Monday, June 15, 2009

What Are You Reading Monday - June 15th

Come post weekly and see what others are reading too just so you can add to your tbr - I always do! For more information see J.Kaye's Book Blog and join in!

Books Completed Last Week:

Once Smitten, Twice Shy by Lori Wilde - book 2 in Wedding Veil wishes series (review of book 1: There Goes the Bride here.) - Another great addition to this series - I loved Tish and Shane's story. Review.
Fragment by Warren Fahy - first time author for me - this was an arc - the book comes out tomorrow - Wonderful book - it kept me in suspense and I could not stop reading. Review and Giveaway
The Disappearance of Irene Dos Santos by Margaret Maccarenjas (Pub Date: 6/13/2009) - This is one of those books that sticks with you and the more you think about it the more you pull together. A fast-moving enjoyable book about an extended family and others and how the decisions each person makes affects many people. Review and Giveaway
The Texas Billionaire's Bride by Crystal Green (Pub Date: July 1) - Silhouette Special Edition. This one came from the author and was very excited aobut reading it. This was a good basic love story where both hero and heroine have a secret in their past. Believable, fun book and it also involved the Hero's daughter who you come to love also. Review, giveaway and interview with author coming next week!

Reading Now:

The Neighbor by Lisa Gardner - publish date: June 16, 2009 - very good so far and I'm not very far in.
April and Oliver by Tess Callahan - very good so far

Gifts of War by Mackenzie Ford - publish date: June 23, 2009 - I am itching to get started on this one
Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin - I have heard wonderful things about htis
I Apologzie by Bradley Booth - this looks like a tearjerker and I can't wait to read it
Ms. Taken Identity by Dan Begley - this looks hysterical

Summary -
4 books read last week, all from my piles - either for review or my tbr mountain. I posted 2 reviews last week and already have one done for this week. Hope to post more reviews this week especially with Bloggiesta that Natasha at Mawbooks is hosting this weekend.

Review and Giveaway: The Disappearance of Irene Dos Santos by Margaret Mascarenhas

From the back of the book:
Fifteen years ago troubled teenager Irene Dos Santos went missing in the lush Venezuelan jungle. Her best friend, Lily, was found nearby, semiconscious, with no memory of what had happened. Now, years later, as she prepares to give birth to her first child, Lily has a visionof Irene. Whether it's a memory, a dream, or a ghost Lily can't be sure, but she is finally ready to uncover the truth about what happened that fateful day ...
Rating: 4.5/5.0

First let me admit that I am not a literary fiction/book club fiction type reader. But this book may have changed my mind about that. I was so completely absorbed in this book that I lost track of time while laying out and baked a little too long on my stomach that day. That is how completely I got into the story.

Centered around pregnant Lily, and her last days of her pregnancy spent in bed due to a fall with all of her family and close friends around her. Each of them entertains her with a story, mostly stories of their past that she has never heard. She hears from both her mom and dad how they met and other things from her husband, her nanny that helped raise her and still works in her house, her nanny's daughter who is like a cousin to her, her midwife and mother's good friend, and a few others. The suspense builds through the book because the main question is what happened to Irene Dos Santos, Lily's good friend from childhood. The book as a whole flows very well and when you are left questioning at one moment, the questions are eventually answered.

This story was different to me because it is told by different people and you learn things about the past and the present when they are telling their story. When I read this book I was there with whoever was telling the story at the minute. I enjoyed learning about each character and how their lives intertwined with the other characters. It's amazing to get to the end of this book and think back and realize how all the characters though very different at times were interconnected. This is one of those books you finish and say "Wow" and then you want to read it again so you can put more together. It's kind of like seeing the Bruce Willis movie The Sixth Sense for the first time and then you want to go back and watch it again to see if you pick up on all the clues (no it's not told from dead people's perspective, it's just the only way I can describe it). You can take it all in on the first reading, but it's so enjoyable and intricate, that you want to read it again to get the full effect.

An amazing book. It took me to a different culture (it takes place in Venezuela) and through a wonderful cast of characters that will stick with me. I finished this one on Saturday and I am still thinking about this story and the characters and I think I will for a long time to come. Very touching and different. This is one book you don't want to miss.

On Sale Date: June 19, 2009
Date Started: 06-11-2009
Date Finished: 06-12-09
From: Miriam Parker at Hachette Books (ARC)
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Genre: General Fiction
Pages: 384
Extras: Contains two articles of real things that have happened that give life to this story and also Discussion Questions for book groups (and both of these are in English and Spanish.

Read an excerpt here.

Miriam Parker has offered to send out one copy of this wonderful book to a winner from the blog so you will actually be getting the book instead of my arc! Thank you Miriam for offering this book to giveaway.

Contest will run through Wednesday June 25th (note: change in date) at midnight and I'll draw the winners and post on either Sunday or Monday (I never know how my weekends will go). Giveaway is open only to the U.S. and Canada. For entries:

  1. Leave a comment (and make sure I have a way to contact you)
  2. Become a follower or if you are already a follower let me know (for an additional entry)
  3. Twitter about the contest (use @cfulcher so I will see it) and let me know about it (for an additional entry)
  4. Blog about the contest, sidebar mentions are fine (for an additional entry)
  5. Tell me about another book that is kind of on the same lines as this one, because I would love to read more books like this.

Links to Other Reviews:

Find it at IndieBound.


Winners - A Morning Like This and The Actor and The Housewife

Thanks everyone for the comments and entering my giveaways - please come back and check the sidebar as I add more giveaways in the next few weeks. I also have reviews for a lot of upcoming books coming soon too.

Now onto the giveaways:

The winner of A Morning Like This by Deborah Beford is Linna who said:
I love story that provides different perspectives. I', looking forward to reading it. Count me in, please.

The winner of The Actor and The Housewife by Shannon Hale is Teddyree who said:
Fantastic review, I wouldn't have noticed this book but for your review so thank you!

Congrats to both of you - I have emailed the winners and will send out their books as soon as I get their mailing addresses.

Again thanks to all who entered! And if you haven't read these books - definitely go out and find them - they are both wonderful reads.

Mailbox Monday - June 15th

Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page. To see this weeks list of participants go here.

This was another really good week. Forgive me I wanted to have images along with the book listing, but for some reason blogger is not agreeing with me.

On Monday I received two packages of arcs from Hachette (thank you Miriam Parker!) In them were:

The Disappearance of Irene Dos Santos by Margaret Mascarenhas - Pub Date: 6/19/2009 -
Fifteen years ago troubled teenager Irene Dos Santos went missing in the lush Venezuelan jungle. Her best friend, Lily, was found nearby, semiconscious, with no memory of what had happened. Now, years later, as she prepares to give birth to her first child, Lily has a visionof Irene. Whether it's a memory, a dream, or a ghost Lily can't be sure, but she is finally ready to uncover the truth about what happened that fateful day ...

Any Minute by Joyce Meyer and Deborah Bedford - Pub Date: 6/30/2009
Sarah Harper is driven to achieve success no matter what the cost. She wants to do good and not hurt the people she loves - especially her son, Mitchell, and her husband, Joe - but her desire to succeed in her career too often leaves little time for family.

One cold, autumn afternoon, all of that changes when Sarah's car plunges off a bridge and into a river. As resuers search desperately for her body, Sarah's spirit is still very much alive. What she discovers on the other side transforms everything about Sarah's view of life - past, present and future.

And the unsuspecting world around her will never be the same again.

Ms. Taken Identity by Dan Begley - Pub Date: 6/23/2009
Mitch Samuel's life isn't exactly going according to plan: his girlfriend just dumped him and his literary ambitions are dashed after his umpteenth rejection. Then he meets Katherine Longwell, queen of women's fiction. When Mitch spins a story about a cousin who is an aspiring writer, Katherine promiseds to help get "her" published. One problem: Mitch needs a manuscript. Fast.

After a crash course in Oprah fails to get Mitch in touch with his female characters, his roommmate mentions that his sister Marie takes a dance class. Why not join in and eavesdrop on what women really talk about? Desperate, Mitch signs up, and tells the class he's a pharmaceutical rep named "Jason." Soon the book begins to take shape - and take off! - and he's falling for the charming Marie. But Mitch needs to come clean - before he misses his chance at a real life that's better than anything he could have ever written.

Daniel X: Watch the Skies by James Patterson and Ned Rust - Pub Date: 7/27/2009
All's Quiet in the small town of Holliswood - television sets, computers, and portable devices, are aglow in every home, classroom, and store. But not all is perfect. Evil is lurking, just out of sigh, behind the screen.

From the darkest depths of James Patterson's imagination flickers the most terrifying character yet: a villain with more ambition than the world can withstand, dead set on throwing a sleepy town ito chaos and documenting the destruction of every person in it, including Daniel.

This devilish director assembles an all-star team of his own creation, and not even Daniel can imagine the enormity of his plans. Can Daniel X stop this deranged outlaw before he stages the most spectacular finale the world has ever seen? Or will Daniel find himself on the cutting room floor?

Faces by Martina Cole - Pub Date: 7/21/2009
Just before Danny Cadogan's fourteeth birthday, his father leaves. Having drunkenly run up a gambling debt he cannot pay, Big Dan Cadogan takes the easy way out and leaves behind his wife and children to face the wrath of the man sent to collect the debt. Determined to protect his mother, brother and sister, something changes in Danny, and overnight he turns into a young man set on making his way in a violent and dangerous world. He becomes a Face, Not just a Face, but the most feared Face in the Smoke. Out for all he can get. At any cost.

But Danny's ruthlessness on the streets of London doesn't stop at his front door. He rules his wife, Mary , and his children with an iron will - and his fists. Because if Mary breaks her silence, it could shake Danny's criminal empire, right to the very core. And for a Face at the top of his game, there's only one way to go. Down. Because, after all, debts can be paid without money.

Easy on the Eyes by Jane Porter - Pub Date: 7/22/2009
It Ain't Easy Being America's Sweetheart
At thirty-eight, Tiana Tomlinson has made it. America adores her as one of the anchors of America Tonight, a top-rated nightly entertainment and news program. But even with the trapping s that come with her elite lifestyle, she feels empty. Tiana desperately misses her late husband, Keith, who died several years before. And in a business that thrives on youth, she's getting the message that her age is starting to show and certain measures must be taken if she is to stay in the spotlight. It doesn't help that at every turn she has to deal with Michael O'Sullivan, the devilishly handsome plastic surgeon to the stars. But a trip away from the Hollywood madness is about to bring new problems - and a new man - into her life . . . and force Tiana to ask herself who she wants to be when the cameras are finally turned off.

Hollywood is Like high School With Money by Zoey Dean - Pub Date: 7/23/2009
Twenty-four-year-old Taylor Henning has just landed her dream job as an assistant at a major movie studio. But when her catty coworkers trick her into almost getting fired, she realizes that the old saying "Hollywood is like school with money" just may be true. The thing is, Taylor wasn't exactly a social butterfly in high school - how is she supposed to do any better the second time around?

That's when she meets her boss's popular sixteen-year-old daughter, Quinn, and has an epiphany: Maybe this teenager can teach her how to use her queen bee tactics to succeed in the Hollywood popularity contest. Quinn comes up with a plan to teach Taylor one lesson a week - everything from "Fake it 'til you make it" to "It's *never* your fault" - and soon Taylor finds herself winning the war against rival assistant Kylie. Until, that is, she's directed to steal Kylie's boyfriend, and something happens that's not in the game plan: Taylor falls for the guy. now she must do the impossible - harness her inner mean girl while staying true to herself.

I'm So Happy for You by Lucinda Rosenfeld - Pub Date: 7/29/2009
What if your best friend, who has always been dependably prone to catastrophe, suddeenly starts to surpass you in every way? Wendy has always been there to steady Daphne through the roller coaster that is her life. But when Daphne is suddenly engaged, pregnant, and decorating a fabulous town house in no time at all, Wendy is . . . not so happy for her. Chaos ensues as Wendy finally lets jealousy get the best of her, and she ends up in way over her head.

On Tuesday I received the following from PBS:

Cry Mercy by Mariah Stewart - second in the Mercy Street series
Anathema by Colleen Coble - an Amish romantic mystery

On Thursday I received:
Beach Trip by Cathy Holton which I won from Kelly at her Enroute to Life Blog - thank you Kelly and Cathy - I'm looking forward to reading this one!

A reunion of four friends becomes a cathartic journey into the past in Cathy Holton’s luminous new novel.

Mel, Sara, Annie, and Lola have traveled distinct and diverse paths since their years together at a small Southern liberal arts college during the early 1980s. Mel, a mystery writer living in New York, is grappling with the aftermath of two failed marriages and a stalled writing career. Sara, an Atlanta attorney, struggles with guilt over her son’s illness and her own slowly unraveling marriage. Annie, a successful Nashville businesswoman married to her childhood sweetheart, can’t seem to leave behind the regrets of her youth. And Lola, sweet-tempered and absentminded, whiles away her hours–and her husband’s money–on little pills that keep her happy.

Now the friends, all in their forties, converge on Lola’s lavish North Carolina beach house in an attempt to relive the carefree days of their college years. But as the week wears on and each woman’s hidden story is gradually revealed, these four friends learn that they must inevitably confront their shared past: a failed love affair, a discarded suitor, a betrayal, and a secret that threatens to change their bond, and their lives, forever.

Darkly comic and deeply poignant, Beach Trip is an unforgettable tale of lifelong friendship, heartbreak, and happiness.

On Friday I received:

Swimsuit by James Patterson from Hachette (thank you Miriam Parker)
The Beach
A breathtakingly beautivul supermodel disappears from a swimsuit photo shoot at the most glamorous hotel in Hawaii. Only hours after Kim McDaniels goes missing, her parents receive a terrifying phone call. Fearing the worst, they board the first flight to Maui and begin the hunt for their daughter.

Will Never
Ex-cop Ben Hawkins, now a reporter for the L.A. Times, gets the McDaniels assignment. The ineptitude of the local police force defies belief--Ben has to start his own investigation for Kim McDaniels to have a prayer. And for Ben to have the story of a lifetime.

The Same For You Again
All the while, a killer sets the stage for his next production. His audience expects the best--and they won't be disappointed. Swimsuit is a heart-pounding story of fear and desire, transporting you to a place where beauty and murder collide and horrors are hidden with paradise.

April and Oliver by Tess Callahan from Hachette

April and Oliver have been soul mates since childhood, and the attraction between them has always been palpable. Now, years after being completely inseparable, they have become strangers, but the wildly different paths of their lives are about to collide once again with the sudden death of April's brother.

Sexual tension builds as Oliver the responsible, newly engaged law student, finds himself drawn more than ever to the reckless, mystifying April--and dcracks begin to appear in his carefully constructed life. Even as Oliver attempts to "save" his childhood friend from her grief, her menacing boyfriend, and herself, it soon becomes apparent that Oliver has some secrets of his own--secrets he hasn't shared with anyone, even his fiancee.

Yet April knows. Is it really her life that's unraveling, or is it his own? The answer awaits at the end of a downward spiral...toward a surprising revelation.

The Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand from Hachette

What happened between Greg MacAvoy and April Peck?

On the Tiny island of Nantucket, everybody's business is everyone's business. When the charming, talented music teacher Greg MacAvoy shares a rainy Sunday night with beautiful high school senior April Peck, rumors swarm the island like tourists on Memorial Day. The stories strain Greg's marriage, and his wife, Tess, is torn between her love for her husband and a secret of her own. With their anniversary approaching, the MacAvoys head out on their sailboat to celebrate, hoping the roughest waters are behind them.

But instead comes the heartbreaking news: Greg and Tess have mysteriously drowned, leaving behind two small children. Their closest friends--the Kapenashes, Drakes and Wheelers--are devastated. For as long as anyone can remember, the four couples have vacationed and celebrated together, confided in and depended on one another. But tragedy brings long-simmering conficts and emotions to the surface. The six friends, upended by grief and denial, set out to answer the question: What happened to Greg and Tess MacAvoy?

A page turnning story of passion and suspense, The Castaways is a masterful exploration of the boundaries of friendship and forgiveness, filled with the perfect details of summer life that have made Elin Hilderbrand's novels bestsellers nationwide.

The Neighbor by Lisa Gardner from Random House

This is what happened...
It was a case guaranteed to spark a media feeding frenzy--a young mother, blond and pretty, disappears without a trace from her South Boston home, leaving behind her four-year-old daughter as the only witness and her handsome, secretive husband as the prime suspect.

In the last six hours...
But from the moment Dectective Sergeant D.D. Warren arrives at the Joneses' snug little bungalow, she senses something off about the wholesome illusion the couple worked so hard to create.

Of the world as I knew it...
With the clock ticking on the life of a missing woman and the media firestorm building, Jason Jones seems more intent on destroying evidence and isolating his daughter than searching for his "beloved" wife. Is the perfect husband trying to hide his guilt--or just trying to hide? And will the only witness to the crime be the killer's next victim?
So you can see that I will be a very busy girl in the next few weeks!