Friday, March 30, 2012

The Hunger Games and Green Reading

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The Hunger Games and Green Reading 
--posted with permission from Eco-Libris
"The Hunger Games" had a record box office opening, taking in $155 million in U.S. ticket sales over the last weekend and setting up what promises to be one of the biggest film franchises of this decade. The movie is based on the book The Hunger Games, the first novel in the Hunger Games trilogy written by Susan Collins. The success of the movie helps boost the sales of the trilogy and Scholastic, the publisher of the Hunger Games Trilogy announced yesterday that there were 36.5 million copies of the bestselling trilogy in print, a 55 percent jump from the 23.5 million copies in print at the start of 2012.     

Why I'm telling you all of this? Because I believe The Hunger Games phenomenon provides some important and valuable lessons for everyone who is interested in making books greener.

Let's start with a fact: According to Lisa Serra, Director of Paper Procurement at Scholastic, the hardcover copies of the three books in the series (The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay)are printed on Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Chain of Custody-certified text stock containing 20 percent post-consumer fiber (source: Joshua Martin, Environmental Paper Network Director).    

Now, let's move on to three assumptions:    
1. If you are interested in reading one of the Hunger Games, most chances are that you don't find it too important what paper it is printed on - you won't look for another book if you will find out the trilogy is printed on 100 percent virgin paper, just like you won't buy it only because it's printed on 20 percent FSC-certified paper or even if it's 100 percent recycled paper. In other words: The sustainability level of the paper will not be a factor in your decision. Most chances are that you probably won't even think about it.     

2. Those readers who will be concerned with the issue of the paper might consider reading the Hunger Games electronic version - the e-book costs just like the paperback ($5) and no paper is used at all. Couldn't it get any greener than that?    

3. Scholastic probably knows that the fact it is using 20 percent FSC-certified paper doesn't really make a difference for the majority of readers. Most of them probably are not even aware to the fact that Scholastic is making this effort, or to the fact that after making significant progress toward its original targets for 2012, Scholastic decided to increase its 2012 goal from 30% FSC-certified paper to 35%.       

As we already know a book is a unique product - it's not like toothpaste or a cleaning product where customers can switch to a competing product that is more sustainable and provide them a better value. If they want a certain book, they will just get it and there's no better example right now than the Hunger Games. Just think about yourself - would you avoid purchasing the Hunger Games just because it's printed on 80 percent virgin paper? Probably not. 

You might be considering reading it on an e-reader or even going to the library to get a copy or e-copy of the book, but you certainly won't give it up for 'green' reasons per se.   
So what lessons can we learn from the example of the Hunger Games and what actions can we take to apply them?
1. Readers will not be the drivers of change when it comes to printing books on a more sustainable paper (i.e. FSC-certified or recycled paper). Nevertheless, it is important to keep educating them about the impacts of paper, so even if it won't be a substantial factor in their decision making, they will still be aware of it.  
2. Readers are moving to e-reading and many of them believe it is also a greener alternative since no paper is involved. It is important to make sure readers will know it's not always the case and be aware that e-reading also has its own footprint. It's also important to encourage readers to demand companies like Amazon to disclose the environmental impacts of the e-readers they sell.   

3. Although readers might not be a major driver for change, publishers should make efforts to inform them on their efforts to green up their operations, especially when there is what to report on. Scholastic, for example, should try to make sure every reader of the Hunger Games in its paper version would know that the book is printed using 20 percent FSC-certified paper.    

4. Publishers should think of their efforts to make their books more sustainable in terms of stakeholder engagement. Right now it looks like their best shot to generate both tangible and intangible rewards out of these efforts. Just think about the RAN campaign against publishers printing on linked to Indonesian rainforest destruction (Scholastic by the way was among RAN's recommended publishers) or the trouble Gibson Guitars got into when they were accused in violating the Lacey Act, and you can see how stakeholder engagement provide a great monetary incentive to shift to FSC-certified any recycled paper.    

5. We still don't have the best answers to the question how to make reading more sustainable - technology provides hope and stakeholder engagement provide incentives, but it's still not enough to drive a change fast enough. Trees are still been cut in an unsustainable way and we know it can be avoided. We just need to keep figuring out how. Any ideas?  
Let Eco-Libris know you read this!  Comment on this post or comment on their blog, or Facebook page.

Sonoma Rose

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Author: Jennifer Chiaverini
ISBN: 978-0525952640
Publisher: Dutton Adult
Source: TLC Book Tours
Rating: Recommended

About the Book:

As the nation grapples with the strictures of Prohibition, Rosa Barclay lives on a Southern California rye farm with her volatile husband, John, who has lately found another source of income far outside the federal purview.

Mother to eight children, Rosa mourns the loss of four who succumbed to the mysterious wasting disease that is now afflicting young Ana and Miguel. Two daughters born of another father are in perfect health. When an act of violence shatters Rosa’s resolve to maintain her increasingly dangerous existence, she flees with the children and her precious heirloom quilts to the mesa where she last saw her beloved mother alive.

As a flash flood traps them in a treacherous canyon, only one man is brave—or foolhardy—enough to come to their rescue: Lars Jorgenson, Rosa’s first love and the father of her healthy daughters. Together they escape to Berkeley, where a leading specialist offers their only hope of saving Ana and Miguel. Here in northern California, they create new identities to protect themselves from Rosa’s vengeful husband, the police who seek her for questioning, and the gangsters Lars reported to Prohibition agents—officers representing a department often as corrupt as the Mob itself. Ever mindful that his youthful alcoholism provoked Rosa to spurn him, Lars nevertheless supports Rosa’s daring plan to stake their futures on a struggling Sonoma Valley vineyard—despite the recent hardships of local winemakers whose honest labors at viticulture have, through no fault of their own, become illegal.

My Thoughts:

Setting aside the obviously beautiful cover, which makes me want to travel to wine country, this book had a lot going on for one woman’s life.  Rosa is in a marriage that is unstable and unsafe.  Her husband is erratic and unpredictable.  A victim of domestic violence, Rosa is forced to flee her home with her four children, two which are healthy and two who are sick with a degenerative  or wasting disease that has already claimed the life her 4 other children.  When Rosa is rescued from a dangerous flash flood by her first love and father of her two healthy children, she finds herself starting over in wine valley.  Unfortunately this time period is during the prohibition which causes a whole new host of issues for Rosa and her family. 
There were interesting parts of this book that captured me.  I have a low interest in wine and therefore didn’t know much about the prohibition era or hardships wine makers went through. The history in this book was interesting and for the most part, held my attention.  I found it hard to write a synopsis due to the large amount of information I was processing with this book.  I also didn’t connect with any of the characters or their situations aside from Rosa’s resolve to protect and heal her children.
Sonoma Rose addresses some pretty difficult issues, which the author does well.  Through the domestic violence loss of children, degenerative disease, fear and hardships of the era, the author portrays a strong character who gives life her all, even when it fights back.
While I enjoyed parts of this book, I also felt lost and over stimulated at times.  My head didn’t stay in it.  I think many people will enjoy this book, but it’s definitely not for everyone.  If I have peaked your interest, have at it.  I do recommend it to those who may enjoy this type of read.
You’ll like it if:
·         You like wine

·         You like history/era’s

·         You like challenging topics

·         You like novels with lots of drama

·         You want to read something different and unique
You might not like it if:
·         Domestic violence is a sensitive subject for you.

·         You’re not a fan of drama

·         You don’t have an interest in wine

·         You don’t enjoy fiction or history
About the Author:

JENNIFER CHIAVERINI is the author of the New York Times bestselling Elm Creek Quilt series, as well as five collections of quilt projects inspired by the novels. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the University of Chicago, she lives with her husband and sons in Madison, Wisconsin.
Connect with Jennifer at her website, Elm Creek Quilts Online.

Recommended with Caveats

Thursday, March 29, 2012

K5 Learning Program Blogger Opportunity

K5 Learning has an online reading and math program for kindergarten to grade 5 students. I've been given a 6 week free trial to test and write a review of their program. If you are a blogger, you may want to check out their open invitation to write an online learning review of their program.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Barefoot Season & An Interview With Susan Mallery!

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Susan Mallery Q and A about BAREFOOT SEASON

New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery has entertained millions of readers with her witty and emotional stories about women and the relationships that move them. Susan is honored by enthusiastic readers who say that her books make them laugh, make them cry, and make the world a happier place to live. Susan lives in Seattle with her husband and her tiny but intrepid toy poodle. She’s there for the coffee, not the weather.

Susan’s latest book is BAREFOOT SEASON, the heart-wrenching story of two wounded women who heal their friendship – and find love with two fabulous men – over one long, lovely summer on Blackberry Island, Washington. BAREFOOT SEASON is the first book of Susan’s new Blackberry Island series of women’s fiction novels.

Susan, what made BAREFOOT SEASON a story you had to tell?

I find female friendship endlessly fascinating. I feel very blessed to have several strong, supportive friendships that have endured for years. We celebrate each other’s successes, grieve for each other’s losses, nurture and praise and lecture – whatever is called for at that moment. I know how strong friendship between women can be.

But friendship can also be fragile.

One day, I asked myself, What if you and your best friend fell in love with the same man… and then he chose her? Could you be truly happy for her when your heart is breaking? What would you do if he then came to you – this man you both love – and told you that he made a mistake, that he should have chosen you? Could you turn him away? From this spark came BAREFOOT SEASON.

As children, Michelle and Carly were as close as sisters, running free on Blackberry Island. Now, ten years after their friendship was destroyed by love, they’re forced together again by circumstances to save the Blackberry Island Inn. Along the way, they’ll each find love with two great men and the sense of family they’d been missing for so many years. I do love a happy ending!

BAREFOOT SEASON is the first book of your new Blackberry Island series. What can you tell us about Blackberry Island, both the books and the place?

On Blackberry Island, life is sweet and the happy ending is guaranteed! I’m a firm believer that life is better with romance, so you can rest assured that the women on Blackberry Island will find love with men who will make your toes curl. The Blackberry Island books will also allow me to explore other relationships. We women often define ourselves by the relationships in our lives. Not just by our romantic relationships, but by our friendships, our relationships with our mothers, our children, our bosses, our neighbors… For us, it’s not so much “what do you do?” as “whom do you love and who loves you back?” that determines how we feel about ourselves. It’s nice to stretch my wings a little to write about some of these other defining relationships, as well.

Blackberry Island is a quaint island off the coast of Seattle, a popular weekend escape for Seattlites who want to get out of the city. You can get to the island either across Getaway Bridge or by ferry. Locals are friendly hosts, happy to direct you to one of several wineries on the island, the daisy fields that have made it the Daisy Capital of the West Coast, and the Puget Sound Crane habitats. You can learn more about Blackberry Island at And yes, it’s fictional, but it’s real in my heart, as I hope it will become real in yours!

BAREFOOT SEASON is more of a women’s fiction, then, rather than a straight romance. Are you moving away from writing romance?

Absolutely not! I love romance. There is still nothing more exciting to me than watching two people fall in love. I adore the first kiss, my heart always sinks when things are at their darkest and it looks hopeless, and I am as thrilled as ever when love triumphs in the end. My next romance will be SUMMER DAYS, book 7 of the Fool’s Gold series, which will land in stores on May 29. Well, that’s the next full-length romance. On May 1, I’ll release ALMOST SUMMER, a Fool’s Gold ebook novella. Then there will be two more Fool’s Gold romances in July and August, plus a Christmas gift-sized hardcover in October called A FOOL’S GOLD CHRISTMAS. If you’ll sign up for my mailing list at, I’ll send you an email on release day.

Do you think book clubs will enjoy BAREFOOT SEASON? Why or why not?

I do! I belong to a book club, and the books we most enjoy discussing are the books that feel like a slice of life. In BAREFOOT SEASON, the two women at the center of the story are both decent people who have legitimate reasons for feeling the way they do, which means that book club members can legitimately fall on either side of the issue that’s causing the conflict in the book.

I’m always very proud when readers and reviewers say that they really identified with the characters in my books. Those characters feel as real to me as people in real life – a fact which is endlessly confusing for my poor husband, who has to ask for clarification when I tell him about something that someone did that day. “Is she a real person?” he’s forced to ask.

I think readers will really connect with the characters in BAREFOOT SEASON. Carly is a hard-working, loving single mom. She would do anything for her daughter, including put up with the woman who betrayed her. If the inn goes under, Carly doesn’t just lose her job – she loses her home, the only home her daughter has ever known.

Michelle is sarcastic and funny and kind of crabby. I do love a crabby woman! Michelle is prickly, but beneath that prickliness, she’s loyal and has a heart that won’t quit. Wait until you meet the dog she rescues – and who rescues her.

I’ve included a readers’ discussion guide in BAREFOOT SEASON to help get the conversation started. There are even a couple of recipes! I’d be happy to chat about the book live via phone or Skype with any book club that selects BAREFOOT SEASON. Just email my assistant at jenel (at) susanmallery (dot) com to set it up.

What kind of research did you do?

In BAREFOOT SEASON, Michelle is struggling with post-traumatic stress after being wounded in Afghanistan. Since I’ve never served in the military, I wanted to be sure I got those details right, to honor the women who serve our country. I did a lot of research online, then I spoke personally with Sergeant Betty Thurman. What struck me time and again was how proud our soldiers are of what they do. Rightfully so. These are strong, resilient women. Although they are barred from certain duties, they can and do serve in war zones. They can and do put their lives on the line, and they do it because they love our country.

After I finished the book, I asked a fan of mine who has been deployed twice to read it for a “gut check.” Did I get the emotions right, I wanted to know. She told me that she felt as if I was in her head. On top of being a soldier, she is a wife and mother to four children. She loved the book so much that she has preordered ten copies to send to her “battle buddies.”

What do you hope your readers take away from reading BAREFOOT SEASON?

Friends can become family. We’re not all lucky enough to be born with the family we deserve, but we can build a family by surrounding ourselves with loving, supportive friends.

How did you come up with the title BAREFOOT SEASON?

In the book, Michelle spots Carly’s young daughter in the back yard, barefoot and spinning in circles with her face raised toward the sun and her arms outstretched. It makes her long for the long summer days of her own childhood, when she and Carly ran barefoot around Blackberry Island. In her mind, being barefoot is closely connected with innocence, with the time in her life before she had been hurt, before she knew there was darkness in the world.

What’s next for you, after BAREFOOT SEASON?

This summer, I’m heading back to Fool’s Gold, California – the Land of Happy Endings – with four brand new full-length novels, plus an ebook novella. The titles and release dates are:
ALMOST SUMMER – May 1 (ebook novella)

I LOVE Susan Mallery!  In addition to being a wonderful and entertaining author, she is sweet, kind, funny and interactive with her readers!  If you haven't gotten to know her you are missing out.  Checkout her site to learn more!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Girl Unmoored

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Author: Jennifer  Gooch Hummer
ISBN: 978-193655839-8
Publisher: Fiction Studio Books
Rating: Highly Recommended

Love doesn’t always mean rings and veils and walks down the aisle.
Sometimes love means broken windows and broken hearts,
And not being able to fix either.
And sometimes love means telling you,
There’s no such thing as time in Heaven so don’t rush to meet me.
Stay a while, and pick, girl, the roses.
Apron Bramhall has come unmoored. Fortunately, she’s about to be saved by Jesus. Not that Jesus—the actor who plays him in Jesus Christ Superstar. Apron is desperate to avoid the look-alike Mike, who’s suddenly everywhere, until she’s stuck in church with him one day. Then something happens-Apron’s broken heart blinks on for the first time since she’s been adrift.

Mike and his boyfriend, Chad, offer her a summer job in their flower store, and Apron’s world seems to calm.  But when she uncovers Chad’s secret, stormy seas return. Apron starts to see things the adults around her fail to –like what love really means, and who is paying too much for it.

Apron has come unmoored, but now she’ll need to take the helm if she’s to get herself and those she loves to safe harbor.

My Review:
Girl Unmoored is a coming of age story that follows Apron through her 7th grade year.  Apron has already experienced tragedy too great for someone her age, but the losses have only begun.  To say her coming of age was difficult is an understatement.  However, within the pages of trial and challenge lies a story of a young girl who overcomes it all and succeeds. This story is about her struggles and her victories, bringing a range of emotions to the table and a whole lot of unexpected laughter.  The humor, well written plot, great character development and moving emotions makes it hard to believe Girl Unmoored is a debut novel.
While I didn’t agree with every topic in this book, it was a tough, touching, funny and intelligent real world inspired story. This novel was what I call “reader friendly.”  No matter where you are on your reading journey, this book is easy to read, understand and relate too.  It wasn’t overly intelligent and smug or written without challenge to the reader. I feel like there was enough non-fiction realities in this book to make it a relatable coming of age story, yet enough fiction to keep it light and moving.  This one is quite different.  It kind of reminded me of the movie Juno in some ways, though I can’t exactly pin point why.  Regardless, this book is one I think many will enjoy and recommend.

Jennifer Gooch Hummer

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Shopping Seasonally -- What's Available & When?

Ever wondered what's in season and when?  Shop and plan to eat these wonderfully delicious foods when they are at the best in taste, color and price!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Caption This... You Could Win!

This staircase is located in the middle of the woods of New Hampshire, which happens to be my home state!  I'm sending a prize to the person whose statement about this picture inspires me the most.  Picture a book case at the top ends edge.  Get creative!  I'll pick a winner by Friday night.  Share this with a friend and have them tell me you did!  If they win, you win too!!  Let the fun begin!   Make sure to leave your email address in the space provided below.  It will not be visible to anyone else and I will never sell or give your email address to anyone.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Baker's Daughter

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The Baker's Daughter
Sarah McCoy
ISBN: 978-0-307-46018-9
Publisher: Crown
Source: TLC Book Tours
Rating: Highly Recommended

About the Book:
In 1945, Elsie Schmidt was a naive teenager, as eager for her first sip of champagne as she was for her first kiss. She and her family have been protected from the worst of the terror and desperation overtaking her country by a high-ranking Nazi who wishes to marry her. So when an escaped Jewish boy arrives on Elsie’s doorstep in the dead of night on Christmas Eve, Elsie understands that opening the door would put all she loves in danger.

Sixty years later, in El Paso, Texas, Reba Adams is trying to file a feel-good Christmas piece for the local magazine. Reba is perpetually on the run from memories of a turbulent childhood, but she’s been in El Paso long enough to get a full-time job and a fiancĂ©, Riki Chavez. Riki, an agent with the U.S. Border Patrol, finds comfort in strict rules and regulations, whereas Reba feels that lines can often be blurred.

Reba’s latest assignment has brought her to the shop of an elderly baker across town. The interview should take a few hours at most, but the owner of Elsie’s German Bakery is no easy subject. Reba finds herself returning to the bakery again and again, anxious to find the heart of the story. For Elsie, Reba’s questions are a stinging reminder of darker times: her life in Germany during that last bleak year of WWII. And as Elsie, Reba, and Riki’s lives become more intertwined, all are forced to confront the uncomfortable truths of the past and seek out the courage to forgive.

About the Author:
SARAH McCOY is author of the novel, The Time It Snowed in Puerto Rico. She has taught English writing at Old Dominion University and at the University of Texas at El Paso. The daughter of an Army officer, her family was stationed in Germany during her childhood. She calls Virginia home but presently lives with her husband and dog, Gilbert, in El Paso, Texas. The Baker’s Daughter is her second novel. She is currently working on her next.

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter

I think what I loved most about this novel was the shift between the past and the present.  This is unusual for historical fiction novels.  Most of the novels I've read might start in the present but move to the past before ending up back in the present for the finish.  The Baker's daughter is expertly written and cleverly crafted.  I enjoyed the WWII story just as much as I enjoyed Reba's story.  Both women have hardships both inward and outward. The story is complex and full of intriguing and well developed characters.  In short, you won't want to put it down.  Its heart breaking, haunting, endearing and beautifully told.  The story is carefully woven in a complex mystery full of history and plenty of personality.  Both Elise and Reba are characters I could understand and relate too.  They are well developed and have quite a lot in common though they are both very different. I think many readers will enjoy this novel.

You'll enjoy this if....
You like historical fiction
You enjoy stories that switch between past and present
Your a fan of fiction
You enjoy complex plots
You love a well rounded and intriguing book

You might not enjoy this if....
You aren't a fan of historical fiction
You are sensitive to WWII topics/stories
You prefer to read a story set intierly in the past or present but not both
You don't enjoy stories with dark periods

Highly Recommended

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Downtown Green

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Author: Judy Christie
ISBN: 978-1-4267-0899-2
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Source: Pump Up Your Book Promotions
Rating: Recommended

About the Book:

Does Lois care enough about Green to follow someone else's ideas to save it?

When the short bypass around Green opens with much fanfare, downtown dries up faster than cement on the roadway.  While the road is progress to some, it seems to be leading Green toward a national trend--a town that is merely a shadow of itself.

With the town going backwards, Louis is both intrigued and jealous when a fellow business owner comes up with a strategy to save Green.  But can his plan rescue the town from the path it's on?

About the Author:

Judy Christie owns a consulting firm that helps busy people slow down and enjoy life more.  She is author of the popular Green Series, including Gone to Green and the Hurry Less, Worry Less series, which includes Hurry Less, Worry Less for Moms.  Website:


I enjoyed this small town, downtown novel.  Quite honestly, the book tells the ailing truth of downtown areas across the country.  Even large towns and cities are having issues with downtown areas and commerce.  Driving traffic through them can be a hard issue to overcome.  How do you save a dying area?  How do you drive customers into small business?  What if anything can be done and do you stay or go?  All these questions are common and understandable, but will Green become a downtown ghost town or find a way to thrive and stay alive?

I have not read the previous books in this series, which didn't inhibit my reading of this book, but plan to read them soon!  I enjoyed the authors development of the characters and flow of the plot.  The book makes you feel like home, no matter what town you live in.  It represents small towns across America quite accurately.  I loved the quaint, historic and family like aspects of Green.  The characters were like friends and family, I easily slipped into their lives and understood their troubles.  I was happy when they were happy and sad when they were sad.  I really rooted for them and their town, which their love of is evident. 

If your looking for a quick and easy read this one will be enjoyable to you.  It not to deep but not shallow either.  It has just enough to keep you reading and plenty to make you want to read more.  I look forward to starting at the beginning of this series and following that characters through the novels.

Recommended Read

Friday, March 16, 2012

Fabulous Fiction

The March Issue of Night Owl Reviews Digital Magazine is out and that means a new FABULOUS FICTION!  Check it out via to see who I featured this month and what special genre is covered!  Hint, hint... if you're a mom you don't want to miss this!

Get More out of Google

Source: via Tiffany on Pinterest

Thursday, March 15, 2012

My Daughter's First Book

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Author: M.S.
Publisher: Tikatok
Proud Parent: ME!

Enjoy my six year old's first book!  She not only wrote the story, she illustrated it too!  Hope you like it as much as we do!  Your child can be an author too!

15 Grammar Goofs

Source: via Jill on Pinterest

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Reading Slump??

It happens to the best of us, the dreaded reading slump! It's the worst when you find that each book you pick up isn't catching your interest. Your attention span is failing, you have lost focus and sometimes the will to read. The desire is never really gone, if it was the slump wouldn't bother you, but in life the ups and down can effect you and once in awhile the slump comes around and steals your thunder. The question is, what do you do when your in a slump? Cooking, cleaning, browsing the Internet, flipping through magazines, shopping, and eating are all common answers! But what about poker?? You heard me! Online poker at Fiesta Poker dot com can help you pass time when the reading blues come calling. Click here to visit Fiesta Poker and try your hand at the game. They even have a $500 dollar bonus for those who register and use the bonus code. So whether your new to poker or a veteran to the game, this site has a game for you! They even have "the basics" written in a tutorial for those who haven't played before.

So... whether you're in a reading slump or want to learn something new or maybe you just want to get your poker face on, Fiesta Poker is sure to offer lots of addicting fun for everyone. Who knows? Maybe you'll even get to play against one of their "famous players." If the reading slump monster has come to find you or you just need a break and want to try or learn something new, head over to Fiesta Poker and try it out. It's a fun game to win!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

5 Stages of Grief

5 Stages of Grief
Bethany Ramos
Black Opal Books
ISBN: 97819372329105
Source: Author/Chick-lit Plus
Rating: Highly Recommended

About the Book:

Danielle thinks that the worst is behind her, but she couldn’t have been more wrong... As a beauty editor of Denver's hot new High Life magazine, Danielle Starkey didn’t have becoming a widow on her to-do list. Then nine months after her husband’s death, she discovers he booked a vacation with another woman. Suddenly, Danielle sees Adam’s death in a whole new light and has to get over it - for the second time. Hit with the truth when she least expects it, Danielle brings a fresh, funny, and honest approach to the grieving process as she struggles through online dating, stalking her dead husband’s mistress, and, hopefully, finding the man of her dreams. With her stubborn and sassy best friend April by her side. Danielle refuses to let sleeping dogs lie. Will she finally face the truth about herself and her marriage? Or will she succumb to one of the five stages of grief?
I laughed reading the first line of this book, which always bodes well. It's hard enough to start a book and instantly attract the readers attention, but to make me laugh out loud on top of that is almost impossible. Luckily, unlike other books I've read, this one kept its witty, realistic, and emotional approach as it followed Danielle's reaction to her grief. One of the things I loved about this novel was its outrageously unbelievable yet totally realistic and understandable approach to grief. Since people handle grief in so many ways, nothing is completely out of the question, but Ramos takes a clever, witty and emotionally driven look at grief and it works!
The novel is well written, evenly paced and sad yet funny. The characters are a well developed group. Each has there own place in the story that wouldn't be good without them. The plot or idea of behind the novel is not new. Losing your husband, becoming a widow and then finding out he had a mistress or another wife has been done before in fiction and through memoirs. However, the humor in this book is a new angle to this type of storyline and I loved this approach. Bethany Ramos pens a wonderful debut novel that will have me looking for her next book. If you have kids, she has written a children's book as well! Check out her books, they are a great investment of your reading hours!
Highly Recommended

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Attention All Authors!

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Are you an author?  Join the hop!  Introduce your book to hundreds if not thousands of readers!  Sign up here using the linkly below and find out more information here:

Readers-- Stay Tuned!  Awesome Giveaways, Prizes and more are coming your way!

My Dream Day...

I recently asked author Heather Hummel what her dream day would be like.  Find out what she said....

Whispers from the Heart

My Dream Day...
Guest post by Heather Hummel

In asking me what my dream day would be like, I smiled because in some ways, every day as a “Photonovelist” is a dream day for me. I do what I love, whether it’s writing my next book or capturing my next image. But, there are still deadlines, marketing, book signings, and other “business” activities that go with being a writer. As a Photonovelist, the photographer and lifelong adventurist in me enjoys nothing more than exploring the back roads of Big Sur in the Central California Coast with my camera in hand. Just last Saturday I had such a day. It started out by everything I went to do being thwarted! From the post office’s long line to Adobe Illustrator crashing every time I tried to work on a book’s cover, I knew I was meant to be outdoors and intuitively headed down the Pacific Coast Highway.

The drive from Carmel to Big Sur is, in my experience, the most beautiful section of the Pacific Coast Highway. It provides elevated stunning views, the Bixby Bridge (the most famous bridge used for car commercials), and a blend of pastures and mountains that are especially green this time of year. If you turn left (when heading south, of course!) at the Bixby Bridge onto the Old Coast Road, you’re in for 10 miles of nature’s spectacular beauty and rugged terrain. AWD or 4WD are highly recommended, and you may need to move a log or two out of the road to continue on, but it’s worth the adventure. Once at the top, the panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and rolling hills provide a sense of peace and perspective. On that particular day, I captured over 100 images and laid out my favorite dozen in my blog describing the day and showcasing the views. (Click here if you want to see.)  While in Big Sur, I always drive down to Pfeiffer Beach, which for me is the most magical beach. I’ve had a connection to it for years, and every time I go it’s a renewal and reminder that all is well in the world.
I’m sure most women would declare their dream day as a faraway place or a spa day filled with pampering treatments; but, for me being in the energy of Big Sur with the ocean air and spectacular views is rejuvenating to the soul. Add my soul mate to the picture, and everything comes into focus.
About Heather
Heather Hummel is a "Photonovelist" who blends her love for photography with her award-winning career as an author. Her published works include:
Journals from the Heart Series:
Whispers from the Heart (2011)
Write from the Heart (2011)
GO BIKE & Other Signs from the Universe (2011)
Gracefully: Looking and Being Your Best at Any Age (McGraw-Hill, 2008),
Messages of Hope and Healing ( Sunpiper Media, 2006)
Blue Ridge Anthology (Cedar Creek, 2007) with David Baldacci and Rita Mae Brown
2009 Mature Media Awards, Merit Award
2009 New York Book Festival, Honorable Mention

Heather's books have appeared in newspapers such as: Publishers Weekly, USA Today and the Washington Post; and in magazines that include: Health, Body & Soul, First, and Spry Living, a combined circulation of nearly 15 million. A graduate with High Distinction from the University of Virginia, Heather holds a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies degree with concentrations in English and Secondary Education. She is currently earning a Ph.D. in Metaphysical Sciences.
Visit Heather’s website at
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Saving Money

Saving money
Post contributed by Hilton Miranda

Ever since my husband began graduate school, money has been a little tight in our house. I have been trying to save money on groceries by using coupons, but the prep time to use coupons is about an hour or two each week and I do not always have that kind of time. We have been trying to stick to a cash budget, but most weeks we spend a little more money than we intend to. I did find a way to save on our power bill by searching “electric providers Texas”online. I had no idea that we were eligible for fixed-rate energy. We have also been trying to eat out less. I was amazed at how much money we saved the first month of budgeting by cooking at home more. With two small children, it is much easier to eat at home anyway. I know that our finances will be better in the future, after my husband completes his doctoral degree and his pay increases. I keep telling myself that this is just a season of life and money will not be this tight forever.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sneak Peak: The Good Father bt Diane Chamerlain

(April 24, 2012)
400 pages
ISBN: 9780778313465
Pre-order this book:  The Good Father

"Four years ago, nineteen-year-old Travis Brown made a choice: to raise his newborn daughter on his own. While most of his friends were out partying and meeting girls, Travis was at home, changing diapers and worrying about keeping food on the table. He’s never regretted his decision: Bella is the light of his life. But after Travis loses his job and his home, the security he’s worked so hard to create for his daughter begins to crumble. When he receives a job offer, he thinks his troubles have come to an end . . . not realizing that they’ve only just begun."

Discover more of this intriguing story by visiting....

I'm excited to read this book after reading The Midwife's Confession!  Diane has a great back list of titles for readers who may not be aware of them!  Check it out on her site.