Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Book Giveaway - Missing in Mexico

Today I'm sharing an interview with the author of Missing in Mexico, Stuart Gustafson. You can win a copy of his novel by entering below. Cami: What is the one thing you hope your readers take away from Missing in Mexico? SG: I’m going to beg for indulgence and sneak two in. The first is what every writer wants – that the readers truly think the story is an entertaining story. The second one is that the readers feel that San José del Cabo, Mexico, is a warm and enchanting place where they would feel welcome, and a place to put on their “Let’s go visit there in the next couple of years” list. We go there every year for several reasons: it’s convenient to get to from Boise, Idaho; the beaches are nice; the people are very nice; the food is great; the culture is charming; it is THE SAFEST PLACE to visit in Mexico. That’s not a plug from the Tourism Bureau – it is a fact that I can easily explain if people want to contact me privately. We love it there, which is one of the reasons I chose it as the primary setting for my debut mystery novel. C: I love finding a place like that to vacation. It sounds fabulous. I like that this book is more than a mystery, can you tell us more about that? SG: Of course. One of the complexities in Missing in Mexico that has come out in some of the reviews is the relationships that occur. I’m guessing that some people could probably come up with a half dozen different genres for the book, all perfectly justified in one place or another in the book. What is it? Is it Travel, Mystery, Intrigue, Foreign, Romance, Suspense, Fiction/Non-Fiction. See what I mean? Actually, all of these genres come into play into the book, which makes it really hard to classify it into one particular heading. Which one would you choose? C: That's tough. I really like the Travel Mystery. So, have you ever second guessed yourself in the writing process? SG: Please introduce me to the writer who’s never second guessed himself, and I’ll show you a writer who’s not been willing to show his work to others. Writing is all about taking chances, and if you’re always second guessing what you’re doing – nothing will ever make it from the keyboard to the page to the reader. Maybe it’s because I’m not taking on risky subjects that I don’t worry about second guessing myself, but I think most authors also realize the requirement to put yourself “out there” unless you want to be just like others who sit inside a lonely cocoon. C: I do that sometimes. It is wonderful to get out and meet other writers. Are you already at work on your next book? SG: Thank you for asking. The next mystery novel is underway, if you’ll pardon the pun. It’s set in Sydney, Australia, and I visited there 5 times last year conducting research on the general area as well as certain locations to ensure their descriptions are “spot on” as they say down there. The book introduces a new character that will be a featured character in future books as well, so it’s fun to bring him into the mix. I haven’t asked him where he wants to go next, but I think I know where it is, and it’s someplace that artists love. Hmmm, where could that be? C: Cabo, Sydney, and another amazing vacation spot soon, I want to be your research assistant. Thank you for dropping in and having a short chat with me. Is there anything else you would like to share? SG: Yes, my love of travel. I do love to travel, and I have the US Registered Trademarked name of America’s International Travel Expert®. Give me a reason to jump on an airplane, and I’m on it. I love to fly, and I’ve flown over one million miles on a single airline. I believe in sharing information, and I send out a free e-newsletter about travel; signing up is quite easy on my website, and you even get a great travel bonus just for enrolling – www.stuartgustafson.com. C: Thanks, Stuart. Best of luck with your writing and traveling. Please leave a comment below to win Missing in Mexico (must be a follower of this blog). For extra entries: 2 entries for sharing the contest on Twitter or Facebook 4 entries for sharing the contest on your personal blog or adding the contest to your sidebar. Contest ends Septmeber 16, 2011 Open to residents of U.S. and Canada Please leave an e-mail address with your comment. Thanks for stopping by!
Monday, August 29, 2011

Book Giveaway - Bloodborne by Gregg Luke

I'm so excited to do a giveaway of Bloodborne by Gregg Luke. I loved this book. Read my review here.
Please leave a comment below to enter (must be a follower of this blog). For extra entries: 2 entries for sharing the contest on Twitter or Facebook 4 entries for sharing the contest on your personal blog or adding the contest to your sidebar. Contest ends Septmeber 12, 2011 Open to residents of U.S. and Canada Please leave an e-mail address with your comment.
Saturday, August 27, 2011

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day - Book Recommendation by Christine Connor

I'm excited to share this book recommendation from Christine Connor. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day – A Hidden Gem Most true book lovers have so many books that, after a time, one wonders if their breeding behind your back. You decide that it’s best not to ever move house ever again because of the tremendous amount you’d have to spend on truck rental and you start to keep books in places no ordinary person would: kitchen cupboards, the garden shed or maybe even in your pillow cases. Anywhere that spreads out the tidal wave of paperbacks and makes your book habit look more like a vague interest than an all-consuming obsession. Although all of these books probably mean something to you there’s bound to be one that means more than all the rest. One that you will read time and again and each time it will make you laugh or cry or both just as it did the first time. That book, for me, is Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day by Winifred Watson. The Background Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day is a little-known gem of woman’s fiction written by Watson right before the war in 1938. When Watson originally wrote the work it was rejected and she had to barter with her agent just to get it published. Considering the intricate beauty of this work this is quite astounding. Once it was published, however, it did become a success and it was so well-loved that producers began planning a musical film version of the book. Unfortunately just as the film was about to go into production Pearl Harbour happened and the book and the film became buried as people focused on more important day-to-day concerns. For years it remained all but forgotten before, recently, being republished by Persephone Books who specialise in women’s fiction. Since then a film version has been made starring Frances McDormand in the leading role, originally, back during the war, it was supposed to be Billy Burke. Sadly we’ll never know how that version turned out. The 2008 film did its best to live up to the fun of the book but, like so many book to film translations failed to capture its spirit. The problem with turning Miss Pettigrew into a film is that it’s a very pacy book in a lot of respects and has you wanting to read the next chapter even though you’ll be late for work. Again. It’s quite difficult to recreate this on film. The Plot Like all the best stories Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day is a simple tale about a very poor nanny who accidentally goes to the wrong address when she’s given a job by an agency. Little does she know as she knocks on fortune’s door that a wonderfully exciting world waits behind it. Over the course of the book Miss Pettigrew, who is at the beginning insular and unsure, gradually grows in confidence through a serious of hilariously uncomfortable social situations and makes a big difference to the lives of the people she has happened upon. These people immediately accept her into their circle which is something Miss Pettigrew, being a poor nanny, is not used to at all and over the course of the book she finds new life-long friends. Reasons to love it When I picked up this book for the first time I wasn’t at all expecting the glorious journey it took me on. A friend had found it by accident at the library and had then begged me to buy it and read it for myself. It’s absolutely the best book purchase I have ever made. Not only is the story sweet, the characters genuine and well-rounded and the conclusion well thought out but the writing is actually very, very good. It’s delicately phrased without being too flowery and its witty, dry tone is guaranteed to have you smiling with every page you turn, I know that’s what happened for me. Perhaps the biggest reason to love this book, however, is Miss Petigrew herself. The character of the retiring nanny isn’t necessarily something we can all identify with but her persona is. She is constantly unsure, constantly hoping for the best but expecting the worst and in a way this reflects how a lot of us feel about our lives for a lot of the time. We’re always hoping that there’s a happy ending somewhere around the corner but never quite dare to believe it until it really happens for us. I won’t give away the ending but I do promise that, if you see this book through to its conclusion, you won’t be disappointed.
Thursday, August 25, 2011

Bloodborne by Gregg Luke

One ordinary afternoon, research specialist Dr. Erin Cross steps into a local deli to get some lunch and nearly takes a bullet instead. Thanks to timely intervention from a former Marine, she walks away from the seemingly freak incident. But when she returns to find her lab under security lockdown and her apartment ransacked, she realizes the attack was anything but random. Erin can’t make sense of the threat, given her low profile after a disastrous H1N1 vaccine trial. She doesn’t know that her former colleague has used the virus to develop a potent bio-weapon or that her recent research holds a key to his success. And she doesn’t know that his collaborators want her dead before she blows the whistle. Fleeing for safety with her research in hand, Erin unravels the threats with help from the timely Marine, former Special Ops agent Sean Flannery. But the closer they come to finding answers, the more questionable Sean’s behavior becomes. His erratic moods and suspicious communications are more fitting for an enemy than a friend. And as the crisis comes to a head, Erin can’t be sure who harbors more secrets — the bio-terrorists pursuing her or the one man who can give her protection.

My Review:

Definitely my favorite read of the summer. This book is intense, well-written, well-researched, and intriguing. It was one of those books that I kept reading even when it was one in the morning and I had to wake up at four. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fast-paced suspense.

What I liked: Loved the storyline and the main characters. Amazing how a male author could develop a female protagonist so well.

What I didn't like: I didn't enjoy the backstory dump as it interrupts pacing and I'd rather get to know the character slowly through dialogue, thought, and action. I always skip the backstory (someday I'll learn some patience).

Audience: I would recommend it to any adult.

Author's Website

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Back to school blues

I struggle with my boys leaving me for school. I love having no schedule, laughing at all their crazy games, and knowing the baby will be spoiled and protected when I take a shower or change a load of laundry. At the same time I have to admit I'm excited to have a semi-clean house, save on the grocery bill (you would not believe how much four boys can consume, $1.55 for school lunch is sounding mighty good) and maybe fit in some writing time. I wanted to do an informal poll. Do you want your children back in school or are you in mourning (or somewhere in the middle like me)? There are no wrong answers. It doesn't make you a bad parent if you're sick of cleaning up gooey popsicle sticks. Please leave a comment and share how you deal with back to school.

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