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Friday, August 29, 2008

Notable: Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn

Title: Silent in the Grave
Author: Denna Raybourn
Edition: Standard Book

Perfect for : Personal reading, Book Club recommendation, Really a MUST HAVE for fans of mystery, romance, and Regency/Victorian Era books

In a nutshell: A wonderfully written first book set in 1886. The story takes place in London, 1886 and masterfully combines mystery and a hint of romance. The book begins: "To say that I met Nicholas Brisbane over my husband's dead body is not entirely accurate. Edward, it should be noted, was still twitching upon the floor." From there, it flows very nicely and keeps the reader's attention. The characters are well-written and fascinating, the settings well-described, and the plot intriguing. Once I picked this book up, I literally could not put it down, to the dismay of my family (husband and one year old) - I was exhausted for a few days (read through the night . . . well . . . many nights) and picked it up every moment I could during the day - I believe I even burned dinner one night because I kept telling myself - dinner can cook for just one more paragraph over and over!

Product description from Amazon.com:
"Let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent in the grave."

These ominous words, slashed from the pages of a book of Psalms, are the last threat that the darling of London society, Sir Edward Grey, receives from his killer. Before he can show them to Nicholas Brisbane, the private inquiry agent he has retained for his protection, Sir Edward collapses and dies at his London home, in the presence of his wife, Julia, and a roomful of dinner guests.

Prepared to accept that Edward's death was due to a longstanding physical infirmity, Julia is outraged when Brisbane visits and suggests that Sir Edward has been murdered. It is a reaction she comes to regret when she discovers the damning paper for herself, and realizes the truth.

Determined to bring her husband's murderer to justice, Julia engages the enigmatic Brisbane to help her investigate Edward's demise. Dismissing his warnings that the investigation will be difficult, if not impossible, Julia presses forward, following a trail of clues that lead her to even more unpleasant truths, and ever closer to a killer who waits expectantly for her arrival.

The story takes place in 1886 London, and centers around Lady Julia Grey, who loses her husband in the opening chapter, and meets the man who tries to help her solve his mysterious death over his dying body. Meet Nicholas Brisbane, the man who had been approached by her husband prior to his death to investigate what he thought was a murder threat.

The overall plot of the story is entertaining, and will lead you on a great adventure.

The characters were well-written and work together to create quite an interesting team:
  • Lady Julia Grey: Main character, who loses her husband and turns into an investigator to learn the truth behind his death.
  • Nicholas Brisbane: Darkly handsome and mysterious man from society who approaches Julia, offering his services as a discreet investigator to help find her husband's murderer. (He is one of my favorite characters as you continue to learn about him in bits and pieces throughout the book)
  • Aquinas: Lady Julia's proud butler
  • Morag: Julia's personal maid, with a sordid past
  • Magda: Gypsy lady who does Julia's laundry
  • Aunt Ursula "The Ghoul": Julia's Aunt, well-known in the family to be obsesses with death, who moves in with any family member who has suffered a loss in order to provide "support."
  • Fleur: Close friend of Nicholas, courtesan

I loved the twists and turns provided throughout the book, the glimpses of the character's pasts, and the feeling of anticipation that built as I read.

If you are a fan of this type of book, it is a must have, and if you aren't a fan of this genre, take a chance and give it a try - I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

Other books in the series: Silent in the Sanctuary (Book 2, available now), Silent on the Moor (Book 3, available March 2009)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Notable: Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

Title: Into Thin Air
Author: Jon Krakauer
Edition: Regular book

Best read for: Personal enjoyment, book club read

In a nutshell: An indepth look at the author's experience climbing Mount Everst during the tragic climb of 1996. This book gives you a pretty good perspective of what climbers go through on high-altitude climbs. Once I started it, I couldn't put it down.

Description from Amazon.com:
Into Thin Air is a riveting first-hand account of a catastrophic expedition up Mount Everest. In March 1996, Outside magazine sent veteran journalist and seasoned climber Jon Krakauer on an expedition led by celebrated Everest guide Rob Hall. Despite the expertise of Hall and the other leaders, by the end of summit day eight people were dead. Krakauer's book is at once the story of the ill-fated adventure and an analysis of the factors leading up to its tragic end. Written within months of the events it chronicles, Into Thin Air clearly evokes the majestic Everest landscape. As the journey up the mountain progresses, Krakauer puts it in context by recalling the triumphs and perils of other Everest trips throughout history. The author's own anguish over what happened on the mountain is palpable as he leads readers to ponder timeless questions.

The book covers the tragedy that took place on Mount Everest around May 10th, 1996 involving two primary climbing teams, those of Scott Fischer and Rob Hall. The author was a member of the latter team. The mountain claimed the lives of 12 people within a short amount of time. Jon Krakauer did a wonderful job of telling readers about the groups and individuals on the mountain during their ascent. He also details the conditions the climbers face and how they prepare to reach the top.

At times, I feel the author may have been too hard on himself, but at least he shares his thoughts on what may have contributed to the disaster, and includes some reactions from relatives of those members who were lost as well as conversations with survivors.

On occasion I found the book a little hard to follow, as some descriptions and accounts of people or places didn't flow along with the story as well as I would have liked. That said, once I picked it up, I couldn't put it down.

I don't think I will ever truly understand what drives people to climb this mountain, especially after I read about what the climbers go through for a chance to try to reach the summit of the mountain. Learning what these climbers go through to make it to the top was amazing. There didn't seem to be any fun to be had on the journey, and the climbers sure seemed to suffer through a lot of medical problems and environmental challenges.

Reading about Jon's firsthand account of the expedition gives the reader great insight into what goes on, and the different reasons people choose to aim for the highest place on earth. He also provides a lot of factors that probably had a negative impact on the climb, and ultimately culminated in the disaster that so shocked everyone.

I read this book after my husband gently reminded me for two months or more that he was interested in discussing the events detailed in the book. I am glad I finally took the time to read it. I ended up recommending the book to one of the book clubs I participate in, and it turned out to be a very well-liked and very much discussed book.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Music Review: Idina Menzel's I Stand

Title: I Stand
Artist: Idina Menzel

Soulful, Inspirational and Wonderfully Clear

I am a relatively new fan of Idina Menzel, but as a result of listening to her new cd I Stand, I am searching for everything she has done so far! I have really enjoyed listening to her newest cd . . . in the car, working at my computer and especially when I need some "me" time.

Idina's voice is wonderfully clear, and she has a great vocal range. I Stand is a nicely flowing song that is quite enjoyable to listen to. My favorite song of the cd is Better to Have Loved, which to me has a haunting melody that simply catches your attention and doesn't let go. It seems like she has really poured feeling into this song. A very second close favorite is Brave - the melody is very inspiring. I find myself humming this song throughout the day. My Own Worst Enemy is another favorite (I find it hard not to list the entire album as a favorite) - again, it has a haunting melody and the song is full of feeling.

If you take the time to really listen to this cd, it is very inspiring and heartfelt. I highly recommend that fans of Idina's work (both acting/broadway and singing) go ahead and pick up this cd, and if you aren't a fan yet, pick it up and you soon will be!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Product Reviews

Fisher-Price® Rock n Play Sleeper™
Kiddopotamus SwaddleMe Adjustable Infant Wrap

Book Related
A Life Well Read: My Personal Journey Through Books (Box Set) (Includes link to 25% discount)
Reading Comfort Book Buddy

Frosted Cheerios
Nature Valley Granola Nut Clusters

Yoplait Whips

Honey Bee Tree Game (International Plaything LLC)

Evercare Fabric Shaver

SmartKnitKIDS socks

Smart Planet Mini Donut Maker
Hamilton Beach Electric Kettle

Reading Comfort Book Buddy

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Diamond Edition Combo Pack

...Featuring Norah Jones by Norah Jones and Various Artists
Your Songs, by Harry Connick Jr.

Pregnancy & Maternity
Beaute de Maman Stretch Mark Cream (safe and natural)
My Posh Pads
Knit-Rite Preggers

Shutterfly Photo Cards

Reviews by Title

I am working to update my review links - so far I've got through April 27, 2009. More will be added soon! (Bedtime Blessings is next!)

100 Ways to Simplify Your Life by Joyce Meyer
The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff

Age Before Beauty (Sister to sister #2) by Virginia Smith (Excerpt Included)
American Journey of Barack Obama by the Editors of Life Magazine
Assaulted by Joy by Stephen W. Simpson

Bankruptcy of Our Nation: 12 Key Strategies for Protecting Your Finances in These Uncertain Times by Jerry Robinson
The Beauty Prescription: The Complete Formula for Looking and Feeling Beautiful by Debra Luftman, M.D. and Eva Ritvo, M.D.
Before the Season Ends by Linore Rose Burkard (Excerpt Included)
Be Strong and Curvaceous (All About Us #3) by Shelley Adina (Excerpt Included)
The Bishop's Daughter by Tiffany L. Warren (Excerpt Included)
Blessed are the Meddlers by Christa A. Banister
Blood Lines (NCIS #3) by Mel Odom (Excerpt Included)
Bobbi Brown Makeup Manual: For Everyone from Beginner to Pro by Bobbi Brown
Breathing Space: Twelve Lessons for the Modern Woman by Katrina Repka and Alan Finger

Chasing Diana by Jack and Robin Firestone
The Christmas Edition by Robin Shope
Cole Family Christmas by Jennifer Liu Bryan with Hazel Cole Kendle
Confetti Cakes For Kids by Elisa Strauss with Christie Matheson
Crafting Jewish by Rivky Koenig

Dangerous Heart by Tracey Bateman
Diamond Duo (Book 1) by Marcia Gruver
The Dragonfly Secret by Clea and John Adams

Engaging Father Christmas (Book 2) by Robin Jones Gunn
The Engine 2 Diet: The Texas Firefighter's 28-Day Save-Your-Life Plan that Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the Pounds by Rip Esselstyn
Everyone is Beautiful by Katherine Center

Finding Father Christmas (Book 1) by Robin Jones Gunn
The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America's Most Imaginative Chefs by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg
Flirting With Forty by Jane Porter
For Couples Only: Eyeopening Insights about How the Opposite Sex Thinks by Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn (Excerpt Included)
For the Love of St. Nick by Garasamo Maccagnone

Galway Bay by Mary Pat Kelly
Get Positively Beautiful: The Ultimate Guide to Looking and Feeling Gorgeous by Carmindy
Gingham Mountain (Lassoed in Texas #3) by Mary Connealy (Excerpt Included)
God is my Coach: A Business Leader's Guide to Finding Clarity in an Uncertain World by Larry Julian (Excerpt Included)

Hannah Grace by Sharlene MacLaren
The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent
Hitler and Mars Bars by Dianne Ascroft
How Can I Run a Tight Ship When I'm Surrounded by Loose Cannons?: Proverbs 31 Discoveries for Yielding to the Master of the Seas by Kathi Macias (Excerpt)
The Husband Project: 21 Days of Loving Your Man, On Purpose and With a Plan by Kathi Lipp (Excerpt Included)

I Like You: Hospitality Uner the Influence by Amy Sedaris
Inner Fitness For Celebrating Your Life by Rebecca Evans
Inner Fitness For Girls by Rebecca Evans
Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
It's Your Call by Lawrence Powell

Jenford: A Short History of Upland, A Novel by Hendrik E. Sadi
Juicing, Fasting, and Detoxing For Life: Unleash the Healing Power of Fresh Juices and Cleansing Diets by Cherie Calbom, MS & John Calbom, MA

Keoni's Big Question by Patti B. Ogden (Excerpt Included)
Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand (Kitty Norville, Book 5) by Carrie Vaughn
Kitty and the Midnight Hour (Kitty Norville, Book 1) by Carrie Vaughn
Kitty Goes to Washington (Kitty Norville, Book 2) by Carrie Vaughn
Kitty Raises Hell (Kitty Norville, Book 6) by Carrie Vaughn
Kitty and the Silver Bullet (Kitty Norville, Book 4) by Carrie Vaughn
Kitty Takes A Holiday (Kitty Norville, Book 3) by Carrie Vaughn
Kushiel's Mercy by Jacqueline Carey

The Love as a Way of Life Devotional: A Ninety-Day Adventure That Makes Love a Daily Habit by Gary Chapman and Elisa Stanford (Excerpt)

Marketplace Memos by David Shibley and Jonathan Shibley
The Marriage Turnaround: How Thinking Differently About Your Relationship Can Change Everything by Mitch Temple (Excerpt)
Married by Mistake by Abby Gaines
Me Myself & I Am by Matthew Peters and Elisa Stanford
Midwife of the Blue Ridge by Christine Blevins
Mr. Darcy's Daughters by Elizabeth Aston
Mrs. Meyer's Clean Home: No-Nonsense Advice that Will Inspire You to CLEAN like the DICKENS by Mrs. Thelma A. Meyer
Murder on the 'Ol Bunions by S. Dionne Moore

Never Say Diet by Chantel Hobbs
The Never Say Diet Personal Fitness Trainer by Chantel Hobbs
New York Debut (Carter House Girls, Book 6) by Melody Carlson

The Obama Revolution by Alan Kennedy-Shaffer

Plain Perfect by Beth Wiseman
Plunder: Investigating our Economic Calamity and the Subprime Scandal by Danny Schechter
Pure Gold by Pam Davis

Queen Vernita's Visitors by Dawn Menge

The Rose Conspiracy by Craig Parshall (Includes Excerpt)
Runaway by Dandi Daley Mackall

Santa Responds by Santa Claus
Saying Yes to the Millionaire by Fiona Harper
The Secret Soldier by Jennifer Morey
Seeing Venice by Mark Doty
Shame Lifter: Replacing Your Fears and Tears with Forgiveness, Truth, and Hope by Marilyn Hontz (Excerpt)
Silent in the Grave (Lady Julia Grey #1) by Deanna Raybourn
Silent on the Moor (Lady Julia Grey #3) by Deanna Raybourn
Skipper's Revenge by Julie Teahan
Snow Valley Heroes: A Christmas Tale (Planet of the Dogs, #3) by Robert J. McCarty
A Song for the Missing by Stewart O'Nan
The Spring of Candy Apples (A Sweet Seasons Novel) by Debbie Viguie (Excerpt Included)
Surviving Financial Meltdown: Confident Decisions in an Uncertain World by Ron Blue and Jeremy White, CPA (Excerpt Included)

Thrive, Don't Simply Survive: Passionately Live the Life You Didn't Plan by Karol Ladd (Excerpt)

UltraLongevity: The Seven-Step Program for a Younger, Healthier You by Mark Liponis, MD

The Valentine Edition (Turtle Creek Editions, #2) by Robin Shope

What to do on the Worst Day of Your Life by Brian Zahnd (Excerpt)
When God and Grief Meet by Lynn Eib (Excerpt Included)
When Wanderers Cease to Roam by Vivian Swift
White Christmas Pie by Wanda E. Brunstetter
The Woman of Mystery: Unveiling the Secret to True Romance by Hayley DiMarco (Excerpt)

Your Best Life Begins Each Morning by Joel Osteen


CH - Childrens
NF - Non-Fiction
YA - Young Adult

About Me

Wendi is a 35 year old mother of two young boys who married her High School sweetheart after dating him for 7 years.  She is a business professional with an MBA specializing in Human Resources, Accounting and Change Management.  She is passionate about her family and loves learning and sharing with others.

Wendi made the decision to become a stay-at-home Mom when their family grew to include a preemie in 2006.  She started blogging at Wendi's Book Corner as a way to challenge herself and keep track of the books she read.  Her passion for blogging grew to include product reviews, giveaways, author interviews, crafts, recipes, places to visit and so much more!  Wendi is launching a new blog called What Wendi Wants that will encompass everything from everyday life, product reviews, book reviews, crafts, kid friendly activities and recipes plus much, much more.

Wendi loves hosting product parties and has had a lot of success sharing great products and services with local Seattle and Eastside families.  I miss the daily interaction with people, but find that my new family-based life is very rewarding!

I originally created Wendi's Book Corner as a way to document and record all the books I read, and have found it to be so rewarding and fun!  It has also grown and evolved into a general blog where I share book and product reviews, crafts, recipes, daily life and where I'm starting some fun local features, including Around The Sound, where I'll showcase local events and places to visit in and around the Seattle area.

I love my blog - so come on over and say hi!  You can also find me on The Husband Project.

In 2011, Wendi's Book Corner was nominated for Parents Best Local Mom Blog!
By Best Local Mom Blog

If you would like to send me a book or product to review on my blog (Amazon, Library Thing and GoodReads also), please email me and I will send you my contact information. I will make a point to review your book or product as soon as possible. wbarker@hotmail.com

Full disclosure: As of December 1, 2009, the FTC is requiring that bloggers who post their reviews disclose the source of the book/product they are reviewing. Most of the books and products I review were received courtesy (free of charge) of the publisher, author, publicist, manufacturer, or other Word-of-Mouth Marketing company (like BzzAgent, One2One Network, etc). I do not get paid for my reviews ~ I simply enjoy learning about new books/products and passing on the information and my thoughts.

The Website Grade for http://wendisbookcorner.blogspot.com!

Book Bloggers & Publishers Online Conference


Coming Soon


Click on the award to read the details and see who I passed it on to!

The 2009 Friendly Blogger Award: I received this fun award from Serena over at Savvy Verse & Wit

The Butterfly Award: Kelly, Bonnie, Kaye and Ryan G of Wordsmithonia all awarded me with the Butterfly Award! Thanks everyone!!

I Love Your Blog Award: I am also honored to receive the "I Love Your Blog" award from Yvonne at Socrates' Book Reviews

The Lemonade Award: I was so honored to receive the Lemonade Award from Yvonne of Socrates' Book Reviews

The Lemonade Award is for blogs with great attitude and/or gratitude.

Let's Be Friends: I received this award from three different and wonderful bloggers! Many thanks to Jane of Fleur Fisher Reads, Ruth of This That and the Other Thing, Cathy of Kittling Books, Kristi of Books and Needlepoint (have you ever stopped by to see what needlepoints she shares?), Missy of Missy's Book Nook, and Stacey at Word UP! who all sent me this award - it is so nice to know that I've got bloggy friends out there!

One Lovely Blog Award: I received this lovely award from Rebecca of Lost in Books, Mary of Bookfan-Mary, and LuAnn of Reading Frenzy!

Premio Dardos Award: I received this award from Sunny over at That Book Addiction, and from Melissa over at Bibliphile's Retreat!

This award acknowledges the values that every blogger shows in his or her effort to transmit cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values every day.

The Proximidade Award: I received this beautiful award from Mari, of MariReads (who also knits), Alyce (whose name rhymes with peace!) of At Home With Books, Pabast from Reading Mama, and Blodeuedd of Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell.~ Thanks Alyce and Pabast!!

"This blog invests and believes in the PROXIMITY-nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement! Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this clever-written text into the body of their award."

The Sisterhood Award: Many thanks to Bev of Merry Weather, Yvonne of Socrates' Book Reviews, and Kelly of Enroute to Life, who have each graced me with The Sisterhood Award!

The Splash Award: Melissa of Melissa's Bookshelf, and Kristi of Books and Needlepoint have awarded me with this splashy and glitzy award. (Melissa doesn't know it, but after seeing how nice her link bar was under her heading, I HAD to figure out how to get one on my blog - so I ultimately took two nights to figure out how to do it, and I also updated my header!! Thanks for the inspiration Melissa!!)

You Don't Say Award: I received this wonderful award from Melonie of Wandering Quail Road and Wanda of A Season To Read!

"We give and get awards for having a great blog and being a good friend. What I want to award is those people whose comments have meant THE WORLD to me. It takes time to visit a blog and leave a comment ... I wanted to recognize some special bloggers whose comments have made such an impact on me. The “You Don’t Say?” Award is awarded to these special bloggers in hopes that they will pass the award along to 5-10 of their best commenters!"

Your Blog is Fabulous: I received this award from Teddy Rose of So Many Precious Books, So Little Time!

(Isn't this button just adorable!!) Recipients of this award are encouraged to write five things that they are addicted to and then pass it on to five other blogs.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Giveaways - Leave me a comment and I'll include your giveaway on my blog!

Are you hosting a giveaway? Leave a comment here and include:

Your Name/site name
Link to your site
Title of giveaway (book title/author)

I will get it posted as soon as possible!

Thanks ~ Wendi

About the Author: Author Interview Index

I know there are a few great places to list your book reviews, but I haven't found one for listing author interviews. I thought I would start an index for them, so if you have an author interview on your blog/site, leave a comment here and I'll add you to the index.

I do ask that you link back to this page somewhere in your post. I will have a button up soon!

In your comment, please include the following (copy/paste if it is easiest):
1. Author name: last, first
2. Recent Book:
3. Your blog name:
4. The link to your post:

1. Author name: Carey, Jacqueline
2. Recent Book: Kushiel's Legacy Series

3. Your name & blog name: Wendi - Wendi's Book Corner
4. The link to your post: http://wendisbookcorner.blogspot.com/2008/11/author-interview-jacqueline-carey.html


Abrams, Douglas (Lost Diary of Don Juan)
Savvy Verse & Wit

Albergotti, Dan (Boatloads)
Savvy Verse & Wit

Ang, Arlene (Bundles of Letters Including A, V, Epsilon)
Savvy Verse & Wit Part 1
Savvy Verse & Wit Part 2
Savvy Verse & Wit Part 3

Ascroft, Dianne (Hitler and Mars Bars)
Zen Sanity
Wendi's Book Corner

Banister, Christa Ann (Blessed are the Meddlers)
Books, Movies, Chinese Food

Bell-Rehwoldt (You Think It's Easy Being the Tooth Fairy?)
Write for a Reader

Biddinger, Mary (Prairie Fever)
Savvy Verse & Wit

Budy, Andrea Hollander (House Without a Dreamer)
Savvy Verse & Wit

Burke, Shannon (Black Flies)
Savvy Verse & Wit

Carey, Jacqueline (Kushiel's Legacy Series)
Wendi's Book Corner

Curnutt, Kirk (Breathing Out the Ghost)
Savvy Verse & Wit

Defoe, Andrea (poet)
Savvy Verse & Wit

Dubrow, Jehanne (The Hardship Post)
Savvy Verse & Wit

Ebershoff, David (The 19th Wife)
Wendi's Book Corner

Geyer, Bernadette (What Remains)
Savvy Verse & Wit

Giovanni, Nikki (Hip Hop Speaks to Children)
Savvy Verse & Wit

Harrington, Karen (Janeology)
Savvy Verse & Wit

Havens, Candace (The Demon King and I)
Bitten by Books - Paranormal Fiction Review Site

Hewitt, Kate (The Man Who Could Never Love)
Wendi's Book Corner

Hollick, Helen (The Kingmaking)
Savvy Verse & Wit

Jasper, Liz (Underdead In Denial)
Patricia's Vampire Notes

Mansell, Jill (An Offer You Can't Refuse)
Savvy Verse & Wit

Meredith, Marilyn (Kindred Spirits)
Savvy Verse & Wit

Morey, Jenniffer (The Secret Soldier)
Wendi's Book Corner

Mulcahy, Susan (Why I'm a Democrat)
Elizabeth Willse

Orton, Barbara (Stealing the Silver and What I Did Instead of Love (manuscripts))
Savvy Verse & Wit

Pankey, Eric (Cenotaph)
Savvy Verse & Wit

Porter, Jane (Flirting With Forty)
Wendi's Book Corner

Raab, Diana (Dear Anais: My Life in Poems for You)
Savvy Verse & Wit

Reynolds, Abigail (Pemberly by the Sea)
Savvy Verse & Wit

Rigler, Laurie Viera (Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict)

Rose, M.J. (The Memorist)
Diary of an Eccentric
Savvy Verse & Wit

Saft, Stephen Alan (City Above the Sea)
Savvy Verse & Wit

Schieber, Phyllis (Sinners Guide to Confession, Willing Spirits)
Savvy Verse & Wit
Diary of an Eccentric

Schumacher, Julie (Black Box)
Diary of an Eccentric

Shope, Robin (The Christmas Edition)
Wendi's Book Corner
A Christian Writer's World
Novel Journey
Wendi's Book Corner (interview with character: Joe McNamara)

Sigler, Scott (Infected)
Elizabeth Willse

Stine, Alison (Ohio Violence)
Savvy Verse & Wit

Teller, Joseph (The Tenth Case)
Elizabeth Willse

Van Lustbader, Eric (First Daughter)
Elizabeth Willse

Veitch, Kate (Without a Backward Glance)
Diary of an Eccentric

White, Karen (The House on Tradd Street)
Diary of an Eccentric

Whiteside, Diane (Bond of Darkness)
Patricia's Vampire Notes

Wilson, Marvin D. (Owen Fiddler)
Diary of an Eccentric

Worton, Barbara (Too Tall Alice)
Diary of an Eccentric

Younge-Ullman, Danielle (Falling Under)
Diary of an Eccentric

***  Due to broken links, some interviews were removed.  If I can get new links, they will be put back up ***

Notable: Skipper's Revenge by Julie Murphy Teahan

Book Title: Skipper's Revenge
Author: Julie Murphy Teahan

I first read this book as part of a bzzCampaign through bzzAgent. I enjoyed it so much, I recommended it for one of the book clubs I participate in. We had a great time reading and discussing this book.

Back of book:

I never got my chance to be Barbie. My fate as a Skipper was forever sealed.
Since 1950, seven out of every ten girls in America have owned a Barbie doll. Paige Sheehan was not one of them. Her mother believed that playing with a doll whose breasts made up half of her body mass was inappropriate for a nine-year-old girl.

During her childhood, Paige was forced to sneak to a friend’s house for her Barbie fixes, where she was directed to play Barbie’s less glamorous younger sister, Skipper. Now more than twenty years later, Paige has a theory that women are either Barbies or Skippers—and she still longs to play the superior role. Barbie women come readily stocked with beauty and accessories galore. Skippers are the younger sisters, impatient to grow up from their awkward adolescence and fill the high-heeled shoes of their glamorous sibling.

Confronted with a failed relationship, a dying father, and a legal entanglement, Paige is forced to look beyond packaging. Unlike Barbie, born with an empire of houses, clothes, and companions, Paige discovers the value of being what she considers to be less than perfect. With a new love interest and a renewed sense of self, Paige takes on the seemingly Barbie-dominated world around her with wit, style, and determination.

I found this book to be refreshingly fun to read, as well as highly entertaining.

True to its title, the main character Paige Sheehan compares all people in life to Mattell's Barbie doll or her younger sister Skipper . . . describing herself as Skipper, lacking the perfect figure, perfect hair, great wardrobe and stylish boyfriend.

Throughout the book, Paige overcomes one challenge after another, including a rediculous lawsuit, boyfriend troubles, and a significant death in her family, showing us that it is these things that help to build her character.

I loved this book from start to finish and would challenge men and women alike to take a peak into the world Julie Murphy Teahan has created for Paige - you might find more than you expected!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Coming Soon: A Song For the Missing by Stewart O'Nan

Title: Songs for the Missing
Author: Stewart O'Nan
Available: October 30th, 2008
Edition Read: Advance Reader Copy: I received the book Songs for the Missing by Stewart O'Nan by participating in the Barnes and Nobles First Look Program, where I got to discuss the book with other pre-readers and also got a chance to interact with the author himself. What an opportunity!

Best Read For: Personal reading, book club reading, great for discussions

In a nutshell: Stuart O'Nan has written a fictional book that reads like non-fiction in that it explores the events and emotions experienced by friends, family, neighbors and volunteers as the search for a missing girl progresses, providing the reader with great insight into what experiences might be like surrounding a missing person. I found myself viewing events going on around me a little differently after reading this book, giving a little more thought to what the friends and family of news stories are experiencing.

Synopsis from Barnes & Noble's Website:
An enthralling portrait of one family in the aftermath of a daughter’s disappearance. “It was the summer of her Chevette, of J.P. and letting her hair grow.” It was also the summer when, without warning, popular high school student Kim Larsen disappeared from her small Midwestern town. Her loving parents, her introverted sister, her friends and boyfriend, must now do everything they can to find her. As desperate search parties give way to pleading television appearances, and private investigations yield to personal revelations, we see one town’s intimate struggle to maintain hope, and finally, to live with the unknown.
Stewart O’Nan’s new novel begins with the suspense and pacing of a thriller and soon deepens into an affecting family drama of loss. On the heels of his critically acclaimed and nationally bestselling Last Night at the Lobster, Songs for the Missing is an honest, heartfelt account of one family’s attempt to find their child. With a soulful empathy for these ordinary heroes, O’Nan draws us into the world of this small Midwestern town and allows us to feel a part of this family.

My point of view:
A fictional book that seems like a non-fiction documentary. My attention was caught after reading the first chapter - I had to know what happened next! This is the heartwrenching story of a young girl about ready to leave the high school and town she has known all her life to begin her next journey in college, who vanishes.

Stewart O'Nan has done a wonderful job of engaging readers so they can gain some insight into what happens when a family member or friend goes missing. He delves into what thoughts go through peoples minds, what processes are followed and why, and the emotional changes taking place in everyones lives, from the younger sister, father, mother, boyfriend, best friend, neighbors, media, etc.

Prior to reading this book, I had never really considered just what a family goes through when a member goes missing - this book does a great job of filling in the blanks (speaking as someone who has never gone through a situation like this).

This is a thought provoking book that would make a good book club read.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Product Review: Garnier Nutritioniste Skin Renew Eye Roller (SheSpeaks)

Product Tested: Garnier Nutritioniste Eye Roller
Received From: SheSpeaks.com

From the site:

It's no longer rude to roll your eyes... Meet the newest member of the Garnier NutritionisteTM family - Skin Renew Anti-Puff Eye Roller!
This easy-to-apply eye treatment helps diminish dark circles and deflate puffiness, thanks to its exclusive "Skin-Nutrient*" and cooling roll-on applicator.

With key ingredients like caffeine and a gentle massaging roller, Skin Renew Anti-Puff Eye Roller stimulates micro-circulation and helps decongest the fluid retained around the eye area to diminish dark circles and puffiness. Eyes appear brighter, refreshed and more awake.
Skin Renew Anti-Puff Eye Roller is clinically proven to reduce puffiness and boost radiance around the eye after only one week of use! With continued use, the severity of puffiness is further reduced and dark circles stay minimized.

How do I use it?
Gently roll Skin Renew anti-puff eye roller gel under the eye from the inner corner to the outer corner, one to two times. Use finger to smooth in any excess until absorbed. Apply morning and night, and as needed throughout the day. This cool, refreshing light serum is immediately absorbed without leaving a greasy or sticky feel. It is oil-free and an excellent base for makeup.

What I noticed:
Made my eyes look less puffy
Diminished fine lines around my eye area
Makes my eyes look refreshed and rested
Contains ingredients I feel good about
Is easy to apply

Overall opinion: A

While I would LOVE the dark circles under my eyes to go away, I can't argue that my eyes looked better when less puffy (I didn't even know they were puffy prior to trying this product) and with fewer fine lines.
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