.






Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tattoos On The Heart - Gregory Boyle


Synopsis:
How do you fight despair and learn to meet the world with a loving heart? How do you overcome shame? Stay faithful in spite of failure? No matter where people live or what their circumstances may be, everyone needs boundless, restorative love. Gorgeous and uplifting, Tattoos on the Heart amply demonstrates the impact unconditional love can have on your life.
As a pastor working in a neighborhood with the highest concentration of murderous gang activity in Los Angeles, Gregory Boyle created an organization to provide jobs, job training, and encouragement so that young people could work together and learn the mutual respect that comes from collaboration. Tattoos on the Heart is a breathtaking series of parables distilled from his twenty years in the barrio. Arranged by theme and filled with sparkling humor and glowing generosity, these essays offer a stirring look at how full our lives could be if we could find the joy in loving others and in being loved unconditionally. From giant, tattooed Cesar, shopping at JCPenney fresh out of prison, we learn how to feel worthy of God’s love. From ten-year-old Lula we learn the importance of being known and acknowledged. From Pedro we understand the kind of patience necessary to rescue someone from the darkness. In each chapter we benefit from Boyle’s wonderful, hard-earned wisdom. Inspired by faith but applicable to anyone trying to be good, these personal, unflinching stories are full of surprising revelations and observations of the community in which Boyle works and of the many lives he has helped save.
Erudite, down-to-earth, and utterly heartening, these essays about universal kinship and redemption are moving examples of the power of unconditional love in difficult times and the importance of fighting despair. With Gregory Boyle’s guidance, we can recognize our own wounds in the broken lives and daunting struggles of the men and women in these parables and learn to find joy in all of the people around us. Tattoos on the Heart reminds us that no life is less valuable than another.


Author Bio:

Father Gregory Boyle was ordained a Jesuit priest in 1982. He received his Master of Divinity from the Weston School of Theology; and a Sacred Theology Masters degree from the Jesuit School of Theology. In 1988, Father Boyle began what would become Homeboy Industries, now located in downtown Los Angeles. Fr. Greg received the California Peace Prize, the “Humanitarian of the Year” Award from Bon Appétit; the Caring Institute’s 2007 Most Caring People Award; and received the 2008 Civic Medal of Honor from the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce.
Since 1986, Father Gregory has been the pastor of Dolores Mission in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles. The church sits between two large public housing projects, Pico Gardens and Aliso Village, known for decades as the gang capital of the world. There are 1,100 gangs encompassing 86,000 members in Los Angeles, and Boyle Heights has the highest concentration of murderous gang activity in the city. Since Father Greg—also known affectionately as G-dog, started Homeboy Industries nearly twenty years ago, it has served members of more than half of the gangs in Los Angeles. In Homeboy Industries’ various businesses—baking, silkscreening, landscaping—gang affiliations are left outside as young people work together, side by side, learning the mutual respect that comes from building something together.


About Homeboy Industries:

Homeboy Industries traces its roots to “Jobs For A Future” (JFF), a program created in 1988 by Father Gregory Boyle while he was serving as pastor of Dolores Mission parish in Boyle Heights. Begun as a jobs program in 1988, offering alternatives to gang violence in one of the toughest neighborhoods in the city, the program soon grew beyond the parish.
With the addition of a small bakery in a run-down warehouse across the street from Dolores Mission, JFF had its own business, one where it could hire the most challenging, difficult to place young people in a safe environment. The hope was that they could learn both concrete and soft job skills, to make them stronger, better prepared candidates for permanent employment. A tortilla stand in Grand Central Market downtown solidified the evolution of JFF into Homeboy Industries.
In only a few years, Homeboy Industries has had an important impact on the Los Angeles gang problem, with young people from over half of the region’s 1,100 known gangs seeking a way out through Homeboy. Thousands of young people have walked through the doors of Homeboy Industries looking for a second chance, and finding community. Gang affiliations are left outside as these young people work together, side by side, learning the mutual respect that comes from shared tasks and challenges.
Homeboy became an independent nonprofit in August of 2001, and has since grown into a national model. This year, we will celebrate our 20th anniversary as an organization in our new headquarters located in downtown Los Angeles, just two blocks from Union Station. Homeboy serves as a beacon of hope and opportunity for those seeking to leave gang life, for whom the barriers and challenges are great, and for whom there is virtually no other avenue to enter the mainstream.
In addition to providing job training and placement assistance and other free programs, a distinctive feature of Homeboy Industries continues to be its small businesses, where the most difficult to place individuals are hired in transitional jobs, thus giving them a safe, supportive environment in which to learn both concrete and soft job skills, while simultaneously building their resume and work experience. Former rivals find themselves working side by side, finding true community and friendship in place of the limited community of gang life. Homeboy’s businesses now include the Homeboy Bakery, newly re-opened in our new Headquarters downtown, Homeboy Silkscreen, which prints logos on apparel and provides embroidery services; Homeboy Maintenance, which provides landscaping and maintenance services; Homeboy Merchandise, which sells t-shirts, mugs, tote bags, and mouse pads with the Homeboy logo, now with a retail storefront in the new Headquarters, as well as online ordering; Homegirl Café, newly expanded in the new building with 86 seats, plus a dedicated Catering kitchen provides a training ground dedicated to female clients in all aspects of the restaurant and service industry. Homeboy Press has been publishing a literary magazine since 2008.





©2010


My Opinion:
I felt like this book was a look into a world I am all too happy I don't live in and experience, but also one I don't wish anyone else to either. The lives of Los Angelos residents is hard enough, then mix in some gang life, and it's beyond comprehension to most.
I am in awe of the Pastor who wrote the book, though I don't know that I like a Pastor writing cuss words. Even if repeating conversation, or emphasizing emotion, it just seems wrong. After I got past that and read the content, not the religious sermon, but the idea of helping these former gang members find their way, truly inspired, warmed my heart, and prompted me to ask, "What can I do?".
A powerful and emotional read, though I don't think this book would be for everyone.
(3/5)


~I received a copy from Condor Book Tours. I was not compensated for my opinion.~


The Dark Divine - Bree Despain


Synopsis:
Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared—the night she found her brother Jude collapsed on the porch, covered in his own blood—but she has no idea what a truly monstrous secret that night held.
The memories her family has tried to bury resurface when Daniel returns, three years later, and enrolls in Grace and Jude's high school. Despite promising Jude she'll stay away, Grace cannot deny her attraction to Daniel's shocking artistic abilities, his way of getting her to look at the world from new angles, and the strange, hungry glint in his eyes.
The closer Grace gets to Daniel, the more she jeopardizes her life, as her actions stir resentment in Jude and drive him to embrace the ancient evil Daniel unleashed that horrific night. Grace must discover the truth behind the boy's dark secret...and the cure that can save the ones she loves. But she may have to lay down the ultimate sacrifice to do it—her soul.


©2009


My Opinion:
This was like reading the Twilight books, only with werewolves instead of vampires. I really loved the molding of the story, and how the author brought us into Grace Divine's world. This was one of those books that you think will take you longer to finish than it actually does. I just didn't want to put the book down. It was like watching a film in my mind, when I read the words off the page. I really could see this turning into a blockbuster smash hit!
I definitely recommend this book, to EVERYONE!!!!
(5/5)


~I don't recall how I obtained the book, but was not compensated for my opinion.~



Excerpt: No Hope For Gomez by Graham Parke


Blog entry: Saturday. Decided to do a little detective work. Headed over to the hospital and queued up at the front desk to ask about visitor’s hours. The nurse told me they’d just started.
“Great,” I said. “Can I just walk in?”
“You can,” she said. “Who did you want to see?”
“A Mr. Miller. Mr. Joseph Miller. He was brought in two days ago.”
The nurse consulted her computer, frowned, then shook her head. “No, I’m sorry,” she said. “Mr. Miller’s dead. He died late last night.” She looked up from her screen. “Would you like to see somebody else?”
“What? No! I really need to talk to Mr. Miller. Are you absolutely sure he’s passed away?”
“I can recheck if you want.” She typed away. “Sometimes this program mixes up some of the… ah, I see what I’ve done now.” She gave me an apologetic smile. “Stupid little me,” she said. “I had the stats of several files mixed up.”
I breathed a sigh of relief. “So, he didn’t pass away?”
“Oh, no,” the nurse said, shaking her head, “he’s still dead, but he died this morning rather than last night.” She held up her hand with a small amount of space between her thumb and index finger. “You missed him by that much.”
“I see,” I said. “Does it at least say what he died of?”
She browsed her screen, bit her lip, and mumbled, “Yes, no, wait a minute. I saw something about…. Ah, yes. Yes, it does.” She looked up again. For a long moment we stared at each other. When I finally arched an eyebrow, she said, “Are you a relative? I’m not supposed to give out this kind of information to just anybody.”
I tried to think fast. I really needed that information but I didn’t know Joseph other than from the clinic waiting area. We’d never even spoken. Then, out of nowhere, the perfect answer just came to me. I told her, “Yes.”
“Okay then.” She was about to tell me when her face clouded over again. “You really should be getting this information from his doctor, though.”
I waved it away, told her it would be fine.
“Well,” she said, reading from her screen, “it says here he died of dehydration and malnutrition.”
“He was found passed out in his apartment,” I told her. “Apparently he’d been out for a while. Does it say what caused him to lose consciousness in the first place?”
The nurse perused the file for a long time, then shook her head. “No, sorry,” she said. “I’ll have to get the doctor for that. Just a moment.” She reached for the phone.
“That’s okay,” I said. I didn’t want to get into trouble for impersonating a relative. “I need to go. Pressed for time. Thank you.”
As I turned to leave, she called after me, “Are you sure you don’t want to visit anyone else? There are some really nice people up on the second floor. Much nicer than Mr. Miller. They’d love to talk to you.”


More about Graham Parke and his works, visit his website.





Where To Buy:

No Hope for Gomez! is available from Barnes & Noble at a reduced price for a limited time.

Amazon link for purchase.


Early reviews:
“Extremely witty and clever writing that contains keen insights into human nature.”
-- California Chronicle

“A very funny book; a veritable page turner of nonstop laughs. Buy a copy and find out for yourself!”
-- Reader Views

"A quick and unputdownable read that flies in the face of reason, and smashes against the wall of detective novels. It's a Coens Brothers' film formatted in book form."
-- BookReview.com


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Giveaway: The Imposters Daughter by Laurie Sandell


Synopsis:
Laurie Sandell grew up in awe (and sometimes in terror) of her larger-than-life father, who told jaw-dropping tales of a privileged childhood in Buenos Aires, academic triumphs, heroism during Vietnam, friendships with Kissinger and the Pope. As a young woman, Laurie unconsciously mirrors her dad, trying on several outsized personalities (Tokyo stripper, lesbian seductress, Ambien addict). Later, she lucks into the perfect job--interviewing celebrities for a top women's magazine. Growing up with her extraordinary father has given Laurie a knack for relating to the stars.


Thank you to Anna & Hachette Book Group for the giveaway! I have 5 copies up for grabs! Here is what you need to do to enter:

OPEN TO US & CANADA
NO P.O BOXES


Mandatory Entry:
Comment on the book, and leave an email address.

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Teaser


Host

* Grab your current read.
* Let the book fall open to a random page.
* Share with us two (2) “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.
* Please avoid spoilers!


My Teaser:


She'd looked me right in the eyes and told me in this real serious tone that secrets were wrong and no one had the right to ask me to keep one.
I wish she'd set the same rule for promises.

~ Page 18, The Dark Divine - Bree Despain



The Little Brainwaves Investigate... Human Body


Synopsis:
Following on from the award-winning Brainwaves books for older children, DK introduces a brand new series for younger kids, featuring the Little Brainwaves. In each book, the illustrated Little Brainwaves characters poke, prod, and peer at their photographed subjects, providing an appealing and original way for kids to learn about an amazing variety of topics. In The Little Brainwaves: Human Body young readers can explore the world of the human body, shrinking down to a truly tiny size to examine us inside and out.


©2010


My Opinion:
At what age should we talk to our kids about the human body and where babies come from? I say, maybe 7-9, and by this book, I'd say I'm close.
This book is a fascinating look at the human body, including sexual organs and where babies come from. It focuses more on the actual insides of the body, and not sex.
A fantastic illustrated book, and very informative too. There were many things that I had not known, and if I hadn't read the book, I still wouldn't.
A great way for parents or teachers to talk to kids about the body, and how it is made. It even is very detailed about how everything works!!
(5/5)


~I received a copy from DK Canada. I was not compensated for my opinion.~

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Vatican - Father Michael Collins


Synopsis:
Written by a Vatican insider and accomplished church historian, this book is a unique behind-the-scenes look at the world’s smallest nation and the spiritual center of the Catholic Church. Produced with the full cooperation of the Vatican, this is a beautifully illustrated insiders guide into the 2,000 year long history of the Vatican and papal influence, daily life and governance of the world’s largest religious body, and the art collections and other priceless treasures rarely seen by the public. In addition to a unique photographic tour, the book includes personal interviews with various Vatican employees and insiders who make their home there, from a Swiss Guard to a singer in the Sistine Chapel choir. This book is an unparalleled look into life inside the Holy City.



©2008


My Opinion:
One of the best photo journeys I have ever been on. There was so much I thought I knew about the Vatican, and then after reading this book, I learned so much more.
I was unprepared for the valuable content in the book.
If you've not been to Italy, and seen the Vatican for yourself, or haven't the money, passport, etc to travel, this is the best book you can get to take you there. From floor plans, to history of the Papal, to the treasures, this book has it all!
A fabulous book indeed!
(5/5)



~I received a copy from DK Canada. I was not compensated for my opinion.~



A Summer Secret - Kathleen Fuller




Synopsis:
In the Mysteries of Middlefield series, readers will be immersed into exciting mysteries and authentic Amish culture.
With a twin brother and five younger brothers, Mary Beth Mullet’s house is in constant chaos. Her parents don’t seem to mind the noise, but she needs a break from all the pestering and babysitting.
It’s the summer before eighth grade, and Mary Beth plans to escape to her secret place as much as possible. The old barn in the neighboring field is dangerous, and her parents have forbidden her to go there, but she escapes to it as often as she can.
Mary Beth soon discovers she is not alone in the barn. Someone is living there; someone who needs help. Can Mary Beth help the stranger without losing her secret place? And what if the barn is as dangerous as her parents say it is?
Readers will identify with Mary Beth’s struggles for peace and independence and be engrossed in the excitement and danger of A Summer Secret.


©2010


My Opinion:
I loved this story!
At first I didn't know what to expect. I liked the characters, mainly Mary Beth, but had no idea what the mystery would be. When it turned out to do with an orphaned runaway, I was not put off in the least.
This story had a way of making you look at your own beliefs, and wonder what you would do in the same situation. Honestly, I bet we can all take some tips off the children in the book. We too soon forget to be good to our fellow man, and help people when they are in need. This book reminds us of what we should really be like towards each other.
A great book for any adult or young reader.
(4/5)


~I received a copy from Thomas Nelson. I was not compensated for my opinion.~

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Power of the Middle Ground - Marty Babits, LCSW, BCD


Synopsis:
The Power of the Middle Ground explains as no other self-help book does why and how the inherent difficulties entailed in the change process itself are daunting. Author Marty Babits, a seasoned couples therapist and educator, explains strategies and provides tips for grappling successfully with the challenges that change presents. This key aspect of working through relationship difficulties has, until now, been given short shrift in the popular and academic literature. Despite the central place of divorce in our culture, he teaches couples how to achieve a much greater impact in solving difficult interpersonal problems than is often thought possible.
Babits helps couples envision a place that brings their potential for love and compassion alive. This place, which neither partner can dominate and in which each learns to approach problems productively, he calls the middle ground. Through a series of exercises, he equips couples to appreciate and actualize what is positive and possible in their relationship.
This encouraging, yet realistic book empowers partners to negotiate differences, emphasize the positive, see issues from each other's point of view, defuse anger, and, as a result, rekindle warmth and love.


Author Bio:
Marty Babits, LCSW, BCD (New York, NY), author of The Power of the Middle Ground: A Couple's Guide to Renewing Your Relationship, is a psychotherapist in private practice and a member of the Executive Supervisory Committee of FACTS (the Family and Couples Treatment Service) of the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy.
For more information, view Marty Babits's Web site.



©2009


My Opinion:
This is a great relationship book in so many ways, with providing help on different kinds of relationships. No matter what your situation is, there may be help in this book. However, I do believe this book to only be a tool for better communicating with your partner. I do think if your relationship is that bad, this won't help, you still need an outsource like therapy or counseling.
Really not a book for everyone, but still very valuable to those who read it.
(3/5)


~I received a copy from FSB Associates. I was not compensated for my opinion.~



The Friday 56


Rules:
* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find a teaser sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of Story Time With Tonya.


A Summer Secret - Kathleen Fuller

Page 56, Line 4 & 5:

She read the hurt on his face. "I'm sorry, Johnny. I really am."



Thursday, July 15, 2010

Once Wicked Always Dead - T. Marie Benchley


Synopsis:
Molly Madison's life is shattered with the sudden death of her beloved parents and the revelation of her husband Phillip's affair--with another man. Molly heads west to Montana, resolved to run the family ranch, the Ghost Bear, and to move on with her life. Her attraction to Clayton Leatherbe, the ranch foreman, is instant, but before a romance can blossom, the ranch falls prey to sabotage by wealthy land developers determined to drive Molly out, and Clayton learns of a family secret that could put the ranch--and Molly's life--in jeopardy. A sharp mystery that deals with the themes of family secrets, betrayal, love, and loss, Once Wicked Always Dead is a strong debut from an author with literary blood in her veins.


AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE SEPTEMBER 1, 2010


©2010


My Opinion:
This was another really great way of spending my time, reading this awesome story!
I was drawn right into the life of Molly. She quickly became a favorite character and I wanted to see what happened. I was impressed with all the twists and turns in the story too. Catching me in ways I didn't know I could be caught. Just when you think you have it all figured out, the author throws something else in. Not in a way that burdens you with plots either, but just enough to make you go, "Wow, who knew?!".
I think everyone will like the tale, the characters and the writing style. Though there is some swearing. Not too much though.
(4/5)


~I received a copy from the publisher. I was not compensated for my opinion.~


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Bug Zoo - Nick Baker


Synopsis:
A guide to building your very own zoo of bugs, worms, and other creepy-crawlies! Written by Discovery Channel's Nick Baker, Bug Zoo shows children how to turn backyard bugs into fascinating pets and create a "zoo" of insects, spiders, worms, and other common creepy-crawlies. Learn to build an ant farm, spider house, bee box, wormery, and more!


©2010


My Opinion:
I'm not so crazy about the idea of owning a bug zoo, but if I was, this is the perfect book to use as a resource. It shows you everything you need to know about owning a critter zoo, from feeding to up-keep. I may not want a bug zoo, but I love the idea of the book. This would be great for school age children doing Science projects. So if this sounds like you, or your child, get a copy!
(2.5/5)


~I received a copy from DK Canada. I was not compensated for my opinion.~


My Little Red Book - Rachel Kauder Nalebuff (CAUTION: VERY DESCRIPTIVE IN WOMEN'S HEALTH)


Synopsis:
Nineteen-year-old student Rachel Kauder-Nalebuff spent the past five years collecting stories about first periods for this moving and funny anthology about a transformative time in the lives of girls. The current edition of this New York Times bestseller has been updated to include new stories, including Judy Blume's!
My Little Red Book describes the experiences of girls of all ages, races, faiths, and cultural backgrounds, ranging from the light-hearted (Rachel got hers while waterskiing in a yellow bathing suit) to the heart stopping (a first period discovered just as the author was about to be strip-searched by the Nazis). With an engaging mix of true tales, My Little Red Book is uniquely poised to break down social taboos surrounding menstruation and to provide educational support and entertainment for women of all ages. It is the perfect gift for a young woman who has just gotten, or is about to get her first period. Whatever she experiences or expects, from disposal challenges and stains to late starts and fear of dying, she'll find she isn't alone.
Contributors include Jennifer Baumgardner, Meg Cabot, Sara Hickman, Erica Jong, Maxine Kumin, Patty Marx, Joyce Maynard, Megan McCafferty, Tamora Pearce, Gloria Steinem, Rachel Vail, and Cecily von Ziegesar.


©2009


My Opinion:
This is a book, that is perfect if you have a daughter and are unsure how to approach the subject of menstruating.
I rather appreciated all the stories, since being a woman I sympathize. I, too, have a red book story;

I was 2 weeks shy of my 11th birthday, and went to the bathroom. As I was going, I noticed blood. Of course I knew what a period was, my mom had used a tampon in front of me once when I was small, and I asked a lot of questions, but it still didn't prepare me for what I saw.
I screamed bloody murder, and my mother came in. She must've known the dreaded scream and what it meant, since she just rushed in, reached under the vanity and handed me the box of tampons. She looks at me and said, "Inside the box is in insert, read it!", and with that she walked out, closing the door behind her.
I did what I was told, though it did take a while, I was crying and it made it hard to read and comprehend.
Needless to say, I figured it out. Though, it must have been in slightly wrong, the first few times were uncomfortable.


This is the kind of stories that are in the book. There is even a wonderful story, more article style, from Gloria Steinem that is fabulous, on PAGE 124.
I HIGHLY recommend this one to all my females out there, and your daughters 10+. It is important they know what is coming, before it does. Remember how you felt, then you will see why.
(5/5)


~I won my copy. I was not compensated for my opinion.~


Do No Evil: An Artemis Agency Novel - Kymberly Goltermann & Ashley L. Goltermann


Synopsis:
Three years ago, Phineas Nobul was at the top of her game as a defense attorney in Los Angelos. When the Lair, New York native returned home for the holidays, she was surprised to find herself willing to give it all up for love. Now brokenhearted, nearly penniless, and once again unemployed, Phineas finds herself partnering up with her sister to take a second shot at success.
Phoebe, the eldest and more responsible Nobul daughter, envies her little sister's free spirit and loathes her unreliability. this is never more the case than when Phoebe finds herself dumped on her wedding day and her little sister nowhere to be found. When Phineas resurfaces and much wine has been consumed, she presents the heinous idea of Phoebe quitting her career in publishing to team up with her as private investigators. Phoebe rejects the idea at first but then sees this as a chance to start over.
Business is barely up and running when a corpse is left in the newly established Artemis Agency. A foreboding warning soon follows. The sisters don't know whether to be terrified or intrigued. As the bodies begin piling up, Phoebe and Phineas get caught up in a case of conspiracy and scandal that once haunted small-town Lair.
Add an eccentric trigger-happy grandmother, a basset hound with an attitude, a hunky yet overprotective veterinarian, a mysterious cop known as Officer Yummy, and a very persistent killer and you've got one hell of a mystery!


Author Bios:

KYMBERLY GOLTERMANN lives in a lingerie storage unit on the outskirts of a small town that is to remain nameless due to reasons of witness protection. Her current career is classified information but her hobbies involve reenacting Gore vs. Bush Supreme Court case and dancing naked under a full moon. While this is her first piece of literature composed on paper, her other works can be found written on her shower wall, where she does her best plotting.

ASHLEY L. GOLTERMANN currently lives in the basement of a snow globe factory on Route 66 according to her CIA file. FOr work she shaves Alpacas and breakdances. In her spare time she enjoys hunting for Quail with Dick Cheney and nude underwater hang gliding off the coast of Utah. She spends her weekends contemplating new and exciting ways to kill people--the more mess the better. She is currently working on her next book by shaving the words onto her cat.


©2010


My Opinion:
Mystery - check.
Romance - check.
Humor - check.
This book had it all for a little one, and it packed a mighty punch! I thought the authors were quite clever in their writing style, and found myself giggling outright. I was dumbfounded with the twist in the end, and had no idea it was there! Nicely played ladies!!
The characters are molded in such a way, that you don't have to be a woman, let alone a sister to appreciate the story. Men will completely love the tale of these two relentless ladies, sniffing where they shouldn't. You will get lost in the story right till the very end!
Definitely on my recommendation list, and I do hope I see more, like a series?! That would be sublime!
(5/5)


~I received a copy from the authors. I was not compensated for my opinion.~


Audubon Practical Naturalist


Synopsis:
Whether the natural world is at your doorstep, in the heart of a concrete jungle, by the sea, on top of a mountain, or in a cabin in the woods, The Practical Naturalist gets readers outdoors and shows how to experience the wonders of the world, and shows what is living in each habitat. Inspirational, informative, and educational, The Practical Naturalist is perfect for anyone interested in learning more about their surroundings and looking at their world in a brand new light.


©2010


My Opinion:
I really love this book. For being a person of the Earth, nature, animals and even insects, I thought this was one of the best books I have ever had the pleasure of reading. It would be perfect for children while studying certain subjects, like animal species, or different rocks. You name it, this book contains it!
A fabulous book, that any parent would love their children reading!
(5/5)


~I received a copy from DK Canada. I was not compensated for my opinion.~




Giveaway: The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender


Synopsis:
The wondrous Aimee Bender conjures the lush and moving story of a girl whose magical gift is really a devastating curse.
On the eve of her ninth birthday, unassuming Rose Edelstein, a girl at the periphery of schoolyard games and her distracted parents’ attention, bites into her mother’s homemade lemon-chocolate cake and discovers she has a magical gift: she can taste her mother’s emotions in the cake. She discovers this gift to her horror, for her mother—her cheerful, good-with-crafts, can-do mother—tastes of despair and desperation. Suddenly, and for the rest of her life, food becomes a peril and a threat to Rose.
The curse her gift has bestowed is the secret knowledge all families keep hidden—her mother’s life outside the home, her father’s detachment, her brother’s clash with the world. Yet as Rose grows up she learns to harness her gift and becomes aware that there are secrets even her taste buds cannot discern.


Thank you to Judy & DoubleDay Books for the giveaway! I have 2 copies up for grabs! Here is what you need to do to enter:

OPEN TO US ONLY, SORRY!
NO P.O BOXES


Mandatory Entry:
Comment on the book, and leave an email address.

Additional Entries:

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