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. I’d love to win these books for the Dodge City High School Media Center. We can always use books for older HS aged readers.

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  2. I’d love love love to win these books for my friend Kara who is an avid reader and always shares :-)!

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  3. Nina Priddy says:

    I would love to win these for my daughters, either of them, they both love to read and they share books with each other and with me, and I share books with them, I can’t think of any greater gift than winning several books to give to them! All of these books sound like winners, too !

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  4. I would love to win this for my mother who, for health reasons, is not able to go as many places as she used to and spends a lot more time at home nowadays. She is the one who encouraged me read when I was younger and now that’s my favorite way to spend the day, with my nose in a book. She would be THRILLED to receive this gift as she is as passionate about reading as I am! Thanks so much for this incredible giveaway!

    dsfrankj at gmail dot com

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  5. Deanna Chevas says:

    I would love to win this bookshelf for my mom. She is retired and devours books.

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  6. Deanna Chevas says:

    The Brewster Center in Tucson seems like a great place to receive a bookshelf of books. They are angels.

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  7. Public – I would love for our local library to win these books. Cove City, NC which is a small town with a population of 400, our little library seems to be really falling under the recent budget cuts. This would really put a smile on everyone’s faces!!

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  8. So many great books here – Georgia’s Kitchen, The Murderer’s Daughter, Russell Wiley is Out to Lunch. I’d love to win something and find some other great authors!!!

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  9. My public gift would go to The Julian Center, a domestic and sexual violence shelter.
    My private gift would be for my BFF Cheryl, who wouldn’t mind sharing with me!!
    (If I’m lucky enough to win either gift, please be patient waiting for me to reply, BFF and I will be gone on vacation the week you’re selecting winners)

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  10. Kelly Sense says:

    I would love to win for my future mother-in-law and sister-in-law. They are both arent readers, who are going through a hard time. My fiance’s father walked out on his wife and four kids. My future mother-in-law has moved from being a stay at home mom to working long hours at a laundry mat as well as taking night classes to try to improve her family’s situation.

    My future sister-in-law, at 19, immediately started working long shifts through a phone bank in order to keep their home out of foreclosure.

    They don’t have money for entertainment and I, an Americorps volunteer, don’t have any money for presents. My heart goes out to many people written about on this page though.

    Thanks!

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  11. Wanda Zerangue says:

    If I would win the personal bookshelf, I would give the books to my daughter. After studying for years, she is now learning to read for pleasure!!

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  12. Kelly Sense says:

    Public Bookshelf:

    There is a great nonprofit here in Seattle called Books to Prisoners. http://www.bookstoprisoners.net/

    In the spirit of Shawshank Redemption, I would like to put them in the running for the prize.

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  13. For my mom…who taught me the magic of a book and it’s ability to make everything ok.

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  14. Meghan Graves says:

    I would love to win these for my grandma! She’s 90 years old and although she can no longer leave the house, she often says she still travels the world by reading books!

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  15. Devon Crouse says:

    My wife is an avid reader! She would love a gift like this.

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  16. Jeff Rogers says:

    For my sister. She is 10 years older than and taught me to read. As an adult she has made a career out of taking care of me. Without her I would be completely lost and currently she deserves a break.

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  17. Michelle Ballou says:

    I’d love to win for my best friend, Leah, who introduced me to Jen Lancaster which led me to your books.

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  18. I’d like to win for my friend Kathryne. We love to swap books!

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  19. Monika Deveau says:

    Private: my neighbour Shelley, who has a kind word for everyone. Volunteers and still makes time to read.
    Private: VON Sakura House. Our local hospice.

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  20. Monika Deveau says:

    Public: VON Sakura House. Our local hospice.

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  21. I would give these to my wife, as she has had to cut back on her personal reading for the past two years in order to work on her master’s degree. The end is in sight.

    For a public institution, I would give it to the Eaton Middle School in Eaton, CO where my sister is a reading specialist.

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  22. I would LOVE to win these books for my cousin, Nicole. They could change her life. Seriously!

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  23. Sheila Walman says:

    I would love to win the Gift Bookshelf for my Mother, who gave me the gift of reading. She taught me how very important the written word is, and how it can change your mind, your attitude, sometimes even your life.

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  24. Sheila Walman says:

    For the public Gift Bookshelf, I would nominate my local library, the Evelyn Goldberg Briggs Memorial Library of Iron River, WI.
    We live in a very small rural community, and our library accomplishes so many things for us. It is a place that brings us together. From our library we get information on how to fix and to build, for we are self sufficient. We learn ways to explore our creativity. We exercise our minds when the long, harsh winter nights keep us indoors. Our library is an incredible resource in an area that doesn’t have very many resources.

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  25. My wife’s sister is currently fighting breast cancer. She a retired English Lit PHD and is spending all of her discretionary income on treatments and copays. She loves to read and has formed a bookclub, but can not spend much on new fiction. This gift would be a wonderful surprise for her.

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  26. As soon as I saw this I thought of my friend and colleague, Kathy. She is not only a voracious reader; but is both a marketing writer 8-5 p.m. and a published writer during any other time she can find available. She’s been going through some hard times for a while — and now that she’s slowed down due to a broken ankle she may actually have some time to read.

    Reading is about finding time for yourself and she can certainly use some.

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  27. I’d love to win these books for our English classrooms at the high school. Kids expect us to have the best books to read, and these look yummy!

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  28. I’d love to win these books for my friend, Michelle. She reads quickly, so I know she’d pass them on (to me, to me!) in a timely manner 🙂

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  29. My Daughter loves to read as much as i do, so I know she would love to have a bookshelf of books, and believe me she will read them all, and i also would like my Library to get some books Mohave County Library in Bullhead City, Az because i have so much fun at this library than anywhere else, libraries are just fun and enjoyable to me, i really like my little library.

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  30. I couldn’t agree more that books are the best gifts. And what an amazing array of reads!!! I’d love to share them with Lori Notz, an avid reader who will spread them throughout her bookclub.

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  31. I would also love to be able to donate any of these fantastic books to the Denver Public Library, who has a huge usership but a rapidly shrinking budget. Libraries are so very important and my heart breaks over and over as I hear about more and more closings all over the country.

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  32. I would love to win these for my sister Alisha! She is a military wife now and never lives near me anymore. We are blessed to be best friends and not just sisters. One of our favorite shared memories is of reading. We read all the time! Under the covers with a flashlight, hiding in the closet from our younger non-reading very active sister, on family trips etc. We always had a book in our hand and when we didn’t have money to buy our own books, which was most of our childhood life, we walked to the library together every other day to get a stack of books! I would love to share these with her. We enjoy reading the same book and talking about it as well as sharing suggestions and swapping books. When we are done with books we have read we like to pass them along to others.

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  33. Wendy Catalano says:

    I would just love to win your collection of books. They look amazing!
    I would also want my library (Brampton Library) to win the other collection so that I could give back to them for all that they have given me over the years.

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  34. Anne Lancaster says:

    I would love to win these books, as reading is my top priority now that I have been diagnosed with macular degeneration and am slowly losing my ability to read.

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  35. I would love to win the books for my personal library collection. I’m a voracious reader and I read at least eight books each month, some of which I review for my blog The Invisible Mentor. I appreciate the contest because it gives me access to authors that I otherwise would not know about.

    I also share books with friends and give away a lot of books as gifts all year round.

    Thanks again for the book giveaway. Avil

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  36. Karen Miller says:

    What a great gift this would be. I would want to win a set for my Library. My Library, Sno-Isle Library has been so wonderful. They are watching their budget closely to make the most of their money while still giving the reader what they want. The staff all took a freeze on their salary and the upper management actually took a three percent pay cut to make sure the budget stayed within limits, but still served the public. Isn’t that neat?
    Karen Miller

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  37. Dustin Hinkle says:

    I would give these books to David, to cure my college friend of his nonfiction tunnel vision. This set of books could be the quiet cull to bring David back to the light from the dark, dense forest of biographies, histories, business books, and anything related to the Grateful Dead.

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  38. Candi Nelson says:

    Personal – I would love to win the books for my 90 year old mother who reads voraciously. She loves so many topics and shares her faves with others. Of course, I would get the benefit of reading them also and sharing them with my book club.

    Public – I want to win the books for Mom’s housing development, Miccosukee Hills. There are about 130 residents all on fixed incomes and they have a small lending library in their clubhouse. So many would benefit from a small amount of books.

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  39. Sheila Anne says:

    Personal Giveway: Any books I happen to win in a book give-away I put in the lending library where I work after I enjoy reading the book.

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  40. Jenny George says:

    About 4 years ago, 12 days before Christmas, my sisters husband died while out riding his bicycle from a brain anneurism. She had to phone all her friends and then hospitals to find him. He was on life support for 3 days until I could travel down to see her and help her through this tragic time of her life. She had 2 teenage boys at the time and had to struggle through each day for them and it was really a question of putting one foot in front of the other. I would love to win these books for her as she now spends a lot of time reading and is always looking for something new. I buy books for myself and send them down to her. I would also love to win some books for my local library which is Shaganappi Library in Calgary. I also love to read and they keep me supplied through our long winter months. thank you for the opportunity. Jenny

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  41. Sheila Anne says:

    Public drawing: I would like to win a selection of books for Alive Hospice. To be enjoyed by the patiences and families.

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  42. What a great assortment of books. Hope I win!

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  43. These delightful books would be ideal for my sister who enjoys reading and appreciates this lovely selection.

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  44. These books would be donated to the retirement home around the corner. They are so grateful for books and enjoy everything that I give them. thanks o much.

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  45. Laurie Lamb says:

    Wow, what a giveaway! Please enter me.

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  46. Laurie Lamb says:

    correction to previous post: Wow, what a giveaway! My Mom is largely homebound and constantly looking for books. She’d love to win a collection.

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  47. Laurie Lamb says:

    I’d love to win the collection for my local library, the Wheeler Library. It’s small but has a lot of heart.

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  48. My sister loves to bundle up in the winter and hibernate with a roomful of books. I’d love to present her with a collection of great books.

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  49. Penny Tuttle says:

    I’d love to win all these books for my sister Wendi, who loves to read (and of course I’d get to share too!)

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  50. Donna Tyler says:

    I would love to win these books for my Mom. She loves books and I would love for her to have all of these to add to her collection. She is the best mom and friend anyone could have.

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