Ashes of a Black Frost (11/1) | The Shattered Vine (11/3)
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FTC Disclosure: I am an affiliate at IndieBound, The Book Depository, and Amazon, and any purchases made by clicking on covers or links here may result in monetary compensation.

Teaser Tuesdays - Mar. 31...

March 31, 2009
  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall to a random page.
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • Share the title of the book that you're getting your teaser from... That way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you've given!
  • Please avoid spoilers!

They all, with the exception of Nelson (who gazed longingly off in the direction of the Nassau Street Foot Locker), stood looking awkwardly at one another, waiting for someone to say something, to address the many permutations of discomfort among them, but the only emissions were frosty breath. Portia was painfully aware of how terrible she looked – ill rested, ill dressed, fundamentally out of sorts – while the likely Deborah Rosengarten stood tall and composed, well appointed in a hat that covered her ears, a serious parka, and warm scarves wound around her neck, willfully oblivious to the fact that she was supposed to be the stranger here.

Admission by Jean Hanff Korelitz ~ pg. 250 (ARC)

Tour stop: Michele Scott & Zamora's Ultimate Challenge...

March 30, 2009
drey's library welcomes Michele Scott on her tour stop for Zamora's Ultimate Challenge, her first children's fantasy novel. Michele has graciously written a wonderful post on the difference between writing adult mysteries (multiples of which are already under her belt) and children's fantasies.
Writing children’s fantasy was never on my agenda or plan. It just sort of happened. I have always been into mysteries and thrillers, so writing in that format for adults is a comfort zone for me. However, when I was on bed rest with my youngest child, I decided to write a book for my three kids. I wanted to write something that would kind of show them my values and beliefs systems in a fun and fantastical way. Thus, “Zamora’s Ultimate Challenge,” was born.

Here is what I have learned about writing adult mystery versus children’s fantasy. Writing a kids’ fantasy allows me to be far more creative and it’s like a sigh of relief in many ways. It’s pure fun. Mysteries are great fun, too, but there is a lot of formula to a mystery. You know you’re going to get a victim, clues, read herrings, suspects and a sleuth. With a fantasy for kids, you kind of get to open up your mind and be super creative. Now that does not mean you take the writing down a notch. Kids are smart and when you write at a level that “talks down” to them, they pick up on it fast, and they put down the book. Like adult mystery, a kids’ fantasy has to be fun, exciting, and it must be filled with tension. Kids like to be on the edge of their seats when they read, just like adults do.

With Zamora, I didn’t work from an outline. I jotted down notes, but I pretty much just rolled with it and allowed my imagination to be free and go to work. There are acid-poop bomb dropping pterodactyls, haunted master souls, fire breathing dragons, mermaids, robotic sharks, talking crabs, stinging fairies, etceteras—now to me that is/was all fun.

With my mysteries, I plan it all out form a-z. I have a nice, big outline that I write up and draw from. I know who killed who and why before I ever write that first sentence.

I guess the bottom line in differences here is that writing a kids’ fantasy is less restrictive feeling. I enjoy the mysteries as much, and sometimes even more so because figuring out a plot on a mystery is like solving a puzzle—it’s a brain tease.

Writing is writing and it’s all great fun. It’s my passion and it’s what I love to do, be it for a children’s fantasy novel like Zamora, or a mystery like my Nikki Sands books.

Thanks for checking in today and please ask me questions, make comments and just say, “hi.” I will be checking in regularly throughout the week. And, don’t forget to visit my blog at where you can view a book trailer for “Zamora,” and find out how you and a guest can win a vacation to San Diego, CA!


M.K. Scott

About Zamora's Ultimate Challenge:
Mason and Carter Clover only agree on two things—their baby sister Isabella is a royal pain and their favorite video game, Zamora’s Ultimate Challenge, is totally awesome.

But fantasy turns to reality when Zamora’s evil face appears across the brothers’ television screen. Claiming to have kidnapped Isabella, the queen challenges the boys to a daring rescue before she takes over their sister's soul. Zamora’s plan is to use the baby as a human vessel to travel to Earth and dominate the world.

Once the brothers figure out how to get inside the video game, they are hurled into the magical land of Boysen where they meet their helpful guides: a sage, a quirky mermaid, and a Pegasus (who flies them to each thrilling level of the video game). Racing against time, the brothers search for their sister, encountering a myriad of dangerous enemies including stinging fairies, haunted Master Souls, and brutish, knife-wielding pirates.

Can they beat each level of the game while being hunted by a fire-breathing dragon, stalked by a robotic shark, and terrorized by acid-poop-bombing pterodactyls?

Driven by the powerful bonds that unite siblings, Mason and Carter are determined to face their fears and will stop at nothing to bring Isabella home…but first they must survive Zamora’s Ultimate Challenge!

About the Author:
Michele wrote her first short story at 9, upon which her father pronounced her a writer, and it hasn't changed since then. She graduated from The University of Southern California with a degree in communications, where she studied journalism and hoped to be a reporter. During Michele’s senior year at college she became pregnant with her first son who was born six weeks prematurely. While staying home with her newborn who needed constant care, she decided to write her first book. She contacted Writer’s Digest and ordered their correspondence course on writing a novel. For ten years Michele kept writing, submitting, attending conferences and workshops and receiving rejections but never giving up.

Finally in March 2004, Jessica Faust at Bookends signed her as a client. One month later Michele received THE CALL from Jessica telling her that she had a publisher—Berkley Prime Crime, and that they wanted to sign her for three books in The Wine Lover’s Mystery Series. “It was surreal, wonderful and a dream come true when my agent called and told me. That night my husband and I got a really nice bottle of Champagne and celebrated." Then in December that second call came in about The Equine Mystery Series.

Michele writes full time now and lives in San Diego with her very supportive husband, two sons and daughter. She can be found online at her website and blog.

And now, it's GIVEAWAY time!
Michele is super wonderful, and offering a signed copy of Zamora's Ultimate Challenge and poster calendars of the book cover, to THREE winners (yes, I said 3)!!

(I'm sorry for the oversight, but I completely forgot to ask Michele where she's ok to ship to! I'll update this post once I find out... Sorry!!)

Enter before April 10th by commenting - name one of the other tour stops. Easy, ain't it? +1 for swinging by another tour stop & commenting there (come back & let me know where). All stops are listed at Michele's blog post linked at the end of this post. +1 for following, +2 for sharing (ok, pimping). As usual, let me know.

Come back after to find out if you're one of the lucky three. Winners will have 3 days to get me their snail-mail info, after which Randomizer will nominate a replacement.

So, what're you waiting for? Comment away! =)

Next up on the tour:
* April 2: Michele talks about balancing multi-genre writing and family at Booking Mama.

* April 3: A tween's view of "Zamora's Ultimate Challenge" at Beth Fish Reads.

* April 4: Stop at Teen Seen and maybe win some prizes!

See Michele's blog for previous stops, and a HUGE giveaway!


March 29, 2009
PhotobucketThis has to be one of my favorite things to do - pick winners. I don't know how I'd do this without Randomizer, though, especially when there are multiple giveaways ending on the same day. & I'm sure you're all antsily waiting to find out who the lucky winners are for the giveaways ending today...

My winner for Carrie Vaughn's Kitty and the Silver Bullet is...


And the 5 winners of Charles Grodin's memoir, How I Got to be Whoever it is I am, are... (These are listed in entry order, not in Randomizer order. Helps keep my head on straight!)

Congratulations, everyone! Please send me your mailing info by the end of day (ok, 10:00 pm, please) Wednesday, April 1st.

Didn't win but want the books? Click on the covers to purchase from Amazon (or, in the case of Charles Grodin's memoir, pre-order). I also have the whole 6-pack of Kitty books up for grabs here. =)

Where are you?

Since this blogging thing is supposed to be social (If it's not, don't tell me. I'd have to figure out what it's for then, & I don't really want to know! Keep my delusions going, please!), I thought I'd share a few places you can find me on the interwebs... =) If you're at any of these places, let me know, & let's connect. Pimping book blogs should be a fun, good thing to do. Especially since book blogs should encourage reading. And reading's a good skill to have. Right? =)

I'm on Technorati as dreyshouse. I haven't done much, other than claiming my blog & finding J.Kaye's... What can I say? I'd rather be reading... =)

I'm drey on BlogCatalog. There are quite a few spammers here, but I ignore 'em. I have found a few interesting blogs here, so it's not a complete waste of my time.

Signed up for twitter as dreys_tweets, but how on earth am I going to do this whole 140-characters-or-less thing?

Book Blogs is what it says. A collection of book bloggers congregate to share ideas, thoughts, and posts. =) I'm drey there.

So, where are you? Share if you'd like others to connect. =) One of these days, if I ever get over being leery of sharing my IRL info, I'll share my facebook & LinkedIn too.

57. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer...

March 28, 2009
I did it. I finished the Twilight series. *phew* Picked it up at the library on Thursday, and read it. Cover to cover.

I'm not sure what I want to say about Breaking Dawn, and the whole series. Bella's still a self-absorbed teenager. Sure, she "suffers" so that Jacob & Edward don't, but they still do. It's like she's playing with her own head, martyring herself in her own head. Because nobody deserves her - she's not good enough, pretty enough, whatever enough. Ugh.

Breaking Dawn concludes the angsty series. Bella & Edward get married, finally. And then stuff happens (can't say - it's VERY spoiler-ish), and the Volturi come to visit, as promised. Good drama, even if it was predictable.

Out of all 4 books, I liked Twilight best, because it was the beginning. The other 3 books almost seemed like too many. And Breaking Dawn is LONG! I almost didn't finish it. I kept going "yeah, okay, what next?"... This series has so much of Bella's absorption with looks and beauty (or her lack thereof), that to have her "turn" into a beauty herself (with powers! wow!), was kind of a letdown. What are we telling our daughters? That it's ok to want to be beautiful, at whatever cost? Because giving up life IS a cost. A huge one. Hmm... And not having a daughter myself, I guess I can't really say this with any backing. But, uh... WHATEVER!

So yeah. Guess I could say I didn't like it. But I did, somewhat. The characters are well-drawn. The story has enough drama & plot to keep moving. Slowly, but even a lazy river gets to its end, right? I just didn't care for Bella. And with her being a HUGE part of this story, I guess you could say I didn't like it. Final verdict: eh.

Title: Breaking Dawn
Author: Stephenie Meyer
ISBN-10: 0-316-06792-X
ISBN-13: 978-0-316-06792-8
Hardcover: 754 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown, and Company, 2008

Sheldon's winners!

March 27, 2009
Sooooo... It was time to pick winners for my giveaway from Sheldon Rusch. Thank you so much to everybody who entered, and asked him questions. I hope you enjoyed his answers, and I certainly appreciate the time Sheldon took to participate - in both the interview, and in answering everyone's questions.

There were a total of 33 entrants for the giveaway, and 78 distinct entries. The first number drawn by Randomizer is for the set of 3 books, which goes to entry # 32... Pissenlit!

33 entrants = 1 copy of Separated at Death up for grabs. Randomizer says this goes to entry #7... Bingo!

Congratulations, both of you. I hope you enjoy Sheldon's books as much as I do. Please send me your mailing info by the end of day (ok, 10:00 pm, please) Monday, March 30th.

Didn't win but want the books? Click on the covers to purchase from Amazon.

Enter before it's too late!

March 25, 2009
Alright, people. Only 2 more days for my giveaway of Sheldon's books. Have I mentioned I love these? If you like reading thrillers that mess with your head, while you're trying to figure out whodunnit before getting to the end, you've gotta give Sheldon a whirl. Just don't make him too dizzy. =)

There are currently 69 total entries, and 30 people entered. 10 more gets another copy of Separated at Death thrown into the mix. Please spread the word! Sheldon's been such a dear, answering everyone's (& I mean EVERYONE'S) questions...


Sisterhood Rocks!

I've been graced yet again with another award from these lovely ladies:
lilly at Reading Extravaganza
Desert Rose at DeSeRt RoSe BoOkLoGuE
Sheri at A Novel Menagerie

Am I loved or what?

1. Put the logo on your blog or post.
2. Nominate up to 10 blogs which show great attitude and/or gratitude!
3. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
4. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
5. Remember to link to the person from whom you received your award.

I have to (seriously!) pass this on to J.Kaye. If not for her encouragement when I started blogging, I'm pretty sure I'd have quit by now. Just 'cuz there's so much to do in a day, and (as y'all know!) this blogging thing takes a lot of WORK! =) And to Susan, whose emails make MY day, regardless of what she says. =P Is it too corny to say "I love you guys!"?

I got Splashed!

More of you love me... *sniff* I got Splashed by The Book Cave at The Book Resort, and Debbie (dsuzuki) at Debbie's World of Books...
The Rules:
1) Put the logo on your blog/post.
2) Nominate up to 9 blogs which allure, amuse, bewitch, impress or inspire you.
3) Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
4) Let them know that they have been splashed by commenting on their blog.
5) Remember to link to the person from whom your received your Splash award.
6) Have F~U~N
Seriously though, if the blogs on my blogroll don't do at least one or more (allure, amuse, bewitch, impress, inspire), then I don't know what I'm following 'em for. So consider yourselves SPLASHED! =)

(this so makes me wish it were summer already!)

Proximidade Award...

Whoa, more awards!! You guys are way too good to me! *sniff* I will try my best to be deserving of the honor bestowed upon my blog. *sniff sniff*

Award description:
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.

Desert Rose of DeSeRt RoSe BoOkLoGuE graced me with this on March 8th.
Kaye at Pudgy Penguin Perusals did it on March 11th.
Debbie (dsuzuki) from Debbie's World of Books followed suit on March 12th.

Thank you so very much!! I have no words for how much I appreciate this. *sniff* & before I run out of tissues, here are some very deserving blogs to pass this on to. I may not comment often, but I read ALL. THE. TIME.

Aerin at In Search of Giants
Kelly at Enroute to Life
Rebecca Anne at Provocation of Mine(d)
Kathy at Bermudaonion's Weblog
Bingo at Bookin' with Bingo
Dar at Peeking Between the Pages
The Book Cave at The Book Resort

Carrie Vaughn blog tour ~ Proust-lite interview...

I've mentioned this lots of times before - Carrie Vaughn is one of my absolute-favorite authors! So, I couldn't help but squeal at the opportunity to have her answer some questions... Carrie has graciously agreed to answer my favorite - a Proust-lite interview (I've loved this since I first saw Inside the Actor's Studio, with James Lipton!).

So, here's my 10. Thanks to Carrie for playing along!
  1. What is your idea of earthly happiness? A good dinner with good wine, friends, and music.
  2. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Losing someone I care about.
  3. Who is/are your favorite heroine(s) in fiction? Harry in Robin McKinley's The Blue Sword.
  4. Who is/are your favorite heroine(s) in real life? Women like Jane Goodall, Sandra Day O'Conner, Amelia Earhart, who did what they loved and broke boundaries.
  5. What sound do you love? Horses eating at dinnertime.
  6. What sound do you hate? Glass breaking.
  7. The quality you admire most in a man? Passion for something, anything.
  8. The quality you admire most in a woman? The same.
  9. If not a writer, you would be a crazy person.
  10. What is your favorite swear word? Frak!

About the author:
Carrie Vaughn had the nomadic childhood of the typical Air Force brat, with stops in California, Florida, North Dakota, Maryland, and Colorado. She holds a Masters in English Literature and collects hobbies - fencing and sewing are currently high on the list. She lives in Boulder, Colorado, and can be found online at her website and blog. <-- I LOVE her blog!

Carrie is the author of the Kitty Norville series:

My reviews are linked below:
Kitty and the Midnight Hour
Kitty Goes to Washington
Kitty Takes a Holiday
Kitty and the Silver Bullet
Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand
Kitty Raises Hell

A little something extra from Carrie, when she answered the questions: If you want to see something funny, NPR did this with Cookie Monster. His answer for #10: "Me get in trouble for that." I found the NPR interview here. There was no code to embed the video, but do check it out!

If you've made it this far, I congratulate you!! As a reward, you may enter a giveaway for a grand prize of all 6 books (see the covers above - aren't they delish? And yes, J.R., you want these...). In addition, someone will win a copy of Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand, and another lucky ducky will win a copy of Kitty Raises Hell. Thanks to Miriam at Hachette Book Group for this generosity!

For one entry, comment and answer one of the Proust interview questions above. Answer 'em all for 10 entries. =) As usual, +1 for following, +2 for sharing this with the world. Yes, this is my insidious plan to take over the world (I have Pinky & the Brain, on my brain...). Muahahahaha!

Regular HBG rules apply - U.S. and Canada only, no P.O. boxes. Sorry!

Come back after April 5th to find out if you're a winner. You'll have 3 days to get me your pertinent info, or some other lucky bugger'll get your prize. Good luck!

If you can't wait till April to find out if you've won, click on the covers to get these books at Amazon.

Blog tour stops:

56. First Family by David Baldacci...

March 22, 2009
David Baldacci's First Family is a thriller with non-stop action, lots of suspense, and a run-around-in-circles-till-you-figure-it-out mystery in the middle of everything.

When the First Lady's niece, Willa, is kidnapped on her 12th birthday, former Secret Service agents Sean King and Michelle Maxwell are asked to find her, even if they no longer serve in an official capacity. And in doing so, they unravel a secret that's been kept for 13 years, a secret that threatens to tumble the presidency into complete chaos. Figures that those who seek power will do just about anything to get it, and keep it. Regardless of who gets hurt in the process.

First Family was a very quick read, and it was good. It kept my attention, and all the details fit. The big secret wasn't completely obvious, neither was it totally obscured. And it wasn't the only mystery, either. If I say more, I'll be spilling, & I hate spoilers. If you just have to know, email me. =)

Want it? Pre-order on Amazon by clicking on the cover.

Title: First Family
Author: David Baldacci
ISBN-10: 0-446-53975-9
ISBN-13: 978-0-446-53975-3
Paperback (ARC): 468 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing, 2009

Kitty Takes a Holiday is going to...

It's time to pick a winner for Kitty Takes a Holiday! Thanks to Randomizer, Hachette will be mailing out a copy to...


Congratulations!!! Please get your snail-mail info to me within the next 3 days. =) A huge thank you to everyone who entered! There were 65 total entries! Want the book? Click on the cover to purchase from Amazon.

Want more Kitty? Kitty and the Silver Bullet is up for grabs. Check out my giveaway links in the right sidebar. And come back on Wednesday for 1 more 6-pack, in addition to Kitty #5 and #6. =)

Giveaways ending soon...

March 21, 2009
Hey everyone, I'm pimping my own giveaways (yeah, the nerve!)... If you haven't already, make sure to enter the following giveaways that are ending soon... =)

Kitty Takes a Holiday
by Carrie Vaughn, ends 10 p.m. Sunday, March 22.

Sheldon Rusch has a 3-pack of his books, plus extras, ends 10 p.m. Friday, March 27. He's also answering reader questions, and I think he's doing a great job at it, too!

Charles Grodin's memoir, ends 10 p.m. Sunday, March 29.

Kitty and the Silver Bullet by Carrie Vaughn, ends 10 p.m. Sunday, March 29.

10 more days to enter the Women's History Month 8-pack giveaway, and the Spring Cleaning 5-pack giveaway.

LOTS of books to be had, so what're you waiting for? =)

55. The Ten Year Nap by Meg Wolitzer...

I jumped when offered The Ten Year Nap for review. If you're a mom, you've heard of the mommy-wars, whether you work outside of, or stay at, home; whether you participate in the "wars" or not.

So, now the book's read, what did I think? The Ten Year Nap follows four women who've left behind promising careers to raise their children. Amy, whose voice is most prominent, was a lawyer who meant to go back to work but couldn't leave her baby. Karen is a brilliant mathematician who goes on interviews only to turn the job offers down. Jill was on the path to academia, never to return after adopting a child she cannot seem to bond with. And Roberta, who turned her passion for art into craft pursuits with her children.

There are a lot of the expected scenarios. Moms wondering if they should still stay home now that their children aren't really young anymore, and instead are in school for most of the day. Who fill their days with breakfast, gym-stops, volunteer-work... One of the families in Amy's apartment building loses the father (& breadwinner) to a heart-attack, and the family has to move out, because they can't afford rent. Amy herself wonders what would happen to her family if Leo (the hubby) is gone. But that's all she does - wonder.

*sigh* Personally, I don't care if you're a work-outside-the-home, stay-at-home, or work-at-home (i.e. getting paid for it), mom. I believe we all owe it to ourselves and to our families to know all the relevant financials. No, money doesn't make the world go round, but it sure does pay the bills. And rent/mortgage. Keeps the roof over our heads. Feeds the mouths in the household. Keep junior in private school if our public schools are iffy. And yet, too many women are too happy to leave all the boring financial details to someone else to take care of. But what if something happens to that "someone else"? Mothers are super-women! If we can function for a day after a slew of sleepless nights, we can figure out a bunch of numbers. And be able to stay afloat in any situation.

There's the how-does-she-do-it comparison with other moms. Only to find out that, duh, nobody's perfect. And there's the inevitable comparison of our kids against others. The "why doesn't my child do X when so-and-so's all do?" Do we love our children any less if they're not doing calculus at 10?

I liked The Ten Year Nap for its look at these four women's lives. It was all so ordinary - something I could imagine for my neighbor, for example. But it also delved into some of the issues we as a society haven't figured out yet. I didn't like it because I sometimes got frustrated with the four for not deciding. Not communicating. Not supporting each other enough. I think we as women can sometimes be too critical of the choices we all make. I wish we would be more supportive, not only of each other, but especially of our own choices. Why should we expect others to be alright with what we want when sometimes even we're not?

Title: The Ten Year Nap
Author: Meg Wolitzer
ISBN-10: 1-59448-354-X
ISBN-13: 978-1-59448-354-7
Paperback: 383 pages
Publisher: Riverhead Trade, 2009

54. Kitty and the Silver Bullet by Carrie Vaughn - Review & GIVEAWAY!

March 18, 2009
This has to be my favorite Kitty book, if reading from the beginning and working your way through the series. THIS is where Kitty comes into her own. Yay, Kitty!!! (where's my cheerleader emoticon when I need it?)

Kitty returns to Denver because her mother is sick. Scared of the pack's reaction, she hides out at Ben's condo. When she's caught in the middle of a war between two vamp camps (ha ha, you don't know how hard it is to not type "vampy" right there), she wants to turn tail and run. She just wants to be left alone, so that she can be by her family.

Of course, what Kitty wants is not what Kitty gets. Par for the course, eh? So what does Kitty do? Why, grow some spine to go with the fur. She stands up for herself, for her right to be by those important to her, for the weaker werewolves in the Denver pack... And while she does have to use ass-kicking as a last resort, she tempers it with a liberal dose of caring and diplomacy.

Loved this. Go read it. Don't have it? Read on, or click on the cover to purchase your very own copy on Amazon.

Title: Kitty and the Silver Bullet
Author: Carrie Vaughn
ISBN-10: 0-446-61875-6
ISBN-13: 978-0-446-61875-5
Paperback: 326 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing, 2008

Time for the giveaway! I have ONE (only one) copy of Kitty and the Silver Bullet, courtesy of Hachette Book Group, for one lucky winner. For one entry, tell me - vamps or shifters? Why? =) +1 for following, +2 for shouting & letting it all out. As usual, let me know.

US & Canada residents only, enter before 10:00pm on March 29th. Sorry, no P.O. Boxes - HBG rules. Winners will have 3 days to get me their snail-mail info, after which someone else will be thrust into the spotlight. I can follow up if I have an email address, if not you're on your own...

Good luck!! And come back next week for Carrie Vaughn's blog tour! I'm excited - I've got it all set up & ready to go! *happy hoppy dance*

Giveaway - How I Got to be Whoever it is I am by Charles Grodin...

Hey everyone! Hachette is giving 5 of you a chance to win a copy of this lovely-sounding book, which isn't out till April! So, read on, and enter!

In his candid and engaging new book HOW I GOT TO BE WHOEVER IT IS I AM, successful actor, author, and activist, Charles Grodin, looks back at the major events and private moments that have shaped his life. And, since Grodin is one of the best storytellers around, he can't help but entertain while offering insight gained from a wealth of experience.

The combination of being impeached as class president by his fifth grade teacher (and then winning many school elections thereafter) with being thrown out of Hebrew School for asking too many questions (only to find a much better teacher as a result) informed Grodin's view of himself and made him adept at dealing with rejection--an important skill for an actor. Grodin's success in plays in high school and adventures in college theater led him to a career in acting, studying with the great teachers like Uta Hagen and Lee Strasberg.

Grodin shares behind-the-scenes tales of working on plays like Same Time Next Year and movies like The Heartbreak Kid and Midnight Run--even how close he came to playing the lead in The Graduate. His stories feature the many actors, directors, writers, and producers, with whom he's worked, such as Robert DeNiro, Dustin Hoffman, Johnny Carson, Orson Welles, Warren Beatty, and other colorful characters.

Grodin's greatest work isn't limited to stage and screen, however. He has been an award winning talk show host and commentator on Sixty Minutes II, and he reveals insights about the political and personal side of journalism and some of the larger-than-life characters he's interviewed.

Still, it is the personal aspects of Grodin's life that are truly revealing and funny. He shares intimate anecdotes of humorous dating experiences during the carefree 70s along with stories of what it was like to be a young actor then with friends and colleagues like Robert Redford, Gene Wilder, and Dustin Hoffman.

But it is Grodin's tales of the lives he's helped save with his relentless advocacy work that make you realize what a great guy Charles Grodin really is. We are lucky that the nice guy his friends call, "Chuck" brings us along to share a little of his journey of how he got to be who he really is!

The author is donating eight-five percent of his royalties from sales of this book Mentoring USA, a New York City based nonprofit that forges powerful, transformative connections for young people through the advocacy and involvement of mentors.

This giveaway will run till 10:00pm on March 29th, and is open to US & Canada residents only. Sorry, no P.O. Boxes - HBG rules.

To enter, tell me whether you like memoirs. If you do, why? (If you don't, why are you entering? lol...) +1 entries for followers, +2 for sharing/blogging/tweeting/telling-the-world... & since I'm so NOT psychic, please let me know who/what/where...

Don't forget to come back & find out if you've won. Winners will have 3 days to get me their mailing info, after which I'll draw a replacement. If I have an email address, I can follow up if I don't hear from you, but if not...

Good luck!! & as always, check out the lovely ladies at West of Mars -- Win a Book! for more giveaways...

53. Fifty is Not a Four-Letter Word by Linda Kelsey...

March 17, 2009
"I don't care what those inane glossy magazines tell you - oops, I nearly neglected to mention that I'm editor in chief of one of them - but fifty is not fabulous, it's not fun, and it certainly isn't funny." So goes the line at the top of the back of the book. And it certainly describes Hope's frame of mind. She's just turned 50. Her mother, whom she's never had much of a relationship with, passes away. Her teenage son is going out with an older woman. She loses her job. And to top it all off, her husband walks out.

So what's a girl to do? Fifty takes us on Hope's journey forward, showing us some history first. When I picked this up, I kinda expected an amusing, lighthearted, quick, enjoyable read. Don't ask me why. It's not like the above paragraph brings these expectations up first thing! *sigh* Maybe I'm going batty.

I was about 70% right. It's definitely a quick and enjoyable read. Linda Kelsey's writing floats off the pages. And, topic notwithstanding, Fifty is sometimes amusing. Anyway. What do you do when your life falls apart right in front of your eyes? Why, you mope. And mope. Mope some more. Mope until your sister comes by to take you on a walk. Where you get signed up to help a charity with it's promotional campaign. Volunteer to take a hike up the Atlas Mountains. And organize a reconciliation trip to an island retreat...

Definitely an very enjoyable read.

Title: Fifty is Not a Four-Letter Word
Author: Linda Kelsey
ISBN-10: 0-446-19590-1
ISBN-13: 978-0-446-19590-4
Paperback: 354 pages
Publisher: 5 Spot, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays ~ Mar. 17...

  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall to a random page.
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • Share the title of the book that you're getting your teaser from... That way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you've given!
  • Please avoid spoilers!

The strange, ghoul-like figures emerging eerily from the mist, wrapped up in scarves and hats on their way to offices and factories, excited and intrigued me. Time teaches us to be fearful.

Fifty is not a Four-Letter Word by Linda Kelsey ~ pg. 166

Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone!

Sheldon Rusch ~ Interview & giveaway!

March 16, 2009
Woo hoo! My first interview! =) drey's library is absolutely thrilled to have Sheldon Rusch stop by for a visit! Sheldon is the author of a series of crime-fiction novels - For Edgar, The Boy with Perfect Hands, and Separated at Death.

About the author:
Sheldon was born in Augusta, Georgia. He left after his first year and did the rest of his growing up in Wisconsin, most of it in a suburb of Milwaukee called Wauwatosa (Native American for “where the fireflies gather”). Sheldon received a degree in Communication Arts from the University of Wisconsin. A career as an advertising copywriter and creative director followed. He is married to Katie, an accomplished poet and musician, and they have three phenomenal kids - Shannon, Michaela and Jackson. Sheldon has also practiced yoga for nearly twenty years, and is an instructor in the Iyengar style (since 1998).

D: Hi Sheldon! Welcome to drey's library, and thank you so much for doing this interview. I'm just going to jump right in and ask - Why write? Did you always want to write? How did you figure out that it was time to write? I mean, you must have a busy life already...

SR: I’ve always written. Since I was a child I just kind of knew it was something I would do. And then when I started sharing some of my writing – again as a child – I was quite impressed with the power of words, the affect words and written ideas could have on people. I think people who write tend to have minds that form thoughts in detailed phrases, with fairly complex construction. And I think it’s just the demand of those thoughts to be expressed. Then you throw in a visual imagination and there’s really not much that can stop it from happening.

I wrote poems, short stories in high school, then I worked as a copywriter in the advertising field for many years. I toyed with the idea of writing a novel for probably five years before I actually started the first one. Now I’ve written four – one of which has only been published in Germany so far. I still work in advertising. I’m married, with three children. I write whenever I can. Mornings. Lunches. Weekends. I try to write fifteen polished pages a week. In a year’s time I have a fairly polished draft. Then I spend about six months editing and finishing. It’s funny, I never really think about the process. It’s just something that goes on.

D: Was Elizabeth Hewitt a character that's been percolating around for a while? Or did she just show up and knock on the door one day?

SR: With Elizabeth, it’s kind of like when you meet a person and befriend them immediately and there’s a sense that you’ve kind of known them – or certain aspects of them – all along. She’s no doubt a composite of women I‘ve known and been close to. She’s also my feminine alter ego. I don’t know if all men who create female leads would admit that. But it’s pretty clear to me that’s what goes on. I think male authors who create female leads without tapping into that would be creating some fairly robotic and predictable characters. I guess I’ve seen that. Anyway, people seem to like the character. So I guess at some level, they also like me – or would if we ever met at a cocktail party.

D: How do you come up with the crimes for your books? Some of them had me wondering "where did he get this from??" Should I be worried that you know who I am? *grin*

SR: Well, I don’t know where you live. So you can take comfort in that. You know if you want to see the darkest side of humanity just look at the great works of fiction from time immemorial, The Bible included. It’s not as if Stephen King and Thomas Harris were the first ones to ever go there. I mean my goodness, Poe. And with Poe, it’s no coincidence that his works were the basis of the crimes in my first novel. I remember reading him in eighth grade, being smitten with the outrageousness of the thinking, the imagination, the audacity he had to spend time in those dark places of the soul and bring it into the candlelight for everybody else. And when I decided I would try my hand at psychological thrillers…well, I guess the first rule of writing psych thrillers is you have to thrill readers with things they’d never conceive of, much less carry out – not even on their worst hair day.

People are surprised when they find out this mild mannered guy with kids who practices yoga writes the kind of darkly thrilling material I write. But to me it’s kind of like an actor playing a role that requires delving deeply into that darker side of the personality. Hey, but I also coach my kids’ basketball teams. And if you saw me standing in line at Baskin Robbins, you’d think I was just another guy who likes sugar cones with a single scoop of Jamocha.

D: Hmm, you still know who I am, though... Doesn't take more than Google to find me, really... Ok, back on track. =) What's next? Is there another turn-on-all-the-lights-or-only-read-in-broad-daylight Liz Hewitt book in the works? How long before our desire for another toe-curling, hide-behind-the-fingers, thriller, is sated?

SR: Okay here’s a deal: I’ll promise not to peek into your windows if you promise not to peek into mine. As for the next Liz Hewitt book, it gets a little tricky. It also rolls into your next question. A fourth Hewitt book already exists. It’s called Mother of God. I wrote it before I wrote For Edgar. It was the book that introduced the Hewitt character. It was never published. That is, until my books started doing well in Germany. It was recently published (as a prequel to For Edgar) under the title S├╝ndenmord in German-speaking countries. We are hoping to have the book released in English at some point. Or would that just make too much sense? In any event, I have a fourth and/or fifth Hewitt book already developed in outline. And, just to complicate things even more, I’ve written the first half of a suspense novel outside the Hewitt series that could become a series of its own.

D:Why is one of your books only published (& sold?) in Germany? (What do they have that we don't?)

SR: I think I answered some of this in the last question. For people who really want to read Mother of God, it isn’t fair. What does Germany have that we don’t? Well, the simple answer is more buyers of my books. I sell more books over there than I do here. If people really want to read Mother of God someday (and it is, by the way, my favorite of all the books), send your requests to Berkley Books.
And to finish off, a mini-Proust list:
  1. What is your idea of earthly happiness? Being comfortable in my own skin. Having a purpose. Adding more than I subtract.

  2. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Disconnection from the capacity to love.

  3. Who is/are your favorite heroine(s) in fiction? Penelope in The Odyssey – that was a long time to wait.

  4. Who is/are your favorite heroine(s) in real life? Mother Theresa – she had her doubts, but she never lost her purpose.

  5. What sound do you love? The breathing sounds of my children when they sleep.

  6. What sound do you hate? The barking dog that startles me when I go out for my newspaper.

  7. The quality you admire most in a man? Sensitivity.

  8. The quality you admire most in a woman? Soulfulness.

  9. If not a writer, you would be a… teacher/basketball coach.

  10. What is your favorite swear word? Unfortunately, the f-bomb.

Sheldon, thank you so much for taking the time to indulge us (me? definitely me!) by doing this interview. I know you're a busy fella, and I truly appreciate the effort that went into answering these questions. For all you new fans, Sheldon can be found online at his website.

Now, because he's a nice guy, Sheldon says I can do this awesome giveaway. Are you ready to hear what it is? Are you? Are you? (yes, I'm geeking out - I heart giveaways!)

One lucky, lucky reader will receive a three-pack from Sheldon. That's the mother lode of Liz Hewitt books! & if it needs 'splainin' - that's For Edgar, The Boy with Perfect Hands, AND Separated at Death.

BUT WAIT! We're not done yet. For every twenty people entered, 1 copy of Separated at Death is will be up for grabs, and there's up to 5 copies to be had. So tell everyone!

Next question - How do you win? Why, read on...

Can I win? This is open to anyone in the United States or Canada. No P.O. Boxes, please.

How do I win? Easy-peasy. Comment and ask Sheldon a question (please keep it clean!). One entry per question - please be nice and don't ask something someone else already asked... He'll be popping in on-and-off and responding. The guy does work full-time, so don't get upset if he's not answering your question 3 minutes after you asked it, ok? =)

What's the deadline? You have until 10:00pm on March 27th to enter. Don't forget that I'll need some way to get a hold of you if you've won, & if I don't hear from you within 3 days of posting winners I'll ask Randomizer for a replacement.

How do we get extra entries? The usual: +1 for following, +2 for sharing this interview & giveaway with everyone you can think of! =) And that's +2 for EVERY share. So tweet it. Blog it. email it (cc me). Come back & let me know what & where...

Too impatient to wait? Each book cover links to, where you can get your very own copies.

That's it. Thanks for swinging by and reading Sheldon's interview. Now, go read his books! =) And oh yeah, good luck!

Kitty #2 WINNER!!!

March 15, 2009
Alright, I didn't forget (this time!)... According to my new best friend (after the Book Giveaway Carnival!) Randomizer, the winner of Carrie Vaughn's Kitty Goes to Washington is...


*happy dance* Congratulations!! Please get your snail mail info to me within the next 3 days, so Hachette can mail out your book. I hope you love it! =)

Didn't win, but still want the book? Click on the book to purchase from Amazon... & don't forget to enter the giveaway for Kitty Takes a Holiday (going on now!) and come back on Wednesday for Kitty and the Silver Bullet!

52. Confessions of a Former Child: A Therapist's Memoir by Daniel J. Tomasulo...

I'm still pretty new at this reviewing thing. Every once in a while, I get an email asking if I'd like to review a book or two. Confessions of a Former Child was one such offer, and I eagerly accepted. And even though it took me a while to get to it (it's been a little crazy around here), I'm glad I finally did.

This was an enjoyable read, albeit with some serious parts (the author's self-therapy?). I loved his childhood memories, especially where he controls the traffic lights, and how moving out of the city would jeopardize all the motorists and pedestrians left behind. Equally entertaining was Enrico, and Dan's sure-fire belief that his dad was a CIA agent, who was working a lot to keep people safe. And I felt awful when Gary, and later, Steve, died of overdoses. Especially Steve.

I laughed out loud when he finds himself locked in the psych ward's rubber room, while his wife is in labor. And wonder if she's forgotten... =P

Family relationships are revisited, especially the interactions between his grandmother, his mother and father, and himself. Reading through those chapters, I am amazed at how well he seems to have (to me, anyway) recovered...

This was a quick, light (even with some heavier topics), read that I enjoyed quite a bit. Thanks to Amy at Phenix & Phenix for offering it for review. Want to buy the book? Click on the cover to purchase on Amazon.

Title: Confessions of a Former Child: A Therapist's Memoir
Author: Daniel J. Tomasulo
ISBN-10: 1-55597-499-6
ISBN-13: 978-1-55597-499-2
Paperback: 186 pages
Publisher: Graywolf Press, 2008

51. Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer...

March 14, 2009
The Cullens' are ba-ack! Which means, of course, Edward is back. And not so happy about Bella's friendship with Jacob. Of course, Jacob's not happy, either. Lots of not-happy teenagers abound.

Bella, though, is ecstatic that Edward and the Cullens are back in Forks. Never mind that the Volturi will most likely swing by to assess the family. Never mind that Victoria's still out there. They're back!!

The relationship between the vamps and the wolves get a little tense. Serial killings in nearby Seattle doesn't settle anyone's nerves. But they manage to cooperate enough to figure out who's behind the killings, and protect Bella when it becomes apparent that Victoria is still in town, seeking vengeance.

I have to admit, I'm getting kinda tired of Bella's nagging at Edward. In my opinion, the dude has a point (ha ha, he's got more than one)! Go to college, experience it for a year or two. Only a teenager would have a problem with being in their twenties. Heaven forbid thirties, forties, or fifties! Sheesh. Then again, she is a teenager. So I suppose I should just deal, eh?

Complaining aside, Bella does grow up a little here. She reaches out to Jacob, because she knows he's hurting inside. She considers Renee's and Charlie's feelings, and decides that while she still wants to do what she wants, she'll do it right. Eclipse is another quick read, if just a little too teenage-angsty for me. Now if only Breaking Dawn was ready to pick up, I can finish up this series.

Video of Stephenie Meyer talking about Eclipse, on Amazon.

Title: Eclipse
Author: Stephenie Meyer
ISBN-10: 0-316-16020-2
ISBN-13: 978-0-316-16020-9
Hardcover: 629 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown, and Company, 2007


March 12, 2009
I so heart you guys, you know that? I'm so sorry I'm such a slacker that I've only NOW gotten to these awards that you've seen fit to send this way. I can only hope to keep earning this approval from you!

Marta thinks my blog is FABULOUS! Of course it's fabulous! It's got all y'all participating & commenting! =) Seriously though, I really appreciate the thought, and am so very honored that Marta would think so. Thank you.

  1. List five things you are obsessed with.

  2. Hmm...
    • My family - the little man, who's about to turn 6 (already??? Where did the time go?), and the Mr., who's getting one more year closer to 40! They are my joy.
    • Reading, naturally.
    • Games. Or, more specifically, winning at games. I'm very, um, competitive. But only in non-physical, no-contact, "sports". Tackle football, no. Taking over the world, oh yeah! =D
    • Blog-remodeling. I'm sure you've been here when things are all over the place because I've decided, yet again, to re-decorate. =) I should really channel that energy into better content, lol!
    • Caribou Coffee's chai. Figures I'd like the tea in a coffee shop!

  3. Nominate five blogs you think are fabulous.

  4. I only get 5?? How can that be? There are so many fabulous blogs out there... If you're on my blog roll, you're totally fab. Which reminds me, there are some on my Google Reader that I still haven't followed yet. Ugh!

50. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer...

It's been forever since I read Twilight. But, on my answering machine the other day, the disembodied voice informed me that my books on hold were available for pickup. So off I go, & here it is.

In New Moon, Bella's birthday triggers events beyond her control, and Edward and his family, leaves. And Bella. Well, Bella is absolutely lost without him. She spends months just barely going through the motions of existing, worrying her father, and alienating her friends.

When she finally emerges from her fog, it is to waken the voice in her head. His voice. So Bella takes to dangerous pursuits, hoping the adrenaline rush will keep that voice here. In doing so, she reconnects with Jacob Black, and a friendship blooms. Danger still looms, though. A vampire shows up on the Cullens' land, hunting for Bella. Jacob changes, and he's not sure if it's for the better. Alice appears at Charlie's, confused by her vision. And Edward goes to Italy, led by a distorted truth.

New Moon was as quick a read as Twilight. The world is not very complicated, and the characters haven't changed, much. The story gets predictable at times. And Bella is STILL a teenager. One who's intent on getting what she wants. And another year doesn't quiet the voice in my head that's saying, "Wait, Bella. Live life a little." But, all said, it was still entertaining enough to finish, and Eclipse picked up.

Title: New Moon
Author: Stephenie Meyer
ISBN-10: 0-316-02496-1
ISBN-13: 978-0-316-02496-9
Paperback: 563 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown, and Company, 2008

New Sway winner!

March 11, 2009
Alright, it's 11:05 pm on March 11th (WAYYYYY past my bedtime!), and I still haven't heard from tetewa. And without an email address, I can't contact him/her. So, Randomizer has identified an alternate winner, nhertel85. Hopefully you haven't already won this somewhere else, and you can get me your mailing info soon. =) Congratulations!

49. Sway by Zachary Lazar...

Sway entwines a melting pot of characters whose paths cross in the 60's, including a young Rolling Stones, a drifter, a film-maker, and a psychopath. The story unfolds with Bobby Beausoleil and Charles Manson. Apparently Bobby doesn't fit in so well with Charlie's followers. It then cuts to the very beginnings of the Rolling Stones, with Mick, Keith, and Brian practicing covers in a dingy moldy flat. And then goes back & forth, with the film-maker, Kenneth Anger, in between...

I'm not quite sure how to continue. I'm certain that many of you would like, or even love, the story. I made it through Part Two (172 pages). I don't know if I just wasn't in the mood, or if there were too many storylines - that required too much attention? - but that's it. I can only read so much about characters tripping all the time! My brain's like, hello! Quit that sh1t!!! And though the descriptions were vivid, they didn't pull me in. I didn't particularly care for any of them. *sigh*

This is the 3rd book I didn't feel like finishing this year, and the first that I actually put down. I kinda feel bad about it, too. But I have too many books in by TBR pile, to spend precious time finishing a book I don't feel like reading anymore. You know there's trouble when I pick up another book while reading one. I'm usually monogamous. And yet I've finished Kitty #3, and am halfway through New Moon, all since yesterday evening.

And because this could just be a reflection of where I'm at, check out the preview available on Amazon before you make a buying decision. Just click on the cover above.

Title: Sway
Author: Zachary Lazar
ISBN-13: 978-0-316-11311-3
Paperback: 255 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company, 2009

aarghhh! blog problems!!!

So apparently my blog is having issues this evening - the comment box isn't showing up. I have no clue why, the only thing I've recently added is post #48. It appeared to be a widget manager problem, but I'm taking off widgets my site & it's still a problem. Sometimes it works in Chrome, but it's totally busted in IE & Firefox. =( So, if my blog is totally naked, maybe it'll work??

48. Kitty Takes a Holiday by Carrie Vaughn - Review & GIVEAWAY!


After getting caught turning wolf on national television, Kitty retreats to a mountain cabin to recover and write her memoirs. But this is Kitty, so trouble is never far behind, and instead of Walden Pond, she gets Evil Dead. First someone leaves grotesque animal sacrifices on her front porch to curse her, then werewolf hunter Cormac shows up with an injured Ben O'Farrell, Kitty's lawyer, slung over his shoulder. Two hotties and one Kitty in a single-room cabin - can the situation get more tense? When a wolf-like creature with glowing red eyes starts sniffing around the cabin, Kitty wonders if any of them will get out of these woods alive...

Kitty, Kitty, Kitty. After the debacle that was Washington, D.C., she runs off for some peace and quiet in a small mountain town. Where she finds that keeping her humanity in control of her wolf is a lot more difficult without other humans around.

Book 3 in the Kitty Norville series brings back Cormac and Ben. The character play between Ben & Kitty brings out Kitty's alpha instincts, and she realizes that a pack doesn't have to be just wolves, and she already has one. This story has curses (yes, multiple), malevolent skinwalkers, witch doctors, a new werewolf, and Cormac in trouble. If you've read Kitty #s 1 & 2, this is the one where Kitty discernably embarks on her alpha path. She has a pack to protect now.

Title: Kitty Takes a Holiday
Author: Carrie Vaughn
ISBN-10: 0-446-61874-8
ISBN-13: 978-0-446-61874-8
Paperback: 303 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing, 2007

I've had a giveaway for Kitty and the Midnight Hour, and Kitty Goes to Washington. Now, it's time for Kitty Takes a Holiday! I have ONE (only one) copy courtesy of Hachette Book Group, for one lucky winner.

This giveaway will run till 10:00pm on March 22nd, and is open to US & Canada residents only. Sorry, no P.O. Boxes - HBG rules.

To enter, leave a comment about this post. Followers get an extra entry. Comment & let me know. Tell the world for two more entries, comment with the link...

Don't forget to come back & find out if you've won. Winners will have 3 days to get me their mailing info, after which I'll draw a replacement. If I have an email address, I can follow up if I don't hear from you, but if not...

Good luck!! And come back next week for Kitty and the Silver Bullet! =)

Bookshelf widget...

March 10, 2009
I'd like to find something else for my bookshelf widget. I currently have a widget from Amazon, which I like, but it's such a pain in the a$$ to update. Seriously. They need to learn to do a drag-n-drop thingamabob for updating that widget. & if you want to re-arrange? Forget it.

So, what else is out there?  I've seen widgets from Shelfari & Library Thing.  Who uses which, and why do you like it? Can you maintain one shelf, and categorize books differently, so you can create separate widgets (tbr, currently reading, entire shelf)? Or do you have to do a separate shelf for each widget?  Can you do a slideshow, or is it a static display?  

& I cannot believe that I'm letting a widget get me all distracted! I have books to read!!!  =P

later, gators!

Shout-out for the gals! Women's History Month Giveaway...

March 9, 2009
Here's yet ANOTHER giveaway, courtesy of the folks at Hachette Book Group. FIVE winners will each win the following (yup, all of 'em!):

This giveaway will run till 10:00pm on March 31st, and is open to US & Canada residents only. Sorry, no P.O. Boxes - HBG rules.

To enter, comment with a woman who's had an influence - on you, your life, your environment... For me, that would definitely be my mom. Good or bad, I am definitely a product of my mom's upbringing. We also share the same facial features, and I inherited her stubbornness. =P Followers get an extra entry. Comment & let me know. Two extra entries for sharing this with everyone! =P Comment with the link to your actual post.

And don't forget to come back & find out if you've won. Winners will have 3 days to get me their mailing info, after which I'll draw a replacement. If I have an email address, I can follow up if I don't hear from you, but if not...

And as usual, check out the fabulous West of Mars -- Win a Book for more giveaways... & off you go! =)
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