...never judge a book by its movie

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Winners! Literary Giveaway Blog hop!

Time to pick the winners for the Literary Giveaway Blog Hop hosted by Judith at  Leeswammes' Blog .  (You really should pay her a visit; she is the bestest!)

The winners are:

It was hard to choose so my ranking would be:
1) The Help
2) Crooked Letter Crooked Letter
3) The Handmaid's Tale

Thanks :)


Wonderful selection. I would choose Crooked Letter Crooked Letter.

undermyappletree at gmail dot com

(I don't blame Mona; I would have a hard time choosing myself!)

The winners have both been notified!  Please reply to my email within 72 hours with your mailing addies!


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Disqus vs. Blogger commenting system - help me decide

This is going to be a sort of poll - with a sticky link at the top of the blog until July 15th (oopsie .. meant to say July 5th).  As a blogger who runs giveaways, I switched to Disqus for the following reasons: 1.  Easier to make numbered comments 2.  Less trouble filtering out the people that enter giveaways for their mama, sister, aunt, husband, neighbor and dog - but still, a big pain, just less of a pain than Blogger's commenting system

My problems with Disqus: 1. Often people leave a comment and I'd like to visit them, but their profile is not set to link to their blog and/or they have a different username there than Google, so I can't visit them back. 2.  Some of my visitors have trouble commenting with the Disqus system (and I think that many people don't like having to sign up for a different commenting system either)

FORGOT TO ADD:  I don't like the fact that in order to comment, you have to reload the page.I've seen blogs where this isn't the case, but try as I might, I can't find the instructions to have that happen on my own blog.

Rafflecopter seems to be the way I will go for future giveaways (see my Literary Giveaway Blog Hop post for an example), which means that my winners will NOT be picked out of comments (although I will still require an initial comment for entry).  This means that I won't NEED Disqus to run a fair giveaway, so I'm seriously considering going back to Blogger's commenting system.

YOU get to let me know which commenting system works best for you, so please take 2 seconds to click your choice:

Thanks for your help!

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Winning Wednesday! A new batch of winners!

Now that I have the last batch taken care of, it's time to wrap up the remaining closed giveaways.  I will likely be switching to a new format for the giveaways which will take a LOT of the work out of picking the winners.  It's being tested on my Literary Giveaway Blog Hop post, which ends TONIGHT, so if you haven't entered yet, please do.  It's international, and the two winners get their choice of one of the 12 listed books!

On to the winners (click the pics for the original giveaway posts):

The Midwife's Confession by Diane Chamberlain
The Midwife's Confession by Diane Chamberlain

Random.org says #2 out of 32 entries is the winner!

I think it really matters what it is! If I was really close to the person, I think it would be hard to give up that friendship. 

NEW WINNER! Amanda quickly wrote back that she had already won a copy elsewhere, so the new winner is:  #25

Headlessfowl 05/11/2011 12:16 AM
It really depends on what they did.

headlessfowl at gmail dot com
The Dark City by Catherine Fisher
The Dark City (Relic Master #1) by Catherine Fisher

Random.org picked #46 out of 57 entries:

Email Subscriber - juanma-98AThotmailDOTcom
Dead of Wynter by Spencer Seidel
Dead of Wynter by Spencer Seidel - 2 Winners!
#55 out of 59 entries:

I subscribe via RSS
goldiez at hotmail dot com
and #33
Meredith Miller 05/31/2011 12:20 AM
GFC follower

meredithfl at gmail dot com
The Girl Who Disappeared Twice by Andrea Kane
The Girl Who Disappeared Twice by Andrea Kane

cspring31971 06/06/2011 03:51 AM
longtime follower via GFC (Carole Spring)
entry #1
Congratulations to all of the winners! You will be receiving an email from me shortly!  

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eGalley Wednesday - June 29, 2011 - Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma, Bumped by Meghan McCafferty, and The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

eGalley Wednesday

It's Wednesday!  Time for another chance to link up our eGalley reviews!  The linky stays open all week, and the only requirement is that your review(s) must be of eGalleys (Galley Grab, NetGalley, etc.)

Grab the button below, place it in YOUR eGalley review and join in! Link up throughout the week!  And don't forget to visit the other participants!

eGalley Wednesdays

Up for review this week are three YA titles:  Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma, The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter, and Bumped by Meghan McCafferty.  Because there are three, these will be mini-reviews.  I do want to advise that I review YA based on the intended audience, not as high literary fiction :), BUT I also keep in mind the parents' viewpoint.

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
Title:  Forbidden
Author:  Tabitha Suzuma
Publisher:  Simon Pulse, an imprint of Simon and Schuster
Release Date:  June 28, 2011
Hardcover, 464 pages / ISBN 10: 1442419954  / ISBN 13: 9781442419957
The Book Depository / Amazon  / Goodreads / Publisher

Sensitive Reader:  This is NOT a spoiler, as the description tells you this.  This book is about an incestuous relationship between siblings, AND there are scenes that might be rather racy no matter who was in them - when I read them, I felt almost guilty.

I remember reading V. C. Andrews' Flowers in the Attic series when I was MUCH younger, and although there will be inevitable comparisons between those books and this one, the only thing they really have in common is the target subject.

The scene is London:  Maya and Lochan are a brother and sister made parents to their younger brothers and sister well before their time by a mother so coldly irresponsible that THIS parent wanted to reach into the book and slap her dead in her face.

Suzuma's writing is impeccable as she tells a story of the almost inevitable relationship that surfaces and the price that is paid.  I must admit to being very disturbed by the relationship as I thought (well, tried to think, since thinking about it almost made me throw up in my mouth) of the possibility of me and my own brother ... ugh .. can't even write it out (Love ya, bro'!  Just never THAT much).  Even though you know it's wrong, you hope against hope that things will somehow work out, and I found my heart in my throat at some scenes.

This is an intense, absorbing, at times horrifying (at least to this reader) reading experience.  An excellent book, but definitely for the OLDER YA set and above.

QUOTE (from a galley; may be different in final copy):  

We're not like that.  We're not sick.  We're just a brother and sister who also happen to be best friends.  That's the way it's always been between us.  I can't lose that or I will not survive.

Book Rating:   4.5 out of 5 stars

Review by Aisle B

This book was recommended to me by P K Reeves at Aisle B and is part of my 3 R's Challenge

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
Title:  The Goddess Test
Author:  Aimee Carter
Publisher:  Harlequin Teen
Released:  April 19, 2011
Paperback, 293 pages / ISBN 10:  0373210264 / ISBN 13: 9780373210268
The Book Depository / Amazon  / Goodreads / Publisher

Kate Winters is 18 years old, and she and her mother, who is dying, have traveled back to her mother's hometown of Eden, MI, in order for her to live her last days out.

As the new girl in town, Ava quickly becomes the target of a jealous girlfriend, who lures her out to Eden Manor, an old mansion at the edge of town, where Kate meets Henry.  She finds out that Henry is really Hades, God of the Underworld, and they strike up a bargain which means that Kate will spend half of her year at Eden Manor with him.  Although Kate thinks it's a joke, she soon finds out that the bargain was meant in earnest.

If you like Greek mythology (I do), you'll appreciate the references in this novel.  I liked Kate; she is an independent heroine with a great love for her mother and a great sense of humor.  Although I was never fully drawn in to the story, I WAS entertained by it.  More seasoned readers may find the storyline predictable, but I felt that there were enough twists and turns to keep the average YA reader wanting to know more.

QUOTE (from a galley; may be different in final copy):  

"I think you're pretty."
I blinked.  Or maybe not.
"But you're at least an eight, and I'm a four.  We're not allowed to date.  Society says so."

Book Rating:   3.5 out of 5 stars

Bumped by Meghan McCafferty
Title:  Bumped
Author:  Meghan McCafferty
Publisher:  Balzer and Bray, a division of Harper Collins
Released:  April 26, 2011
Hardcover, 323 pages / ISBN 10:   0061962740 / ISBN 13: 9780061962745
The Book Depository / Amazon  / Goodreads / Publisher

I found much of this book confusing; there was a lot of unfamiliar slang written in a context with no explanation.   Example:  The trubie gears make her an easy target for anyone but especially for bitter obsolescents.  Huh?  By the time I was able to figure most of the language out, the book was almost over.

Harmony and Melody are twin sisters raised apart in a world where HPSV (Human Progressive Sterility Virus) makes almost everyone infertile sometime between their 18th and 20th birthdays.  In this world where prepubescent girls buy baby bumps (that actually move as though a baby is moving around inside) as a fashion statement, some young people have gone "pro", signing contracts to give older couples babies.  Melody and Harmony have recently found out about each other, and their lives couldn't be more different.  Harmony leaves her Church with the intention of persuading Melody to leave the sinful world and come back with her.

The premise - original.  The presentation - rather confusing for much of the novel.  The ending - as though the author just decided to stop writing.  I expected to keep going, but there was no book left (and that TOTALLY affected my rating; I hate it when there's no real resolution of anything, AND it keeps me from wanting the next book out of sheer spite).

QUOTE (from a galley; may be different in final copy):  

There's a lot of tension between amateurs and pros at school.  Like, amateurs look down on pros for bumping with strangers, not boyfriends.  Or they pity us for missing out on all the partner-swapping fun at the masSEX parties.  And pros say amateurs are jealous because they aren't good enough to pregg for profit.  And even if they were, they probably wouldn't have the willpower to keep their legs closed until it was time to fulfill their contractual obligations.

Book Rating:   2.5 out of 5 stars

(I almost forgot to include this) Parents:  Lots of references to gratuitous sex; probably not for your younger YA reader.

That's all for this week.  As always, you can click the Amazon or Goodreads links to find other reviews.  

Link up!

Disclosure:  I received complimentary eGalleys of these titles through the publishers to facilitate my reviews.  No other compensation was received and I was not required to post  positive reviews.


These books are listed as titles for my 2011 ARC Reading Challenge

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Teaser Tuesdays - June 28, 2011

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along; you don't have to be a blogger! 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!

My teaser this week: 

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
He'd never been able to discover who tipped Matthew off that Marcus was raising hell in New Orleans after Jefferson made the Louisiana Purchase, for example.  There he'd created a vampire family as boisterous and charming as himself  from the city's youngest, least responsible citizens.

- page 205, A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness (The Book Depository / Amazon)

A piece from the Goodreads description:

Deep in the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library.

I'm reading this title for Dollycas' Thoughts' Just For Fun Reading Challenge.  Each month I've had Bebe Boy James reach into my TBR shelves and pull out a book for me to read.  So far each one that he ends up with has been gothic, dark, or fantastical!

Hey!  If you have a sec, take a moment to vote in the poll on the upper left sidebar to help me choose which book I'll start July off with!  Oh!  And click the banner at the top of the page to enter my Literary Giveaway Blog Hop!  I'm giving two winners their choice of one of the twelve books listed (AND it's open internationally!)

Feel free to leave your teaser or link to it in the comments section; I find that I always end up adding to my to-buy list when I visit.

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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Mailbox Monday and In My Mailbox - June 26, 2011

"Mailbox Monday" is the brainchild of Marcia at The Printed Page.  Martha has closed The Printed Page effective December 18th and set up Mailbox Monday on it's own blog here:  http://mailboxmonday.wordpress.com/

June finds us linking up at The Bluestocking Guide, so hop on over and join in the fun!  July's host will be A Sea of Books !

"In My Mailbox" is hosted by The Story Siren

Every week we'll post about what books we have that week (via your mailbox/library/store bought)! Everyone that agrees to participate will try to visit each other's list and leave comments!  Everyone is welcome to join! You can join at anytime and you DO NOT have to participate every week.

I guarantee that you will add to your reading list by visiting the participating blogs in both of these memes!>

Believe it or not, I didn't hit the bookstore or library and received NO hard copy books for review.  I DID, however, receive an eBook and downloaded a couple of galleys:

The Very Thought of You by Rosie Allison
The Very Thought of You  by Rosie Allison - For Review  through Simon and Schuster's Galley Grab program - Releases June 21, 2011 (Amazon / The Book Depository)

Shortlisted for the 2010 Orange Prize for Fiction; this title is recently re-released by Simon and Schuster

Goodreads description:

The world is on the brink of war. As Hitler prepares to invade Poland, thousands of children are evacuated from London to escape the impending Blitz. Torn from her mother, eight-year-old Anna Sands is relocated with other children to a large Yorkshire estate opened up to evacuees by Thomas and Elizabeth Ashton, an enigmatic childless couple. Soon Anna gets drawn into their unravelling relationship, seeing things that are not meant for her eyes - and finding herself part-witness and part-accomplice to a love affair, with unforseen consequences.

A story of longing, loss and complicated loyalties, combinging a sweeping narrative with subtle psychological observation, The Very Thought of You is not just a love story, but a story about love.

Girl vs. Ghost by Kate McMurray
Girl vs. Ghost by Kate McMurray - For review from the author - (Amazon / The Book Depository)

This one is a bit different from many of my reads, but the rave reviews on Goodreads sold me!

Goodreads description:

Girl vs Ghost is a young-adult, paranormal, romantic comedy suitable for all ages.

Isabel Lindley doesn’t believe in magic, but her best friend is obsessed with witchcraft. Strictly as a favor, Isabel agrees to help with a spell and is shocked when the ghost of a teenage boy splat-lands in her bedroom. Her friend is thrilled—even though only Isabel can see or hear the ghost—but Isabel is horrified. She’s the most ordinary sixteen-year-old girl on the planet. What is she supposed to do with a ghost who doesn’t know his own name, how he died, or why the heck he’s tied to Isabel with a psychic chain? Her only hope to take back her life is to help him solve the mystery of his demise so he can go to the Light. Or wherever. She’s not particular, as long as the ghost is gone

Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst

Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst - For Review through Simon and Schuster's Galley Grab program - Releases September 13, 2011 - (The Book Depository / Amazon)

For some reason, this cover just caught me up in it!  It seems like a FUN vampire tale!

Goodreads description:

Pearl is a sixteen-year-old vampire... fond of blood, allergic to sunlight, and mostly evil... until the night a sparkly unicorn stabs her through the heart with his horn. Oops.

Her family thinks she was attacked by a vampire hunter (because, obviously, unicorns don't exist), and they're shocked she survived. They're even more shocked when Pearl discovers she can now withstand the sun. But they quickly find a way to make use of her new talent. The Vampire King of New England has chosen Pearl's family to host his feast. If Pearl enrolls in high school, she can make lots of human friends and lure them to the King's feast -- as the entrees.

The only problem? Pearl's starting to feel the twinges of a conscience. How can she serve up her new friends—especially the cute guy who makes her fangs ache—to be slaughtered? Then again, she's definitely dead if she lets down her family. What's a sunlight-loving vamp to do?

The to-review pile is going down, but the "I must write my review" pile is going up!  (One day they will both be down to manageable sizes at the same time!)

What goodies arrived in YOUR mailbox or at YOUR house?  Feel free to leave a link to your mailbox in the comment section; I'd love to visit (and add to my own TBR pile at the same time)!

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A Heart Most Worthy by Siri Mitchell - BOOK REVIEW

A Heart Most Worthy by Siri Mitchell
Title:  A Heart Most Worthy
Author:  Siri Mitchell
Publisher:   Bethany House
Release Date:  March 1, 2011
Paperback, 384 pages
ISBN 10:      0764207954
ISBN 13:  9780764207952
The Book Depository / Amazon

Goodreads description:

The elegance of Madame Forza's gown shop is a far cry from the downtrodden North End of Boston. Yet each day Julietta, Annamaria, and Luciana enter the world of the upper class, working on finery for the elite in society. The three beauties each long to break free of their obligations and embrace the American dream—and their chance for love. But the ways of the heart are difficult to discern at times. Julietta is drawn to the swarthy, mysterious Angelo. Annamaria has a star-crossed encounter with the grocer's son, a man from the entirely wrong family. And through no intent of her own, Luciana catches the eye of Billy Quinn, the son of Madame Forza's most important client. Their destinies intertwined, each harboring a secret from their families and each other, will they be found worthy of the love they seek?

My Take: 

Three girls, all Italian immigrants, but with very different personal stories.  They all work at Madame Fortier's Gown Shop.  Madame Fortier isn't really French, but the prejudices against her people keep her close-mouthed about her Italian heritage.

Julietta Giordano is 18 years old.  Her specialty is embroidery.  Her large Italian family is hard-working and all of their pay goes directly to their father.  Julietta is looking for fun, and she has her eye on just the young man to make it happen.  She's a bit selfish and very impetuous, and she doesn't realize that you shouldn't always get what you wish for.

Annamaria Rossi is the oldest girl in her family, and as such, she is expected not to marry and to take care of her parents in their old age.  Her specialty is smocking.  She is an obedient girl, but she can't help herself; she wonders WHY she has to give up her whole life to take care of everyone else?  Why can't ALL of the family help take care of her parents?

Luciana Conti escaped Italy with her grandmother after the assassination of her father, the Count of Roma.  The Contessa is immobilized by her grief, and the money is running out.  Luciana's excellent beadwork will be the key to keeping food in the house; but who will look after her grandmother while she is working?  When she sees the anarchist that killed her father on the streets of Boston, she knows that she can't let anyone know who she really is, or he will finish the job he started.

The reader is taken into the early 20th century and experiences the prejudices, hardship, love, and loyalty of the Italian immigrant.  There's a social worker that visits Julietta's house who rails against the fact that they eat so many vegetables and not enough meat (thank goodness Julietta's mother doesn't understand English, else she would beat the worker over the head with her soup ladle). 

Madame Fortier is the type of woman that most readers will love - strong-willed, hard-working, kind-at-heart, with a back story that unfolds slowly.  She has made huge personal sacrifices for love.

What a wonderful story.  I found myself very interested in all of the girls, and crossing my fingers for love to find them and for things to work out well.  I had a vague understanding of the prejudices that Italian immigrants encountered, but this book gave me a better understanding and at times made my heart ache.

A very sweet (but not saccharine) tale lies within these pages.  The touches of humor make it even better.

Now for a little aside:  it's classified as Christian fiction, and sometimes I have a difficult time with that label.  Is it because all of the girls were Catholic and their journeys to confession play a part in the novel?  Is it because it's a clean read?   I would personally label this one as historical fiction.  This is my first experience with Siri Mitchell's writing, but I would definitely go back for more.

Mama was going to make her do it?  She was going to make her own daughter cross the street and deal with Sicilians?  Annamaria had always done everything and anything that her mother had ever asked, but buying tomatoes from Sicilians?

You see, it's all very well and good to judge and moralize, but there are some whose morale has been broken.  And for these, sometimes, we just have to let them survive, in hopes that one day they will decide to do more than survive.

They weren't supposed to speak.  No self-respecting Avellinesi should speak to a Sicilian.  And they could not meet, except for Annamaria's trips to the frutta e verdura, but no one could stop them from staring out the window at each other, if they chose to, of a night.  And so they did.

Writing:  4 out of 5 stars
Plot:  4.5 out of 5 stars
Characters:  4 out of 5 stars
Reading Immersion:  4 out 5 stars

BOOK RATING:   4.1 out of 5 stars

BLOGGERS:  Have you reviewed this book? If so, please feel free to leave a link to your review in the comments section; I will also add your link to the body of my review.

Read an excerpt

Author website

BUY IT:  At Amazon, The Book Depository, through the publisher's website,  and through other on-and-off-line booksellers.

Disclosure:  I  received a  complimentary copy of this title from the publisher  to facilitate my review.  No other compensation was received and I was not required to post a positive review.
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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Literary Blog Hop - International! June 25 through June 29, 2011

...and yet another post that was SUPPOSED to be scheduled to go up and didn't go up when it was supposed to!

This giveaway hop is being hosted by Leeswammes' Blog.

The easiest giveaway EVER!!  Do you need to be a follower?  No (although I would love you even more if you were).  Do you need to be a blogger?  No (but you SHOULD like books).

Here's what's up for grabs .. two winners ... you can be from anywhere The Book Depository ships to.

The Literary Blog Hop is for lovers of books with literary merit.  They don't have to be classics.  What I've decided to do is look through the books I've read and REALLY LIKED (5 stars or very close to 5 stars) this year that have literary merit and give two of you your choice of any one of them (click on the pics to go to the Goodreads page for each book).  

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie FordNight by Elie Wiesel
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Galore by Michael CrummeyJane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
The Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse
The Anatomy of Ghosts by Andrew TaylorThe Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt
Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom FranklinStranger Here Below by Joyce Hinnefeld

I'm testing an entry system that should make it easier to pick valid winners, which means that giveaways won't be such a chore, and I can run more of them!  (Someone emailed me that it was a bit confusing, so here's a step-by-step):


1.  Leave a comment with the title of the book you would choose AND your email address kind of like this: user(at)domain(dot)com or something similar to prevent spambots from picking your email address up.

2.  Then scroll up to the form:  under "How to Enter" where it says "Leave a Blog Post Comment", click "I did this!" and fill out the little form that pops up there - make sure you use the email address you put in your comment.

YOU ONLY HAVE TO COMMENT FOR YOUR INITIAL ENTRY; you can use the form for all of your additional entries!  :)


Visit the other stops on the hop!

  1. Leeswammes (Int)
  2. The Book Whisperer (Int)
  3. Kristi Loves Books (Int)
  4. Teadevotee (Int)
  5. Bookworm with a View (Int)
  6. Bibliosue (Int)
  7. Sarah Reads Too Much (Int)
  8. write meg! (USA)
  9. My Love Affair With Books (Int)
  10. Seaside Book Nook (Int)
  11. Uniflame Creates (Int)
  12. Always Cooking Up Something (Int)
  13. Book Journey (Int)
  14. ThirtyCreativeStudio (Int)
  15. Col Reads (Int)
  16. The Book Diva's Reads (Int)
  17. The Scarlet Letter (USA)
  18. The Parrish Lantern (Int)
  19. Lizzy's Literary Life (Int)
  20. Read, Write & Live (Int)
  21. Book'd Out (Int)
  22. The Readers' Suite (Int)
  23. I Am A Reader, Not A Writer (USA)
  24. Ephemeral Digest (Int)
  25. Miel et lait (Int)
  26. Bibliophile By the Sea (Int)
  27. Polychrome Interest (Int)
  28. Book World In My Head (Int)
  29. In Spring it is the Dawn (Int)
  30. everybookhasasoul (Int)
  31. Nishita's Rants and Raves (Int)
  32. Fresh Ink Books (Int)
  33. Teach with Picture Books (USA)
  34. How to Teach a Novel (USA)
  35. The Blue Bookcase (Int)
  36. Gaskella (Int)
  37. Reflections from the Hinterland (USA)
  38. chasing bawa (Int)
  39. 51stories (Int)
  40. No Page Left Behind (USA)

  1. Silver's Reviews (USA)
  2. Nose in a book (Int)
  3. Lit in the Last Frontier (Int)
  4. The Book Club Blog (Int)
  5. Under My Apple Tree (Int)
  6. Caribousmom (USA)
  7. breienineking (Netherlands)
  8. Let's Go on a Picnic! (Int)
  9. Rikki's Teleidoscope (Int)
  10. De Boekblogger (Netherlands)
  11. Knitting and Sundries (Int)
  12. Elle Lit (USA)
  13. Indie Reader Houston (Int)
  14. The Book Stop (Int)
  15. Eliza Does Very Little (Int)
  16. Joy's Book Blog (Int)
  17. Lit Endeavors (USA)
  18. Roof Beam Reader (Int)
  19. The House of the Seven Tails (Int)
  20. Tony's Reading List (Int)
  21. Sabrina @ Thinking About Loud! (Int)
  22. Rebecca Reads (Int)
  23. Kinna Reads (Int)
  24. In One Eye, Out the Other (USA)
  25. Books in the City (Int)
  26. Lucybird's Book Blog (Europe)
  27. Book Clutter (USA)
  28. Exurbanis (Int)
  29. Lu's Raves and Rants (USA & Canada)
  30. Sam Still Reading (Int)
  31. Dolce Bellezza (Int)
  32. Lena Sledge's Blog...Books, Reviews and Interviews (Int)
  33. a Thousand Books with Quotes (Int)

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Friday Book Blogger Hop - June 25, 2011

Friday Book Blogger Hop
Darn that Blogger and it's supposed "scheduled" posts!  As you can see, this is going up a day late!  But .. better late than never!

It's that time again!  Time for the Book Blogger Hop hosted by Jennifer over at Crazy for Books!

What is it?  Well, it's a way for bloggers and readers to find each other.  You write a little post about the subject of the week and link it up.  THEN (and this is the important part), you hit a few of the other linked up blogs (take your time; you can spread it throughout the weekend), visit, comment, follow if you like what you see, and make new friends.

Each week, to encourage participation, we get to answer a different question.  This week's question is:

 "When did you realize reading was your passion and a truly important part of your life?"

I can't remember a time when I DIDN'T read.  Like my son, I started reading on my own long before I hit the rooms of elementary school.  I remember reading the backs of cereal boxes and the newspaper when I didn't have a book in front of me.  I have a vague recollection of my mom being surprised to find me with a book and taking me for IQ testing, according to which I should be a card-carrying member of MENSA.  I had a chaotic childhood, with not a lot of friends, so books were my company.  When I grew up and had my own children, my house was THAT house .. the one (long before the Internet was readily accessible or understandable to most users) where kids came to find books they could use to help with their school projects.  When I started this blog, it was initially supposed to be a knitting blog (therefore the name), but I reviewed some of my own books, then actually decided to see about requesting books for review, and now ... well, books are more a part of my life than ever.  They surprise me in my mailbox, and call to me from every store that I walk into, and my children (almost all grown up now) and grandchildren all get Christmas book boxes filled with the books I've picked up for them through the previous year, so the love of reading continues to run in the family.

What about you?  When did you acquire your own love of reading?  If you have your own Hop post, please feel free to leave a link in the comments; I'd love to visit!

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Friday, June 24, 2011

The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma - BOOK REVIEW

The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma
Title: The Map of Time
Author: Felix J. Palma
Publisher: Atria Books, a division of Simon and Schuster
Release Date: June 28, 2011
Hardcover, 624 pages
ISBN 10: 1439167397
ISBN 13: 9781439167397
The Book Depository / Amazon

Goodreads description:

Set in Victorian London with characters real and imagined, The Map of Time is a page-turner that boasts a triple play of intertwined plots in which a skeptical H.G. Wells is called upon to investigate purported incidents of time travel and to save lives and literary classics, including Dracula and The Time Machine, from being wiped from existence. What happens if we change history?

My Take: 

FIRST SENTENCE:  Andrew Harrington would have gladly died several times over if that meant not having to choose just one pistol from among his father's vast collection in the living room cabinet.

The Map of Time is really a narrative consisting of three interconnected stories wrapped around the novelist H. G. Wells and the concept of time travel.  Time travel is portrayed as an event where traveling back in time and changing an event appears to create a parallel world.

We have a third party narrator who sometimes engages the reader directly (for some reason, I tend to love this writing device), with cameo appearances by Joseph Merrick (aka the "Elephant Man" - I found a lovely site that chronicles his life here), Bram Stoker, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Henry James, tied in with events and places:  The Great London Fire of 1666, Jack the Ripper's reign, and 50 Berkeley Square (the most haunted house in London).

Some character sketches:

Andrew Harrington -  26 years old and still broken-hearted over the murder of the woman he loved, who would do anything to change the course of history.

Gilliam Murray - an oversized but graceful huckster who has brought time travel to the masses (those who can afford it, that is).

Herbert George Wells - 30 years old, who has recently published The Island of Dr. Moreau and is married to his second wife.

Claire Haggerty - A 21-year-old society girl, and extremely bored with her life.

Tom Blunt - son of a grave robber, whose mother died of cholera before his 6th birthday, soon followed by the drowning of his father.

To avoid spoilers, I can't really supply a synopsis, as the way the book unfolds leaves the reader wondering about this and that until the questions are answered with further reading. There is a rather Victorian feel to this novel and readers of Steampunk would like it, even though there aren't gears and steam-powered contraptions :). The translation of Palma's work seems to be spot on, and even though the novel is BIG (the ARC weighed in at 609 pages), it is so enjoyable to read that the pages seem to fly by.

I think this could be the break-out hit of the summer. Here is my caveat on that:  For readers who like a straight-forward story that you don't have to think about - probably not for you. For readers who like a bit of a puzzle - definitely for you. Historical fiction, Victoriana, murder, mystery, romance - there's a bit of each element here. I thought it was superbly written, with fascinating details and a true "feel" for the characters. In short - a stupendous reading experience - I loved it.

QUOTES (from an ARC; may be different in finished copy):

(I had so many quotes down for this that it was hard for me to pick the following , but I hope they give you a feel for the novel):

He doubted whether either of them would ever decipher the true message concealed in his gesture (that he had preferred to die as he had lived - alone), but for Andrew it was enough to imagine the inevitable look of disgust on his father's face when he discovered his son had killed himself behind his back, without his permission.

Assuming you stay until the end of this tale, some of you will no doubt think that I chose the wrong thread with which to begin spinning my yarn, and that for accuracy's sake I should have respected chronological order and begun with Miss Haggerty's story.  It is possible, but there are stories that cannot begin at their beginning, and perhaps this is one of them.

"Behind this door awaits the most horrific-looking creature you have probably ever seen or will ever see; it is up to you whether you consider him a monster or an unfortunate wretch."
Wells felt a little faint.

It took him almost two hours to persuade his superior to sign an arrest warrant for a man who had not yet been born.

"In that case, forgive our reticence, but you will understand that murdering three innocent people in cold blood with the sole aim of drawing our attention leads us to doubt your philanthropic intentions," retorted Wells, who was just as capable, when he wanted, of stringing together sentences as tortuous as those of James.

Writing:  5 out of 5 stars
Plot:   5 out of 5 stars
Characters:  5 out of 5 stars
Reading Immersion:  5 out 5 stars

BOOK RATING:  5 out of 5 stars

Parents and Sensitive Readers:  Mostly parents - this is not a kid's book.  First, the writing style may well be over most kid's heads.  Second, there are prostitutes and Jack the Ripper - so there's a bit of sex and a bit of a graphic description of Jack's deeds.

BLOGGERS:  Have you reviewed this book? If so, please feel free to leave a link to your review in the comments section; I will also add your link to the body of my review.

Other Reviews:

Chronicles of an Enamored Soul - 5 of 5 stars
Aisle B - 4 of 5 stars

Read an excerpt

BUY IT:  At Amazon, The Book Depository, through the publisher's website,  and through other on-and-off-line booksellers.


This book is included in my list for the 2011 ARC Reading Challenge
This book is included in my list for the Chunkster Challenge 2011
Disclosure:  I  received a  complimentary copy of this title from the publisher through Library Thing's Early Reviewers program to facilitate my review.  No other compensation was received and I was not required to post a positive review.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Winning Wednesday! Here are some winners!

As always, trying to play catch-up with winners! Time really DOES fly! Here we go!

Random.org did it's thing, and the two winners here (out of 212 entries) are:


My IT co-worker's son has severe autism, hearing this dedicated father speak of his son & their family's struggles is heartbreaking.

Thank you for spreading awareness about Autism!

My Three Choices would be: Look Me In the Eyes, Be Different, and House Rules!
Best wishes and thanks for a chance to win this giveaway!

Janelle, you get your choice of TWO of the books you chose!


I am your GFC follower (Aleetha)

aleetha.ally at gmail dot com

Aleetha, you get your choice of any ONE of the books YOU listed:  1. Mockingbird 2. House Rules
3. The Kitchen Daughter


Bev@My Reader's Block 04/29/2011 01:06 PM
Great Mini-Challenge, Julie! I've completed my mini-challenge reading with books three & four that I've read so far:

3. An Author Bites the Dust by Arthur W. Upfield (4/27/11) [224 pages]
4. Black Sheep by Georgette Heyer (4/28/11) [279 pages]

Here's my read-a-thon link (with links to reviews for the books read so far): http://myreadersblock.blogspot... 
You get your top two choices of the listed books in the giveaway!
Okay. I completed this mini challenge. I read Hotel Angeline: A Novel in 36 Voices, and then I read In the Lap of the Gods by Li Miao Lovett. Thanks for the challenge. I'm so glad I read that second one. I really enjoyed it and hadn't planned to read it this week.
You get one of the listed books as well!

Congrats to all of the winners!  Look for an email from me!

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