Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What's Releasing? (03-31-10 edition)

Available the week of April 5:

Changes (Dresden Files Series #12) by Jim Butcher

The new novel in the #1 New York Times bestselling Dresden Files series.

Long ago, Susan Rodriguez was Harry Dresden's lover-until she was attacked by his enemies, leaving her torn between her own humanity and the bloodlust of the vampiric Red Court. Susan then disappeared to South America, where she could fight both her savage gift and those who cursed her with it.

Now Arianna Ortega, Duchess of the Red Court, has discovered a secret Susan has long kept, and she plans to use it-against Harry. To prevail this time, he may have no choice but to embrace the raging fury of his own untapped dark power. Because Harry's not fighting to save the world...

He's fighting to save his child.


Anthill by Edward O. Wilson Inspirational and magical, the story of boy who grows up determined to save the world from its most savage ecological predator: Man himself.










The Last Time I Saw You by Elizabeth Berg

From the beloved bestselling author of Home Safe and The Year of Pleasures, comes a wonderful new novel about women and men reconnecting with one another—and themselves—at their fortieth high school reunion.

To each of the men and women in The Last Time I Saw You, this reunion means something different—a last opportunity to say something long left unsaid, an escape from the bleaker realities of everyday life, a means to save a marriage on the rocks, or an opportunity to bond with a slightly estranged daughter, if only over what her mother should wear.

As the onetime classmates meet up over the course of a weekend, they discover things that will irrevocably affect the rest of their lives. For newly divorced Dorothy Shauman, the reunion brings with it the possibility of finally attracting the attention of the class heartthrob, Pete Decker. For the ever self-reliant, ever left-out Mary Alice Mayhew, it’s a chance to reexamine a painful past. For Lester Heseenpfeffer, a veterinarian and widower, it is the hope of talking shop with a fellow vet—or at least that’s what he tells himself. For Candy Armstrong, the class beauty, it’s the hope of finding friendship before it is too late.

As Dorothy, Mary Alice, Lester, Candy, and the other classmates converge for the reunion dinner, four decades melt away: Desires and personalities from their youth reemerge, and new discoveries are made. For so much has happened to them all. And so much can still happen.

In this beautiful novel, Elizabeth Berg deftly weaves together stories of roads taken and not taken, choices made and opportunities missed, and the possibilities of second chances.

The Walk by Richard Paul Evans

The first novel in an inspiring new series about an executive who loses everything and embarks on a walk that takes him across America.








Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Teaser Tuesday (03-30-10 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:

"Visitors?"
"Yes...well, they aren't like us, of course-- in their hunting habits, I mean. They probably won't come into town at all, but I'm certainly not going to let you out of my sight till their gone."

-- Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (page 328)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Mailbox Monday (03-29-10 edition)



Mailbox Monday is brought to us by The Printed Page. Haven't done this for a few weeks. In my mailbox over the last couple of weeks I've received:


Black Hills by Dan Simmons
Won from Jo-Jo Loves to Read

When Paha Sapa, a young Sioux warrior, "counts coup" on General George Armstrong Custer as Custer lies dying on the battlefield at the Little Bighorn, the legendary general's ghost enters him - and his voice will speak to him for the rest of his event-filled life.
Seamlessly weaving together the stories of Paha Sapa, Custer, and the American West, Dan Simmons depicts a tumultuous time in the history of both Native and white Americans. Haunted by Custer's ghost, and also by his ability to see into the memories and futures of legendary men like Sioux war-chief Crazy Horse, Paha Sapa's long life is driven by a dramatic vision he experienced as a boy in his people's sacred Black Hills. In August of 1936, a dynamite worker on the massive Mount Rushmore project, Paha Sapa plans to silence his ghost forever and reclaim his people's legacy-on the very day FDR comes to Mount Rushmore to dedicate the Jefferson face.


Jerusalem Vigil by Bodie and Brock Thoene
Won from Martha's Bookshelf

Bodie and Brock Thoene's superb storytelling comes alive in Jerusalem Vigil, a novel of the struggle for Jerusalem. It is May 14, 1948, in the world's holiest city: today the new State of Israel will be proclaimed and British troops will hand over the key to Zion Gate leaving behind hostile Jewish and Muslim forces poised for battle. Caught up in this historic moment are Moshe Sachar, an archaeology professor who is also a strategist; his pregnant wife, Rachel, who flees Tel Aviv for Jerusalem via a perilous route through the Christian Quarter; and Daoud and Gawan, two orphaned Arab boys who find a father with an unlikely surname. In this engrossing page-turner, the Thoenes combine historical authenticity, unforgettable characters, and gripping drama to create a saga about a fascinating period in world history.

One is watching history unfold when reading the Thoenes' work. (Houston Chronicle)


Hearts on a String by Kris Radish
Won on
Library Thing via their Early Reviewer's giveaway

Bestselling author Kris Radish delves deeply into the emotions of five very different women who are thrown together by chance—only to discover that they have more in common than they ever could have imagined. Holly Blandeen has always cherished the story her grandmother told her about the thread that connects all women, tying them forever in sisterhood. It’s a beautiful idea, but with all the curveballs life has thrown her way, Holly has often felt isolated, different from other women. That starts to change when she meets four strangers in an airport and they agree to share a luxury hotel suite because a powerful spring storm is barreling across the country, stranding travelers from California to Florida. What begins as a spur-of-the-moment decision becomes an unlikely, unexpected, and sometimes reluctant exercise in female bonding, as these five exceptional women—each at a crossroads—swap stories, share secrets, and seek answers to the questions they’ve been asking about life, love, and the path to true happiness. A storm may have grounded them for the moment, but after this wild adventure in which anything can and does happen, they’ll never have to fly solo again.

The Saving of Aris by Novamelia
Received for review through Bostick Communications

This is the story of Aris Ball, a young boy whose life is tossed about by circumstance and fate and who constantly seeks to sort some meaning out of its tangle. He searches inside himself and he searches outside himself. He wants to be one of them, but he's not sure who they are. He wants to belong, to fit in. He wants to find out why other kids make fun of him and call him names.

His source of truth is his uncle Joshua, whom he believes at first is his father. Joshua would sort things out for him, telling him what was the truth and what was made up stuff.

Aris also believes he may have two mothers, but he isn't sure of that. He discovers that he can learn a lot by listening at doors, especially when there's an argument going on. But, as his uncle Joshua had predicted, he eavesdropped once too often. He finds out that Max got his head cracked wide open, but he doesn't know who Max is or why he got his head cracked wide open. He learned some things about himself, too that he didn't know before. Ultimately success comes by fate from a chance meeting in an alley. And it comes from one avenue he didn't explore, his own ignorance.


Thanks to everyone!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Poetry Sunday (03-28-10 edition)

Flux Capacitor recently posted a portion of this poem on her blog, and it caught my eye. So I Googled it and tracked it down...

Song

by Thomas Moore

Have you not seen the timid tear
Steal trembling from mine eye?
Have not mark'd the flush of fear,
Or caught the murmur'd sigh?
And can you think my love is chill,
Nor fix'd on you alone?
And can you rend, by doubting still,
A heart so much your own?

To you my soul's affections move
Devoutly, warmly true;
My life has been a task of love,
One long, long thought of you.
If all your tender faith is o'er,
If still my truth you'll try;
Alas! I know but one proof more,--
I'll bless your name and die!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Book Giveaways in Blogworld (03-26-10 edition)

NOTE: A reminder that you are free to email me about any giveaways that you are having, if you want me to blog them, and I'll be happy to try to post them even if I am not entering them. Just include a link to the giveaway, what you are giving away, how many copies are being given away, and the deadline in order to assure being included. Email me at nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com.

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:

All About {n} is giving away 3 copies of Apologize, Apologize! Deadline is March 27. US/Canada only.

Peeking Between the Pages is giving away 2 copies of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt. Deadline is March 28. US/Canada only.

Freda's Voice is giving away 3 copies of Apologize, Apologize! Deadline is March 28. US/Canada only.

Freda's Voice is also giving away 3 copies of Laura Rider's Masterpiece. Deadline is March 28. US/Canada only.

Bookin' with Bingo is giving away an autographed copy of Moonlight Falls. Deadline is March 28. US only.

Bookin' with Bingo is giving away 5 copies of Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang. Deadline is March 30. US/Canada only.

Alaine is giving away 1 of four books! Deadline is March 31. Open International.

The Book Faery Reviews is giving away 5 copies of The 3-Day Cleanse. Deadline is March 31. US/Canada only.

Readaholic is giving away a copy of Every Day in Tuscany. Deadline is March 31. US only.

Vegan Family Style is giving away a copy of Food, Inc. Deadline is March 31. US only.

Book Soulmates is giving away 5 copies of The 3-Day Cleanse. Deadline is March 31. US/Canada only.

Book Soulmates is giving away 3 copies of Laura Rider's Masterpiece. Deadline is March 31. US/Canada only.

Book Soulmates is also giving away 3 copies of This One is Mine. Deadline is March 31. US/Canada only.

The New Dork Review of Books is giving away a copy of A Gate at the Stairs. Deadline is March 31.

At Home with Books is giving away a copy of Guest House. Deadline is April 1. US/Canada only.

Libby's Library News is giving away 3 copies of Try Darkness. Deadline is April 1. US/Canada only.

Books R Us is giving away 5 copies of The 3-Day Cleanse. Deadline is April 1. US/Canada only.
The Review Broads are giving away 5 copies of Invisible Boy. Deadline is April 1. US only.

A Sea of Books is giving away 3 copies of This One is Mine. Deadline is April 2. US/Canada only.

Bookin' with Bingo is giving away 2 copies of Half Broke Horses. Deadline is April 2. US only.
A Sea of Books is giving away 5 copies of The 3-Day Cleanse. Deadline is April 2. US/Canada only.

Readaholic is giving away 5 copies of Montana Legacy. Deadline is April 2. US/Canada only.

Peeking Between the Pages is giving away 3 copies of The Bride Collector. Deadline is April 3. US/Canada only.

Bookin' with Bingo is giving away 3 copies of On the Brink. Deadline is April 3. US/Canada only.

Peace & Quiet is giving away 3 copies of If the Church Were Christian. Deadline is April 3. US/Canada only.
Drey's Library is giving away a copy of This One is Mine. Deadline is April 3. US/Canada only.

Bookin' with Bingo is giving away 10 copies of Wild Zone. Deadline is April 3. US only.
Simply Stacie is giving away 3 copies of The Bride Collector. Deadline is April 8. US/Canada only.

Books and Needlepoint is giving away 3 copies of Slip of the Knife. Deadline is April 9. US/Canada only.
Fantastic Book Review is giving away a copy of Brightly Woven. Deadline is April 9. US/Canada only.
Extreme Reader Book Reviews is having a huge Mega Swag and More contest! Deadline is April 10. International!
Bookin' with Bingo is giving away 3 copies of Laura Rider's Masterpiece. Deadline is April 10. US only.

A Circle of Books is giving away 5 copies of The Bride Collector. Deadline is April 10. US/Canada only.
Books and Needlepoint is giving away 5 copies of Montana Legacy. Deadline is April 12. US/Canada only.
La Femme Readers is giving away 6 YA novels! Deadline is April 15. International!
Jo-Jo Loves to Read is giving away her hard copy of This One is Mine. Deadline is April 16. US/Canada only.
Peeking Between the Pages is giving away 2 copies of The Stolen Crown. Deadline is April 17. US/Canada only.

Peeking Between the Pages is giving away her gently read ARC of The Girl Who Chased the Moon. Deadline is April 17.
Three's a Crowd is a new blog trying to reach 50 followers. Win Silver Borne. Contest ends when 50 followers is met.

*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!

I Wanna...After Midnight by Richard Laymon

Although Laymon died in 2001, his U.K. novels have only recently gotten an American release; this 1997 title is a sordid, flawed gem, both stomach churning and erotic, and not infrequently at the same time. Narrated by paranoid, defiant 26-year-old Alice, the book opens on a peaceful night of house-sitting-but as Alice warns, "You can never be sure it's safe." Indeed, shortly after midnight she spots a strange man emerge from the woods and go swimming naked in the family pool. A fortunately timed phone call that's a wrong number gives Alice the chance to drive off the stranger, but sets in motion a 24-hour whirlwind of murder, terror and madness, beginning when Alice splits open someone's head with a Civil War saber-and escalating precipitously from there. Alice's matter-of-fact attitude toward her grisly handiwork can make her hard to sympathize with ("I felt rotten about killing him, but not particularly guilty"); supporting characters are easier to like, but don't get too attached. As the night wears on, Laymon piles on gory details and violent sex with perverse, over-the-top glee; it's definitely not for everyone and can strain credibility, but Alice proves to be one of Laymon's most original and memorable protagonists, and should keep hardened horror fans reading well past the stroke of midnight.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

REVIEW: Beginner's Luck by Laura Pedersen

Synopsis

“There could be no doubt left in anyone’s mind that my life had all the makings of a country-and-western song.”

The second of seven children (with another on the way), Hallie Palmer has one dream: to make it to Vegas. Normally blessed with an uncanny gift for winning at games of chance, she’s just hit a losing streak. She’s been kicked out of the casino she frequents during school hours, lost all her money for a car on a bad bet at the track, and has been grounded by her parents. Hallie decides the time as come to cut her losses.

Answering an ad in the local paper, she lands a job as yard person at the elegant home of the sixty-ish Mrs. Olivia Stockton, a wonderfully eccentric rebel who scribes acclaimed poetry along with the occasional soft-core porn story. Under the same wild roof is Olivia’s son, Bernard, an antiques dealer and gourmet cook who turns out mouthwatering cuisine and scathing witticisms, and Gil, Bernard’s lover, whose down-to-earth sensibilities provide a perfect foil to the Stocktons’ outrageous joie de vivre. Here, in this anything-goes household, Hallie has found a new family. And she’s about to receive the education of her life.

From a wonderful new voice in fiction comes the freshest and funniest novel to barrel down the pike since Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop CafĂ©. In Beginner’s Luck, Laura Pedersen introduces us to the endearing oddballs and eccentrics of Cosgrove County, Ohio, who burst to life and steal our hearts–and none more so than Hallie Palmer, sixteen, savvy, and wise beyond her years, a young woman who knows life is agamble . . . and sometimes you have to bet the house.


About the Author
Bio from her website

Laura Pedersen was born in Buffalo, New York (one of "God's frozen people") in 1965, at the height of The Folk Music Scare. (For details of misspent youth see essay at 'Is there a Nurse in the Church?'). After finishing high school in 1983 she moved to Manhattan and began working on The American Stock Exchange, a time when showing up combined with basic computation skills could be parlayed into a career. She chronicled these years in her first book, Play Money.

Having vowed to become anything but a journalist and with no conception of what a semicolon does, Laura spent the better part of the 1990s writing for The New York Times.

In 1994 President Clinton honored her as one of Ten Outstanding Young Americans. She has appeared on TV shows including Oprah, Good Morning America, Primetime Live, and David Letterman.

In 2001, her first novel, Going Away Party, won the Three Oaks Prize for Fiction and was published by Storyline Press. Beginner's Luck was published by Ballantine Books in 2003 and subsequently chosen for the Barnes & Noble "Discover Great New Writers" program, Borders "Original Voices," and as a featured alternate for The Literary Guild.

Pedersen's other novels include Last Call, Heart's Desire, and The Big Shuffle.

Laura lives in New York City, teaches reading and trades Yu-Gi-Oh! cards at the Booker T. Washington Learning Center in East Harlem, and is a member of the national literary association P.E.N. (poets, essayists and novelists).



My Thoughts

In the beginning of the story, Hallie remarks how life is like a poker game-- part skill and part luck. I love that, and feel that it's so true.

Hallie is a sixteen-year-old who marches to the beat of her own drum, and finds herself trapped in a Procrustean world of rules and regulations, school bells and deadlines, and no one to appreciate her for who she is. Then she meets the tenants of Nuthatch Lane, and she has never felt so normal!

There is the senior Unitarian Ms. Olivia, a pornography-writing smuggler and poet who is fighting for freedom of speech and separation of church and state, and into aromatherapy, vegetarianism and spiritualism. She's a wild bohemian who is always leading the bandwagon for some cause.

Ms. Olivia states in reference to her Alzheimer-struck husband and her daily care of him though he doesn't even know where he is:
"It's not as bad as it seems, dear. I have my memories to comfort me. That's the part you can't see. And sometimes the most essential things, the ones that make all the difference, are the ones we can never see." (page 122)
She then remarks that the author of Peter Pan (J.M. Barrie) once said that God gave us memory so we might have roses in December. What a beautiful thought.

And I love when Ms. Olivia is sharing a conversation she had with the school principal about his Procrustean approach to school in regards to Hallie:
"...They don't want a freethinking person in their establishment. No, absolutely not. They want blocks of soft, malleable clay that they can carve and shape into their own images. People have a child and then set about tugging the strings to make that child dance to their own tune-- become what they've envisioned a child of theirs should be. I said to him, 'Mr. Collier, with all due respect, one of your trained seals has risen up from the man-made pool and spat in the eye of the zookeeper.' " (page 124)
By this point in the book, I think I have fallen in love with Ms. Olivia.

Mr. Bernard, the gay son of Ms. Olivia, is always at odds with his mother, but in a good-natured sort of way. You can feel the great love between mother and son. A gourmand and antiques collector, he lives with his mother and his lover Gil, who is the most "normal" of the bunch!

And imagine my surprise when I found myself mentioned in the book! A passage referring to a game of Strip Ping Pong at a teenage party states:
"One of the competitors, Heather Johnson, is already drunk and has her socks and shoes and sweater off, and it's pretty obvious what the guys are trying to accomplish with that one." (page 234)
And there was another familial reference earlier in the book, given my maiden name is Hugenot :
"Mr. Bernard chose a French Huguenot theme and almost everything, including the bean salad, candles, tablecloth, and linen napkins were red. But I don't bother telling the poker club this colorful detail." (page 105)
I love the quirky characters that drive this book. Free-thinking and supportive, the Stocktons offer a strong foundation for Hallie and give her a leg-up on life. And I love having the opportunity to stand beside Hallie as she navigates her way through new experiences and challenges. This is truly a "coming of age" story, and Hallie is a very likable girl.

This book is full of hot topic issues, and at times I felt that the author was pushing her own agenda. However I tried to look beyond this. For the most part, I enjoyed Ms. Olivia's passionate spirit, and only a few times did I feel somewhat "manipulated" by a storyline that seemed to be a proponent for certain social-political ideas.

One thing that really bugged me was the inclusion of the chimp Rocky. I'm not sure what the point was of having him around. I just found him to be a distraction. Perhaps for someone unfamiliar with animals, he might be a realistic character or entertain with his ocassional buffoonery. But being an animal lover that has devoted her life to studying animals (strictly as an amateur) and reading voraciously of them (including books about chimps, both in the wild and in captivity), I have to say that most of the behaviour displayed by Rocky was totally preposterous. I grew to dread any passages containing Rocky, as they were just ridiculous. So I tried to just work my way around Rocky, viewing him as something of an obstacle to the storyline for me, and continued on my merry way once I'd made it past him.

There is some minor vulgarity-- the kind of expletives you would expect even the best of kids to utter on occasion. Typical teen "situations", but nothing too untoward. I would be more cautious of the political and religious subject matter, and whether or not you are comfortable with your child reading ideas that may not jive with your own. You just have to know your own child, and whether they have a mind of their own or not.

There were a few sticking points in this story that kept me from thoroughly enjoying it. Looking at a five-star rating system on GoodReads, I debated on how to rate this story. I was leaning towards a 3 1/2 star rating, which is impossible. It's either 3 or 4. Which way to go? But I decided that overall I enjoyed this story, despite the sticking points, and so I went with the four stars. (I know that a lot of people gave this story 5 stars, but I reserve that rating for books that I loved so much I want them in my permanent library to read over and over again, and this one just didn't rate that high-- few books do.)

This was an enjoyable story with great characters full of interest. There are some sensitive subjects addressed, some minor vulgarity, and that stupid chimp to contend with, but a good story all around. I'd recommend this to anyone who enjoys a light coming-of-age YA story with a whimsical twist.

Now I'm debating on whether to buy Pedersen's two books following this one in the series, as I have the fourth book in this series to review, and I hate to miss out on all of the story in between! Yet I know I'm a slow reader and worry that to read the other two will slow down my review of the fourth one, which I've committed to. *sigh* Decisions, decisions...



My Rating: 7.5 out of 10

Introducing Thursday...Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

I'd never given much thought to how I would die-- though I'd had reason enough in the last few months-- but even if I had, I would not have imagined it like this.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

What's Releasing? (03-24-10 edition)

What's releasing the week of March 29:

Silver Borne (Mercy Thompson Series #5) by Patricia Briggs

When mechanic and shapeshifter Mercy Thompson attempts to return a powerful Fae book she'd previously borrowed in an act of desperation, she finds the bookstore locked up and closed down.

It seems the book contains secret knowledge-and the Fae will do just about anything to keep it out of the wrong hands. And if that doesn't take enough of Mercy's attention, her friend Samuel is struggling with his wolf side-leaving Mercy to cover for him, lest his own father declare Sam's life forfeit.

All in all, Mercy has had better days. And if she isn't careful, she might not have many more to live...


Without Mercy by Lisa Jackson

Ever since her father was stabbed to death in a home invasion, Julia “Jules” Farentino has been plagued by nightmares. Her half-sister, Shaylee, now seventeen, has had her own difficulties since the tragedy, earning a rap sheet for drug use, theft, and vandalism. Still, when Jules learns of her mother’s decision to send Shay to an elite boarding school in Oregon, she’s skeptical. The Academy has a reputation for turning wayward kids around – but one of its students went missing six months ago and her body has never been found. There are rumors she may have died during one of the school’s questionable treatments. Once enrolled, Shay grows fearful, convinced her every move is being watched. And the deeper Jules digs, the more concerned she becomes.
On impulse, Jules applies for a teaching job at the Academy. Though the facility boasts state-of-the-art equipment and a breathtaking campus, Jules senses cracks in the director’s do-good demeanor. Shorty before Jules arrived, a student was found hanged, and a hysterical Shay believes it was murder. Staff members are wary and unwelcoming – all except Cooper Trent, another recent hire who has his own suspicions, and his own secrets.
Then another girl goes missing, and yet another is found dead. There’s no doubt something sinister is at hand – but Jules may be too late to stop it. Behind the Academy’s idyllic veneer lurks an evil force on a brutal and terrifying mission. And Jules has become the next target of a bloodthirsty killer without limits, without remorse, without mercy…

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Poetry Sunday (03-21-10 edition)

This is one of those really long poems. So this is the "abridged" version in which I cut out the middle...

To a Skylark

by Percy Bysshe Shelley
(1803-1822)


Hail to thee, blithe spirit!
Bird thou never wert-
That from heaven or near it
Pourest thy full heart
In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.

Higher still and higher
From the earth thou springest,
Like a cloud of fire;
The blue deep thou wingest,
And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest.

In the golden light'ning
Of the sunken sun,
O'er which clouds are bright'ning,
Thou dost float and run,
Like an unbodied joy whose race is just begun.

We look before and after,
And pine for what is not:
Our sincerest laughter
With some pain is fraught;
Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.

Yet, if we could scorn
Hate and pride and fear,
If we were things born
Not to shed a tear,
I know not how thy joy we ever should come near.

Better than all measures
Of delightful sound,
Better than all treasures
That in books are found,
Thy skill to poet were, thou scorner of the ground!

Teach me half the gladness
That thy brain must know;
Such harmonious madness
From my lips would flow,
The world should listen then, as I am listening now.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Book Giveaways in Blogworld (03-20-10 edition)

NOTE: A reminder that you are free to email me about any giveaways that you are having, if you want me to blog them, and I'll be happy to try to post them even if I am not entering them. Just include a link to the giveaway, what you are giving away, how many copies are being given away, and the deadline in order to assure being included. Email me at nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com.

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:

Peeking Between the Pages is giving away a copy of The Wives of Henry Oades. Deadline is March 20. US/Canada only.

Just One More Paragraph is giving away a copy of Raven Stole the Moon. Deadline is March 23. US/Canada only.

Bookin' with Bingo is giving away 2 copies of The 4-Hour Work Week. Deadline is March 23. US only.

Libby's Library News is giving away 5 copies of Prime Time Health. Deadline is March 24. US/Canada only.

Luxury Reading is giving away a copy of Pride and Prejudice: Dawn of the Dreadfuls. Deadline is March 24. US only.

Bookin' with Bingo is giving away 3 copies of Only Thing Worth Dying For. Deadline is March 24. US only.

The Review Broads are giving away 5 copies of The Memory Thief. Deadline is March 24. US only.
Library Girl Reads is having a monthly giveaway with at least 1 winner. Deadline is March 24. US only.

Readaholic is giving away 3 copies of The Language God Speaks. Deadline is March 24. US/Canada only.

MomStart is giving away a Barnes and Noble Nook! Deadline is March 24. US Only.

Book Soulmates is giving away 3 copies of Apologize, Apologize. Deadline is March 24. US/Canada only.
Wendy's Minding Spot is giving away 5 copies of The 3-Day Cleanse. Deadline is March 25. US/Canada only.
Radiant Light is giving away 3 copies of This One is Mine. Deadline is March 25. US/Canada only.

Readaholic is giving away 3 copies of This One is Mine. Deadline is March 25. US/Canada only.
I Just Wanna Sit Here and Read is giving away a $25 gift card to the book depository. Deadline is March 26. International!

All About {n} is giving away 3 copies of This One is Mine. Deadline is March 26. US/Canada only.

All About {n} is giving away 3 copies of Slip of the Knife. Deadline is March 26. US/Canada only.

Fantastic Book Review is giving away The Sky is Everywhere. Deadline is March 26. US/Canada only.
Mommy's Reading is giving away The Girl Who Chased the Moon. Deadline is March 26.

Radiant Light is giving away 3 copies of Slip of the Knife. Deadline is March 26. US/Canada only.

Go Yay is giving away 5 copies of The 3-Day Cleanse. Deadline is March 26. US/Canada only.
All About {n} is giving away 3 copies of Apologize, Apologize! Deadline is March 27. US/Canada only.

Peeking Between the Pages is giving away 2 copies of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt. Deadline is March 28. US/Canada only.

Freda's Voice is giving away 3 copies of Apologize, Apologize! Deadline is March 28. US/Canada only.

Freda's Voice is also giving away 3 copies of Laura Rider's Masterpiece. Deadline is March 28. US/Canada only.
Bookin' with Bingo is giving away an autographed copy of Moonlight Falls. Deadline is March 28. US only.
Bookin' with Bingo is giving away 5 copies of Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang. Deadline is March 30. US/Canada only.

Alaine is giving away 1 of four books! Deadline is March 31. Open International.

The Book Faery Reviews is giving away 5 copies of The 3-Day Cleanse. Deadline is March 31. US/Canada only.
Readaholic is giving away a copy of Every Day in Tuscany. Deadline is March 31. US only.

Vegan Family Style is giving away a copy of Food, Inc. Deadline is March 31. US only.

Book Soulmates is giving away 5 copies of The 3-Day Cleanse. Deadline is March 31. US/Canada only.

Book Soulmates is giving away 3 copies of Laura Rider's Masterpiece. Deadline is March 31. US/Canada only.

Book Soulmates is also giving away 3 copies of This One is Mine. Deadline is March 31. US/Canada only.

The New Dork Review of Books is giving away a copy of A Gate at the Stairs. Deadline is March 31.

At Home with Books is giving away a copy of Guest House. Deadline is April 1. US/Canada only.
Libby's Library News is giving away 3 copies of Try Darkness. Deadline is April 1. US/Canada only.
Books R Us is giving away 5 copies of The 3-Day Cleanse. Deadline is April 1. US/Canada only.

A Sea of Books is giving away 5 copies of The 3-Day Cleanse. Deadline is April 2. US/Canada only.

Readaholic is giving away 5 copies of Montana Legacy. Deadline is April 2. US/Canada only.

Peeking Between the Pages is giving away 3 copies of The Bride Collector. Deadline is April 3. US/Canada only.

Bookin' with Bingo is giving away 3 copies of On the Brink. Deadline is April 3. US/Canada only.

Peace & Quiet is giving away 3 copies of If the Church Were Christian. Deadline is April 3. US/Canada only.

Simply Stacie is giving away 3 copies of The Bride Collector. Deadline is April 8. US/Canada only.

Books and Needlepoint is giving away 3 copies of Slip of the Knife. Deadline is April 9. US/Canada only.
Extreme Reader Book Reviews is having a huge Mega Swag and More contest! Deadline is April 10. International!

La Femme Readers is giving away 6 YA novels! Deadline is April 15. International!

*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, March 19, 2010

I Wanna...A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

He placed a notice in a Chicago paper, an advertisement for "a reliable wife." She responded, saying that she was "a simple, honest woman." She was, of course, anything but honest, and the only simple thing about her was her single-minded determination to marry this man and then kill him, slowly and carefully, leaving her a wealthy widow, able to take care of the one she truly loved. What Catherine Land did not realize was that the enigmatic and lonely Ralph Truitt had a plan of his own. And what neither anticipated was that they would fall so completely in love. Filled with unforgettable characters, and shimmering with color and atmosphere, A Reliable Wife is an enthralling tale of love and madness, of longing and murder.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Introducing Thursday...Hunter by Campbell Jeffery

He was still alive and that was bad. He had volunteered for the scouting group, hoping that if he ventured close enough to the enemy line, a sniper would take him down and it would be over. Dead. His sins would be absorbed by the scorched battlefield and he would float up to the paradise he had envisaged so vividly as a child. God would be there to absolve him for following the others, for not standing up and rebelling against the fanatics, but would understand and forgive, and walk with him through the gates of heaven.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

J.M. Barrie and M.J.

I was reading about author J.M. Barrie today (the author of Peter Pan), and it was interesting to read his biography on Wikipedia:
Barrie also had friendships with other children, both before he met the Davies boys and after they had grown up, and there has since been speculation that Barrie was a paedophile or that he engaged in child sexual abuse. However, there is no direct evidence of any such conduct, nor that he was suspected of it at the time. Nico, the youngest of the brothers, flatly denied that Barrie ever behaved inappropriately. 'I don't believe that Uncle Jim ever experienced what one might call "a stirring in the undergrowth" for anyone — man, woman, or child,' he stated. 'He was an innocent — which is why he could write Peter Pan.' His relationships with the surviving Davies boys continued well beyond their childhood and adolescence.
Doesn't that sound a lot like another figure well associated with Neverland? Isn't it curious that Michael Jackson may actually have been very similar to J.M. Barrie rather than Peter Pan.

Just something that I found interesting...

What's Releasing (03-17-10 edition)

Shattered by Karen Robards

The past is never over. It just gets dusty.

Lisa Shewmaker was a rising star in a prestigious law firm in Lexington, Kentucky; that is, until the firm went bankrupt and she lost her job. With an ailing mother to care for, Lisa takes the first position she can find: research assistant to District Attorney Scott Buchanan. Scott is as disagreeable as he is sexy, and Lisa suspects the only reason she got the job is because of her privileged upbringing as the daughter of a wealthy federal judge.

While reviewing cold cases in the Fayette County courthouse a particularly thick manila envelope draws Lisa’s attention. The details of the case are engrossing: An entire family – father, mother, and two children – disappeared more than twenty-eight years ago. Except that’s not all: The mother in the photo could have been Lisa’s twin, and the toddler in the picture bears an uncanny resemblance to Lisa herself. Before Lisa can learn more about her past a series of catastrophes strike close to home. Lisa confides in Scott, and their relationship develops into something completely different. Together Lisa and Scott unravel a terrifying web of criminal connections that could destroy the very fabric of Lisa’s life – if she lives long enough, that is.


The Creation of Eve by Lynn Cullen

A lush and compelling tale of royal intrigue and artistic longing, set in the sixteenth-century Spanish court.
A sweeping triumph: The Creation of Eve is based on the true but little-known story of Sofonisba Anguissola, the first renowned female portraitist of the Renaissance. After a scandal in Michelangelo's workshop, Sofonisba flees Italy and joins the Spanish court of King Felipe II to be a lady-in-waiting to his young bride. Sofonisba befriends the queen, only to become embroiled in a love triangle involving the queen, the king, and the king's illegitimate half brother, Don Juan. The Creation of Eve combines art, romance, and history from the golden age in Spain in a story that asks the question: Can you ever truly know another person's heart?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays (03-16-10 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:

"Oh yes," says Mr. Bernard, "I explained how you've been laboring so intently for twelve dollars an hour in an effort to save for an automobile that I thought it highly doubtful you would be inclined to embezzle."

-- Beginner's Luck by Laura Pedersen, page 132

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Book Giveaways in Blogworld (03-13-10 edition)

NOTE: A reminder that you are free to email me about any giveaways that you are having, if you want me to blog them, and I'll be happy to try to post them even if I am not entering them. Just include a link to the giveaway, what you are giving away, how many copies are being given away, and the deadline in order to assure being included. Email me at nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com.

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:

So Many Precious Books, So Little Time is giving away This One is Mine. Tell 'em nfmgirl sent you! Deadline is March 13. US/Canada only.

This is Not My Day Job is giving away two prize packs: two YA books or a 9 West Kendall Hobo bag. Deadline is March 13.

Peeking Between the Pages is giving away 3 copies of Apologize, Apologize. Deadline is March 13. US/Canada only.

Peeking Between the Pages is giving away a hardcover copy of The White Queen. Deadline is March 13. International!

Peeking Between the Pages is also giving away 3 copies of Laura Rider's Masterpiece. Deadline is March 13. US/Canada only.

All About {n} is giving away 3 copies of four different audiobooks: Marriage and Other Acts of Charity: A Memoir, The Swan Thieves, I Am Ozzy and The Unnamed. Deadline is March 13. US/Canada only.

Bookin' with Bingo is giving away 5 copies of Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven. Deadline is March 13. US/Canada only.

Peeking Between the Pages is giving away 3 copies of This One is Mine. Deadline is March 14. US/Canada only.

Hist-Fic Chick is giving away a copy of Our Hart: Elegy for a Concubine. Deadline is March 14. US only.

Bookin' with Bingo is giving away 3 copies of One Life to Give. Deadline is March 15. US only!

At Home With Books is giving away 2 copies of Magnolia Wednesdays. Deadline is March 16. US/Canada only.

Readaholic is giving away 5 copies of The Ultimate NASCAR Insider's Track Guide. Deadline is March 16. US/Canada only.
Freda's Voice is giving away 3 copies of God Never Blinks. Deadline is March 16. US/Canada only.
Luxury Reading is giving away Black Hills and Drood to 3 winners! Deadline is March 17. US/Canada only.
Just One More Paragraph is giving away a prize pack that includes the book At Home with Laurie Ann and candles. Deadline is March 17. US only.
Libby's Library News is giving away 3 copies of Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven. Deadline is March 18. US/Canada only.

Bookin' with Bingo is giving away Every Dog Has a Gift. Deadline is March 18. US only.
Pure Imagination is giving having a big 500 follower contest! Deadline is March 15. US/Canada only.
Cherry Mischievous is giving away a three-pack of YA novels: Beautiful Creatures, Shiver and The Dark Divine. Deadline is March 19. International!
A Sea of Books is giving away a copy of Alphatudes. Deadline is March 19. US/Canada only.

Freda's Voice is giving away 3 copies of Slip of the Knife. Deadline is March 19. US/Canada only.

Storywings is having a huge, huge, huge, massive follower giveaway! At last count there were 7 winners for a total of 13 books! A huge selection of books to choose from. Deadline is March 19. International!

So Many Precious Books, So Little Time
is giving away Apologize, Apologize. Deadline is March 19. US/Canada only.

Cherry Mischievous is having a giveaway for 3 YA novels. Deadline is March 19. International!
Peeking Between the Pages is giving away a copy of The Wives of Henry Oades. Deadline is March 20. US/Canada only.
Just One More Paragraph is giving away a copy of Raven Stole the Moon. Deadline is March 23. US/Canada only.

Bookin' with Bingo is giving away 2 copies of The 4-Hour Work Week. Deadline is March 23. US only.
Libby's Library News is giving away 5 copies of Prime Time Health. Deadline is March 24. US/Canada only.

Luxury Reading is giving away a copy of Pride and Prejudice: Dawn of the Dreadfuls. Deadline is March 24. US only.
Bookin' with Bingo is giving away 3 copies of Only Thing Worth Dying For. Deadline is March 24. US only.

The Review Broads are giving away 5 copies of The Memory Thief. Deadline is March 24. US only.

Wendy's Minding Spot is giving away 5 copies of The 3-Day Cleanse. Deadline is March 25. US/Canada only.
I Just Wanna Sit Here and Read is giving away a $25 gift card to the book depository. Deadline is March 26. International!

All About {n} is giving away 3 copies of This One is Mine. Deadline is March 26. US/Canada only.

All About {n} is giving away 3 copies of Slip of the Knife. Deadline is March 26. US/Canada only.
Fantastic Book Review is giving away The Sky is Everywhere. Deadline is March 26. US/Canada only.
All About {n} is giving away 3 copies of Apologize, Apologize! Deadline is March 27. US/Canada only.

Peeking Between the Pages is giving away 2 copies of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt. Deadline is March 28. US/Canada only.
Freda's Voice is giving away 3 copies of Apologize, Apologize! Deadline is March 28. US/Canada only.

Freda's Voice is also giving away 3 copies of Laura Rider's Masterpiece. Deadline is March 28. US/Canada only.
Bookin' with Bingo is giving away 5 copies of Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang. Deadline is March 30. US/Canada only.
Alaine is giving away 1 of four books! Deadline is March 31. Open International.
The Book Faery Reviews is giving away 5 copies of The 3-Day Cleanse. Deadline is March 31. US/Canada only.

Libby's Library News is giving away 3 copies of Try Darkness. Deadline is April 1. US/Canada only.
Extreme Reader Book Reviews is having a huge Mega Swag and More contest! Deadline is April 10. International!
La Femme Readers is giving away 6 YA novels! Deadline is April 15. International!


*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, March 12, 2010

I Wanna...A Disobedient Girl by Ru Freeman

From Simon and Schuster:

Set against the volatile events of the last forty years of Sri Lankan history, A Disobedient Girl traces the lives of three characters whose interwoven fates and histories force them to answer life's most difficult questions. Beautiful, haunting, alive, and brimming with truth, it is, above all, a novel about extraordinary circumstances that change life in an instant and the power of love to transcend time and place.

The story begins with two little girls, mistress and servant, one with every luxury and opportunity that money can buy and the other with nothing but her yearning for a better life. Together, they grow up bound by love, betrayal, resentment, and an impossible secret.

Then there is Biso, a devoted mother of three, who risks everything to escape from the hands of her tyrannical husband. But her journey, which begins with such hope, takes her on a disastrous path that ultimately leads her to give her life over to strangers she never imagined she would have reason to know, binding her story with that of the girls in the most unexpected and heartbreaking of ways.

A Disobedient Girl is a compelling exploration of personal desire set against the volatile backdrop of class and prejudice, as three women journey toward their future, united by a shared history but separated by different fates. A bold and deeply moving account that spans three decades of love and loss, it is a tale about the will to survive and the incredible power of the human spirit to transcend the unforgiving sweep of tragedy.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Introducing Thursday: Beginner's Luck by Laura Pedersen

Was there ever a single moment about which you later wondered, "What would my life be like now if that hadn't happened?" Would the present be the same or completely different? And do we really make choices about what will happen to us, or is it all in the hands of fate?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What's Releasing (03-10-10 edition)

What's releasing the week of March 15:

Think Twice by Lisa Scottoline

From the blockbuster New York Times bestselling author of Look Again comes a novel that makes you question the nature of evil: is it born in us or is it bred?

Bennie Rosato looks exactly like her identical twin, Alice Connolly, but the darkness in Alice’s soul makes them two very different women. Or at least that’s what Bennie believes, until she finds herself buried alive at the hands of her twin.

Meanwhile, Alice takes over Bennie’s life, impersonating her at work and even seducing her boyfriend in order to escape the deadly mess she has made of her own life. But Alice underestimates Bennie and the evil she has unleashed in her twin’s psyche, as well as Bennie’s determination to stay alive long enough to exact revenge.

Bennie must face the twisted truth that she is more like her sister Alice than she could have ever imagined, and by the novel’s shocking conclusion, Bennie finds herself engaged in a war she cannot win—with herself.


The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen
In her latest enchanting novel, New York Times bestelling author Sarah Addison Allen invites you to a quirky little Southern town with more magic than a full Carolina moon. Here two very different women discover how to find their place in the world...no matter how out of place they feel.
Emily Benedict came to Mullaby, North Carolina, hoping to solve at least some of the riddles surrounding her mother's life. For instance, why did Dulcie Shelby leave her hometown so suddenly? Why did she vow never to return? But the moment Emily enters the house where her mother grew up and meets the grandfather she never knew—a reclusive, real-life gentle giant—she realizes that mysteries aren't solved in Mullaby, they're a way of life. Here are rooms where the wallpaper changes to suit your mood. Unexplained lights skip across the yard at midnight. And a neighbor bakes hope in the form of cakes.

Everyone in Mullaby...

(I think this sounds like a charming story. This one is going on my Wish List!)


Maximum Ride: Fang by James Patterson

Max and the Flock are flying high over Africa, but this time they're not alone. A sky full of cargo planes accompanies the team as they bring much-needed aid to the continent's poverty stricken regions. Among the volunteers is the mission's benefactor—the mysterious billionaire, Dr. Hans Gunther-Hagen. Max is intrigued by his generosity, but there's also something about him—and his intense scrutiny of the Flock—that makes her nervous.

But Dr. Hans isn't the only puzzling thing about their trip. The Flock also receives a cryptic message from a young girl, who tells them, "The sky will fall." Max and the Flock are ready to return home, still unable to make sense of her statement. But the surprises don't end with their departure, and something unbelievably momentous shakes up the Flock—pushing Max and Fang closer than ever. Will the team be able to stick together through the chaos?

(I just recently read the first one in this series and bought the second, which I look forward to reading soon!)