Friday, April 30, 2010

I Wanna...Boneshaker by Cherie Priest

Boneshaker by Cherie Priest

In the early days of the Civil War, rumors of gold in the frozen Klondike brought hordes of newcomers to the Pacific Northwest. Anxious to compete, Russian prospectors commissioned inventor Leviticus Blue to create a great machine that could mine through Alaska’s ice. Thus was Dr. Blue’s Incredible Bone-Shaking Drill Engine born.

But on its first test run the Boneshaker went terribly awry, destroying several blocks of downtown Seattle and unearthing a subterranean vein of blight gas that turned anyone who breathed it into the living dead.

Now it is sixteen years later, and a wall has been built to enclose the devastated and toxic city. Just beyond it lives Blue’s widow, Briar Wilkes. Life is hard with a ruined reputation and a teenaged boy to support, but she and Ezekiel are managing. Until Ezekiel undertakes a secret crusade to rewrite history.

His quest will take him under the wall and into a city teeming with ravenous undead, air pirates, criminal overlords, and heavily armed refugees. And only Briar can bring him out alive.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Book Giveaways in Blogworld (04-24-10 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 3 copies of Presumed Innocent. Deadline is April 24. US/Canada only.

Peeking Between the Pages is giving away 3 copies of Sugar. Deadline is April 25.

At Home with Books is having her monthly giveaway and offering up four books: Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women, Blindness, The Dolphin People and The Lace Makers of Glenmara. Deadline is April 26. US only.

Libby's Library News is giving away 3 copies of The Last Song. Deadline is April 26. US/Canada only.

Debbie's World of Books is giving away 2 ARCs of Brightly Woven. Deadline is April 27. US only.

A Circle of Books is giving away 3 copies of The Cradle. Deadline is April 28. US/Canada only.

Library Girl Reads is giving away your choice of eight books. Deadline is April 28. US only.

Libby's Library News is giving away 5 copies of The Magician's Book. Deadline is April 28. US/Canada only.

A Circle of Books is giving away 3 copies of the audiobook Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Deadline is April 28. US/Canada only.
SMS Book Reviews is giving away Sexaholics. Deadline is April 28. US/Canada only.
Alaine- Queen of Happy Endings is giving away a choice of three books: The Queen's Pawn, Savour the Moment, and the Reckoning. Deadline is April 30. International!

A Journey of Books is giving away a copy of Presumed Innocent. Deadline is April 30. US/Canada only.

A Journey of Books is giving away 3 copies of Addict at Ten. Deadline is April 30.

So Many Precious Books is giving away Stay a Little Longer. Deadline is April 30. US/Canada only.

Along the Way is having a huge giveaway of four books and bracelets! Deadline is April 30. US/Canada only.

Reading with Tequila is giving away your choice of three books. Deadline is April 30. US only.
Fantastic Book Reviews is having a big Blogversary giveaway! She has 2 winners for a total of four books! Deadline is April 30. US/Canada only.
Peeking Between the Pages is giving away 2 copies of The Cradle. Deadline is May 2. US/Canada only.

Library Lounge Lizard is giving away a copy of The Body Finder. Deadline is May 3.

Libby's Library News is giving away 3 copies of the audiobook Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. Deadline is May 5. US/Canada only.
SMS Book Reviews is giving away Sex, Drugs and Gefilte Fish. Deadline is May 5. US/Canada only.
Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf is giving away an entire boxed set of Harry Potter paperbacks! Deadline is May 6. US only.
A Few More Pages is giving away a signed hardcover copy of Riddle of Berlin. Deadline is May 7. International!

SMS Book Reviews is giving away Guide to Getting it On. Deadline is May 7. 3 copies US and 1 copy international!
Peeking Between the Pages is giving away a copy of The Queen's Pawn. Deadline is May 8. US only.
A Journey of Books is giving away a copy of Firefly Rain. Deadline is May 13. US only.
Three's a Crowd is a new blog trying to reach 50 followers. Win Silver Borne. Contest ends when 50 followers is met.

Beth's Book Review Blog is having a follower giveaway. Winner will get a choice from her GoodRead Swap List. Deadline is when she reaches 300 followers.


*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, April 23, 2010

I Wanna...A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

From Publishers Weekly

As the title suggests, bestselling author Bryson (In a Sunburned Country) sets out to put his irrepressible stamp on all things under the sun. As he states at the outset, this is a book about life, the universe and everything, from the Big Bang to the ascendancy of Homo sapiens. "This is a book about how it happened," the author writes. "In particular how we went from there being nothing at all to there being something, and then how a little of that something turned into us, and also what happened in between and since." What follows is a brick of a volume summarizing moments both great and curious in the history of science, covering already well-trod territory in the fields of cosmology, astronomy, paleontology, geology, chemistry, physics and so on. Bryson relies on some of the best material in the history of science to have come out in recent years. This is great for Bryson fans, who can encounter this material in its barest essence with the bonus of having it served up in Bryson's distinctive voice. But readers in the field will already have studied this information more in-depth in the originals and may find themselves questioning the point of a breakneck tour of the sciences that contributes nothing novel. Nevertheless, to read Bryson is to travel with a memoirist gifted with wry observation and keen insight that shed new light on things we mistake for commonplace. To accompany the author as he travels with the likes of Charles Darwin on the Beagle, Albert Einstein or Isaac Newton is a trip worth taking for most readers.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

REVIEW: New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

Synopsis

In New Moon, Stephenie Meyer delivers another irresistible combination of romance and suspense with a supernatural twist. The "star-crossed" lovers theme continues as Bella and Edward find themselves facing new obstacles, including a devastating separation, the mysterious appearance of dangerous wolves roaming the forest in Forks, a terrifying threat of revenge from a female vampire and a deliciously sinister encounter with Italy's reigning royal family of vampires, the Volturi. Passionate, riveting, and full of surprising twists and turns, this vampire love saga captures the struggle between defying our instincts and satisfying our desires. This is a love story with bite.


About the Author
from Barnes and Noble

According to Stephenie Meyer, the idea for her sensational debut novel, Twilight, came to her in a vividly detailed dream in 2003. Over the course of three months, writing at night when her children were in bed, the young Mormon mother of three developed that dream into the spellbinding story of 17-year-old Bella Swan, who moves from Phoenix, Arizona, to the tiny town of Forks, Washington, and falls in love with a beautiful, mysterious vampire named Edward Cullen. After feverish writing, painstaking editing, and a brief but frustrating round of queries, submissions, and rejections, Meyer finally connected with an editor at Little, Brown who fell in love with the manuscript and signed her to a three-book deal.

Twilight debuted in October, 2005. An immediate sensation, it appeared on several year-end best books lists and earned its author a rabid cult following among teenage girls. Since then, Meyer has continued Bella and Edward's story in bestselling sequels that have proved equally successful. Young readers cannot get enough of these riveting novels -- a captivating blend of vampires, romance, and suspense -- and parents rest easy knowing the books do not contain the graphic language and sexually provocative material that pervades some YA series.

Whether or not the Twilight Saga proves to have "Harry Potter legs" remains to be seen. Meanwhile, Meyer continues writing. She forayed into adult fiction with 2008's The Host, a chilling science fiction tale about the end of humanity, told from the perspective of an alien invader. And she makes it clear the door is open for further installments in her vampire romance. Clearly, this talented author has many more stories to tell.


My Thoughts

The saga continues. In the sequel to Twilight, Edward has withdrawn from Bella, and as a result Bella develops a deeper friendship with her Quileute friend Jacob. I'm afraid to say too much, as I don't want to spoil the story.

I didn't enjoy this book quite as much as the first, but it's interesting and enjoyable. It really is disturbing how attached Bella is to Edward and her family. It's really unhealthy. Bella doesn't seem quite stable. She is such a "needy" character. Even her moments of recklessness and strength seem to be motivated by her own need to feel close to Edward. I mean, talk about "co-dependent"-- Bella is the epitome of it! She's in a co-dependent relationship with her mother, with Charlie, with Edward and Jacob. She is the typical "caretaker". There are moments when she is so needy that I just want to shake her and tell her to toughen up! She is a total defeatest-- she just gives up on life when Edward isn't there, and literally believes that she is incomplete without him. Come on, Bella! Be your own person!

The writing really is kinda "simplistic". There is nothing complex about it, which can be a good thing. It is a good read when you're just looking to escape and don't want to think too much.

There is a moment near the beginning of the book when a chapter ends and you see a page labeled "October". You turn the page expecting the next chapter to begin, but it is simply labeled "November", the next page "December", and then another "January". You turn each page, realizing months are passing by. It really had an interesting effect, implying the bleakness of those months. I liked that little touch to the story.

So I still like the sequel, but a little less than the first. I am concurrently touched by Bella's devotion to Edward while being repelled by her neediness. So I have something of a love/hate relationship with Bella, as I do with Edward. Jacob is a character that I really like, although he is immature at times. And the book did its job, leaving me wanting for more, and eager for the third book and the final conclusion to this whole soap opera!


My Rating: 8 out of 10

What's Releasing (04-21-09 edition)

Books available the week of 4/26/10:

Burned (House of Night Series #7) by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

The highly anticipated seventh book in the New York Times and USA Today bestselling House of Night series.








The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell

Before Carrie Bradshaw hit the big time in the City, she was a regular girl growing up in the suburbs of Connecticut. How did she turn into one of the most-read social observers of our generation?

The Carrie Diaries opens up in Carrie's senior year of high school. She and her best friends -- Walt, Lali, Maggie, and the Mouse -- are inseparable, amid the sea of Jens, Jocks and Jets. And then Sebastian Kydd comes into the picture. Sebastian is a bad boy-older, intriguing, and unpredictable. Carrie falls into the relationship that she was always supposed to have in high school-until a friend's betrayal makes her question everything. With her high school days coming to a close, Carrie will realize it's finally time to go after everything she ever wanted.

Rabid fans of Sex and the City will love seeing Carrie Bradshaw evolve from a regular girl into a sharp, insightful writer. They'll learn about her family background -- how she found her writing voice, and the indelible impression her early friendships and relationships left on her. We'll see what brings Carrie to her beloved New York City, where the next Carrie Diaries book will take place.

Reckless by Andrew Gross Former police detective Ty Hauck, now a partner in a worldwide security company, displays his usual bulldog tenacity in bestseller Gross’s sketchily plotted third Ty Hauck novel (after Don’t Look Twice). The murders of Marc Glassman, the chief equities trader at an old Wall Street firm, Glassman’s wife, and one of their children at their Greenwich, Conn., home affect Hauck deeply. Meanwhile, his boss asks him to investigate shadowy financier Dieter Thibault, who’s aroused the interest of a valued customer. Probing the connections among seismic disturbances in the financial markets, Glassman’s death, and Thibault’s actions, Hauck teams with Treasury agent Naomi Blum only to find their every action anticipated and countered. Against international conspiracies and financial institutions in freefall, Hauck and Blum have to go rogue. Thriller fans able to overlook clich├ęs like “wet behind the ears” and “hit them like a truck” will enjoy the fast-flowing action. 6-city author tour.

Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende

Born a slave on the island of Saint-Domingue, Zarite—known as Tete—is the daughter of an African mother she never knew and one of the white sailors who brought her into bondage. Though her childhood is one of brutality and fear, Tete finds solace in the traditional rhythms of African drums and in the voodoo loas she discovers through her fellow slaves.

When twenty-year-old Toulouse Valmorain arrives on the island in 1770, it's with powdered wigs in his baggage and dreams of financial success in his mind. But running his father's plantation, Saint Lazare, is neither glamorous nor easy. It will be eight years before he brings home a bride—but marriage, too, proves more difficult than he imagined. And Valmorain remains dependent on the services of his teenaged slave.

Spanning four decades, Island Beneath the Sea is the moving story of the intertwined lives of Tete and Valmorain, and of one woman's determination to find love amid loss, to offer humanity though her own has been battered, and to forge her own identity in the cruellest of circumstances.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Poetry Sunday (04-18-10 edition)

I was introduced to a portion of this poem in a recent book Best Bet by Laura Pedersen. I googled it to see it in its entirety, and found it to be one of the most beautiful poems I've recently read. The Penguin book of French poetry: 1820-1950: with prose translations by William Rees says of the poet Anna de Noailles:
Anna de Noailles was an aristocrat, beautiful and gifted and a central figure in Parisian artistic life, admired and cultivated by Proust, Valery, Rostand, Cocteau and others.

She was a woman of strong passions and unapologetic sensuality, expressed concretely in a neo-Romantic and technically orthodox verse that renews from the feminine point of view the century-old themes of love and loss, God in Nature, solitude and the passage of time...

There is a pagan intensity in her response to her life and anticipation of death, and her commitment of her entire self to poetry excuses a certain verbosity.

I will press myself with such force against life, with an embrace so fierce and a grip so tight, that before the sweetness of the day is stolen away from me it will be warmed by my entwining arms.

The sea, spread abundantly over the world, will hold, in the wandering journey of its waters, the taste of my pain which is sour and salt and rolls like a ship on the shifting days.

I will leave of myself in the fold of the hills the warmth of my eyes which have seen them in blossom, and the cicada perched on the branches of the thornbush will be resonant with the piercing cry of my longing.

In the spring fields the fresh greenery and the tufted grass at the ditches' edge will feel, throbbing and elusive like wings, the ghosts of my hands which pressed them down so strongly.

Nature which was my joy and my domain will breathe in the air my unceasing fervour, and on the prostration of human sadness I will leave the unique configuration of my heart.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Book Giveaways in Blogworld (04-17-10 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 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.

The Review Broads are giving away 3 copies of The Pocket Therapist. Deadline is April 17. US only.

In Which a Girl Reads is giving away Willow and Before I Fall to one winner! Deadline is April 17. International!

Beth's Book Review Blog is giving away 3 copies of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Deadline is April 17. US/Canada only.

Read This Book is having a big YA giveaway! Three prize packs are up for grabs. Deadline is April 20. International.

La Femme Readers is giving away a copy of Pride and Prejudice: Dawn of the Dreadfuls. Deadline is April 20.

Bookin' with Bingo is giving away a copy of Giada at Home. Deadline is April 20. US only.

Juicilliciousss Reviews is having a big "random" YA giveaway! 2 winners! Winners will each receive a box of as many as 8-9 YA books. Deadline is April 21. International!

The Undercover Booklover is giving away your choice of a prize pack from the publisher of your choice. Deadline is April 22. International!

The Tome Traveler is giving away a copy of The Queen's Pawn. Deadline is April 22. US only.

The Review Broads are giving away 5 copies of Deliver Us From Evil. Deadline is April 22. US only.

Bookin' with Bingo is giving away 2 autographed copies of Two Cents a Dance. Deadline is April 22. US only.

YA Bliss is giving away Radiant Shadows. Deadline is April 23. US/Canada only.

So Many Precious Books, So Little Time is giving away Alex Cross's Trial. Deadline is April 23. US/Canada only.

Peeking Between the Pages is giving away 3 copies of Presumed Innocent. Deadline is April 24. US/Canada only.

Peeking Between the Pages is giving away 3 copies of Sugar. Deadline is April 25.

At Home with Books is having her monthly giveaway and offering up four books: Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women, Blindness, The Dolphin People and The Lace Makers of Glenmara. Deadline is April 26. US only.

Libby's Library News is giving away 3 copies of The Last Song. Deadline is April 26. US/Canada only.

Debbie's World of Books is giving away 2 ARCs of Brightly Woven. Deadline is April 27. US only.

A Circle of Books is giving away 3 copies of The Cradle. Deadline is April 28. US/Canada only.

Library Girl Reads is giving away your choice of eight books. Deadline is April 28. US only.

Libby's Library News is giving away 5 copies of The Magician's Book. Deadline is April 28. US/Canada only.
A Circle of Books is giving away 3 copies of the audiobook Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Deadline is April 28. US/Canada only.
Alaine- Queen of Happy Endings is giving away a choice of three books: The Queen's Pawn, Savour the Moment, and the Reckoning. Deadline is April 30. International!

A Journey of Books is giving away a copy of Presumed Innocent. Deadline is April 30. US/Canada only.

A Journey of Books is giving away 3 copies of Addict at Ten. Deadline is April 30.

So Many Precious Books is giving away Stay a Little Longer. Deadline is April 30. US/Canada only.

Along the Way is having a huge giveaway of four books and bracelets! Deadline is April 30. US/Canada only.

Reading with Tequila is giving away your choice of three books. Deadline is April 30. US only.

Peeking Between the Pages is giving away 2 copies of The Cradle. Deadline is May 2. US/Canada only.

Library Lounge Lizard is giving away a copy of The Body Finder. Deadline is May 3.
Libby's Library News is giving away 3 copies of the audiobook Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. Deadline is May 5. US/Canada only.
Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf is giving away an entire boxed set of Harry Potter paperbacks! Deadline is May 6. US only.
Peeking Between the Pages is giving away a copy of The Queen's Pawn. Deadline is May 8. US only.

Three's a Crowd is a new blog trying to reach 50 followers. Win Silver Borne. Contest ends when 50 followers is met.

Beth's Book Review Blog is having a follower giveaway. Winner will get a choice from her GoodRead Swap List. Deadline is when she reaches 300 followers.


*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 y

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Introducing Thursday: New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

The Twilight Saga: New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

I felt like I was trapped in one of those terrifying nightmares, the one where you have to run, run till your lungs burst, but you can't make your body move fast enough. My legs seemed to move slower and slower as I fought my way through the callous crowd, but the hands on the huge clock tower didn't slow. With relentless, uncaring force, they turned inexorably toward the end-- the end of everything.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What's Releasing (04-14-10 edition)

Books available the week of 4/19/10:

Deliver Us From Evil by David Baldacci

Evan Waller is a monster. He has built a fortune from his willingness to buy and sell anything . . . and anyone. In search of new opportunities, Waller has just begun a new business venture: one that could lead to millions of deaths all over the globe. On Waller's trail is Shaw, the mysterious operative from The Whole Truth, who must prevent Waller from closing his latest deal. Shaw's one chance to bring him down will come in the most unlikely of places: a serene, bucolic village in Provence. But Waller's depravity and ruthlessness go deeper than Shaw knows. And now, there is someone else pursuing Waller in Provence-Reggie Campion, an agent for a secret vigilante group headquartered in a musty old English estate-and she has an agenda of her own. Hunting the same man and unaware of each other's mission, Shaw and Reggie will be caught in a deadly duel of nerve and wits. Hitchcockian in its intimate buildup of suspense and filled with the remarkable characters, breathtaking plot turns, and blockbuster finale that are David Baldacci's hallmarks, DELIVER US FROM EVIL will be one of the most gripping thrillers of the year.


The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption and Pee by Sarah Silverman

From the outrageously filthy and oddly innocent comedienne Sarah Silverman comes a memoir—her first book—that is at once shockingly personal, surprisingly poignant, and still pee-in-your-pants funny. If you like Sarah’s television show The Sarah Silverman Program, or memoirs such as Chelsea Handler’s Are You There Vodka? It’s Me Chelsea and Artie Lange’s Too Fat to Fish, you’ll love The Bedwetter.

Warning from publisher to reader:

At HarperCollins, we are committed to customer satisfaction. Before proceeding with your purchase, please take the following questionnaire to determine your likelihood of enjoying this book:

1. Which of the following do you appreciate?

(a) Women with somewhat horse-ish facial features.
(b) Women who, while not super Jew-y, are more identifiably Jewish than, say, Natalie Portman.
(c) Frequent discussion of unwanted body hair.

2. Are you offended by the following behavior?

(a) Instructing one's grandmother to place baked goods in her rectal cavity.
(b) Stripping naked in public—eleven times in a row.
(c) Stabbing one's boss in the head with a writing implement.

3. The best way to treat an emotionally fragile young girl is:

(a) Murder the main course of her Thanksgiving dinner before her very eyes.
(b) Tell her that her older sister is prettier than she, and then immediately die.
(c) Prevent her suicide by recommending she stay away from open windows.

If you read the above questions without getting nauseous or forming a hate Web site, you are ready to buy this book! Please proceed to the cashier.


Eight Days to Live by Iris Johansen

While Eve Duncan (first introduced in the more procedural Face of Deception) is present for parts of this thriller, the action focuses on her adopted daughter, Jane Maguire, and the psychopathic men determined to kill her. The why has something vaguely to do with a painting that Jane created from a dream image that connects to a prophecy and a cult that dates back to the time of Christ. In the meantime, Jane must struggle to stay one step ahead of the killers with the help of two strong but silent assassins—one who works for the CIA, the other who has some sort of extra ability to boil a person's blood from the inside out. VERDICT Johansen's latest is more than a little over the top with the villainous villains and secret sacrifices—think The Da Vinci Code crossed with an Anne Stuart romantic suspense novel, and you'll have a sense of the plot and tone. Not that that will be a bad thing for all readers. Fans of Stuart's amoral heroes and those who still follow Johansen will probably pick this one up.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Book Giveaways in Blogworld (04-10-10 edition)

Note: I was camping at a women's getaway this weekend, and didn't get up a new giveaway list. So I'm posting one now, cleaned up without the expired giveaways...

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:

Pure Imagination is giving away Rules of Attraction. Deadline is April 13. International!

Booksie's Blog is giving away 3 copies of Presumed Innocent. Deadline is April 14. US/Canada only.

Readaholic is giving away 2 copies of The Language of Secrets. Deadline is April 14. US only.

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

Books and Needlepoint is having a huge follower giveaways! Currently there will be 5 winners, maybe more later on. Deadline is April 15. US only.

Radiant Light is giving away 3 copies of Presumed Innocent. Deadline is April 15. US/Canada only.

Radiant Light is giving away 2 copies of Alex Cross's Trial. Deadline is April 15. US/Canada only.

Jo-Jo Loves to Read is giving away her hard copy of This One is Mine. Deadline is April 16. US/Canada only.

Cherry Mischievous is giving away a copy of Poison Study. Deadline is April 16. International!

So Many Precious Books is giving away Presumed Innocent. Deadline is April 16. US/Canada only.

Bookin' with Bingo is giving away 5 copies of Homemade Life. Deadline is April 16. US only.

Radiant Light is giving away 3 copies of The Cradle. Deadline is April 16. US/Canada only.
Alison's Book Marks is giving away 2 copies of Presumed Innocent. 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.

The Review Broads are giving away 3 copies of The Pocket Therapist. Deadline is April 17. US only.

In Which a Girl Reads is giving away Willow and Before I Fall to one winner! Deadline is April 17. International!

Beth's Book Review Blog is giving away 3 copies of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Deadline is April 17. US/Canada only.

Read This Book is having a big YA giveaway! Three prize packs are up for grabs. Deadline is April 20. International.

La Femme Readers is giving away a copy of Pride and Prejudice: Dawn of the Dreadfuls. Deadline is April 20.
Bookin' with Bingo is giving away a copy of Giada at Home. Deadline is April 20. US only.
Juicilliciousss Reviews is having a big "random" YA giveaway! 2 winners! Winners will each receive a box of as many as 8-9 YA books. Deadline is April 21. International!

The Undercover Booklover is giving away your choice of a prize pack from the publisher of your choice. Deadline is April 22. International!

The Tome Traveler is giving away a copy of The Queen's Pawn. Deadline is April 22. US only.

The Review Broads are giving away 5 copies of Deliver Us From Evil. Deadline is April 22. US only.
Bookin' with Bingo is giving away 2 autographed copies of Two Cents a Dance. Deadline is April 22. US only.
YA Bliss is giving away Radiant Shadows. Deadline is April 23. US/Canada only.

So Many Precious Books, So Little Time is giving away Alex Cross's Trial. Deadline is April 23. US/Canada only.
Peeking Between the Pages is giving away 3 copies of Presumed Innocent. Deadline is April 24. US/Canada only.

Peeking Between the Pages is giving away 3 copies of Sugar. Deadline is April 25.
At Home with Books is having her monthly giveaway and offering up four books: Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women, Blindness, The Dolphin People and The Lace Makers of Glenmara. Deadline is April 26. US only.
Libby's Library News is giving away 3 copies of The Last Song. Deadline is April 26. US/Canada only.
Debbie's World of Books is giving away 2 ARCs of Brightly Woven. Deadline is April 27. US only.
A Circle of Books is giving away 3 copies of The Cradle. Deadline is April 28. US/Canada only.
Library Girl Reads is giving away your choice of eight books. Deadline is April 28. US only.

Libby's Library News is giving away 5 copies of The Magician's Book. Deadline is April 28. US/Canada only.
Alaine- Queen of Happy Endings is giving away a choice of three books: The Queen's Pawn, Savour the Moment, and the Reckoning. Deadline is April 30. International!

A Journey of Books is giving away a copy of Presumed Innocent. Deadline is April 30. US/Canada only.

A Journey of Books is giving away 3 copies of Addict at Ten. Deadline is April 30.
So Many Precious Books is giving away Stay a Little Longer. Deadline is April 30. US/Canada only.

Along the Way is having a huge giveaway of four books and bracelets! Deadline is April 30. US/Canada only.

Reading with Tequila is giving away your choice of three books. Deadline is April 30. US only.

Peeking Between the Pages is giving away 2 copies of The Cradle. Deadline is May 2. US/Canada only.

Library Lounge Lizard is giving away a copy of The Body Finder. Deadline is May 3.

Peeking Between the Pages is giving away a copy of The Queen's Pawn. Deadline is May 8. US only.
Three's a Crowd is a new blog trying to reach 50 followers. Win Silver Borne. Contest ends when 50 followers is met.

Beth's Book Review Blog is having a follower giveaway. Winner will get a choice from her GoodRead Swap List. Deadline is when she reaches 300 followers.


*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 y

Monday, April 12, 2010

REVIEW: Best Bet by Laura Pedersen

Synopsis

Since Hallie's father died and left behind ten children, money at the Palmer household is tighter than ever. And just when Hallie thought she was graduating from college, it turns out she's four credits short. A professor needs one more student for a project that will take her around the world, only longtime boyfriend Craig has another proposition for Hallie.

Thus begins Hallie's great odyssey, for the first time she ventures outside the safety of Cosgrove County and the sixty-mile radius in which she's functioned for her entire life. But somehow, escaping home doesn't translate into leaving behind all of her problems, and, unfortunately, not all can be solved by putting her superior gambling skills to work.

Eventually, it's time to return home to all the good people who are great at driving each other crazy. Hallie must finally face the biggest decision of her life.

Humorous and heartfelt, Best Bet underscores the importance of friends, family, and a sense of belonging. The characters in this modest, but neighborly, small town prove that an ordinary existence made up of small but genuine moments can satisfy a soul that's hungry for life in all of its glories and disappointments.



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

This book was the conclusion of a four-part series. I read and reviewed the first book Beginner's Luck recently, and have now read the last book in the series. I did not read the two books in between.

The series covers the life of Hallie Palmer. In the first book, she is a teenage gambler who quits school and tries to find her own way and clear her sullied name.

In this series finale, Hallie is anticipating college graduation and a new life with her longtime boyfriend Craig, when she learns that she is short a few credits due to no fault of her own. She embarks on a journey around the world as part of a sociology project for school to earn her degree, and learns a little something about herself and the world while she is at it.

Hallie is still a likable character, and somewhat identifiable for me. I identify with her "tomboyishness", her logical mind and detached emotions that observes the world often with a perplexed shake of the head, and yet maintains a quick wit and humor.

Pastor Costello, whom she secretly gambled with in the basement of the church as a teen, has now taken on a new role in her life. Her brothers and sisters are growing up and moving away to begin lives of their own. Her mother has begun a new life after losing Hallie's father a few years before (in one of the books I didn't read).

Hallie is facing the same question that so many others are facing in this day and age: Is the cost of higher education worth it? In a time when college graduates are finding themselves waiting tables or working in department stores to survive, will the financial investment pay off for her? She may find, as others may find, that sometimes it may pay off in ways that you didn't expect. Or perhaps the education will help you in a career that you didn't have planned.

And often you have to go away to find, just like Dorothy, that "there's no place like home".

As before with Beginner's Luck, this was a sweet story. I have to say: Thank God that the chimpanzee Rocky wasn't as prominent a character in this one, as the whole concept of him really annoys me! There is pretty good character development here. I can "see" the characters in my head, and feel I really know them and "get" them. Some of the storylines and character interactions are a little over the top. The characters can tend towards extreme stereotypes, but the story is enjoyable nevertheless.

I think that I enjoyed this one a little more than the first one. There seemed to be a little more "meat" to it (and less Rocky). However let me note that you do not have to have read any of the preceding books in the series in order read this one.



My Rating: 8 out of 10

Friday, April 9, 2010

I Wanna...Animals Make Us Human by Temple Grandin and Catharine Johnson

How can we give animals the best life— for them? What does an animal need to be happy? In her groundbreaking, best-selling book Animals in Translation, Temple Grandin drew on her own experience with autism as well as her experience as an animal scientist to deliver extraordinary insights into how animals think, act, and feel. Now she builds on those insights to show us how to give our animals the best and happiest life— on their terms, not ours. Knowing what causes animals physical pain is usually easy, but pinpointing emotional distress is much harder. Drawing on the latest research and her own work, Grandin identifies the core emotional needs of animals and then explains how to fulfill the specific needs of dogs and cats, horses, farm animals, zoo animals, and even wildlife. Whether it’s how to make the healthiest environment for the dog you must leave alone most of the day, how to keep pigs from being bored, or how to know if the lion pacing in the zoo is miserable or just exercising, Grandin teaches us to challenge our assumptions about animal contentment and honor our bond with our fellow creatures.
Animals Make Us Human is the culmination of almost thirty years of research, experimentation, and experience. This is essential reading for anyone who’s ever owned, cared for, or simply cared about an animal.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

What's Releasing (04-07-10 edition)

Books available the week of 4/12:

Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel

Fate takes many forms. . . .

When Henry receives a letter from an elderly taxidermist, it poses a puzzle that he cannot resist. As he is pulled further into the world of this strange and calculating man, Henry becomes increasingly involved with the lives of a donkey and a howler monkey—named Beatrice and Virgil—and the epic journey they undertake together.

With all the spirit and originality that made Life of Pi so beloved, this brilliant new novel takes the reader on a haunting odyssey. On the way Martel asks profound questions about life and art, truth and deception, responsibility and complicity.


The Bride Collector by Ted Dekker

FBI Special agent Brad Raines is facing his toughest case yet. A Denver serial killer has killed four beautiful young women, leaving a bridal veil at each crime scene, and he's picking up his pace. Unable to crack the case, Raines appeals for help from a most unusual source: residents of the Center for Wellbeing and Intelligence, a private psychiatric institution for mentally ill individuals whose are extraordinarily gifted.

It's there that he meets Paradise, a young woman who witnessed her father murder her family and barely escaped his hand. Diagnosed with schizophrenia, Paradise may also have an extrasensory gift: the ability to experience the final moments of a person's life when she touches the dead body.

In a desperate attempt to find the killer, Raines enlists Paradise's help. In an effort to win her trust, he befriends this strange young woman and begins to see in her qualities that most 'sane people' sorely lack. Gradually, he starts to question whether sanity resides outside the hospital walls...or inside.

As the Bride Collector picks up the pace-and volume-of his gruesome crucifixions, the case becomes even more personal to Raines when his friend and colleague, a beautiful young forensic psychologist, becomes the Bride Collector's next target.

The FBI believes that the killer plans to murder seven women. Can Paradise help before it's too late?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Teaser Tuesday (04-06-10 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:

The stars began to fade in the darkness, to the point where he could no longer look directly at them; only the larger planets held the light. If only he could jump from his bed onto one of those planets where people didn't torment each other. Could there be such a place?

-- Hunter by Campbell Jefferys (page 26)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

CHALLENGE: Read, Remember, Recommend Fiction Reading Challenge



In celebration of the April 1st, 2010 release date of the Read, Remember, Recommend reading journal, Bibliobabe is hosting a new reading challenge.

Dates:
April 1st, 2010 to April 1st, 2011

Details:
  • Check out all the amazing books (thousands!) mentioned in Read, Remember, Recommend and plan your attack. Books do not need to be decided upon in advance. All books must be mentioned in the journal lists.
  • Write a challenge sign-up post on your blog. In that post provide a link to the Read, Remember, Recommend Fiction Reading Challenge post. Please feel free to use the Read, Remember, Recommend Fiction Reading Challenge button in your post. If you do not have a blog, introduce yourself in a comment below.
  • Add your name and the direct link to the sign-up post in the Mister Linky list below.
  • Each time you read and review a book as part of this challenge, share this with other challenge participants by adding a direct link to your book review to the list in a comment at this post. If you do not have a blog, leave your review as a comment.
Rules:
  • Read as many books from the Read, Remember, Recommend reading journal as you can in one year. Books read before April 1st, 2010 do not count. Overlaps with other challenges (including the Read, Remember, Recommend Teen Reading Challenge) are acceptable – and encouraged!
  • Rereading doesn’t count – have fun exploring new authors, awards and books!
  • Audio, print, and e-books are all acceptable.
  • Post your review or link to your review in a comment below.
  • You can change your commitment level at anytime.
Levels:
  • Notable Newbie – 5 books
  • Armchair Librarian – 10 books
  • The Library of Congress Calls Me Daddy – 20 books
  • A Book Intervention is Needed – 30 books

I think that I will start with the Notable Newbie level, since I already have so many other books that I'm committed to read. But I've looked over the lists, and there are some great books available!

There will also be some awesome prizes, including your choice of e-reader!

So far my possible reads are:

My bookcase can kick your bookcase's butt and make it cry...

I just picked up this bookcase from a neighbor of my mother. She had picked up 8 or 9 of these things at one point, and just didn't have room for this one anymore.

No wonder! This thing is HUGE! It's a monster of a bookcase. It stands 95 inches tall. Yep, 95 inches! That's just a hair under 8 feet tall! I will actually need a step ladder to reach the top shelf! When I stand in front of the bookcase, I am eye level with the bottom of the second shelf down-- and I'm about 5'5"!

I had planned on probably putting this out in the garage for additional storage. However after getting it home we found that it is too tall for the garage! So today it got moved into the entryway. The only place that it will fit in my house is in the living room, which has vaulted ceilings.

This baby should go a long way towards helping me organize my books. I was finally able to start unpacking the books that have been stashed in the garage since I moved in 1 1/2 years ago.

And look at that. Someone even wired it for power. So I can put a lamp in the bookcase or my digital picture frame or stereo. Not half bad!

Poetry Sunday (04-04-10 edition)

TO THE VIRGINS, TO MAKE MUCH OF TIME
by Robert Herrick
(1591-1674)

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles to-day
To-morrow will be dying.

The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he's a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he's to setting.

That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.

Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may go marry:
For having lost but once your prime
You may for ever tarry.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Book Giveaways in Blogworld (04-03-10 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 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.
So Many Precious Books is giving away 2 copies of The Stolen Crown. Deadline is April 9. US/Canada only.

Jen on the Edge is giving away 3 copies of The Blue Virgin. Deadline is April 9.
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.
Readaholic is giving away 5 copies of the ARC The Map of True Places. Deadline is April 11. US/Canada only.

Storybook Reviews is giving away a copy of Hush. Deadline is April 11. US/Canada only.

The Puzzler is giving away a copy of Gourmet Game Night. Deadline is April 11.
Books and Needlepoint is giving away 5 copies of Montana Legacy. Deadline is April 12. US/Canada only.
Readaholic is giving away 2 copies of Great Negotiations: Agreements that Changed the Modern World. Deadline is April 12. US/Canada only.

Radiant Light is giving away 2 copies of Laurar Rider's Masterpiece. Deadline is April 12. US/Canada only.
Pure Imagination is giving away Rules of Attraction. Deadline is April 13. International!

Booksie's Blog
is giving away 3 copies of Presumed Innocent. Deadline is April 14. US/Canada only.

Readaholic is giving away 2 copies of The Language of Secrets. Deadline is April 14. US only.
La Femme Readers is giving away 6 YA novels! Deadline is April 15. International!
Books and Needlepoint is having a huge follower giveaways! Currently there will be 5 winners, maybe more later on. Deadline is April 15. US only.

Radiant Light is giving away 3 copies of Presumed Innocent. Deadline is April 15. US/Canada only.

Radiant Light is giving away 2 copies of Alex Cross's Trial. Deadline is April 15. US/Canada only.
Jo-Jo Loves to Read is giving away her hard copy of This One is Mine. Deadline is April 16. US/Canada only.
Cherry Mischievous is giving away a copy of Poison Study. Deadline is April 16. International!

So Many Precious Books is giving away Presumed Innocent. Deadline is April 16. US/Canada only.

Bookin' with Bingo
is giving away 5 copies of Homemade Life. Deadline is April 16. US only.

Radiant Light is giving away 3 copies of The Cradle. 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.
The Review Broads are giving away 3 copies of The Pocket Therapist. Deadline is April 17. US only.

In Which a Girl Reads is giving away Willow and Before I Fall to one winner! Deadline is April 17. International!

Beth's Book Review Blog is giving away 3 copies of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Deadline is April 17. US/Canada only.

Read This Book is having a big YA giveaway! Three prize packs are up for grabs. Deadline is April 20. International.

La Femme Readers is giving away a copy of Pride and Prejudice: Dawn of the Dreadfuls. Deadline is April 20.

Juicilliciousss Reviews is having a big "random" YA giveaway! 2 winners! Winners will each receive a box of as many as 8-9 YA books. Deadline is April 21. International!

The Undercover Booklover is giving away your choice of a prize pack from the publisher of your choice. Deadline is April 22. International!

The Tome Traveler is giving away a copy of The Queen's Pawn. Deadline is April 22. US only.

The Review Broads are giving away 5 copies of Deliver Us From Evil. Deadline is April 22. US only.
YA Bliss is giving away Radiant Shadows. Deadline is April 23. US/Canada only.

So Many Precious Books, So Little Time
is giving away Alex Cross's Trial. Deadline is April 23. US/Canada only.

At Home with Books is having her monthly giveaway and offering up four books: Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women, Blindness, The Dolphin People and The Lace Makers of Glenmara. Deadline is April 26. US only.

Alaine- Queen of Happy Endings is giving away a choice of three books: The Queen's Pawn, Savour the Moment, and the Reckoning. Deadline is April 30. International!

A Journey of Books is giving away a copy of Presumed Innocent. Deadline is April 30. US/Canada only.

A Journey of Books
is giving away 3 copies of Addict at Ten. Deadline is April 30.
Three's a Crowd is a new blog trying to reach 50 followers. Win Silver Borne. Contest ends when 50 followers is met.
Beth's Book Review Blog is having a follower giveaway. Winner will get a choice from her GoodRead Swap List. Deadline is when she reaches 300 followers.

*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!