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Win a copy of Sway by Zachary Lazar!

Would you like to win a copy of Sway by Zachary Lazar? Here is some info about the book:


Three dramatic and emblematic stories intertwine in Zachary Lazar’s extraordinary new novel, SWAY–the early days of the Rolling Stones, including the romantic triangle of Brian Jones, Anita Pallenberg, and Keith Richards; the life of avant-garde filmmaker Kenneth Anger; and the community of Charles Manson and his followers.

Lazar illuminates an hour in American history when rapture found its roots in idolatrous figures and led to unprovoked and inexplicable violence. Connecting all the stories in this novel is Bobby Beausoleil, a beautiful California boy who appeared in an Anger film and eventually joined the Manson “family.”

With great artistry, Lazar weaves scenes from these real lives together into a true but heightened reality, making superstars human, giving demons reality, and restoring mythic events to the scale of daily life.

“One hypnotic tone poem…. It is not the now-historic acts of violence that make Sway so riveting, but its vivid character portraits and decadent, muzzy atmosphere, all rendered with the heightened sensory awareness associated with drugs and paranoia.

The near miniaturist precision with which he describes Keith Richards’s attempts to master his guitar, Brian Jones’s acid trips and Anger’s obsessive desire for Beausoleil bring this large-scale tableau into stunning relief.” –Liz Brown, Time Out New York

I will be giving away 5 copies of this book. Unfortunately winners are limited to the US and Canada…sorry about that. I will be drawing the winners on March 8 so hurry up and leave a comment. Please remember to have a valid email address so I know where to contact you and thanks!



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Trail of Crumbs by Kim Sunee


About the Book:

Already hailed as “brave, emotional, and gorgeously written” by Frances Mayes and “like a piece of dark chocolate–bittersweet, satisfying, and finished all too soon” by Laura Fraser, author of An Italian Affair, this is a unique memoir about the search for identity through love, hunger, and food.

Jim Harrison says, “TRAIL OF CRUMBS reminds me of what heavily costumed and concealed waifs we all are. Kim Sunée tells us so much about the French that I never learned in 25 trips to Paris, but mostly about the terrors and pleasure of that infinite octopus, love. A fine book.”

When Kim Sunée was three years old, her mother took her to a marketplace, deposited her on a bench with a fistful of food, and promised she’d be right back. Three days later a policeman took the little girl, clutching what was now only a fistful of crumbs, to a police station and told her that she’d been abandoned by her mother.

Fast-forward almost 20 years and Kim’s life is unrecognizable. Adopted by a young New Orleans couple, she spends her youth as one of only two Asian children in her entire community. At the age of 21, she becomes involved with a famous French businessman and suddenly finds herself living in France, mistress over his houses in Provence and Paris, and stepmother to his eight year-old daughter.

Kim takes readers on a lyrical journey from Korea to New Orleans to Paris and Provence, along the way serving forth her favorite recipes. A love story at heart, this memoir is about the search for identity and a book that will appeal to anyone who is passionate about love, food, travel, and the ultimate search for self.


This is a very intriguing memoir.  Kim is abandoned at a young age by her mother and ends up being adopted in New Orleans.  She struggles to fit in and eventually falls in love with an older man from Paris.  Although there is much love between the two there is also many differences which make her rely too heavily on him making it unable for her to find herself.

I didn’t mind this book but felt that the author may have been a little to rushed to write a memoir.  There seem to be gaps in her writing that make it hard for the reader to make the connection between her thoughts and feelings and the actual events that inspire them.  I will say that the addition of the recipes added a wonderful element to a book that needed a little something to help pull it through. 

About the Author:

Kim Sunée is the founding food editor of Cottage Living. She was born in South Korea and adopted and raised in New Orleans, and lived in Europe for ten years. She now resides in Birmingham, Alabama.

Many thanks to Miriam of Hachette Book Group for the opportunity to review this book!


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Rock bottom by Michael Shilling


Once, the Blood Orphans had it all: a million-dollar recording contract from Warner Brothers, killer hooks, and cheekbones that could cut glass. Four pretty boys from Los Angeles, they were supposed to be the next big thing, future kings of rock and roll.

But something happened on the way to glory, and now, two years later, along with their coke-fueled, mohawked female manager, they have washed up in Amsterdamfor the final show of their doomed and dismal European tour. The singer has become a born-again Buddhist who preaches from the stage, the bass player’s raging eczema has turned his hands into a pulpy mess, the drummer is a sex-fiend tormented by the misdeeds of his porn-king father, and the guitar player–the only talented one–is thoroughly cowed by the constant abuse of his bandmates.

As they stumble through their final day together, the Blood Orphans find themselves on a comic tour of frustration, danger, excitement, and just possibly, redemption. 

If I was asked to use just one word to describe Rock Bottom I think the word I would use would be surprising.  For a novel that has been referred to as “raunchy, knowing, brilliant” using the word surprising is somewhat…surprising.  But, let me explain.

Rock Bottom chronicles the last day of a rock band called Blood Orphans.  At one point they were the next big thing.  This book is a comically dark, sometimes over the top look at what might have been as well as what is yet to come. 

As we are introduced to the guys in the band we find that each one, in his own way, is bitter, disillusioned, and praying for a quick end to this less than magical mystery tour.  But, something funny happens on the way to the last gig.  A strange set of events conspires to show each of them that even though all seems lost, there is a level of love and respect that wasn’t really lost, just misplaced somewhere along the road.  And while this was their last night together as band mates, it wasn’t their last night together as friends.

As I read this book I began to have my doubts that it could hold my interest.  Getting to know these self-absorbed underachievers almost didn’t seem worth it.  By the end of the book I found myself pulling for each one of them to come away with something positive that they could carry with them into the next stages of their lives.  I began to care.  How surprising.

Michael Shilling is a Lecturer at the University of Michigan, where he received his MFA in Creative Writing. His stories have appeared in The Sun, Fugue, and Other Voices. A recovering rock musician, he played the drums in The Long Winters, as well as numerous other bands in Seattle. Currently, he is working on a novel set in Victorian England.
Thanks so much to Miriam of Hachette Book Group for the opportunity to review this book!
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The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen



In this irresistible novel, Sarah Addison Allen, author of the New York Times bestselling debut, Garden Spells, tells the tale of a young woman whose family secrets—and secret passions—are about to change her life forever.

Josey Cirrini is sure of three things: winter is her favorite season, she’s a sorry excuse for a Southern belle, and sweets are best eaten in the privacy of her closet. For while Josey has settled into an uneventful life in her mother’s house, her one consolation is the stockpile of sugary treats and paperback romances she escapes to each night…. Until she finds her closet harboring Della Lee Baker, a local waitress who is one part nemesis—and two parts fairy godmother. With Della Lee’s tough love, Josey’s narrow existence quickly expands. She even bonds with Chloe Finley, a young woman who is hounded by books that inexplicably appear when she needs them—and who has a close connection to Josey’s longtime crush. Soon Josey is living in a world where the color red has startling powers, and passion can make eggs fry in their cartons. And that’s just for starters.

Brimming with warmth, wit, and a sprinkling of magic, here is a spellbinding tale of friendship, love—and the enchanting possibilities of every new day.

I purchased Garden Spells at a library book sale a few weeks ago and have yet to read it.  But, this book has been on my TBR pile for quite awhile so when I saw it at the library I felt compelled to pick it up.  I am sure glad I did.

This story centers around Josey Cirrini.  Josey takes care of her mother, a bitter woman who was married to Marco Cirrini, the king of Bald Slope, a town he helped form from a nothing town to a great place to ski.  Margaret was really just a trophy wife, and when she became pregnant at 47 (Marco was much older) she was hoping that it would change Marco.  It didn’t so she tended to harbor some resentment.  The only person to take it out on was Josey.

Josey is really a loner and does her mothers bidding so when she opens her closet to get to the hidden stash of sweets, she is totally shocked to see Della Lee Baker there.  Della Lee has just left an abusive relationship and didn’t know where else to turn.  She won’t stay long she promises, and the only reason Josey allows it is because she doesn’t want her secret about the  sweets revealed.

I really can’t go into a whole lot of details without giving away a lot of this story.  Let me say that this author is almost enchanting in her writing.  I have to admit that I thought the whole Della Lee angle was a little strange but it all came together by the end of the story.  I am pulling out Garden Spells because this is an author that I can’t seem to get enough of.  This is highly recommended!

Seven things about Sarah

1. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a trash man. I would spend hours daydreaming about riding on the back of a garbage truck, jumping off at every house and dumping people’s trash into it.

2. I was born and raised in Asheville, North Carolina, a place Rolling Stone magazine once called “America’s New Freak Capital.”

3. I have my B.A. in Literature, a major I chose because I thought it was amazing that I could get a diploma just for reading fiction. It was like being able to major in eating chocolate.

4. I can’t turn away stray cats and I’m convinced they know this.

5. My father was a copy editor, reporter and award-winning columnist for our local paper.

6. My mother has a nose ring, but we pretend it’s not there.

7. Garden Spells, my mainstream debut, didn’t start out as a magical novel. It was supposed to be a simple story about two sisters reconnecting after many years. But then the apple tree started throwing apples and the story took on a life of its own…and my life hasn’t been the same since.

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And the winner is

Sorry this post is a little late, but here are the winners of the audiobooks giveaways.  Here goes:

Little Pink House:

Geography of Bliss:
Darby Lohrding
Renee G

Beat the Reaper:
Susan C

I have emailed all of you as I need your full mailing address to send to the publisher.  Thank you everyone for visiting my blog and entering.  Please make sure to stop back as I hope to have some more giveaways in the near future!

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Weekly Geeks 2009-03

weekly-geeksFor your assignment this week, choose two or more of the following questions:

1) How do you feel about classic literature? Are you intimidated by it? Love it? Not sure because you never actually tried it? Don’t get why anyone reads anything else? Which classics, if any, have you truly loved? Which would you recommend for someone who has very little experience reading older books? Go all out, sell us on it!

2) A challenge, should you choose to accept it: Read at least one chapter of a classic novel, preferably by an author you’re not familiar with. Did you know you can find lots of classics in the public domain on the web? Check out The Popular Classic Book Corner
, for example. Write a mini-review based on this chapter: what are your first impressions? Would you read further? (For a larger selection of authors, try The Complete Classic Literature Library).

3) Let’s say you’re vacationing with your dear cousin Myrtle, and she forgot to bring a book. The two of you venture into the hip independent bookstore around the corner, where she primly announces that she only reads classic literature. If you don’t find her a book, she’ll never let you get any reading done! What contemporary book/s with classic appeal would you pull off the shelf for her?

4) As you explore the other Weekly Geeks posts: Did any inspire you to want to read a book you’ve never read before—or reread one to give it another chance? Tell us all about it, including a link to the post or posts that sparked your interest. If you end up reading the book, be sure to include a link to your post about it in a future Weekly Geeks post!

When I was in high school I was in advanced English – in my Junior year we were required to read the classics.  At first I was upset because it was “forced” on us, but some of my favorite books are considered classics.  The Count of Monte Cristo is still one of my 5 favorite books – I can’t imagine anything changing that.  It has been MANY years since I have read it, and although some of the story has been lost in my memory I still know that this is where I would put it.  I believe that I will try to read it again this year to refresh my memory.

I am also a HUGE fan of Edgar Allen Poe.  Horror/Suspense/Mystery books are my favorite type and I am not sure if there is anyone that embraces this genre moreso that he does.  Again, it has been many years but I do have his collection leatherbound sitting on my shelf.  Maybe I should pick it up and read a little today – The Tell-tale Heart is so chilling, but what piece of work by him isn’t?

There are many classics that I haven’t read….many, many, many!  But, after reading the post by Reading Adventures I too am sad to say that I have never read anything by Jane Austen.  I believe that I too will add Pride and Prejudice to my library list.  There are many more and I may come back to revise this list as I continue to go through the posts for this week. 

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Lost Book Challenge


I LOVE the show LOST!!!  I am so glad that they started showing it from the beginning on G4 because I had not watched it previously, but am so hooked.  And, Sawyer is one of my favorite characters, so I love the pic of him reading.  I thought this was a great challenge, and am hoping I can finish it.  Here is my list of books:

1. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
2. The Dark Horse by Tami Hoag
3. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
4. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
5. The Stand by Stephen King

Want to join?  Click here for more details.


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