Saturday, August 22, 2009

Review Copy Arrival: Singing the Song of Life: One Woman's Symphony by Debra Beryle

Singing the Song of Life: One Woman's Symphony by Debra Beryle

I received this from Emily Weiss at Langdon Street Press.

Publisher: Langdon Street Press
Publish Date: November 2009

You'll be mesmerized as you read how Dori bites into the apple of life with deep passion, allowing its juices to run down her chin. Her confidence, her intelligence, and her wisdom will inspire you as much as her intimate relationships will surprise you.

Singing the Song of Life is one woman's symphony where songs are the stage that provides the inspiration for her to dance her dreams and shed her tears, while living with a terminal thing called life. It is the story of one woman overcoming life's obstacles and triumphantly succeeding in life and love.

Her memoirs will entice you with:
  • Adventure - a riveting experience with a con man living in a fantasy world resulting in financial ruin.
  • Sizzling sex - a promise to coo in the bedroom rather than the kitchen;
  • Indestructible friendship - a marriage between her best friend and her second ex-husband and the startling results of their ultimate test of trust;
  • Family values - proof that blood is thicker than water; and
  • Three husbands - an affirmation that love is there for all of us.
All of this is woven together with touches of humor, Yiddish slang, and of course, her favorite songs.
I'm enthralled with the idea of music as a soundtrack for life so I am really looking forward to reading this memoir.

Review Copy Arrival: Debt of Vengeance by Zane Sterling

Debt of Vengeance by Zane Sterling

I received this from Emily Weiss of Langdon Street Press. Thank you Emily!

Publisher: Langdon Street Press
Publish Date: October 5, 2009
Debt of Vengeance captures the Old West in its purest form - Sterling's story will grab you from the first words and never let you go!

Chance Tucker, seeking a life of adventure out west, leaves his parents and the family farm in Tennessee. Born with an unquenchable thirst for life and enough goals and dreams for two lifetimes, Chance's journey leads to one fateful day that changes everything.

While riding for the Box-T Ranch in New Mexico, Chance and his best friend and partner, Tig Jones, come under attack while following a small herd of stolen cattle into a series of rugged canyons known as Hell's Gate. When the gun smoke clears, Tig lies dying in Chance's arms. When Chance discovers that the very man they work for, J.B. Ross, is not only responsible for stealing the syndicate's cattle but also having his friend murdered, he embarks on a trail of revenge.

Debt of Vengeance takes you back to the untamed west for a thrilling adventure filled with colorful characters and a writing style that brings this wild era to life. You can almost smell the burning campfires and hear the blaze of gunfire.
Doesn't that sound great!

Review Copy Arrival: A Map of Home by Randa Jarrar

A Map of Home by Randa Jarrar

I received this from Gabrielle Gantz from Penguin Publicity.

Format: Paperback
Publisher: Penguin
Publish Date: August 25, 2009

In this fresh, funny, and fearless debut novel, Randa Jarrar chronicles the coming-of-age of Nidali, one of the most unique and irrepressible narrators in contemporary fiction. Born in 1970s Boston to an Egyptian-Greek mother and a Palestinian father, the rebellious Nidali—whose name is a feminization of the word “struggle"—soon moves to a very different life in Kuwait. There the family leads a mildly eccentric middle-class existence until the Iraqi invasion drives them first to Egypt and then to Texas. This critically acclaimed debut novel is set to capture the hearts of everyone who has ever wondered what their own map of home might look like.
This sounds very interesting and I cannot wait to read it.

Review Copy Arrival: Everything Sucks by Hannah Friedman

Everything Sucks: Losing My Mind and Finding Myself in a High School Quest for Cool by Hannah Friedman

I received the publisher through a request from the author.

Publisher: HCI Teens
Publish Date: August 3, 2009
Pages: 256
Reading Level: Young Adult
Book Description:

When everything sucks,
change everything . . .

And that's exactly what Hannah Friedman set out to do in an ambitious attempt to bust out of a life of obscurity and absurdity and into an alternate world of glamour, wealth, and popularity.

Being dubbed 'That Monkey Girl' by middle school bullies and being pulled out of sixth grade to live on a tour bus with her agoraphobic mother, her smelly little brother, and her father's hippie band mates convinces Hannah that she is destined for a life of freakdom.

But when she enters one of the country's most prestigious boarding schools on scholarship, Hannah transforms herself into everything she is not: cool. By senior year, she has a perfect millionaire boyfriend, a perfect GPA, a perfect designer wardrobe, and is part of the most popular clique in school, but somehow everything begins to suck far worse than when she first started. Her newfound costly drug habit, eating disorder, identity crisis, and Queen-Bee attitude lead to the unraveling of Hannah's very unusual life.

Putting her life back together will take more than a few clicks of her heels, or the perfect fit of a glass slipper, in this not-so-fairy tale of going from rock bottom to head of the class and back again.

About the Author
Hannah Friedman (Peekskill, NY) is a recent Yale University graduate. She is the daughter of gold-record singer/songwriter Dean Friedman. An article titled "When Your Friends Become the Enemy" about her experiences applying to an Ivy League University was published in Newsweek in 2004. Ms. Friedman is the winner of the Yale 2007 Playwright's Festival, as well as the New York Television Festival's 2008 "Flying Solo" Pilot Contest. Her pilot about transitioning from college student to author will debut at the Festival in September 2008.
This one sounds so up my alley and I was very excited when the author contacted me to read and review the book.

ARC Arrival: After by Amy Efaw

After by Amy Efaw

I received this through 1 ARC Tour.

Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Publish Date: August 11,2009
Pages: 350
Reading Level: Young Adult

Book Description:
An infant left in the trash to die. A teenage mother who never knew she was pregnant . . .

Before That Morning, these were the words most often used to describe straight-A student and star soccer player Devon Davenport: responsible, hardworking, mature. But all that changes when the police find Devon home sick from school as they investigate the case of an abandoned baby. Soon the connection is made—Devon has just given birth; the baby in the trash is hers. After That Morning, there’s only one way to define Devon: attempted murderer.

And yet gifted author Amy Efaw does the impossible— she turns Devon into an empathetic character, a girl who was in such deep denial that she refused to believe she was pregnant. Through airtight writing and fast-paced, gripping storytelling, Ms. Efaw takes the reader on Devon’s unforgettable journey toward clarity, acceptance, and redemption.
I have heard really great things about this book and I'm looking forward to reading it.

Review and Giveaway - Wait Until Twilight by Sang Pak

Wait Until Twilight by Sang Pak

rating: 4.0/5.0

A debut coming-of-age novel about a motherless teenage boy who discovers a terrifying secret in his small Georgia town, and finds that sometimes the most gruesome monsters are those inside ourselves.

What I need to do, needs to be done before it gets too dark . . .

Sixteen-year-old Samuel confronts his own inner monster when he discovers a set of deformed triplets whose mother believes they were immaculately conceived. Soon, the babies have taken hold of his waking and sleeping thoughts, and, unable to escape them, he decides to save them, but their shutin mother and violent older brother want nothing to do with him.
Samuel must fight the trouble within him and the trouble he sees around him to determine who he will become in a year that forces him to grow from motherless boy to self-defined man. Set in a small Georgia town, this psychologically complex story of survival and self determination explores the dark, often contradictory worlds of young contemporary life, laying bare the ugly truths and secrets that haunt all of us.
This is a very interesting book - it starts out like a horror book, but really it is a coming of age tale, with some serious suspense and horror to go along with it. This is my first coming-of-age story of a boy that I have read and I really enjoyed it. Boys and girls are very different and this really gave me some insight for the future with my boys.

A very enjoyable novel - it feels real from the perspective of Samuel who is dealing with the loss of his mother while finishing up high school and just trying to be as normal as possible. His friends are introduced throughout and all of them seem like pretty normal teenagers too. The characterization in this novel is wonderful - I really felt like I got to know Samuel. And the plot is amazing - paced just right to hold my attention throughout and make it hard to put down.

I highly recommend this book to everyone - I think it has something for every reader, not just young adults to take away from it and it's a good story too.

Thank you to the author and his publicist for sending me this wonderful book!

Binding: Paperback
On-sale Date: August 1, 2009
Publisher: Harper Collins
Pages: 240

Also I would like to give away my copy which is an arc. I will open the contest today through August 29th. US and Canada residents only please. Please enter by:

  1. Commenting on my blog, make sure I have a way to contact you. (+1)
  2. Become a blog follower or let me know if you are already a follower (+1)
  3. Tell me any other young adult books with male main characters you have read and enjoyed (+1)
  4. Tweet about this review and giveaway, use @cfulcher in the tweet so I can find it (+1)
  5. Follow me on Twitter (or let me know if you are a current follower) (+1)
  6. Blog about this contest and let me know the link (sidebar or post is fine) (+1)
So there you go - 6 ways to get an entry into this contest. You can leave them in separate posts or one post, it doesn't matter, I will make sure you get your entries, just make sure to let me know what you do.

Review: Seven Up by Janet Evanovich

Seven Up by Janet Evanovich

rating: 4.0/5.0

All New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum has to do is bring in semi-retired bail jumper Eddie DeChooch. For an old man he's still got a knack for slipping out of sight--and raising hell. How else can Stephanie explain the bullet-riddled corpse in Eddie's garden? Who else would have a clue as to why two of Stephanie's friends suddenly vanished? For answers Stephanie has the devil to pay: her mentor, Ranger. The deal? He'll give Stephanie all the help she needs--if she gives him everything he wants . . .

As if things weren't complicated enough, Stephanie's just discovered her Grandma Mazur's own unmentionable alliance with Eddie. Add a series of unnerving break-ins, not to mention the bombshell revelation leveled by Stephanie's estranged sister, and Stephanie's ready for some good news. Unfortunately, a marriage proposal from Joe Morelli, the love of her life, isn't quite cutting it. And now--murder, a randy paramour, a wily mobster, death threats, extortion, and a triple kidnapping aside--Stephanie's really got the urge to run for her life . . .

Another fun romp with our favorite Jersey girl, her family and the men in her life. I was reading this one on the treadmill at the gym and I know people around me were wondering why I was laughing the whole time. You know the kind of laughing that you do when you are somewhere you aren't supposed to be laughing. That was me - tears streaming down my cheeks laughing on the treadmill. Oh well - it's another good Stephanie Plum book.

The fun thing is I usually listen to these on audio and this time I was reading one, and now the voices from the audio come through when I'm reading - so that makes it even more interesting.

So if you haven't read it, catch up with the series and check it out. If you have - then you know it's a fun book. Now I just need my library to reopen so I can get Hard Eight, because this one ends very interesting and I'm dying to know what happens next . . .

Binding: Paperback
On-sale Date: June 4, 2002
Publisher: St. Martin's
Pages: 352

From: My local library