Monday, September 26, 2011

I'm Going On Vacation ... But I'll Be Back!

I've been blogging for almost two years (my blogoversary is the 27th!) and I am going on a vacation (currently on a plane as we speak!) to Bali to celebrate my 30th birthday. I started this blog when I was turning 28 because I was looking for a way to do something different, explore my creative side, and chart and discuss all of the books I love. It has brought me all of that and so much more.

As I reach the ripe old age of 30, I am taking a break to go explore a new place, new experiences, and a new-to-me culture and with that I think it would be good for me to take a couple of weeks off as well to get reinvigorated about the blog I love so much. I know I will miss you all very much but you know what they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder!

So, I'll be back on October 10th with all kinds of new vigor for this blog and probably more pictures of Bali than you ever cared to see! Until then, my friends.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Mailbox Monday: September 26, 2011

It's Mailbox Monday time! Mailbox Monday is going on tour and September is being hosted by me, Amused By Books! Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week (checked out library books don’t count, eBooks and audio books do). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists!

I have had such a wonderful time hosting Mailbox Monday this month and I hope you all have enjoyed visiting Amused By Books. Next month, October, will be hosted by the lovely Serena of Savvy Verse and Wit

I hope you all are enjoying fabulous weekends! Now, onto the books!

This week was a calmer mailbox, which I'll be honest, is probably a good thing around here! I hope you all received some fabulous items in your mailbox this week. I hope you take the time to comment, have a look around, and visit other participants. Here's what I received:

From Harper for an upcoming TLC Book Tour:
1. Falling for Me: How I Hung Curtains, Learned to Cook, Travelled to Seville, and Fell in Love by Anna David

Friday, September 23, 2011

Book Review: Already Home

'Already Home'
Author: Susan Mallery

Format: ARC
Published: Mira; Mar. 2011
Pages: 368
Genre: Contemporary romance
Grade: A
Source: Publicist

Synopsis: After nearly a decade as a sous-chef in a trendy eatery, Jenna is desperate for a change. She's supported her ex-husband's dreams for so long that she can't even remember her own. Until she sees a for-lease sign near her parents' home and envisions her very own cooking store.
Her crash course in business is aided by a streetwise store manager and Jenna's adoptive mother. But just as she's gaining a foothold in her new life, in walk her birth parents—aging hippies on a quest to reconnect with their firstborn.
Now Jenna must figure out how to reconcile the free-spirited Serenity and Tom with her traditional parents, deal with her feelings for a new love interest and decide what to do about her ex's latest outrageous request. In the end, Jenna will find that there is no perfect family, only the people we love….

My Take: I'll be honest here, contemporary romance is not a genre I read. However, the description sounded like a book I would love and I am so glad I took the risk because what the book contained was a bunch of women dealing with real emotions and real life and no bodice-ripping which is what I imagine romance novels to contain. Oh who am I kidding, I went through a phase in seventh grade and that's totally what the romance novels contained that I enjoyed reading! Anywho, this book was much more mature and much more my style!

Already Home centers around Jenna who is recently divorced and decides to return to her home town of Austin, TX. She was a chef in LA with some success but her ex-husband ruined her confidence. She decides to open a cooking store, knowing much about cooking but little about retail. Luckily she is smart enough to hire Violet who is street-wise and has a lot of retail experience. Between the two of them they are able to make Jenna's store, Grate Expectations, a new success with some hard work. The descriptions of the store and the cooking classes they hold there make this a store I wish I had in my home town!

At any rate, nothing is ever as easy as it seems. Jenna's life is thrown upside down when her birth parents show up unexpectedly. See, Austin, TX is her hometown because her adopted parents raised her there since she was an infant. She loves her birth parents with her whole heart and never felt that anything was missing. She wasn't looking for her birth parents, so their arrival was a shock to say the least. Jenna's birth parents are hippies from Napa, CA (why is everyone from Northern California in books always a hippie?!). Jenna must now deal with this new found relationship and all its complications.

Violet also has new problems of her own. She is starting to dip her toes in the dating game. She hasn't had much success with it before and thinks she may have found The One with Cliff. However, when she starts changing herself for him and he starts becoming more controlling, all may not be as rosy as it initially appeared.

Let's just say, that I could not turn the pages fast enough! I adored this book and all of the characters within. Already Home was a realistic portrayal of women and the realities we face with friendship and family at its root. I look forward to reading many more books from Susan Mallery.

Cover Lust: This is so scenic! Who doesn't want to eat al fresco under the stars?!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Winner of Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.!

A big thank you to everyone who entered my giveaway for Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M. by Sam Wasson! Using I have selected the winner. Congratulations to Meg of Write Meg who is the proud new owner!

Vacation Reading

I have a big vacation coming up this Monday and, not surprisingly I am really excited! For my 30th birthday I knew I wanted to do something I've never done, go somewhere I've never gone before, and push myself by experiencing things I never have before. So with that, come Monday my boyfriend and I will be in Bali for 12 days. We've been planning it for months and are counting the minutes!

I am also counting the books I will bring :) The flight is LONG. And we also want to get in plenty of relaxing beach time while we are there so I am figuring in plenty of quality reading time when I am not hiking in some exotic locals.

Here's the books I am thinking of bringing. What am I missing?

1. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

2. Holy Ghost Girl by Donna Johnson

3. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

4. The First Husband by Laura Dave

5. The Dressmaker of Khair Khana by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

Too many books? Not enough? The right variety? Let me know your thoughts!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Summer Reading: How Did It Go?

Back in June I created my Summer Reading List and I think we can officially say that summer is over so I wanted to analyze how I did. Not just how many of the books I set out to read did I finish, but to look back at my sum reading for the summer, which books would I actually recommend as a summer reading list in the end.

Of my initial list, there were five books on it. I have now read them all (final book review to come on Friday). I can say that the final two I liked the best so not the worst list but not the best either.

So in the end, of my summer reading, let's say Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend, the most kick-back, kick-ass selections that I read were (all titles link to my reviews):

1. There's Cake in My Future by Kim Gruenenfelder

2. Faith by Jennifer Haigh

3.  The American Heiress by Daisy Godwin

4. 29 by Adena Halpern

5. Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto

6. Sister by Rosamund Lupton

What do all of these books have in common? They are highly entertaining, totally engrossing, and make you want to turn the pages faster! Just what you need for beach getaways, long road trips, and escaping those family vacations! What was your favorite read of the summer?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Book Review: Emily and Einstein

'Emily and Einstein'
Author: Linda Francis Lee

Format: Hardback
Published: St. Martin's Press; Mar. 2011
Pages: 368
Genre: Chick-lit
Grade: A
Source: Publicist

Synopsis: Lee (The Devil in Junior League) returns with a quick yet extremely predictable story of betrayal and atonement. Sandy Portman and Emily Barlow seem to lead a perfect life. Sandy is a successful businessman from an old-money family, and Emily, beautiful and smart, is quickly gaining respect in her career as a book editor. But Sandy is keeping a few secrets from Emily, and is hit by a car and killed before he has a chance to reveal the truth. In a Dickensian turn of events, he's given an otherworldly chance to make amends as a dog named Einstein. Emily adopts Einstein and he bears witness as she discovers Sandy's former duplicity, causing her life to fall apart and leaving Einstein to figure out how to save her so that he can save himself. 

My Take: We all know that every once in a while, I love to read some chick-lit! So when I wanted to read something a little lighter, Linda Francis Lee's latest novel was the perfect solution! I have never read a novel by her before, even though she has written many, and it had just enough of a twist to keep me turning the page and rooting for our main character throughout the book.

Emily of Emily and Einstein is our leading lady. She is a charming, sweet 30-something who has recently become widowed. She loved her husband, Sandy, whatever his flaws may have been, so when he suddenly passes away she is distraught and has to learn how to survive without him. She has a great publishing job but the owners have recently bought her employer out so she needs to prove herself there. Her home is under threat because of her mother-in-law and she is finding out some unsavory things about her husband the longer he has been passed.

Meanwhile, Emily had been volunteering at the animal shelter and decides she has a deep connection with one particular dog, Einstein. When he survives a horrible accident she knows she has to take him home and this connection is more than just a dog being man's best friend. It appears as though Einstein can almost speak to Emily and what's more, that she can understand him. At first, I rolled my eyes and was feeling like you have got to be kidding me, this is ridiculous! Eventually though, I let myself get wrapped up in the adorableness of the story and the relationship between Emily and Einstein and just wanted Emily to be able to survive.

At it's heart, Emily and Einstein is a survival story. Emily has to learn how to move on from her troubled past with her mother and get over her deceased husband. She has to learn how to rely on herself. The book had heart, and I loved it!

Cover Lust: Seriously, with that cute little dog with his head slightly cocked toward me? How could my heart not melt at the sight of that cover!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Mailbox Monday: September 19, 2011

It's Mailbox Monday time! Mailbox Monday is going on tour and September is being hosted by me, Amused By Books! Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week (checked out library books don’t count, eBooks and audio books do). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists!

I hope everyone enjoyed Book Blogger Appreciation Week last week! I had a blast celebrating all of the winners and getting to visit so many blogs but it does keep a person busy! 

This weekend found us preparing for our upcoming trip, bowling with friends (which I haven't done in ages!), and getting in some quality reading time in the sunshine!

Now, onto the books! I hope you all received some fabulous items in your mailbox this week. I hope you take the time to comment, have a look around, and visit other participants. Here's what I received:

From Minotaur Books:
1. The Dove of Death by Peter Tremayne

2. Dangerous to Know by Tasha Alexander

3. The Demon's Parchment by Jeri Westerson

4. Miss Dimple Disappears by Mignon F. Ballard

From PBS:
5. To Conquer Mr. Darcy by Abigail Reynolds

Friday, September 16, 2011

BBAW: Blogging

Welcome to the last day of Book Blogger Appreciation Week everyone! The week has blown by. I hope you had as much fun and learned as much I did. A big congratulations to all of the winners!

Building off of this year’s theme of Cultivating a Community of Bloggers and Readers we will be sharing blogging tips and tricks! Here are some of the things that work for me:

  1. Find Your Voice: Remember that the Internet is vast. You may think that there are so many book bloggers out there already that you can't possibly add anything new to the conversation. But for as many bloggers as there are out there sharing their book recommendations there are so many readers who want to know what to read next. Find your own voice, be unique, and connect with your readers. If you are your own person and connect with your readership from the heart (cheesy I know) than it will work. If you go into it wanting to be 'the next big thing', this may not be for you anyway. Read, share, learn.
  2. Brand Yourself: Figure out a brand that works for you. This is your 'look'. There are many articles online about this but your online presence is your blog's professional presence so you want to keep it as such. Everywhere you blog is, you want people to recognize it as you. When you comment, have your gravatar match your blog. On your Twitter page, match your blog. Your business cards, match your blog. Get it? If you don't have a 'look', decide what appeals to you and design one, or have someone design one for you (and never, ever, steal anyone else's).
  3. Don't Be Afraid to Try New Things: It's always good to expand your repertoire because you can attract a new audience this way. For awhile I resisted Twitter because I didn't see how it would help my blog but I am so glad I joined. This could also mean trying that type of book you never knew you liked or participating in a blogging event that you didn't previously think was for you. Whatever it is, sometimes breaking out of your mold is a good thing, because just like in real life, change can be a good thing!
Please share, what are your tried and true tips?

Book Review: Radio Shangri-La

'Radio Shangri-La: What I Learned in Bhutan, The Happiest Kingdom on Earth'
Author: Lisa Napoli

Format: ARC
Published: Crown; Feb. 2011
Pages: 304
Genre: Memoir; Travel
Grade: B
Source: Publisher

Synopsis: When Napoli met the handsome Sebastian at a cookbook party in New York City, she was intrigued by this man who traveled to Bhutan regularly. And when the accomplished L.A.-based journalist (MSNBC, CNN, public radio's Marketplace) researched the country about which he spoke so enthusiastically, she became entranced with Bhutan, a tiny Himalayan kingdom that sits between India and China. This country--dubbed "the happiest on earth" because of its focus on environmental and social progress--is hard to get to, with its remote location and governmental deterrents to tourism, like a per-person, per-day tourist tax. But a friend of Sebastian's needs help with startup radio station Kuzoo FM, so Napoli leaves L.A. and goes to Bhutan for six weeks. She writes, "After more than two decades of reducing even the most complex issues to 1,000 words or less, I was tired of observing life from a distance." While the author turns an eye on her own motivations (nothing further developed with Sebastian), she refrains from tortured navel-gazing and instead shares and reflects on Bhutan's people, history, and customs (from painting phalluses on houses to repel evil spirits to Buddhism's role in daily life). Napoli's adventures at home and abroad, in nature and career and spirit, will delight readers.

My Take: I am sure by now you are well aware of my love for travel memoirs. I have read quite a few. If I can't travel much then I will do so from my armchair as they say. I also love learning about places I have never been, and from the sounds of it after reading this book, most likely never will (not because I don't want to, just because it's too expensive!). 

First of all, am I the only person who missed the news bulletin about Bhutan being the 'happiest place on Earth'? I had never heard that before. I read the news every day, I watch the Today show while I am getting ready. I feel like I would have heard this at some point. I had no idea this was a 'thing'. Oh well.

For those of who don't know, Bhutan is this tiny country in between China and India and is very remote and likes to keep it that way! For thousands of years the terrain and the culture kept people out and they were fine with that. Everyone was happy and self-sufficient. However, times change and people come in and want to check it out. So you can visit, but you will have to get a visa and pay a tourist tax upwards of $250 a day! So it's an elite person that can visit there which again is probably good to retain the pristine quality of this place.

Our intrepid memoirist, Napoli was your average worker-bee. Toiling away for years at different news and radio stations around the country and upon reaching 40, single and childless was finding herself having something of a midlife crisis. I get it. We all examine our lives. I personally am about to hit, gulp, 30, in a couple of weeks and with each major milestone it's a time to reflect. Have I achieved what I wanted? Am I where I thought I would be? Am I happy? Happiness is what Napoli is struggling with. To put it quite simply, she isn't. Very. She knows she should be. But she isn't.

However, a chance encounter of a handsome man named Sebastien who mentions a far-flung location, Bhutan, gives her the chance to take a 6-week break from work and travel there to help a fledgling radio station become more modern. It sounded like just the change she needed and it was. It was just a chance and it turned into so much more, it was a big change. It flipped her life into a whole different momentum so she could analyze it from different angles and that was very inspiring.

What I really appreciated in this book, and I don't believe this is giving away the ending, is that the happiness and contentment Napoli eventually finds is, for once, not in the arms of a man as so many female memoirs have to be. She finds it within herself. What was missing for me, and it didn't detract too much from my enjoyment, was that the momentum of the story was off for the first 100 pages as the tangent of the story was drifted into the history of Bhutan. Fascinating on its own but I don't think whole chapters needed to be devoted to it move Napoli's own journey along.

Cover Lust: It's cute, but ultimately the final art they went for the hardcover (out now!) is far more compelling!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

BBAW: Readers

Welcome to day four of Book Blogger Appreciation Week everyone! Building off of this year’s theme of Cultivating a Community of Bloggers and Readers we will be sharing how this book blogging community has affected our reading style.

I can definitely say that since starting Amused By Books almost two years ago my reading habits have changed. I can also say that pretty much all of these changes are positive ones!

Last year, after reading many reviews for audiobooks I picked up one myself for the first time. I hated it. However, at the urging of book bloggers I tried again and guess what? I loved what I was listening to and haven't looked back. Audio books have supplemented my reading, helped me while away the time during long drives, and made cleaning my house so much easier. I can firmly state that without other bloggers encouragement I never would have picked them up and I am so glad I did.

Another great thing that blogging has done for my reading habits is it's really helped me analyze what I like to read and why. For every book I read, I have to sit down and review it. I have to write definitive reasons as to why I loved or didn't love a book. I can't just say "this book was awesome, read it" or "blech". This has caused me to really look within myself and be a much more introspective reader this year; really choosing what I do and don't want to spend my time reading.

Which brings me to the last way my reading habits have drastically changed since blogging. I have never had so many books in my house in my life and it has never caused so many arguments as to where to put them! We live in a relatively tiny space. I have made a pledge that what comes in, once I read it, must go out. The problem is that often in an average week, I take in far more books than I read (and therefore go out). This is a space problem. We have expanded shelving, bought new shelves, created piles, made notes to selves that the next house has to have built in book shelves. I love it, my boyfriend hates it. While yes, this is a fantastic problem to have. It's kind of unbelievable. An embarrassment of riches. So many books to store between books sent to me for review and books I buy because I can't wait to read them myself. I never would have been exposed to so many fabulous books without you all.

And for that, I, without a doubt thank you all (even if my boyfriend is shaking his fist)!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

BBAW: Community II

Welcome to day three of Book Blogger Appreciation Week everyone! Building off of this year’s theme of Cultivating a Community of Bloggers and Readers we will be sharing tips for how to find a sense of community within in the wider world of book blogging.

For me, in order to feel a part of the wider community, it really boils down to three essential things:

  1. Comment, Comment, Comment!: No one can know you exist unless you tell them. So this means find the bloggers you like and comment on their sites. We are a friendly bunch and most will come back and comment on your site. Voila, you will suddenly feel like you are participating in a wider dialogue. Now a few tips with commenting. Be sure to make your comments conversational! If you have nothing more to say than to provide a link back to your site, don't comment! 
  2. Join in the Fun!: There are so many wonderful blogging events out there that you do have to pick you poison wisely but once you do, it can show you that the amount of book bloggers is vast and it is a fabulous community to be a part of. From events like BBAW, Dewey's 24-Hour Read-a-Thon, to the myriad of Meme's there is always something going on. By participating in these events you encourage others to link up and join in and it's a great way to find more blogs!
  3. Network!: Be sure to make your voice heard across many platforms (but always be professional about what you say) because the community is not just on their blogs! It's on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and various other places. Create business cards and this is essential, hand them out! Go to author events and participate in local book events within your community! Most importantly, it should be fun! And share it all back on your blog.
Now, what are your tips!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

BBAW: Interview of April from Good Books and Good Wine

Welcome to day two of Book Blogger Appreciation Week everyone! Building off of this year’s theme of Cultivating a Community of Bloggers and Readers we got the chance to interview other bloggers. I am thrilled to be able to share my interview with you today of April from Good Books and Good Wine! I have been reading her blog for well over a year and relished the experience to get to her better as I think her blog is just great. The interview is below. Also, check out April's interview of me, at her blog!

1. April, how did you get into blogging and what is the best experience you've had since doing it?

I got into blogging via a Goodreads friend, fell in love with the scene and decided to start my own blog. My best experience was definitely BEA 2011, where I connected with so many awesome people.

2. I still need to go to BEA! I just went to BBC and loved it. How did you pick the name for your blog? (Which I LOVE, btw!)

Why thank you! Well, I was thinking about things I really enjoy, which are books and a nice glass of wine, and thus Good Books And Good Wine was born.

3. Well that sounds like the perfect blog name then! Describe a typical day in the life of April?
Ha, my days are so boring. I get up at 6 a.m., shower, amble downstairs for some coffee, read for a little bit and check blogs, then head to work from 8-5, where I answer the hotline sometimes, sometimes give presentations, and supervise interns. After work, I head home and cook dinner - usually spaghetti since I don't know how to cook anything else and then I wind down with a book for the night. If I'm feeling ambitious, I blog.

4. Sounds pretty similar to my days :) How many books do you own and where do you store them all?
I own over 1,300 books (mostly from library book sales). I have 13 book shelves and keep expanding. It's crazy, I feel like I need to find a house or apartment with a separate room for my books, ha ha.

5. Ok, now I don't feel so bad (boyfriend are you reading how many books April has?!) Haha! What is the best advice you can give to book bloggers just starting out? 
I would say, don't do it if you are in it for free books, because it's not worth it. Seriously, book blogging is a lot of hard work and dedication, but the ultimate pay off is not in the swag but the genuine connection with other book worms.

6. I couldn't agree more! The free books are not worth it for the amount of work you have to put into it. It's gotta be for the passion! And finally, what are some of the best authors/books that you have read this past year?
I absolutely loved Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly, it's a beautifully written story mixing past with present pertaining to the French Revolution. I also recently finished reading the Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson, which was amazing. I found Divergent by Veronica Roth to be a wonderful dystopian debut. 

I've been wanting to read Revolution, glad to know it's so good!

April, thanks again for letting my readers and I get to know you a little bit better! It's been a great experience.

Book Review and Giveaway: Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.

'Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and the Dawn of the Modern Woman'
Author: Sam Wasson

Format: Paperback
Published: Harper Perennial; Aug. 2011
Pages: 288
Genre: Nonfiction; Film history
Grade: B
Source: TLC Books

Synopsis: Wasson, who wrote on the career of writer-director Blake Edwards in A Splurch in the Kisser, tightens his focus for a closeup of Edwards's memorable Breakfast at Tiffany's, which received five Oscar nominations (with two wins). Interviewing Edwards and others, he skillfully interweaves key events during the making of this cinema classic. He begins (and ends) with Truman Capote, whose novel was initially regarded as unadaptable by the producers, since they hadn't the faintest idea how the hell they were going to take a novel with no second act, a nameless gay protagonist, a motiveless drama, and an unhappy ending and turn it into a Hollywood movie. The flow of Wasson's words carries the reader from pre-production to on-set feuds and conflicts, while also noting Hepburn's impact on fashion (Givenchy's little black dress), Hollywood glamour, sexual politics, and the new morality. Always stingy with praise, Capote dismissed the finished film as a mawkish valentine to New York City, but one feels he would have been entranced by Wasson's prismatic approach as he walks a perilous path between the analytic interpretation and the imaginative one. The result deserves Capote's nonfiction novel label. Recapturing an era, this evocative factual re-creation reads like carefully crafted fiction. 

My Take: I LOVE Audrey Hepburn! Is there a woman alive who doesn't? There is something about her that is so striking and graceful, and yes, unique. She was sexy in a different way. Her style is still relevant and no movie of her's is talked about more with fashion relevancy than Breakfast at Tiffany's. It's a movie I've seen over and over again. I own it; I love it. It's witty, it's beautiful to watch, and it's utterly different than any other movie out there. So yes, I wanted to read this book. 

Wasson's book dissects what it took to make a movie in the early 1960s. It certainly isn't the same as it is now. There were censors who didn't want to talk about sex but there was a changing public and youth who wanted to see sex up on the screen. TV was a major competing force for attention and time. 

Breakfast at Tiffany's the movie is based on Truman Capote's novel of the same name but beyond that very little is similar. Wasson takes us through Capote and how he devised a novel that was shocking for it's time. Holly Golightly was a high-class prostitute who spoke to a gay man. She even had lesbian thoughts herself. This was not the type of book 1950s readers were used to and it was hard for him to even get it published, but once he did it caused a huge sensation! Golightly herself was based on an amalgamation of numerous famous and not-so-famous characters that had an impact on Capote's life, but upon reading the novel, many claimed they were the 'real' Holly Golightly!

When it came to adapting it for the big-screen, Marty Jurow and Richard Shepherd who bought the rights to the screenplay and produced the movie, knew that they had something unique but it would have to be changed somewhat for the censors. However, at it's heart they felt Breakfast at Tiffany's was a romantic comedy for the changing sensibilities of the new decade: the 1960s.

To read Wasson's book is to be totally immersed in one of the great, classic movies of our time and understand what it truly took to create it. Having never read a memoir on Audrey Hepburn, it was fascinating to learn that she also wasn't exactly what I had thought she was either. If there was one fault, it would be that at times I felt that Wasson dumbed-down the book a bit for his audience and that should never have to happen. Most sections were not more than a couple of paragraphs and he wrote in colloquialisms. While entertaining and easy to read, it certainly wasn't what I expected from a non-fiction book. Regardless, if you love the 1960s or are a fan of Breakfast at Tiffany's and Audrey Hepburn as so many people are, you will enjoy learning some new things by picking this book up!

Cover Lust: The opening scene from Breakfast at Tiffany's is so iconic I think it's the perfect image for the cover of this book!

Giveaway Details
The publisher has kindly offered up one new copy to a lucky winner! The deadline for this giveaway is Sep. 20th; entries open to those in the US.

To Enter (Mandatory)!
Comment below with a way for me to contact you.

For Extra entries (Optional), indicate that you are:
+1 Follow this blog on Google Connect (see right sidebar)
+1 Follow me on twitter and tweet about this giveaway (include @amusedbybooks in your tweet)
+1 Blog/Post about this giveaway on your sidebar

3 extra entries available. Giveaway open until 11:59pm PST Sep. 20th. I will draw the winners using and announce them here on my blog. Good luck!

For other opinions about this book, here is the full TLC Tour Schedule

Monday, September 12, 2011

BBAW: Community

Welcome to Book Blogger Appreciation Week everyone! I love this time of year because we get to celebrate each other and I get to meet many new book bloggers I didn't even know before. It's so much fun! This year’s theme is Cultivating a Community of Bloggers and Readers which I think is a perfect theme for this week!

Today we are encouraged to highlight those book bloggers that have made blogging a more warm and friendly place for us. For me, I would like to highlight three special bloggers today that, through this wonderful blogging experience, have become friends.
First up, we have Melissa of the wonderful Gerbera Daisy Diaries. Melissa was one of the first bloggers that I had some real interaction with and since then has grown into a true friendship. When something confusing comes up we can email each other about it. When we notice someone has done something cool with their site we go, 'hey how did you do that?' and it all started with something so simple. We both received the massive and imposing Wolf Hall for Christmas and decided we would do better if we had someone to read it with! Now we like to do a read-a-thon together every year. Since then we have done Lonesome Dove, with the addition of the fabulous Amy from My Friend Amy, and now there are talks of The Thorn Birds! Whatever it is, I am always glad to read with Melissa because we love to chat about books!
Next up is my 'official' blogging buddy Carrie from Care's Online Book Club. If you ever need a blogging buddy, it's seriously as easy as just asking, like on the playground, 'will you be my buddy?' and a friendship is born! We have solved problems like are our  Google Alerts working to is it worth going to BEA. Regardless, having something to bounce these things off of is so helpful and I am so glad to have the fabulous Carrie as my buddy!
Finally, we have Jill from Fizzy Thoughts. California has a huge amount of book bloggers and Jill has welcomed me with open arms to all of the many book blogging events and for that I am so grateful! Believe me it can be intimidating to feel like you are the new girl and not know what you are doing so to just have one person that you have communicated with ahead of time is so wonderful. Now I have met almost all of the wonderful book bloggers that hail from California and would count all of them among my friends but I just wanted to use this as a special shout out to Jill to thank you for welcoming me in!
 So, who is your special someone within the book blogging community? Dish!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Mailbox Monday: September 12, 2011

It's Mailbox Monday time! Mailbox Monday is going on tour and September is being hosted by me, Amused By Books! Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week (checked out library books don’t count, eBooks and audio books do). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists!

First, some great news: Mailbox Monday has been shortlisted for Best Book Blog Meme in the 2011 Book Blogger Appreciation Awards! Congratulations to Marcia, the creator of this fabulous meme, and to all of the tour hosts who have made this a spectacular meme throughout the year! 

Secondly, the hosts of BBAW are asking that we all re-cast our votes for Best Book Blog Meme (click on the link for the full scoop and voting directions) because there was an error in the voting ballot. They just ask us to re-vote for this category only. Votes for this one category have been extended until Tuesday, September 13. 

Now, onto the books! I hope you all received some fabulous items in your mailbox this week. I hope you take the time to comment, have a look around, and visit other participants. Here's what I received:

From Kelly and Hall:
1. The Hazards of Hunting While Heartbroken by Mari Passananti

From Knopf Doubleday:
2. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (Two copies, so look forward to an upcoming giveaway!)

From Harper Perennial
3. Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and the Dawn of the Modern Woman by Sam Wasson (No your eyes don't deceive you! I received one last week as well so there will be a giveaway when my review posts on Tuesday. Get excited!)

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