The Divining Wand

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BEST GIFT EVER!

Announcement

Congratulations to everyone who participated in this Giveaway, you certainly know the true spirit of the season. Your thoughtful generosity was heartwarming and had us wishing again that The Divining Wand was magical enough to provide every entry with a Bookshelf.

However, as deserving as all of you are, we are pleased to announce that the winners of the random PUBLIC drawing are:

Corbin Memorial Library — Donna Tyler
Brooks Library in Brattleboro, VT — Kris Alden
Brewster Center, a shelter for women of domestic violence — Deanna Chevas

The winners of the random PERSONAL drawing are:

Shannon (for Kathryne)
Donna/Happy Booker
Megann Hubbard
Colleen Turner
Tiffany S.
Jen Erickson
Karen (for Mom)
Tiffany D.

Congratulations! Please email diviningwand (at) gmail (dot) com with your mailing addresses to begin the process of having your Bookshelves sent to you.

Happy Holidays and Cheers to a New Year of great reading!

Kate and Larramie

* * * * *

It’s the holiday season, and what better gift to give than BOOKS! We’re proud to bring you the ultimate book bonanza giveaway. Enter here to win an entire GIFT BOOKSHELF –- twelve books from contemporary authors — to give to someone special in your life. That’s a great read for each month of next year.

THE BEST HOLIDAY GIFT EVER!

Rules:

Leave a comment here and you’ll be entered into a random drawing. Your comment must include a reference to the individual for whom you’d love to win a bookshelf of books (for instance, my mom, my sister-in-law, my best friend Barb).

In addition, as part of the THE BEST HOLIDAY GIFT EVER, we’re offering a giveaway that we hope will spread the joy of reading to sites that could use an infusion of excellent new books. After you enter to win a GIFT BOOKSHELF for someone dear to you, enter to win a GIFT BOOKSHELF for the hospital, shelter, library, etc., of your choice.

However, with our apologies, only entrants who HAVE U.S. or Canadian mailing addresses are eligible

For this public giveaway:

Leave a comment and include the NAME of a place that could use a brand new collection of 12 works of excellent contemporary literature. For the opportunity to win a GIFT BOOKSHELF, explain why the site you’ve chosen will benefit from the gift of new BOOKS.

For the PERSONAL drawing there will be:

~ Three (3) First Prize Winners receiving gifts of 12 books each.
~ Three (3) Second Prize Winners receiving gifts of 6 books each.
~ Two (2) Third Prize Winners receiving gifts of 5 books each.

For the PUBLIC drawing there will be:

~ One (1) First Prize Winner receiving a gift of 12 books.
~ Two (2) Second Prize Winners receiving a gift of 6 books each.

YES, you’re encouraged to enter both Giveaways.

If you win, either the PERSONAL GIVEAWAY or the PUBLIC GIVEAWAY, the books on your bookshelf will be sent to you individually, allowing for wrapping, giving, or mailing. (Please check with the institution of your choice, before you enter its name, to make sure the books can be accommodated.)

The DEADLINE for entries is Wednesday, December 1, 2010 at 11:59 p.m. EST and the random drawings will take place on Sunday, December 5, 2010. Winners will be notified on this page and will be asked to give an address where they’d like the collection of books to be sent. We can’t guarantee the specific books in each winner’s GIFT BOOKSHELF, but they’ll be chosen from among the fabulous list of books featured here.

Please read through the list of books and authors to learn more about the GIFT BOOKSHELVES. Then enter to win THE BEST HOLIDAY GIFT EVER!

Happy Holidays to you ~
Kate Ledger and Larramie

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KATE LEDGER–REMEDIES


Ledger’s accomplished debut offers a compelling view of married life through the prism of unacknowledged grief. An impressive portrait of a family in crisis, executed with finesse and assurance. – Publishers Weekly (Starred review). Depicting modern-day marriage with a razor-sharp eye, Remedies is about what it takes, as an individual and as a couple, to recover from profound loss.
Website |Twittter

RICHARD HINE–RUSSEL WILEY IS OUT TO LUNCH

Russell Wiley is in deep trouble. A media executive for the failing Daily Business Chronicle, his career is teetering on the brink of collapse, and his sexless marriage is fast approaching its expiration date. With his professional and personal lives floundering, it’s no wonder Russell is distracted, unhappy, and losing faith in himself. Making matters worse are his scheming boss, a hot-shot new consultant determined to see Russell ousted, and the beguiling colleague whose mere presence has a disconcerting effect on Russell’s starved libido. Disaster seems imminent…and that’s before he makes a careless mistake that could cost the paper millions. Russell realizes he must take drastic action if he is going to salvage his career, his love life, and what little remains of his self-respect. Sardonic, edgy, and true to life, this gripping novel offers an insider’s view into a newspaper’s inner sanctum and the people who oil the wheels of the “old media” machine.
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BETH HOFFMAN–SAVING CEECEE HONEYCUTT

Steel Magnolias meets The Help in this Southern debut novel sparkling with humor, heart, and feminine wisdom Twelve-year-old CeeCee Honeycutt is in trouble. For years, she has been the caretaker of her psychotic mother, Camille-the tiara-toting, lipstick-smeared laughingstock of an entire town-a woman trapped in her long-ago moment of glory as the 1951 Vidalia Onion Queen. But when Camille is hit by a truck and killed, CeeCee is left to fend for herself. To the rescue comes her previously unknown great-aunt, Tootie Caldwell. In her vintage Packard convertible, Tootie whisks CeeCee away to Savannah’s perfumed world of prosperity and Southern eccentricity.
A New York Times Bestseller. “Exemplifying Southern storytelling at its best…” Starred review, Library Journal.
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MELISSA SENATE–THE LOVE GODDESS’ COOKING SCHOOL

Holly Maguire’s grandmother Camilla was the Love Goddess of Blue Crab Island, Maine—a Milanese fortune-teller who could predict the right man for you, and whose Italian cooking was rumored to save marriages. Holly has been waiting years for her unlikely fortune: her true love will like sa cordula, an unappetizing old-world delicacy. But Holly can’t make a decent marinara sauce, let alone sa cordula. Maybe that’s why the man she hopes to marry breaks her heart. So when Holly inherits Camilla’s Cucinotta, she’s determined to forget about fortunes and love and become an Italian cooking teacher worthy of her grandmother’s legacy.
But Holly’s four students are seeking much more than how to make Camilla’s chicken alla Milanese. Simon, a single father, hopes to cook his way back into his daughter’s heart. Juliet, Holly’s childhood friend, hides a painful secret. Tamara, a serial dater, can’t find the love she longs for. And twelve-year-old Mia thinks learning to cook will stop her dad, Liam, from marrying his phony lasagna-queen girlfriend. As the class gathers each week, adding Camilla’s essential ingredients of wishes and memories in every pot and pan, unexpected friendships and romances are formed—and tested. Especially when Holly falls hard for Liam . . . and learns a thing or two about finding her own recipe for happiness.
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STACEY BALLIS–GOOD ENOUGH TO EAT

The last thing Melanie expected to lose when she went on a diet was her husband. Former lawyer Melanie Hoffman lost half her body weight and opened a gourmet take-out café specializing in healthy and delicious food. Then her husband left her-for a woman twice her size. Immediately afterwards, she’s blindsided by a financial crisis. Melanie reaches out to a quirky roommate with a ton of baggage and becomes involved in a budding romance with a local documentary filmmaker. In this warm and often laugh-out-loud novel, Melanie discovers that she still has a lot to learn about her friends, her relationships with men, and herself-and that her weight loss was just the beginning of an amazing journey that will transform her life from the inside out..
Blog: The Polymath Chronicles | Twitter | Facebook

TISH COHEN–THE TRUTH ABOUT DELILAH BLUE

Delilah Blue Lovett has always been a bit of an outsider, ever since her father moved her from Toronto to L.A. when she was eight, claiming Delilah’s mother no longer wanted to be part of their family. Twenty now and broke, but determined to be an artist like her errant mom, Delilah attends art class for free—by modeling nude at the front of the room. While she struggles to find her talent, her father, her only real companion, is beginning to exhibit telltale signs of early-onset Alzheimer’s. And her mother, who Delilah always assumed had selfishly abandoned them, is about to reappear with a secret that will change everything.
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KRISTINA RIGGLE–THE LIFE YOU’VE IMAGINED

In high school, Cami and Anna were as close as they could be…now, years later, both have returned to their hometown to face the people they had once left behind. Anna must confront her mother, still distraught over the abandonment of her husband, and come to terms with choices she had made years before. While Cami returns home to stay with her alcoholic father, she uncovers a secret he sought to keep which could change her life and salvage her future. They reconnect with their classmate, Amy, who can’t understand why achieving the thin body and handsome man of her dreams hasn’t given her the happily-ever-after she desired. This is a novel that digs deep and touches the heart of the issues so many women face-the quest for perfection, the hope of love, the value of family and importance of always striving for your dream.
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THERESE WALSH–THE LAST WILL OF MOIRA LEAHY

This haunting debut novel explores the intense bond of sisterhood as a grieving twin searches for her own identity in the ruins of her sister’s past. Moira Leahy struggled growing up in her prodigious twin’s shadow; Maeve was always more talented, more daring, more fun. Though Moira’s adolescent struggles came to a tragic end nearly a decade ago, her brief flirtation with independence will haunt her sister for years to come.
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RICHARD DOETSCH–THE THIEVES OF DARKNESS

An irresistible treasure, two master thieves, and a secret as old as mankind . . .

Michael St. Pierre, a reformed master thief, thinks he has left his criminal days far behind him, when he receives word that his best friend, Simon, has been locked up and sentenced to die in a brutal desert prison. Breaking into jail for the first time in his checkered career, Michael is stunned to discover that his new girlfriend, KC, is connected to Simon’s case.

With a madman on their heels, the three adventurers make their way to Istanbul in search of the mysterious artifact that landed Simon behind bars in the first place: a map containing the location of a holy place lost to the mists of time, a repository of knowledge and treasure predating Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Testing their courage and wits, Michael and his team are forced to plot a series of daring thefts that take them inside some of the city’s most celebrated (and heavily guarded) sanctums,…
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EMILY WINSLOW–THE WHOLE WORLD

At once a sensual and irresistible mystery and a haunting work of psychological insight and emotional depth, The Whole World marks the beginning of a brilliant literary career for Emily Winslow, a superb, limitlessly gifted author. Set in the richly evoked pathways and environs of Cambridge, England, The Whole World unearths the desperate secrets kept by its many complex characters—students, professors, detectives, husbands, mothers—secrets that lead to explosive consequences.

Two Americans studying at Cambridge University, Polly and Liv, both strangers to their new home, both survivors of past mistakes, become quick friends. They find a common interest in Nick, a handsome, charming, seemingly guileless graduate student. For a time, the three engage in harmless flirtation, growing closer while doing research for professor Gretchen Paul, the blind daughter of a famed novelist. But a betrayal, followed by Nick’s inexplicable disappearance, brings long-buried histories to the surface. The investigation raises countless questions, and the newspapers report all the most salacious details—from the crime that scars Polly’s past to the searing truths concealed in photographs Gretchen cannot see. Soon the three young lovers will discover how little they know about one another, and how devastating the ripples of long-ago actions can be.
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MEREDITH COLE–DEAD IN THE WATER

Photographer Lydia McKenzie is taking portraits of prostitutes on the waterfront of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, when her art project takes a deadly turn. She discovers the body of Glenda, the star of her series, floating in the East River.Lydia’s new boyfriend doesn’t want her to get involved in the investigation, and neither does NYPD detective Daniel Romero. But Glenda’s grieving mother begs her for help. So when the D’Angelo brothers, her bosses at the detective agency where she works as an administrative assistant, send Lydia out to the Williamsburg waterfront to catch their cousin’s cheating husband and bring back photos as evidence, she starts to do some sleuthing on the side.

When more hookers are murdered, Lydia teams up with a volunteer organization whose mission is to help women find a way off the streets. As she becomes more involved with the group, Lydia ends up questioning her choices, her relationships, her art, and her identity—-all while she runs for her life from a killer who isn’t finished with a deadly rampage.
Meredith Cole’s second novel is a thrilling adventure, boasting memorable characters and a vivid setting.
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JESSICA BARKSDALE INCLAN–BEING WITH HIM

They are here among us. Far from home, gifted with special abilities, hunted for their powers. And they are desperate to find their other, the one who completes them before it’s too late. Sometimes, Time Really Does Stand Still.

Mila Adams has always known she was different. For as long as she can remember, she has had the ability to shift time, and who would believe that? Certainly not the obnoxious blind dates her mother keeps foisting off on her. But Mila can’t help feeling there’s someone out there for her, a soul mate who might understand her unique ability. And when she looks into the dark eyes of financial whiz Garrick McClellan, she can’t but feel her time has finally come. Any man would lust after a beauty like Mila, but the moment Garrick touches her-feels her shifting time just as he can-he recognizes her as his partner in power. Their connection is immediate, passionate, raw, and beyond anything either has ever experienced. But who are they? What is this gift that joins them so intensely? Are there others like them? And why do they feel that time is running out?
Website | Red Room Blog

JENNY NELSON–GEORGIA’S KITCHEN

At thirty-three, talented chef Georgia Gray has everything a woman could want—the top job at one of Manhattan’s best restaurants; a posse of smart and savvy gal pals who never let her down; and a platinum-set, cushion-cut diamond engagement ring courtesy of Glenn, the handsome entertainment lawyer who Georgia’s overbearing mother can’t wait for her to marry. The table is set for the ambitious bride-to-be until a scathing restaurant review destroys her reputation. To add salt to her wounds, Glenn suddenly calls off the wedding.
Brokenhearted, Georgia escapes to the Italian countryside, where she sharpens her skills at a trattoria run by a world-class chef who seems to have it all—a devoted lover, a magnificent villa, and most important, a kitchen of her own. Georgia quells her longings with Italy’s delectable offerings: fine wine, luscious cheeses, cerulean blue skies, and irresistible Gianni—an expert in the vineyard and the bedroom. So when Gianni tempts Georgia to stay in Italy with an offer no sane top chef could refuse, why can’t she say yes?

An appetite for something more looms large in Georgia’s heart – the desire to run her own restaurant in the city she loves. But having left New York with her career in flames, she’ll need to stir up more than just courage if she’s to realize her dreams and find her way home.
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MAUD CAROL MARKSON–LOOKING AFTER PIGEON

LookAfterPige

Of Maud Carol Markson s first novel, When We Get Home, Andre Dubus wrote, It may be the best story we have about marital love. In this, her second novel, Markson once again explores the sometimes humorous, and always complex, realm of family and love. Her characters struggle to answer the questions who will care for me? How will I care for myself?”

One spring day in New York City, five-year-old Pigeon s father disappears, leaving her to face a new and bewildering life with her mother and older siblings in an uncle s house on the Jersey shore. Our mother named her children after birds, so begins a now grown up Pigeon as she describes the tumultuous events of this pivotal childhood summer with her brother Robin and her older sister Dove. In the heat and unfamiliarity of a beach town near Atlantic City, each member of her family looks for a caretaker of some kind: Robin in a fortune teller, Dove in older lovers, her Uncle Edward in the feckless owner of a diner, and her mother Joan in a religious cult. All the while, Pigeon, the youngest, searches for her father, believing he will return to the family to care for her. Through the course of the summer, Pigeon discovers surprising and lasting truths about those she loves, and about her own possibilities in the world.
Website

KRISTY KIERNAN–BETWEEN FRIENDS

A provocative new novel about birth, death, and the stuff in between, from the award-winning author of Catching Genius. Thanks to modern reproductive technology-and the gift of her friend Cora’s eggs-Ali Gutierrez is the mother of a fourteen-year-old daughter. Now, yearning for a second child, Ali asks Cora’s permission to use another of the frozen embryos that have been stored away in anticipation of this decision. But Cora has a secret that could not only change Ali’s plans for the future, but tear apart her life right now.
“Kiernan (Catching Genius) again demonstrates her ability to portray true-to-life relationships between women.”–Publishers Weekly
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RANDY SUSAN MEYERS–THE MURDERER’S DAUGHTERS

A beautifully written, compulsively readable debut that deals with the aftermath of a shocking act of violence that leaves two young sisters with nothing but each other—in the tradition of White Oleander, this haunting novel is a testament to the power of family and the ties that bind us together, even as they threaten to tear us apart.
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LEAH STEWART–HUSBAND AND WIFE

Always responsible, Sarah Price traded her poetry ambitions for a steady job, which allows her husband, Nathan, to write fiction. But Sarah is happy with their life, parenting two small children, and she believes Nathan is too, until a truth is revealed: Nathan’s upcoming novel, Infidelity, is based in fact. Reeling from his betrayal, she is plagued by dark questions. How well does she really know Nathan—and herself?
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SHANA MAHAFFEY–SOUNDS LIKE CRAZY

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Learn why Holly Miller has five people living inside her head in this “remarkable debut novel.”(Kemble Scott, author of SoMa)
Though she doesn’t remember the trauma that caused it, Holly Miller has Dissociative Identity Disorder. Her personality has fractured into five different identities, together known as The Committee. And as much as they make Holly’s life hell, she can’t live without them.

Then one of those identities, the flirtatious, southern Betty Jane, lands Holly a voiceover job. Betty Jane wants nothing more than to be in the spotlight. The rest of The Committee wants Betty Jane to shut up. Holly’s therapist wants to get to the bottom of her broken psyche. And Holly? She’s just along for the ride…
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JOELLE ANTHONY–RESTORING HARMONY (YA)

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The year is 2041, and sixteen-year-old Molly McClure has lived a relatively quiet life on an isolated farming island in Canada, but when her family fears the worst may have happened to her grandparents in the US, Molly must brave the dangerous, chaotic world left after global economic collapse—one of massive oil shortages, rampant crime, and abandoned cities.

Molly is relieved to find her grandparents alive in their Portland suburb, but they’re financially ruined and practically starving. What should’ve been a quick trip turns into a full-fledged rescue mission. And when Molly witnesses something the local crime bosses wishes she hadn’t, Molly’s only way home may be to beat them at their own game. Luckily, there’s a handsome stranger who’s willing to help.

Restoring Harmony is a riveting, fast-paced dystopian tale complete with adventure and romance that readers will devour.
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ROBIN ANTALEK–THE SUMMER WE FELL APART

The children of a once-brilliant playwright and a struggling actress, the four Haas siblings grew up in chaos—raised in an environment composed of neglect and glamour in equal measure. When their father dies, they must depend on their intense but fragile bond to remember what it means to be family despite years of anger and hurt. These brothers and sisters are painfully human, sometimes selfish, and almost always making the wrong decisions, but their endearing struggles provide laughter through tears—something anyone who’s ever had a sibling can relate to.
Website | Facebook | Blog: Robin Antalek

SARAH PEKKANEN–THE OPPOSITE OF ME

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Twenty-nine-year-old Lindsey Rose has, for as long as she can remember, lived in the shadow of her ravishingly beautiful fraternal twin sister, Alex. Determined to get noticed, Lindsey is finally on the cusp of being named VP creative director of an elite New York advertising agency, after years of eighty-plus-hour weeks, migraines, and profound loneliness. But during the course of one devastating night, Lindsey’s carefully constructed life implodes. Humiliated, she flees the glitter of Manhattan and retreats to the time warp of her parents’ Maryland home.

As her sister plans her lavish wedding to her Prince Charming, Lindsey struggles to maintain her identity as the smart, responsible twin while she furtively tries to piece her career back together. But things get more complicated when a long-held family secret is unleashed that forces both sisters to reconsider who they are and who they are meant to be.
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JUDY MERRILL LARSEN–ALL THE NUMBERS

“How much do you love me?” Daniel asked his mother.
“I love you all the numbers.”

What begins as a sunny August afternoon on a bucolic lake turns into a tragedy when a Jet Ski swerves fatally close to shore. It’s a day Ellen Banks could never have prepared for, a day no mother should ever have to live through. The moment her son James is killed, Ellen must face the unimaginable while trying to remain strong for her older son, Daniel, who witnessed the fateful accident and blames himself. Ellen’s shock and grief soon give way to defiance as lawyers and policemen who once vowed to support Ellen’s desire for justice succumb to political pressure and back away. Still, Ellen is determined to see the reckless young man pay for his crime and to heal her family’s deep wounds. But first she must heal herself. An unforgettable journey of power and emotion, All the Numbers poignantly depicts a woman’s reckoning with her own vulnerability and finding in the wisdom of motherhood the redemptive grace to begin again.
Website | Facebook | Blog: Not Afraid of the F Word

ALICIA BESSETTE–SIMPLY FROM SCRATCH

Alicia Bessette writes with compassion and tenderness to illuminate the many unexpected ways people save each others’ lives every day-often without even knowing it. Poignant, bittersweet, and strikingly honest, Simply from Scratch is a radiant celebration of friendship and the strength of the human spirit.

Rose-Ellen (“Zell”) Carmichael Roy wears her late husband Nick’s camouflage apron even when she’s not in the kitchen. That’s her widow style. It’s been over a year since Nick died tragically during a post-Katrina relief mission in New Orleans. Long enough, according to the grief pamphlets, to have begun to move on with her life. But Zell is still unable to enter her attic, which is full of Nick memories. She hasn’t even turned on her oven because cooking was Nick’s chore. That is, until she decides to enter the first annual Desserts that Warm the Soul baking contest, hoping to donate the grand prize to Katrina survivors in Nick’s memory.

Meanwhile, Zell’s nine-year-old neighbor, Ingrid Knox, is learning to cope with the loneliness of growing up without a mother. With an imagination as big as her heart, Ingrid treasures her doting father but begins to plot how she will meet the woman who abandoned her so many years ago. When an embarrassing baking mishap brings Zell and Ingrid together, they form an unlikely friendship that will alter both of their lives forever. Together, and with the help of a lively and loveable cast of friends and family, Zell and Ingrid embark on winning the Desserts that Warm the Soul contest – and learn that through the many sorrows and joys of life, with a little bit of flour and a pinch of love, anything is possible.
Website | Facebook | Blog: quest for kindness

EILEEN COOK–GETTING REVENGE ON LAUREN WOOD (YA)

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The Count of Monte Cristo meets Mean Girls in this scandalicious, hilarious tale of friendship, betrayal, makeovers, and revenge.Gr 9 Up—Helen Worthington and Lauren Wood, both 14, were born a day apart in the same hospital in Michigan and seated together from kindergarten through eighth grade. It was only natural that they would be the closest of friends—until Lauren decides that she needs a fresh start in high school and frames Helen for naming the students who participated in the senior prank. The last days of eighth grade are hell for Helen, and she’s in heaven when her dad gets a new job and they move to New York.

However, after three years spent reinventing herself, her father gets a grant to study at a meditation camp and Helen finds herself sent back to Terrace for her senior year. She sets out to take her revenge on her ex-friend, which involves taking away the four most important things to Lauren, including her boyfriend and her popularity. During the course of the story Helen learns about the true nature of friends, relationships, and family. Characters are funny and devious, and the right amount of high-school drama moves the plot along. Fans of Mean Girls will enjoy seeing the story turned on its head in this enjoyable tale.—Laura Amos, Newport News Public Library, VA
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KATHARINE DAVIS–A SLENDER THREAD

As a girl swimming in the waters of Bow Lake, where she and her family spent every summer, Margot Winkler knew her big sister, Lacey, would keep her safe. Decades later, Lacey’s home in a small New Hampshire town is often Margot’s refuge from her less settled situation with her live-in lover, Oliver, in Manhattan. But everything changes just before Thanksgiving, when Lacey meets Margot’s arrival for the holiday with devastating news. . .
Website | Facebook | Thursday Thoughts Blog

ELISSA ELLIOTT–EVE

Here is Eve brought to life as a wife, mother, and woman in a way religion and myth have never allowed. With stunning intimacy, Elliott boldly reimagines Eve’s journey before and after the banishment from Eden, her complex marriage to Adam, her troubled relationship with her daughters, and the tragedy that would overcome her sons Cain and Abel. From a woman’s first awakening to a mother’s innermost hopes and fears, from moments of exquisite tenderness to a climax of shocking violence, Eve explores the very essence of love, womanhood, faith, and humanity.
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JOHN JODZIO–IF YOU LIVED HERE, YOU’D ALREADY BE HOME

A middle-aged masochist in love with a comatose man. A gay birthday clown lamenting the loss of his beloved dog. An amateur veterinarian keeping watch over his suicidal daughter. And a bikini model with a barnacle stuck to her butt cheek. These are just a few of the characters who populate the quirky, offbeat world of If You Lived Here You’d Already Be Home—a world that feels at once alien and strangely familiar. In these twenty-one brief, funny stories, John Jodzio documents his characters’ disappointment, frustration, and longing for a home that seems forever out of reach. By turns bleak and hopeful, cruel and tender, this is an exciting literary debut by a writer to watch—a writer with a unique and compelling voice.
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ANN WERTZ GARVIN–ON MAGGIE’S WATCH

Maggie Finley has just returned to her beloved Wisconsin hometown, quirky best friend, and eccentric mother. Life should be good, but her marriage to Martin is suffering under the strain of a recent family tragedy and Maggie’s feeling pressed for time. Before the birth of her baby she has to figure out how to fit her high-anxiety-self into a low-anxiety-life.

True to her can do attitude, Maggie hires a compelling handy-man, resurrects a defunct Neighborhood Watch and inadvertently discovers a potential threat to her house and home living just around the corner.

Choosing to investigate, despite her best friend’s advice to keep her nose out of it…and despite the risk, Maggie sets her sites on discovering the stranger’s secret. As the mystery of the neighbor’s identity draws Maggie irresistibly in, her ordered life starts to unravel in surprising and hilarious ways.

Unexpectedly compelling and sparkling with wit and intelligence, this debut novel chronicles one woman’s quest for control over her surroundings, and the secrets and surprises that lie hidden in an ordinary suburban landscape.
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CARLEEN BRICE–CHILDREN OF THE WATERS

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“Carleen Brice has returned to the literary scene with her second novel, Children of the Waters and she’s making another huge splash in literary fiction. Her clear and compassionate writing voice has given way to a novel full of love, loss and family connections. It’s the story of two sisters who were separated for many years due to deception and circumstance….
Website | Facebook |Twitter | Blog: The Pajama Gardener | White Readers Meet Black Authors

CARLEEN BRICE–ORANGE MINT AND HONEY

In Brice’s accomplished debut, African-American Shay Dixon, a burnt-out grad student, has a visitation/fantasy/fever dream featuring Nina Simone, the high priestess of soul, who counsels Shay to go home. To do that, she must face Nona, the drunken failure of a mother she’s not spoken to in seven years and blames for a harrowing childhood that left her emotionally scarred. Still, she takes Nina’s advice, heads home to Denver and discovers that Nona’s now an A.A. member with a good job, a lovely home and an adorable three-year-old girl, Sunny, Shay’s half-sister.

Their reconciliation is complicated by Shay’s stubborn anger, Nona’s A.A. sponsorship of a troubled young woman and Shay’s sexual awakening. Brice’s straightforward prose is dead-on in describing the challenges Shay and her mother face as they reconnect.

“Carleen Brice’s ORANGE MINT AND HONEY, a new novel about real mama drama, will have you hooked from page one. Taking on the fabled mother-daughter bond, the Denver author confidently strides onto terrain many lesser writers have tripped over—with winning results.” – Essence Magazine
Website | Facebook |Twitter | Blog: The Pajama Gardener | White Readers Meet Black Authors

KAREN MCQUESTION–CELIA AND THE FAIRIES

When Celia Lovejoy’s grandmother moves in with her family, she tells her granddaughter magical stories of fairies living in the woods behind the Lovejoy home. Ten-year-old Celia believes they are just that-stories-until the day she receives an unexpected visit from Mira, a real, live fairy. Mira needs a favor in a matter of the utmost importance. It seems that Celia’s house and the adjoining woods are in danger of being demolished to make way for a new highway. The person behind this horrible plan? Vicky McClutchy, a spiteful woman who holds a childhood grudge against Celia’s dad. Fairy magic can counteract this evil, but it will only work with Celia’s help. Aided by neighborhood friend Paul, Celia begins a danger-filled quest that takes her out in the woods at night to face her greatest fears. This magical tale of a plucky girl combines an entertaining story with an underlying message about the power of ordinary kindness. (Recommended Ages: 7-11)
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KAREN MCQUESTION–EASILY AMUSED

When twenty-nine-year-old Lola Watson unexpectedly inherits a rambling house in the suburbs, she thinks it just may be the cherry on a banner year. After all, she’s happily single, with fabulous friends and her dream job working at a popular magazine. Life is perfect—until her new neighbors make her their new “project,” a heartbroken high school friend crashes indefinitely at her house, and her younger sister announces she’s getting married…on Lola’s thirtieth birthday. Suddenly Lola’s not so keen on her newfound domestic bliss. But when she meets handsome, mysterious Ryan Moriarty, Lola dares to hope she’s found the perfect guy to one-up her sister and add a little spice back into her life. This light-hearted romantic comedy from Karen McQuestion is headlined by a charming cast of characters, led by the self-deprecatingly funny Lola. Breezy and fun, Easily Amused serves as a gentle, often amusing reminder that love can often be found in the place we least expect—under our very noses.
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AD HUDLER–MAN OF THE HOUSE

In this largely autobiographical sequel to Ad Hudler’s best-selling Househusband, we find Linc Menner thriving as a stay-at-home dad. His gourmet cooking is sublime, his cleaning unrivaled, and his devotion to his daughter, Violet, unparalleled. But when the Menners relocate from upstate New York to the steamy beaches of Naples, Florida, life takes an unexpected turn. “Required Reading”–New York Post
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JAMES KING–BILL WARRINGTON’S LAST CHANCE

King’s debut spotlights one dysfunctional family whose patriarch seeks to heal old wounds. Bill Warrington’s wife died of cancer years ago, but he’s managed pretty well by himself until recently. Now that he’s been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, Bill decides it’s time to bring his estranged children together while he still can. Mike, the eldest, believes he saw Bill give his mother an overdose of pain pills before she died, and has distanced himself from his father for years. Nick is still drifting aimlessly since his own wife died three years earlier. He leaves interaction with their father to their sister, Marcy, a bitter divorcée struggling to raise her 14-year-old daughter, April, who can’t wait to escape her mother’s domination. Bill hatches a plan to “kidnap” April for a summer road trip (with her at the wheel), and drops clues along the way in hopes the siblings will unite in the effort to find them. Part road odyssey, part coming-of-age tale, King’s novel achieves the exact right balance of humor, redemption, and reconciliation.
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KELLY O’CONNOR MCNEES–THE LOST SUMMER OF LOUISA MAY ALCOTT

In the bestselling tradition of Loving Frank and March comes a novel for anyone who loves Little Women. Millions of readers have fallen in love with Little Women. But how could Louisa May Alcott-who never had a romance-write so convincingly of love and heart-break without experiencing it herself? Deftly mixing fact and fiction, Kelly O’Connor McNees imagines a love affair that would threaten Louisa’s writing career-and inspire the story of Jo and Laurie in Little Women. Stuck in small-town New Hampshire in 1855, Louisa finds herself torn between a love that takes her by surprise and her dream of independence as a writer in Boston. The choice she must make comes with a steep price that she will pay for the rest of her life.
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PETER BOGNANNI–THE HOUSE OF TOMORROW

Sebastian Prendergast lives in a geodesic dome with his eccentric grandmother, who homeschooled him in the teachings of futurist philosopher R. Buckminster Fuller. But when his grandmother has a stroke, Sebastian is forced to leave the dome and make his own way in town. Jared Whitcomb is a chain-smoking sixteen-year-old heart-transplant recipient who befriends Sebastian, and begins to teach him about all the things he has been missing, including grape soda, girls, and Sid Vicious. They form a punk band called The Rash, and it’s clear that the upcoming Methodist Church talent show has never seen the likes of them. Wholly original, The House of Tomorrow is the story of a young man’s self-discovery, a dying woman’s last wish, and a band of misfits trying desperately to be heard. “A young man lives with his grandmother in a geodesic dome in Iowa. No surprise: He’s a total oddball. Yes, surprise: His life makes for a sweet novel.”–Oprah Magazine
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CAROLINE LEAVITT–GIRLS IN TROUBLE

Girls in Trouble is a wrenching story of an open adoption gone wrong. It reveals the astonishing power of gnarled family bonds and of maternal need, even as it tells the story of a birth mother, the adoptive parents and the young girl at the center–an astounding Romeo and Juliet story filled with “confusion terror and absolute, overwhelming love.” “The characters are blazingly knowable, and it is Leavitt’s sympathy that gives her novel both its page-turning momentum and its dignity.” __Washington Post Book World
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WENDY NELSON TOKUNAGA–LOVE IN TRANSLATION

LIT

Stuck. That’s how 33-year-old aspiring singer Celeste Duncan feels, with her deadbeat boyfriend and static career. But then Celeste receives a puzzling phone call and a box full of mysterious family heirlooms which just might be the first real clue to the identity of the father she never knew. Impulsively, Celeste flies to Japan to search for a long-lost relative who could be able to explain. She stumbles head first into a weird, wonderful world where nothing is quite as it seems—a land with an inexplicable fascination with foreigners, karaoke boxes, and unbearably perky TV stars.

With little knowledge of Japanese, Celeste finds a friend in her English-speaking homestay brother, Takuya, and comes to depend on him for all variety of translation, travel and investigatory needs. As they cross the country following a trail after Celeste’s family, she discovers she’s developing “more-than-sisterly” feelings for him. But with a nosy homestay mom scheming to reunite Takuya with his old girlfriend, and her search growing dimmer, Celeste begins to wonder whether she’s made a terrible mistake by coming to Japan. Can Celeste find her true self in this strange land, and discover that love can transcend culture?
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ALLISON WINN SCOTCH–THE ONE THAT I WANT

Tilly Farmer is thirty-two years old and has the perfect life she always dreamed of: married to her high school sweetheart, working as a school guidance counselor, trying for a baby. But one sweltering afternoon at the local fair, everything changes. Tilly wanders into a fortune teller’s tent and meets an old childhood friend, who offers her more than just a reading. “I’m giving you the gift of clarity,” her friend says. “It’s what I always thought you needed.” And soon enough, Tilly starts seeing things: her alcoholic father relapsing, staggering out of a bar with his car keys in hand; her husband uprooting their happy, stable life, a packed U-Haul in their driveway. And even more disturbing, these visions start coming true. Suddenly Tilly’s perfect life, so meticulously mapped out, seems to be crumbling around her. And as she furiously races to keep up with – and hopefully change – her destiny, she faces the question: Which life does she want? The one she’s carefully nursed for decades, or the one she never considered possible? “Scotch answers hard questions about the nature of personal identity and overwhelming loss with a wise, absorbing narrative.” –Publishers Weekly
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146 Comments to “
BEST GIFT EVER!


  1. Donna Tyler says:

    I would love to win these for my hometown library, The Corbin Memorial Library. We are a very small town and county and as with many places budgets have been cut and money to spend on new books has been reduced. I purchase as many as I can to donate. These would be a great boost to them and I could check them out to read, too.

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  2. I would love to win a bookshelf for my 7 year old son, who is growing up in a non-English speaking environment. English is our home and family language. I’m working hard to instill a love of reading in him, and especially an appreciation for stories in English, which he will not get in school.

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  3. Mary J. Zappa says:

    I thought a long time about who I believe could benefit from receiving a bookshelf of books because of limitted resources the need for books is wide spread. Every year I attend a Christmas Tea and those attending bring gifts to be donated to women shelters locally. This will be our tenth and final year and it would really be a wonderful gift to them. The other idea I had would be to win the shelf of books to give as gifts to my large family. Over the years I have often given books. I am disabled and unable to work with this year being partically difficult with many medical bills.

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  4. Sandra Furlotte says:

    I would love to win a shelf of books for my sister. She lives in a rural area without access to a library and is the caregiver for my aging mother. She also was the caregiver for my father until he passed away. She is a very special person and loves to read. Books are essential to her in that they give her the escape from the realities of life that any caregiver needs.

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  5. Teresa Rice says:

    I would love to win these books for my friend’s husband who has oral cancer. He is home bound and can no longer speak but absolutely loves to read books and newspapers. This helps to pass his long days and I know that he would truly appreciate it.

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  6. Teresa Rice says:

    I would love to win the bookshelf for the New Life Center, which supports mothers and children who are needy.

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  7. I would love to win these books for my library Brockville Public Library which does so much good for our Town but has limited funding to buy new books. They offer delivery service to shut ins, free lessons on computers for students and seniors, talking books for people who can no longer read, bring in books from distant libraries for several book clubs, I could go on and on but they do deserve lots of credit. Wendy Pantony

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  8. I would like my friend Nancy to receive a bookshelf of books. She loves to try new recipes and new sewing projects. Quite a few of the books above fall into those categories.

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  9. Our Sarasota library system has a great service, book bags for book clubs. Since their budgets have been severely cut, this bookshelf of books could circulate to book clubs, mine included. So many readers could benefit.

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  10. Kathy Koltes says:

    I would love to win these books for myself. I love to read and these books are the
    kind I like to read. Reading is my favorite activity and I like to share my books with
    friends and family.

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  11. What a wonderful opportunity to readers , caregivers, and librarians. I would use this windfall to use them in our local small library, give to homebound readers and to enrich the local bookclubs. I will also add several of these titles to my own reading list. Thanks and Happy Holidays!

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  12. What a wonderful opportunity for readers , caregivers, and librarians. I would use this windfall in our local small library, give to homebound readers and enrich the local bookclubs. I will also add several of these titles to my own reading list. Thanks and Happy Holidays!

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  13. What a wonderful opportunity to readers , caregivers, and librarians. I would use this windfall in our local small library, give to homebound readers and to enrich the local bookclubs. I will also add several of these titles to my own reading list. Thanks and Happy Holidays!

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  14. I would love to win this collection for my local high school library; budgets are tight, but readership is high!

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  15. Melanie Schweiger says:

    I would love to win these books for a friend of mine who is incarcerated. The only items he can receive are books, and then he can donate them to the prison library (so even more can read them!).

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  16. I’d love to win these books to share with my new found friends. Moving from a large city to a small town has proved delightful. Everyone loves to read!! Everyone loves to share! All opinions are valued! It’s great!

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  17. I’d love to win these books to share with my new found friends. Moving from a large city to a small town has been great because everyone loves to read! We share books, discussions, and opinions. And coffee, of course.

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  18. I would LOVE to win these books for my sister Tiffany. Reading is her escape and I can’t think of a better gift than that.

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  19. I would love to wint he books for my two friends – Mel and Carol. For a place that could use the books woul dbe my own public library – Wolcott public Library.

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  20. I would LOVE to win these books for my best friend, she has MS and lives in MN where it is really hard for her to get out. The cold affects her MS, and the slick roads make it hard for her to get around. She is a reader, and I know that she would like these. I would also LOVE to see these books end up at the Julian Center, a shelter for SURVIVORS of domestic abuse. As the daugher of a survivor this is close to home for me. These wonderful BRAVE women need to escape from thier lives, and what better way than in a book?

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  21. I’d love to win them for my daughter. We share a joy of reading. She’s the only one of the three kids to catch my reading gene.

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  22. I would love the opportunity to own all these lovely books! We share books where I work.

    I would also like to nominate the Waukesha County Food Pantry, I have been a volunteer there for over 11 years, the other volunteers and the employees all love to read!

    Many thanks.

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  23. Jayne Kasten says:

    I am absolutely delighted with this selection. As librarian of our church library, I would share these titles, host review events, plus share them with all our friends who are not church members (AND my awesome “reading is wonderful” daughter would LOVE to read them!)

    What a wonderful BEST GIFT!! Happy Holidays, everyone1

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  24. I would share the books with my mom (no doubt I wouldn’t be able to send them until we passed them back and forth- I want to read them too!) The other copies I would ensure would go to our public library.

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  25. Wow, this is an AMAZING bookshelf. I’d like to give all of these books to my sister in law, Kathy, who is an avid reader in part because she is a retired teacher and in part because her disabilities leave her largely housebound. We share books through goodreads.com and through phone calls since she lives in Florida and I now live in Colorado.

    I would also donate these books to my local, Evergreen, library which just recently announced that they will not be able to buy as many new books due to budget cuts. They are the best library I’ve ever used and I’m incredibly grateful to them.

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  26. Joan Bendall says:

    Thank you for the opportunity to win these wonderful books for our local women’s shelter. I think these stories could serve as an inspiration as well as way to see the world from a different set of eyes.

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  27. i would share this fabulous collection of books w/ my freind, nancy 🙂

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  28. Lonnie Elliott says:

    I would donate the books to the public library where I work due to extreme budget cuts in this economy. Any that they don’t want I would donate to an inner-city school library. Libraries everywhere are hurting now. Thank you for offering a free bookshelf!

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  29. I’d love to give the books to my friend Marya! She’s very stressed with university during the school year, and typically spends her summers in third world countries with Free The Children, so the Christmas holiday is the only time she gets a nice, relaxing break. We’re both total word nerds, and I can’t imagine a better gift for her… assuming I can sneak them to the top of her pile!

    For the donation, I’d love to give more fiction books to my school library at St Lawrence College in Kingston. We’re a fairly small college, and I’ve had a little bit of trouble finding really good contemporary fiction novels amidst all the research texts and literary journals.

    Happy Holidays!

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  30. For the PERSONAL drawing, I would like to win the bookshelf and books for my daughter-in-law. She loves to read, and this would be a great gift for her! (Also, she and I could share the books! Ulterior motive here…..)

    For the PUBLIC drawing, I work at the local community college, and would donate the bookshelf and books to our school’s library collection. It would greatly benefit our students!

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  31. Jeanette Caul says:

    I would love to win the books for the Oswego Public library! The library opened about a year ago and has been busy trying to stock their shelves with great reads!

    As for the personal library, my daughter is an avid reader at the age of 11 and I would love to add to her library for when she gets older!

    Either way, I’ll be making a list of the books on this site and check them out!

    Good luck to all, and Happy Holidays!

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  32. What a generous giveaway! Thank you!
    For the PERSONAL gift, I would split the books amongst the 4 other women who make up my book club! They have provided so much support, guidance, and friendship over the years. (Plus, I bet they would let me borrow them!)

    For the PUBLIC gift, I would like to donate the books to a local assisted living home–whether the staff or residents (or both) read the books, I know they will be appreciated.

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  33. Linda Percy says:

    PERSONAL GIFT: My dear friend Ruth Flanagan who teaches junior high English in Madison, WI, and spends so much of her own money purchasing books and opens the eyes of so many youth to the joys of reading and the magic of books!

    PUBLIC GIFT: I would give as many books as I could to Boston Healthcare for the Homeless. Staff members there have started a book club for homeless people to participate in. They also maintain a library for homeless people in their hospital/clinic building.

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  34. Jean Stafford says:

    What a grand idea!!
    For the PERSONAL GIFT – I would love to win these books for my niece, an avid reader!! And then she would share with her book reading group.

    For the PUBLIC GIFT – would donate to the local women’s prison library as book are cherished!!

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  35. Barbara Larson says:

    On a Personal note, I would give the books to my daughter as she is an avid reader and writes reviews AND we could share them to read, and then compare notes, what fun!

    On a Public note, I would donate the bookshelf to our local town library. In this time of cut backs it is hard to get books. We have book discussion group at our library and these would work just GREAT. I also read King’s book, Bill Warringtons Last Chance and loved it.

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  36. I would love to win these for my mother. She’ll be 84 in January and cares for my 91 year old father who has been bedridden since June, so she rarely gets to leave the house.

    I would donate the second set of books to a program at one of our local hospitals – Books For Patients.

    Thanks for such a great giveaway.

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  37. For the public giveaway: I would love to win these for my local library, Norfolk County Public Library. Due to budget cuts, less books are being ordered in, however they all keep a smile on their face and do their best to accomodate the widest range of people.

    Fantastic giveaway- thank-you!

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  38. For the personal giveaway, I would love to share these with my sister-in law and her mom and sister. Right now we have a “book sharing” program going on. When we’re done with a book that we love, we e-mail the others and arrange to pass it on down the line. That was we all get a chance to read them, and we get to discover new books and authors in the process!

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  39. I’d love to win the personal giveaway! I’d be entering for the chance to give books away to all of my friends who are ALWAYS complaining that they can’t find anything to read. Which is crazy!!! There are so many great novels out there!

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  40. If I were to win this giveaway, as a disabled vet I would donate the books to our local Veterans hospital and Adaptive sports group. I’m a service-connected Veteran with MS (and there are many others) who would enjoy the distractions of many good books.

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  41. Colleen Turner says:

    I am so excited! My mom is going to love her new books :)!

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  42. Congrats to all the winners! This was such a wonderful idea and I’m so glad to see all the libraries that will be getting new books during this time when so many of them are facing budget cuts that will keep them from buying new books in the coming year.

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  43. Yay! Yay! Yay! I am so excited to be a winner in this contest. I can think of no greater gift than a book in someone’s hands! Thank you!

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  44. This is really great! I would love to give to my best childhood friend! She’s the one that lent me all her books and never whine about it since I’m always in short of money back in our secondary school. If it’s not for her, I never know what my hobby would be. Other than that, the public will of course goes to my high school. It’s quite new and there’s barely books in it. Thanks so much for the giveaway!

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  45. OOps! It’s already ends!Sorry and congrats to all winners!

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  46. I’m so excited about winning this! Thanks so much Kate and Larramie. I can’t wait to gift these to my mother, she will be thrilled!

    –Donna

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