From that time on, the world was hers for the reading....

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I Heart Indies Blog Tour

Today is I <3 Indies Blog Tour Day. What a great way to honor all of the fab Indie bookstores out there! And, let me tell you, there are LOTS to choose from.

I love bookstores. Nothing makes me happier than seeing books--old and new--lined up on store shelves. And that great book smell? It's like catnip! If left alone, I can spend hours roaming a bookstore and exploring every section, every title that catches my eye.

When I attended college in western New England, one of my favorite English professors introduced me to The Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley, MA. It was the end of the semester, and she wanted to take me to lunch to thank me for all the hard work I did as her teaching assistant. After lunch, we visited The Odyssey Bookshop. I was in Heaven.  I mean, I had been to bookstores before. Lots of bookstores. Mostly chain bookstores.

The Odyssey Bookshop was so much more. Small, friendly, and personable. I found lots of great books, some new, others used, and even books that were signed by the authors. Better than that, I discovered that many authors made stops there during their book tours. I remember thinking, "What a great place! I could spend every weekend here."

Needless to say, that wasn't my last trip to The Odyssey Bookshop and, since leaving New England, I've missed it dearly. I know that if I ever make it up that way again, I'll visit The Odyssey Bookshop and buy a book or two. Just for old time's sake.

If you live in western New England and haven't visited The Odyssey Bookshop yet, what are you waiting for?

It's located at:
9 College Street
South Hadley, MA

For more information, visit:

And if you live in southwestern Virginia, let me know if you know of any great Indie bookstores I can visit in the Roanoke area. I'm looking for a store to become my home away from home.

For more Indie bookstore love, check out the following blogs:
Lisa and Laura Roecker
Sarah Frances Hardy
Shana Silver
Elana Johnson
Stasia Kehoe
Shannon Messenger
Carolina Valdez Miller
Mundie Moms
Myra McEntire
Sara Bennett Wealer
Janet Gurtler
Joy Preble
Ty Drago
Kate Walton
Julia Karr
Randy Russell
Adele Griffin
Helen Landalf
Beth Revis
Tess Hilmo
Sheela Chari
Gail Handler
Crystal Allen
Christine Fonseca

Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day

Cupcake photo courtesy of

With the deepest gratitude, I thank the men and women who have served our country, fought for our freedoms, and protected us.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Alison Pace: A Pug's Tale

I was excited to receive a copy of A Pug's Tale by Alison Pace (June 7) for review!

Hope McNeill has a good life, complete with an amazing boyfriend (Ben), an adorable pug (Max), and an incredible job at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Though she's been sneaking Max to work for a while, she finally has an opportunity to officially bring him to the museum for "Pug Night," an event honoring a very wealthy donor. Amidst classical music, champagne flutes, and a fully-stocked buffet table, the pugs are running wild around the museum, sliding across floors, and staking out the food.

When Max gets a little more boisterous than usual, Hope takes him out of the party and into her office where she discovers that a very famous painting by a French artist has been stolen and replaced with a fake.

The museum wants to keep it under wraps and not get the police involved.

Hope wants to solve the mystery and erase her name from the list of possible suspects.

It isn't long before she starts receiving mysterious emails that lead her on a scavenger hunt through the museum, exploring famous works of art and looking for clues. But she's not alone. While investigating, Hope gets unexpected help from a fellow pug enthusiast, a shady private investigator, and even Max. In fact, Max is very good at communicating and problem-solving. You know, for a pug.

It wasn't difficult to figure out who had stolen the painting, but the journey was playful and amusing. I loved the setting. I was wildly entertained by the cast of eclectic characters. And I really loved the dogs.

A Pug's Tale was a delightful, charismatic story with a little something for everyone -- dogs, art, museums, a big city backdrop, and a mystery. I had so much fun reading it!

This was the first Alison Pace novel I had ever read, but it definitely will not be the last.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Must Read: Imaginary Girls

I was browsing my Facebook homepage today when I saw a post from Penguin Teen about Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma (June 14). I was immediately intrigued. I really hope my library gets this one!

Chloe's older sister, Ruby, is the girl everyone looks to and longs for, who can't be captured or caged. When a night with Ruby's friends goes horribly wrong and Chloe discovers the dead body of her classmate London Hayes left floating in the reservoir, Chloe is sent away from town and away from Ruby.

But Ruby will do anything to get her sister back, and when Chloe returns to town two years later, deadly surprises await. As Chloe flirts with the truth that Ruby has hidden deeply away, the fragile line between life and death is redrawn by the complex bonds of sisterhood.

For more information, visit:

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

13 Reasons Why Project

I read Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher in 2009. And I haven't been the same since I met Hannah and explored the contents of her tapes.

I loved what I read so much that I wanted to talk with someone--anyone--about it, so I launched my first book blog on June 23, 2009. That blog was my saving grace. In a time where everything was going wrong, and it felt like the world had turned its back on me, all I had were books. Books helped me escape, took me on great adventures, and introduced me to characters going through the same problems I was. The book blogging community--both readers and authors alike--was so inviting, warm, and friendly.  The blog gave me a purpose every day, a reason to get out of bed in the morning, and a desire to live.

Indirectly, Jay Asher's novel saved my life. I thank him for that.

The Thirteen Reasons Why Project is a place where readers can share their reviews, personal stories, or how the story affected them. You can check it out by CLICKING HERE. And I really think you should.

Powerful stuff.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday

Banner created by roxicons @ Live Journal / Text added by me

"Love is when you give someone else
the power to destroy you,
and you trust them not to do it."

~ E. Lockhart (Real Live Boyfriends)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Entertainment Weekly: The Hunger Games Cover Story

I'm a big fan of Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games trilogy, so I'm excited for the movie. Like really, super excited!

Entertainment Weekly is giving fans a first look at Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss on the cover of their next issue, hitting newsstands May 20th.

Click here for more info!

Francine Pascal: Sweet Valley High Confidential

I was a big fan of Sweet Valley High when I was a teenager, so I was thrilled when I received email from Goodreads in March letting me know that I was one of the lucky winners of Sweet Valley High Confidential: Ten Years Later by Francine Pascal. I was even more excited when it arrived in my mailbox at the beginning of May!

It's been ten years since the Wakefield twins, Jessica and Elizabeth, graduated from Sweet Valley High. And a lot has changed.

Once inseparable, Jessica and Elizabeth are no longer speaking. In fact, Elizabeth hates Jessica for committing the ultimate betrayal.

To escape the bad memories in Sweet Valley, Elizabeth heads to New York City where she makes her journalism dream a reality, writing for an online magazine titled "Show Survey: Off Broadway In New York." She attends shows, interviews cast, crew, and fans, and gets behind-the-scenes glimpses of what it's like to put together a play. But she's still angry at Jessica. So angry that she wants to shed her good twin image and get revenge.

Jessica still lives in California and works for MYFACEISGREEN, an environmentally friendly cosmetics company. Despite the fact that she's surrounded by friends and working at a great job, she isn't happy. She's riddled with guilt and misses Elizabeth, longing for her forgiveness and the close friendship they once shared.

The story is told through alternating chapters--New York and Sweet Valley--as the reader gets caught up on what the girls and their friends from Sweet Valley High have been up to for the past ten years.

Each chapter also contains flashbacks that explain not only what Jessica's betrayal of Elizabeth was but how it unfolded.

In short, there was too much going on and it wasn't tied together very coherently.

All in all, I was disappointed. I oftentimes found the flashbacks confusing. I wished more than once that I had every Sweet Valley High book at my disposal to jog my memory (it's been a while since I've them). But, most of all, I didn't like the characters. They were flat. And it felt like they hadn't really grown up at all. In fact, I felt like long-time fans were still being addressed as if we were still teenagers.

If you're a fan of the series, you might get some enjoyment out of seeing where the characters are now. But if you want to keep your childhood memories intact, stay away.

For more information, visit:

Friday, May 13, 2011

Must Read: Sisterhood Everlasting

I adore the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books and movies. I feel like Carmen, Lena, Bridget, and Tibby are old friends. And I can't wait to reunite with them when Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares is released on June 14. There aren't enough words to express how excited I am about this book!


Return to the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants . . . ten years later

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Ann Brashares comes the welcome return of the characters whose friendship became a touchstone for a generation. Now Tibby, Lena, Carmen, and Bridget have grown up, starting their lives on their own. And though the jeans they shared are long gone, the sisterhood is everlasting.

Despite having jobs and men that they love, each knows that something is missing: the closeness that once sustained them. Carmen is a successful actress in New York, engaged to be married, but misses her friends. Lena finds solace in her art, teaching in Rhode Island, but still thinks of Kostos and the road she didn't take. Bridget lives with her longtime boyfriend, Eric, in San Francisco, and though a part of her wants to settle down, a bigger part can't seem to shed her old restlessness.

Then Tibby reaches out to bridge the distance, sending the others plane tickets for a reunion that they all breathlessly await. And indeed, it will change their lives forever--but in ways that none of them could ever have expected.

As moving and life-changing as an encounter with long-lost best friends, Sisterhood Everlasting is a powerful story about growing up, losing your way, and finding the courage to create a new one.

For more information on Ann Brashares, visit:

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Must Read: Silence

Silence, the third book in Becca Fitzpatrick's fallen angel trilogy, is coming October 4!

Hollywood Crush posted an excerpt to hold us over until then. CLICK HERE to check it out.

I know I can't wait!

Let the countdown begin....

Monday, May 9, 2011

Brian Rowe: Happy Birthday To Me

I was excited to receive a copy of Happy Birthday To Me by Brian Rowe for review!

Cameron Martin is a good-looking, seventeen-year-old all-star basketball player, with a hot girlfriend, popularity, and a bright future. Life is pretty good. So good that he's always testing the boundaries of his popularity, including telling restaurants that it's his birthday to see if they'll believe him and reward him with free cake. They always do.

Cameron Martin is selfish, vain, and kind of a jerk.

One night, while celebrating with friends at a favorite hangout, he pushes the birthday scam too far and ticks off a waitress.

The next morning, things start to change. Cameron feels older. In fact, he's starting to look older, too. And this trend continues every day. For no explicable reason, Cameron begins to age one year for every day of his life.

His metabolism is slowing down. He's gaining weight. His body aches. His hair is thinning and turning gray. His face is looking a little too wrinkly. He doesn't look like Mr. Popularity anymore, which has people talking. And running in the other direction.

His girlfriend dumps him. His basketball coach and teammates want him off the court and out of the locker room. His plastic surgeon father goes crazy with worry and wants to fix him--literally. The only positive attention he's getting is from the high school's usually surly librarian. She used to hate Cameron. Now she wants to seduce him. Gulp!

Cameron wants his life back. He wants to look in the mirror and recognize his own face. But he has no idea how to get there. Doctors can't even properly diagnose his condition, much less cure it. While his classmates are planning futures filled with college and exciting careers, Cameron might not live to see graduation.

At first, I disliked Cameron. I mean, really, really disliked him. But as the story progressed, I started to feel bad for him and all the suffering he was forced to endure. I felt his aches and pains. I became more and more nervous with each chapter title announcing how much older Cameron had become and didn't want him to die.

What an interesting idea for a book! I knew when I read the synopsis that I'd enjoy it. Brian Rowe definitely did not disappoint with this fast-moving, startling reminder to cherish each day, never take anything for granted, treat people with kindness, and look beyond the surface.

I hope Cameron holds on to the lessons he learned. I know I won't forget the them. Or him, for that matter. I look forward to finding out what happens next in the trilogy (Happy Birthday To Me Again is scheduled for publication in the fall).

For more information on Brian Rowe , visit:

Friday, May 6, 2011

Friday Five with Christine Nolfi

This week's Friday Five features a very special guest -- Christine Nolfi, author of Treasure Me, which is now available for purchase in the Amazon Kindle store.

1. Treasure Me is currently only available in the Amazon Kindle store. Do you think it will become a trend for new authors in the future? Do you think books will become obsolete?

Digital publishing offers a marvelous opportunity for talented authors--especially authors who don't fit easily into a traditional genre--to reach the reading public. A division of Penguin considered bringing Treasure Me, and the upcoming Liberty books, out in hardcover. Earlier, Random House was interested in another novel, Second Chance Grill, which will appear on Amazon in June.

In both instances, the editors were flummoxed. Were the books romance or women's fiction? Or something else? The prose was close to literary, with cozy mystery elements and snappy dialogue thrown into the mix. Given the financial investment a publishing house makes releasing a debut novelist, it’s understandable why both editors were hesitant to offer a contract. They weren't sure, exactly, how to promote my novels.

That said, I don't believe traditional books will ever disappear. Don't we all love the scent of a newly printed book? The feel of a hardbound book in our hands? The affordability of e-books will certainly increase readership, but I suspect a segment of the public will always prefer print books.

2. What are the pros and cons of releasing a novel in ebook format?

I can't speak for other writers; my greatest difficulty has been the allocation of time. Many hours are now spent promoting my novels. Those long, lovely mornings, when I woke at dawn and spent hours writing, have disappeared. At least for now.

3. What inspired you to write about a petty thief like Birdie Kaminsky?

In 2007, I had just come through divorce and my mother’s death after her long battle with cancer. One morning I thought, "If I don't write something to make myself laugh, I'll never stop crying." Then Birdie simply appeared, dangling from a window, trying to escape from the man whose pocket she'd picked. That first scene in Treasure Me wasn't plotted out: it rose from my subconscious in a mad flurry of typing.

As the book progressed, I enjoyed the challenge of making Birdie sympathetic to readers. Why should any of us care about a thief? By mid-story, it becomes clear why she’s led her chosen life, and why she wants to change. I'm an adoptive mother of a sibling group of four children, and some of Birdie’s characterization undoubtedly arises from that experience. Children who have suffered abuse and neglect do not enter the adoption process as model citizens. It takes time to heal their wounds and get them to trust in a mother’s forever-love.

4. In Treasure Me, Birdie is on a mission to find and steal hidden treasure from the Civil War. Why did you choose the Civil War as a backdrop for the story?

On a personal level, I have French and English ancestors who fought in the Revolutionary War, and on both sides of the Civil War. Wondering who they were, and what their lives were like, comes naturally. All of the Liberty books will include historical elements, with women front and center. On another level, I suspect I'm writing a love story to the American Experience. In the last ten years, we've experienced great hardship as a nation. But we should never forget that the U.S. is a great country. In the small town of Liberty, I hope to portray the best of who we are as a people.

5. If you could hunt for hidden treasure, what time period would you want to travel to and what would you want to find?

So many choices! Wouldn't it be exciting to find lost documents from the ancient library of Alexandria? Or original writings destined for the Old or New Testament? How about a cache of jewels hidden since the French Revolution? Or priceless ceramics from China’s pre-dynastic period?

So many wonderful eras of history--how does one choose?

You can purchase Treasure Me by CLICKING HERE.

The second book in the Liberty series, Second Chance Grill, will be released summer, 2011.

For more information on Christine Nolfi, visit:

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday

Banner created by roxicons @ Live Journal / Text added by me

"If only we could see the endless
string of consequences that result
from our smallest actions. But we can't
know better until knowing better is useless."
~ John Green (Looking For Alaska)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Adriana Trigiani: Viola in the Spotlight

After reading Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani, I immediately picked up Viola in the Spotlight.

Viola is back in Brooklyn and ready for a fun-filled summer with her BFFAA Andrew and her friend Caitlin, but things don't go as planned.

Andrew is off to summer camp. Worse, he isn't acting like himself. In fact, he's kind of distant.

Caitlin has a summer job and a new boyfriend. Viola isn't on her list of priories.

Despite the change in plans, there are plenty of twists and turns and dramas to keep Viola on her toes and her camera rolling.

She lands an internship at her "Grand's" Broadway production of "Arsenic and Old Lace", which is challenging and very educational. The Broadway show provides the perfect opportunity for Viola's roommates and school friends from Indiana to visit New York and get the grand tour.

Again, Adriana Trigiani created characters who inspired me with their dedication to each other and their friendship despite several ups and downs and distance. This time, though, she made me cry. What a bittersweet ending.

I liked the first book in the series, but I loved this one. I enjoyed meeting Viola's New York friends and getting to know her parents better. But what I loved most of all was how level-headed and mature Viola was. I'd like to read more characters like her.

Now all I want to know is when the third book will be published?

For more information on Adriana Trigiani, visit:
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