Stacy's Books

books, movies, and boy

What Book is That Quiz? Take Four

Answers to last week’s quiz here.

Can you identify these books by their censored titles?  Leave a comment with the number, title and author.

aug31 covers 1

1. America (the book) by Jon Stewart – Michael

2. The Ark, the Reed and the Fire Cloud by Jenny Cote – Kathy at BB&BJ

3. Made in the U.S.A. by Billie Letts – Debbie

4. Ishmael by Daniel Quinn – Violet

5. Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos – Debbie

aug 31covers 2

6. Tranparency by Frances Hwang

7. The Castaways by Elin Hilerbrand – Em

8. April & Oliver by Tess Callahan – Kathy

9. The Widow’s Season by Laura Brodie – Violet

10. The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards – Em

August 31, 2009 Posted by | Quizzes | | 17 Comments

Awards, Old and New

I am running very behind in accepting and showing my heartfelt appreciation for a few awards I’ve received over the last month-ish.  I love receiving thoughtful gifts from fellow bloggers and passing them on to other bloggers I love.  These first two awards are new to me.

Bingo AwardThanks to A Few Minutes With Michael for giving me the Neighborly square and The Book Inn for gifting me the Outstanding square.

This award means that this blog is:
B: Beautiful
I: Informative
N: Neighborly
G: Gorgeous
O: Outstanding

I’m passing this award on to these deserving bloggers

Beautiful-Thoughts of Joy

Informative- Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World

Neighborly- Bookfan

Gorgeous- Write Meg!

Ooutstanding- Wrighty’s Reads

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And thanks to MariReads for this award.  I guess that means I like to leave my voice all over the blogs 😉

I am passing this along to two of my best commenters, both of who I love touching base with everyday.

Bermudaonion and Joyfully Retired.

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Thanks to Gofita’s Pages for this Humane Award.  I try to be kindhearted and it’s nice to be recognized.

The award is for:
This award is to honor certain bloggers that are kindhearted individuals. They regularly take part in my blog and always leave the sweetest comments. If it wasn’t for them, my site would just be an ordinary book review blog. Their blogs are also amazing and are tastefully done on a daily basis. I thank them and look forward to our growing friendship through the blog world.

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Thanks to the Bumbles for this award.  Sometimes I feel creatively challenged so it is nice to know that I succeed more than fail!

I’ve already received and passed on these last two awards.  If you aren’t familiar with these bloggers you should really check them out.

August 30, 2009 Posted by | awards | | 10 Comments

TWO Book Giveaways

Cover ImageLinda Palmer has generously offered to give away Killer Mousse to one lucky reader.  I LOVED this book.

Okay, to enter to win Killer Mousse

1. Leave a comment on her interview post (1 entry)

2. Leave a comment on my review post (1 entry)

3. Post about it on your blog and/or Twitter and let me know (1-2 entries)

I’ll draw for a winner September 15th.

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And Carly Phillips is giving one of these books to one lucky commenter.

Cover ImageCover ImageTo enter you must leave a comment on her 9 in ’09 Interview post.  I’ll be drawing for a winner on September 25th.

August 29, 2009 Posted by | FREE | , , | 16 Comments

9 in ’09 with Linda Palmer/Melinda Wells with book giveaway!

 Linda Palmer has stopped by to answer a few questions and give away a copy of her book, Killer Mousse, which I reviewed yesterday and raved about.  Review here.  I hope you’ll check out her two websites to learn more about her two mystery series.  http://www.lindapalmermysteries.com/ and http://www.dellacooks.com/.  Enter to win after reading Linda’s interview. 

1. You have held a wide range of jobs, from VP at TriStar, to wildlife photographer, to screen writer, and finally author.  What made you start writing books?

I always wanted to be a writer, from the time I was 9. Some years ago — when I was young and didn’t know much about the craft of writing — I wrote two novels. Miraculously, they were published.  They didn’t sell many copies, but I have one of each on my book shelf. The first was RUNAWAY!, by Linda Weintraub (which was my married name at the time.) The second was STARSTRUCK, by Linda Palmer. With all of my heart, I wish I had had an editor to guide me, or that I knew more back then.  By the time I began to write novels again, in 2002, I’d studied the craft on my own, and then with a wonderful instructor at UCLA. (I was teaching screen writing there at the time, so one night a week I was an instructor, and another night during the same week I was a student.)

2. You teach screenwriting at UCLA Extension.  What is the most important thing you try yo teach these aspiring writers?

I taught screen writing for about 12 years, but then I began writing novels full time, so the head of the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program switched me to teaching novel-writing. Whichever of those two disciplines, I told the people enrolled in my classes two things: 1. Don’t think of yourself as “student” or as “aspiring” — you are writers.  A writer is defined by dedication to writing, not by whether or not one has yet sold anything. And, 2: “The most important thing that a writer needs — after talent and the willingness to study the craft — is the absolute refusal to face facts.”  I say that with humor, but I mean it. People tell writers (mostly they hear this from friends and family) that there are so many people writing that they don’t have a chance. Ridiculous, I say. Don’t pay attention to that. Keep writing.

3. Do you have any routines or rituals when you write?

Not really. I must have a big mug of coffee, and I must feed the pets and give them fresh water. I like to write early in the morning, when the world is quiet. I get up every morning at 5:15 AM. I’ll write until about noon. During the last month of finishing a book, when it feels like demonic possession, I get up at 4:15. Sometimes then I’ll write at night, too, if I can’t let go of the story.  When I type “the end” I collapse for a few days and just vegetate. Then I’ll read for pleasure, have lunches or dinners with friends. Normal living. Until it’s time to start writing a new book.

4. Who are your favorite writers, both books and screenplays?

My favorite authors are Jane Austen, Vladimir Nobakov, Anthony Trollope, James Hilton, Talbot MundySinclair Lewis, Balzac, Harper Lee, Carson McCullers, William Faulkner. (I must sound very scattered because there’s no theme here, except for exquisite writing.) As for novels of suspense and thrillers, my favorite authors are Joe Wambaugh, Robert Crais (except I hate his protagonist’s taste in women), Lee Child, Michael Connelly, Donald E. Westlake, John LeCarre, Rex Stout, John D. MacDonald, Ross MacDonald, Ed McBain. I can’t think of any favorite screen writers, but I there are playwrights whose work I adore: George Bernard Shaw, Alan Ackybourn, Richard Wilbur (his — and only his) translations of Moliere, early Tennessee Williams, and, of course, Shakespeare. I’m sure I’ve forgotten some authors and playwrights, and will kick myself when I remember names in the middle of the night.

5. Who or what inspires you?

I’m inspired by people who fight big challenges. For example, while I don’t put her work on my list of favorites, I have great admiration for the late Jacqueline Susann as a person because while she was promoting her books so vigorously she was also secretly undergoing exhausting treatment for cancer. Later, when I was on book tours, and began to feel tired, I shook myself out of it by reminding myself that not only was I considerably younger than Ms. Susann, but I was healthy, too. The wonderful Carson McCullers had terrible medical challenges, but she still wrote with such beauty! I used to joke to myself that I wanted to write like Carson McCullers and sell like Sidney Sheldon. I don’t mean that as an insult to Sidney Sheldon. Not at all! I was a great fan of his books, and know how very kind and generous he was to new or undiscovered writers. He will always inspire me because of how hard he worked on his books. He truly wanted to give his readers the best possible entertainments he could, and he never stopped one sentence short of the best he could do.

6. I love quotes.  Do you have a favorite?

My favorite quote is “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” I’ve never come across a better guide for living.

7. What are you currently reading?

I’ve just finished reading the last novel by Donald E. Westlake: “Get Real.” It’s up to his usual high standard of story-telling and great descriptions.

8. If you were trapped in the life of one fictional character who would you choose?

What a wonderful question:  No doubt about it: Elizabeth Bennett (later Mrs. Darcy) of “Pride and Prejudice.”

9. And finally, what are you working on now?

At the moment, I’m writing a new book that (until now) only my agent knows about. It’s a novel of suspense, with a male protagonist, told in third person.  It’s a big change for me because for the last seven years I’ve been writing one-book-a-year for Berkley Prime Crime, for a total of 2 different series. When I told my agent about my concept for the novel, and about my new protagonist, he loved the idea. But I’m working without a net, so to speak, because my agent can’t sell a book until it’s written. At the moment I have 76 pages: 10 chapters. I’m 2 pages in to Chapter 11, but I don’t consider that I have pages until I’ve written and rewritten them. Then I move forward.

Thank you so much, Linda!

Linda Palmer books-Daytime Mystery series- Love is Murder, Love Her to Death, Love You Madly, Kiss of Death

Melinda Wells books -Della Cooks Mysteries- Killer Mouse, Death Takes the Cake, The Proof is in the Pudding (to be released 02/10)

Okay, to enter to win Killer Mousse

1. Leave a comment for Linda on this post (1 entry)

2. Leave a comment for me on my review (1 entry)

3. Post about it on your blog and/or Twitter and let me know (1-2 entries)

And here is the exciting bonus.  If I get 100 comments on these two posts Linda will give away the first TWO books of this series, Killer Mousse and Death Takes the Cake!

Cover ImageCover ImageI’ll ‘draw’ for a winner on September 15th.

August 28, 2009 Posted by | Author Interviews, FREE | , , | 23 Comments

Killer Mousse, by Melinda Wells

Killer Mousse by Melinda Wells: Book CoverFinished 8-21-09, rating 4.5/5, mystery, pub. 2008

Book 1 in the Della Cooks Mysteries

I muttered ruefully, “So now I’m the ‘killer chocolate woman.’ “

NDM chuckled.  “Worse nicknames have been pinned on me.”

I’m not surprised, I thought.

Chapter 8

Della Carmichael owns her own cooking school in Santa Monica and is the new host of her own cable cooking show.    Her first show is being taped live with an audience and when she calls for a volunteer to try her Killer Mousse, Mimi, the woman she replaced jumps up, intending to humiliate her.  Mimi takes one bite of the mousse and dies on live television. 

Della is horrified, but the higher ups see a jump in viewership and they are less sympathetic.  Della decides to do a little investigating since the police seem to be focused on her.  With the help of a hunky reporter,and an old detective friend she manages to avoid being hurt by her snooping, but someone else is not as lucky.

I loved this book.  My favorite thing?  Della rocks.  She is a 47 year old widower who is not afraid to tell the world her age even though everyone around her seems to think she should be hiding it.  She has a standard poodle, Tuffy, and a cat who she names after a Jane Austen character (you’ll have to read it to find out which one!).  She has good friends and a newly active romantic life.  She is genuine and someone I would love to share some Killer Mousse with.

This book was warm an inviting with a great mystery and lots of good characters and suspects.  And if you own a dog you might fel a little tug on your  heartstrings.  There are 10 yummy looking recipes included in the back of the book.

If you like mysteries, especially cozy ones, I think you’ll like this one.  I was halfway through reading it and I emailed Melinda Wells (Linda Palmer) and asked her to stop by for one of  my 9 in ’09 interviews.  Not only will she be stopping by tomorrow, she will also be giving away this book to one lucky reader.

August 27, 2009 Posted by | 4 1/2 Star Books | , , | 26 Comments

A Useful Affair, by Stella Cameron

Cover ImageFinished 8-24-09, rating 2.5/5, historical romance, pub.2004

“You are extraordinary,” he said as if he hadn’t heard a word she said.  “I have never seen hair quite the color of yours.  Not red, not brown, not blond.  Amazing.”

Hattie bent over her paint box.  What would such a man see in her?  And why would he go out of his way to flatter her when he could have almost any woman he fancied.  And he knew she was married!  Unless he had an ulterior motive…Surely not.

Chapter 3

John Elliot, the Marquis of Granville, escaped from being murdered at sea and managed to also save his small cousin, although not her parents.  As the two escape to Bath John plans revenge against Bernard Leggit by having a very public affair with Bernard’s wife, Hattie.  Hattie is is 40 years younger than Bernard and was forced to marry him to save her parents and she thinks an affair with John might suit her purposes as well.  The two do not count on falling for each other or how dangerous and twisted Bernard really is.

I did not care for this historical romance even though I picked it off my shelf because I was in the mood to be swept away and off my feet.  I did not like or feel any sympathy for John or Hattie.  They were cold fish to me and I never did warm up to them.  There were a lot of characters in the book and there was quite a bit going on, but I was bored.  I almost gave up on it a hundred pages in, but I have a hard time doing that.  I will say that my reading pace picked up not because I couldn’t wait to get to the next page, but because I couldn’t wait to get to the last page. 

Now that I’ve bashed it I can say that it earned a 2.5 because the plot was decent and I liked the secondary character, Snowflake.  The insipid writing (see quote I chose) dragged the plot down but I did want to know what happened and there was one secondary plot that was a payoff in the end.

August 26, 2009 Posted by | 2 1/2 Stars or Less | , , | 7 Comments

Teaser Tuesday – The Broken Window

teasertuesdays31Grab your current read.  Open to a random page.  Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!).  Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Visit MizB for other teasers.

 Something nagged, yet she couldn’t quite figure out what.

Like a faint recurring ache somewhere in your body.

Or a man on the street behind you as you near your apartment… Was he the same one who’d been glancing at you on the subway?

Or a dark dot moving toward your bed but now vanished.  A black widow spider?

first lines from The Broken Window by Jeffery Deaver

This is the latest installment of the Lincoln Rhyme series that I just started last night.

August 25, 2009 Posted by | teaser tuesday | 17 Comments

What’s the Common Thread Quiz?

 

Answers to last week’s quiz now posted here.

What is the common denominator in these book combinations?  Tell me the number and what you think the five books have in common,  Go ahead and take a guess – you could be right!

1.Cover ImageCover ImageCover ImageCover ImageCover Image

Legal thrillers (originally it was the main characters were lawyers, but that’s what legal thrillers are by definition) – Eva

 

2.Cover ImageCover ImageCover ImageCover ImageCover Image

Time Travel – Eva

 

3.Cover ImageCover ImageCover ImageCover ImageCover Image

Talking Animals – Eva

 

4.Cover ImageCover ImageCover ImageCover ImageCover Image

Books made into movies starring Johnny Depp – Bumbles

 

5.Cover ImageCover ImageCover ImageCover ImageInterpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri: Item Cover

Pulitzer Prize winners – Violet

 

 

6.Cover ImageCover ImageCover ImageCover ImageChild of God by Cormac McCarthy: Book Cover

Set in the Appalachian Mountains – Ann

 

7.Wicked by Gregory Maguire: Book CoverSpindle's End by Robin McKinley: Book CoverBeastly by Alex Flinn: Book CoverScarlet Moon by Debbie Viguie: Book CoverThe Swan Maiden by Heather Tomlinson: Book Cover

Fairy Tale Retellings – Eva

 

8.The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris: Book CoverAmerican Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis: Book CoverThe Alienist by Caleb Carr: Book CoverAlong Came a Spider by James Patterson: Book CoverAshes to Ashes by Tami Hoag: Book Cover

Serial Killers – Eva

 

9.Awakening by Kate Chopin: Book CoverA Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole: Book CoverCover ImageCover ImageCover Image

Set in New Orleans – Eva

10.Cover ImageCover ImageCover ImageCover ImageThe Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison: Book Cover

Debut novels – Candice

August 24, 2009 Posted by | Quizzes | , | 24 Comments

ABC’s of Me

I was tagged by Carrie over at Books and Movies for this fun meme. 

The Rules:
– Link to the person who tagged you
– Share your ABCs
– Tag three people at the end by linking to their blogs
– Let the three tagged people know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website
– Do not tag the same person repeatedly but try to tag different people, so there is a big network of bloggers doing this tag.

Available or single?
I’m neither available nor single.  I’ve been married for 10 years  (11 in October).

Best Friend?
Well, my husband, of course!  And my wonderful mom 🙂

Cake or Pie?
Chocolate cake with chocolate icing, please.

Drink of choice?
Coffee in the morning, Diet Coke during the day, and red wine in the evenings.

Essential item for every day use?
Without a doubt my toothbrush.

Favorite color?
Red.

Google?
Everyday.

Hometown?
Heath, Ohio

Indulgences?
Book buying.  Big surprise right?  Take a look at my May post for proof.

January or February?
I do not understand the choice here.  Neither? 

Kids and their names?
Well, I have a cat Scout, who is 11 and a dog Max, who is 5.

Life is incomplete without…?
Faith, family, and friends, oh, and a good book!

Marriage date?
October 1998

Number of siblings?
Zero.  My husband is also an only child.

Oranges or apples?
Apples.

Phobias and fears?
I hate to fly and all phobias or fears pale in comparison.

Quote for the day?
“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say: I used everything you gave me.”   Erma Bombeck

Reason to smile?
Life is good.

Season?
Spring and Fall

Tag 3 people?
Are you reading this?  YOU are tagged.

Unknown fact about me?
If you only know me from my blog you may not know I sell Mary Kay cosmetics…and no, I do not have a pink Cadillac!

Vegetable you hate?
Broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, beets, … this list could go on forever.  I think you get the idea.

Worst habit?
Procrastination.

X-rays you’ve had?
None

Your fave food?
Love Chinese.

Zodiac sign?
Libra

Now it’s your turn!

August 22, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 10 Comments

Daniel Levin book signing

Last night I attended a book signing at the Eton  Barnes & Noble in Woodmere.  I had never heard of the book, but it looked like a really interesting thriller.  I had to go to the store anyway, so I timed my trip to catch  the discussion and signing by first-time author Daniel Levin for his book The Last Ember.

Cover Image

Not being familiar with the author or the book imagine my surprise when I arrived and found well over 100 (closer to 200?) people there!  I love to see authors get so much support.  I’m not sure if he grew up here, but a lot of his family is here.  His uncle introduced him and Daniel gave a loving, heartfelt tribute to his grandfather, who happened to be sitting directly in front of me.  Before he spoke the woman  with his grandfather (maybe his grandmother?)  turned around to me to tell me he had been on NPR that day and that lots of people could write a book, but not everyone could talk about it so well.  And “He’s just so cute.”  How sweet is that?

I loved hearing him talk about his book and the underlying themes in this thriller, but I don’t want to get into too much detail until I read the book.  Then I might more understand what he talked about tonight.  I’ll say that it is a thriller that takes place in a 24 hour period in Rome and Publisher’s Weekly compared it to The DaVinci Code.  Here’s a link to his website about the book http://daniellevin.com/.  It is now #7 bestseller for Amazon.com thrillers. 

I hope to have Daniel stop by and guest post or do an interview soon, but first I’d like to read the book!  For those in the Cleveland area, Daniel will have a book signing tonight, August 21st, at the Crocker Park Borders in Westlake at 6:30 pm.

August 21, 2009 Posted by | Book signings | | 8 Comments