Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Winner of "500 Acres and No Place to Hide"

To find our winner, we assigned a number to each entry and used to make the choice for us. It picked 45.

Congrats to Baby Mama!

Reminder: If you have won a book, you have about 48 hours to claim it by sending your contact information. (You will be e-mailed if you have won, as well.) After that time, a new winner will be picked.

Thanks to everyone for participating. Thanks also to Susan McCorkindale for sharing her office space with us and to Kaitlyn Kennedy from Penguin Group for sharing the book with our lucky winner!

Don't forget about our current giveaways:

US only
Ends 9/12 at midnight EST

"Where You Left Me" by Jennifer Gardner Trulson
US only
Ends 9/11 at midnight EST

"Joy for Beginners" by Erica Bauermeister
US/Canada only
Ends 9/11 at midnight EST

Getting to know our promotional associate

In case you haven't heard the news, we now have a promotional associate. Meet Amy Bromberg and get to know more about her from the same questions we asked our associate reviewers. We like looking for common ties between ourselves and we found one with Amy. She looks very similar to Melissa A's sister and has the same first name as Melissa P's sister (different spelling though). So she's like a sister to us, in that way. :)

Name three of your favorite chick lit authors.
Jennifer Weiner, Jane Porter & Jen Lancaster

Which chick lit novel would you like to see on the big screen?
"Silver Girl" by Elin Hilderbrand – This would not be your typical “chick flick.” It would be a drama, filled with substance and depth. Characters that are more complex than your usual “boy meets girl” movie or book.

Which chick lit novel has had an impact on you and stayed with you for a long time?
“The Ten Best Days of My Life” by Adena Halpern – Throughout the book Alex learns what’s really important in life, versus materialistic things and just being plain old lazy. I was learning right along with her. I do feel I already know what’s important in life, values, morals etc., but this really puts things in perspective because you never know when you’re time is up.

What is something about you that would surprise most people?Even though I'm a small girl, I have a big mouth and a lot of spunk!

What are some of your hobbies?
Swimming (anything water & tropical related) makeup, dancing (even though I can't because of foot problems), I love dogs, chocolate and ice cream sundaes, going to the movies, favorite shows are "Glee," "Modern Family" and "Brothers and Sisters." And of course I CANNOT FORGET reading chick lit!

Where is your favorite place to vacation?
Hawaii – Since I was a little girl I’ve always wanted to go to Hawaii. During my adult life I’ve had the great fortune of being there twice, once as a family trip and once on my honeymoon. I love the scenery, the hospitality of the locals, the lushness, the gorgeous beaches and the vast of amount of water & hiking activities. All in all, it's paradise.

Book Review: Engaging Men

By Gail Allison
Set against the backdrop of lively New York City, and steeped in big decisions, "Engaging Men" by Lynda Curnyn is a delightful read that will make you examine your single days and wonder if there really is merit to any of the theories presented within. It may also encourage you to take that chance that you’ve been considering in the back of your mind.

Three of Angie DiFranco’s ex-boyfriends have proposed…just not to her. Although she maintains a healthy relationship with all of her exes, she’s determined not to miss the marriage train this time around. She’s been dating Kirk for almost two years, and has decided that it’s about time they get serious and start talking wedding, but isn’t sure where she’s been going wrong in her previous relationships.

Angie’s friend Michelle explains it to her like this: men are like pickle jars. Even if you feel like you’re not loosening the lid, you’re still making miniscule changes that will enable someone in the future to *pop* the lid right off. And Angie is rapidly becoming an expert lid-loosener. However, if Michelle’s lid-loosening theory holds true, Kirk’s former girlfriend should have done all the tough work for Angie, and now she just has to give the lid that final twist. Armed with this realization, and Michelle’s trifecta of rules for getting Kirk to notice her again, Angie sets about opening Kirk’s eyes to what’s going on with them.

Meanwhile, Angie’s struggling with her acting gig (a children’s show that requires her to leap around first thing in the morning, wearing a powder blue and yellow outfit) and trying to convince herself that it’s the job of her dreams, when in reality she’s stuck with two jobs that she doesn’t really enjoy. She’s not really convinced deep-down that this is the best use of her talents, and it doesn’t pay enough to keep her from having to maintain her other job, as a phone operator for Lee and Laurie Catalog. Her roommate Justin, on the other hand, is running the gamut of career choices and romantic partners. Angie is completely frustrated and tries time and again to explain to him that he needs to follow her lead and figure out what he wants from life and then go get it, instead of trying everything once. The chemistry between Angie and Justin is delightful to read, and when this novel draws to its logical, but still sweet, conclusion, it’s the type of book that you’ll set aside with a satisfied sigh.

Angie shows remarkable courage and growth throughout this novel, which is just one of the details that keeps it moving along nicely. Even the secondary characters are developed slightly: a detail that makes you feel like you belong with these people, rather than just reading about them and looking from the outside in. Nothing stays flat in this book. Everything grows and moves, and once you put it down, you feel encouraged to do the same.

Don’t be fooled by the growth and courage themes, though. This is still a nice, easy read. Perhaps too easy, if I were to have a criticism for this book. It’s definitely fun and frothy, to the point of being quick to pick up, but also quick to put down. It’s fun in the moment, but it’s very effortless reading that doesn’t require a lot of thinking. I’d definitely recommend giving this book a spot on the bedside table. It’s a comfortable read that’s still uplifting.

More by Lynda Curnyn:

Rosie Alison puts herself out there and has a book show for it (and give away)

**Giveaway is now closed**

Today we have a guest post from London based author, Rosie Alison. "The Very Thought of You" was shortlisted for the UK's Orange Prize and is also Rosie's first novel. Rosie directed television documentaries for ten years before becoming a film producer at Heyday films. She is married with two daughters.

She's here today to share her experience of writing her first novel. And two lucky readers in the US have a chance to win this novel, thanks to Cristina Suarez from Simon and Schuster.

Writing a First Novel
by Rosie Alison

It’s a peculiar experience, putting a novel out into the world. Particularly a personal, heartfelt novel such as "The Very Thought of You." For me, it was a long, solitary and secretive process to excavate this novel, my first: I wrote it on and off over eight years, after work, once the children were asleep, late at night. I never dared to take time off from my day job to write; I feared that pressure to deliver would have spiked my fragile private writing bubble. So the novel had a slow gestation and naturally I was delighted when I finally finished it and found a publisher.

But I had very mixed feelings about publication: a part of me longed for the book to find readers – yet at the same time, I dreaded discovering that those readers might just be left cold or puzzled or irritated. To begin with, I was euphoric whenever anyone wrote a kindly blog, and sliced to the marrow if someone disparaged it. And my novel seems to have attracted both passionate readers and contemptuous ones. I’ve learned to be philosophical that any novel which attempts to tackle romantic feeling will divide people – but I have to respect, too, those readers who picked up the book and either disliked or misunderstood what I was attempting to do.

My guiding instinct was to write a story about love. The longing for an intimate other is surely the most abiding universal impulse, and I wanted to explore different kinds of love – not just romantic love, but two people reaching out to each other in some way. "The Very Thought of You" is a book in which most of the characters are holding the thought of somebody in their heads and hearts. I’ve tried to tease out that invisible thread which runs between potential lovers – delving into how love takes root and evolves, all those elusive staging posts. The heart of the novel is an adult love affair, and much of the time I was trying to get inside these two lovers as they feel this unspoken connection between them, but don’t know whether it’s their delusion or not. This affair is framed by the more unusual story of a young evacuee, Anna, who develops her own complicated attachment to one of her hosts, which endures through her life in unexpected ways.

Although this novel begins and ends with Anna (the evacuee), in many ways, the novel actually grew around her host Thomas Ashton. Thomas undergoes many reversals of fortune – yet he’s sustained by his abiding capacity for love, which becomes an act of faith for him, even after his lover has died. I wanted to write about a character who is emotionally disconnected or blocked at the beginning – but who finds himself transformed by love, which endures despite his loss, in (I hope!) an inspiring way.

Anna Sands, the displaced child, has a different fate. Unlike many evacuees who were deeply scarred by their wartime experiences, she seems a lucky survivor. She ends up at a beautiful house, with kind teachers, safe from the war. And yet in the absence of parental love, she develops an inappropriate attachment to one of her teachers which skews her emotional development, with unexpected repercussions right through her life. She ends up as one of life’s emotional witnesses, stranded on the sidelines of other people’s lives, always hankering after a relationship which could never be hers. It was this notion of becoming a witness – somebody with a face always pressed against a window, instead of joining in – which interested me in Anna. For me, that’s the poignancy of the Raymond Carver poem which I chose to preface the novel – that everyone longs to be ‘beloved’, yet some people are fated not to be, often unable to escape the long shadows of childhood.

Attempting to write romantic fiction is a high wire act: what for some will be heartfelt, for others will be cloying. I’ve noticed some people find my prose too purple, while others find it too detached. My own hope is that it can express heartache and longing in a way which is consoling for at least some readers. Kafka wrote that
“a book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us,” and that was very much the case for me, it took me a while to crack through my own ice, and realise that I wanted to write as deeply as I could about human longing. When friends ask me what kind of book I’ve written, I describe it as a torchsong – perhaps that’s why I chose a song title. But it’s definitely not a book for romantic pragmatists.

Thanks to Rosie for sharing her thoughts with us and to Cristina for sharing "The Very Thought of You" with some lucky readers.

How to win "The Very Thought of You":
Please comment below with your e-mail address.
(Please note: Entries without an e-mail address will NOT be counted. You can use AT and DOT to avoid spam. Or provide a link to your facebook page or blog if you can receive messages there.)

Bonus entries (can be listed all in one post):
1. Please tell us: What is something that was strange or scary for you the first time you tried doing it?
2. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).
3. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.
4. Join Chick Lit Central on Facebook. Edit settings if you don't want to receive a lot of messages at your e-mail account. Please read our posting guidelines, as well. (If you're already a member, let us know that too.)
5. Add a friend to our Facebook group. (Tell us who you added.) Be sure to remind them to edit their settings.

US only. Giveaway ends September 12th at midnight EST.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Winners of "Another Bad Dog Book"

To find our winners, we assigned a number to each entry (one entry per person for this one) and used to choose three numbers for us. It chose 7, 10 and 12.

Congrats to Allison (abrown546), Bonnie and Nancye!

Here's a note from Joni B. Cole:
Congratulations on winning a copy of “Another Bad Dog Book: Tales of Life, Love, and Neurotic Human Behavior.” I hope you enjoy the book! Please note, the little dog that inspired the title essay is really not all that bad. I, on the other hand, am probably even more neurotic than I come across on these pages! Thank you so much for entering this contest and your interest in my book. I love to hear from readers, so please visit me at my website; on Facebook ; Twitter or by e-mail.

Also, many thanks to Chick Lit Central and reviewer Cindy Roesel for spreading the word!

Warm wishes,
Joni B. Cole

Reminder: If you have won a book, you have about 48 hours to claim it by sending your contact information. (You will be e-mailed if you have won, as well.) After that time, a new winner will be picked.

Thanks to everyone for participating (those pet stories were classic!), to Cindy for a great review and to Joni for contributing the books for the giveaway!

Don't forget about our current giveaways:

"Where You Left Me" by Jennifer Gardner Trulson
US only
Ends 9/11 at midnight EST

"Joy for Beginners" by Erica Bauermeister
US/Canada only
Ends 9/11 at midnight EST

"500 Acres and No Place to Hide" by Susan McCorkindale
US only
Ends tonight at midnight EST

Winners of Jessica Degarmo's books

To find our winners, Melissa A. assigned a number to each entry and Melissa P. (without looking, obviously) chose two numbers at random...16 and 43.

Congrats to BRN2SHOP9 and StereoQueenBee!

Here's a message from Jessica Degarmo:
Congratulations to the winners of the giveaway! I hope you enjoyed getting a glimpse into my crazy brain, and I hope you like my books. For more on my upcoming releases and other stuff, please visit my blog. Keep in touch, and happy reading!

Reminder: If you have won a book, you have about 48 hours to claim it by sending your contact information. (You will be e-mailed if you have won, as well.) After that time, a new winner will be picked.

Thanks to everyone for participating and to Jessica for a fun interview and for sharing her books with the lucky winners.

Don't forget about our current giveaways:

"Where You Left Me" by Jennifer Gardner Trulson
US only
Ends 9/11 at midnight EST

"Joy for Beginners" by Erica Bauermeister
US/Canada only
Ends 9/11 at midnight EST

"500 Acres and No Place to Hide" by Susan McCorkindale
US only
Ends tonight at midnight EST

Interview with Jennifer Gardner Trulson and book giveaway

**Giveaway is now closed**

Jennifer Gardner Trulson has strong memories of the events of September 11, 2001. That is because her husband's life was one of the many lost on that day. She later decided to put her thoughts down on paper and a book came out of it. Ten years after the event that changed America, "Where You Left Me" tells a personal account of that day and all the time that followed afterward. Even though she has remarried since then, her late husband remains in her heart and is now immortalized on the pages of her book.

Thanks to Emily Gambir of Engleman and Co., one reader from the US has a chance to win Jennifer's memoir.

If you'd like to learn more about Jennifer and her book, visit her on Facebook.

MP: What is your usual writing routine?
JT: To write this memoir, I forced myself to follow a strict routine to ensure I’d stay focused and complete a manuscript on a very tight deadline. To that end, I dedicated three days in a row each week to writing as much new material as I could. On the other three days, I edited my work and outlined new sections (I took Sundays off). To avoid distractions, I’d sit at the computer by 7am on the writing days and type continuously until I was faint from hunger and dehydration. I’m not sure I’d recommend this method, but it’s basically how I studied for the bar exam twenty years ago, and it seemed to work then.

MP: How do you like to spend your time when you are not writing?
JT: I am a voracious information junkie and will read everything from the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal to Perez Hilton and Bravo’s blog sites. When I’m not reading about the U.S. deficit crisis or the latest Real Housewife scandal, I’m usually on the sidelines watching my daughter play soccer or my son play basketball. Other than that, I try to go to the theater once in a while, read books on Kindle, and try new restaurants in Manhattan with my husband and friends.

MP: "Where You Left Me" is a very personal and emotional book about losing your husband on 9/11. What was the biggest challenge you faced while writing it?
JT: Other than revisiting in detail some of the most horrific moments of my family’s life, my biggest challenge was talking openly about my husband’s murder and the aftermath. Because 9/11 was so massive, I’ve always worried that Doug would be reduced to a statistic, the magnitude of his loss diluted by the sheer number of deaths, memorial services and news stories. Accordingly, I tried to keep our personal agony private and did not participate in many public tributes. Though nothing dulls the loss – I miss Doug as much today as I did at ten days or ten months, I’m finally at a place where I’m more willing and able to share my experiences.

MP: What was the journey to publishing like for you?
JT: I never intended to write a book. After the 9/11 attacks, I panicked that my children would never understand who their father was or the devastating impact of his loss. I feared that time would blunt memories and Doug would fade into an abstraction. I wanted my kids to have real-time, detailed recollections of their father. To keep his memory as vivid as possible, I stored notes, journals and emails in a box that I hoped would become my children’s private archive which they could mine for information when they were old enough to ask.
A few years ago, an author friend looked at my jumbled collection and cajoled me into writing an organized narrative so the kids would have a real history of their father’s life and the aftermath of his loss. When I started to write, I found I couldn’t stop. One story turned into two and suddenly I’d written fifty pages. My friend insisted on forwarding a few passages to her literary agent, and before I knew it, Gallery Books decided to take a chance on me. I admit, with the ten year anniversary of 9/11 less than two years away, the timing was right for a memoir of this kind. I was fortunate to find a publisher who believed my story was worth telling.

MA: You founded the Douglas B. Gardner Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping at-risk children in New York. What has been the most meaningful experience that you have witnessed for one of these children?
JT: The foundation exists to support high quality after school programs for at-risk children. We use small dollars to make the biggest impact. Over the years the DBG Foundation has created an instructional swim program now in its third year, sponsored several AAU boys and girls’ middle school basketball teams through which kids are mentored and tutored as well as coached, and funded arts and leadership development programs.
I think our most meaningful project was one my son, Michael, established with me for the kids at the Ideal School in Manhattan in 2008. Ideal is an independent, non-profit elementary school that advances educational diversity by welcoming into its classrooms all children, including those with special needs like Down syndrome, autism and learning disabilities. Fifty percent of the families receive financial aid, and the average award is 90% of tuition.
Michael helped create an after-school basketball program at the school. We hired the coach, purchased all of the equipment and provided full scholarships to qualified families. Every Friday after school for over a year, Michael assisted the coach in teaching skills and working individually with the students. The kids responded enthusiastically to our program’s fun, supportive and non-competitive environment. It has grown from a one ten-week experiment to a three season after-school program. Michael is currently helping me develop criteria for scholarships and training requirements for volunteers. We hope to grow the program to include other sports and possibly a summer day camp.

MA: What song currently describes or relates to your life?
JT: "Empire State of Mind," by Jay Z, is the song of the day for me. With the ten year anniversary of 9/11 looming and my emotions starting to churn as they always do at this time of year, this song reminds me why New York is always going to be home. Whenever I hear the chorus, I feel Doug. He reveled in showing me, a recent Massachusetts transplant at the time, the beauty, grit and romance of his city. The song elicits tears on occasion, but it also makes me want to push through the ache and keep moving forward.

MP: What is your favorite thing about living in New York?
JT: There is something nearly symphonic about the pace and hum of this city and the spirit of its citizens that cannot be replicated elsewhere. I love that I can find a tranquil oasis in Central Park and, within minutes, get lost in a crowd in Times Square. I love that I personally know almost every vendor and doorman in my neighborhood, but if I travel twenty blocks, I’m a virtual tourist. I mostly love, however, the diversity of the people one sees every day. Living here makes all of us New Yorkers, regardless of where we were born or raised.

MA: Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
JT: In five years my husband and I will be on the verge of becoming empty nesters. Our son will be a freshman in college and our daughter a junior in high school! I’m shaking my head just thinking about that. As a practical matter, I sincerely hope that our kids will be able to schlep themselves to their daily sports practices and activities and give their aging parents a break. On a more serious note, I think in five years my husband and I will start to make plans for our next chapter when both kids are away at college. Travel will be a priority, but I also see myself continuing to write (though I hope my next projects will center on more cheery subjects).

MA: Whom do you admire most?
JT: I know it sounds like a cop-out, but I admire my children, Michael and Julia. Their ability to remain optimistic and retain their childhood innocence despite the horrific loss of their father continues to astonish me. They pulled me out of the pit by showing me their strength when all I felt was weakness. The 9/11 attacks shattered our foundation and shook us to our core, but over the past ten years, my children have exemplified for me what life is all about - live happily and love fully.

MA: What is the one piece of advice that you could offer someone else who lost a spouse?
JT: If the loss is fresh, I probably wouldn’t offer much advice at all. I would most likely wrap her in a warm hug and offer her a sympathetic ear. In the early stages, a devastated widow needs a patient and kind listener. I might also encourage her friends and family to keep in close contact for an extended period. Grieving isn’t a linear process – one can have a good day followed by three awful ones. A widowed spouse doesn’t get better in a few weeks or months. It’s a marathon – enervating, painful and lonely. The friends who call regularly and stay by her side months, even years down the road are true lifesavers.

Special thanks to Jennifer for sharing her thoughts with us and to Emily for sharing Jennifer's memoir with one of our readers.

How to win "Where You Left Me":
Just tell us if the events of September 11, 2001 have had any impact on your life, views, way you relate to people, etc. Or share where you were when you first heard about what was happening that day.
Please include your e-mail address or another way to contact you.

US only. Giveaway ends September 11th at midnight EST.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Book Review: Knowing Me Knowing You

By Melissa Amster

The saying "don't judge a book by its cover" is very important to keep in mind, especially when it comes to books with rather, um, interesting covers. I can't say I was drawn into a story with a cover featuring a giant bird wearing a feather boa, but that's just me. However, the moment I looked past the cover and started reading "Knowing Me Knowing You," I was completely engrossed and emotionally invested the entire time. And I also had the ABBA song going through my head.

Kate Baxter is leading a stressful life, dealing with a boss who is trying to sabotage her work, raising a child on her own with a mountain of debt to show for it, and an ex-husband who won't give her any child support. Feeling pressured into not showing up alone to a company event, Kate hires a male escort to be her date. Before she knows it, they are tricked into appearing on a game show that is similar to "The Newlywed Game," featuring a slimy host and a giant dove that "lays eggs" on stage. One night of the show turns into a series of competitions and Kate has to make a lot of decisions for herself as a result.

This is the first book of Mandy Baggot's that I have read and now I want to see what else she has written. I enjoyed her easygoing writing style that was coupled with a mix of intense emotion and humor. The dialogue was realistic throughout. The characters were believable and I could really sympathize with Kate and what she was going through, even though I've never been in her shoes (aside from juggling motherhood and work). Ms. Baggot really knows how to write a villain though. Kate's boss, Miranda, totally rivals another evil boss named Miranda famous in the chick lit world. And her ex-husband, Matthew, makes the horror stories I've heard about ex-husbands sound far less scary. She also creates wonderful supporting characters for Kate's friends and an amazing romantic hero.

The only things I have to critique are the grammar and spelling errors throughout the story. Why Ms. Baggot didn't contact me beforehand to be a second pair of eyes, I'll never know. A good polishing of both would make this story stand out even more. I also wish she would have clarified some of the British slang she used. I know the people in the UK reading her books would get what she was saying, but I had to e-mail her to ask about something that sounded completely strange to me. Thankfully, she explained it and eased my mind. Finally, I wouldn't have minded a little more "spice" during the romantic scenes. She has a male escort who used to be an underwear model; I would have liked to see what he could do behind closed doors.

Overall, I really liked "Knowing Me Knowing You" and couldn't get enough of it. It had the feel of a Sue Margolis novel (a good thing, if you know my tastes) but also had a lot of emotional substance that I wasn't expecting, just judging from the cover. I'm sure Ms. Baggot could have written a romantic scene to rival those of Ms. Margolis, but she left it up to our imagination. Maybe she'll surprise me in one of her other novels (hint, hint). I recommend this novel to anyone who wants a clever, funny and emotionally driven story to read any time and any place.

Thanks to for choosing me to win this novel as part of their Review Chair contest.

More by Mandy Baggot:

Winners of "40 Love" (audiobooks)

To find our winners, we assigned a number to each entry and used to choose three numbers for us. It chose: 2, 3 and 22

Congrats to Linda, DD and Laura Reese!

Reminder: If you have won a book, you have about 48 hours to claim it by sending your contact information. (You will be e-mailed if you have won, as well.) After that time, a new winner will be picked.

Thanks to everyone for participating and to Esther Bochner of MacMillan Audio for providing the audiobooks to our winners.

Don't forget about our current giveaways:

"Joy for Beginners" by Erica Bauermeister
US/Canada only
Ends 9/11 at midnight EST

"500 Acres and No Place to Hide" by Susan McCorkindale
US only
Ends 8/30 at midnight EST

"Another Bad Dog Book" by Joni B. Cole
US only
Ends 8/29 at midnight EST

Choice of one of Jessica Degarmo's e-books
Ends 8/29 at midnight EST

Winners of "Little Black Dress"

To find our winners, Melissa A. assigned a number to each entry and Melissa P. (without looking, obviously) chose three numbers at random...7, 99 and 111

Congrats to Jeryl and a real librarian!

Update: One of the winners did not claim their prize by the deadline, so we have chosen another winner, using It chose 30.

Congrats to Darlene!

Here's a message from Susan McBride:
Congratulations to the winners of "Little Black Dress!" It was a very special book for me to write so I hope you'll find it special to read. Enjoy your time with Evie, Anna, Toni, and the magical LBD! If anyone would like to find out more about Little Black Dress, please visit me at my website.

Thanks to Melissa A. and Melissa P. for spreading the book love! Chick Lit Central rocks! :-)


Reminder: If you have won a book, you have about 48 hours to claim it by sending your contact information. (You will be e-mailed if you have won, as well.) After that time, a new winner will be picked.

Thanks to everyone for participating and to Susan for her magical guest blog post and for sharing her books with the lucky winners.

Here are other opportunities to win "Little Black Dress":

US/Canada only, no PO Box
Ends 9/14 at 11:59 pm PST

The Write Stuff
US only
Ends 9/1

Girls Just Reading
US/Canada only
Ends tonight at midnight EST

Don't forget about our current giveaways:

"Joy for Beginners" by Erica Bauermeister
US/Canada only
Ends 9/11 at midnight EST

We have a promotional associate!

We have been really busy with both maintaining the blog, bringing you the latest in chick lit and focusing on things in our own lives (family, work, etc.). Therefore, we have decided to bring a promotional associate on board. However, we are not having a contest this time because when it comes to promotional associates, there really is no contest....

Amy Bromberg has consistently gone above and beyond to demonstrate her love for chick lit and her support for CLC. She sends us giveaways to post, the latest Kindle deals, articles about chick lit novels and she even participates as a guest blogger. Her efforts to promote chick lit novels have been noticed by some authors. She also keeps up the energy on our Facebook group wall, even when we aren’t around to do it. Amy is enthusiastic and passionate about chick lit and we’re excited to have her as our promotional associate.

What will she be doing, you ask? It will be a mix of things. She’ll definitely be helping us with the promotional posts, in terms of writing introductions and bonus questions. She may be posting our giveaways on our Facebook group wall and Twitter page. Other things are up in the air for now, but we’ll see what works for both us and her and take it in that direction. We’re confident that she’ll be amazing, no matter what she does.

Please give Amy a warm welcome. We’ll be posting her bio and answers to the questions we asked our review associates later this week, so stay tuned!

Heating things up with Erica a book giveaway

By Melissa Patafio

**Giveaway is now closed**

Erica Bauermeister is the author of the bestselling novel "The School of Essential Ingredients," and "Joy For Beginners," just published in June, 2011. She has been married to the same man for almost three decades and her children are now mostly grown. She has even lived in Italy! Erica is here today to talk to us about what summer means to her. We're glad to have her at CLC and we hope that the one lucky reader in the US or Canada who wins her latest novel will agree!

You can visit Erica on Facebook to learn more about her.

What’s your best summer memory?
When I was young, my parents would load all five kids in the car and we would drive from Maryland to a small fishing camp in Vermont. Not that we were the fishing type – but my grandfather was, and we loved him. We stayed in rustic cabins set around a lake that felt huge but probably wasn’t at all. I spent my days drifting about in a row boat on the lake, reading, or “rescuing” the frogs from in front of our cabin and transporting them to the other side of the lake (my grandfather was always joking about eating frog’s legs, although I never saw anything but delicious, corn-meal-covered trout on our table). I picked blueberries for hours, and wandered down to the main house for fresh homemade doughnuts, still hot with oil. It was a time to live in your body, or in books, both of which felt all the more three-dimensional because of where I was.

What food means summer to you?
Watermelon, no doubt. I have few cravings, but that is one of them. There is also a Caribbean sandwich stand in Seattle, near Golden Gardens beach. It’s the perfect bike ride from our house. We arrive, hungry and full of anticipation, and take our pork and carmelized onion sandwiches, lathered with garlic aioli mayonnaise, to the beach where we eat them, juices dripping into the sand, as we look across Puget Sound to the Olympic Mountains beyond.
Ah, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention blackberries, too. They take forever to ripen in the Pacific Northwest, but there are usually a couple weeks during August when the blackberries get huge and deeply purple. There are wild bushes everywhere around here, and one of the best parts of summer is taking a walk and occasionally stopping to graze off the bushes, picking the fullest, ripest ones you can find and letting them dissolve across your tongue, warm and lush and earthy.

What is your favorite part of summer in the Pacific Northwest?
Here in Seattle, we like to say that we pay for our summer with our long, grey winters when it turns dark at 4:30 in the afternoon and if there wasn’t good coffee we would all, quite simply, go crazy. But then there’s summer. Day after day, it stays light a little longer, and then longer still – an unending generosity of light, until you can sit outside in your backyard around a table, eating, and don’t have to even light a candle until 9:30 or 10 o’clock at night. The air is soft around you, the sky is abalone blue. Everyone is euphoric in the neighborhood and you can hear it in their voices, trailing over the fences between the yards. That’s why we live here.

What’s the most exciting thing you’ve ever done in the summer?
Five years ago, my husband and children and I were invited to go rafting down the Grand Canyon. The rest of my family was excited beyond measure; I was simply terrified. But I am also a deeply protective mother, and there was no way I was sending my kids down the rapids of the Grand Canyon without me, so off we went. It was by far the scariest thing I have ever done. And the most exhilarating, and life-changing, and soul-opening. And one of the great parts of being a writer is that even as you are facing a rapid that is bigger and more horrifying than anything you can imagine, there is part of your mind that is always thinking – I could write about this! (and I did – that was the start of Joy For Beginners).

What is a favorite summer ritual for you these days?
Summertime means the farmer’s markets around here. I love taking a big cloth bag and making my way down to the market, getting inspiration for dinner from the colors and smells there. The other night my daughter and I created a new recipe with shrimp and scallops and lemon and basil and oranges and avocado, served over lemon pasta. Sounded questionable (who puts oranges and avocado in pasta?), but it was fantastic. Summer in a bowl.

Thanks to Erica for visiting with us and for sharing her book with a lucky reader!

How to win "Joy for Beginners":

Please comment below with your e-mail address.
(Please note: Entries without an e-mail address will NOT be counted. You can use AT and DOT to avoid spam. Or provide a link to your facebook page or blog if you can receive messages there.)

Bonus entries (can be listed all in one post):
1. Please tell us: What is your favorite summertime food?
2. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).
3. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.
4. Join Chick Lit Central on Facebook. Edit settings if you don't want to receive a lot of messages at your e-mail account. Please read our posting guidelines, as well. (If you're already a member, let us know that too.)
5. Add a friend to our Facebook group. (Tell us who you added.) Be sure to remind them to edit their settings.

US/Canada only. Giveaway ends September 11th at midnight EST.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Book Review: Pinch Me

By Melissa Amster
When I first heard the title of Adena Halpern's latest novel, I kept thinking of the Barenaked Ladies' song with the same title. And when I read the lyrics to that song, it made sense with the theme of the story. Nevertheless, this story is definitely something I'll think about the next time I hear someone say "pinch me."

Lily Burns has met the man of her dreams. He even asked her to marry him! Problem? She is cursed by her great-great-aunt who retaliated from her sister's selfish act and it has affected the love lives of all the women in her family since then. If Lily marries someone she loves, that person will suffer the consequences. However, instead of listening to her mom and grandmother, Lily elopes with her soul mate, Gogo. Then she asks him to pinch her and before she knows it, she's back in her single life and Gogo doesn't even know who she is. He's married to someone else and living a different life than the one Lily knew him to have. All she knows is that she has to make him fall in love with her again, regardless of the consequences.

"Pinch Me" is my first experience with Ms. Halpern's writing and I definitely want to read her other novels now. It was refreshing, honest, funny, romantic and everything else that I look for in a novel. I love that there was a conflict that weaved through the entire story, giving it a full arc. While readers will need a suspension of disbelief for this novel, it makes for a fun "what if," cautionary tale. Lily is easy to relate to and definitely a sympathetic character. I just wanted her to "win" the entire time. Dolly and Selma, her grandmother and mother (respectively), are hilarious. I love their personalities and the crazy banter between them. I also love that there was a surprise around every corner. I thought it would be predictable, but it wasn't at all. There were so many ways this story could go, and Ms. Halpern made the most of it.

My only small and minor criticism has to do with timing. At one point, she mentions that e-mail and cell phones were not available 12 years ago. Unless this was taking place in 2001 (which it clearly was not, given the pop culture references), there's no way that would be true. E-mail was definitely around in 1999, as were cell phones. If she even wanted to date back a few years more, it still wouldn't have worked. E-mail has been around since the mid-90's, if not earlier. Cell phones were bigger and chunkier, but they were also coming into existence. Aside from that, things fell into place a little too perfectly in the end (I won't say how as to not spoil things) but this was meant to be a fairy tale in a way, so that usually happens in fairy tales. And I wanted a happy ending, so I'm satisfied with that.

Another thing I really liked was how Ms. Halpern explored the idiosyncrasies of a relationship so beautifully. It reminded me of why I fell in love with my husband and why I still love him almost 10 years later. I love how she took us into Gogo and Lily's romance so naturally and allowed us to feel like we could live vicariously through them, whether or not we had that kind of love already. There's an interview with Ms. Halpern at the end of the book and I like what she has to say about love and soul mates. It was also interesting to see what inspired this novel, and it wasn't the Barenaked Ladies' song.

Overall, I give Ms. Halpern major kudos on a creative and entertaining novel that I had a difficult time putting down. I read that Ms. Halpern's other two novels are being optioned for film, but I think "Pinch Me" would make a great movie. I recommend this to anyone who wants to be swept away into a great story and to not be let go after they've finished reading it. I can't wait to see what Ms. Halpern comes up with next!

Thanks to Chick Lit is Not Dead for picking me as one of the winners of this novel.

More by Adena Halpern:

Friday, August 26, 2011

What's in the mail today?

Melissa A:

Got this from Paperback Swap (great place to go to get your hands on lots of chick lit and exchange books you no longer need):

I'm reading "Pinch Me," also by Adena Halpern and I definitely like her writing style and easygoing humor.

Got this from Jessica Hickam at BookSparks PR to promote the upcoming paperback release in the US.

Melissa P:

Got this from Ann-Marie Nieves at Get Red PR as thanks for an upcoming promotional post.

Blogs of the week

Our recent feature is "Blogs of the Week." Each week, we will feature a reader blog (which has to be sent to us) and an author blog (which can either be sent to us, or we'll pick one at random). This is our first week doing it and we hope to keep the momentum going for a while. Please check out the blogs we are sharing. I'm sure the bloggers would love some friendly comments on their posts or a follow.

To have your blog featured for a future shout out, please e-mail us. The blogs can be anything: personal, book themed or something else you're interested in that you write about (movies, fashion, pets, career, etc.)


Jeryl Marcus has two blogs:

Says Me Says Mom, a blog she keeps with her older daughter, where they pick a topic and each write their view of it. She also has a blog called Stories for Dora, which is a blog of stories she writes for her younger daughter and occassionally her older daughter also contributes a story. Jeryl was featured on Simply Stacie recently and she gave CLC a shout-out. We're glad to return the favor. :) She also was featured on for their "Review Chair" feature. Those of you with young children will definitely enjoy her blogs, but "Says Me, Says Mom" is always a good way to get to know her, as well.


Laura Pepper Wu

Laura Pepper Wu is a non-fiction author who recently started a blog for writers and anyone who wants to self-publish their work. It includes lots of tips on writing, book marketing and PR drawing from her own experience! She blogs about her experience self-publishing and marketing three books, including "Wow! Glowing Bride in 30 Days." It includes lots of tips on book marketing and PR, writing, and commentary on the traditional & digital publishing industry. She also includes chick lit book reviews, since reading them is her ultimate pleasure. Her blog also features a dog, a cross cultural marriage, her obsession with Japan, Asian food and a love of coffee shops from around the world!

Book Review: With a Little Luck

Classic rock radio DJ, Beryl "Berry" Lambert has always been superstitious, thanks to her professional gambler father and all his beliefs about luck. She feels bad things come in three's and applies this to her luck (or lack thereof) with dating. After hitting two dead ends with guys, she tries to steer clear of another DJ whom she finds attractive. However, their on-air sparring leads to fame and inspires more tensions between them. Will he the one to break her curse of bad things in three's or is Berry taking another gamble in even thinking so.

Melissa A:

I'm already a fan of Caprice Crane's writing and was eagerly anticipating the arrival of "With a Little Luck." It was well worth the (almost) two year wait since I finished her previous novel.

With Berry, Caprice creates a well-defined character who is easy for anyone to relate to, regardless of whether or not they agree with her. She is genuine and down to earth, even though she has all these superstitions and obsessive behaviors. I love all her witty thoughts, whether they're in her head or she says them out loud. I only wish I could get away with the stuff that Berry said, especially the way she delivers her comebacks. I was laughing out loud for most of the novel. Ms. Crane gives off the feel of a Jen Lancaster novel, while staying true to her unique storytelling prowess.

The only criticism I have is with the language. It wasn't necessarily about swearing this time. I didn't feel like there was much swearing, which is fine by me. And if there was, I didn't notice it because I was focused on the amount of times she mentioned bodily fluids (in my world, it's called "potty language"). However, if you can stomach her talking about the fluids exchanged during intercourse (but in a different context), then don't hold back from reading this novel.

Overall, this was an enjoyable story that could easily be a beach read or something to curl up with on the couch on a rainy afternoon. (Or any other time of the year.) It's a book for all seasons! I definitely recommend this to anyone who wants a good laugh, interesting characters and witty banter. I only hope Ms. Crane will not wait two more years before producing her next novel!

Melissa P:

“With a Little Luck” had a great story. I think Caprice Crane did a wonderful job of making her main character, Berry, unique and quirky. I also appreciate the small tidbits of rock history trivia that are thrown in as well. While Berry has her “issues”, she is a kind and loving person and is a little too giving and forgiving in some of her relationships, which is the way many of us are or have been. She is easy to relate to in the sense that she is so very “human” and life-like. The idea that a relationship could be doomed because of an obsession with superstition is a genius one on Caprice’s part. I think that she added just the right amount of crazy into her main character, but also the right amount of common sense. I mean think about it, how many of us have those everyday little habits that borderline on OCD? I’m sure it’s more than we realize, so I am able to feel Berry’s pain on some level. I’ve also let people walk all over me and enabled others bad behavior in the past. It’s when we realize that it not only hurts them, but us as well that we truly see the light and stand up for ourselves.

The characters are all fun and easy to get to know. Have you ever met someone and just clicked with them right away? That’s what it felt like for me every time Caprice introduced me to a new character. I saw them, I heard them, and I just “knew” them.
Although there are parts of this book that have a serious undertone, the story never loses the humor and wit that is hidden in between the lines.

I thought this book was fantastic. It was quick-witted, smart, and fun. Just what I needed to lighten my mood and take me away from the real world for a while. I had a hard time putting this book down and it’s a pretty quick read, so if you are LUCKY enough to have a chance, savor it!

"With a Little Luck" has a nice little cameo in a very funny Jane Lynch video. (And Jane, if you're reading our blog, we are GLEEKs and would love to feature you here. :) )

*Thanks to Amy Bromberg for telling us about this video.

More by Caprice Crane:

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Book Review: Forbidden Pleasures

By Gail Allison
Las Vegas? Hong Kong? Belize? And all without buying a single plane ticket? Yes please!! In "Forbidden Pleasures,"Jo Rees offers exotic locations, flamboyant high-rollers, and an exclusive look behind the scenes at casinos, the people who run them, and the characters who frequent them.

Savannah Hudson is the wild-child of Michael “Hud” Hudson, a Las Vegas casino magnate and career arch-enemy of Roberto Enzo. Hud isn’t happy with the way that Savannah is living her life: in a liquor and drug fueled haze. Savvy can’t see a problem with it, even after she’s bundled off to rehab at the hand of her best friend. Once faced with the tragic demise of her father, however, she has to decide if she can rise above the future that she’s built for herself and become the daughter that Hud has always wanted.

Lois Chan, an ex-cop, is head of security at Roberto Enzo’s dazzling casino in Las Vegas. When an assassination attempt on a senator during Fight Night at Enzo’s casino ends in Lois getting shot, the murky past that she had been trying to ignore is dragged back into the spotlight. Not only does she have a lot to lose career-wise, but she’s trying to rebuild a relationship with the daughter from her previous marriage, who is now living with her ex-husband and his new wife.

Now, stop and take a breath. All this action, along with the sheer volume of characters involved, can feel like a lot to take in, and with the paperback edition clocking in at 560 pages, it does feel a bit intimidating when you first pick it up. Rest assured: you’ll be flying through this beach read the minute you open it up. The characters are painted so vividly that I never once ran the risk of getting the different storylines jumbled together as can easily happen in books with this much action.

I’m a big fan of Jo Rees, simply because even though her books may look daunting due to the number of pages, there are no wasted words. Her descriptions are fun, perhaps slightly over-exaggerated (of COURSE Savannah, the poor little rich girl, is blonde), but stay very readable, while the action continues from page to page. I found myself not knowing which storyline I was looking forward to more in the next chapter, and the way they all tied together? Delicious.

If you’re looking for a beach read (no matter what the season), and you’re comfortable with very descriptive scenes (the lush backdrops are phenomenal, but the love scenes are pretty steamy...Grandma, please don’t read this book), definitely check out "Forbidden Pleasures" by Jo Rees.

You might also like:

Book Review: The Beach Cafe

By Becky Gulc
Ask anyone who has read the Get to know our associates! post; I do love to be beside the sea, even if it’s rainy England! "The Beach Cafe" by Lucy Diamond (aka Sue Mongredien) was therefore a natural choice to take on my summer holidays recently. I’d not read any of Lucy’s other books but knew if it involved a beach it would be difficult to disappoint me! I unashamedly put ‘beach’ into the search criteria on Amazon for this one after thoroughly enjoying both "The Beach Hut" by Veronica Henry and "The Beach House" by Jane Green on other holidays. I wasn’t disappointed.

The story revolves around Evie Flynn, a 32 year-old dreamer and drifter living in Oxford who’s always aspired to be something special, an actress maybe, but has never quite made it. Instead she finds herself ricocheting from one temp job to another. Evie has a difficult relationship with her family and is regularly made to feel inferior to her successful and settled older twin sisters. She is in a long-term relationship with Matthew, but they are opposites and not in a good way – it seems Evie’s bond with Matthew’s son Saul could be the only thing keeping them together.

When tragedy strikes and Evie’s beloved Aunt Jo dies in a car crash, Evie suddenly finds herself inheriting Jo’s beach cafe in Cornwall. The family expect Evie to sell up immediately, after all, what does she know about running a cafe? She doesn’t cook for a start. We see how Evie struggles to come to a decision; can she leave Matthew and Saul behind after so many years? Can she get the staff in place but remain in Oxford? It wouldn’t be much of a book if she stayed in Oxford, so we follow Evie as she embraces the highs and lows of getting the cafe back up and running and making it the place her Aunt would have been proud of.

I enjoyed the build-up to the permanent move to Cornwall, but it’s Cornwall where the book really kicks in and delivers pure escapism. There are so many great characters I think that’s what I really loved about it. The way different generations interact with each other in this book is lovely and it’s great how Evie manages to bring a wide-range of people together through her cafe and through the different people Evie employs to help build the cafe back up to be a success. All this and I’ve not mentioned a love interest! Yes there is one, and a lesson in there for anyone sat wondering what happened to that lovely gorgeous guy you kissed when you were a teenager on holiday. I enjoyed the love story interest but it was one of many elements of a great book for me, not the central part at all.

It’s hard for me to pick fault with this book as I really thought it was a perfect summer escapist read. I’ve never visited Cornwall, but I want to after reading this book. If I could find a cafe like this (that also lets dogs in...theme here) that would be a bonus!

More by Lucy Diamond:

Susan McCorkindale shares her office space and her book with us!

**Giveaway is now closed**

Susan McCorkindale wrote "Confessions of a Counterfeit Farm Girl" to talk about leaving her suburban home and city career life to live on a 500-acre beef farm with her family and share the humorous side, as well as look back at what she left behind. She's here now to talk about her follow up memoir, "500 Acres and No Place to Hide: More Confessions of a Counterfeit Farm Girl" and the place where she did the most of her writing.

Check out the trailer for "500 Acres and No Place to Hide."

Kaitlyn Kennedy from Penguin Group has one copy of "500 Acres and No Place to Hide" to give to a lucky reader in the US.

To learn more about Susan McCorkindale, visit her on Facebook and Twitter.

Working On the Fly, and Sometimes Surrounded by Them

"So this is where the magic happens," my best friend teased the first time she came to visit and saw my petite pine desk. "Seems a little small for the big livestock tales you tell." She was right, and if you saw my "office" you'd probably think so, too. But it's big enough, particularly since I do most of my work on the fly and, occasionally, surrounded by flies.

Have I mentioned I live on a 500-acre farm? I do. And sometimes, for maximum inspiration and productivity, (not to mention bug bites), I grab my laptop and head outside. Sometimes I sit in one of the Adirondack chairs in the backyard and watch the Polo ponies and the cows share a hay bale. But other times, on those days I need a serious jump start, I head out to the hen house. The birds eyeball me, I eyeball them, and we all take notes. Sure, I’d love to know what they’re saying, but just because my handwriting's chicken scratch doesn't mean I can read it.

This little fact makes deciphering my notes after working in my all-time favorite place — the car — a bit of a challenge. Why do I like the car? Fewer flies, for one thing and, unless there's a detour, (I'm one of those people who can't find their way out of a paper bag so changing the route mid-trip practically requires a rescue chopper), no distractions. And no, I don't count being stopped for "possible texting" a distraction and in fact can only say, "Thank you local law enforcement! You were an awesome test audience for 500 Acres!"

I kid you not.

There are, in fact, two different police officers who were treated to snippets of 500 Acres and No Place to Hide while I was writing it, in the aforementioned chicken scratch, in the car, on napkins, those New Testament-length printouts that come with prescriptions and, occasionally, post-surgical care instructions. That’s because these nice, patient policemen patrol Route 66, the highway my husband and I drove several times a week while he underwent treatment for pancreatic cancer at Georgetown University Hospital and the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. One of them actually pulled me over twice, the second time offering to arrest me if it would help me make my deadline.

As an orange jumpsuit would look awful against my complexion and jail is the one place (despite being relatively fly-free), I know I couldn't cobble two words together, I politely declined. And put my pen away.

Since his death in April, I do a good deal of writing at my husband's desk. Sure, I still work outside and still, scofflaw that I am, write my funniest stuff on the road, but I like sitting there. It makes me feel close to him to be in his chair, surrounded by his baseball collectibles, New Yorker calendar, and little piles of post-it notes covered in the names of books he wanted to read. His handwriting, strong, swirling, proof that he was really here, makes my heart ache, but his pen and pencil holder cracks me up. It's glass, and there's no missing the fact that the entire bottom is filled with dead flies.

I like to think my husband knew I'd eventually add his desk to my list of favorite places to work on the fly and, when I did, I'd appreciate some actual flies. And the fact that they can't bite, just makes it that much better.

Special thanks to Susan for sharing her office space with us and Kaitlyn for sharing Susan's book with you!

How to win "500 Acres and No Place to Hide":
Please comment below with your e-mail address.
(Please note: Entries without an e-mail address will NOT be counted. You can use AT and DOT to avoid spam. Or provide a link to your facebook page or blog if you can receive messages there.)

Bonus entries (can be listed all in one post):
1. Please tell us: Where and/or when do you get the most productive work done?
2. Please tell us: What is the biggest change you've made for yourself in the past 5-10 years?
3. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).
4. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.
5. Join Chick Lit Central on Facebook. Edit settings if you don't want to receive a lot of messages at your e-mail account. Please read our posting guidelines, as well. (If you're already a member, let us know that too.)
6. Add a friend to our Facebook group. (Tell us who you added.) Be sure to remind them to edit their settings.

US only. Giveaway ends August 30th at midnight EST.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Book Review and Giveaway: Another Bad Dog Book

By Cindy Roesel

**Giveaway is now closed**

An American Bulldog smoking a cigar is on the cover of Joni B. Cole’s fifth book, ANOTHER BAD DOG BOOK – Tales of Life, Love and Neurotic Human Behavior, and lucky me, I got to review it. It’s a compilation of 28 essays, and even before I read one of them, I fell in love with this book. With that cover, how can I resist? I think we’ve established that I’m a dog fanatic!

Joni is the author of the acclaimed book for writers and teachers, TOXIC FEEDBACK – Helping Writers Survive and Thrive. She also created the three-volume THIS DAY SERIES, including WATER COOLER DIARIES – Women across America Share Their Day at Work. In those books, she observed other women’s lives, but this time, she shifts the attention to her life. So buckle up honey, it’s going to be quite a ride.

ANOTHER BAD DOG BOOK takes Joni into the humor memoir writing arena of authors like Jen Lancaster and Laurie Notaro, also affectionately known as the “laugh until you pee your pants” or “laugh until whatever you’re drinking shoots out of your nose” writers. You need to know that Joni is one smart cookie. She has the unique talent for taking low moments in one’s life and turning them into high comedy, or at least making you chuckle. To quote Joni, "perfecting the art of learned helplessness." She has her Masters from Dartmouth College and her book features a 2011 Pushcart Prize-nominated essay called, Strangers on a Train.

Throughout the essays in ANOTHER BAD DOG BOOK, Joni is able to find the rich texture of unremarkable days and turn them into something interesting. For instance, she captures an extremely personal, tender moment with her father at a nursing home in the essay "Rest Home," but then turns the story when it risks getting too sentimental: "I was jealous of dad’s lap of luxury known as 'the Garden Spot.' When the Respiratory Therapist came to give my father a treatment, I asked him if I could have a breathing treatment, too, but he acted like I was kidding. I thought about getting a breathing treatment, much like getting a hit at one of those trendy oxygen bars."

Some of Joni’s essay topics explore the special challenges of mothering a 'tween; whether or not she’s Vermont-y enough to fit into the Vermont Landscape; how she’s always going to be a little girl to her mom; discovering the secret of "The Secret;" and one of my favorites, is she emotionally well-adjusted enough to walk the labyrinth? These and many more topics are served up in ANOTHER BAD DOG BOOK.

Reading Joni’s essays is like having a gossip session with a close girlfriend. You’re dishing about what’s going on in your neighborhood or family. Overall, some of the essays are funnier than others, but when they hit, it’s huge.

Joni lives in Vermont with her husband, two daughters, cat and one (slightly) bad dog that inspired this book. She is the co-founder of the Writer’s Center in White River Junction, Vermont and she’s a frequent Speaker and Instructor at Writing Conferences across the country.

ANOTHER BAD DOG BOOK comes out September 13th. I’m sure by the time you finish reading Joni’s book you will come to know her and her family (and dog) well.

ANOTHER BAD DOG BOOK is the kind of book you want to spend some time with, much like the author, Joni B. Cole. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter and her website. You can enter to win this book at Goodreads until August 30th. (US/Canada only.)

You can also enter to win an autographed copy of this book right here at CLC! Joni has three up for grabs for some lucky readers in the US. Just tell us about a bad thing an animal did (yours or someone else's). Did they tear apart your brand new couch? Leave a mess on your floor that should have gone in a litter box instead? Bury your keys in the backyard? Please include your e-mail address or another way to contact you.

US only. Giveaway ends August 29th at midnight EST.

You might also like:

Winner of "With Friends Like These"

To find our winner, we assigned a number to each entry (one entry per person for this one) and used to make the choice for us. It chose 19.

Congrats to Laura Kay!

Update...Here's a message from Sally Koslow:

Dear Chick Lit Lovers,

Thanks to everyone at Chick lit Central for the support of my third novel, "With Friends like These," and all of you who entered the book giveaway. I'm grateful!

"With Friends like These" is a story whose message is that friends are hard to come by, and we have to hold them close to our hearts. This isn't always easy, especially when life's pressures and realities--marriage, motherhood, work--get in the way. How to you handle it, for example, if your friends have more disposable income than you do? The book gets into some of the sticky areas of friendship that are difficult to discuss.

Women who love to read already feel like friends--I wish I could meet all of you face-to-face and chew over some of our favorites books. I hope that many of you will pick up "With Friends like These"--and my previous books, too: "The Late, Lamented Molly Marx" and "Little Pink Slips." Meanwhile, enjoy these last days of summer. As for me, I'm holding onto summer like a boyfriend going to war.

Happy Reading,
Sally Koslow

Reminder: If you have won a book, you have about 48 hours to claim it by sending your contact information. (You will be e-mailed if you have won, as well.) After that time, a new winner will be picked.

Thanks to everyone for participating and to Sally for sharing her book with the winner.

Don't forget about our current giveaways:

"Another Bad Dog Book" by Joni B. Cole
US only
Ends 8/29 at midnight EST

Choice of one of Jessica Degarmo's e-books
Ends 8/29 at midnight EST

"40 Love" by Madeleine Wickham
US only
Ends 8/28 at midnight EST

"Little Black Dress" by Susan McBride
US/Canada only
Ends 8/28 at midnight EST