Monthly Archives: March 2010

Book Review of Love in Mid Air by Kim Wright


Love in Mid Air
The blurb:
A chance encounter with a stranger in an airplane sends Elyse Bearden into an emotional tailspin. Suddenly, Elyse is willing to risk everything: her safe but stale marriage, her seemingly perfect life in an affluent Southern suburb, and her position in the church. As Elyse embarks on a risky affair, her longtime friend Kelly and the other women in their book club begin to question their own decisions about love, sex, marriage, and freedom. In the end it will take an extraordinary leap of faith for Elyse to find — and follow — her own path to happiness.

Review:
I enjoyed Love In Mid Air. Elyse is the lead character and although her failing marriage to Phil and her love affair with Gerry are critical and these relationships move the action forward, Elyse’s friendship with Kelly is just as significant to the novel. It’s the camaraderie and friendship of the different women in the book club, despite their small differences and occasional rivalries that made the characters come alive for me.

It’s the dialogue that sets Love In Mid Air apart. Elyse’s internal dialogues are a delight – the biting wit had me shaking my head and smiling at the same time. The book deals with infidelity, love, happiness, and the sacrifices we each make in our journeys towards self fulfillment.

ISBN-10: 0446540447 – Hardcover
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (March 29, 2010), 320 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

About the Author, courtesy of the publisher:
Kim Wright has been writing about travel, food, and wine for more than 25 years and is a two-time recipient of the Lowell Thomas Award for Travel Writing. Learn more on Kim Wright’s site at http://loveinmidair.com/home/

Thank you so much to Miriam and Hatchette Book Group for this review opportunity!

Book Review of Love in Mid Air by Kim Wright


Love in Mid Air
The blurb:
A chance encounter with a stranger in an airplane sends Elyse Bearden into an emotional tailspin. Suddenly, Elyse is willing to risk everything: her safe but stale marriage, her seemingly perfect life in an affluent Southern suburb, and her position in the church. As Elyse embarks on a risky affair, her longtime friend Kelly and the other women in their book club begin to question their own decisions about love, sex, marriage, and freedom. In the end it will take an extraordinary leap of faith for Elyse to find — and follow — her own path to happiness.

Review:
I enjoyed Love In Mid Air. Elyse is the lead character and although her failing marriage to Phil and her love affair with Gerry are critical and these relationships move the action forward, Elyse’s friendship with Kelly is just as significant to the novel. It’s the camaraderie and friendship of the different women in the book club, despite their small differences and occasional rivalries that made the characters come alive for me.

It’s the dialogue that sets Love In Mid Air apart. Elyse’s internal dialogues are a delight – the biting wit had me shaking my head and smiling at the same time. The book deals with infidelity, love, happiness, and the sacrifices we each make in our journeys towards self fulfillment.

ISBN-10: 0446540447 – Hardcover
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (March 29, 2010), 320 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

About the Author, courtesy of the publisher:
Kim Wright has been writing about travel, food, and wine for more than 25 years and is a two-time recipient of the Lowell Thomas Award for Travel Writing. Learn more on Kim Wright’s site at http://loveinmidair.com/home/

Thank you so much to Miriam and Hatchette Book Group for this review opportunity!

Book Blog Tour of Tempt Me If You Can by Janet Chapman


Tempt Me If You Can (Sinclair Brothers, #2)

The blurb:
When an anonymous letter stuns shipping magnate and confirmed bachelor Ben Sinclair with the news that he has a teenage son, he’s determined to make good on the past. But Emma Sands doesn’t trust him. The beautiful, fiery blonde has raised her nephew in the peaceful woods of Maine since he was five, and just because fifteen-year-old Michael is the spitting image of his tall, handsome father doesn’t give Ben the right to march in and change their lives forever. Or so she thinks, until his return mysteriously unearths a dangerous small-town secret. With Michael’s help, Ben will do whatever it takes to prove to fiercely independent Emma that he can be the fearless protector she never knew she wanted . . . . and the passionate lover that she always thought she could resist.

Review:
Janet Chapman’s Tempt Me If You Can is a fun contemporary romance!

Ben Sinclair, the romantic lead, is likable from the start. Upon discovering that he has an illegitimate son, his first reaction is to investigate and then to acknowledge the son. He travels to Maine, treading carefully, and slowly reveals his identity – he takes care not to disrupt his son’s life. Gorgeous, considerate, filthy rich, and a respected force in the business world, it’s easy to fall in love with Ben Sinclair! Meanwhile, Emma Sands is equally endearing – she takes on her older sister’s obligations and raises her nephew as her own. Emma is independent, intelligent, protective, beautiful and level headed. We are rooting for Emma and Ben from the very start!

As Emma, Ben, and Ben’s young son Michael slowly get to know each other, they come across a dangerous secret. Their group approach to the problem draw you in to the action – and make this book a fun, romantic read! I very much enjoyed Tempt Me If You Can. It’ll provide a nice, fun escape on a rainy evening or a day at the beach!

ISBN-10: 1416595449 – Mass Market Paperback $7.99
Publisher: Pocket Star; Original edition (February 23, 2010), 368 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

About the Author, courtesy of the publisher:
Janet Chapman is a native of rural central Maine, where she lives in a cozy log cabin on a lake with her husband. Three cats and a stray young bull moose keep them company. The winner of the Pearl Award and a two-time finalist for the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Award, she is the author of six contemporary romance novels, including The Man Must Marry, as well as the enchanting Highlander time-travel series and a sexy new paranormal romance series, both set in modern-day Maine. Visit her website at http://www.janetchapman.com

Thank you so much to Sarah and PocketBooks for this review opportunity!

Book Blog Tour of Tempt Me If You Can by Janet Chapman


Tempt Me If You Can (Sinclair Brothers, #2)

The blurb:
When an anonymous letter stuns shipping magnate and confirmed bachelor Ben Sinclair with the news that he has a teenage son, he’s determined to make good on the past. But Emma Sands doesn’t trust him. The beautiful, fiery blonde has raised her nephew in the peaceful woods of Maine since he was five, and just because fifteen-year-old Michael is the spitting image of his tall, handsome father doesn’t give Ben the right to march in and change their lives forever. Or so she thinks, until his return mysteriously unearths a dangerous small-town secret. With Michael’s help, Ben will do whatever it takes to prove to fiercely independent Emma that he can be the fearless protector she never knew she wanted . . . . and the passionate lover that she always thought she could resist.

Review:
Janet Chapman’s Tempt Me If You Can is a fun contemporary romance!

Ben Sinclair, the romantic lead, is likable from the start. Upon discovering that he has an illegitimate son, his first reaction is to investigate and then to acknowledge the son. He travels to Maine, treading carefully, and slowly reveals his identity – he takes care not to disrupt his son’s life. Gorgeous, considerate, filthy rich, and a respected force in the business world, it’s easy to fall in love with Ben Sinclair! Meanwhile, Emma Sands is equally endearing – she takes on her older sister’s obligations and raises her nephew as her own. Emma is independent, intelligent, protective, beautiful and level headed. We are rooting for Emma and Ben from the very start!

As Emma, Ben, and Ben’s young son Michael slowly get to know each other, they come across a dangerous secret. Their group approach to the problem draw you in to the action – and make this book a fun, romantic read! I very much enjoyed Tempt Me If You Can. It’ll provide a nice, fun escape on a rainy evening or a day at the beach!

ISBN-10: 1416595449 – Mass Market Paperback $7.99
Publisher: Pocket Star; Original edition (February 23, 2010), 368 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

About the Author, courtesy of the publisher:
Janet Chapman is a native of rural central Maine, where she lives in a cozy log cabin on a lake with her husband. Three cats and a stray young bull moose keep them company. The winner of the Pearl Award and a two-time finalist for the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Award, she is the author of six contemporary romance novels, including The Man Must Marry, as well as the enchanting Highlander time-travel series and a sexy new paranormal romance series, both set in modern-day Maine. Visit her website at http://www.janetchapman.com

Thank you so much to Sarah and PocketBooks for this review opportunity!

Book Review of Pearl of China by Anchee Min


Anchee Min’s recent novel, Pearl of China, comes out today! I was fortunate to receive a review copy from Leila and Bloomsbury.

Pearl of China: A Novel
The blurb:
In the small southern China town of Chin-kiang, in the last days of the nineteenth century, two young girls bump heads and become thick as thieves. Willow is the only child of a destitute family. Pearl is the headstrong daughter of zealous Christian missionaries. She will grow up to become Pearl S. Buck, the Nobel Prize-winning writer and activist, but for now she is just a girl embarrassed by her blonde hair and enchanted by her new Chinese friend.

Moving out into the world together, the two enter the intellectual fray, confide their beliefs and dreams, and experience love and motherhood. But these are times of great tumult. When a bloody civil war erupts, Pearl is forced to flee the country ahead of angry mobs. Willow remains loyal to her exiled friend, but under Mao’s repressive new regime, her “imperialist” ties jeopardize both her husband’s career and her own safety. Worlds apart, the women’s lives remain entwined.

Ambitious and deeply moving, Anchee Min’s stunning novel Pearl of China celebrates an incredible friendship and brings new color to the life of Pearl S. Buck, a woman whose unwavering lover for the country of her youth eventually led her to be hailed as a national heroine in China.

Review:
I was very excited at the chance to review Anchee Min’s Pearl of China. I have an uncle who would carefully select books for me. When I was in fifth grade, he introduced me to Pearl S. Buck’s The Good Earth. The Good Earth was the first grown up book that I read; the story was so absorbing and sad that it stayed with me for a long time. It was The Good Earth that sparked my interest in China.

In Pearl of China, Anchee Min introduces Pearl S. Buck at a young age. We meet Pearl as a young girl as she befriends Willow, a young Chinese girl. Pearl Sydenstricker is the daughter of American missionaries stationed in Chin-kiang, a small town south of the Yangtze River. The villagers are not interested in converting but they’re drawn to the Sydenstrickers because of the food, medicine and music that they offer.

Pearl and Willow’s friendship gets off on a rocky start but they quickly become inseparable. Curious, active, and high spirited girls, Pearl and Willow get into all sorts of adventures. They lived under the Qing Dynasty and survived the Boxer Rebellion in relative innocence until the Sydenstrickers were forced to retreat to Shanghai. After this separation and by the time that they’re 14, Pearl and Willow’s lives take very different directions. Pearl is in a missionary middle school in Shanghai while Willow is engaged to a wealthy older man.

Though the friends live very different lives, they make a point of seeing each other and remain very close friends. This friendship continues even after Pearl moves to the United States for college. When Pearl and her husband return to China years later, Pearl confides the details of her life to Willow. Willow shares her own life’s disappointments and the women continue to find strength in their friendship – even years later when Pearl is forced to leave China and their letters are censored.

Violence explodes in China and the country undergoes momentous changes from the Japanese occupation to Nationalist control to the eventual victory of Mao and the Communist Party. Like everyone around them, Pearl and Willow find their lives changed. Pearl moves to the United States and she is recognized worldwide for her writing with the Pulitzer and the Nobel Prize for Literature. Willow’s husband becomes one of Mao’s trusted advisers but as her friendship remains a source of strength it also becomes a political liability for Willow.

Pearl of China is as much a story of loyalty and friendship in historic times as it is the story of Pearl S. Buck as a woman of China and a dedicated and gifted writer. I found Pearl of China moving and inspiring – a glimpse into the life of one of the most interesting people of the 20th century.

ISBN-10: 1596916974 – Hardcover $24.00
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; 1 edition (March 30, 2010), 288 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

About the Author, courtesy of Amazon:
Anchee Min was born in Shanghai in 1957. During the Cultural Revolution, she was ordered to denounce Pearl S. Buck as an American imperialist. At seventeen she was sent to a labor collective, where a talent scout for Madame Mao’s Shanghai Film Studio recruited her to work as a movie actress in propoganda films. She came to the United States in 1984 with the help of actress Joan Chen. Her memoir, Red Azalea, was named one of the New York Times Notable Books of 1994 and was an international bestseller, with rights sold in twenty countries. Her novels Becoming Madame Mao and Empress Orchid were published to critical acclaim and were national bestsellers. Her two other novels, Katherine and Wild Ginger, were published to wonderful reviews and impressive foreign sales. Learn more on Anchee Min’s website at http://www.ancheemin.com/

Anchee Min’s is starting her national tour on April 5. Check out if she’s coming to your town here. Here’s a short list of events – but there are many more on her website.

4/19 – Washington D.C.: Politics & Prose – reading at 7 pm
4/20 – Philadelphia, PA: Philadelphia Free Library – a reading at 7:30 pm
4/21 – Boston, MA: Boston Public Library – a reading at 6 pm
4/22 – New York, NY: Barnes & Noble on the Upper West Side – a reading at 7 pm
4/23 – New York, NY: Asian American Writers’ Workshop – luncheon at 12 noon
4/24-4/25 – Los Angeles, CA: LA Times Festival of Books
4/26 – Iowa City, IA: Prairie Lights – a reading at 5 pm
4/27 – Chicago, IL: Bookstall at Chestnut Court – a reading at 7 pm
4/28 – Denver, CO: Tattered Cover – a reading at 7:30 pm
4/29 – Minneapolis, MN: Minneapolis Central Library at 7 pm
5/5 – Austin, TX: Bookpeople – a reading at 7 pm
5/6 – 5/7 – Houston, TX: Asia Society

Thank you so much Leila and Bloomsbury for this review opportunity!
CymLowell

Hatchette Audio Book Giveaway: The Art of Choosing: The Subtext of Life by Sheena Iyengar


Thanks to Anna and Hatchette Book Group, we are giving away 3 copies of The Art of Choosing: The Subtext of Life by Sheena Iyengar and read by Orlagh Cassidy.

About the Book:
Every day we make choices. Coke or Pepsi? Save or spend? Stay or go? Whether mundane or life-altering, these choices define us and shape our lives. Sheena Iyengar asks the difficult questions about how and why we choose: Is the desire for choice innate or bound by culture? Why do we sometimes choose against our best interests? How much control do we really have over what we choose? Sheena Iyengar’s award-winning research reveals that the answers are surprising and profound. In our world of shifting political and cultural forces, technological revolution, and interconnected commerce, our decisions have far-reaching consequences.

About the Author, courtesy of the publisher:
Sheena Iyengar’s groundbreaking research on choice has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the National Security Education Program, as well as by private institutions. In 2001, she received the Presidential Early Career Award and in 2005 she was invited to serve as a fellow at Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study. She holds degrees from UPenn, The Wharton School of Business, and Stanford University (from which she also received the prestigious Best Dissertation Award in 1998, for her work “Choice and its Discontents.”) She is a professor at Columbia University.

Iyengar’s work is regularly cited in the media, in periodicals as diverse as Fortune and Time magazines, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, as well as on National Public Radio and in books such as Blink by Malcolm Gladwell and The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz. She lives in New York City.

Listen to an excerpt on the Hatchette site.

CONTEST DETAILS:

To enter please just share why you’d like to win this book.

Rules:
1. Please include your email address, so that I can contact you if you win. No email address, no entry.
2. You must be a follower to join the contest.

The contest is limited to US and Canada only. No P.O. boxes. The contest ends at noon on April 30, 2010.

Thank you so much, Anna and Hatchette Book Group for generously sponsoring this giveaway!

Hatchette Audio Book Giveaway: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith


Thanks to Anna and Hatchette Book Group, we are giving away 3 unabridged audio books of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith.

About the Book:
Indiana, 1818
. Moonlight falls through the dense woods that surround a one-room cabin, where a nine-year-old Abraham Lincoln kneels at his suffering mother’s bedside. She’s been stricken with something the old-timers call “Milk Sickness.”

“My baby boy…” she whispers before dying.

Only later will the grieving Abe learn that his mother’s fatal affliction was actually the work of a vampire.

When the truth becomes known to young Lincoln, he writes in his journal, “henceforth my life shall be one of rigorous study and devotion. I shall become a master of mind and body. And this mastery shall have but one purpose…” Gifted with his legendary height, strength, and skill with an ax, Abe sets out on a path of vengeance that will lead him all the way to the White House.

While Abraham Lincoln is widely lauded for saving a Union and freeing millions of slaves, his valiant fight against the forces of the undead has remained in the shadows for hundreds of years. That is, until Seth Grahame-Smith stumbled upon The Secret Journal of Abraham Lincoln, and became the first living person to lay eyes on it in more than 140 years.

Using the journal as his guide and writing in the grand biographical style of Doris Kearns Goodwin and David McCullough, Seth has reconstructed the true life story of our greatest president for the first time-all while revealing the hidden history behind the Civil War and uncovering the role vampires played in the birth, growth, and near-death of our nation.

Watch Honest Abe in action here: http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/authors_ABLVH.aspx

About the Author, courtesy of the publisher:
Seth Grahame-Smith is a film and television writer/producer, semi-frequent blogger, and bestselling author. His first novel, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, debuted at #3 on the New York Times bestseller list. Since its release in April 2009, it’s sold over a million copies and been translated into 20 languages. Seth is also the Co-Creator/Executive Producer of the upcoming MTV comedy series, “The Hard Times of RJ Berger.” He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and son.

Intrigued? Read an excerpt here. Or listen to an excerpt on the Hatchette site.
Sign up for the Undead Book Club or become a fan on Facebook.

Do you want your own copy? Sign up below!

CONTEST DETAILS:

To enter please just share why you’d like to win this book.

Rules:
1. Please include your email address, so that I can contact you if you win. No email address, no entry.
2. You must be a follower to join the contest.

The contest is limited to US and Canada only. No P.O. boxes. The contest ends at noon on April 30, 2010.

Thank you so much, Anna and Hatchette Book Group for sponsoring this giveaway!