Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Georgette Heyer Royal Giveaway!

In honor of the Royal Wedding of Prince William of Wales and Kate Middleton, Sourcebooks is giving away two mystery Georgette Heyer novels to two winners from this blog. The two books will be a surprise to the winners, and me as well. I don't know what titles they will be. See below for the details on how to enter. Georgette Heyer is one of my favorite authors - I want to enter!!

If you haven’t already checked out the Sourcebooks British Babes Book Brigade Facebook Page (where you can participate in giveaways and interact with authors like Elizabeth Chadwick, Jill Mansell, Helen Hollick, Sarah Bower and Phillipa Ashley and more…) then you should this week as the page goes royally mad!! Sourcebooks is giving away books to three winners each day - so hurry up and check it out in order to enter the drawing these next couple of days! (For more details see my longer post here)

Giveaway Details

Sourcebooks has been kind enough to two secret Georgette Heyer title for a giveaway to two separate people.

If you would like to win one of these Georgette Heyer title, please leave a comment about what intrigues you about Georgette Heyer, her novels, or the royal wedding.

As part of your comment, you must include an email address. If I can't find a way to contact you I will draw another winner.

For an additional entry, blog about this giveaway or post it on your sidebar. Provide a link to this post in your comment.

I will be using (or a monte carlo simulation in excel) to pick the winners from the comments.

This contest is only open to US and Canadian residents (Sorry!).

No P.O. Boxes.

The deadline for entry is midnight, Friday May 6th.

Good luck!

Winner of A Race to Splendor

There was much interest in A Race to Splendor by Ciji Ware, but unfortunately there can only be one winner. That one lucky winner is RivkaBelle of A Word's Worth. RivkaBelle was chosen using and has been notified via email. She has until next Wednesday, May 4th, to send me her mailing address. If I don't hear from her, a new winner will be chosen.

Thank-you to author Ciji Ware for a fantastic guest post, to Beth of Sourcebooks for allowing me to host this giveaway, and to all of you who entered and left great comments. I hope you are all able to pick up this book and enjoy it as much as I did!

Sad you didn't win? I still have a giveaway going until this Friday for What Would Mr. Darcy Do? by Abigail Reynolds as seen on the right sidebar. I also have a new giveaway that will be posted shortly.

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Fierce Radiance by Lauren Belfer

A Fierce Radiance is a historical fiction thriller about the development of penicillin set at the dawn of WWII. Claire Shipley is a divorcee, mother, and a photojournalist at the very popular Life magazine. She has never quite recovered from the death of her three-year old daughter, Emily, from septicemia. Shortly after Pearl Harbor, Claire is sent to photograph the use of Penicillin on a patient at the Rockefeller Institute in New York City.

There, Claire learns about the miraculous drug, Penicillin, that could have saved her daughter’s life, and that could save the lives of American soldiers during the war, putting the enemy at a distinct disadvantage. She also meets and falls in love with the handsome researcher, Dr. James Stanton. At this point in time, the government put together a Manhattan type project to get Penicillin developed from just a mold growing in a bedpan to something that could be manufactured and widely distributed. They also had to discover how to dose people with it and what exactly it could cure by testing it on a variety of problems. Claire is given the assignment of photographing this top secret research for publication after the war, while Jamie tests the new drug across the country and at the front.

Claire soon learns that the stakes to develop penicillin and get the patent on its “cousin” antibiotics are high. Her home is ransacked and a key researcher with a great new discovery dies under very mysterious circumstances. Was this researcher killed in order to profit off of her new discovery or by spies who would love to take her discovery to Germany? You will have to read the novel to find out!

I loved this novel. Belfer was perfectly able to capture New York City at the start of WWII. The people have concerns that we have long forgotten about or take for granted. It’s hard to imagine now that the American people were certain at that time that America would be invaded by its enemies. Having Claire Shipley as a photojournalist for Life was a perfect way to bring this sense of urgency and uncertainty to life as she photographs interesting stories across the nation as well as tries to keep it all together on the home front. Belfer’s research by reading all of the Life magazines and New York newspapers during that time as well as her life experience as a photojournalist in the past is perfectly blended together to create a compelling portrait.

Belfer also dipped into what it means to be a photojournalist documenting, but not becoming a part of the story. I must admit, I have often wondered about this as I see new reporters at scenes of tragedy, not helping. Belfer wrote a great scene about this as follows,

“Nurse O’Brien, forced to step around Claire for the third time, confronted her by the window. ‘Doesn’t it bother you, to be taking pictures of them and never helping them? Aren’t you ashamed of yourself?’ she asked, the lovely Irish lilt in her voice turned to anger. . .
Claire thought, Was she ashamed of herself? She had to believe that she was helping this people, if only by creating empathy in those who read their stories. Maybe inspiring others to help them. If she didn’t believe this, she couldn’t go on.”

I loved the subject matter of this story. To think that an adult or child could die from an infected scratch is mysterious to us at this point in time. Reading about the development of Penicillin was very intriguing to me. I loved the details, but I also loved that Belfer was able to make something that could have been a very dry read into an intriguing look into a world without antibiotics. One of my favorite passages describes this:

“Doctors could do nothing, or next to nothing, to help their patients. Serum treatments. Several vaccines, including those to fight diphtheria, tetanus, and smallpox. Recently sulfa drugs, with their toxicity and limited effectiveness. Pneumonia could put an otherwise healthy adult in the hospital for a month.... President Coolidge’s son had died from a blister he developed while playing tennis in new shoes. A scratch from a rosebush could kill you. . . Tuberculosis was rampant and contagious. Last May, Claire walked Charlie to school and learned from the other parents that Miss Robertson, his art teacher, had been ‘sent to Saranac.’ Claire knew what that meant; everyone knew what that meant. Saranac was a village in the Adirondacks where TB patients received treatment in isolation from their family and friends, so they wouldn’t infect them. Some patients stayed for decades. . . Could a medicine from green mold fight all that? The idea was outlandish. Incomprehensible.”

I loved Lauren Belfer’s first novel, City of Lights, which came out about ten years ago. It was a historical fiction thriller set at Niagara Falls involving the construction of energy facilities in the 19th century. I was glad to see she was back and am happy that I had an opportunity to review her thrilling second novel.

As readers of this blog know, I am a giant fan of the Outlander novels by Diana Gabaldon and her iconic lovers Jamie and Claire. So I was intrigued that the romantic duo in A Fierce Radiance are named ... Jamie and Claire.

Overall, A Fierce Radiance is a moving, intriguing, and wonderful historical fiction novel. I highly recommend it as well as Lauren Belfer’s first novel, City of Lights.

A Fierce Radiance is my ninth book read for The Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2011.

I read A Fierce Radiance as part of the TLC Book Tours. I am the last stop on the tour, but if you would like to read further reviews of this book, check back through this other great blogs on the schedule.

Lauren’s Tour Stops
Tuesday, March 29th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Tuesday, March 29th: Bookworm’s Dinner (guest post)
Thursday, March 31st: Rundpinne
Wednesday, April 6th: Bibliophiliac
Monday, April 11th: That’s What She Read
Tuesday, April 12th: Books Like Breathing
Wednesday, April 13th: In the Next Room
Thursday, April 14th: Man of La Book
Monday, April 18th: Unabridged Chick
Tuesday, April 19th: Teresa’s Reading Corner
Wednesday, April 20th: Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books
Thursday, April 21st: Debbie’s Book Bag
Friday, April 22nd: Bookish Ruth
Monday, April 25th: Laura’s Reviews

Book Source: A Review Copy from Harper Collins. Thank-you!

Royal Giveaways!

I received the following from Sourcebooks and was intrigued. You know I'm getting more and more excited about the royal wedding, but who also wouldn't get excited by giveaways from some of my favorite British authors?

"If you haven’t already checked out the Sourcebooks British Babes Book Brigade Facebook Page (where you can participate in giveaways and interact with authors like Elizabeth Chadwick, Jill Mansell, Helen Hollick, Sarah Bower and Phillipa Ashley and more…) then you should this week as the page goes royally mad!!

The royal wedding is less than a week away and we are going to be celebrating all this week. Starting Monday we will be doing a giveaway every day until the big celebration on Friday. But these are no ordinary giveaways – these are royal wedding prize packs!

3 winners will be randomly picked each day:

- The 1st place winner will get a William & Kate wedding memento (it is top secret for now (just like Kate’s dress J) but check the page out on Monday to find out – oh and they are all different so there will be a different memento each day). Along with that they also get their choice of three books from any of our British Book Babes.

- The 2nd place winner will have their choice of any two books from any of our British Book Babes.

- The 3rd place winner will have their choice of one book from any of our British Book Babes.

You can visit the page here:"

Good luck!

Friday, April 22, 2011

What Would Mr. Darcy Do? by Abigail Reynolds

Abigail Reynolds is one of my favorite Austen authors. What Would Mr. Darcy Do? is a Pride and Prejudice Variation. This novel starts at the inn in Lambton when Elizabeth receives the bad news about Lydia and Wickham. It varies here from the original classic as instead of leaving, Mr. Darcy stays, expresses his feelings for Elizabeth, and is caught in a compromising position with her by Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner.

There are still misunderstandings aplenty between the couple, but through the events of the novel, there is an understanding of love and passion between the two. The pages of the book almost start on fire with the underlying passion between the two during several scenes. Abigail Reynolds writes wonderful romantic scenes that involve no sex, but plenty of desire.

What Would Mr. Darcy Do? gives more background and behind the scenes in the original novel. I thought was a great companion book, and very enjoyable for all lovers of Pride and Prejudice. The language of the novel seemed to flow like an additional Austen novel.

For a great interview with Abigail Reynolds and a chance to win a copy of this novel, please check out this link.

Book Source: Advance Review Copy from Sourcebooks. Thank-you!

The Cinderella Deal by Jennifer Crusie (Audio)

Daisy Flattery is a unique free spirit who has quit her job as a teacher to try to make a go of it as an artist. She loves cats, has a messy apartment, and wears crazy clothes. Daisy also loves to tell stories. She is having financial trouble, but all of that is about to change when her neighbor asks her to pose as his wife.

Lincoln (Linc) Blaise is an uptight history professor. He is up for his dream job at a college in Ohio, but it is clear that he will not get it as an unmarried man. He lies in the interview and says he has a fiancée. He asks his neighbor Daisy to pose as his fiancée for $1000. What he doesn’t expect is to fall in love with the unconventional and very unlike his type Daisy.

I really enjoyed this book. Crusie writes a wonderful romantic comedy. Daisy is a perfect Cinderella complete with two step-sisters and a charmed life that has to end at “midnight.” Daisy and Linc were both loveable characters and what I like the best about them was that they brought out the best in each other. I also loved all of the secondary characters in their lives and community. I wanted to live in their Victorian house!

I listened to the audiobook version of The Cinderella Deal as narrated by Susan Boyce. Boyce did a great job of having a unique voice for many of the characters. This was a light and fun book to listen too – especially while doing the dishes!

Overall, if you are looking for a light and fun “fairy-tale,” I highly recommend The Cinderella Deal.

This is my fourth audiobook in The 2011 Audiobook Challenge.

Audiobook Source: The Kewaunee Public Library

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Race to Splendor by Ciji Ware

As an engineer, one of my pet peeves has been the lack of books, movies, and TV shows with engineers as characters, let alone a woman engineer. I was more than a little excited to read A Race to Splendor in which the main character is a female architect in San Francisco in 1906 with a bachelor’s degree in engineering. I love reading about strong women characters, and an added bonus is having the strong woman as an engineer/architect.

Amelia Bradshaw has worked hard. As a thirty-year old woman in 1906, she has received her bachelor’s degree in engineering at UC Berkley and her degree in architecture from L’Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. After receiving her degree in architecture, she returned home to San Francisco, only to discover that her father has gambled away her and her mother’s inheritance, the grand Bay View Hotel. J.D. Thayer, the scoundrel son of a respected San Francisco family is now the proud owner of the hotel. Amelia is devastated. She takes J.D. to court, only to discover, as a woman, she has no rights and is left with nothing. Amelia takes a job at Julia Morgan’s (the first female architect in California) firm to support herself, her mother, and her aunt. Tragedy strikes when the devastating San Francisco earthquake and fire takes place.

Afterwards Amelia finds herself working hard with Julia Morgan’s firm to not only restore the famous Fairmont Hotel, but also to help J.D. rebuild the Bay View Hotel. After a misunderstanding with Julia, Amelia finds herself helping J.D. in a race to build the Bay View by the first anniversary of the quake before the Fairmont Hotel can open.

I loved A Race to Splendor. Ciji Ware’s storytelling was fantastic. Just when you think things are going well, a new wrench gets thrown into the mix. I read this book pretty quickly as I was always wondering what would happen next. The earthquake and fire description were riveting. It reminded me of one of my favorite movies, San Francisco starring Clark Gable.
Speaking of Clark Gable and his bad boy appeal, J.D. is a man made in the same mold. J.D. is the bad boy you want to hate, but love any way. He has a single minded dedication to make something of himself, but he doesn’t think of the costs to other people. While he appears to be a bad guy at the beginning of the novel, Amelia is able to peel back the layers to discover an inner depth to J.D. I was annoyed that Amelia worked for him after he stole her grandfather’s hotel from her, but I can also see that if your family hotel has to be redesigned that you would want to be the one to do it!

I love Ciji Ware’s mantra that she wonders what women were doing at that point in history. I loved that Amelia Bradshaw is a strong woman character and that she interacts with the real Julia Morgan. I think it is more than great to have a woman character that was an engineer/architect, especially at that point in history. It’s still hard work for a woman to be on a construction site as an engineer (I am one and have had the experience!). I loved reading about Amelia and Julia taking charge at the construction sites and getting work done. It was great!

I could talk about this book forever, but overall, I think it is a great historical fiction novel. It has great action, the San Francisco Earthquake, romance, and the best for me – a woman engineer/architect. This month is the 105th anniversary of the great San Francisco earthquake; do you really need another reason to read this book?

For a great guest blog by author Ciji Ware and a chance to win a copy of this book, please check out this link.

A Race to Splendor is my eighth item for the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2011.

Book Source: Review Copy from Sourcebooks – Thanks!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Abigail Reynolds, author of What Would Mr. Darcy Do,? Interview and GIVEAWAY

Abigail Reynolds is one of my favorite Austen authors. I am excited to have her on my blog today for an interview about her writing and her new novel, What Would Mr. Darcy Do?

LAG: How do you come up with your "what if" Mr. Darcy scenarios?

AR: Re-reading Pride & Prejudice is always a good place for me to start. When a scene makes me grind my teeth because Darcy is explaining himself badly or Elizabeth is misunderstanding him or there’s some external impediment to their acquaintance – that’s a good sign that it could be the basis of a variation. Sometimes it’ll be something that occurs to me when I’m reading. For my next book, it was the moment when Elizabeth takes Darcy’s letter, something I’ve learned was a huge violation of social proprieties. What if she’d done the “right” thing and refused to take it?

Sometimes a “what if” variation will turn out not to make much change in the overall story line, and those usually turn into short stories or novellas. I’ve just collected five of those in my newest book, A Pemberley Medley.

LAG: Have you thought about expanding the "what if" scenarios to other Austen novels?

AR: I’ve ruled out Emma and Mansfield Park simply because I don’t enjoy the characters enough to live with them in my mind for that long, but just lately I’ve found myself intrigued by Captain Wentworth. Anne Elliott was persuaded to refuse him the first time because he was poor and socially undistinguised, and when he re-enters her life years later, he’s become a captain and is wealthy from prize-money. Most poor seamen never made it to captain, of course. What would have happened if a captaincy hadn’t become available at the right time, and so he was only Lieutenant Wentworth and still short of money? Would the Musgrove sisters have found him so interesting? Would Anne make a different decision this time? There’s the tricky part about figuring out how he would get to Bath under those circumsatnces, but I think the plot line has great potential. Sense and Sensibility has some good variation possibilities as well.

LAG: Do you ever discuss Austen with any of your patients? I'm just wondering as when I was expecting my daughter, my doctor and I would discuss whatever book each of us were reading:-)

AR: I do discuss Austen with patients sometimes! Most of my patients are aware that I’m an Austen fan – the Jane Austen mug and the Jane Austen tote bag give it away, not to mention that I’m prone to quote Jane Austen out of the blue. I live in a town with lots of Austen fans, so a surprising number of them pick up on my quotes. Since I don’t practice under the name of Reynolds, most of them don’t know I’m a writer, though there are a dozen or so who’ve either figured it out or I’ve told them when I realized they were on the verge of discovering it – like the one who came in and recommended that I should read this great book she’d just discovered called To Conquer Mr. Darcy! The funny thing is that a couple of the patients who do know about my writing have used talking about my sex scenes as a way of leading into a discussion of their sexual issues. Hey, whatever works to make it easier for people to talk about the tough stuff!

Thanks for inviting me!

LAG: Thank-you for answering my questions - and for writing such great books! I often wonder if any of my Madison friends have you as a doctor and don't know about your secret identity! I hope you are able to write a Persuasion variation in the future - Persuasion is tied with P&P as my favorite Austen novel!

Giveaway Details

Sourcebooks has been kind enough to offer one copy of What Would Mr. Darcy Do? by Abigail Reynolds for a giveaway.

If you would like to win a copy of What Would Mr. Darcy Do?, please leave a comment about what intrigues you about the novel or this interview.

As part of your comment, you must include an email address. If I can't find a way to contact you I will draw another winner.

For an additional entry, blog about this giveaway or post it on your sidebar. Provide a link to this post in your comment.

I will be using (or a monte carlo simulation in excel) to pick the winners from the comments.

This contest is only open to US and Canadian residents (Sorry!).

No P.O. Boxes.

The deadline for entry is midnight, Friday April 29th.

Good luck!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Legacy by Jeanette Baker

Scotland. History. Suspense. A Family Curse. Time Travel. Legacy by Jeanette Baker has all of the individual elements that I love in a novel, and Baker was able to combine these elements into one fantastic story. And even better, it was a story that kept me awake when I was feeding my infant at night!

Christina Murray is a 38-year old American scholar on Scottish history. After her recent painful divorce, she is excited to discover that she is the heiress of Traquiar House, the oldest continuously habited house in Scotland. After she starts living in Traquiar House, strange things start to happen to Christina and she starts to remember past lives of the women who came before her at Traquiar House. These women look eerily like Christina and all carry shared traits that pass down the family curse.

Katrine is a lovely Jacobite supporter that falls in love with an Englishman. When Bonnie Prince Charlie returns to try to capture the throne, Katrine is torn between her family and her husband. Jeanne has a wonderful husband and two beautiful children, but after a tragedy takes the life of one of her children, her visions lead her to warn King James about the Battle of Flodden Field. These visions lead her to be accused of witchcraft. Mairi has a forbidden passion for King Edward Longshacks of England, but marries her childhood sweetheart David. After Mairi allows Edward to take Scotland’s Stone of Destiny, Mairi’s fate is sealed and a curse is cast on her and all her descendents. All of these women have a ravaging beauty and a tragic history, will Christina be able to lift the curse and find true love?

Legacy is a real page turner and a great story. It reminded me of one of my favorite books, The Green Darkness by Anya Seton. If you like The Green Darkness, you will really enjoy Legacy. I loved the modern day characters of Christina and her handsome neighbor Ian. I wanted Christina to discover the cause of the curse and to lift it. It was fascinating each time she had a flash to the past and the story continued to build to a great conclusion.

I was a bit thrown by one character though (who shall remain nameless to not spoil it for others) who seemed like a kind person at first, but suddenly became a really evil character. I don’t know what I missed –but it threw me for a loop!

Legacy is part of the Casablanca Classics – classic romance novels that have sadly gone out of print that Sourcebooks is bringing back out for a new generation. I am glad they are doing this as I’ve discovered some great new authors and novels!

Overall Legacy is a wonderful novel full of romance, mystery, and a family curse that will leave you reading way too long into the night.

Legacy is based on fictional characters in a historical setting at a real historical home. I’m counting it as my seventh item in the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2011.

Book Source: Review Copy from Sourcebooks. Thank-you!

Winner of To Defy a King by Elizabeth Chadwick

I'm sorry I'm a bit behind on blogging lately. Have no fears - I'm still reading, but am a bit behind on posting reviews. Baby Penelope has not been sleeping well for the past month, which has left less time for everything.

On to the important things . . .the winner of To Defy a King by Elizabeth Chadwick is Allison of Musings of a Book Junkie. Congrats to Allison!! Allison was selected using She has been notified via email and has one week to send me her mailing address or I will select a new winner.

I hope Allison enjoys the book as much as I did. If you would like to learn more about the book, please check out Elizabeth Chadwick's great guest post or my review.

Thank-you to Beth from Sourcebooks for allowing me to host this giveaway, to Elizabeth Chadwick for writing yet another superior historical fiction novel (and guest blog), and to all who left great comments.

Sad that you didn't win? You can check out another author guest blog about a great historical fiction novel, A Race to Splendor by Ciji Ware. Leave a comment for a chance to win. Also stay tuned for tomorrow when another giveaway will be posted . . .

Friday, April 8, 2011

My inspiration for Writing about a Female Architect druring the Early Twentieth Century by Ciji Ware (and GIVEAWAY)

Laura: I am an engineer and I am very excited to read your book as the main character is a female architect during a time when such a career was not typical. What inspired you to write about a female architect during the early twentieth century?

Ciji: In virtually all of my historical novels, I’ve always asked the question “What were the women doing during this particular era?” When I moved to San Francisco in 1998 and learned that our apartment on Nob Hill was designed and built in the aftermath of the horrific 1906 San Francisco earthquake and firestorm by California’s first licensed woman architect…well, I had to find out more about Julia Morgan.

I chose to tell the story of the rebuilding of San Francisco through the lens of a composite character, Amelia Hunter Bradshaw, based on the lives of men and women who either had worked for or knew Morgan during her rebuilding of the fabled Fairmont Hotel by the first anniversary of the quake: April 18, 1907. The speedy opening of the city’s finest hostelries was key to signaling the world that San Francisco would, indeed, rise from the ashes. I was so thrilled to be able to tell a new generation of Americans about the significant role this pioneering woman architect played in the city’s rebirth.

Julia Morgan, probably best known for designing and building “Hearst Castle” in central California for the newspaper baron, William Randolph Hearst, was born in 1972 to a well-to-do family who encouraged both the boys and girls in her family to seek education in whatever fields interested them. Julia, whose father was a civil engineer, was the only woman in her graduating class of 1894 at UC Berkeley to earn her degree in the engineering department. Mentored by San Francisco architect Bernard Maybeck who taught Julia geometry during her undergraduate days, she soon went on to be the first woman in the world to earn her credential as an architect from the famed L’Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris in 1902.

Within four years of her return to San Francisco from her studies in Europe, her beloved city was rocked by a tremendous earthquake at 5:12a.m. on April 18, 1906. The temblor and subsequent fire ravaged some 2,831 acres of the city, destroyed thirty schools, eighty churches, and left 250,000 of 400,000 San Franciscans living in tens and shacks for up to two-and-a-half years.

Morgan was only 34-years-old when the quake struck, but suddenly her little firm had more business than it knew what to do with, including the commission to restore the wounded Fairmont Hotel whose floors had fallen some seven feet. She and her colleagues attempting to revive “the Jewel of Nob Hill” entered into a competition with the city’s other hotels to open their doors by the one-year anniversary.

It was this rivalry that developed between the owners of such landmarks that formed the core of my novel about women who pitted themselves in a world dominated by men and yet succeeded in “putting Humpty-Dumpty back together again.” Morgan and her allies soon discovered that their competitors wouldn’t hesitate to employ daring, cunning and a variety of corrupted political ploys to rebuild their lives and fortunes in the face of such monumental tragedy.

If Morgan and her hand-picked employees had not been so well-schooled in engineering as well as design, I doubt that the magnificent Fairmont Hotel would be the enduring beaux arts beacon it has become for the City by the Bay.

Given the recent events of the quakes in Japan and Haiti; Hurricane Katrina, the Tsunami in Indonesia, and the BP Oil Spill, I hope you will be as swept away as I was by the story of how communities can recover from events that shake buildings and lives from their very foundations. For more information on A Race to Splendor, and my other historical novels, you’re most welcome to visit

Giveaway Details

Sourcebooks has been kind enough to offer one copy of A Race to Splendor by Ciji Ware for a giveaway.

If you would like to win a copy of A Race to Splendor, please leave a comment about what intrigues you about the novel or this guest blog.

As part of your comment, you must include an email address. If I can't find a way to contact you I will draw another winner.

For an additional entry, blog about this giveaway or post it on your sidebar. Provide a link to this post in your comment.

I will be using (or a monte carlo simulation in excel) to pick the winners from the comments.

This contest is only open to US and Canadian residents (Sorry!).

No P.O. Boxes.

The deadline for entry is midnight, Friday April 22nd.

Good luck!

An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin (audio)

An Object of Beauty is the first novel I’ve read by Steve Martin. I’ve enjoyed Martin’s comedy and movies for years, and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from him as an author. What I discovered was a very well written, intriguing novel about the art world in New York City in the 1990’s and 2000’s. My husband loves to talk about how Steve Martin in one of the premier banjo players in the country. With his music, comedy, acting, and writing, I think it is safe to say that Steve Martin is a true renaissance man.

An Object of Beauty has one of the most unique heroines that I’ve had the pleasure to read about. In the vein of Scarlett O’Hara or Catherine Earnshaw, Lacey Yeager is a strong-willed woman who cares mostly about herself and getting ahead at the cost of those who get in her way. Yet, she is fascinating to read about. I really enjoyed this book and couldn’t stop listening to Lacey’s story.

An Object of Beauty is narrated by Lacey’s friend Daniel. Daniel once had a casual college fling with Lacey, but now meets her occasionally as a friend and as a fellow art lover. While Daniel writes for an art magazine, Lacey works her way up the chain of the art world to own her own gallery. Lacey’s rise to the top is filled with scheming and intrigue, and involves at least one mystery that is finally answered at the end of the story. Lacey has learned to find art an “object of money” rather than an “object of beauty” and she lets this passion control all even if it costs her the love of her life.

Lacey’s journey was fascinating and I especially loved how the art world and Lacey’s place in it paralleled the major events of our times. This included the rise of the markets in the 90’s and early 00’s and the crash at the end. Lacey’s experience on 9/11 was very intriguing and I couldn’t turn the CD off at that point! I also didn’t know how this affected the art world. Most of all, I loved the detail that Martin wrote about the art world. I know next to nothing about art and I loved his detailed explanations of how it all works. It was very interesting and never boring.

I listened to the audiobook as read by Campbell Scott. He did a fair job as a narrator and stood in for me as Steve Martin narrating the novel.

An Object of Beauty is my third item in the Audiobook Challenge 2011.

Audiobook Source: Review Copy from Hachette Audio. Thank-you!

Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin

Something Borrowed is “chick lit” at its best, a provoking, humorous, and thoughtful look at a difficult issue. Rachel White is a “perfect” 30-year old that has worked long and hard to make it as lawyer in New York City. On the evening of her 30th birthday, her perfect streak ends and she ends up spending the night with her best friend’s fiancé, Dex.

Rachel realizes that she has loved Dex since they first became friends in Law school, but has never thought she was good enough for him. She instead introduced him to her best friend Darcy. Darcy is beautiful, confident, and has been a loyal best friend since the two were in elementary school. Darcy also usually only thinks of one person, herself, and can sometimes be a very selfish person. Rachel feels herself trapped in the middle and as the wedding approaches; she has to decide whether to chase love or to keep friendship.

I usually get annoyed at “cheating” novels, but this book was so well written and so well rounded I could see things from all of the characters points of views. I constantly wanted to know what was going to happen next and I could hardly put it down. I loved this book!

I also enjoyed how the main character was only a few years older than me. Her experiences growing up in the Midwest were very similar to my own, down to the longing for a pair of Guess jeans (I saved up my summer “detassling” money to buy myself some!).

Something Borrowed was the FLICKS Book and Movie Club book for April. I think it may have been a club first and was actually loved by all of us. Good job picking out a book E!

Book Source: The Kewaunee Public Library

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Winner of Sins of the House of Borgia by Sarah Bower!

The lucky winner of Sins of the House of Borgia by Sarah Bower is Julie of Knitting and Sundries. Congrats to Julie! She has been notified via email and has until next Wednesday, April 13th, to email me her mailing address. If I don't hear from her by that time, I will draw a new winner. Julie was selected using

I'm running a bit behind on blog entries as work has been a little hectic lately. Combine that with three kids five and younger and there just doesn't seem to be enough time in a day to get everything done!

Thank-you to Beth from Sourcebooks for allowing me to host this great giveaway. Thank-you to Sarah Bower for the great guest post and for writing such and intriguing book. And thank-you to all who entered the giveaway and left great comments.

I currently have one giveaway going (as seen on the right bar) for another great historical fiction novel, To Defy a King by Elizabeth Chadwick. I will also have a new giveaway posted this Friday.