Monday, October 31, 2011

Mailbox Monday -- October 31st -- Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween and Happy Mailbox Monday, hosted this month by Savvy Wit and Verse. Below are the books I received:

1) Bright and Distant Shores by Dominic Smith. Publisher's Summary. In the waning years of the nineteenth century there was a hunger for tribal artifacts, spawning collecting voyages from museums and collectors around the globe. In 1897, one such collector, a Chicago insurance magnate, sponsors an expedition into the South Seas to commemorate the completion of his company's new skyscraper—the world's tallest building. The ship is to bring back an array of Melanesian weaponry and handicrafts, but also several natives related by blood.

Caught up in this scheme are two orphans—Owen Graves, an itinerant trader from Chicago's South Side who has recently proposed to the girl he must leave behind, and Argus Niu, a mission houseboy in the New Hebrides who longs to be reunited with his sister. At the cusp of the twentieth century, the expedition forces a collision course between the tribal and the civilized, between two young men plagued by their respective and haunting pasts.

An epic and ambitious story that brings to mind E. L. Doctorow, with echoes of Melville and Robert Louis Stevenson, Bright and Distant Shores is a wondrous achievement by a writer known for creating compelling fiction from the fabric of history.


Holly: Filled with regret for being a stay-athome mom, she sheds sixty pounds and loses herself in the world of extramarital sex. Will it bring the fulfillment she is searching for?

Andrea: A single mom and avowed celibate, she watches her friend Holly's meltdown with a mixture of concern and contempt. Holly is throwing away what Andrea has spent her whole life searching for—a committed relationship with a decent guy. So what if Andrea picks up Holly's castaway husband?

Marissa: She has more than her fair share of challenges—a gay, rebellious teenage son, a terminally ill daughter, and a husband who buries himself in his work rather than face the facts.

As one woman's marriage unravels, another's rekindles. As one woman's family comes apart at the seams, another's reconfigures into something bigger and better. In this story of connections and disconnections, one woman's up is another one's down, and all of them will learn the meaning of friendship, betrayal, and forgiveness.

Unflinchingly honest, emotionally powerful, surprisingly erotic, Triangles is the ultimate page-turner. Hopkins's gorgeous, expertly honed poetic verse perfectly captures the inner lives of her characters. Sometimes it happens like that. Sometimes you just get lost.

Get lost in the world of Triangles, where the lives of three unforgettable women intersect, and where there are no easy answers.

3) The Time in Between by Maria Duenas. Publisher's Summary. Between Youth and Adulthood . . .

At age twelve, Sira Quiroga sweeps the atelier floors where her single mother works as a seamstress. At fourteen, she quietly begins her own apprenticeship. By her early twenties she has learned the ropes of the business and is engaged to a modest government clerk. But everything changes when two charismatic men burst unexpectedly into her neatly mapped-out life: an attractive salesman and the father she never knew.

Between War and Peace . . .

With the Spanish Civil War brewing in Madrid, Sira leaves her mother and her fiancÉ, impetuously following her handsome lover to Morocco. However, she soon finds herself abandoned, penniless, and heartbroken in an exotic land. Among the odd collection of European expatriates trapped there by the worsening political situation back on the Continent, Sira reinvents herself by turning to the one skill that can save her: her gift for creating beautiful clothes.

Between Love and Duty . . .

As England, Germany, and the other great powers launch into the dire conflict of World War II, Sira is persuaded to return to Madrid, where she takes on a new identity to embark upon the most dangerous undertaking of her career. As the preeminent couturier for an eager clientele of Nazi officers' wives, Sira becomes embroiled in the half-lit world of espionage and political conspiracy rife with love, intrigue, and betrayal.

Already a runaway bestseller across Europe, The Time In Between is one of those rare, richly textured novels that enthrall down to the last page. MarÍa DueÑas reminds us how it feels to be swept away by a masterful storyteller.

All thanks to Simon and Schuster!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cereal Treats Bars Prize Pack Winner!

Congrats to Molly K!

And if you didn't win this time, there is always the next giveaway. Stay tune for more great giveaways!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Love and Capital Giveaway (ends November 12th)

Publisher's Summary. Brilliantly researched and wonderfully written, LOVE AND CAPITAL is a heartbreaking and dramatic saga of the family side of the man whose works would redefine the world after his death.

Drawing upon years of research, acclaimed biographer Mary Gabriel brings to light the story of Karl and Jenny Marx's marriage. We follow them as they roam Europe, on the run from governments amidst an age of revolution and a secret network of would-be revolutionaries, and see Karl not only as an intellectual, but as a protective father and loving husband, a revolutionary, a jokester, a man of tremendous passions, both political and personal.

In LOVE AND CAPITAL, Mary Gabriel has given us a vivid, resplendent, and truly human portrait of the Marxes-their desires, heartbreak and devotion to each other's ideals.

Giveaway Rules. Giveaway Rules. Today I am giving away THREE copies of this engage book!

Entry: Comment with your email address in the body of the comment (you can list it as mary123 (at) yahoo(dot)com). If you do not list your email address your entry will not count.

Extra Entries: Sign up to follow my blog (or let me know that you are a current follower); follow me on twitter (DCMetroreader) and on Facebook (Metroreader). NOTE: These extra entries MUST be left in a separate comment or will not count.

The giveaway is open to Canadian and US residents only.
You must be 18 years of age or older.
NO P.O. Boxes for the winner’s mailing address.
Limit one winner per household regardless of the site won from.

Giveaway ends November 12th. Good Luck!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

First Chapter -- First Paragraph -- Tuesday Intros

Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea hosts First Chapter, First Paragraph, Tuesday Intros. This week's intro is from The Lost Dogs by Jim Gorant:

A brown dog sits in a field. There's a collar around her neck. It's three inches thick and attached to a heavy chain, which clips onto a car axles that's buried so one end sticks out of the ground. As the dog paces in the heat, the axle spins, ensuring that the rattling chain won't become entangled.

The dog paces a lot wearing a circle in the scrubby weeds and sandy soil around the perimeter of the axle. She paces because there's little else to do. Sometimes a squirrel or a rabbit or a snake crosses nearby and she barks and chases it, or she lunges and leaps after the dragonflies and butterflies that zip and flutter past.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Cereal Treats Bars Review and Giveaway (ends 10/26)

Review:  Hip hip hooray!  The kids are back in school and the beautiful Fall weather is finally here!  For my family, however, Fall also means crazy overfilled schedules and lots of on-the-go snacking.  Unfortunately, the snacks aren’t always healthy (you don’t want to know how many calories are in the typical candy bar) or inexpensive (have you surveyed the prices of vending machines snacks lately?). 

Recently, however, we were given the opportunity to try Betty Crocker's Cereal Treats Bars in the Lucky Charms and Golden Grahams varieties. And what can I say, but it was love at first bite!  We especially loved the Golden Grahams which tasted like portable smores, but with way less calories. 

Check out these facts:
  • Flavor varieties include the ever popular Golden Grahams® (130 calories) and new Lucky Charms® Treats (100 calories), loaded with popular favorites like chocolate and marshmallows.
  • Cereal Treats Bars contain less than 140 calories per bar and are made with wholesome cereal, making them a snack option that you can feel good about giving your kids.
  • TWO Box Tops for Education seals on each box of Cereal Treat Bars, making earning cash for your school doubly cool!
For more information head on over to the Betty Crocker website .

Giveaway: Today, Betty Crocker/General Mills and My Blog Spark is offering one Metroreader follower (Note: to enter the giveaway you must publicly follow Metroreader) a Cereal Treats Bars Prize Pack which includes the following:

  • One box of Lucky Charms® Cereal Treats Bars

  • One box of Golden Grahams® Cereal Treats Bars

  • Lunch bag

  • Locker whiteboard

  • Colored pencil set

    Mandatory First Entry: Which Cereal Treats Bars variety are you most excited to try?

    Note: You must list your email address in the body of the comment (you can list it as mary123 (at) yahoo(dot)com). If you do not list your email address your entry will not count.

    Extra Entries: Follow me on twitter (DCMetroreader) and on Facebook (Metroreader). NOTE: These extra entries MUST be left in a separate comment or will not count.

  • Giveaway ends October 26th at noon EDT.  Good Luck!

    Disclosure: To facilitate this posting I received samples of the Cereal Treats Bars and associated promotional items mentioned in this review along with product information from Betty Crocker through MyBlogSpark. No compensation was received for the opinions expressed in this posting.

    Mailbox Monday -- October 24th

    Hurray Fall weather is finally here! I spent the weekend raking leaves and quaffing Green Mountain coffee's Pumpkin Spice (which is delish) and, of course, reading!

    Mailbox Monday hosted this month by Savvy Verse & Wit. Below are the books I received this week:

    1) MWF seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche. Publisher's Summary. When Rachel Bertsche first moves to Chicago, she’s thrilled to finally share a zip code, let alone an apartment, with her boyfriend. But shortly after getting married, Bertsche realizes that her new life is missing one thing: friends. Sure, she has plenty of BFFs—in New York and San Francisco and Boston and Washington, D.C. Still, in her adopted hometown, there’s no one to call at the last minute for girl talk over brunch or a reality-TV marathon over a bottle of wine. Taking matters into her own hands, Bertsche develops a plan: She’ll go on fifty-two friend-dates, one per week for a year, in hopes of meeting her new Best Friend Forever.

    In her thought-provoking, uproarious memoir, Bertsche blends the story of her girl-dates (whom she meets everywhere from improv class to friend rental websites) with the latest social research to examine how difficult—and hilariously awkward—it is to make new friends as an adult. In a time when women will happily announce they need a man but are embarrassed to admit they need a BFF, Bertshe uncovers the reality that no matter how great your love life is, you’ve gotta have friends.

    Thanks to Ballantine Books!

    2) See Mix Drink by Brian Murphy. Publisher's Summary. Have you tried mixing a Mojito? What about a Rusty Nail? Or a Cosmopolitan? With See Mix Drink, the first-ever cocktail book to offer instruction through info-graphics, making the drinks you love at home is as easy as, well, See, Mix, Drink.

    This unique, illustrated guide graphically demonstrates how to make 100 of today's most popular cocktails. For each drink, color-coded ingredients are displayed in a line drawing of the appropriate glassware, alongside a pie chart that spells out the drink's composition by volume for intuitive mixing. No other cocktail book is this easy or fun. Instantly understandable 1-2-3 steps show exactly how each drink is prepared, and anecdotes, pronunciation guides, and photographs of the finished drinks will turn newbie bartenders into instant mixologists.

    Thanks to Hachette Book Group!

    Saturday, October 22, 2011

    Maggie Wants to Play

    After two weeks of being missiang in action, I had intended to visit some wonderful blogs and work on my blog today, but . . . Maggie wants to play. Now normally I would simply let her and Ashley (my other dog) outside, but this isn't a normal week. On Tuesday Maggie had many, many bladder stones removed and is still recovering from this surgery. So playing isn't on her "To Do" list.

    Still I think I will do some yard work today while Maggie and Ashley hang out. So forgive me, but Maggie is waiting.

    Monday, October 17, 2011

    Mailbox Monday -- October 17th

    The reason why I love Mondays -- Mailbox Monday hosted this month by Savvy Verse & Wit. Below are the books I received this week:

    1) Following Atticus by Tom Ryan. Publisher's Summary. A middle-aged, overweight, and acrophobic newspaper editor Tom Ryan and a little dog, Atticus M. Finch, are an unlikely pair of mountaineers, but after a close friend dies of cancer, the two pay tribute to her by attempting to climb all forty-eight of New Hampshire’s four-thousand-foot peaks twice in one winter. Tom and Atticus set out on an adventure of a lifetime that takes them across hundreds of miles and deep into an enchanting but dangerous winter wonderland. Little did they know that their most difficult test would lie ahead, after they returned home. . . .

    Following Atticus is ultimately a story of transformation: how a five-pound puppy pierced the heart of a tough-as-nails newspaperman, opening his eyes to the world’s beauty and its possibilities. An unforgettable saga of adventure, friendship, and the unlikeliest of family, it’s an inspiring tale of finding love and discovering your true self.

    Thanks to Harper Audio!

    2) Five Chiefs by John Paul Stevens. Publisher's Summary. When he resigned last June, Justice Stevens was the third longest serving Justice in American history (1975-2010)--only Justice William O. Douglas, whom Stevens succeeded, and Stephen Field have served on the Court for a longer time.

    In Five Chiefs, Justice Stevens captures the inner workings of the Supreme Court via his personal experiences with the five Chief Justices--Fred Vinson, Earl Warren, Warren Burger, William Rehnquist, and John Roberts--that he interacted with. He reminisces of being a law clerk during Vinson's tenure; a practicing lawyer for Warren; a circuit judge and junior justice for Burger; a contemporary colleague of Rehnquist; and a colleague of current Chief Justice John Roberts. Along the way, he will discuss his views of some the most significant cases that have been decided by the Court from Vinson, who became Chief Justice in 1946 when Truman was President, to Roberts, who became Chief Justice in 2005.

    Packed with interesting anecdotes and stories about the Court, Five Chiefs is an unprecedented and historically significant look at the highest court in the United States.

    Thanks to Hachette Book Group!

    Sunday, October 9, 2011

    Mailbox Monday -- October 10th -- Happy Columbus Day

    The reason why I love Mondays -- Mailbox Monday hosted this month by Savvy Verse & Wit. Below are the books I received this week:

    1) The Winters in Bloom by Lisa Tucker. Publisher's Summary. Together for over a decade, Kyra and David Winter are happier than they ever thought they could be. They have a comfortable home, stable careers, and a young son, Michael, who they love more than anything. Yet because of their complicated histories, Kyra and David have always feared that this domestic bliss couldn't last - that the life they created was destined to be disrupted. And on one perfectly average summer day, it is: Michael disappears from his own backyard.

    The only question is whose past has finally caught up with them: David feels sure that Michael was taken by his troubled ex-wife, while Kyra believes the kidnapper must be someone from her estranged family, someone she betrayed years ago.

    As the Winters embark on a journey of time and memory to find Michael, they will be forced to admit these suspicions, revealing secrets about themselves they've always kept hidden. But they will also have a chance to discover that it's not too late to have the family they've dreamed of; that even if the world is full of risks, as long as they have hope, the future can bloom.

    Lyrical, wise, and witty, The Winters in Bloom is Lisa Tucker's most optimistic work to date. This enchanting, life-affirming story will charm readers and leave them full of wonder at the stubborn strength of the human heart.

    Thanks to Atria Books!

    2) In Her Sights by Robin Perini. Amazon Product Description. Jasmine “Jazz” Parker, Jefferson County SWAT's only female sniper, can thread the eye of a needle with a bullet. But she carries a secret from her past that she thought she buried for good at the age of fifteen. Two years ago she even drove away the one man she believed she could love—ex-Army Ranger turned reporter Luke Montgomery—to keep her past hidden. Now, in a fleeting second, the time it takes for one clean shot, one perfect hit, to save the life of the governor's daughter, Jazz's world begins to crumble around her.

    Luke splashes her face and name across the front page of the newspaper, reawakening her past with a vengeance. A vicious enemy is now bent on destroying her life, forcing Jazz to turn to the one man she can never have in order to stop a killer before she and everyone she cares about pays the ultimate price. Full of explosive action and almost unbearable suspense, In Her Sights is a relentless, steamy thriller surprisingly infused with soul and poignancy.

    3) She Can Run by Melinda Leigh. Amazon Product Description. Elizabeth was a young widow with two small children when she met Congressman Richard Baker. Handsome and wealthy, with a sparkling public image, Richard seemed like the perfect man to provide the security that Beth and her kids were craving. But when she uncovers a dangerous secret about her new husband, Beth realizes he will go to any lengths—even murder—to keep it. After barely escaping with her life, she and her children flee. They eventually make their way to a secluded estate in the Pennsylvania countryside, where Beth dares to hope she has found a safe place at last…

    Forced into retirement by an unexpected injury, Philadelphia homicide detective Jack O’Malley is mourning the loss of his career when his uncle abruptly dies, leaving Jack to dispose of his crumbling country house. Unbeknownst to him, his uncle engaged a caretaker just before his death, a mysterious woman with two children and a beautiful face that haunts his dreams. Determined to know her, Jack begins an investigation into Beth’s past. When he uncovers the shocking truth, and a local woman is viciously murdered, Jack puts his own life on the line to keep Beth and her children safe.

    She Can Run is a sexy, satisfying debut from award-winning author Melinda Leigh, packed with enough suspense and romance to get even the tamest heart racing!

    Both thanks to Goldberg McDuffie Communications, Inc.!

    Wednesday, October 5, 2011


    Congrats to the winners of the following giveaways:


    The Sun's Heartbeat:

    Tuesday, October 4, 2011

    First Chapter -- First Paragraph -- Tuesday Intros

    Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea has started a fun new meme First Chapter, First Paragraph, Tuesday Intros. This week's intro is from Jane Fonda: The Private Life of a Public Woman by Patricia Bosworth:

    She was born Jayne Seymour Fonda on December 21, 1937, by cesarean section at Doctors Hospital in New York. Her thirty-two-year old father, the up-and-coming young actor Henry Fonda paced back and forth outside the delivery room, smoking cigarette after cigarette while the nurses did their best to ignore him. He'd just flown in from Hollywood, where he'd been filming Jezebel opposite Bette Davis. Jane was his first child. Originally he had been nervous about becoming a father. He wasn't sure he was ready. But then he realized how much he wanted to create a family. He'd had it written into his contract that if his wife went into labor during filming, he could be with her in New York.

    Sunday, October 2, 2011

    Mailbox Monday -- October 3rd

    The reason why I love Mondays -- Mailbox Monday hosted this month by Savvy Verse & Wit. Below are the books I received this week:

    1) Just My Type by Simon Garfield. Publisher's Summary. Fonts surround us every day, on street signs and buildings, on movie posters and books, and on just about every product we buy. But where do fonts come from, and why do we need so many? Who is responsible for the staid practicality of Times New Roman, the cool anonymity of Arial, or the irritating levity of Comic Sans (and the movement to ban it)?

    Typefaces are now 560 years old, but we barely knew their names until about twenty years ago when the pull-down font menus on our first computers made us all the gods of type. Beginning in the early days of Gutenberg and ending with the most adventurous digital fonts, Simon Garfield explores the rich history and subtle powers of type. He goes on to investigate a range of modern mysteries, including how Helvetica took over the world, what inspires the seeming ubiquitous use of Trajan on bad movie posters, and exactly why the all-type cover of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus was so effective. It also examines why the "T" in the Beatles logo is longer than the other letters and how Gotham helped Barack Obama into the White House. A must-have book for the design conscious, Just My Type's cheeky irreverence will also charm everyone who loved Eats, Shoots & Leaves and Schott's Original Miscellany.

    Thanks to Gotham Books!

    2) Catherine the Great by Robert K. Massie. Publisher's Summary. The Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Peter the Great, Nicholas and Alexandra, and The Romanovs returns with another masterpiece of narrative biography, the extraordinary story of an obscure young German princess who traveled to Russia at fourteen and rose to become one of the most remarkable, powerful, and captivating women in history.

    Born into a minor noble family, Catherine transformed herself into Empress of Russia by sheer determination. Possessing a brilliant mind and an insatiable curiosity as a young woman, she devoured the works of Enlightenment philosophers and, when she reached the throne, attempted to use their principles to guide her rule of the vast and backward Russian empire. She knew or corresponded with the preeminent historical figures of her time: Voltaire, Diderot, Frederick the Great, Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, Marie Antoinette, and, surprisingly, the American naval hero, John Paul Jones.

    Reaching the throne fired by Enlightenment philosophy and determined to become the embodiment of the “benevolent despot” idealized by Montesquieu, she found herself always contending with the deeply ingrained realities of Russian life, including serfdom. She persevered, and for thirty-four years the government, foreign policy, cultural development, and welfare of the Russian people were in her hands. She dealt with domestic rebellion, foreign wars, and the tidal wave of political change and violence churned up by the French Revolution that swept across Europe. Her reputation depended entirely on the perspective of the speaker. She was praised by Voltaire as the equal of the greatest of classical philosophers; she was condemned by her enemies, mostly foreign, as “the Messalina of the north.”

    Catherine’s family, friends, ministers, generals, lovers, and enemies—all are here, vividly described. These included her ambitious, perpetually scheming mother; her weak, bullying husband, Peter (who left her lying untouched beside him for nine years after their marriage); her unhappy son and heir, Paul; her beloved grandchildren; and her “favorites”—the parade of young men from whom she sought companionship and the recapture of youth as well as sex. Here, too, is the giant figure of Gregory Potemkin, her most significant lover and possible husband, with whom she shared a passionate correspondence of love and separation, followed by seventeen years of unparalleled mutual achievement.

    The story is superbly told. All the special qualities that Robert K. Massie brought to Nicholas and Alexandra and Peter the Great are present here: historical accuracy, depth of understanding, felicity of style, mastery of detail, ability to shatter myth, and a rare genius for finding and expressing the human drama in extraordinary lives.

    History offers few stories richer in drama than that of Catherine the Great. In this book, this eternally fascinating woman is returned to life.

    Thanks to Random House!

    3) Quiet by Susan Cain. Amazon Product Description. At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who invent and create but prefer not to pitch their own ideas; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled “quiet,” it is to introverts we owe many of the great contributions to society—from Van Gogh’s sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer.

    Passionately argued, impressively researched, and filled with the indelible stories of real people, Quiet shows how dramatically we undervalue introverts, and how much we lose in doing so. Susan Cain charts the rise of “the extrovert ideal” over the twentieth century and explores its far-reaching effects—how it helps to determine everything from how parishioners worship to who excels at Harvard Business School. And she draws on cutting-edge research on the biology and psychology of temperament to reveal how introverts can modulate their personalities according to circumstance, how to empower an introverted child, and how companies can harness the natural talents of introverts. This extraordinary book has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how they see themselves.

    Thanks to Crown Publishing!