A Breast Cancer Alphabet by Madhulika Sikka & Giveaway (US/Canada)

October 2nd, 2014

photo 1

Not many of us can say that cancer hasn’t touched our lives in some way whether it be in our own life or in the lives of our loved ones.  October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and I always like to try and spotlight a few books that deal with breast cancer and those dealing with it.  A Breast Cancer Alphabet by Madhulika Sikka is a little book that packs a big punch and should be one of the first things you gift a newly diagnosed breast cancer patient.  This book will give them some insight into what will happen to them in terms of the medical side of things and also the personal side as well.  The best way I can describe this book is to say it is very real and straightforward.  Madhulika talks about sex, drugs, your feelings on your hair and breasts for that matter – she addresses so many things that really matter when you’re diagnosed with this devastating disease.  As a note I used my own photo because I think it shows just how pretty this little book is and as frivolous as it may sound I think it’s important to have pretty things when you’re not well along with your favorite pillows (the author speaks about that), blankets, and of course your furry pet if you have one.

Yet this book isn’t just for those diagnosed with breast cancer.  It is important for an individual’s family and friends to read it as well so they can gain a much better understanding of what their loved one is dealing with.  Breast cancer has touched my family many times unfortunately as many carry the breast cancer gene and I lost a best friend to breast cancer as well.  So many things that Madhulika describes I can still clearly remember one of my aunts and my friend dealing with.  I wish that they would have had this book to help them understand what was happening to them or to even justify some of the feelings they were having in what Madhulika calls ‘cancerland’.  The book is quite literally an A-Z guide and Madhulika presents everything in a very clear, very personal, and very practical manner.  She makes it ok for the cancer patient to feel as crappy as they do most days.  She addresses things like the anxiety, fear, and guilt that comes with diagnoses.  She talks about what to expect during and even after breast cancer.  It really is an indispensable guide for those dealing with breast cancer.  From firsthand experience of being the family member helping a loved one deal with their diagnosis I have to say that I wish we had this book to help deal with many of the issues that came up.

I love the personal and conversational tone of this book as well as how it looks.  It even has pages in the back of it for those all important notes you need to make yourself or for your loved one because the wealth of information you are receiving is overwhelming.  I was lucky to have both the beautiful hard cover edition of this book as well as being able to listen to the audiobook.  The audiobook is wonderful.  It is narrated by Madhulika herself and she has a beautiful and soothing voice which made it very easy to listen to.  What I loved about the audio is that I felt more connected to Madhulika and what she went through as she is personally relating it to her listeners in her own words and emotions which is very powerful.

Whether it be the book or the audio I highly recommend this beautiful little book to anyone dealing with breast cancer and to their loved ones.  It’s both comforting and empowering to understand what is happening to you and around you.  To Madhulika I wish you all the best and a continued cancer free check up in the years to come!  Highly recommended!


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Author’s Website
Buy at: Amazon, Amazon Canada, B&N




1 copy up for giveaway!

*CLICK HERE* and fill out the form to enter

Draw Date October 18/14

(comments are welcome but do not count as an entry)


Source:  Review copy provided by the publisher however audiobook was a library copy.  No compensation was received and all thoughts and opinions are that of the blog owner.

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Short Leash by Janice Gary – Book Spotlight & Giveaway (US/Canada)

January 6th, 2014

To begin today’s post I’d like to apologize to the author for not getting a review out on her memoir Short Leash: A Memoir of Dog Walking and Deliverance.  Those who read my blog know about my dog Sammy being sick and my total lack of concentration on anything but him (I’ll post an update tomorrow).  Instead I’m going to post a book spotlight for my tour stop but I do plan on reading this book as soon as things settle down so be sure to watch for that in the future.  Also be sure to follow along with the blog tour that started in December for reviews of Short Leash from some great bloggers!



It’s hard to believe that a walk in the park can change a life – let alone two – but for Janice Gary and her dog Barney, that’s exactly what happened.

Gary always walked with a big dog by her side and had ever since being attacked on the streets of Berkley as a young woman. For years, she relied on her beloved Husky to help her navigate the world on her own. Then he succumbed to canine cancer, leaving Janice alone and vulnerable once again. Enter Barney: a goofy, gangly stray Gary discovers wandering loose in a Piggly Wiggly parking lot. With biscuit-sized paws and a big, blocky head, the pup promises to grow into her biggest protector yet. And he does – but after an attack by a vicious dog, Barney becomes overly protective and barely manageable. Walking hiPm anywhere becomes almost impossible; but walking without him is unthinkable.

It’s only when Gary risks bringing Barney to a local park on the Chesapeake Bay that both their lives change forever. There, Janice faces her deepest fears and discovers the grace of the natural world, the power of love and the potency of her own strengths. And Barney loses the leash of his own fears. Beautifully written, Short Leash is a moving tale of love and loss, the journey of a broken soul finding its way toward wholeness.

Other tour stops with TLC Book Tours
Buy at: Amazon, Amazon Canada, and B&N



“There were innumerable times when I was just knocked over by this book. This is a stunningly beautiful story told by a gifted writer.” –Meredith Hall, author of N.Y. Times Bestseller, Without a Map

“Short Leash… isn’t quite a dog book—even though the title and the cover picture both relate to a big, lovable black lab named Barney. No, Short Leash is instead an impossibly beautiful portrait of two damaged souls and how they lean on one another to heal, hurt, and find their way back to happiness after unspeakable tragedy.”–Independent Publisher

“Pema Chodron has said that the best way to deal with fear is to lean into it, diffusing its effect by letting it inform you and staying present. Suffering the after-effects of traumatizing attacks, Gary and her dog Barney leaned into their fears and in doing so, freed themselves from them. An inspiring and uncompromisingly honest story.” The Bark Magazine

Named an “Editor’s Pick” from New Pages.com.

Named an “Indie Groundbreaking Memoir:” Independent Publisher



In-the-Park-touched-upJanice Gary is the author of Short Leash: A Memoir of Dog Walking and Deliverance, which was chosen as a “Groundbreaking memoir” by Independent Publisher and a New Pages “Editor’s Pick”. She is the recipient of the Christine White Award for Memoir and the Ames Award for Personal Essay. As a writing coach, she helps others writers find their unique voice and stories. In between her work and appearances for Short Leash, she blogs at janicegary.com.



I have one copy of Short Leash by Janice Gary to share with my readers.  To enter…

  • For 1 entry leave a comment entering the giveaway.
  • Tweet, share on Facebook, or blog for 2 extra entries.

This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only and I will draw for the winner on January 21/14.  Good luck!


The Purchase by Linda Spalding – Spotlight & Giveaway (2 copies-US/Canada)

November 27th, 2013

Well we are at the midpoint of the week and tomorrow is Thanksgiving for all my US friends so a Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!  Today though I have a spotlight on a book I’m looking forward to reading myself.  It’s called The Purchase by Linda Spalding and it’s about a Quaker family back in 1798.  It sounds so good and I’ve already grabbed myself a copy of the book so I hope to be reading it soon.  In the meantime I’m going to tell you a bit about the book and give you a chance at the end of the post to win yourself one of two copies up for giveaway.


THE PURCHASE (from Amazon)

In 1798, Daniel Dickinson, a young Quaker father and widower, leaves his home in Pennsylvania to establish a new life. He sets out with two horses, a wagon full of belongings, his five children, a 15-year-old orphan wife, and a few land warrants for his future homestead. When Daniel suddenly trades a horse for a young slave, Onesimus, it sets in motion a struggle in his conscience that will taint his life forever, and sets in motion a chain of events that lead to two murders and the family’s strange relationship with a runaway slave named Bett. Stripped down and as hard-edged as the realities of pioneer life, Spalding’s writing is nothing short of stunning, as it instantly envelops the reader in the world and time of the novel, and follows the lives of unforgettable characters. Inspired by stories of the author’s own ancestors, The Purchase is a resonant, powerful and timeless novel.

Buy at: Amazon, Amazon Canada, and Chapters Indigo


LINDA SPALDING (from Linda’s website)

LINDA SPALDINGLinda Spalding, Kansas-born Canadian fiction and nonfiction writer, often explores world cultures and the clash between contemporary life and traditional beliefs. Her most recent book, The Purchase, won the 2012 Governor General’s Literary Prize for Fiction. The Purchase has been published in Canada by McClelland & Stewart and in the U.S. by Pantheon.

Spalding is also well know for Who Named the Knife (2007), the true story of the murder trial of Maryann Acker, a teenager sentenced to life in prison for a murder committed while on honeymoon in Hawaii. Spalding, who served on the jury, tracks down Maryann 20 years later in order to reexamine the murder and the question of Maryann’s innocence. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly called it, a “delicate yet powerful work.” The reviewer for the Miami Herald said, “Spalding is amazing in her ability to seamlessly present a legal paper trail and other research alongside her emotional and honest assessment of herself.” The book was made into a TV movie – Of Murder and Memory – written by Semi Chellis.

Spalding’s earlier books include the novels Mere (2001) co-authored with her daughter Esta Spalding; The Paper Wife (1996); Daughters of Captain Cook (1989); and the nonfiction book The Follow (1998), about renowned orangutan expert Birute Galdikas, one of the three female acolytes of anthropologist Louis Leakey known as “Leakey’s Angels” (along with Jane Goodall and Diane Fossey). The reviewer for the Christian Science Monitor called the Galdikas book, “An intimate and deeply thoughtful chronicle of a woman’s awakening to the many challenges facing orangutans and the earth as a whole.” It was short-listed for the Trillium Book Award and the Pearson Writers’ Trust Non-Fiction Prize.

An editor of Brick, a Journal of Reviews, Spalding has been awarded the Harbourfront Festival Prize for her contribution to the Canadian literary community.

Linda lives in Toronto with her husband, Michael Ondaatje, her dog Jasper and her cat Jack.

Linda’s website



I have 2 copies of The Purchase by Linda Spalding to share with my readers.  To enter…

  • For 1 entry just leave a comment entering the giveaway.
  • Tweet, share on Facebook, or blog for 2 extra entries.

This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents and I will draw for the winner on December 12/13.  Good luck!


Source:  Giveaway copies provided by the publicist.

The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro

August 6th, 2013


The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro is the She Reads selection for August and it is a wonderful mix of historical fiction and storytelling. It takes us back through time to the 1920’s and the 1950’s and into the lives of two women who are tied together through time. The Perfume Collector is a beautiful story of deeply buried secrets, desires, passion, and the power of fragrance.

Taking place in the 1950’s we find Grace, a London socialite, who is trapped in a loveless marriage and a life she really doesn’t think she fits into. Grace is an intelligent woman but that isn’t what her husband is looking for. He wants only a wife with a good background who looks goods on his arm and is an asset to his career ambitions. When she receives a substantial inheritance from a woman called Madame Eva d’Orsey she is bewildered. This woman is a complete stranger and yet has left her enough money so that she will be financially stable in her life and able to do whatever she wants. Just who is this woman and how does she know Grace? Grace can’t just take the money and move on – first she must unravel the mystery of who this woman is. She can never imagine that the answers to her questions will be found in an old perfume shop in Paris and that they will forever change her life and how she sees herself.

The 1920’s introduce us to Eva d’Orsey who we first meet as a young girl working in a hotel. It is there that Eva will meet a man who becomes one of Paris’s greatest perfumers and she his muse. Eva’s life is very different from Grace’s privileged upbringing. Things never came easy for Eva and she had to fight for everything she had but the question still remains as to why she’s left all this money for Grace and why is it so important to Eva that Grace have financial independence?

I liked both Eva and Grace. Both were easy to like and as a reader you find yourself sympathizing with them both. By far though my favorite part of the story is the information on fragrances and how they are made as this has long been a fascination of mine. This was a very enjoyable novel and I would recommend it in a heartbeat!  I’ll leave you with a favorite passage of mine from the novel…

‘Perfume should tell a story – the story of who you are, who you might be, perhaps even of who you fear becoming… all of these things are possible.’ (taken from eBook copy)


Pop over to She Reads for more Reviews!
Buy at:  Amazon, Amazon Canada, and B&N


Source:  My own personal copy.  No compensation was received and all thoughts are my own.


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