Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Confessions of a Trauma Junkie - Sherry Jones Mayo

~ My Life as a Nurse Paramedic ~

Sherry Jones Mayo has worked most of her life in the emergency medical field, as an ER nurse, paramedic and critical incident debriefer for both civilian and military employers.

Mayo explores and shares her own life story, from the initial inkling that she wanted to be involved in healing (as a youngster she brought home a dead dog and put it in her mother's bed so she could 'make it better') to the present day. Her daughter has followed in her footsteps, working emergency situations as well. We are privy to her personal problems, struggles and solutions, dealt with using her own personal tenacity and the strength of her faith.

Sherry has gathered stories from other medical personnel as well. I was totally captured by these tales. Many are heartbreaking, reinforcing the strength needed to deal on a daily basis with the unexpected. Others are laugh out loud funny - especially those from the emergency room.

Confessions of a Trauma Junkie takes an inside look at what goes on behind the scenes and the toll it extracts from those who serve the public. It also celebrates the joy and satisfaction that come from that same service.

Mayo writes with great honesty and the pride she takes in her profession shines through her writing. If I was ever in need of medical help, I'd want Sherry on my side.

As Sherry says " I held her life in my hands as God held my hand steadily over hers. These are the moments that reaffirm why we do what we do, and renew pride in our profession as one of doing the type of work that not everyone was meant to do, but that some of us are privileged to do."

Thanks to Loving Healing Press for the review copy.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Giveaway - Detectives Don't Wear Seat Belts - Cici McNair

What do they all have in common? Harriet the Spy, Nancy Drew, V.I. Warshawski, Kinsey Milhone. Detectives. All fictional of course. But Cici McNair is the real deal.

Detectives Don't Wear Seatbelts is a memoir I'll be reading in the next little bit. Here's your chance, courtesy of The Hachette Book Group to win yourself a copy.

From the publisher:

"Growing up in Mississippi, Cici McNair was always more the tomboy her mother supported than the Southern belle her father demanded. She escaped her suffocating upbringing the first chance she had to travel the world. Whether working at the Vatican in Rome or consorting with a gunrunner in Haiti, she lived a life of international adventure. When Cici finds herself in New York, divorced, broke, and fashionably starving to death in a Madison Avenue apartment, she impulsively decides to become a private detective.But, as Cici soon learns, the world of P.I.s is tight-knit and made up almost exclusively of former law enforcement officers. By nature, they are a highly suspicious group and are especially wary of a newcomer with an untraceable past. Diligently working her way through the Yellow Pages, doggedly pursuing the slightest lead, Cici is finally hired by a private investigator willing to take a chance. The next day she's working side by side with a pair of seasoned detectives and a skip tracer who is scary to meet but like silk on the phone. She quickly realizes she'll need all her energy and wits to succeed in this new world.Being a private investigator is as exciting and liberating as Cici ever dreamed, from creating a false identity on the spot on her first case in the field to surviving adrenaline-rushing car chases. Working with law enforcement, she goes undercover, dealing with the ruthless Born to Kill gang in Chinatown and the Middle Eastern counterfeiters west of Broadway. A detailed account of the hidden world and real-life cases of a P.I., this action-packed memoir is as entertaining as any detective novel you've ever read."

Five (!) copies to be won. Open to US and Canada, no po boxes please. To be entered leave the name of a fictional detective or detective series. An extra entry for followers ( please let me know in a separate comment) Runs until Wed Oct 21 at 6pm EST.

Good luck and check the sidebar for ongoing giveaways!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Benny & Shrimp - Katarina Mazetti

Benny & Shrimp opens with Desireé (Shrimp) sitting on a bench in a cemetery. She is a young widow, who was married to a seemingly perfect man - Orjan. They had settled into a comfortable but passionless marriage when he suddenly died. But, she comes several times a week, sitting for an hour at a time. "Presumably in the hope of getting down to the right sort of grieving if I stick at it long enough."

Benny, an unmarried dairy farmer, who desperately needs and wants a wife to take care of him and his house, is also at the cemetery regularly. He attends the grave of his parents with great zeal, always gardening and cleaning. "Going to the grave is my only breathing space."

His parent's stone is beside Orjan's. Benny sits on the bench beside Shrimp. They are unaccountably annoyed with each other for being there. Until the day they smile at each other...

What follows is a telling of a burgeoning relationship from two viewpoints - his and hers, told in alternating chapters. Mazetti has done a phenomenal job of taking the same event or incident and completely changing it based on each character's outlooks, beliefs, dreams and hopes.

That initial smile? Each assumes the other was smiling for the same reason - they weren't. The two are polar opposites, with altogether different interests. What draws them together is passion, loneliness and ticking biological clocks.

Can these two thoroughly disparate souls find happiness together?

I found the two narratives of the same story utterly fascinating and couldn't wait to see what the other thought of the same incident. Neither character is willing to give in or back down and there's the story. What are you willing to sacrifice for happiness? How much would you give up?

Katarina Mazetti has created characters that evoke strong emotions. I changed my feeling for the characters many times over the course of the book. She presents both male and female viewpoints with equal skill and insight. I must admit though - I ended up liking Benny much more than Shrimp. Have you read it yet? What were your thoughts at the end?

There is a great set of questions included as a Reader's Guide with the book. I think it would make an interesting selection for a book club. You can read an exerpt of Benny & Shrimp.

Benny & Shrimp is set and was written in Sweden. It has just been released in North America by Penquin Books.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Winners - Millie's Fling giveaway

And the two lucky winners, chosen by of a copy of Millie's Fling by Jill Mansell, courtesy of Sourcebooks are:

Twifanheather and Jasmyn

I've contacted you by email for your mailing addresses. Please respond within 48 hours.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Between Me and the River - Carrie Host

I'm very pleased to welcome Carrie Host, author of Between Me and the River as my guest blogger today.

"When told at forty, with her youngest child just ten months old, that she had carcinoid tumor, Host felt as if she'd been hurled into a raging river, stripped of all forms of potential rescue. The voyage of this strong-minded, openhearted woman out of that river and onto safe shores is told with uncompromising honesty and respect for the miracles that medicine and love can work."

"When Luanne offered me the guest spot, she asked ‘what I feel friends and family can do, or not do to help someone going through the same thing.' It reminded me of the chapter from my book Between Me and the River, called Friendship and the Map.

The sad truth is that not many friends stick around. There is this odd phenomenon around what happens to our friendships when cancer pulls up a chair. I hope this small bit will help to light your way through the dark halls of the whole horrible cancer experience.

Excerpted from “Between Me and the River,” by Carrie Host
Friendship and the Map

One of the hardest burdens to bear can be the one involving our friends. Cancer means that there will be emotional, physical, and mental suffering. You know this. There will be scars, literally and figuratively. Yet only you will know what has truly gone into the formation of each one.

There will be old maps and new maps. Our doctors are on this new map, and they stay put. We automatically believe that our friends are going to be on it too since they were on the old map but they may not transfer over. Some roads on the old maps that were drawn in pencil may fade and even disappear. Other parts were drawn with indelible ink. You were handed this new road map for your life and made to read it while your friends are still free to choose what they are comfortable facing. This is where the road splits. Your friends have to re-negotiate their own emotions in relationship to you. Whatever your presence in their life once represented has now changed. Certain people will come with you, others will not. This doesn’t automatically sort people into “bad” and “good” but it does sort them into “absent” and “present.”

It’s difficult to understand completely the strange phenomenon around friendship and cancer. We can choose our future doctors but we have already chosen our existing friends. We don’t even question if our friends will stay the course. We believe that their strengths will grow with our own and that they have access to this new map. This is where cancer comes in and charts some unfamiliar territory.

There might be giant voids where certain friends or family members once were. There will be people you have confided in, trusted, and felt you could hold onto but, just like your boat, they drop out from under you. They must have a reason for their withdrawal but it is unlikely they will ever share it with you. Apparently, it is hard enough for them to understand their feelings, much less to communicate them honestly to you.

It seems as if with cancer, you have become less desirable. It may be that at the beginning, the cancer makes it hard for your friends to see you and talk about anything else. On some level, you’re able to understand this so you agree that it makes sense in order to not feel as let down. You are no longer a convenient friend and now require their emotional honesty. You don’t mince words the way you once did. You now say what you mean. This, as it turns out, is uncomfortable for some people.

You might also have physical issues, which may limit your ability to be the person they want to see looking back at them. That scares them. The fact that you may be facing your death forces them to consider facing it too, as well as the idea of their own deaths. With death comes fear, fear that they may have of potentially watching you waste away before their eyes, fear of facing the unspoken parts of the friendship and, possibly, fear of having to take care of those you will leave behind.

Cancer does affect more than us, it deeply affects those who love us. We’re not primed for how unprepared others may be to accept our situation, so we become distraught when they leave. To be fair when we judge them, if we actually had the option to run from the situation ourselves, would we not consider it? We should not expect them to understand our needs, as we are barely able to understand these ourselves.

You may initially be hurt by their sudden disappearance from your life but, interestingly enough, you may find that you can forge a new relationship with yourself through a courage you hadn’t known that you possessed. You can find the strength to create a full life in spite of the emptiness of having lost some of the people in it. We can choose to see what is available rather than what is absent.

The heart has the capacity to generate love, and choosing to give love in your time of greatest need feels a lot better than choosing resentment. You might find that once you experience giving the love that you yourself may have so desperately needed but have been denied, you will be able to return there again and again. You get better at giving love as with anything else, by practicing often. Only love can heal. You can stick with being right or you can experiment with being at peace.

One of the things that your friends may lack is the knowledge of your pain in prematurely having to say good-bye. This is another reason you find yourself torn apart. It’s terrible to mourn the loss of someone you love who is still alive, who could still be with you if only this person had the courage to stay. You think your close friends will be with you for life. But cancer, like the river, can and does pull things away. It runs in currents that are not always visible on the surface. Certain people may not have what it takes to hold on, so they simply let go and are swept away.

Auspiciously, you will discover that friendships exist in places that you didn’t know about with people you weren’t counting on. This is an unexpected sweet spot in the cancer deal. Because of cancer you actually make some new friends. You become a more understanding, loving and authentic version of yourself. These traits make you the kind of companion a friend would want to have. Your new friends recognize that you bear the burden of cancer but they choose you anyway. Isn’t that wonderful?

It is touching the way some of your most genuine friends come closer and don’t need to do a lot of talking. You get to be quiet with them. You also get to share precious laughter about how awful things are while your eyes well up. You let your guard down and together discover humility. You have some middle-of-the-night chats with them where you’re on the phone together in the dark, speaking freely of your deepest fears. It’s with these friends that you access a camaraderie that can only be gained in the trenches.

What I learned is that the friend who’s been brave enough to remain has chosen to become closer to me. That’s incredible. I rejoice that she has chosen to stay by my side, to stay on the map and go with me wherever it leads. Together we’ve discovered that cancer is not necessarily where the road ends, but precisely the opposite, where it begins. My friend’s presence is a hallelujah for the way things are. That is the gift of friendship."

Carrie Host

Carrie, thank you so much for stopping by. I think there are very few people who have not had cancer touch their lives. Your journey is an inspiration for all of us.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Friends Like These - Danny Wallace

~My Worldwide Quest to Find My Best Childhood Friends, Knock on Their Doors, and Ask Them to Come Out and Play ~

There are so many ways to find old friends and past classmates now. Most of them involve using the web. Which is great way to find people, but what about actually seeing them again?

Danny Wallace is 29 yrs old. He is somewhat concerned with his impending 30th birthday.

"On the brink of change? On the brink of finally, undeniably, irrefutably becoming ...a man?"

At the same time he is pondering his approaching adulthood and all that goes with it - aquistion of display cushions, buying coasters, eating at a pub that features a sausage of the week - his mother gives him a box. It's filled with old photos, letters, mementos and an address book from his childhood.

Wallace decides he must update his address book before he turns thirty. And so begins the hunt to find and reconnect with 12 friends from his youth.

"Sometimes, to be at peace with what's coming up, you have to be in touch with what's already happened."

What follows is hilarious, heartbreaking, thought provoking and thoroughly entertaining!

Wallace's writing style is wry, witty and self deprecating. He has a way with words and had me laughing out loud many, many times in the first few pages and I wasn't even into the thick of the book yet. (The headlines from the Loughborough Echo are priceless!) The tone is familiar and you feel like would like to sit down and have a pint with Danny and his mates to catch up.

I keep up with some of my childhood friends, but often wondered what happened to others. (Sally from Jellicoe Cres. - where are you?)

Friends Like These is a great memoir and hugely entertaining read that will have you asking 'whatever happened to....?

British author Wallace also penned the book Yes Man that was made into a movie starring Jim Carrey.

Read an excerpt of Friends Like These.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Bookurious Canadian teens

Got a teen reader (or non reader - this might get them interested!) in your house?

Random House Canada has just created this really great social network for teen readers aged 13-17. From the site:

"Bookurious [book-yoor-ee-uhs]

1. – noun. A network for teens who exhibit a curiousity for books and reading

.2. – adj. To be drawn to books; have the desire to read almost anything.

Are you a teen who loves to read books; books big and small, fictional or otherwise?

Do you find yourself thinking “I would so rather be reading right now”?Then you are Bookurious. is a community designed especially for avid Canadian readers aged 13 to 17. Join today to talk to other teens about your favourite books and discover new authors. You’ll also find fun challenges, cool giveaways and tons of reading suggestions.If you love books, you’ll love"

They're on Facebook too!

I'll be mentioning this one to the teens at my local library. Great idea!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It Can Happen to You - Lynn Crymble

It Can Happen to You is the debut novel of Canadian Lynn Crymble.

Penny Stevens is busy planning a party for her 18th wedding anniversary. She borrows her husband's car and while looking for some change for the shopping cart, discovers some lipstick that's definitely not hers (and so not her shade). Penny is saddened but not completely shocked. After all it's not the first time her husband Jack has strayed.

"It's not that Penny hates Jack or that he is an evil person, but he just can't seem to stop putting his dick into other women."

The sad thing is that Penny has come to accept Jack's infidelity as part of her life. They don't sleep together, they don't have sex, quite frankly they don't interact anymore.

"He (Jack) might have been looking at her, but Penny was certain he didn't see her."

That is, until Penny plays Good Samaritan to an elderly couple and ends up in the news. Suddenly a local writer wants Penny to be part of her 'Renovate Your Life' feature.

She resists and resists, but "Penny is coming to realize just how adamantly she has been committed to never altering a single iota of her unhappy life."

What follows is Penny's journey to reclaim her life and find happiness. A theme that has been tackled before, but Crymble does a great job in putting a fresh spin on this contemporary tale.

Crymble had me laughing out loud many, many times throughout the book. Penny's entrapment in a toilet stall in a large bookstore had me giggling. The writing is witty, yet touching as well. Penny's befuddlement and unhappiness with her life arouse just as much feeling as the comic situations. The supporting characters are just as lovable, but slightly clichéd.

The first half of the book moves along at a steady pace. Towards the end, the plot speeds up and I found the changes a bit jarring. The time frame shifts, but is not explained until later on. This could be intentional, to mimic the changes in Penny's life.

Without spoiling the plot, I must say that the twist involving a name anagram was just too contrived for me.

The outcome is no great surprise, but it's a sweet journey to the end. A strong debut from a new voice on the Canadian fiction front - I'll be watching for Crymble's second novel.

Read an excerpt of It Can Happen to You.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Enter to Win a Set of James Patterson Pageturners



Read "MAX" - the newest book in the bestselling Maximum Ride series. On sale in paperback now!!

"Still reeling from their most recent adventure, Maximum Ride and the rest of the flock must head out to sea to uncover the secret behind a brand new series of disasters—fish are dying off the coast of Hawaii, hundreds of ships are being destroyed. As if that weren’t enough, they’re also being tracked by a criminal mastermind with, oh yeah, an army of mercenaries. Can the flock save themselves and the ocean, and the world, from utter destruction?"

TWO winners will each receive a James Patterson Prize Pack including:

Maximum Ride: Max (paperback)
Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment (paperback)
Maximum Ride: School’s Out – Forever (paperback)
Maximum Ride: Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports (paperback)
Maximum Ride: The Final Warning (paperback)
Maximum Ride: Manga (paperback)The Dangerous Days of Daniel X (paperback)
Daniel X: Watch the Skies (hardcover)

You can visit the official website here.

Pretty amazing promotion eh?! Open to US residents only ( see the fine print below). Simply comment to be entered. Please make sure I have a way to contact you - either by leaving your email or through your blog. TWO lucky winners will be chosen by Promotion ends Monday October 5th at 6pm EST. Good luck!

The Fine Print:

The Maximum Ride: Max Promotion is open to legal US residents who are at least 13 years of age as of Sep 18, 2009. There will be two prizes for each Promotion. Each prize consists of the following eight (8) books: Maximum Ride: Max (paperback); Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment (paperback); Maximum Ride: School’s Out – Forever (paperback); Maximum Ride: Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports (paperback); Maximum Ride: The Final Warning (paperback); Maximum Ride: Manga (paperback); The Dangerous Days of Daniel X (paperback); and Daniel X: Watch the Skies (hardcover). The approximate retail value of each prize is $72.00. Winners will be confirmed on or about Oct 05, 2009 by email. Prizes will only be shipped to confirmed winners with addresses in the US. Prizes will be shipped within 30 days after a selected entrant is confirmed as a winner.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

BBAW interview - Meet Aarti!

This is probably the neatest thing about BBAW. Getting to 'meet' a blogger you haven't crossed paths with before. I had a chance to interview Aarti of Booklust!

1. What author would you most likely to meet, and what would you spend your time doing with him/her?

I would love to meet Jane Austen. She really fueled my love of history, particularly English history of the 18th and 19th centuries. And she is so witty and fun, I think she would be a great companion. I would just like to spend a typical Georgian-era England day with her, walking around a small rural town, having tea, and attending an assembly in the evening, of course, after which we would gossip about all attendees.

2. What story that you've read would you most like to "visit," i.e., live along with the characters in it? And why?

Gosh, so many stories are wonderful! My first instinct is to say that I'd love to populate a fantasy novel, but most of those take place in times of great strife or war, which I can't think would be fun. I would love to "visit" the Anne of Green Gables series of books, I think. They make Prince Edward Island sound so lovely and I've always wanted to go there. Eventually I'm sure I'll get there!

3. Do you finish every book you start?

No, I do not. I used to feel guilty about not doing so, but now I feel guilty about spending time on a book that doesn't interest me when there are so many more waiting to be read on my shelves. I give every book at least 50 pages, though.

4. What is your favorite book? Why?

The book I unhesitatingly recommend to everyone is The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz-Zafon. However, I don't know if that is my FAVORITE book. It's one that I love and think a lot of other people
(readers and non-readers alike) would love, too. My favorite author is probably Georgette Heyer, who wrote historical romance and mysteries. She's one of the few that I re-read. I also buy all Lindsey Davis's books. And I love the fantasy genre, particularly Terry Pratchett and Guy Gavriel Kay. So I don't know what my favorite book overall would be...

5. Fantasy and historical fiction seem to be the genres you cover the most. What appeals to you about these areas?

I wish I could answer this question eloquently, but I have a feeling that I won't be able to! I really have no idea. I have always had an obsession with history- I love the romance of being in an and imagining the lives of all the people who walked through it. I always thought I'd prefer to be living in the past to the present(until I REALLY think about the details of it). And so reading historical fiction stemmed mostly from that. And fantasy is kind of an extension of that- a lot of fantasy takes place in historical fiction-like settings.I really respect authors who can viably create whole new worlds and religions and cultures and histories, the way some fantasy authors do. It's fascinating to read when done well.

6. You know the standard questions! Why did you start blogging. Why do you keep blogging? How much time do you spend on your blog - reviewing, upkeep , commenting etc? What is the best part of blogging for you?

Hmm definitely more than one question there! I started in 2005, and I think I just started because a lot of people on my online book groups were doing it! Now I do it because it's become a habit, and I've met such a wonderful community of book bloggers! It's really a wonderful way to remember books I've read, get recommendations for future reading, and keep in touch with a great group of people. I don't know how much time I spend on my blog, really. I think the time commitment level has gone up this year, quite a bit, though!

7. I'm always curious as to how others write their review. Do you take notes as you read? Do you dive right in and start to write as you turn the last page or do you let it sit an percolate for a bit?

I don't take notes as I read, but I will flag particular quotes or passages that stand out to me. I usually try to review very soon after I finish reading, though sometimes I mull for a while.

8. How do you see bloggers fitting into the publishing world?

Oh, gosh, I have no idea! I think the publishing industry is in a period of great change, and I hope that it makes it through alright. I don't know how electronic media will affect publishing, particularly in book reading, but I do think blogging helps get the word out on books that might otherwise slip through the radar.

9. What book do you think everyone should read?

The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster.

10. We're doing this long distance as you're visiting in India. Where else have you travelled in the world? Ever been to Canada?

I love to travel. I have been throughout Europe and much of Asia, and I lived in New Zealand for three months, too. Yes, I've been to Canada (Niagara Falls and Vancouver), but there's a lot of Canada I'd still like to see. Montreal being at the top of my list. But no matter where I go, I still think Chicago is the best place in the world :-)

11. When you're not reading, what else do you like to do?

I really enjoy cooking, and spending time with friends and family.

12. Have you ever met up with any of the bloggers you've met online?

Nope, never.

13. Pets? Husband? Children? Vices? (just kidding!)

None of the above!

14. Do you have a home library? Do you buy books? Keep them, lend them, donate them?

I do, yes, though space is at a premium. I do buy books, and then I periodically purge and donate them. I lend some out, too. But I always try to get those back...

15. Ever get writers block? What about a book you've accepted for review, but really didn't like?

If I accept a book for review and don't like it, I review it as such. But I always try to find something good to say.>

Thanks Aarti - it was great to 'meet' you! You can read my interview here.

Friday, September 18, 2009

BBAW giveaway winner

And the lucky duck winner of a copy of Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child is:


Congratulations! Please send me your mailing address within 72 hours.

BBAW - final day...

Today's the last day for Book Blogger Appreciation Week.

What a fun week it's been. And to end it, here's the question for today.

"Setting Goals! Write in 50 words or less…what do you like best about your blog right now and where would you like your blog to be a year from now? "

Hmm, what do I like. Well I love my followers and subscribers! I like that it reflects me - fairly straight forward, not too busy, easy to read (I hope!) A year from now? I do need to clean some stuff up - 3 columns might be nice, a freshening up, a flavicon, numbering comments...who knows what a year will bring? I'll still be reading and writing though~!

(Don't forget - you've got until 6 pm EST to enter my BBAW giveaway!)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Book Blogger Appreciation Week - Reading Meme

Do you snack while you read?
No, but I drink a lot of tea!

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?
Absolutely horrifies me!!

How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Laying the book flat open?
And break their spines?! Never - bookmarks only!

Fiction, Non-fiction, or both? Hard copy or audiobooks?
All of the above!

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are you able to put a book down at any point?
I can pick it up and put it down at any point.

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away?
What are you currently reading?
It Could Happen to You by Lynn Crymble.

Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can you read more than one at a time?
I usually have two hardcopies on the go and an audio book on my MP3.

Do you have a favorite time of day and/or place to read?
Anytime, anywhere!

Do you prefer series books or stand alone books?
No preference.

Is there a specific book or author that you find yourself recommending over and over?
Yes - Lori Lansens.

How do you organize your books?
Fiction/Non Fiction/author's last name.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

BBAW continues...

Today is interview swap day for Book Blogger Appreciation Week. My partner Aarti of Booklust is winging her way back to the US from a family visit to India, so you can catch our interview later this week.

What's with the mermaid Luanne? Well Jeanne of Necromancy Never Pays "splashed" me yesterday.

I'm copying this direct from Jeanne's blog as I think it's a great way to pass it on. And hey - backatcha Jeanne - some of the most thoughtful and thought provoking posts you'll read...

"So I've decided to name some other book blogs that didn't make the list for any BBAW awards this week but which amuse me, per the "Splash" rules:

Nominate 9 blogs that allure, amuse, bewitch, impress or inspire you, link to your nominees within your post, let your nominees know they have been splashed by commenting on their blogs, and link to the person who nominated you."

So without further ado...

Anysia from Booklorn - uber organized, techie smart, lots of really great links and the brains behind Here Be Reviews - a great directory.

Cindy from Cindy's Love of Books and her children's review blog Books Upon a Wee One's Shelf- a warm and caring blogger who makes me wish I lived closer to Montreal

Vanessa from Today's Adventure - a newer blogger with a great site!

Jen from Up Close and Personal with Lady Tink - Jen's views and reviews never fail to make me smile

John of The Book Mine Set - I've just started following John since joining his Canadian Book Challenger. Fantastic in depth reviews and I'm hooked on his Saturday word play games.

Kerrie from Mysteries in Paradise - all mysteries, all the time - delicious!!

Mary of Bookfan - antother personable blogger ( and I want to join her in her favourite place to read!)

The Savvy Reader - this is the Harper Collins Canada blog - one of the best publisher produced blogs that I read, mostly written by Deanna.

Kelly from Enroute to Life - Kelly's passion for life is infectious. (and thanks for the Bingo award this week - and no, that's not why you're getting splashed! )

I could keep going, but I'll stop at nine. There are so many wonderful blogs in my reader, I could be typing all night!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Galore - Michael Crummey

Wow - this fall has produced some fantastic novels by Canadian authors.

My latest discovery is Galore by Michael Crummey, released from Random House Canada.

Galore opens sometime in the past in rural Newfoundland. It is hard times and the locals are respectfully waiting for a whale to die before they butcher it. Devine's Widow slices open the belly and a naked man falls out. As they carry him to the graveyard, he suddenly awakes. Unknown to any of them, he cannot tell them who he is, as he is mute. They christen him Judah and his life is inevitably woven into the tapestry, lives and memories of the people of Paradise Deep.

Paradise Deep is an isolated fishing port, insulated from the rest of the country by geography and tradition. Populated by characters both unusual, yet captivating, Galore is a mesmerizing read. It traces the intertwined lives of the residents through many generations. There is a magical feel to the book. Devine's Widow placed a curse many years ago on King-Me Sellers and his descendants. She is feared, yet revered by many. The fact that it is she who takes in Judah further builds her legend. Galore is the story of these two families and their descendants.

There are supernatural elements introduced, many taken from Newfoundland folklore and legends that Crummey discovered while researching his book. Baptism by passing a child through the branches of an ancient apple tree, a ghost who is seen by many but refuses to leave, superstitions and traditions that are accepted as part of their lives.

Dr. Newman, an American who comes to Paradise Deep "felt at times he'd been transported to a medieval world that was still half fairy tale."

But it is also the story of a rugged land and the resilient people who populate it. Politics and the formation of a fisheries union bring the world to Paradise Deep in the second half of of the book. But the past and history of the Rock is always there, coming full circle by the last page.

Crummey himself is Newfoundland born and bred and his voice captures the tone and timbre of a land and it's people.

I was quite sad to turn the last page. I had become completely caught up in Galore.

This was the first of Crummey's books that I had read and it definitely won't be the last. Highly recommended.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Book Blogger Appreciation Week Begins! Giveaway too!

Book Blogger Appreciation Week begins tomorrow. Lots of awards to be announced. Lot of giveaways , (read to the end to enter mine!) interviews (my interview swap partner is winging her way back to the States, so our interview will post a little later in the week) and a chance to meet some new bloggers and appreciate the ones we know and love.

My Friend Amy, who started BBAW, puts it quite well:

"I like to think of BBAW as a festival…an online convention for the people who love books and write about them. We are all very different. We like different books. But I hope BBAW can be a time when we come together and celebrate what each of us do. Celebrate books. Celebrate a community that is altruistic by nature, that learns and grows together, that values literacy and good entertainment through the written word. The best of BBAW, I hope, is yet to come."

A Bookworm's World is giving away a pristine hardcover copy of Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child. Leave a comment to be entered! Closes Friday Sept 18th at 8 pm EST. Open to Canada and US.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Winners - Giveaway - Close Encounters of the Third Grade Kind

And the five lucky winners (chosen by of a copy of Close Encounters of the Third Grade Kind by Phillip Done , courtesy of The Hachette Book Group are:

1. timgus
2. Marjorie ( Marjorie your provider is rejecting my emails. Please contact me with your address)

3. snytar
4. clenna (and they say the first one to enter never wins!)
5. Amanda Sue

I've contacted you by email for your mailing addresses. Please respond within 48 hours. Watch for my review in the coming weeks. I've peeked at the first couple of chapters already and it looks like a really great read.

If you want to send along your thoughts once you've read the book, I'd be happy to include them with my review!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Jack Wakes Up - Seth Harwood

Seth Harwood used social media and the blogging world to take his first novel Jack Wakes Up climbing up the sales ranking charts at and into a book deal with Random House. Over 10,000 people are avid listeners, tuning in to his podcasts. And the new release from Random features a cover blurb from one of my favourite crime authors Michael Connelly. I just had to read it.

Jack Palms was an action film start until drugs scuppered his career. He's been clean and sober for three years now, but money is becoming an issue. When an old Hollywood friend asks him to help show some clients a good time while they're in San Francisco, he agrees. But the clients are Czech drug dealers, possibly ex-KGB, their buyers are Columbian kingpins and the female bartender he's sleeping with may be serving up more than just drinks.

It's getting a little crazy...and you know what? Jack's having a blast.

Non stop action, a crazy plot, raw dialogue and yes, some laughs all add up to a really great read. Harwood's writing put me in mind of Elmore Leonard. Lots of pulp and violence. I can totally see this being made into a movie, a la Quentin Tarantino or Get Shorty.

I don't think Harwood will have to work so hard to get his next book noticed.....

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Swan for the Money - Donna Andrews

~A Meg Langslow Mystery~

Swan for the Money is the 11th novel in the Meg Langslow series, but was a first for me.

Meg has volunteered to organize the local competitive rose show - her parent's new hobby. It's being held on the estate of Mrs. Winkleson. Now, Mrs. Winkleson hasn't ingratiated herself with the others in the group. Between her insistence that everything on her estate be black, grey or white - including the livestock - and the growing (pun intended!) suspicion that her rose propogation techniques may not be on the up and up, she is causing some headaches. Meg's grandfather and his cronies are skulking about the estate as well, looking for animal rights abuses among those colour coordinated animals. And when a body is found on the grounds of the estate......

Donna Andrews has created a wonderfully warm, cozy mystery series. No overt violence, lots of humour and and an eclectic group of characters. There is such a mix of ages in the characters that this series would appeal to a variety of ages. Some of the characters are over the top (the murder victim in this case) but they're great fun to read. It took me a couple of chapters to get up to speed with who's who, but after that it was no problem. I found the descriptions of the competitors and the goings on at the rose show quite funny, reminding me of the mockumentary Best in Show that spoofed dog shows. Meg herself is a great recurring vehicle - an amateur sleuth who can't stop herself from helping solve the mysteries that she stumbles into.

There's no great mystery as to whodunit, but the read itself is the most enjoyable part, not the solving.

Fans of any of the themed series out there, such as Diane Mott Davidson, Carolyn Haines or Joanne Fluke would enjoy this series.

Read an excerpt of Swan for the Money.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Those Who Save Us - Jenna Blum

Julia - our resident guest blogger is back!

Jenna Blum’s first novel, Those Who Save Us, is a powerful story within a story set both in Second World War II Germany, and in modern day Minnesota.

The story is of a German History professor, Trudy, who becomes obsessed with learning the truth of her mother’s experience in Nazi Germany. Anna, Trudy’s mother, won’t talk about her life in Germany and Trudy harbours a misguided belief about who her father is based on one surviving photo from that time; that of Trudy, her mother, and a Nazi officer, the Obersturmfuhrer of Buchenwald.

Ms. Blum gradually reveals the truth about Anna’s life in Germany. This is a story of a mother’s fierce love and what she will do to protect her daughter, set against the grim reality of the effort needed to survive in a harsh and unforgiving time. It is also a story of the shame that carries people throughout their lives, and how it is so easy to misjudge those around us.

This is one of those books that stays with you. I think about it even weeks after finishing the last page. It is a compelling story, but also has something to teach us as citizens of the world. Although it is definitely not a happy story, the underlying theme of a mother’s love makes you want to continue reading, even through the more difficult passages.

This is a good book club book. A reader’s guide is available at the back of the book, or online.

Until next time,

Luanne’s Guest Blogger,


Monday, September 7, 2009

Happy Labour Day!

Hope everyone both sides of the border is enjoying a Holiday Monday. Thought I'd give you a quick history lesson on the origins of this day off.

"Labour Day has been celebrated on the first Monday in September in Canada since the 1880s. The origins of Labour Day in Canada can be traced back to April 14, 1872 when a parade was staged in support of the Toronto Typographical Union's strike for a 58-hour work-week. The Toronto Trades Assembly (TTA) called its 27 unions to demonstrate in support of the Typographical Union who had been on strike since March 25.

George Brown, Canadian politician and editor of the Toronto Globe hit back at his striking employees, pressing police to charge the Typographical Union with "conspiracy." Although the laws criminalizing union activity were outdated and had already been abolished in Great Britain, they were still on thebooks in Canada and police arrested 24 leaders of the Typographical Union. Labour leaders decided to call another similar demonstration on September 3 to protest the arrests. Seven unions marched in Ottawa prompting a promise by Canadian Prime Minister Sir John A. MacDonaldto repeal the "barbarous" anti-union laws.

Parliament passed the Trade Union Act on June 14 the following year, and soon all unions were demanding a 54-hour work-week.

The Toronto Trades and Labour Council (successor to the TTA) held similar celebrations every spring. American Peter J. McGuire, co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, was asked to speak at a labour festival in Toronto, Canada on July 22, 1882. Returning to the United States, McGuire and the Knights of Labor organized a similar parade based on the Canadian event on September 5, 1882 in New York City, USA. On July 23, 1894, Canadian Prime Minister John Thompson and his government made Labour Day, to be held in September, an official holiday. In the United States, the New York parade became an annual event that year, and in 1894 was adopted by American president Grover Cleveland to compete with International Workers' Day (May Day).

While Labour Day parades and picnics are organized by unions, many Canadians today simply regard Labour Day as the Monday of the last long weekend of summer. Non-union celebrations include picnics, fireworks displays, water activities, and public art events. Since the new school year generally starts right after Labour Day, families with school-age children take it as the last chance to travel before the end of summer. Some teenagers and young adults view it as the last weekend for parties before returning to school, which traditionally begin their new year the day after. From Wikipedia."

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Winners - giveaway - The Castaways audio book

And the three lucky winners ( chosen by of an audio book copy of The Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand, courtesy of The Hachette Book Group are:

1. Dove420
2. Tiffany819
3. Sweeter the berry

Congratulations and thanks to all who entered. I've contacted you by email for your mailing addresses. Please respond within 48 hours.

Winners - Giveaway - Dan Furman/Self Counsel books

Thanks to the generosity of Self Counsel Press we have two winners (chosen by

The winner of a copy of Start and Run a Real Home Based Business is:

Sweet Missa


The winner of a copy of Do the Web Write is:


Congratulations and thank you to all who entered. I've contacted you via email for your mailing addresses. Please respond within 48 hours.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

100+ Reading Challenge

*****Updated Sept 05/09******

Well I've done it - I hit 100 yesterday. And by some strange twist of fate, #100 was the latest by my favourite author!! First challenge ever attempted, so I feel pretty good about finishing it. But just for fun, I'll keep adding to it and see where I finish up....

I've decided to throw my hat in the ring and Join the 100+ Reading Challenge hosted by J.Kaye's Book Blog. I think I'll just aim for 100! And this will be where I keep track of them - with links to my reviews.

1. Scarpetta - Patricia Cornwell
2. The Charlemagne Pursuit - Steve Berry
3. The Friday Night Knitting Club
4. Cross Country
5. Love and Other Natural Disasters
6. The Little Giant of Aberdeen County
7. A Long Stone's Throw
8. The Chalk Circle Man
9. Freeman Walker
10. Breakfast at Sally's
11. Plum Spooky
12. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
13. I Love You, Beth Cooper
14. Little Pink House
15. Houston, We Have a Problema
16. Apologize, Apologize
17. Little Bee
18. Got You Back
19. Drood
20. Beat the Reaper
21. The Lost City of Z
22. Above the Law
23. Breaking Lorca
24. Darkness at the Stroke of Noon
25. The Engine 2 Diet
26. Welcome to the Departure Lounge
27. Letters Between Us
28. Galway Bay
29. The Makedown
30. Mutiny on the Bounty
31. Mrs. Meyer's Clean Home
32. The Redeemer
33. A Reliable Wife
34. Still Life
35. An Offer You Can't Refuse
36. Dr. Gott's No Flour, No Sugar Diet
38. Linen, Wool, Cotton
39. BoneMan's Daughters
40. Fifty is Not a Four-Letter Word
41. Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Crafts
42. Six Months in Sudan
43. Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven
44. Case Histories
45. Follow Me
46. The Calling
47. Socks From the Toe Up
48. Fire Me
49. The Alexander Cipher
50. The Crossing Places
51. Four Corners of the Sky
52. To My Senses
53. Holly's Inbox
54. The Little Stranger
55. Crazy for the Storm
56. Mating Habits of the North American WASP
57. Right of Thirst
58. Miranda's Big Mistake
59. The G-Free Diet
60. The Good Mayor
61. The Scarecrow
62. Secrets to Happiness
63. Gone Tomorrow
64. Run for Your Life
65. Best Intentions
66. Die For You
67. The Girl Who Stopped Swimming
68. Far North
69. Priceless Memories
70. Sunnyside Blues
71. A Worthy Legacy
72. The Castaways
73. The Neighbor
74. The Sinful Life of Lucy Burns
75. The 8th Confession
76. Library of the Dead
77. Ravens
78. Blind Eye
79. First Family
80. The Price of Love
81. Living Beauty
82. The Divorce Party
83. How Not to Look Old
84. Cemetery Dance
85. The Angel's Game
86. Start and Run a Real Home-Based Business
87. Fragile Things
88. The Penny Pinchers Club
89. The Horse Boy
90. Do the Web Write
91. Twenties Girl
92. The Doomsday Key
93. The Book of Unholy Mischief
94. The Way Home
95. Lux's Practical Erotica Adventures
96. Fear the Worst
97. Millie's Fling
98. The Juror
99. Swimsuit
100!! The Wife's Tale

101. Swan For the Money
102. Jack Wakes Up
103. Galore
104. It Can Happen to You
105. Friends Like These
106. Benny & Shrimp
107. Confessions of a Trauma Junkie
108. Waiting for Columbus
109. Starting Over
110. Alex Cross's Trial
111. The Law of Nines
112. Ripley's Belive it or Not - Seeing is Believing
113. A Circle of Souls
114. Mathilda Savitch
115. Nine Dragons
116. The Alibi
117. Angels
118.No Impact Man
119. In Color
120. Close Encounters of the Third-Grade Kind
121. Real Simple Solutions
123. Scranton The Electric City
124. Intent to Kill
125. Trauma Farm
126. Step Back from the Baggage Claim
127. Sesame Street: A Celebration
128. The Taken
129. The Murder of King Tut
130. Norman Rockwell - Behind the Camera
131. Genesis
132. A Touch of Dead
133. Bear Portraits
134. Perfect Timing
135. Everything Sucks
136. One Hundred Butterflies
137. Detectives Don't Wear Seatbelts
138. Alex & Me
139. The Brightest Star in the Sky
140. Mennonite in a Little Black Dress
141. i am neurotic
142. True Blue - David Baldacci
143. Secrets of a Christmas Box - Steven Hornby
144. Wishin' and Hopin' - Wally Lamb
145. A Christmas Promise - Anne Perry

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Wife's Tale - Lori Lansens

A blogger is sometimes asked "What's your favourite book?' I have discovered many authors that I absolutely love. But when pressed, my all time favourite is Canadian Lori Lansens. Her first novel Rush Home Road - and Addy Shadd, the indomitable, remarkable protagonist - has stayed with me since it was written in 2002.

Newly released by Random House Canada, The Wife's Tale is Lansen's third book. I have been anticipating this one for months.....

Mary Gooch is a resident of Baldoon County, a fictionalized setting in the Chatham, Ontario area used for all three of Lansen's novels.

Mary lives with her husband Jimmy Gooch in the small town of Leaford. Mary is overweight, very overweight and has been for most of her life.

"Mary remembered, when she was nine years old, stepping off the scale in Dr. Ruttle's office and hearing him whisper the word to her slight mother, Irma. It was an unfamiliar word, but one she understood in the context of the fairy-tale world. Obeast. There were witches and warlocks. So must there be ogres and obeasts. Little big Mary wasn't confused by the diagnosis. It made sense to her child's mind that her body had become an outward manifestation of the starving animal in her gut."

Trapped within a mountain of flesh and powerless to control 'her raging hunger', she waits for Jimmy to come home. She is planning a party for their 25th wedding anniversary. Mary sits reminiscing and we are privy to her past and the emotions that come with it - the joy, sadness, anguish and... 'her hunger was ever present, but her self loathing came in waves." As she waits, she is struck by a sense of foreboding. When Jimmy doesn't return...

"It struck her that there must be some other door left open through which she'd let out Gooch."

Mary has been cocooned in the small, insulated world of Leaford. Gooch always wanted Mary to come with him in his furniture truck on deliveries to other locales, but Mary always resisted. With nothing but a receipt from a Toronto restaurant to go on, Mary braves the world and strikes out to find Jimmy.

What follows is an amzing journey on so many levels. I don't want to spoil the book, so I'm not going to give you much more of the plot. This is a book that deserves to be unfolded for each and every reader's discovery.

Why do I love Lori Lansen's writing so much? Her characters. They become so real - I get so invested in their stories. Mary's hurt, pain, bewilderment and awakening evoke such strong emotions. I ache when Mary is treated cruelly and rejoice when kindness comes from unlikely sources. The supporting cast of characters are no less vividly drawn. Each of them has their own hunger to battle.

Lansen's deft turn with a phrase, a description, create an achingly real portrait of a woman whose driving, tearing, roaring hunger has robbed her of much of life. Her journey to reclaimation is thought provoking and gut wrenching.

I thought about Mary Gooch long after I turned the last page. Yet again, Lansens has captured me. When asked about my favourite now, I will have to answer with both Rush Home Road and The Wife's Tale.

Lansen has created a great website. There are photo albums depicting the settings in the book, a great book club discussion page

Has anyone else read this yet? What are your thoughts? How did you feel about Mary Gooch?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Swimsuit - James Patterson

James Patterson co wrote Swimsuit with Maxine Paetro. They have teamed up before on a number of the Women's Murder Club series.

This time they have produced a truly terrifying villain. Beautiful young women are being horrifically murdered by a madman who shares his kills via film with his wealthy benefactors.

Kim McDaniels goes missing at a swimsuit photo shoot in Hawaii. Her parents enlist the help of former cop turned journalist Ben Hawkins. Can they find her before the maniac finishes with Kim? But the killer finds Ben first and ......

Swimsuit is trademark Patterson, short chapters that end with cliff hangers, compelling you to read another page or listen to another chapters.

I did listen to this in audio format. Christian Rummel was the reader. He used two totally different voices for the main characters. Ben's voice has an earnest trustworthy tone and timbre, while the voice used for the killer is truly sinister. It's all the more evil in tone for it's quietness.

Fair warning - there is some explicit sex and violence in this book.

Listen to an excerpt of Swimsuit.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Winners -Giveaway - Friends Like These

And the five lucky winners (chosen by of a copy of Friends Like These by Danny Wallace are:

1. Kat Bryan
2. Amanda K
3. Terri L
4. Jemscout425
5. Lee P

Thank you to The Hachette Book Group for their generosity! Congratulations - I've contacted you by email for your mailing addresses. Please respond within 48 hours.

The Juror - George Dawes Green

The Juror by George Dawes Green was originally released from The Hachette Book Group in '95, but has been re released this year. (It was also made into a movie in '96 with Demi Moore and Alec Baldwin)

Annie Laird is a struggling single mother. When she is called to jury duty, she accepts, determined to do her civic duty. She is approached by a man known only as The Teacher, who insists that she 'sway' the jurors to a not guilty verdict. Her inspiration? Her son and friends will remain unscathed. Fail and......

Suddenly her civic duty has become a matter of life and death. Annie isn't quite the pushover The Teacher thought she was though....

I listened to this abridged version in audio format. It was read by Lolita Davidovich and John Heard. Davidovich's voice perfectly portrays a young innocent woman. It belies the steel that exists within Annie. John Heard's carefully modulated even tones are in direct contrast with the threats he delivers, making them all the more menacing.

An excellent taut thriller, pitting two unlikely adversaries against each other. I must say as a personal preference, I do prefer unabridged audio. There is no lack of continuity with the abridged, but I always feel like I've missed something.

Listen to an except of The Juror.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Guest Post AND Giveaway - Jill Mansell - Millie's Fling!!

I am absolutely thrilled to bits to welcome guest blogger and author Jill Mansell to A Bookworm's World today!

Hi Luanne, and many thanks for inviting me to write my first ever guest blog! I do so hope you enjoy Millie’s Fling, which is set in Cornwall in the UK. Cornwall is one of my all-time favourite places – it’s so beautiful and it’s where we used to spend holidays when I was a child. The sun, the surf, the amazing beaches and the smugglers’ caves – I loved everything about it. We used to stay in quaint country cottages back in those days and shell-collecting was the highlight of my holiday. Then years passed and in due course I found myself a grown-up with kids of my own. Where else to go than Devon and Cornwall? But this time we stayed at holiday camps, in caravans, with hundreds of other children all around and non-stop entertainment day and night. It would be some people’s idea of hell, but it suited us down to the ground.

So to set a book in a place I love is always a joy, because in a way it’s like spending time back there and smelling that glorious sea air again. Newquay has changed over the years, but I’m still writing about the town I love and remember from my precious holidays. It has one of the best surfing beaches in the UK, although sadly I never did learn how to surf. If I were to visit it now, I’d be looking out for Millie and her friends, for the houses they lived in, the imaginary places they visited.

And now to the book. It really was the most brilliant fun to write. I don’t even know if you have novelty telegram services in the U.S. – maybe you don’t – but they’re always a talking point! When I worked in the neurological hospital, one of our consultant neuropsychiatrists had a visit from a strippagram on his birthday, done very tastefully, no nudity, but an unforgettable photo-opportunity. I still have the pictures! Another time, one of the nurses received a singing telegram from a gorgeous guy dressed as a fireman who scooped her up and ran around the hospital with her in his arms. I decided on the roller-skating gorillagram for Millie because unglamorous is always funnier than glamorous. But it’s a career jam-packed with wonderful opportunities for the novelist – so many things can happen, so much can go wrong...for a comedy writer like me, the possibilities are endless!

So, to all of you out there reading this, have any of you ever been on the receiving end of a singing telegram/strippagram/rollerskating gorillagram??? Was it funny? Was it embarrassing? Did you want to run away and hide or did you love it? Tell me – I’d love to know!

About the Author:
Jill Mansell is one of the UK’s premiere contemporary authors who has written nearly 20 romances with multi-generational appeal and has sold nearly 4 million copies of her books in the UK. Releasing her latest novel this Fall, Millie’s Fling, Mansell’s writing style can be best described as “Sex & the City meets Bridget Jones’s Diary.” She worked for many years at the Burden Neurological Hospital, Bristol, and now writes full time. She lives with her partner and their children in Bristol, England. For more information on Jill in the UK, please visit, and for info on her US releases, go to!

Thank you so much for stopping by Jill! (In case you missed it, you can read my review of Millie's Fling here - I loved it!) And I know you will too! Courtesy of Sourcebooks
, (thanks Danielle!) I have two copies of Jill's latest North American release - Millie's Fling to giveaway. To be entered, just answer Jill's question at the end of her interview! Ends Saturday Sept 26th at 6pm EST. Open to both Canada and the US.