...never judge a book by its movie

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Bit of Absence

I've run into some additional complications from my run in with a little boy on a bicycle this summer, so I will be going back into the hospital .. maybe just overnight.  If I can get a laptop in, I'll update from there, but if not, I will likely be away from the blog and email for a couple of days.  Just wanted to give a heads up.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Teaser Tuesdays - September 27, 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!

The teaser this week is for a classic which comes highly recommended by my fellow reading friends!

My teaser this week: 
You could not live among such people; you are stifled for want of an outlet towards something beautiful, great, or noble; you are irritated with these dull men and women, as a kind of population out of keeping with the earth on which they live, with this rich plain where the great river flows forever onward and links the small pulse of the old English town with the beatings of the world's mighty heart.  A vigorous superstition that lashes its gods or lashes its own back seems to be more congruous with the mystery of the human lot than the mental condition of these emmetlike Dodsons and Tullivers.

- page 307, The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot (The Book Depository / Amazon)


Rebellious and affectionate, Maggie Tulliover is always in trouble. Recalling her own experiences as a girl, George Eliot describes Maggie's turbulent childhood with a sympathetic engagement that makes the early chapters of The Mill on the Floss among the most immediately attractive she ever wrote.

How would it feel to be an intelligent young girl growing up a commoner in an age where intelligence is not valued in girls .. at all?  That's what I'm getting so far.

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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Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday Memes - Mailbox Monday, In My Mailbox, It's Monday! What Are YOU Reading? - September 26, 2011

I usually do these as separate memes, but with time shorter now, I don't get as much reading done, so I think I will start combining them!

"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/

September's host is Amused by Books!  October's host will be Savvy Verse and Wit (the 2011 Best Poetry Blog award winner from Book Blogger Appreciation Week!)  Hop on over, link up, and join the fun!

"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!>

I received one book in the mail last week:

The Perfect Suspect by Margaret Coel - WON from Kaye at Pudgy Penguin Perusals!  Thanks, Kaye!

Goodreads description:

After a candidate for governor is murdered, and his estranged wife is arrested for first-degree homicide, journalist Catherine McLeod receives a call from an anonymous woman claiming she saw the real killer leave the scene of the crime but is afraid to confide in the police. To uncover the truth, Catherine must risk her career-and her life-to find the witness who can identify the candidate's murderer: Detective Ryan Beckman.

What Are You Reading?

"What Are You Reading?" is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.  Click over to see what other readers are into this week and add to your TBR pile!


Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
At Home by Bill Bryson
Book Depository
Review Upcoming
The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann
Review Upcoming
Prophecy by S. J. Parris
Book Depository
Review Upcoming

REVIEWED:  (click the cover to go to the review):

When Sparrows Fall by Meg Moseley
3.5 of 5 stars
This Burns My Heart by Samuel Park
4.25 of 5 stars

(Click on the cover for the Goodreads page, exc. War & Peace, which goes to Amazon)

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Feast Day of Fools by James Lee BurkeThe Mill on the Floss by George Eliot
From the Dead by John Herrick

Next to be read on the personal pile (click cover for Goodreads page):
Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende
Whiter than Snow by Sandra DallasThe Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

Next to be read on the hard copy review pile (click cover for Goodreads page):

Grammar Girl's 101 Words Every High School Graduate Needs to Know by Mignon Fogarty
Grammar Girl's 101 Misused Words You'll Never Confuse Again by Mignon FogartyThe Hypnotist by M J Rose

At Home by Bill Bryson
Book Depository

Whoever thought history could be made so INTERESTING?  What a really great book!

How was YOUR reading week?  Please leave a link to YOUR "What Are You Reading/In My Mailbox/Mailbox Monday" post(s) in the comments (I'd love to come visit) or simply comment with what your reading week was like!

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This Burns My Heart by Samuel Park - BOOK REVIEW

This Burns My Heart by Samuel Park
Title:  This Burns My Heart 
Author:  Samuel Park
Publisher:   Simon and Schuster
Release Date:  July 12, 2011
Hardcover, 320 pages
ISBN 10:     1439199612
ISBN 13:  9781439199619
The Book Depository / Amazon

Goodreads description:

Chamara is difficult to translate from Korean to English: To stand it, to bear it, to grit your teeth and not cry out? To hold on, to wait until the worst is over? Such is the burden Samuel Park’s audacious, beautiful, and strong heroine, Soo-Ja Choi, faces in This Burns My Heart, an epic love story set in the intriguing landscape of postwar South Korea. On the eve of marriage to her weak, timid fiancee, Soo-Ja falls in love with a young medical student. But out of duty to her family and her culture she turns him away, choosing instead a world that leaves her trapped by suffocating customs. 

In a country torn between past and present, Soo-Ja struggles to find happiness in a loveless marriage and to carve out a successful future for her only daughter. Forced by tradition to move in with her in-laws, she must navigate the dangers of a cruel household and pay the price of choosing the wrong husband. Meanwhile, the man she truly loves remains a lurking shadow in her life, reminding her constantly of the love she could have had. 

Will Soo-Ja find a way to reunite with her one true love or be forced to live out her days wondering “what if ” and begin to fully understand the meaning of chamara

He is not just telling her to stand the pain, but giving her comfort, the power to do so. Chamara is an incantation, and if she listens to its sound, she believes that she can do it, that she will push through this sadness. And if she is strong about it, she’ll be rewarded in the end. It is a way of saying, I know, I feel it, too. This burns my heart, too. 

My Take: 

In 1960, Soo-Ja Choi is a 22-year-old college student in Daegu, South Korea, the pretty daughter of a well-off family.  She has applied and been accepted for a diplomat training program with the Foreign State Department; however, her parents absolutely forbid her to go. 

As a dutiful daughter, Soo-Ja realizes that she cannot openly defy her parent's wishes, and chooses to allow Min-Lee, the son of an industrialist, to continue to court and marry her. Having manipulated herself into an engagement to fulfill her own purposes, by chance she finds herself assisting Yul-Bok Kim, the leader of a student protest group, in his search for a 12-year-old demonstrator who has gone missing.  Yul eventually declares himself to her, but her own honor as well as that of her family are now tied in with her going through with her impending marriage to Min-Lee.

The novel then takes the reader through the faithless marriage of Soo-Ja, betrayed by her husband and treated like a servant by her husband's family.  We can see how an early choice can determine the rest of one's life, and for Soo-Ja, we wonder how things would have gone if she had made a different choice. 

Soo-Ja is morally strong - a wonderful character that you will cheer on and hope for.  In spite of the life she is forced to live, she continues to find her own way.  She is able to help a friend escape a physically abusive marriage, even though she can't escape her own emotionally abused one.  Her daughter Hana is her life, and if she attempts to leave, she will lose her own daughter in the process.

This glimpse into the Korean culture is more than just that - it is a telling story of the triumph of strength over weakness, of adversity making one stronger, of a love that was meant to be. 

I SO wanted to smack Min-Lee; what a horrible, weak, loser.  I don't think his behavior can be explained away by cultural differences, either.  His own father knew he was weak and no good.

My OWN heart burned for Soo-Ja, and I became emotionally attached to her, in spite of, or maybe even because of, the cultural differences.  What I ended up with was a truer appreciation for our own culture where women aren't forced to irrevocably live with the consequences of choosing the wrong husband, and for second chances. 


She turned to her daughter and looked at her not as her child, but as a fellow woman.  "If you find someone weak - a man different from your father - somebody who will let you make decisions; of course, you'll have to let him think he's the one in charge.  You're eager to go to Seoul.  I'm eager for you to get married.  Perhaps there can be a compromise."

"...I thought I'd forget you with time, and I haven't.  When I was younger, I thought there was only room for one person at a time in your heart.  And each time you met someone new, you evicted the one who was there before.  But now I realize that there are multiple rooms, and your old love doesn't leave.  It sits there, waiting."

The life she had could not be that different form the one she could've had, she had thought.  I am the same person, surely the story unfolds roughly the same way?  Each decision she made couldn't be that important, couldn't change her life that much, right?  Otherwise she'd drown in the multiple possibilities of who she could've been and was not.

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

BOOK RATING:   4.25 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

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

This book is a listed title for my 2011 ARC Reading Challenge

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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Sunday, September 25, 2011

When Sparrows Fall by Meg Moseley - BOOK REVIEW

Drood by Dan Simmons
Title:  When Sparrows Fall
Author:  Meg Moseley
Publisher:   Margaret K. McElderry, a division of Simon and Schuster
Release Date:  April 5, 2011
Hardcover, 320 pages
ISBN 10:    144240339X
ISBN 13:  9781442403390
The Book Depository / Amazon

Goodreads description:

Freedom. Safety. Love. Miranda vows to reclaim them--for herself, and for her children.

A widow and mother of six, Miranda Hanford leads a quiet, private life. When the pastor of her close-knit church announces his plans to move the entire congregation to another state, Miranda jumps at the opportunity to dissolve ties with Mason Chandler and his controlling brand of “shepherding.” But then Mason threatens to unearth secrets only he knows, and Miranda feels trapped, terrified she’ll be unable to protect her children. 

University professor Jack Hanford is more than surprised when he gets a call from his estranged sister-in-law’s oldest son, Timothy, informing him that Miranda has taken a serious fall and he has been named legal guardian of her children while she recovers. Quickly charmed by Miranda’s children, Jack brings some much-needed life into the sheltered household. But his constant challenging of the family’s conservative lifestyle makes the recovering mother uneasy and defensive—despite Jack’s unnerving appeal.

As Jack tries to make sense of the mysterious Miranda and the secrets she holds so tightly, Mason’s pressure on her increases. With her emotions stirring and freedom calling, can Miranda find a way to unshackle her family without losing everything?

My Take: 

As the book opens, we find Miranda Hanford, a widowed mother of six children, finding out that her church pastor has called a meeting of the single women of the church.  He informs them that the church and its flock will be moving to another state and that the parishioners with property are expected to sell, pull up stakes, and donate the proceeds to the move.  (Obviously, this set up warning bells in THIS reader's mind!)

Ever the black sheep of her strict fundamentalist group (no caffeine, homeschooling with no science or fiction books included), Miranda determines that she will not sell her property OR move with the church.  The problem is that the pastor holds a secret over her head and threatens her with calling children's services and having her children taken away.  Her dilemma is now how to avoid moving with the church while keeping the pastor silent.

As she is taking pictures one morning, Miranda takes a serious tumble down a steep slope and ends up hospitalized.  Some time ago, she changed her children's guardianship from her church pastor to her husband Carl's half-brother Jack, a literature professor.  When Jack is called to take care of the children while Miranda recovers, he drives up from Chattanooga and re-acquaints himself with the nieces and nephews that he was not able to know while Carl was alive.  He brings a touch of modernity to the Hanford household, sometimes against Miranda's wishes, but in a gentle fashion, taking the children to the library to pick up real books to read, making coffee, and falling in love with the children whose lives have been so circumscribed that the girls dress in basic shift dresses only.

As Miranda recovers, she finds an unlikely ally in the pastor's own wife Abigail.  Will Miranda be able to break away from the church and still keep her children?

This was an involving read.  From the beginning, I had my fingers crossed for Miranda, who was isolated from everything by her husband Carl.  The women of the church are not even allowed to vote, and Miranda was banned from making money from her photography by the church council.  It may be hard for many of us to imagine a life so "backward", and I, for one, would have told the pastor in no uncertain terms to stick it where the sun doesn't shine (but that's just me).

In this novel, however, we see how easily a woman married young to a controlling man and brought into a similarly controlling church society could be placed in this position.

This is Christian fiction, so it is a clean read, but it could be considered a general fiction read as well.  The fundamentalist church that Miranda belongs to is not portrayed in a good light, and Jack has a quiet, understated faith that makes him a wonderful person to read about.

He still spoke softly, but this wasn't the genial pastor who preached on Sundays and prayed for the sick and made a mean chili for potluck suppers.  This was a different man.  A hard, unreasonable man.
"What's right for the church as a whole isn't necessarily right for me," she said, quaking inside.
"Remember, Miranda, 'rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft."

Jack asked more questions and learned that the children had never set foot in a school building or a McDonald's or a mall.  A trip to the grocery store was an unusual event.

He gave himself a mental slap.  She was his sister-in-law.  Mother of six.  Weird homeschooler whose religion forbade nicknames, fiction, and attractive clothing.

Writing:  4 out of 5 stars
Plot:   4 out of 5 stars
Characters:  3.5 out of 5 stars
Reading Immersion:  3.5 out 5 stars

BOOK RATING:   3.75 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

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 through Waterbrook Multnomah's Blogging for Books program to facilitate my review.  No other compensation was received and I was not required to post a positive review.
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It's Sunday! Time to list YOUR blog giveaways!

If you are a blog owner hosting your own giveaway(s), please feel free to share your link at the linky above.  Enter your blog name, a brief description of the prize, ending date and eligibility (US, Can, International, etc.)  Please put the ending date, too, otherwise it will be cleared off the next week. EXAMPLE:  Best Blog on the Block - $50 Gift certificate - 6/30 - US/CAN

NO SPAM - you'll be banned - I'm not kidding!

My current giveaways:

 Pompeii: City on Fire by T. L. Higley- 2 winners! - US/CAN through 9/29/2011

8" x 10" canvas print from Easy Canvas Prints for Rafflecopter Roundup!  Over 150 participating blogs in this hop means 150 plus chances to win a prize worth at least $25!  My giveaway is continental US only, but other blogs have international and US/CAN entries.  Runs through 9/25/2011
Two winners of book of choice from the Banned Books list for the Banned Books Weeks Hop running through 10/01/2011.  International entries from my blog, with 234 total participating blogs (again, that's 234 chances to win!)

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Friday Book Blogger Hop - September 24, 2011

Book Blogger Hop

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; 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.  THIS week it started a bit late, so the hop will run through Tuesday!

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

As a blog reader, what information (besides the book review) do you like to see in other bloggers’ reviews of books? (For example – Author bio, social media links, book synopsis from Amazon/Goodreads or one written by the blogger, page count, ISBN number, link to purchase, etc.)

I like to see some of the things I put into my own reviews - a synopsis is great, but not necessary if the blogger gives a brief synopsis in their review.  DEFINITELY a link to purchase - really, if I'm THAT interested in a book, I'd like to be able to put it in a cart from the review; otherwise, I might forget.  Another item that I really like to see is a rating; otherwise, how do I really know what level of interest the book generated in the reviewer?

How about you?  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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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Banned Books Giveaway Hop - GIVEAWAY through October 1st

I am participating in the Banned Books Week Hop being hosted by Jen from I Read Banned Books and Kathy from I am a Reader, Not a WriterBanned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States.
Some of my thoughts from a post last year in which I reference the banning of Speak by Laure Halverson:

I'm a parent; I try to raise my children with good Christian values - values such as moral character, empathy, decency and kindness to others.  I DO screen watch they watch and what they read ... however, I don't presume that my opinion is the same as someone else's and I don't try to foist my opinion off as the only truth.

The truth is, some books and movies are OK for certain kids of an age, and some AREN'T good for other children of the same age.  It depends on the mindset of the children.

A book that encourages young girls to speak out about bad things that happen to them, including rape, is NOT a book that I'd censor for my girls.  I WANT my girls to know that sometimes bad things happen, even if I pray that those things never happen to them.  I DON'T want them to be ashamed and blame themselves if something DOES happen.

So, of course, I'm buying "Speak" .. it will be part of my Ban This! and The ALA Banned Books Week
.  "Banned Books Week (BBW) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment.  Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States."

Bebe Boy James and I just finished reading Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson as a read-together - one of the titles from the 2003 Banned and Challenged book list.  Now, I must admit, the book DID make me cry .. it did  .. but I couldn't for the life of me see WHY it would be banned or challenged for a middle reader.  It's sad, and the dad cusses a couple of times, but that's it.

Here are a couple of examples of banned or challenged classics:

Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
Banned in Strongsville, OH (1972), but the school board's action was overturned in 1976 by a U.S. District Court in Minarcini v. Strongsville City School District. Challenged at the Dallas, TX Independent School District high school libraries (1974); in Snoqualmie, WA (1979) because of its several references to women as "whores."

Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
Banned in Ireland (1932). Removed from classrooms in Miller, MO (1980), because it makes promiscuous sex "look like fun." Challenged frequently throughout the U.S.as required reading.  Challenged as required reading at the Yukon, OK High School (1988) because of "the book's language and moral content." Challenged as required reading in the Corona-Norco, CA Unified School District (1993) because it is "centered around negative activity." Specifically, parents objected that the characters' sexual behavior directly opposed the health curriculum, which taught sexual abstinence until marriage. The book was retained, and teachers selected alternatives if students object to Huxley's novel. Removed from the Foley, AL High School Library (2000) pending review, because a parent complained that its characters showed contempt for religion, marriage, and family.  The parent complained to the school and to Alabama Governor Don Siegelman.  Challenged, but retained in the South Texas Independent School District in Mercedes, TX (2003).  Parents objected to the adult themes—sexuality, drugs, suicide—that appeared in the novel.  Huxley's book was part of the summer Science Academy curriculum.  The board voted to give parents more control over their children's choices by requiring principals to automatically offer an alternative to a challenged book.  Retained in the Coeur D’Alene, ID School District (2008) despite objections that the book has too many references to sex and drug use.
(I'm going to be reading Brave New World this week) as my official Banned Books week read.)

I will be giving two winners (International entry wherever The Book Depository ships) their choice of any of the books on the Banned and Challenged lists (1st winner - hardcover; 2nd winner - paperback).

Top 10 challenged books by year:

   2010: 1) And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson; 2) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie; 3) Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley; 4) Crank, by Ellen Hopkins; 5) The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins; 6) Lush, by Natasha Friend; 7) What My Mother Doesn't Know, by Sonya Sones; 8) Nickel and Dimed, by Barbara Ehrenreich; 9) Revolutionary Voices, edited by Amy Sonnie; 10) Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer

   2009: 1) ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle; 2) And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson; 3) The Perks of Being A Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky; 4) To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee; 5) Twilight (series) by Stephenie Meyer; 6) Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger; 7) My Sister’s Keeper, by Jodi Picoult; 8) The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler; 9) The Color Purple, by Alice Walker; 10) The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier

   2008: 1) And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell; 2) His Dark Materials trilogy, by Philip Pullman; 3) ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle; 4) Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz; 5) Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya; 6) The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky; 7) Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar; 8) Uncle Bobby's Wedding, by Sarah S. Brannen; 9) The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini; 10) Flashcards of My Life, by Charise Mericle Harper

   2007: 1) And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell; 2) The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier; 3) Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes; 4) The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman; 5) The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain; 6) The Color Purple, by Alice Walker; 7) ttyl, by Lauren Myracle; 8) I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou; 9) It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris; 10) The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky

   2006: 1) And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell; 2) Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily Von Ziegesar; 3) Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor; 4) The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler; 5) The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison; 6) Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz; 7) Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher; 8) The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky; 9) Beloved, by Toni Morrison; 10) The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier

   2005: 1) It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health, by Robie H. Harris; 2) Forever, by Judy Blume; 3) The Catcher in the Rye, by J. D. Salinger; 4) The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier; 5) Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher; 6) Detour for Emmy, by Marilyn Reynolds; 7) What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones; 8) Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey; 9) Crazy Lady!, by Jane Leslie Conly; 10) It’s So Amazing! A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families, by Robie H. Harris

   2004: 1) The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier; 2) Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Meyers; 3) Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture, by Michael A. Bellesiles; 4) Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey; 5) The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky; 6) What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones; 7) In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak; 8) King & King, by Linda deHaan; 9) I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou; 10) Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck

   2003: 1) Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor; 2) Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling; 3) Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck; 4) Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture, by Michael Bellesiles; 5) Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers; 6) Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous; 7) It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris; 8) We All Fall Down, by Robert Cormier; 9) King & King, by Linda de Haan; 10) Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson

   2002: 1) Harry Potter, by J.K. Rowling; 2) Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor; 3) The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier; 4) I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou; 5) Taming the Star Runner, by S.E. Hinton; 6) Captain Underpants, by Dav Pilkey; 7) The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain; 8) Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson; 9) Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred D. Taylor; 10) Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George

   2001: 1) Harry Potter, by J.K. Rowling; 2) Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck; 3) The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier; 4) I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou; 5) Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Greene; 6) The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger; 7) Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor; 8) Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous; 9) Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers; 10) Blood and Chocolate, by Annette Curtis Klause

You can also reference any of the following pages:

Because this is a hop, all you have to do is comment with your book of choice from any of the above lists to enter.  You can get an extra entry for following (email/Twitter/GFC) - TWO extra entries if you are an old follower or subscriber.  Make a separate comment for each entry and include your email address something like this:  knittingandsundries(at)gmail(dot)com.

Have fun and enjoy the giveaway!  And don't let OTHER people dictate what you can or cannot read!

Visit the other blogs on the hop:

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Friday, September 23, 2011

This and That Thursday - September 22, 2011

A little bit late, but here it is!

This and That Thursday is a (somewhat weekly) roundup of interesting personal tidbits and items that I find around the Web (mostly bookish).  Hopefully, you'll find something of interest in the following items!

I've been working and volunteering part-time, so I'm trying to keep my blog flow going (it's taking some adjusting). My email is backed up to high heaven, so if I haven't gotten back to you, give me until the weekend!

Next week, I have a final interview for a job that I applied for some time ago (I'll be shadowing someone for a few hours, then going on my own, then I'll find out if I'm hired for [finally!] full-time permanent position, so I'll really need to get my act together then) - wish me luck; I need the benefits (and the pay, too!)

12 days of gifts galore giveaway hop

Mark your calendars for the 12 Days of Gifts Galore Giveaway Hop will be hosted by Tales From the Nursery,Formula Mom, Matter of Cents, and Mama on a Green Mission. It will run from November 25th through December 6th. I'm not certain whether or not I will be participating as a host, but right now there are 145 blogs signed up to participate, all with a minimum giveaway value of $25.  If you'd like to be a participating blogger (more traffic for you, always a great thing!) - go here to sign up.

A quick little article over at the Wall Street Journal about Amazon talking to publishers about launching a Netflix-like digital book rental program.

Interesting concept? What do you think?

Simon and Schuster Wanderlust

Simon and Schuster has introduced Wanderlust, which they describe as a monthly book club sampler of some of their newest releases, whether initial hardback releases or new paperback releases.  This month's selections are:  Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love, and War by Annia Ciezadlo, Wildflower Hill
by Kimberley Freeman, The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman, Amaryllis in Blueberry by Christina Meldrum,  The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais, The Distant Hours by Kate Morton This Burns My Heart by Samuel Park, and An Atlas of Impossible Longing by Anuradha Roy.

Pretty good selection, eh?  I have for review:  Wildflower Hill, The Dovekeepers, and This Burns My Heart.  I've reviewed Amaryllis in Blueberry, and The Distant Hours.  I would LOVE to read An Atlas of Impossible Longing.  

Publisher's Weekly

Very cool article in Publisher's Weekly about bringing books to the outdoors through Story Walks!  Basically, pages from books are enlarged, laminated, and placed along park walks to encourage both physical activity AND literacy!  Seriously, how cool is that?

Christmas in September

While I realize September is almost over, This That and the Other Thing is hosting a Christmas in September event where you can link up your old or new reviews on Christmas-related books!  You can even win prizes!

Many of us have LOTS of books - review books, personal books, etc. that are in great shape.  Candace's Book Blog is asking for donations to Pine Ridge Reservation of new or gently used (less than five years old) books for all ages.  Pine Ridge is one of the organizations I do charity knitting and crocheting for.  If you know anything about America's reservations, you know that for many people who live there, life is difficult and resources are scarce.  (You really need to click her link to read the full article; Pine Ridge is one of the poorest reservations in the nation - it's sad that any Americans live in such destitute conditions). 

If you have great books that you'd usually put on Paperback Swap or Goodreads swap or that you would otherwise donate, think about donating to this worthy cause.

That's all for this week's edition!  Let me know if you find anything of interest!

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Just For Fun Reading Challenge - October, 2011

Just For Fun Reading Challenge 2011 

This fun challenge is being hosted at Dollycas's Thoughts.  Simply pull out one of the books from your TBR shelf and read it "just for fun".  No need to review; just read and enjoy - one book each month.

For September, I sent my grandbebes JoJo and Jaiden off to the bookshelf to pick a book, and here's what they both agreed on:

  The Borgia Betrayal by Sara Poole

This is a book I won from Holly at Bippity Boppity Book!  It is the second in series, but stands well on it's own, a story of Francesca Giordano, now 20 and serving as the official poisoner for Pope Alexander VI, a Borgia.  Her lover is Borgia's son Cesare, and she is a good friend of Lucretia, another of Borgia's illegitimate children.  This was an enjoyable read and an interesting take on the mysterious Borgia family.

Rating:  3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads description:

Before the Tudors, there were the Borgias. More passionate. More dangerous. More deadly. From the author of Poison, called "stunning" and "a fascinating page-turner," comes a new historical thriller, featuring the same intriguing and beautiful heroine - Borgia court poisoner, Francesca Giordano.
In the summer of 1493, Rodrigo Borgia, Alexander VI, has been pope for almost a year. Having played a crucial role in helping him ascend the chair of Saint Peter, Francesca, haunted by the shadows of her own past, is now charged with keeping him there. As court poisoner to the most notorious and dangerous family in Italy, this mistress of death faces a web of peril, intrigue, and deceit that threatens to extinguish the light of the Renaissance. 

As dangers close in from every direction, Francesca conceives a desperate plan that puts her own life at risk and hurls her into a nightmare confrontation with a madman intent on destroying all she is pledged to protect. From the hidden crypts of fifteenth-century Rome to its teeming streets alive with sensuality, obsession, and treachery, Francesca must battle the demons of her own dark nature to unravel a plot to destroy the Borgias, seize control of Christendom, and plunge the world into eternal darkness.

For October, I choose (I'm choosing this one on my own this time):
The Bells by Richard Harvell

I've been wanting to read this one for a very long time!

Goodreads description:

 I grew up as the son of a man who could not possibly have been my father. Though there was never any doubt that my seed had come from another man, Moses Froben, Lo Svizzero, called me “son.” And I called him “father.” On the rare occasions when someone dared to ask for clarification, he simply laughed as though the questioner were obtuse. “Of course he’s not my son!” he would say. “Don’t be ridiculous.”
But whenever I myself gained the courage to ask him further of our past, he just looked sadly at me. “Please, Nicolai,” he would say after a moment, as though we had made a pact I had forgotten. With time, I came to understand I would never know the secrets of my birth, for my father was the only one who knew these secrets, and he would take them to his grave. 

The celebrated opera singer Lo Svizzero was born in a belfry high in the Swiss Alps where his mother served as the keeper of the loudest and most beautiful bells in the land. Shaped by the bells’ glorious music, as a boy he possessed an extraordinary gift for sound. But when his preternatural hearing was discovered—along with its power to expose the sins of the church—young Moses Froben was cast out of his village with only his ears to guide him in a world fraught with danger. 

Rescued from certain death by two traveling monks, he finds refuge at the vast and powerful Abbey of St. Gall. There, his ears lead him through the ancient stone hallways and past the monks’ cells into the choir, where he aches to join the singers in their strange and enchanting song. Suddenly Moses knows his true gift, his purpose. Like his mother’s bells, he rings with sound and soon, he becomes the protégé of the Abbey’s brilliant yet repulsive choirmaster, Ulrich. 

But it is this gift that will cause Moses’ greatest misfortune: determined to preserve his brilliant pupil’s voice, Ulrich has Moses castrated. Now a young man, he will forever sing with the exquisite voice of an angel — a musico — yet castration is an abomination in the Swiss Confederation, and so he must hide his shameful condition from his friends and even from the girl he has come to love. When his saviors are exiled and his beloved leaves St. Gall for an arranged marriage in Vienna, he decides he can deny the truth no longer and he follows her—to sumptuous Vienna, to the former monks who saved his life, to an apprenticeship at one of Europe’s greatest theaters, and to the premiere of one of history’s most beloved operas.

In this confessional letter to his son, Moses recounts how his gift for sound led him on an astonishing journey to Europe’s celebrated opera houses and reveals the secret that has long shadowed his fame: How did Moses Froben, world renowned musico, come to raise a son who by all rights he never could have sired? 

Like the voice of Lo Svizzero, The Bells is a sublime debut novel that rings with passion, courage, and beauty.

This one was a Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Historical Fiction in 2010, and I'm just in the mood to read a wonderful historical fiction novel!
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