Monday, August 31, 2009

Mailbox Monday (08-31-09 edition)



Mailbox Monday is brought to us by The Printed Page. In my mailbox last week I got:

Winnings...

One Scream Away by Kate Brady
Won from Readaholic

Killer Chevy Bankes is a master of disguise, and just paroled, he's coming after the woman who sent him to jail, the beautiful antiques expert Beth Denison. A set of antique dolls brings Beth into his sight, and inspire Chevy's disturbing crimes as he draws closer to Beth and her young daughter. Chevy sends the dolls to Beth one-by-one and she soon realizes that these antiques carry the same marks as his victims, signaling that the final piece in his collection will be for her.

Neil Sheridan gave up his FBI shield five years ago, but his best friend Rick, a cop, pulls him in as a consultant on a case involving a serial killer who is eerily similar to a murderer Neil encountered in the past. The investigation leads Neil to Beth's doorstep, and he is certain she isn't telling him the truth. Neil is the only one who can get through Beth's defenses and, as they grow closer,discover the secrets that Beth is hiding about her fateful night with Chevy.


Off Season by Anne Rivers Siddons
Won from Libby's Library News

For as long as she can remember, they were Cam and Lilly—happily married, totally in love with each other, parents of a beautiful family, and partners in life. Then, after decades of marriage, it ended as every great love story does...in loss. After Cam's death, Lilly takes a lone road trip to her and Cam's favorite spot on the remote coast of Maine, the place where they fell in love over and over again, where their ghosts still dance. There, she looks hard to her past—to a first love that ended in tragedy; to falling in love with Cam; to a marriage filled with exuberance, sheer life, and safety— to try to figure out her future.

It is a journey begun with tender memories and culminating in a revelation that will make Lilly re-evaluate everything she thought was true about her husband and her marriage.


Received for review...


Karma for Beginners by Jessica Blank
Fourteen-year-old Tessa has never had a normal life. Her mother, a frustrated hippie with awful taste in men, has seen to that. But when her mom pulls her out of school to live at an ashram in the Catskills, Tessa goes from being a freak among normal people to being an outcast among freaks. Freaks who worship an orange robe-wearing guru. And while her mom is buzzing with spiritual energy, and finding a little too much favor with the guru, all Tessa feels are weird vibes.

Unless she's with Colin, the gorgeous boy who fixes trucks for the ashram. The connection they share is the most spiritual thing Tessa has ever felt. But he's older-like illegally older-and Tessa's taking dangerous risks to spend time with him. Soon her life is blooming into a psychedelic web of secrets and lies and it's clear that something's about to give way. When it does, will she have anyone to hold on to? Will she even know herself?


Revelations abound in this mind-altering novel from the acclaimed author of Almost Home.


Bought...

The Living Dead (a collection of authors short stories)

"When there's no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth!" From White Zombie to Dawn of the Dead, Resident Evil to World War Z, zombies have invaded popular culture, becoming the monsters that best express the fears and anxieties of the modern west. Gathering together the best zombie literature of the last three decades from many of today's most renowned authors of fantasy, speculative fiction, and horror, including Stephen King, Harlan Ellison, Robert Silverberg, George R. R. Martin, Clive Barker, Poppy Z. Brite, Neil Gaiman, Joe Hill, Laurell K. Hamilton, and Joe R. Lansdale, The Living Dead covers the broad spectrum of zombie fiction.

The Measure of a Lady by Deeanne Gist

Rachel van Buren arrives in Gold Rush San Francisco with two wishes: to protect her younger siblings and to return east as soon as possible. Both goals prove more difficult than she could imagine as her brother and sister are lured by the city's dangerous freedom and a missionary-turned-gambler stakes a claim on her heart. Rachel won't give up without a fight though, and soon all will learn an eloquent but humorous lesson about what truly makes a lady.

Speak Politely. Even when you're the only respectable woman around, protesting the decadence of a city lost to gold fever.

Dress Modestly. Wear your sunbonnet at all times. Ensure nobody sees your work boots muddied by the San Francisco streets.

Remain Devoted to Family. Protect your siblings from the lures of the city, even against their wishes.

Stand Above Reproach. Most difficult when a wonderful man turns out to be a saloon owner.

Rise Above Temptation. No, not even just a little kiss....

When these rules become increasingly difficult to uphold, can Rachel Van Buren remain a beacon of virtue in a city of vice?

WINNER: Of Bees and Mist by Erick Setiawan

The winner of the ARC Of Bees and Mist is...





...Jenny!

Congratulations, Jenny! I'll be emailing you soon. Please get me your mailing address by 5 PM EST Wednesday. I hope you love this book as much as I did. It's hard to give away, so I'm just gonna have to buy a copy after it's released!

Thanks to everyone who entered, and don't forget my other giveaways still going on for hardcover copies of Swimsuit and Secrets to Happiness. Stay tuned for more great giveaways in September!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

GIVEAWAY: Secrets to Happiness by Sarah Dunn

Secrets to Happiness by Sarah Dunn

Synopsis

Holly Frick has just endured the worst kind of breakup: the kind where you're still in love with the person leaving you. While her wounds are still dangerously close to the surface, her happily married best friend confesses over a bottle of wine that she is this close to having an affair. And another woman comes to Holly for advice about her love life--with Holly's ex!

Holly decides that if everyone around her can take pleasure wherever they find it, so will she. As any self-respecting 30ish New York woman would do, she brings two males into her life: a flawed but endearing dog, and a good natured, much younger lover. She's soon entangled in a web of emails, chance meetings, and misguided good intentions and must forge an entirely new path to Nirvana.

From the author of The Big Love, Secrets to Happiness is a big-hearted, knife-sharp, and hilariously entertaining story about the perils of love and friendship, sex and betrayal--and a thoroughly modern take on our struggle to be happy.


GIVEAWAY: Win a hardcover of Secrets to Happiness by Sarah Dunn

Rules (you knew there had to be some):
  • You must be 18 years or older
  • Open to US and Canada residents only
  • To enter, just comment below. Be sure to leave your email address in your comment, or have it visible in your profile.
  • For extra entries, follow my blog and/or blog about this contest. One extra entry for each. Sidebars are okay.
  • Leave a separate comment for each entry.
  • That's a total of 3 possible entries!
  • Those who don't follow the rules risk being disqualified.

Deadline is September 20th.

Good Luck! Ready, Set, Go!

Poetry Sunday (08-30-09 edition)

Today I am offering up a limerick that I wrote back in high school for class.

The Cat

There once was a man with a cat,
and when asked where it was at,
he replied, "Eh? I can't hear,
for there's a cat in my ear!"
And that was the end of their chat!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Book Giveaways in Blogworld (08-29-09 edition)

Here is a list of some giveaways going on in Blogworld*. Please note that new giveaways that were added this week are indented in Blockquotes:

J Kaye's Book Blog is giving away the Monsters of Florence audiobook. Deadline is August 29.

J Kaye's Book Blog is giving away an ARC of Lost Hours. Deadline is August 29.

The Written Word is giving away both Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict and Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict to three winners! Deadline is August 29.

Reviewabook123 is giving away a new bookcase or computer desk. 3 easy possible entries! 10 possible prize options! Deadline is August 29.

J Kaye's Book Blog is giving away a review copy of Only You. Deadline is August 29.

All About {n} is giving away a copy of Rude Awakenings. Deadline is August 29.

J. Kaye's Book Blog is giving away an ARC of Dark Places. Deadline is August 29.

All About {n} is giving away an autographed copy of Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict. Deadline is August 29.

All About {n} is also giving away a copy of Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict. Deadline is August 29.

For the Love of All That is Written is giving away a copy of Taken. Deadline is August 30.

The Mommy Files is giving away 3 copies of Twenty Boy Summer. Deadline is August 30.

Bookin' with Bingo is giving away 5 copies of Scream for Me. Deadline is August 30.

Bookin' with Bingo is also giving away 5 copies of Out of Time. Deadline is August 30.


Bookin' with Bingo
is giving away 5 copies of To Seduce a Sinner. Deadline is August 30.

Just Another New Blog is giving away 5 copies of Seduce Me. Deadline is August 30.

Peeking Between the Pages is giving away 3 copies of Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz. Deadline is August 30.

Jo-Jo Loves to Read is giving away Circle of Friends (Book III). Deadline is August 30.

Peeking Between the Pages is giving away 2 copies of Hugh and Bess. Deadline is August 30.

Starting Fresh is giving away So Into You. Deadline is August 31.

One Persons Journey Through a World of Books is giving away The Woman Who Named God. Deadline is August 31.

Starting Fresh is giving away How to Tame a Modern Rogue. Deadline is August 31.

Shhh I'm Reading is giving away a copy of The White Queen. Deadline is August 31.

Luxury Reading is giving away a set of books about the women of the bible: The Song of Hannah, The Garden of Ruth, and The Triumph of Deborah. Deadline is August 31.

Bookin' with Bingo is giving away a copy of How It Ends. Deadline is August 31.

Stop, Drop & Read is giving away a copy of Zombie Queen of Newbury High. Deadline is August 31.

Stop, Drop & Read is also giving away a copy of The Dust of 100 Dogs. Deadline is August 31.

Stop, Drop & Read is also giving away The King's Rose. Deadline is August 31.

Found Not Lost is giving away 5 copies of Seduce Me. Deadline is August 31.

Queen of Happy Endings is giving away 3 books to three winners. Choices are An Echo in the Bone, Hugh and Bess and The White Queen. Deadline is August 31.

Just Another New Blog is giving 5 copies of Dark Hunger. Deadline is August 31.

A Journey of Books is giving away 5 copies of The Blue Star. Deadline is August 31.

A Journey of Books is giving away 5 copies of Seduce Me. Deadline is August 31.

Beth's Book Reviews is giving away 3 copies of the Daniel X audiobook. Deadline is August 31.

A Book Blogger's Diary, along with Hatchette Book Group, is giving away ten summer beach books to one reader. Deadline is August 31.

Luxury Reading is giving away 5 copies of Italian for Beginners. Deadline is August 31.

A Journey of Books is giving away 2 copies of Summer of Two Wishes. Deadline is August 31.

The Book Faery Reviews is giving away 2 copies of The White Queen. Deadline is August 31.

Booking Mama is giving away 3 copies of The White Queen. Deadline is September 1.

Bookin' with Bingo is giving away a copy of Sweet Mandarin. Deadline is September 1.

The Book Resort is giving away 2 copies of The White Queen. Deadline is September 1.

S. Krishna's Books is giving away a copy of The White Queen. Deadline is September 1.

Sweeps4Bloggers is giving away a copy of The English American. Deadline is September 2.

Sweeps4Bloggers is also giving away 5 copies of Six Pixels of Separation. Deadline is September 2.

Books and Needlepoint is giving away 5 copies of So Into You. Tell 'em nfmgirl sent you! Deadline is September 2.

Readaholic is giving away 5 copies of Cult of Insanity. Deadline is September 2.

The Mommy Files is giving away 5 copies of Smart Mama's Green Guide. Deadline is September 2.

Bookin' with Bingo is giving away 2 copies of A Better View of Paradise. Deadline is September 2.

The Review Broads are giving away 5 copies of Bo's Cafe. Deadline is September 3.
Books and Needlepoint is giving away 5 copies of How to Tame a Modern Rogue. Tell 'em nfmgirl sent you! Deadline is September 4.

All About {n} is giving away 5 copies each of So Into You and How to Tame a Modern Rogue. Deadline is September 4.

Luxury Reading is giving away a copy of The Divorce Party. Tell 'em nfmgirl sent you! Deadline is September 4.

Lori's Reading Corner is giving away an ARC of The 7th Victim. Deadline is September 4.

Booking Mama is giving away an ARC of Labor Day. Deadline is September 4.

Debbie's World of Books is giving a copy of How It Ends. Deadline is September 4.

The Book Butterfly is giving away an ARC of Candor. Deadline is September 5.

Peeking Between the Pages is giving away 2 copies of The White Queen. Deadline is September 6.

Drey's Library is giving away a pack of three books to one lucky winner! Win To Tempt the Wolf, Heart of the Wolf and Destiny of the Wolf! Deadline is September 6.

Reading in Appalachia is giving away her copy of The Widow's Season. Deadline is September 6.

Mommies with Cents is giving away 2 copies of the cookbook Summer Kitchen. Deadline is September 7.

Tower of Books is giving away two of James Patterson's Maximum Ride series. Deadline is September 7 (but the fine print says winners will be notified 9/28/09).

The Review Broads are giving away Three Steps to Clever Cleaning and Three Steps to Time Management for the College Student. Deadline is September 9.

Park Avenue Princess is giving away a copy of Summer of Two Wishes. Deadline is September 9.

The Novel Bookworm is giving away an ARC of Evil at Heart. Deadline is September 9.

Chick with Books is giving away 3 copies of The Woman Who Named God. Deadline is September 12.

A Journey of Books is giving away 5 copies of Highland Rebel. Tell 'em nfmgirl sent you! Deadline is September 15.

LI Reviews is giving away 3 copies of The Last Song. Deadline is September 15.

A Journey of Books is giving away 5 copies of Dark Hunger. Tell 'em nfmgirl sent you! Deadline is September 15.

Library Lounge Lizard is giving away 3 Catching Fire prize packs of book, tee and pin. Deadline is September 15.

Book Love Affair is giving away 3 Catching Fire prize packs. Deadline is September 15.

GreenBeanTeenQueen is giving away 3 Catching Fire prize packs! Deadline is September 15.

Frenetic Reader is giving away 3 copies of Catching Fire along with some swag! Deadline is September 15.

Park Avenue Princess is giving away 5 copies of How To Tame a Modern Rogue. Deadline is September 18.

Debbie's World of Books is celebrating her 1-year anniversary, and is letting us join her on the celebration! She is offering to one lucky winner their choice of 3 of her 16 favorite books. Deadline is September 21.

Park Avenue Princess is giving away a copy of How It Ends. Deadline is September 23.

Park Avenue Princess is giving away a bookcase! Deadline is September 24.

Park Avenue Princess is giving away a copy of Year of the Cock. Deadline is September 25.

Bookin' with Bingo is giving away a bookcase from CSN! Deadline is September 26.

J Kaye Book Blog is giving away Flowers for Elvis. Deadline is September 26.

A Journey of Books is giving away 2 copies of The Greatest Knight. Deadline is September 30.

*Courtesy Note: Please keep in mind the many, many hours of work that goes into me compiling this list each week. Please be courteous and thoughtful, and do not steal my text. Either recreate your own list, or link to this list and direct your readers here for giveaway information. Thank you so much for your consideration!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Referencing Friday (08-28-09 edition)

Total Critter Control: An Essential Guide to Controlling Any Sort of Critter, from the Merely Pesky to the Outright Dangerous by Don Sedgwick

From the Back Cover

Critters are everywhere. From remote homesteads at the edge of the forest to the split-levels of suburban subdivisions, no property lines are safe from animal or insect invasion.

Most critter encounters are mere nuisances - deer nibbling garden plants, squirrels munching seeds from the bird feeder, or raccoons knocking over the trash can. Yet even these common encounters are potentially dangerous. Deer may be infested with the tick that transmits Lyme disease. Squirrels may chew and damage electrical wiring. And raccoons may carry rabies, distemper or other illnesses.

How does a homeowner cope? Total Critter Control gathers in one comprehensive volume advice from numerous experts who offer the wisdom of their vast and varied experience. Fully illustrated with photographs and line drawings throughout, it provides detailed information on elimination methods that are not only effective, but also safe, legal, and humane. With helpful lists of deterrent products and where to find them, as well as how to contact helpful organizations, Total Critter Control is a must-have handbook for anyone who wants to learn how to peacefully coexist with critters.


My Thoughts

This book is invaluable for any homeowner. Unfortunately people are very quick to trap and relocate wildlife when they encounter it around their home, not realizing that many of these animals do not survive after they are relocated. The kindest and most humane thing to do is to try to outsmart them. This book helps you do that.

BTW, if you wish to learn more, I wrote a post awhile back about relocating wildlife on another of my blogs: Just Me Spouting Off

* Publisher: Globe Pequot Press
* Pub. Date: June 2003
* ISBN-13: 9781585744794
* 288pp

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Introducing...The Stand by Stephen King

The Stand by Stephen King

"Sally"
A mutter.
"Wake up now, Sally."
A louder mutter: leeme lone.
He shook her harder.
"Wake up. You got to wake up!"
Charlie.
Charlie's voice. Calling her. For how long?
Sally swam up out of sleep.

First she glanced at the clock on the night table and saw it was quarter past two in the morning. Charlie shouldn't even be here; he should be on shift. Then she got her first good look at him and something leaped up inside her, some deadly intuition.

Her husband was deathly pale. His eyes started and bulged from their sockets. The car keys were in one hand. He was still using the other to shake her, although her eyes were open. It was as if he hadn't been able to register the fact that she was awake.

"Charlie, what is it? What's wrong?"


(This is one of my all-time favorite books! I read it for the first time when I was twelve, and I've read it many times since then. Love it! One of the premier post-apocalyptic stories out there.)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What's Releasing? (08-26-09 edition)

What's Releasing the week of 8/31:

Catching Fire (Hunger Games Series #2) by Suzanne Collins

Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.




Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani


When fourteen-year-old Viola is sent from her beloved Brooklyn to boarding school in Indiana for ninth grade, she overcomes her initial reservations as she makes friends with her roommates, goes on a real date, and uses the unsettling ghost she keeps seeing as the subject of a short film—her first.






Also available this week:
  • Clean Food: A Seasonal Guide to Eating Close to the Source with More Than 200 Recipes for a Healthy and Sustainable You by Terry Walters
  • The Death of Bunny Munro by Nick Cave
  • The Death of Conservatism by Sam Tanenhaus
  • Evil at Heart by Chelsea Cain
  • A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore
  • Green: The Beginning and the End (Circle Series #0) by Ted Dekker
  • Homer & Langley by E.L. Doctorow
  • Spartan Gold by Clive Cussler
  • Spire by Richard North Patterson

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Teaser Tuesday (08-25-09 edition)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:


  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Today's Teaser:

The two other girls and I, and we were not the only females in the camp, were chosen as the soldiers' "toys". This meant that when they got bored, or just for sadistic purposes, they would choose one of us and rape us, all of the soldiers would.

- from Lori's Song by Lori Foroozandeh, page 84.

(A reminder that this is the true story of what American Lori Foroozandeh endured as a POW in an Iranian encampment shortly after 9/11.)

Monday, August 24, 2009

WINNER: Cemetery Dance audiobook

I used www.random.org to determine the winner of the Cemetery Dance audiobook, and the winner is #23:



Congratulations etirv! Please send me your mailing information within the next 48 hours. I will be sending you an email in a few minutes.

Thanks to all who entered!

Mailbox Monday (08-24-09 edition)



Mailbox Monday is brought to us by The Printed Page. In my mailbox last week I got:

Winnings...
The Moon Looked Down by Dorothy Garlock
Won from This Book for Free

The new Americana romance from bestselling author Dorothy Garlock, this time set against the backdrop of WWII.

Sophie Heller's family immigrated from Germany to Victory, a small town in Illinois, before WWII began. Now that the war has affected the town, the townspeople discriminate against Sophie and her family. When a train derails, it is an accident but the Heller family is blamed. Coming to Sophie's rescue is a teacher from the high school, and despite their cultural differences, a romance starts to bloom.


I Can See You by Karen Rose
Won from Wendy's Minding Spot

Eve Wilson's face was once scarred by a vicious assault. Terrified and ashamed, she escaped to the online realm, where she could choose the face she allowed people to see. Years later, her outer scars faded and inner scars buried, Eve has fought her way back to the real world and is determined to help others do the same. Now a graduate student moonlighting as a bartender, Eve researches the addictive powers of online communities. When her test subjects begin turning up dead as a result of apparent suicides, she doesn't know where to turn.

Homicide detective Noah Webster is one of the few people who believe the victims are connected murders. Eve becomes Noah's online guide and realizes that the handsome detective may have secret scars as painful as her own. As Eve and Noah chase a killer who is always one step ahead of them, together they try to overcome the tragedies of their pasts and learn to trust again, but they soon discover that danger is much closer than they think.


Liquid Soul by Matthew Carter
Won from Bridget the Readaholic

This story is more than just writing about some mass murderer killing innocent lives. In the end the narrator wants to be become them. There are situations in which people say they would do anything to be in another's shoes and do things a bit differently than they would, but nobody ever gets the chance. So I wondered what would happen if for a moment we were all able to become someone else and the moment was so fulfilling that we had to have it again and again and would only be stopped either by ourselves or by an outside force. At that point being ourselves would be on par with being someone else. There would be no difference whatsoever.

Throughout this story not only does he learn about other people around him, but about himself and who he really is, along with the father who killed his mother and abandoned him when he was younger. Through the blade, he is finally able to forgive his father, learn his why, learn from the mistakes his father made, and move on with the rest of his killings.


The Friends We Keep: How to Hold On, When to Let Go, and the Essence of Friendship by Sarah Zacharias Davis
Won from The Smug Cloud

Why are women’s friendships so tricky?

During a particularly painful time in her life, Sarah Zacharias Davis learned how delightful–and wounding–women can be in friendship. She saw how some friendships end badly, others die slow deaths, and how a chance acquaintance can become that enduring friend you need.

The Friends We Keep is Sarah’s thoughtful account of her own story and the stories of other women about navigating friendship. Her revealing discoveries tackle the questions every woman asks:

• Why do we long so for women friends?
• Do we need friends like we need air or food or water?
• What causes cattiness, competition, and co-dependency in too many friendships?
• Why do some friendships last forever and others only a season?
• How do I foster friendship?
• When is it time to let a friend go, and how do I do so?

With heartfelt, intelligent writing, Sarah explores these questions and more with personal stories, cultural references and history, faith, and grace. In the process, she delivers wisdom for navigating the challenges, mysteries, and delights of friendship: why we need friendships with other women, what it means to be safe in relationship, and how to embrace what a friend has to offer, whether meager or generous.


Ravens by George Dawes Green
Won from Bookin' with Bingo

When Shaw McBride and Romeo Zderko drive into the small town of Brunswick , Georgia, their only thought is to fix their car's leaky right tire and continue on to Key West, Florida, away from their dead-end jobs as computer technicians in Ohio. But when Shaw discovers that the 318 million dollar Georgia State Lottery has just been claimed by an ordinary Georgia family, he sees an opportunity - he and Romeo will blackmail the Boatwright family for half their winnings and ditch their deadbeat lives for good.

Disguised as a state lottery representative, Shaw enters the Boatwright's home and holds the family hostage, while Romeo patrols the town, staking out the homes of the family's loved ones, should the Boatwrights refuse to comply with their demands. But Shaw isn't your average criminal out to make a quick buck. Instead, he has a grand messianic vision and he'll stop at nothing to see it through — and soon, the Boatwrights find themselves living a Flannery O'Connor American nightmare from which they can't properly awaken.

At once frightening, comic, and suspenseful, RAVENS is a wholly original and utterly compelling novel from one of our most talented writers.



I also won Bingo's big audiobook giveaway, but there are just too many audiobooks to put a synopsis and picture here. So I will just list them:

Other:

Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story by Carolyn Turgeon
Received from Random House for review

Lil is an old woman who spends her days shelving rare books in a tiny Manhattan bookstore and lonely nights at home in her apartment. But Lil has an intriguing secret. Tucked and bound behind her back are white feathery wings–the only key to who she once was: the fairy godmother responsible for getting Cinderella to the ball to unite with her Prince Charming.

But on that fateful night, something went terribly and beautifully wrong. Lil allowed herself the unthinkable: to feel the emotions of human beings and fall in love with the prince herself, going to the ball in place of Cinderella in her exquisitely gorgeous human guise. For her unforgivable mistake, she was banished to live among humans, far from her fairy sisters and their magical underwater world. But then one day she meets Veronica–a young, fair-skinned, flame-haired East Village beauty with a love of all things vintage and a penchant for falling in love with the wrong men–and suddenly it becomes clear to Lil that she’s been given a chance at redemption. If she can find a soul mate for Veronica, she may right her wrong and return to the fairy world she so deeply longs for...


Thanks to everyone!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Poetry Sunday (08-23-09 edition)

To My Dear and Loving Husband
Anne Bradstreet


If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were lov'd by wife, then thee.
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me, ye women, if you can.
I prize thy love more than whole Mines of gold,
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that Rivers cannot quench,
Nor ought but love from thee give recompence.
Thy love is such I can no way repay;
The heavens reward thee manifold I pray.
Then while we live, in love lets so persever,
That when we live no more, we may live ever.

GIVEAWAY: Swimsuit by James Patterson

Swimsuit by James Patterson

Syd, a breathtakingly beautiful supermodel on a photo shoot in Hawaii, disappears. Fearing the worst, her parents travel to Hawaii to investigate for themselves, never expecting the horror that awaits them.

LA Times reporter Ben Hawkins is conducting his own research into the case, hoping to help the victim and get an idea for his next bestseller. With no leads and no closer to uncovering the kidnapper's identity than when he stepped off the plane, Ben gets a shocking visit that pushes him into an impossible-to-resist deal with the devil.

A heart-pounding story of fear and desire, SWIMSUIT transports listeners to a chilling new territory where the collision of beauty and murder transforms paradise into a hell of unspeakable horrors.


GIVEAWAY: Win a hardcover copy of Swimsuit by James Patterson.

UPDATE: Thanks to me winning a group of 6 audio books and a batch of 10 beach bag books (both of which included Swimsuit among the books won), on top of the original copy of Swimsuit that I won, I now have two hardcover copies of Swimsuit up for grabs! So there will be two winners. (I really do try to avoid winning duplicates. I don't want to be greedy!)

Rules (you knew there had to be some):
  • You must be 18 years or older
  • Open to US and Canada residents only
  • To enter, just comment below. Be sure to leave your email address in your comment, or have it visible in your profile.
  • For extra entries, follow my blog and/or blog about this contest. One extra entry for each. Sidebars are okay.
  • Leave a separate comment for each entry.
  • That's a total of 3 possible entries!
  • Those who don't follow the rules risk being disqualified.

Deadline is September 6.

Good Luck! Ready, Set, Go!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Thank You, Thank You, Thank you

I've been very bad. I was lucky enough to have a few awards handed on to me over the last couple of months, and have been taking way too long to accept them and pass them on. I'm just never very good at that sort of thing, as I admitted to awhile back on my other blog. Aditionally I am (like many bibliophiles, I would imagine) something of an introvert and mildly socially awkward. That just makes for a bad award recipient! But here we go...

First I would like to thank Wendy of Wendy's Minding Spot for bestowing the Humane Award on me. She says:
Eleni @ /-LA FEMME READERS-/ made this award & here is what she said about this special award:

"I made the Humane Award in order to honor certain bloggers that I feel are kindhearted individuals. They regularly take part in my blog and always leave the sweetest comments. If it wasn't for them, my site would just be an ordinary book review blog. Their blogs are also amazing and are tastefully done on a daily basis. I thank them and look forward to our growing friendships through the blog world."
So three of the blogs that fit this description the best (who often make such kind comments on my blog and make it something more than what it would be otherwise) are:

Rose City Reader

Jo-Jo Loves to Read
Little House in the Big Burbs

I also would like to pass it on to Maggie May of Flux Capicitor, not because of what she contributes to my blog, but for what she contributes to the world, and because she has possibly the kindest and most beautiful heart of anyone that I've "met" out on the worldwide web.

Next is an award that was actually passed on to me *gasp* over two months ago! The "One Lovely Blog Award" was passed on to me by Stacy of Stacy's Books. She says:
One Lovely Blog Award goes to new blogs and blogging friends.The rules are: Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who granted the award and his or her blog link. Pass the award to 5 other blogs that you’ve newly discovered.
So here are some "new to me" blogs that I would like to pass this on to:

Jamie's Rabbits
Staci of Life in the Thumb (I wasn't born in the thumb, but was born in the mitten.)
Book Soulmates
All About {n}

And last, but certainly not least, my thanks to Libby of Libby's Literary Library (and many other blogs) for the Heartfelt Award (love your new banner, Libby!) Here's what she said about this award:
Do you reach for a cup of cocoa or tea when your relaxing, seeking comfort, sharing a plate of cookies with family and friends? You know the feeling you get when you drink a yummy cup of cocoa, tea, or a hot toddy? That is what the Heartfelt Award is all about, feeling warm inside.

Rules:
  • Put the logo on your blog/post.
  • Nominate up to to 9 blogs which make you feel comfy or warm inside.
  • Be sure to link your nominees withing your post.
  • Let them know that they have been nominated by commenting on their blog.
  • Remember to link to the person from whom you received your award.
So these are two blogs that make me feel like I'm visiting with my girlfriends:

The Pioneer Woman
Hope Studios

So thank you to all of those who honored me with these awards! I make no promises of getting any better in future about acknowledging awards and such. I'm just really bad at this stuff! I would never be nominated president of the PTA (even if I had kids)!

Book Giveaways in Blogworld (08-22-09 edition)

Here is a list of some giveaways going on in Blogworld*. Please note that new giveaways that were added this week are indented in Blockquotes:


Seductive Musings
is giving away 2 copies of Summer of Two Wishes. Deadline is August 22.

The Tome Traveler is giving away an ARC for Hugh and Bess. Deadline is August 22.

The Review Broads are giving away 3 copies of The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder. Deadline is August 22.

Drey's Library is giving away 5 Dark Hunger gift sets that include book, t-shirt and bookmark! Tell 'em that nfmgirl sent you! Deadline is August 22.

Wendy's Minding Spot is giving away 5 copies of How To Tame a Modern Rogue. Deadline is August 22.

Not Your Everyday Mommy is giving away a copy of Meet Me On the Paisley Roof. Deadline is August 23.

Bibliophile by the Sea is giving away an ARC of The Day the Falls Stood Still. Deadline is August 23.

Peeking Between the Pages is giving away 3 copies of The Castaways. Deadline is August 23.

Peeking Between the Pages is also giving away 3 copies of Ravens. Deadline is August 23.

Yankee Romance Reviewers is giving away 5 copies of Dark Hunger. Deadline is August 23.

Brimful Curiosities is giving away up to 5 copies of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Deadline is August 24.

Jenn's Bookshelf is giving away a copy of A Disobedient Girl. Deadline is August 24.

Savvy Verse & Wit is giving away a copy of Rooftops of Tehran. Deadline is August 24.

Hot Deals by Bec is giving away 5 copies of Dark Hunger. Deadline is August 25.

The Review Broads are giving away 5 copies of Amigoland. Deadline is August 25.

Falling Off the Shelf is giving away 5 copies of The Lost Dog. Deadline is August 25.

Bookluver Carol is giving away a signed copy of Boy Toy. Deadline is August 25.

Book Giveaways is giving away one Swerve backpack. Deadline is August 25.

Luxury Reading is giving away 5 copies of The Hunted. Tell 'em nfmgirl sent you! Deadline is August 26.

Just Another New Blog is giving away 5 copies of So Into You. Deadline is August 26.

The Novel Bookworm is giving away a gently read copy of Robin Cook's brand new novel Intervention. Deadline is August 26.

Just Another New Blog is also giving away 5 copies of How To Tame a Modern Rogue. Deadline is August 27.

At Home with Books is cleaning off her bookshelves and giving away The Glamorous (Double) Life of Isabelle Bookbinder, and ARCs of The Girl She Used to Be, That Went Well, and Random Acts of Heroic Love. Deadline is August 27.

Sweeps4Bloggers is giving away 5 copies of New Tricks. Deadline is August 27.

The Review Broads are giving away a copy of Alex Cross' Trial. Deadline is August 28.

Jenn's Bookshelf is giving away Babydoll. Deadline is August 28.

Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf is giving away a copy of Boy Toy. Deadline is August 28.

J Kaye's Book Blog is giving away the Monsters of Florence audiobook. Deadline is August 29.

J Kaye's Book Blog is giving away an ARC of Lost Hours. Deadline is August 29.

The Written Word is giving away both Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict and Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict to three winners! Deadline is August 29.

Reviewabook123 is giving away a new bookcase or computer desk. 3 easy possible entries! 10 possible prize options! Deadline is August 29.

J Kaye's Book Blog is giving away a review copy of Only You. Deadline is August 29.

All About {n} is giving away a copy of Rude Awakenings. Deadline is August 29.

J. Kaye's Book Blog is giving away an ARC of Dark Places. Deadline is August 29.

All About {n} is giving away an autographed copy of Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict. Deadline is August 29.

All About {n} is also giving away a copy of Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict. Deadline is August 29.

For the Love of All That is Written is giving away a copy of Taken. Deadline is August 30.

The Mommy Files is giving away 3 copies of Twenty Boy Summer. Deadline is August 30.

Bookin' with Bingo is giving away 5 copies of Scream for Me. Deadline is August 30.

Bookin' with Bingo is also giving away 5 copies of Out of Time. Deadline is August 30.


Bookin' with Bingo
is giving away 5 copies of To Seduce a Sinner. Deadline is August 30.

Just Another New Blog is giving away 5 copies of Seduce Me. Deadline is August 30.

Peeking Between the Pages is giving away 3 copies of Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz. Deadline is August 30.

Jo-Jo Loves to Read is giving away Circle of Friends (Book III). Deadline is August 30.

Peeking Between the Pages is giving away 2 copies of Hugh and Bess. Deadline is August 30.

Starting Fresh is giving away So Into You. Deadline is August 31.

One Persons Journey Through a World of Books is giving away The Woman Who Named God. Deadline is August 31.

Starting Fresh is giving away How to Tame a Modern Rogue. Deadline is August 31.

Shhh I'm Reading is giving away a copy of The White Queen. Deadline is August 31.

Luxury Reading is giving away a set of books about the women of the bible: The Song of Hannah, The Garden of Ruth, and The Triumph of Deborah. Deadline is August 31.

Bookin' with Bingo is giving away a copy of How It Ends. Deadline is August 31.

Stop, Drop & Read is giving away a copy of Zombie Queen of Newbury High. Deadline is August 31.

Stop, Drop & Read is also giving away a copy of The Dust of 100 Dogs. Deadline is August 31.

Stop, Drop & Read is also giving away The King's Rose. Deadline is August 31.

Found Not Lost is giving away 5 copies of Seduce Me. Deadline is August 31.

Queen of Happy Endings is giving away 3 books to three winners. Choices are An Echo in the Bone, Hugh and Bess and The White Queen. Deadline is August 31.

Just Another New Blog is giving 5 copies of Dark Hunger. Deadline is August 31.

A Journey of Books is giving away 5 copies of The Blue Star. Deadline is August 31.

A Journey of Books is giving away 5 copies of Seduce Me. Deadline is August 31.

Beth's Book Reviews is giving away 3 copies of the Daniel X audiobook. Deadline is August 31.

A Book Blogger's Diary, along with Hatchette Book Group, is giving away ten summer beach books to one reader. Deadline is August 31.

Luxury Reading is giving away 5 copies of Italian for Beginners. Deadline is August 31.

A Journey of Books is giving away 2 copies of Summer of Two Wishes. Deadline is August 31.

Bookin' with Bingo is giving away a copy of Sweet Mandarin. Deadline is September 1.

The Book Resort is giving away 2 copies of The White Queen. Deadline is September 1.

Sweeps4Bloggers is giving away a copy of The English American. Deadline is September 2.

Sweeps4Bloggers is also giving away 5 copies of Six Pixels of Separation. Deadline is September 2.

Books and Needlepoint is giving away 5 copies of So Into You. Tell 'em nfmgirl sent you! Deadline is September 2.

Books and Needlepoint is giving away 5 copies of How to Tame a Modern Rogue. Tell 'em nfmgirl sent you! Deadline is September 4.

All About {n} is giving away 5 copies each of So Into You and How to Tame a Modern Rogue. Deadline is September 4.

Luxury Reading is giving away a copy of The Divorce Party. Tell 'em nfmgirl sent you! Deadline is September 4.

Lori's Reading Corner is giving away an ARC of The 7th Victim. Deadline is September 4.

The Book Butterfly is giving away an ARC of Candor. Deadline is September 5.

Peeking Between the Pages is giving away 2 copies of The White Queen. Deadline is September 6.

Drey's Library is giving away a pack of three books to one lucky winner! Win To Tempt the Wolf, Heart of the Wolf and Destiny of the Wolf! Deadline is September 6.

Tower of Books is giving away two of James Patterson's Maximum Ride series. Deadline is September 7 (but the fine print says winners will be notified 9/28/09).

The Review Broads are giving away Three Steps to Clever Cleaning and Three Steps to Time Management for the College Student. Deadline is September 9.

Chick with Books is giving away 3 copies of The Woman Who Named God. Deadline is September 12.

A Journey of Books is giving away 5 copies of Highland Rebel. Tell 'em nfmgirl sent you! Deadline is September 15.

LI Reviews is giving away 3 copies of The Last Song. Deadline is September 15.

A Journey of Books is giving away 5 copies of Dark Hunger. Tell 'em nfmgirl sent you! Deadline is September 15.

Debbie's World of Books is celebrating her 1-year anniversary, and is letting us join her on the celebration! She is offering to one lucky winner their choice of 3 of her 16 favorite books. Deadline is September 21.

J Kaye Book Blog is giving away Flowers for Elvis. Deadline is September 26.

Proud Bookworm is giving away a whole SLEW of books, mainly of the YA genre! Tell her nfmgirl sent you! I couldn't find a deadline mentioned, but I'm guessing sometime in August.

*Courtesy Note: Please keep in mind the many, many hours of work that goes into me compiling this list each week. Please be courteous and thoughtful, and do not steal my text. Either recreate your own list, or link to this list and direct your readers here for giveaway information. Thank you so much for your consideration!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Referencing Friday (08-21-09 edition)

When Duct Tape Just Isn't Enough by Popular Mechanics

Popular Mechanics knows: there are two types of people in the world—those able to fix whatever goes bust, and those who beg the first group for help when something goes wrong. But it doesn’t have to be that way, because this easy-to-follow guide will give anyone the basics to tackle those frustrating (and sometimes nerve-wracking) quandaries that crop up around the house: plumbing problems, electrical snafus, appliance failures, computer and electronics breakdowns, pest infestations, and furniture in need of renewal. They range from the serious to the merely annoying, but every one is cause for concern. So, whether the issue is a fast repair for a running toilet or a leaking pipe, or a simple, inexpensive way to keep deer from pillaging the garden, it’s all in here.

My Thoughts
This little book is great for the single woman who is responsible for all those little things that can go wrong around the home. I like the first paragraph of this book:
There are two types of people in the world: those who know what to do when something gets busted and those who are always asking the first group for help. We offer this book as a survival manual to anyone who's in the second group-- after reading it, you may just end up in the first!
The book's chapters are: Tool Tips, Maintenance and Cleaning Clues, Structural Quandries, Electrical Snafus, Perplexing Plumbing, Appliance Failures, Refurbishing Furniture and Yard and Garden Dilemmas.

As the back cover indicates, this book will teach you how to handle clogged gutters, broken windows, frozen door locks, hairline cracks in walls, mysterious leaks, flickering fluorescent lights, and much, much more.




Each chapter has a highlighted "tab" to indicate what it covers. There is a box highlighting the issue, and then the "quick fix", along with illustrations.












Here's a tip I never would have thought of:
You're right in the middle of preparing that big Thanksgiving feast, when your kitchen sink chokes on all of the grease that you've been allowing to go down the drain.

The Quick Fix: Use a heating pad wrapped around the drain trap (or a hair dryer if you're willing to hold it there) until the metal becomes hot. This will melt the grease and allow you to flush it away with a running stream of hot water.
How clever is that?! I'm unlikely to have that problem, as I don't pour grease down my sink, but very clever idea! This book is just full of little tidbits like that!

Before you know it, I'm gonna be a queen of repairs and maintenance!

* Publisher: Hearst Books
* Pub. Date: November 2007
* ISBN-13: 9781588165657
* 216pp

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Introducing...Lori's Song by Lori Foroozandeh

The main focus of my story is about my being an American woman who was held captive in an Iranian POW camp during the time of 9/11. It is also about the terrible tortures that I, and others, suffered at the hands of the guards while held captive. But it is important to understand my attitudes and the events which led up to my being in Iran.

-- Lori's Song by Lori Foroozendeh






* Publisher: Outskirts Press, Inc.
* Pub. Date: July 2009
* ISBN-13: 9781432738297
* 244pp

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

What's Releasing? (08-19-09 edition)

What's Releasing the week of 8/24:

206 Bones (Temperance Brennan Series #12) by Kathy Reichs

There are 206 bones in the human body. Forensic anthropologists know them intimately, can read in them stories of brief or long lives, and use them to reconstruct every kind of violent end.

The twelfth Temperance Brennan novel from Kathy Reichs, 206 Bones opens with Tempe regaining consciousness and discovering that she is in some kind of very small, very dark, very cold enclosed space. She is bound, hands to feet. Is she buried alive? In some kind of cell? Who wants Tempe dead, or at least out of the way, and why? Tempe begins slowly to reconstruct...

Tempe and Lieutenant Ryan had accompanied the recently discovered remains of a missing heiress from Montreal to the Chicago morgue. Suddenly, Tempe was accused of mishandling the autopsy — and the case. Someone made an incriminating phone call. Within hours, the one man with information about the call was dead. Back in Montreal, the corpse of a second elderly woman was found in the woods, and then a third.

Seamlessly weaving between Tempe's present-tense terror and her memory of the cases of these murdered women, Reichs conveys the incredible devastation that would occur if a forensic colleague sabotaged work in the lab. The chemistry between Tempe and Ryan intensifies as this complex, riveting tale unfolds.

With a popular series on FOX — now in its fifth season and in full syndication — Kathy Reichs is firmly established as a dominant talent inforensic mystery writing. Her signature blend of forensic descriptions that "chill to the bone" (Entertainment Weekly) and intense suspense have made her a number one New York Times bestseller and worldwide phenomenon.


Alex Cross's Trial by James Patterson and Richard DiLallo

The year is 1906, and America is segregated. Hatred and discrimination plague the streets, the classroom, and the courts. But in Washington, D.C., Ben Corbett, a smart and courageous lawyer, makes it his mission to confront injustice at every turn. He represents those who nobody else dares defend, merely because of the color of their skin. When President Roosevelt, under whom Ben served in the Spanish-American war, asks Ben to investigate rumors of the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan in his hometown in Mississippi, he cannot refuse.

The details of Ben's harrowing story -- and his experiences with a remarkable man named Abraham Cross -- were passed from generation to generation, until they were finally recounted to Alex Cross by his grandmother, Nana Mama. From the first time he heard the story, Alex was unable to forget the unimaginable events Ben witnessed in Eudora and pledged to tell it to the world. Alex Cross's Trial is unlike any story Patterson has ever told, but offers the astounding action and breakneck speed of any Alex Cross novel.


Tricks by Ellen Hopkins

"When all choice is taken from you, life becomes a game of survival."


Five teenagers from different parts of the country. Three girls. Two guys. Four straight. One gay. Some rich. Some poor. Some from great families. Some with no one at all. All living their lives as best they can, but all searching...for freedom, safety, community, family, love. What they don't expect, though, is all that can happen when those powerful little words "I love you" are said for all the wrong reasons.

Five moving stories remain separate at first, then interweave to tell a larger, powerful story — a story about making choices, taking leaps of faith, falling down, and growing up. A story about kids figuring out what sex and love are all about, at all costs, while asking themselves, "Can I ever feel okay about myself?"

A brilliant achievement from New York Times best-selling author Ellen Hopkins — who has been called "the bestselling living poet in the country" by mediabistro.com — Tricks is a book that turns you on and repels you at the same time. Just like so much of life.



Also available this week:

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

REVIEW: The Scarecrow audiobook

The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly

Forced out of the Los Angeles Times amid the latest budget cuts, newspaperman Jack McEvoy decides to go out with a bang, using his final days at the paperto write the definitive murder story of his career.

He focuses on Alonzo Winslow, a 16-year-old drug dealer in jail after confessing to a brutal murder. But as he delves into the story, Jack realizes that Winslow's so-called confession is bogus. The kid might actually be innocent.

Jack is soon running with his biggest story since The Poetmade his career years ago. He is tracking a killer who operates completely below police radar—and with perfect knowledge of any move against him. Including Jack's.


My Thoughts

Jack's had a bad day. He's been let go from his position at the LA Times, chewed out by an infuriated mother/grandmother, extorted by a gang member, usurped by a fledgling young reporter, and now he finds himself at the center of a brutal murder investigation.

I found this story entertaining and engaging. What I really loved was the narrator Peter Giles. He really brought the characters to life in a way that I had not experienced previously with other audiobooks. He has a flair for voices, and they come off realistic (my last audiobook, BoneMan's Daughters, was a little distracting to me, because the reader's voices sounded so fake and goofy-- primarily when he was reading a female character). Giles is brilliant as the narrator of The Scarecrow! I almost forgot that I was listening to only one person, and he flowed from character to character seamlessly.

The storyline is good and fairly thorough. Personally for me stories like these are "fluff" stories the same as romance novels. I don't read them expecting a story that I can really lose myself in, but am just looking for an enjoyable and entertaining diversion. This one fit the bill.

I think that this might have been my first Michael Connelly novel, and I would definitely read or listen to another of his.

Be forewarned that there is quite a bit of vulgarity in this one! If you can handle that, and you enjoy thrillers and suspense and murder mysteries, then I would strongly recommend this one for you!

  • Publisher: Hachette Audio
  • Pub. Date: May 2009
  • ISBN-13: 9781600245749
  • Edition Description: Unabridged, 10 CDs

My Rating: 8 out of 10

REVIEW: Under this Unbroken Sky by Shandi Mitchell

From a passionate new voice in the world of literary fiction comes the story of one family's struggle to survive-a tribute to the resiliency of the human spirit told with great sensitivity and cinematic aplomb.

Spring 1937. Ukrainian immigrant Theo Mykolayenko returns to his wife, Maria, and their five children after nearly a year spent in prison-two hundred and seventy five days and nights, each a scratch on his cell wall-for the crime of stealing grain. Scrapping to make ends meet during Theo's absence, the Mykolayenkos had been living under the care of Theo's sister, Anna, on the harsh and unforgiving Canadian prairies. Now, home at last, Theo has determined to make a better life for them all. Channeling the willpower that enabled him to survive drought, starvation, warfare, and Stalin's crimes in the Ukraine, he takes to the land with great resolve.

As the crops grow, so do the strength of his children and Theo's fierce pride. But family peace is quickly disrupted by the return of Anna's rogue husband, Stefan. Tensions between the two men heighten as Stefan increasingly treats Theo like a hired hand and demands a cut from the sales of the
crops. Soon, the family is splintered-with brother pitted against sister, son against mother, and in a disturbing twist, a new mother against her newborn.

Building to an unforgettable climax, this is the story of an immigrant family trying to find their way in a new world, where small and innocent acts have enormous and catastrophic consequences. It is a harrowing tale of fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, sisters, and brothers whose desperate hands till the earth, while equally desperate minds plot much darker deeds.Everything that the Mykolayenkos have hoped for, dreamed of, worked for beyond exhaustion is now at stake-their loved ones, and their lives. Rich in emotion and suspense, this sublimely crafted first novel hails the arrival of a superbly talented literary voice.


My Thoughts


Wow. This is a tough one. Not because I didn't like this book-- I loved this book-- but because it was so gut-wrenching at times that I question: Did I enjoy it?

But the verdict is "yes", for the most part, I did enjoy it. Even though there were moments in the book when I would sit with the book held in my hands, still closed, and take a deep breath and prepare myself to read on. Because I knew. I knew what was about to come was going to be hard to read. And I dreaded reading the words, even though I already knew what they would say.

This is the story of two families. Well, one family really. It is the story of a brother and sister, and their separate yet devastatingly entwined lives. It is about hardship and decisions-- the choices that we make in our lives. How those choices affect those around us.

Siblings Anna and Teodor fall on hard times in the Ukraine, and escape to Canada in the 1930s. Life there is harsh. Anna was once a jewel in a poverty-stricken family. She was unhappy with her position in life and dreamed of something more. Along came Stefan, a charming soldier who swept her off her feet. Anna marries Stefan, with hopes of escaping her life, and finds herself doomed with a cruel and heartless man.

Flash forward and we now find Anna a despondent and hopeless woman raising two children and abandoned by her worthless husband. She is living on land in brutal Canada, with her brother Teodor's wife and children living in a shack out back since Teodor was sent to prison a year before for the single crime of withholding some of his grain for himself and his starving family.

Teodor now returns, and the rollercoaster of ups and downs begin. You get to see the polarization of two different families. Anna's family is a shambles, living life with no direction, depending on Teodor for their survival. Teodor's family, on the other hand, works like a well-oiled machine. Hard-working and enduring, nothing stops them. They face life head-on, while Anna's family lies defeated.

I loved the writing style of this book. I loved the characters, which I really got to know through all of the little details that the author Shandi Mitchell includes. You really get to know these people, and like or dislike them. That is why it was so hard for me to read on when I knew that something terrible was about to happen-- I knew these people; I liked these people. I didn't want to see anything more happen to them. I wanted to shake Anna and tell her to wake up from her self-pitying stupor and take care of her family! I wanted to befriend Maria and be awed by her strength and selflessness. I wanted to take pride in Maria and Teodor's children. I wanted to save Anna's children.

This is a beautifully-written, heart-wrenching story that I highly recommend. I'm left feeling as if my sister and her family has moved away, and I miss them.

If you get the chance to read this one, grab it! In fact, I will be giving away my ARC in the upcoming weeks, so keep your eyes open!
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Pub. Date: September 08, 2009
  • ISBN-13: 9780061774027
  • 352pp
My Rating: 9.5 out of 10