Tag: Off Topic


Posted December 4, 2013 by Holly in | 0 Comments

FeedingAmerica-500x276The “Be Thankful” initiative urges support of our less fortunate neighbors


Thanksgiving is a time to gather with family around an extravagant meal and be thankful for all the security and stability in our lives.  But it’s also a reminder that a cold winter is ahead, and it is therefore important to acknowledge our less fortunate neighbors, which is why Penguin is proud to support The Maryland Food Bank, with Penguin’s first ever “Be Thankful” initiative.


#1 New York Times bestselling Penguin author, Nora Roberts was born in Silver Spring, Maryland and has a deep affinity for her home state, having set many of her more than 200 novels in Maryland.  Her recent NY Times bestseller, “Thankless in Death” is a suspense thriller which centers around loved ones coming together for Thanksgiving.  The brutal reality of hunger in Maryland sadly has its own frightening narrative. “I was shocked to discover that the Maryland Food Bank distributes more than 34.6 million pounds of food – the equivalent of almost 29 million meals each year – and despite that significant effort, families still go hungry in our region,” stated Nora Roberts.  “I am proud to help raise awareness of this issue and to applaud the incredible work that local food banks do daily to eradicate hunger in Maryland.  The holiday season is a great reminder to capture the spirit of giving thanks and helping those in need.”


Penguin would also like to acknowledge the efforts of Governor Martin O’Malley, who is committed to ending childhood hunger in Maryland by 2015.  “One hungry child is one too many,” said Governor O’Malley. “Because of its connection to student achievement, workforce strength, physical health, and behavioral health, we’ve made eradicating childhood hunger a priority in our State.”


“We are delighted to support The Maryland Food Bank for the first time.  The negative cascading effect that food insecurity can have on a person, a child or a family, is devastating. Penguin is proud to recognize the tireless efforts of The Maryland Food Bank and its commitment to lead the fight against food insecurity and hunger,” said Leslie Gelbman, President of Mass Market Publishing, Penguin Group (USA). To mark the occasion, Penguin Group (USA) is making a $10,000 donation to The Maryland Food Bank.  “There are more than 457,000 people in our service area who don’t know where their next meal is coming from, and more than a third are children,” says Maryland Food Bank President & CEO Deborah Flateman.  “The emotional toll of hunger is especially high during the holidays.  Families are struggling to put food on the table, heat their home, and at the same time keep traditions alive, so their children feel normal – at least for one day.  This gift will go a long way, and help many, many families in need.”  The donation ensures that over 20,000 meals will be made available to the citizens of Maryland who are in dire need of food assistance.


You too can become involved in the “Be Thankful” initiative by donating food or volunteering; to view a complete list of the affiliated food banks and or participate in a Virtual Food Drive, please visit Feeding America’s national Food Bank Locator at http://bit.ly/9ociO.



Maryland-Food-bank-339x500About the Maryland Food Bank

The Maryland Food Bank is a nonprofit hunger-relief organization, leading the movement to end hunger throughout Maryland. For more than thirty years, the Maryland Food Bank has partnered with communities across the state to distribute food to individuals and families in need.Through carefully-crafted programs, the food bank aims to meet the immediate needs of Marylanders while simultaneously working to find long term ways to reduce hunger statewide. Currently distributing 79,000 meals per day – nearly 29 million meals annually – the Maryland Food Bank will continue to expand its efforts until hunger ends.


The Maryland Food Bank www.mdfoodbank.org operates from three facilities: one in Baltimore, one in Salisbury, and one in Hagerstown. Through an extensive network of soup kitchens, pantries, schools and other community-based organizations, food is distributed throughout 22 counties, including Baltimore City, and Somerset, Wicomico, and Washington counties – some of the most food-insecure regions in Maryland.


Penguin-group-logoAbout Penguin Group (USA) 

Penguin Group (USA) Inc. is the U.S. member of the internationally renowned Penguin Group.  Penguin Group (USA) is one of the leading U.S. adult and children’s trade book publishers, owning a wide range of imprints and trademarks, including Viking, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, The Penguin Press, Riverhead Books, Dutton, Penguin Books, Berkley Books, Gotham Books, Portfolio, New American Library, Plume, Tarcher, Philomel, Grosset & Dunlap, Puffin, and Frederick Warne, among others. The Penguin Group (www.penguin.com) is part of Penguin Random House plc, the international media company.

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Check it Out: Weird Historical Facts

Posted April 25, 2008 by Holly in Discussions | 0 Comments

I’m blatantly stealing this link from Sybil, who just posted an excerpt from Jo Beverley‘s April Release, A Lady’s Secret.

Anyway, she (Jo Beverley, not Sybil) keeps a blog where she posts weird historical facts she finds while researching her books. I’ve always been interested in history and I sometimes wonder where authors get some of their facts from, so I really enjoy what she puts up. She does note that she randomly updates and it isn’t an all the time thing. But still, go check it out.

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Want To Be A Little More Specific? Please?

Posted April 23, 2008 by Holly in Discussions | 3 Comments

bear telled me
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You know what drives me absolutely batshit crazy? When an author is vague about a physical description. For example: I was reading a book last night and the author described the heroine as having generous curves. She was “curvy”. She had “curves”. I’m sorry, but WTF does that mean?

Is she overweight? Does she have extremely large breasts and a tiny waist (a la Dolly Parton)? Is she normal looking on top but huge on the bottom? Is the author trying to tell me she’s got some child-birthin’ hips? What?

Do you see my frustration?

What about you? Does it bother you when you see general descriptions like that? Or do you like to prefer to just make up the description yourself? Any other reading Pet Peeves you want to share with me?

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Preconceived Notions: Can you let them go?

Posted March 27, 2008 by Holly in Discussions | 9 Comments

Holly: A few weeks ago, Rosie posted something about being an Ageist. Basically? That she’s extremely discriminate when it comes to the ages of the characters in the novels she reads. I admit, I’m guilty of this as well. My preferred ages for heroines range from 18 – 25 for historicals and 23-32 for contemporaries. The thing is, I’m soon to be 30 myself. You’d think I wouldn’t have an issue reading about women 5 years older than me. But I do.

Of course, there are exceptions. A few years ago, Rowena and I discovered Jennifer Crusie. We read Fast Women together. I remember it perfectly. We agreed to try some new authors and we’d heard of JC. We were on the phone with each other and we were at the book store (in separate towns) and she said, “I’m gong to get this book. You need to as well.” and I said, “Ok, it looks cute” so we bought it. We started reading it that night and we called/emailed each other to gush over how good it was in the beginning and how much we adored the beginning. “We did good this time!”

But a short time later our tune changed. Ween called me, dismayed. “Dude, did you know these women are old?” Yeah, I’d just realized that. So then what? The story was ruined? I couldn’t read it anymore?

Nope, I continued on and loved it. Absolutely adored it.

I realized something today about myself that Holly helped me realize.

I’m NOT an Ageist.

Because when I think about Fast Women, and when I read it all those many years ago, I don’t remember the book because of how old Nell was or how old Gabe was. I remember loving the budding relationship between Nell and Gabe. I loved getting to know them as people. Characters of a book. And I loved Nell’s son. He was a cutie patootie and thought he’d be perfect for Gabe’s daughter. There were so many things that I loved about Fast Women and remembering their age just didn’t matter to me.

It makes me wonder though because I have pre conceived notions about a lot of other book things. Like, covers. If the cover is hideous, odds are, I won’t pick up the book and I’ll never know if the story within the book is the best thing since sliced bread because there are so many other books with prettier covers that I’ll read before it. It’s sad really, and something that I’m not entirely proud of but it is what it is. Holly isn’t a cover snob and she’s read some really attrocious looking books and thought they were the bomb and I still haven’t read it….

…so I guess I got some work to do, huh?


Holly: But you avoid picking up books when the hero/heroine are older, don’t you? Just like we were dismayed when we first realized the hero/heroine of FW were older. I know I’ve put some books back on the shelf at the bookstore after reading they were in the late 30’s or 40’s or 50’s. Because those just don’t appeal to me. Am I missing out on some amazing books because of it? Probably. But that doesn’t stop me from putting them back.

I have issues with other things, too. Like cheating. I read a book recently, Once Smitten, Twice Shy by Lori Wilde. The hero of that book was engaged to someone else while falling back in love with his ex-wife. When I first realized he was still in love with one woman while engaged to another, it bothered me. But I was able to move past it and I really enjoyed the book. But I know there are other books I’ve put down because they dealt with some of my hot button issues and I just couldn’t be arsed to read them. Is it possible, like Fast Women and Once Smitten, Twice Shy, that they were wonderful stories I truly would have enjoyed? Yup, but that didn’t stop me from putting them back on the shelf and walking away.

Hmm, well maybe I used to be like that but I’m not like that anymore. I know I used to shy away from Christian fiction but I don’t think I will anymore. I used to think that it would be too cheesy and too full of everything I’m not looking for in my romance but then I read Oceans Apart by Karen Kingsbury which is basically a Christian romance and I really enjoyed it. More than I’ve enjoyed anything in quite a long time. My sister read the book and we loved it! It’s not something that I would have ever read before on my own because, HELLO! There’s no love scenes in these books and you know how we all are about those love scenes, the steamier the better! But I realized that Christian fiction is just as good as regular women’s fiction, it’s different but no less enjoyable than a Jennifer Crusie or a Lisa Kleypas book would be.

Just really, really good stuff.

And Holly, I think it’s very likely that we’re missing out on great things because of our snobbyness. So our question to you guys is this, have you guys had any preconceived notions about books and ended up being really wrong about them or spot on? Share your thoughts and stories with us, we’d love to hear them.

Holly: I know we’re missing out on some great books because we’re letting our prejudices color what we read. And I’ve had experience in reading things I didn’t think I’d like that I ended up loving.

What do you think, darling readers? Can we move on? Can we pick up a book with a cheater hero, or a heroine who’s 50, or with a Christian theme? Can you?

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Author or Publisher?

Posted January 7, 2008 by Holly in Discussions, Reviews | 12 Comments

When you’re looking for new books, do you take notice of the publisher or just the author? Do you have a preferred publisher you like to buy from?

Holly: I used to be addicted to Avon Historicals. Well, back when I was addicted to Historicals, Avon was my preferred publisher. Whenever I went to the bookstore (this was pre-eBook days for me), I’d check the spine for the Avon symbol and then I’d buy it – a lot of times without even seeing who the author was or reading the back blurb.

Casee: For me, it was the opposite. I thought that Avon’s historicals were too fluffy. With the exception of Lisa Kleypas, I don’t know that there is another historical Avon author that I really enjoy. I love Suzanne Enoch, but I’m a fan of her contemporaries.

The first time I read Karen Rose, I picked it up on a complete whim. I can’t say how happy I am that I judged a book by its’ cover. Now, whenever I see “Warner Forever” across the front of a book, I give it a chance (with the exception of Rachel Lee). I also will try most Berkley authors.

Holly: Then I found a list of auto-buy authors. Linda Howard, Hannah Howell, Julie Garwood, Judith McNaught, and many, many others. I didn’t check the publishers for them, just bought any book with their name on the cover.

Once I’d glommed all their backlists, I started checking out who their publishers were so I could find (hopefully) more authors just as good as they are/were. That led me to Harelquin and their various imprints. Now I balance it pretty equally. Sometimes I surf a publisher website looking for new books to buy, and sometimes I just go by author.

Wena: For me, Publishing Houses just don’t make it to my radar. Before I started blogging here on Book Binge where we get review requests from different publishing houses, I was publishing house stupid. I didn’t know who was writing for who and really, I didn’t give a damn. I still kind of don’t. I read the authors that I like and the authors that get pimped on the book blogs that I enjoy reading, other than that…I just don’t pay much attention to them. So, for me…I’m all about the authors!

So, what about the rest of you? Have a preferred publishing house? Don’t care one way or the other? Is it all about the author for you, or the publishing house? Or do neither matter?

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