Friday, February 26, 2010

Giveaway - Slip of The Knife - Denise Mina

Denise Mina is a fantastic Scottish crime author. If you haven't discovered her yet, here's your chance. Is your book club looking for a great mystery to read? Consider Slip of the Knife. And there's a reading group guide for you to use as well.

From the publisher:

"Paddy Meehan is no stranger to murder--as a reporter she lives at crime scenes--but nothing has prepared her for this visit from the police. Her former boyfriend and fellow journalist Terry Patterson has been found hooded and shot through the head. Paddy knows she will be of little help--she had not seen Terry in more than six months. So she is bewildered to learn that in his will he has left her his house and several suitcases full of notes. Drawn into a maze of secrets and lies, Paddy begins making connections to Terry's murder that no one else has seen, and soon finds herself trapped in the most important--and dangerous--story of her career."

Get a head start - read an excerpt of Slip of the Knife. Watch a video with Denise talking about this book and Paddy, the recurring character in this series.

Thanks to the Hachette Book Group I have 3 copies Slip of the Knife, to giveaway. Open to Canada and the US, no po boxes please. Simply comment to be entered. Ends March Saturday March 27th, 6 pm EST.

This is one I'm looking forward to reading - watch for my review.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thirsty - Kristin Bair O'Keeffe

What an interesting read Thirsty was. Kristin Bair O'Keeffe drew upon her own family's history in writing this debut novel.

Klara Bozic is 16 when her mother dies. She realizes that the only way to escape both a life of drudgery and her physically abusive father is to marry. A traveller comes knocking at the door one day. The family extends him hospitality and when he leaves for America in 1883, it is with Klara as his wife.

When they reach the steel mill town of Thirsty, Pennsylvania, Klara is disheartened. It is dirty, loud and nothing like she had imagined. Even worse, her husband Drago is just or more abusive than her father. The only saving grace is her neighbour Katherine. When Klara's only daughter is also the victim of spousal abuse, Klara realizes it has to end.

Thirsty covers 40 years in Klara's life. The premise behind this book was the exploration of domestic abuse through generations and the need to stop the cycle from repeating again and again.

I enjoyed the historical setting as a vehicle for this exploration. O'Keeffe brings to life the desperate, harsh conditions of the time. The steel mill squats over the town, dominating and dictating life for these families. The women waiting by the fence for news of who has died is especially memorable. Sorrow is a constant visitor to the town.

Interspersed are moments of joy - the unexpected clouds of butterflies that swarm the town, the small kindnesses afforded by those with very little, the friendships that Klara forms.

One criticism would be the 'jumps' in the story line. I would just become invested in a time frame and the novel would unexpectedly move ahead a number of years.

Klara, Katherine and the two men who become Klara's 'saviours' are fleshed out and well drawn. Her daughter Sky was a bit of a wraith - I never really 'felt' for her. Her two sons are really just names in the book. When tragedy strikes, I couldn't connect as these characters were never fleshed out. Drago is guilty, but he is just as disappointed with life in Thirsty. We are afforded small glimpses into his background and thoughts.

Thirsty is a novel I enjoyed. O'Keeffe's prose are beautiful and the message clear - the cycle can be brought to an end.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Giveaway - This One is Mine - Maria Semple

Doesn't that cover just make you want to dig into This One is Mine by Maria Semple? This would be a light hearted selection for a book club - you can find the reading guide here.

From the publisher:

"Violet Parry is living the quintessential life of luxury in the Hollywood Hills with David, her rock-and-roll manager husband, and her darling toddler, Dot. She has the perfect life--except that she's deeply unhappy. David expects the world of Violet but gives little of himself in return. When she meets Teddy, a roguish small-time bass player, Violet comes alive, and soon she's risking everything for the chance to find herself again. Also in the picture are David's hilariously high-strung sister, Sally, on the prowl for a successful husband, and Jeremy, the ESPN sportscaster savant who falls into her trap."

Get a head start - read an excerpt of This One is Mine. Or check out the Facebook page.

Listen to a blog talk radio interview with Maria.

Thanks to the generosity of The Hachette Book Group, I have 3 copies to giveaway. Open to the US and Canada, no po boxes please. Simply comment to be entered. Ends Saturday March 20th at 6 pm EST.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Review and Giveaway - Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven - Susan Jane Gilman

I first read Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven last year in hard cover and loved it. The Hachette Book Group has just released it in trade paperback and I have a copy to giveaway to one lucky reader.

The review below is a reprint from April 2009.

"I'm a big fan of Susan Jane Gilman. Her first memoir Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress had me laughing out loud. I was pretty excited to read Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven.

In 1986, Gilman and Claire make a momentous, drunken, four a.m. decision in their local IHOP (International House of Pancakes). Their place mats feature "Pancakes of Many Nations. So - " Staring at it , we'd had a jolt of inspiration. Why not eat pancakes of many nations in many nations? Why not travel the world? Oddly, barreling headlong into developing countries with a backpack somehow seemed far easier to us than simply getting a job."

Claire is from a privileged background. Gilman has grown up in subsidized housing and attended university on financial aid. They don't know each other that well, but go forward with their plan to travel the world. The first stop is Hong Kong and from there to China. China in 1986 has just opened it's doors to foreign travel.

What starts as an carefree adventure soon develops problems. At first Susan is able to explain away and ignore Claire's small idiosyncrasies. But when Claire mentions to other backpackers that she has heard voices and that there may be a terrorist cell after them, their carefree adventure takes a frightening turn. Stuck deep in a country where they don't speak the language, are physically ill and dependent on the goodwill of others, Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven is almost unbelievable. Yet as Gilman says; " All these events happened, and the people are real. God knows, I couldn't make this up."

An absolutely riveting read. Gilman writes with both humour and pathos - you won't be able to put it down until you turn the last page."

Check out Gilman's blog - always entertaining! Or you can find her on Facebook.

Listen to a clip or read an excerpt. A neat choice for a book club - there's a reading club guide too.

If you like to win a copy to read, simply leave a travel related comment - favourite place to visit, horror story (or a good one). Mine? Well I discovered the joys of Chicago's O'Hare airport last year as an international visitor. A little bigger than the one at home! Open to both US and Canada, no po boxes please. Closes Wed. March 24th at 6 pm EST.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Sea Captain's Wife - Beth Powning

Oh, can I tell you how much I loved The Sea Captain's Wife!

Azuba is the daughter of a shipwright in 1860's New Brunswick, Canada. She has grown up around the water and dreams of being a sea captain's wife sailing with her husband around the world. Her dreams seem like they will come true when she marries Nathaniel - a veteran captain. But when she falls pregnant with their first child, he insists she stay on land. But a scandal necessitates Nathaniel reluctantly taking Azuba and their daughter with him on his next voyage. Azuba's dream is at last realized. But is it at the cost of her love and marriage to Nathaniel? What about the physical dangers? Has she put her child in danger or exposed her to the adventure of a lifetime? (This is the kind of adventure I would love!)

I always think I was born in the wrong century and this is the kind of book that greatly appeals to me. Historical - and really, the detail and research that Beth Powning has included in The Sea Captain's Wife was outstanding. I had wonderfully clear pictures of the town, their home, the ship and the ports in my mind as I read.

Azuba is a wonderfully drawn character. Bound by the social mores of her time to do the right thing and be a 'good' wife she still yearns for adventure. Powning skillfully explores Azuba's emotions and feelings as she struggles to balance the two in her life.

The novel is full of adventure as well - storms, exotic ports and what would the high seas be without pirates.

I honestly could not put this one down. A rich tale from an excellent Canadian author. Five stars for me. Read an excerpt of The Sea Captain's Wife.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Winner - Spin - Catherine McKenzie

And the lucky winner (chosen by of a copy of Spin by Catherine McKenzie is:


Congratulations! I've contacted you by email for your mailing address.

Winners - The Swan Thieves - Elizabeth Kostova

And the three lucky followers who have won an audio book copy of The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova, courtesy of The Hachette Book Group are:

1. amanda 18228
2. Dawn M
3. Sue T-K

Amanda 18228 just let me know she had already obtained a copy, so on to the next on the list - Victoria!

I've contacted you by email for your mailing addresses. Please respond within 72 hours. Thanks to all who entered and check the sidebar for ongoing giveaways.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Year of No Money in Tokyo - Wayne Lionel Aponte

I am a big fan of memoirs in general and especially travel memoirs.

Wayne Aponte , a black American, quits his job in Tokyo at just the wrong time. He had been living a hedonistic lifestyle, not worrying about his spending, but in 1995 Japan suffered a major economic downturn. This is The Year of No Money in Tokyo. Rather than going back to the US, he decides to stick it out, sure that he will find something. As his money dwindles, he moves to shabbier living quarters, sharing a six mat room. It is here that the book is born.

"I have no job prospects. I have no idea how to lift myself from the edge of the underclass, from the edge of starvation in Tokyo, umpteen miles away from my home in New York City. So, I shall dedicate the early morning hours to telling the story of this period of my life in Japan- to pass the time, to keep from going insane in the year of the wild boar, the year of no money."

The book begins with a series of descriptions and vignettes detailing the prejudice he faces as both a foreigner and as a black foreigner. I found these sections eye opening.

I also found myself questioning why he chose to stay, when he was clearly very unhappy. He states his need for privacy, yet has chosen to live in one of the most crowded cities in the world. He seems to have adopted the Japanese value of saving face.

"Going back home to America, of course, might help. Some kind of work would turn up. At the very least, I wouldn't worry about a place to stay. But returning home poorer than when I left, or even mentioning my condition on the phone, would look like defeat. It would be an utter embarrassment. A person must maintain his sense of self, such as it is; and for me, portraying my time abroad as a professional success story was important."

So, to avoid that embarrassment, he decides to contact women he has had relationships with in the past.

"The choice between homelessness and using people for access to their homes and food is a matter of survival. I do what is necessary to live better, without compromising my principles completely. If that means relying on others, so be it."

It is here that I found Aponte's choices unpleasant and abhorrent. His choice to save face in America by using women in Japan is selfish and self serving.

When Aponte returns to the US for a visit, he is upset that he is asked for money! Hasn't he been doing the same thing in Japan?

"I want to relax during my rare visits home in a calm and tranquil environment, without having to feel that acts of kindness are a prelude to inquiries for money....I can't spend money on people because they'll think that they can use me. They'll read my kindness as weakness. They'll regard my visits home as a potential payday. And when I'm in need, who can I call? Who can I run to for assistance? Who's got my back? I'm on my own. That partly explains why remaining in Tokyo broke is much easier that returning home broke: You can manage to get help in Japan.

The book is well written and Aponte definitely has a way with words. He has worked as a journalist in the past. I applaud his honesty and candor in telling his story. Once he does find a job, he seems to take a second look at his life.

" I can trace almost every catastrophe in my life to the distractions of lust."" Maturity can be a rough and painful path, but I commit to beginning a more productive relationship with myself."

To that end, he has added a coda as the last chapter - a collection of lessons learned and resolutions to live by. "My rehabilitation is nearly complete."

Aponte stayed in Tokyo, having lived in Japan for two decades according to the author note. Although the book really covers the one year, I wonder how the intervening years in Tokyo have treated the author. Definitely an intriguing read.

Read an excerpt of The Year of No Money in Tokyo.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Giveaway - The Moon Looked Down - Dorothy Garlock

Thanks to the generosity of The Hachette Book Group I have 5 copies of The Moon Looked Down by Dorothy Garlock to giveaway.

From the publisher:

"The new Americana romance from bestselling author Dorothy Garlock, this time set against the backdrop of WWII. Sophie Heller's family immigrated from Germany to Victory, a small town in Illinois, before WWII began. Now that the war has affected the town, the townspeople discriminate against Sophie and her family. When a train derails, it is an accident but the Heller family is blamed. Coming to Sophie's rescue is a teacher from the high school, and despite their cultural differences, a romance starts to bloom."

Read an excerpt of The Moon Looked Down.

Simply comment to be entered. Open to both US and Canada, no po boxes please. Ends Wednesday March 17th at 6 pm EST.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Field Guide to Burying Your Parents - Liza Palmer

I first discovered Liza Palmer when I read her debut novel Conversations with the Fat Girl. Chick lit with charm that I really enjoyed. So I was looking forward to reading A Field Guide to Burying Your Parents - and I wasn't disappointed.

Grace's father took off when she was young and her mother raised her and her three siblings single handed. And did a great job. But when Grace was thirty her beloved mother was killed unexpectedly. Grace can't handle it and takes off, literally leaving everything behind. A devoted boyfriend, her two brothers and sister. For five years she has no contact with them. Until her sister calls and says that their father - the one who left them - is dying and needs to see them.

What follows is an absolutely charming tale of the tenacity of family bonds. How far they'll stretch and how much strength they really have. Palmer explores the complicated relationships between parent and child and between siblings with both humour and pathos. You may find yourself thinking about your own family relationships. There's a delicious sub plot in the form of the evil step family that I won't giveaway.

A fast read that I really couldn't put down and thoroughly enjoyed (but you might want to have a tissue handy......) Read an excerpt.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Family Day in Canada

Well, some of us in Canada have the day off to celebrate Family Day. Here's some background.

In most of Canada, Family Day is a statutory holiday occurring on the third Monday in February. This corresponds with Presidents Day in the United States. (So I guess most of you south of the border have a day off too!)

Family Day was first held in Canada in the province of Alberta in 1990. It is supposed to reflect the values of family and home that were important to the pioneers who founded Alberta, and give workers the opportunity to spend more time with their families. Family Day was introduced in Saskatchewan in 2007 and in Ontario in 2008. One of the reasons for introducing Family Day was that there was a long period when there were no holidays from New Year's Day until Good Friday.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Winners - Try Darkness - James Scott Bell

And the three lucky winners (chosen by of a copy of Try Darkness by James Scott Bell, courtesy of the Hachette Book Group are:

1. justpeachy36
2. karenk
3. alexa1959

I've contacted you by email for your mailing addresses. Please respond within 72 hours. Thanks to all who entered and check the sidebar for ongoing giveaways.

Winners - The 8th Confession - James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

And the 3 lucky winners of a copy of The 8th Confession, courtesy of The Hachette Book Group are:

1. pjgirl74
2. artmarcia
3. ladyt64

Congratulations! I've contacted you by email for your mailing addresses. Please respond within 72 hours. Thanks to all who entered and check the sidebar for ongoing giveaways!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Warmans' Button Field Guide - Jill Gorski AND Button it Up - Susan Beal

Does anyone else out there have a tin or jar of buttons, collected over the years? I'm lucky enough to have some of my Grandmother's buttons. I remember playing with them when I was younger, emptying the tin out and sorting them into piles of different colours or shapes.

These two books were both on the new book display at my local library and I couldn't resist picking them up.

The Warman's Field Guide is fascinating. It starts off with the history of buttons and lots of information on actaully collecting buttons as a hobby. It features full colour photos detailing all the different types of buttons (more than you think!) and their values. I actually found a few of Grandma's in this book!

Button It Up has full colour photos as well, detailing ove 80 projects involving using up your button stash. Many of them inolve jewellery and are quite creative.

As a sewer, I have my own tin of buttons, ready for any project or repair needed. And I'm still exploring making my own polymer clay buttons for children's garments or quilt embellishment.

What's your button story?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Deloume Road - Matthew Hooton

Deloume Road marks the debut of Matthew Hooton, one of Random House Canada's 2010 New Faces of Fiction - "devoted to bringing spectacular first time Canadian writers to readers.

Hooten sets the stage for his novel with beautifully lyrical descriptions. I could feel the heat and taste the dust of Deloume Road. The rural road is home to a loose collection of houses on Vancouver Island.

" This is the end of the road, but if you turn around, it's the beginning."

We meet an unknown narrator who hints at something dark from the past.

"I want to explain and show you the place as I saw it then. Before it happened." And later - " I didn't mean for it to happen. We were just kids."

We quickly meet the inhabitants of Deloume Road. I did have to backtrack a few times in the beginning just to make sure I had all the relationships straight. Also interspersed are journal excerpts from Gerard Deloume, who tried to tame the wilderness in 1899 - and then killed himself. His death reaches into the next century, with tragic results.

The island is a separate world from the mainland and Deloume Road is yet another smaller microcosm.

"What was it about arriving on the island, about passing over water from Vancouver, leaving the continent behind? Felt like he was heading towards the edge of the world."

Hooten's skill with imagery is impressive. The mind set and emotions of a newly widowed and pregnant Korean immigrant are especially moving. Some of the secondary characters, such as the two young girls, felt extraneous. The story begins slowly but the pace quickens as the events of that August move towards their inexorable conclusion. Indeed, I found myself not wanting to turn pages as the ending grew near, knowing what was to happen. Though the outcome was inevitable, I found the conclusion to be somewhat disturbing. Without giving away the plot, the similarity to a heinous Canadian crime made me cringe.

Overall, this is a book I enjoyed and a strong debut by a talented new Canadian voice.

Deloume Road actually exists - I wonder what the residents think of this story?

Read an excerpt of Deloume Road. Or catch up with Hooten on Facebook.

** Enter's contest to win $300.00 of New Face of Fiction titles. (Canada only)**

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I Am Ozzy - Ozzy Osbourne

Well I just finished listening the audio book I Am Ozzy and had to go dig out some Black Sabbath vinyl and give it a listen. (Sabbath Bloody Sabbath was my choice - love Sabra Cadabra.)

Can you believe Ozzy is 62 years old? (and still rockin') By his own admission, he finds it hard to believe as well.

"People ask me how come I'm still alive, and I don't know what to say."

I Am Ozzy lets us see where things started - in a working class neighbourhood in Birmingham. The story of how Black Sabbath came to be (the origin of the name isn't what you would think. The effort to 'make it' - standing outside venues hoping a band wouldn't show so they could play (it worked!) The beginning of heavy metal and the musicians he's known. The excesses and mistakes made on the way really do make you wonder how he is still alive! We've all heard the biting the head off a bat story, but we get to hear the real story - it wasn't intentional. Now the dove - that was.

But what I enjoyed most was hearing more about Ozzy as a person, not the stage persona and the character we see on stage. He's a man who wanted to please his dad and desperately missed him when he died. We all know about Sharonb, Jack, Kelly and even the elusive Amy. But did you know Ozzy has two other children?

Now this wasn't read by Ozzy - or quite frankly it would take forever to listen to it and I probably would't understand every fifth word. Instead it's read by Frank Skinner - a noted British comedian who hits the right tone when reading. It's actually very easy to imagine it's Ozzy talking. Be warned - it is like Ozzy talking - lots of the 'f' word. There is an interview included on the last disc of Ozzy himself.

I listened to the abridged version I really liked the packaging - it's three discs on a fold out sleeve with photos and a little more information than the usual blank black holders.

Love him or hate him - he's made his mark....

In his own words - " I'm just John Osbourne: a working-class kid from Aston, who quit his job in the factory and went looking for a good time."

Listen to an excerpt of I Am Ozzy. Read an excerpt of I Am Ozzy.

And if you'd like to hear more, you've still got time to enter my giveaway for one of three copies of I Am Ozzy - ends Saturday Feb. 27th at 6 pm EST.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Giveaway - Absolute Power - David Baldacci

Absolute Power is the book that started it all for New York Times bestselling author David Baldacci.

The Hachette Book Group has just released Absolute Power in an unabridged CD set and here's your chance to win one of three audio book copies!

From the publisher:

"In a heavily guarded mansion in a posh Virginia suburb, a man and a woman start to make love, trapping a burglar behind a secret wall. Then the passion turns deadly, and the witness is running into the night. Because what he has just seen is a brutal slaying involving the president of the United States.

Luther Whitney is the career break-in artist who's in the wrong place at the wrong time. Alan Richmond is the charming U.S. president with the power to commit any crime. And Jack Graham is the young attorney caught in a vortex between absolute truth and... ABSOLUTE POWER."

Listen to an excerpt of Absolute Power. Or, read an excerpt of Absolute Power.

Open to both US and Canada, no po boxes please. To be entered, tell me where you listen to audio books. Closes Saturday March 6th, 6 pm EST. Check the sidebar for ongoing giveaways.

Friday, February 5, 2010

When will There Be Good News? - Kate Atkinson

Okay, have you read Kate Atkinson yet? No? What are you waiting for!?

I was late to the party too. I first read Case Histories early last year. I was astounded by the complex plotting and character development.

When Will There Be Good News is just as wonderful. Former cop turned private detective Jackson Brodie is again featured. So is Detective Chief Inspector Louise Monroe. These two have a complicated background together and their individual lives are just as muddled. But they're dogged investigators.

The novel opens 30 years in the past. Six year old Joanna Mason is the only survivor of a brutal random attack on her family. Today she is a doctor, with a husband and a young son who is the focus of her being. She employs sixteen year old Reggie as a child care helper. Reggie has lived a hard life so far, but she is highly intelligent and devoted to Dr. Hunter and baby Gabriel. When the doctor and baby go missing, no one but Reggie seems to even note or care that she's gone.

That's the two cent version of the plot as I don't want to give any more away. The plotting is magnificent and the way the different layers unfold and join is just superb. Atkinson tells the same story from the point of view of the four main characters. From each telling we get a little more of the whole, a piece of pertinent information that helps weave the story to it's conclusion.

Just as enthralling is the character development. Each character's personal story, feelings and emotions are so clearly described that they fairly leap off the page. None of the players are cookie cutters either. They're all a little wounded and quirky. Atkinson's sly sense of humour shines through in many of the situations that would normally call for gravity.

When Will There Be Good News has it all - unfortunately I devoured it in two days....

Read an excerpt of When Will There Be Good News.

Join the Kate Atkinson Community and enter to win a tote bag and four Atkinson books! ( US only)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The First Rule - Robert Crais

Robert Crais writes a great private detective series (13 and counting) featuring Elvis Cole, who bills himself as 'The World's Greatest Detective". Cole doesn't look too dangerous, but he's a former US Army Ranger and when needed he draws upon those skills. His sidekick is Joe Pike, also a vet and a former cop. Joe Pike doesn't waste time with too many words.

In a turnaround, The First Rule features Joe Pike with the lead role and Elvis as the sidekick.

A home invasion gang hits the Meyer home and the unthinkable happens - the entire family is murdered in cold blood. Joe Pike was in the Marines with Frank Meyer. When the authorities intimate that Meyer was involved in illegal gun running, Joe sets out to clear Frank's name and find the killers. No man left behind. Things become more complicated when it looks like the Serbian mob had a hand in things....

Crais' novels are action packed page turners with great recurring characters and well constructed plots. The First Rule lets us explore the psyche of Joe Pike in greater depth. He's a wounded warrior, but one you'd want on your side.

If you like Lee Child's Jack Reacher character, then Joe Pike is the man for you. Fans of Harlan Coben's Myron Bolitar series would love this pair. Crais is firmly on my must read list.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Giveaway - From Dead to Worse - Charlaine Harris

Although I'd heard about the Sookie Stackhouse novels, it took me until last November to read my first Charlaine Harris book - A Touch of Dead. I loved Sookie and am impatiently waiting for my hold at the library to come in for True Blood - the HBO series based on the Sookie books.

The entire Sookie backlist in trade paperback is being reissued and here's your chance to own a copy of From Dead to Worse - the 8th novel in the series thanks to the generous folks at Penguin Canada.

"After the natural disaster of Hurricane Katrina, and the manmade horror of the explosion at the vampire summit, Sookie Stackhouse is safe but dazed, yearning for things to get back to normal. But her boyfriend Quinn is among the missing. And things are changing, whether the Weres and vamps in her corner of Louisiana like it or not. In the ensuing battles, Sookie faces danger, death - and once more, betrayal by someone she loves. And when the fur has finished flying and the cold blood ceases flowing, her world will be forever altered ."

Whet your appetite? (Sorry, couldn't help it...) Leave a comment to be entered. An extra entry for followers - please leave a separate comment. Open to Canada only, ends Saturday Feb 27 at 6 pm EST. Check the sidebar for ongoing giveaways.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Searching for Tina Turner - Jacqueline E. Luckett

*** Make sure you join Blog Talk Radio on Tuesday Feb. 2 from 6-7 pm EST for a live interview with Jacqueline Luckett. ***

Lena Spencer has it all - or does she? She's married to a handsome, wealthy, successful man, two beautiful children, gorgeous home and has no need to work. She should be happy, right? But she's not. Her marriage seems to be in trouble and there's something missing from her own life. She gave up her own ambitions when she married Randall.

"I love you. I love our family, but, I've given myself away, slowly, freely, and now...I want myself back."

When she approaches Randall, he gives her an ultimatum. Like it or leave - in a nutshell. Lena chooses leave and determined to find herself, embarks on a quest - with Tina Turner as her inspiration.

Lena is a likable character, someone you would enjoy having as a friend. Some readers may identify with her plight at age 54. Lena is lucky to have the funds available to follow her dream - all the way to France. The second half of the novel is set abroad and I did enjoy the descriptions of life and scenery. Some of the supporting characters are somewhat cliched - Randall and the other wealthy wives for example, but not to the point of unbelievability. But our feelings are firmly rooted with Lena and her journey for self-discovery. Parts of the plot are a bit too coincidental, but do not detract overall.

Using WWTD (What would Tina do?) as a hook was a good idea, but by the end the constant references were wearing a little thin for me. The ending is a bit ambiguous - I would have preferred a definite closing. But Luckett is at work on her second novel - perhaps it's a continuation?

A solid debut with a inspirational theme and plucky protagonist.

The reader's guide included in the book would appeal to book clubs of this age group. Fans of Terry McMillan's How Stella Got Her Groove Back would also enjoy this novel.

Searching for Tina Turner is Jacqueline E. Luckett's debut novel. You can find her on Twitter, Facebook or catch up with her on her blog.

See what the other readers on the tour today thought - Nicole, Gwendolyn, Dina, Karen, Isalys & Vanessa , Vicki and Bridget.