Wednesday, March 31, 2010

WINNERS! Merlin's Harp by Anne Eliot Crompton

Thank you all for entering my contest for Merlin's Harp by Anne Eliot Crompton.

The 2 lucky winners are...

JuJu from Tales of Whimsy
Thaeter 7

Winners have been emailed. They have 24 hours to respond!

Happy Reading!

red headed book child

WINNERS!- Beautiful Dead by Eden Maguire

Thank you all for entering my contest of Beautiful Dead by Eden Maguire.

The lucky 2 winners are...

Carrie at In the Hammock Blog
Michelle at The True Book Addict

Winners have been emailed. They have 24 hours to respond.

Happy Reading!

red headed book child

Monday, March 29, 2010

Review #52: Powder Necklace by Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond

Title: Powder Necklace
Author: Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Format: ARC from Publisher
Genre: Young Adult
ISBN: 978-1-4391-2610-3
Price/Pages: $15.00/app. 279

Release Date: April 6, 2010

My Review and Description:

I picked this one up yesterday afternoon during my son's nap time and finished it later that night. I was impressed with myself for eating it up so quickly but more so impressed with the talent of this debut novelist.

The story is tragic, real and compulsively readable. Lila is a 14 year old girl born to a mother and father from Ghana but raised in London. She never gets to know her father except over brief phone calls during holidays and her birthday. Her mother is fiercely protective and angry at every normal teenage action she seems to make. (talking to boys, wearing tight clothes, etc). Her mother's attitude towards her goes beyond normal mother/daughter parenting. Though the story behind her father isn't told right away, the hatred that Lila's mother has for him is quite obvious in the way she tries to shelter Lila.

Then one day her mother walks in on Lila and a boy friend watching TV and it sends her into a rage. Soon enough, Lila finds herself being sent to stay with her aunt in Ghana to give her mom "a break".

Ghana is a far cry from her life in London. It is rough and dirty and not at all welcoming. Her Auntie is brisk and to the point; "Don't ask too many questions. Try to fit in." Though her skin color matches the other girls at the Dadaba Girls Secondary School, the term "Broni" is often shouted at her, meaning "White Girl or not a true Ghanaian".

She is faced with a bleak, hot, cruel environment. She is taught to keep her head down and make it through. A water shortage, peer pressure and bullies make her life in Ghana a living hell. After six months and a tough road to making a few friends, her mother pulls her back to her life in London.

With a new man in her mother's life and a possible future step sister, Lila is brought back to a world she is unsure is her true home. But this time she jumps in full force; to hell with her mom's rules about boys. She deserves some fun and soon finds it in her first boyfriend, a new job, sex and drugs.

But not for long. Only a short time after getting settled back in, her father sends for her to take a vacation with his new family to Disney World.

At this point in the book you are really feeling for Lila. Seriously, what the hell? You feel the disfunction of the mother, the eagerness and lure of the father and the impatience of Lila. Who's interest is this all for?

Lila is a fresh, witty, all too aware and real teenager. Though her bad behavior makes you angry at times, you completely understand her rebellion and anger towards her parents. You also get a raw description of life in Ghana and the displacement Lila feels in a culture and world she is supposed to embrace.

Author Info: (from back of ARC)
Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond has written for AOL, Parenting magazine, The Village Voice, Metro, and Trace Magazine. Her short story "Bush Girl" was published in the May 2008 issue of African Writing, and her poem "The Whinings of a Seven Sister Cum Laude Graduate Working Board as an Assistant," was published in 2006's Growing Up Girl Anthology. A cum laude graduate of Vassar College, she attended secondary school in Ghana.

Rating: 5 stars/6 stars
I would recommend this for Young and Adult readers. It has a universal voice that teenagers could easily identify with and a unique and bold writing style that a seasoned reader can appreciate.

Thank you to Wendy at Simon and Schuster for feeding my love of new books and sending me a copy to read.

As always, thanks for stopping by and Happy Reading!

red headed book child

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Week in Review: March 21- March 27

Week in Review

Such a beautiful Sunday morning here in Minnesota. Cold, yes, but beautiful. I'll take sun whenever I can. The music I am listening to is making this morning even better.
While my son and husband play on the floor, we are listening to the new album by Patty Griffin, Downtown Church. Though this blog is about my love of books, I have a pretty strong passion for music as well.
Raised on country, my feet are still planted firmly in the dirt of ones like Johnny Cash. But I am also a child of the 80s, was a young 20something in the 90s and am now an adult in the new century of American Idol obsessed music so my love expands to those of many. I have and will always have a soft spot for singer/songwriter music. Emmylou Harris, Iris Dement, and especially Patty Griffin. She is folk, country, blues, gospel, rock, all rolled into one. My husband and I are very lucky to get a chance to see her 5 days after my birthday in June!

Anyhoo, the week was a busy one as well. We took lots of walks again on the "warm" days, discovered we love to slide and now have a clear distinction between identifying all the vehicles "Van, mama, not truck!".

I caught up with a very old friend over tea and treats where as in the past we would do a late night beer and bad food at the local bar. Oh how time and age changes one!

My week in books was a busy one. I had two blog tours and am hosting two giveaways. I am giving away two copies of Merlin's Harp by Anne Eliot Crompton and Beautiful Dead by Eden Maguire. Check out my earlier posts and sign up.

I finished Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani and passed it on to my mom. I started Brava, Valentine and should have that one done this week.

I finished up Powder Necklace, a young adult novel, due out April 6.
My review should be up this week.

And my husband did his very first Guest Review for Last Snow and First Daughter by Eric Van Lustbader! Great job, hon!

I am looking forward to reading books off of my shelves for the next few weeks as I do not have any tours or requests scheduled!

If you have not hopped over to Crazy For Books and discovered the Book Blogger Hop that Jennifer started, you should. I have "met" so many new lovely blogs.

As always, thanks for stopping by and Happy Reading!

red headed book child

Friday, March 26, 2010

Book Blogger Hop- March 26

Hi Everyone! It's Friday and that means it is Book Blogger Hop time over at
Jennifer created this great meme to connect bloggers to each other.
I think it's just great!
Sign up and make sure you read all of the instructions.

Have a great day and as always, thanks for stopping by!

Happy Reading.

red headed book child

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Review #51: Beautiful Dead by Eden Maguire (BLOG TOUR and GIVEAWAY)

Title: Beautiful Dead: Book 1-Jonas

Author: Eden Maguire
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: Young Adult
Format: ARC from Publisher
ISBN: 978-1-4022-3944-1
Price/Pages: $8.99/app.272 pages
Release Date: March 2010

BLOG TOUR STOPS! Check them out.

My Review and Description:

So sorry this is a day late. I wrote the Blog Tour date on my calendar wrong and thought it was for today! Oops.

I was attracted to this book when I read this short tag line.
"Not alive. Not dead. Somewhere in between lie the Beautiful Dead." It screamed a cross of the Luxe Series and Twilight, two of my favorite Young Adult series. What I found was that it was it's own original satisfying read.

The book is told from Darina's point of view, a teenage girl who has just lost her boyfriend, Phoenix. But Phoenix is not the only one who has died from Ellerton High. Jonas, Summer and Arizona are the three other students who have strangely lost their lives. And Darina keeps seeing and hearing things that are shouldn't be.

One day she sees Phoenix again. Is she crazy? Is she imagining him there? Turns out Phoenix needs her help. Along with the rest of the Beautiful Dead, Darina needs to find the truth to Jonas' death. What plays out is a shocking, adventurous read that combines teenage love, rivalry, grief and redemption.

This one was a good one! It held my attention and was fast paced and exciting to read. You could easily identify with Darina; her confusion for what she discovered, her love for Phoenix, her teenage behavior towards her mother.

It also got you thinking of death and the questions that sometimes surround it. What if you had a chance to right your wrong? Who are your true friends? Does true love last beyond death? I liked the paranormal aspect of the Beautiful Dead, the in between stage of life and death.

I think Eden Maguire has a good start to a developing series. Book 1 is the story of Jonas but you also get a look into the characters of Summer, Arizona and Phoenix.

Rating: 4 stars/6 stars
It combines some good young adult qualities; a teenage romance, a secret, a paranormal twist and cute boys on motorcylces! Overall, a good recommend!

Thank you so much to Paul from Sourcebooks Fire for sending me this to read. Make sure you click on the link above to check out the other blog stops along the way. This also brings you to the exciting Teen Fire website!
I am happy to announce that he sent me 2 copies to giveaway to 2 lucky followers!!!

Giveaway rules:
-You must be a follower of my blog.
-You must reside in the U.S
-You must leave your email address.

A winner will be picked on Monday March 29.

Thanks for stopping by and as always, Happy Reading!

red headed book child

Monday, March 22, 2010

Guest Review #1: Last Snow and First Daughter by Eric Van Lustbader

Title: Last Snow
Author: Eric Van Lustbader
Publisher: Forge
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 978-0-7653-2515-0
Price/Pages: $25.99/413
Release Date: February 2010

Title: First Daughter
Publisher: Forge
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Format: Mass Market paperback
ISBN: 978-0-7653-6142-4
Price/Pages: $9.99/454
Release Date: Mass Market edition 9/09

Red Headed Book Child's Two Cents:

These books came my way via a lovely email from the publisher. I was tickled at the thought of being asked to review these books. I had heard of Eric Van Lustbader being a mystery fan and having worked in bookstores for so long. He was picked by the estate of Robert Ludlum's to continue to write the Jason Bourne series. Though I have not read these books, I am a HUGE fan of the movies.
So I jumped at the chance to take a peek at other books by this author. First Daughter and Last Snow are the first two books in a developing new series featuring the character of Jack McClure, a ATF agent and special advisor to the President.

When I started them I felt they read like an episode of "24", one of my favorite TV shows ever! Lots of politics, intrigue, betrayal and adventure.

Thank you to Anne of Forge Publishing for sending us these books to read.

I thought these would be the perfect books to pass on to my husband to read and review. So lo' and behold, here we are. Sean, my husband, ate these books up in a matter of days. Those lovely uninterrupted lunch breaks, I tell ya'.

So here to tell you all about Last Snow and First Daughter, I give you The Husband.

Sean says:
I greatly enjoyed both books, and would recommend for anyone who likes the political thriller/espionage genre, being action-packed and full of twists.
Both books featured ATF agent, Jack McClure. Jack, having lost his only daughter, is now trusted to take care of the President's daughter. He is loyal, intuitive and rough around the edges.
First Daughter was like a book version of "24" crossed with "Law and Order SVU; it moved quickly, drew heavily on topical current events, and questioned some social and political constructs often taken for granted. Set in D.C., all of the characters had their own flaws, and varying levels of grasping them, to the point it's almost difficult to discern who is the protagonist until a few chapters in. The POTUS (Pres. of the US) is in a tight spot, and calls on his trusted friend, Jack, to help; though his list of "friends" is highly suspect, and heavily corrupted. Throw in a fringe group or two, add some i-pod references, and you've got a great read.
Last Snow takes place almost immediately after the conclusion of the first book, except the main characters are relocated to Russia/ Ukraine, with the POTUS in need of his most trusted man, Jack McClure. Once again Jack is the only one with enough info to help, without having enough info to be a liability. This takes Jack on a wild ride, finding many twists and turns. My only gripe about this book are the leaps in chronological order and, being set in Russia/ Ukraine, many of the names are similar, so it takes a little vigilance to catch the nuances. However, I did find it to be a very fun read.

This may be a new series for Eric Van Lustbader. If so, it is one that I look forward to reading. Check out his website here.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my first review.


Review #49: Merlin's Harp by Anne Eliot Crompton (BLOG TOUR and GIVEAWAY)

Title: Merlin's Harp

Author: Anne Eliot Crompton
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Format: ARC from Publisher
Genre: Fantasy
Reading Level: Young Adult
ISBN: 978-1-4022-3783-6
Price/Pages: $7.99/app. 241
Release Date: March 2010
*Originally published in 1995

Description from back cover:

Nivienne never thought she'd be in direct contact with barbaric Humans-let alone help them. She's only heard stories of the evil that occurs outside the forest. But her dear friend Merlin has brought word that Arthur's kingdom-where Humans dwell- is threatened by the Saxons. If Nivienne doesn't help, it could be the end for her own peaceful home. Nivienne must now learn to trust the Humans and her heart. Even more difficult than going to war alongside your enemies is discovering you are falling in love with them. Anne Eliot Crompton will immerse you in a world of fantasy, passion and adventure.

My Review:

Honestly, I was really excited to read and review this book. From the front cover and the mini reviews I had read compared it so strongly to The Mists of Avalon, one of my favorite books. From the first line "When I was yet a very young woman, I threw my heart away", I thought I would be swept up in a romantic adventure.

Unfortunately I was only swept up in a garble of flowery fantasy. I'm ashamed to even say that I could not finish this one and that honestly rarely happens to me. The author has a lucid way of piecing together her words that I think would be better suited for poetry and not an attempt at a linear story.

I had a hard time understanding the flow of the story and did not see the comparisons to The Mists of Avalon at all. Crompton's characters were not fleshed out or real to me. Feminist take on the Arthurian legend? Hmm...from the perspective of a fairy?

This is geared towards young adult readers but I would certainly plant it firmly in the fantasy genre. The cover art is wildly beautiful and deceptive. The reader has to go into it with an attention to detail and patience for a weaving story line.

It is hard for me to be so harsh and give a negative review. Though released recently this month, it was actually originally published in 1995. With that said, I think as a reader of current young adult fiction/fantasy/horror, it did not compare in style and that was my own issue of comparison to overcome.

Rating: Due to not finishing it, I leave this book unrated. My review sums up my thoughts.

I do have 2 copies to give away. This book has an audience. Don't be discouraged. The audience just wasn't me but I've never been a strong fantasy reader. The fantasy books I have read are few and far between and generally hold enough romance to get me through. ! My curiousity in exploring and discovering new authors and books is what paired me with Merlin's Harp. I do not regret it.

If you are interested in a copy, please leave a comment below with an email address. I will pick a winner by Monday March 28. If you are a lover of fantasy, you may find the heart of this book.

Check the other stops on this blog tour for other reviews.
http://cindysloveofbooks.blogspot.com23-Mar (Portland)25-Mar

As always, thanks for stopping by and Happy Reading.

red headed book child

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Honest Scrap Award

Happy Sunday.
Time to give back a little bit at a time with the awards I've received.

I received the Honest Scrap Award from
Nikki at Wicked Awesome Books and Kathleen at Blog o' the Irish.
Thank you again ladies!

I have to tell 10 honest things about me and pass this on to 10 fellow bloggers.

1. I had open heart surgery when I was five years old.
2. I love paranormal shows especially Ghost Adventures (this humors my husband)
3. I had a crush on the actor, Michael Caine when I was a kid and wrote a short story about him.
4. I used to play in the cornfields behind my house growing up until I saw
Children of the Corn.
5. I hate yard work.
6. I'm really bad at cleaning my car.
7. I am still friends with my first boyfriend.
8. I never finished college.
9. My husband and I have the same tattoo on our arm that we got before we got married.
10. I am country girl at heart who likes to have one foot in the city.

I pass this award to:

1. Stacy at A Novel Source
2. Trever at BooksorFood
3. Brizmus at Brizmus Blogs Books
4. WonderBunny at Cookies, Books, and Bikes
5. Jennifer at Crazy for Books
7. Steph at Steph The Bookworm
9. Staci at Life in the Thumb

Thanks for stopping by! Happy Reading.

red headed book child

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Week in Review: March 14-March 20

Week in Review

Folks, these weeks go by so fast I just can't keep up. I had a much better week than my last week of poo (ha!). This week was full of obligations, seeing friends, and enjoying the one day of sun!

Though I dread doing taxes and always think secretly that I screwed up some how during the year and will owe millions of dollars, we surprisingly turned out quite well this year. Apparently hitting rock bottom, getting laid off, having a kid, and a house in a shitty economy works in the long run! (nervous laugh) Not that we will spend it on anything luxurious. It will go to home fix ups and maybe getting a new vehicle that doesn't involve leaking gas of 8 miles per gallon.

I spent a lovely evening with my pal Rachel and made her laugh once again with a story of her favorite romance author. (one who shall remain nameless) I encountered this author many many years ago at the first bookstore I worked at. I had NO idea who she was and that upset the crap out of her. She seemed ten feet tall to my puny five feet. My knowledge of books at this time consisted of V.C Andrews, Danielle Steele and Stephen King (among others) so when she asked where her books are I typed them into the computer (trying to ignore her eye roll) and responded cheerfully "Why, you can find your books in romance!" Hooray!
"WHAT?!! Romance?! What on earth are they doing THERE? They are much more than that!!! They should be in literature!"
Well, it went on for a few minutes and I stood there frozen to the spot wondering if she still wanted to see where they were (nervous laugh) and hoping she wouldn't step on me. When I was able to get a word in, I muttered an "I'm sorry. Would you like to speak to my manager?"
With a crisp "NO!" and a swoosh of her shawl, she stomped away.
Well, she told me!

I tell this story with humor and I have a world of respect for this author. I've had lots of encounters with authors who have been over-the-top wonderful and some, not so much. We are all human and have bad days and darnit, sometimes a puny little knee high bookseller gets the jab. :) Oh well! No skin off my back.
Rachel loves this story. I retell it with gusto!

Anyhoo, my week wrapped up with a beautiful day outside with the little kiddo. Boy, can this kid talk. I held his hand and we walked around our neighborhood for over an hour and it was "Truck!" "Tree!" "Car!" "Girl!" "Rock!" "Vroom!" "ohoh!" "Yuck!" "Wow!" and so on and so forth. Who knew the world was that interesting?
To a 2 year old, everything is fascinating. It was absolutely adorable. My favorite is when I would sneeze (due to slight allergies), he would pipe up "Achoo, Mama!" meaning
"Bless You, Mama"
sigh. adorable.

For my week in books, I feel like I have not been successful though I have been reading. I've been reading the books for blog tours next week and I can't post my reviews until then. :( I am currently reading Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani for the TLC Book Tour and contest and I am LOVING it. I can not wait to share with you all my review. She is amazing! For a sneak peak, check her out here.

I did a review and interview with L. Diane Wolfe this past week for her new book
The Circle of Friends: Book 5, Heather.

Books that came my way this week are two very exciting ones! Alyson from Simon and Schuster sent me a copy of I Know I am, but what are you by Samantha Bee, a correspondent for the Daily Show.

Also, I received extra ARCs of Falling Apart in One Piece by Stacy Morrison. Wendy from Simon and Schuster was kind enough to send them to me for my book club. We are going to read it for next month. I am passing it along to my mother-in-law's book club as well. I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to spread the word.
Check out Stacy's website here for a tag line from my review!

This week, I hope to finish the second book in Adriana Trigiani's trilogy, Brava Valentine and maybe pick an oldie off my shelf!

Stay tuned tomorrow for my Guest Reviewer: The Husband's first review!

As always, thanks for stopping by and Happy Reading!

red headed book child

Friday, March 19, 2010

The One. The Only. L. Diane Wolfe: The Exclusive Interview with the author of The Circle of Friends series

L. Diane Wolfe "Spunk On A Stick"
Professional Speaker & Author

Welcome Friends! Thanks for stopping by my interview with L.Diane Wolfe. Hopefully you all got a chance to read my review of her new book Circle of Friends Book 5: Heather. It's a good one! I could not pass up this opportunity to ask some questions from one feisty redhead to another. :)

red headed book child

GET TO KNOW L.Diane Wolfe

1.Tell us about your beginnings with writing and becoming a professional speaker. How did it all begin?

I started writing when I was thirteen. It was a great way to express my feelings and thoughts and to satisfy my over-active imagination. Most of my story ideas came from dreams, including The Circle of Friends. I didn’t intend for this to be my first fiction attempt, but I was so inspired by that one dream, I ended up creating four books!

I learned public speaking through a motivational business team, but it really took off about three years ago. I started teaching a class on promoting at local community colleges. I enjoyed the experience and meeting all the people, and eventually I expanded my speaking topics to seven.

2. Tell us a bit about The Circle of Friends series. What inspired you to write these?

Back to that dream again!

I knew I wanted to write something uplifting and positive. My motivation training had taught me so much about relationships, success principles, attitudes… how could I not write something in that same vein? Once I began forming the outlines, I could see how each character faced a challenge (or two) in his or her life, so I poured a message of hope into each book. The stories overlap and entwine as the characters discover that through friendship, love, and belief, they can accomplish anything!

3. Do you have a favorite character of yours?

Sarah! I used to be a lot like Sarah - and many days, I still feel like her. I identified with her self-esteem struggles. I also really liked Matt, as he was just so much fun, and pairing the two together was a joy!

4. How would you best describe Heather?

I think the word you used in your review sums up Heather pretty well! LOL

She’s strong-willed to a fault - both dominating and demanding. She expects 100% effort from everyone, herself included. Heather is responsible, independent, and devoted, but she craves devotion as well. Of all the characters I have ever created, Mark is definitely the only one who could match Heather’s strength! (Which ups the ante in terms of conflict!)

5. Who would you like to see reading your series? Who is your desired audience?

I want to see both teens and adults reading my series. Young people need to know there is hope and older adults need to be reminded of spirited, youthful dreams. Those who needs inspiration and a positive message among the all the negatives of our world need to read and enjoy these books.

6. Where can we get your books?

Online, retail, or at the library - if they don’t carry the titles, ask!

Amazon -

Barnes & Noble:

Dancing Lemur Press L.L.C. :

SOME FUN STUFF about L. Diane Wolfe:

1. As a Professional Speaker, do you have a favorite event that you have been a part of?

I always enjoy the Book ‘Em Festival, as I’m a presenter and I go into the schools the day before to do characterization sessions with the kids.

But my favorite story is a health event in DC with Michelle Obama as the keynote. At the last minute, she was unable to attend. However, I still have the program guide to prove I was the last scheduled speaker before the First Lady!

2. I know you love Roller Coasters. Do you have a favorite?

Apollo’s Chariot at Busch Gardens, Williamsburg! It’s so smooth and has the most drops of any coaster in the world. Pure Heaven to this thrill seeking junkie!

3. As a Vegetarian, can you recommend to this meat lover (meaning me) a yummy Vegetarian recipe? :)

Just one???

Tortilla Pie!

Chop into small pieces 3-4 small potatoes - cook in boiling water and drain without mashing

Chop and sauté 1 small onion

Dice and add to onion 1 tomato (or use a drained can of chopped tomatoes)

Add to this mix 6-8oz tomato sauce and dashes of chili pepper, salt & pepper to taste. (You can also add a little salsa for taste!)

Add the potatoes and a bag of MorningStar Farms veggie beef crumbles to this mix

Cover the bottom of a deep baking dish with a layer of tortilla chips. Spread a layer of the mixture over chips and sprinkle with Galaxy Foods shredded cheese. (Pick you flavor!) Continue with tortilla, mixture, and cheese layers until done.

Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

This dish will please (and fool) even die-hard beef eaters!


Circle of Friends Book 5: Heather