Jan 31, 2010

The Sunday Salon: Giveaways

The Sunday Salon.com Welcome to the Sunday Salon!

Here's a wrap-up for the past week.

1. I reviewed three books this past week:
- Denise's Daily Dozen: The Easy, Every Day Program to Lose Up to 12 Pounds in 2 Weeks
- Dino Vicelli, Private Eye
- The Trudeau Vector: A Novel
2. I also had lengthy negotiations with an author and her publicists re a book giveaway of the cookbook, Simply Quince by Barbara Gazarian. The cookbook is the first of its kind to focus on the fruit, quince, and its many uses in jams, jellies, desserts, and meat recipes.

Look for the giveaway which will be posted along with an interview with the author early this week
. The author wanted to include a jar of her artisan quince jam along with the giveaway, but we decided on two books only. The interview will have details on where to buy her quince products.

3. Getting over a cold, but still had time for a quick visit to the library, where I borrowed Christopher G. Moore's Paying Back Jack, a thriller set in Bangkok.

4. Also speed read yesterday another library loan, The Cellist of Sarajevo by Stephen Galloway, a book I would recommend for its writing and its moving story of people under the strain of the war in Bosnia.

5. I was disappointed that my review post of Denise's Daily Dozen: Lose up to 12 Pounds in 2 Weeks didn't get viewers! It's an excellent and easy book to follow - exercises, eating tips, and recipes. Hope you check it out!

6. The Japanese Literature Challenge 3 ended yesterday. It has 241 book reviews posted by many, many different reviewers! I have 2 more books I started and will enter as a carry over to the next challenge, which will begin early summer.

7. Last day to enter a giveaway of a signed copy of The Last Surgeon, a medical thriller by Michael Palmer. Click on the book title to enter. Good luck!

What did you do last week?

Jan 30, 2010

Books are a Must-Have, even in Sluggish Economy: Poll

A news article printed yesterday by Reuters says what most of us readers, writers, and book bloggers can agree with.

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) – During tough economic times when U.S. consumers are trying to cut back, the indulgence they can't seem to live without is books.

Three-quarters of adults questioned in an online poll said they would sacrifice holidays, dining out, going to the movies and even shopping sprees but they could not resist buying books.

Dining out came in a far second with only 11 percent of Americans naming it their top indulgence, followed by shopping at 7 percent, vacations at four and movies, which was chosen by only 3 percent of Americans.

"The recession highlighted the downside of greed, indulgence and giving in to temptation, but we noticed a shift back to life's simplest pleasures," said Michelle Renaud, a senior manager at Harlequin Enterprises Limited, which conducted the poll.
Okay, so the poll was done by a book publisher, Harlequin Enterprises Limited, but it still has to be done scientifically and presumably accurately for it to make the news.
       I like the findings!

Jan 28, 2010

REVIEW: The Trudeau Vector: A Novel by Juris Jurjevics

The Trudeau Vector: A Novel by Juris Jurjevics

Biochemists and epidemiologists, those who study diseases, and those concerned about climate change in the Arctic, would love this thriller. I liked it too though I have only a general knowledge of biology. It was a happy find during my stroll through a recent bookstore sale.

Summary: There is something out in the Arctic that killed 3 scientists doing research in that hostile and freezing environment. There are scientists from several countries working on projects in the Trudeau Research Station, built on land that is part of Canada.

Epidemiologist Jessica Hanley is sent out to the station to find the cause for the sudden deaths - biological, chemical, natural or artificial, bioengineered or otherwise - and to find the host or source of the contaminant or organism

Jessica has to deal with her complex investigations and more victims while making time for her personal life - keeping email contact with her young son back in the U.S. and being involved in a new and surprising love affair at Trudeau Station.

Comments: Throw in post-Cold War politics, global warming effects on Arctic fauna and flora, Inuit and Aleut native cultures, submarine lore, and you have a mix that makes this thriller fascinating as well as informative.

Definitely a 5 star novel. The Trudeau Vector: A Novel is published by Viking Books.

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Jan 26, 2010

Dino Vicelli, Private Eye by Lori Weiner


Dino Vicelli Private Eye: In a World of Evils
Dino Vicelli: Private Eye in a World of Evils

The little Chihuahua, Humberto, walked past Dino.
"Hey, Mr. Private Eye. How are you doing?"
from

Dino Vicelli: Private Eye in a World of Evils by Lori Weiner

Publisher''s description: "an alternate-reality version of New York City, in which talking dogs interact regularly with humans. The hero, Dino Vicelli, is a private investigator who just happens to be a sharply dressed Italian greyhound with a great fondness for cigars. He takes on what initially appears to be a routine missing person case but soon finds himself in the midst of a sinister plot that involves kidnapping, murder, and bizarre scientific experiments aimed at controlling the world. As he investigates this strange case, Dino repeatedly encounters mortal danger, while also finding romance with a beautiful blonde Afghan dog."

Comments:
I've read mysteries featuring dogs and even talking cats, but this is my first mystery read with talking dogs! A little unusual yes, but the author Lori Weiner owns an Italian greyhound, Dino, who is the inspiration for the hero of her book.

Dino may be a greyhound but he talks, walks, dresses, and acts human. He has no doggie traits, so this is definitely not a "pet mystery."

I'm disappointed that Dino doesn't chase criminals on four feet as a greyhound might. He really is a human PI in disguise!

The book was published by Dorrance Publishing Co., Inc., 2009. Paperback, 91 pages. Author Lori Weiner lives in Rancho Mirage, California, and is interested in show dogs. She owns an Italian greyhound named Dino.

Thanks to Carol Fass Publicity for a review copy of the book.

For more teaser quotes, visit Teaser Tuesdays

Jan 25, 2010

Review: Denise's Daily Dozen, exercise and diet tips

Things come in simple 12's in Denise's Daily Dozen: The Easy, Every Day Program to Lose Up to 12 Pounds in 2 Weeks.

"Eating right isn't about will power. It's about changing those bad habits." (p. 174)

I liked the simplicity of this exercise and diet book by Denise Austin. I found it easy to follow and the exercises basic enough for me to remember and try!

1. 12 easy exercises in 12 minutes a day

2. A daily eating plan which I found useful and uncomplicated! And a checking list to keep you on track.

3 servings of vegetables
3 servings fruit
3 servings protein
2 servings healthy grain
1 serving healty fat

Total: 12

3. A daily exercise regimen, meal plan, recipes, and shopping list for each weekday, Monday through Sunday. I liked some of the food and fruit combinations: chopped oranges combined with blueberries; a wheat pita sandwich of turkey, sliced apples, baby spinach and a dollop of honey mustard!

Avoid eating right out of a box or bag - something research shows can cause us to eat up to 20 percent more. Make sure anything you eat is put on a plate or in a bowl and enjoyed while (you're) seated. ( p. 246)

     - 12 Ways to Add Physical Activity to Your Daily Routine
     - 12 Tips for Filling Your Life with Fiber
     - 12 Ways to Trim Your Body and Your Food Costs
     - 12 Ways to Prevent Bloat
     - 12 tips on "How to Get a Better Night's Sleep "  and
     - 12 Healthy Rewards for Your Hard Work.

If I can't follow the day to day regimen set out by the book, for whatever reason, I'd definitely still use this as a reference book for quick exercises and healthy recipes.
About the author: Denise Austin has been a health and fitness advocate for over 25 years and has sold over twenty million exercise videos and DVDs. She is a two-term member of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and sports. Her show, Denise Austin's Daily Workout, has aired for over 24 years and is the top-rated fitness show in the history of televevision. Denise lives with her husband and daughters outside Washington D.C. You can visit her at www.deniseaustin.com
Thanks to the Hachette Book Group for providing a review copy.

Jan 22, 2010

Book Review: Simply Quince by Barbara Ghazarian

"Some Biblical scholars speculate that quince may have been the true forbidden fruit," writes cookbook author Barbara Ghazarian, who would love to have this traditional Old World fruit brought back to popularity in U.S. kitchens. "I am passionate about quince."

What's a quince?  Simply Quince gives the fruit's history, its migration from the Old World to the New, and shows traditional and new ways to prepare the fruit. "Marmelo in Portuguese, coing in French, quitte in German, ayva in Turkish, and sergevil in Armenian - across the globe, the fruit-bearing quince tree (Cydonia oblonga)is cultivated and prized for its versatility in the kitchen." (from Simply Quince, introduction)

The raw fruit is astringent and mouth pucking and hardly ever eaten as a fresh fruit. Quince is delicous when poached, baked, put into preserves, or cooked in many other ways.

What I learned from this cookbook: Quince can be put into salads, stews, condiments, compotes and preserves, pies and tarts. Some of the recipes in this cookbook include quince jam and quince apple pie, roast pork tenderloin with quince and root vegetables, lamb-stuffed quince dolmas, and duck breasts with quince-sambal chutney. Let's not forget carmelized quince upside down cake and quince infused spirits, grappa and vodka!

My experiences with quince: I fell in love with the fruit, quince, as a sweet jelly with its unusual but delicious flavor. I fell in love with the tree when I saw the beautiful coral pink blossoms every spring as I walked my dog past a neighbor's prolific flowering quince tree. The tree bore lots of fruit in the summer but they were never harvested for cooking. I picked one up about five years ago and planted the seeds. Today I have two small bushes. One of the trees has borne blossoms and two small fruit two seasons now. I hope for increasing blooms and fruit with each new season.

My quince tree however may very be the flowering ornamental quince, prized for its showy coral blooms and not for the fruit. The fruit-bearing quince tree that has edible fruit has white or pink flowers; the tree is best gotten from a nursery. Simply Quince has recommendations for places to buy trees and quince products.

Barbara Ghazarian has created a community of quince lovers, Team Quince, and directs us to her website, Queen of Quince, which offers quince food products. Ghazarian is also author of Simply Aremenian: Naturally Healthy Ethnic Cooking Made Easy.

For a link to an interview with Barbara and a February GIVEAWAY of two copies of Simply Quince, click here.

Disclosure: This book was provided free of any obligation by Publishing Works, Inc. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.  Publishing Works, Inc. is offering a 20 percent discount at the website, http://www.publishingworks.com/ At checkout, include the Coupon Code BLOG for a 20% DISCOUNT, courtesy of Publishing Works, Inc. and their continued support of book blogging! Happy reading!

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Jan 20, 2010

Giveaway and Book Review: Knit, Purl, Die by Anne Canadeo

Who would think that a group of five knitters would have murder and mystery on their minds, not only once, but now for a second time?

Knit, Purl, Die by Anne Canadeo is the second book in the Black Sheep Knitting Mystery series.

Synopsis: Gloria Sterling had everything, as far as everyone could see. A very goodlooking woman, she had a young husband she playfully referred to as her "trophy" husband, money and property inherited from former husbands, a large and luxurious modern home, and social standing in the community.

Gloria is even a good knitter. She befriends the five members of the Black Sheep Knitting Club - Maggie, Lucy, Dana, Suzanne, plus Phoebe, a college student working at Maggie's knitting shop - so that she might join the group.

When Gloria is found floating facedown in her swimming pool, the five knitting club members become convinced her death is not suicide but foul play. They do some investigating on their own to find out the truth about their new friend, Gloria.

Inbetween discussing, planning,and solving the crime, the group spend their time as regular knitting club members might, with their social chatter, plans to knit a blanket for charity, sharing knitting tips and cooking recipes, and discussing their personal lives.

Comments: This mystery fits the bill of a cozy - there is no "blood and gore", the murder takes place "off scene," and the sleuths are amateurs, not professional  investigators. Knit, Purl, Die is also an easy-to-read and entertaining whodunit. Never mind that you might guess the culprit before the very end of the book. The true motives behind the crime will remain a mystery till the end.

Challenges: 100+, Thriller & Suspense

Pocket Books Blog Tours: Thanks to Sarah Reid of Simon and Schuster for a copy of the book for review and for making this possible.

GIVEAWAY for U.S. only : To enter to win one of two copies of this book, 1) leave a comment with your email address so I can notify winners, and 2) tell us the title of one of your favorite mystery novels. For an additional chance to win, become a follower. Pocket Books will mail directly to the winners. No P.O. boxes please. Contest ends Feb. 4; winners must respond by Feb. 6, after which new winners will be chosen.

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Sunday Salon: Japanese Authors and a Mystery

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