...never judge a book by its movie

Monday, October 31, 2011

It's Monday! What are YOU Reading? - October 31, 2011

What Are You Reading?

Well, THIS was supposed to go up MUCH earlier today!

"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!


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

The Map of True Places by Brunonia Barry
3.1 of 5 stars
The Hypnotist by M. J. Rose
3.25 of 5 stars
The Hypnotist by M. J. Rose
5 of 5 stars
(mini review)

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

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Sweet Tea and Secrets by Nancy NaigleA Cottage by the Sea by C. J. Ware

Next to be read on the personal pile (click cover for Goodreads page):
Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende
The Tapestry of Love by Rosy ThorntonA Great and Terrible Beauty by Libby Bray

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

Adrenaline by Jeff Abbott
Maria Juana's Gift by T. Lloyd WinetskyDoctor Margaret's Sea Chest by Waheed Rabbani

Book Depository

An absolutely superb historical novel with gorgeous writing - this is the kind of book that makes you love to be a reader!


I usually don't do honorable mentions, but the way I felt while I was reading this and the emotions that it stirred ... well worth the read!

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

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The Hypnotist by M. J. Rose - BOOK REVIEW

The Hypnotist by M. J. Rose
Title:  The Hypnotist
Author:  M. J. Rose
Publisher:   Mira Books, an imprint of Harlequin
Release Date:  May 1, 2011
Hardcover, 416 pages
ISBN 10:     0778326756
ISBN 13:  9780778326755
The Book Depository / Amazon

Goodreads description:

If you haven’t been reading M.J. Rose’s Reincarnationist series, then THE HYPNOTIST will blow away any excuse you may have had... A memorable, engrossing read, a story that sets a new bar for Rose. Something for everyone: murder, suspense, history, romance, the supernatural, mystery and erotica. These elements are woven together so skillfully that the whole becomes something new and different.... Rose, who never disappoints either her die-hard fans or the casual reader, has surpassed herself.

My Take: 

The Hypnotist is the third installment of M. J. Rose's Reincarnationist series, and it does well as a stand-alone title (a big plus in my book).

Lucian Glass is an FBI agent, part of an elite unit called ACT (Art Crimes Tactical Unit).  A former artist who lost a love and almost lost his own life twenty years ago due to an art-related theft, he lives for the job.  His job right now is to uncover who is behind an attempt to barter Hypnos, an enormous elephantine artifact, from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in exchange for previously stolen works of art.  Iran and Greece are both laying legal claim to Hypnos, but there are others, including his current arch-nemesis, Dr. Malachai Samuels of the Phoenix Foundation, who believe that Hypnos may hold an important Memory Tool, an object which can help the owner of it access their past and gain power.

In his undercover role, Lucian himself becomes a patient at the Phoenix Foundation, where under hypnosis, what appear to be his own past lives are uncovered.  He also finds out about a young child who is experiencing visions that appear to be from her own past life.  All of these lives seem to center around a sculpture that may or may not be Hypnos.  Added to the mix is the fact that the artwork to be bartered also has a tie to Lucian's near-death twenty years ago.

There is a bit of everything in this novel.  I found myself interested in many facets, but I especially loved the looks into Lucian's past lives. I found myself a bit confused here and there.  For instance, I didn't "get" what the heck Memory Tools were for until quite late into the book, and as they play such an integral part in the reason why Dr. Samuels is obsessed, it would have been great to know what they really were much earlier.  I also think that there were far too many subplots - one or two could have been set aside to make the read not QUITE so convoluted.

That being said, this is the type of novel that could be made into a killer thriller movie.  I still don't believe in reincarnation, but, for just a moment or two during the reading, I may have :)  I would have liked to see more depth of character, but in a thriller, that's just something that I sometimes make do without.  This one kept me turning the pages, anxious to see who ends up with Hypnos in the end.

Writing:  3.5 out of 5 stars
Plot:   3.5 out of 5 stars
Characters:  3 out of 5 stars
Reading Immersion:   3.5 out 5 stars

BOOK RATING:   3.25 out of 5 stars


Man of La Book

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 through Goodreads First Reads program to facilitate my review.  No other compensation was received and I was not required to post a positive review.
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Buzzed Driving IS Drunk Driving - PSA

This is SO important!  I just HAD to take a moment to put this post up.

I've personally been the designated driver.  I've ALSO had occasion where I left my car where it was and had someone else take me home.  I've lost friends - my daughters have lost friends.   I've seen two people, who had never had so much as a speeding ticket in their life, and almost never drank,  end up in jail for their own misjudgment of just how sober they actually were (one of them hit two people on a motorcycle - both of the motorcycle riders died - what a horrible tragedy for all involved).

In my opinion, the worst buzzed drivers are those who, like me, don't drink often.  Don't forget - the effects of that LAST drink don't hit you until well after you've finished drinking it.

If you feel even a little "buzzed", you shouldn't drive - at all. 

Halloween night is often one of the deadliest nights of the year due to the number of impaired drivers on the streets.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2009, 48 percent of all traffic fatalities on Halloween night involved a driver or a motorcycle rider with a BAC of .08 or higher.  Halloween means dark streets full of little kids distracted by candy and costumes. That makes it especially important to start planning a safe and sober ride home from whatever fun you’ll be having that night — so your evening doesn’t take a truly scary turn.

Whether at a Halloween party, a costume contest at a bar or trick-or-treating through the neighborhood, many of us will be on the road this weekend. NHTSA and the Ad Council are reminding everyone that the best way to stay safe is to plan ahead and designate a sober driver before you head out for your Halloween festivities.

If you are throwing a Halloween party, use this wonderful list of non-alcoholic beverages for your party's designated drivers.

If you're planning to drink, print and carry this list of alternative ride programs to make certain you get home safe and that you don't hurt anyone else on the road.  Better yet, plan ahead and schedule a pickup BEFORE you go to your party.

Take the pledge.  Visit the Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving website  - you can also play “Spot the Difference,” an interactive game that simulates the effects of buzzed driving; and watch a real-life video about how buzzed driving changed one woman’s life.

PLEASE - be safe and keep others safe as well.  The cost is much too high for you not to.


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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Mailbox Monday and In My Mailbox - October 31, 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/

October's host was Savvy Verse and Wit (the 2011 Best Poetry Blog award winner from Book Blogger Appreciation Week!) - she did a WONderful job!  November's host will be Martha at  The Mailbox Monday blog! 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!

Just as I thought I would have an empty mailbox this week, here's what came in on


Three Weeks in December by Audrey Schulman - ARC for review from Europa Editions  (Amazon / The Book Depository) - Releases February 1, 2012

Goodreads description:

In 1899 Jeremy, a young engineer, leaves a small town in Maine to oversee the construction of a railroad across British East Africa. In charge of hundreds of Indian laborers, he becomes the reluctant hunter of two lions that are killing his men in nightly attacks on their camp. Plagued by fear, wracked with malaria, and alienated by a secret he can tell no one, he takes increasing solace in the company of an African man who scouts for him.

In 2000 Max, an American ethnobotonist, travels to Rwanda in search of an obscure vine that could become a lifesaving pharmaceutical. Stationed in the mountains, she shadows a family of gorillas—the last of their group to survive the merciless assault of local poachers. Max bears a striking gift for communicating with the apes. But soon the precarious freedom of both is threatened as a violent rebel group from the nearby Congo draws close.

Told in alternating perspectives that interweave the two characters and their fates, Audrey Schulman’s newest novel deftly confronts the struggle between progress and preservation, idiosyncrasy and acceptance. Evoking both Barbara Kingsolver and Andrea Barrett, this enthralling fiction, wise and generous, explores some of the crucial social and cultural challenges that, over the years, have come to shape our world.

The engaging story and memorable characters make this fine novel an ideal book club selection

What goodies arrived in YOUR mailbox?  Feel free to share the link to your Mailbox Monday/IMM post in the comments section - I'd love to visit!

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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 at the top left of the blog.  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 (click pic to go to the giveaway):

101 Words Every High School Graduate Needs to Know
101 Misused Words You'll Never Confuse Again
Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips - Mignon Fogarty
101 Words Every High School Graduate Needs to Know
101 Misused Words You'll Never Confuse Again
2 winners - one book each - US/CAN through 10/30

Happy Halloween Giveaway Blog Hop
 Happy Halloween Giveaway Blog Hop (Followers/Subscribers)
$25 Amazon or The Book Depository
International through 10/31

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop
$25 to Cemetery Dance Publications
US/CAN through 10/31

Pillsbury Breakfast Prize Pack
US through 11/10

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday Book Blogger Hop - October 28, 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.

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

What is your favorite Halloween costume?
Even if you don’t celebrate, what kinds of costumes do you like?

My favorite Halloween costume is usually something medieval, like this:

Photo courtesy of Renaissance Model
I don't know why, because I don't even go to any of the many of the Renaissance Fairs in my area.   I think it may be because it's great to go into a vintage shop and find things like this (no stays or corsets for me, no way!).

Of course, Bebe Boy James, being 11 AND a boy, likes things like this year's Halloween costume (the first time I've let him pick out an absolutely scary costume!):
Photo courtesy of Spirit Halloween
 Actually, this costume is MUCH more creepy in the flesh!  I think I'll post some pics after Halloween!

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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Pillsbury Rookie Bake-Off Contest! Weekly winners!

Pillsbury Rookie Bake-off
Grab your aprons and start your ovens! Pillsbury’s first-ever Rookie Bake-Off® Challenge has just begun!
The Rookie Bake-Off® Challenge consists of six weekly challenges, each providing you with a chance to win $500, 5 doable new recipes to vote on and use each week, and even inspiration from guest bloggers!

To enter for your chance to win each week, visit BakeOff.com to check out the weekly challenge and submit your entry! Just keep in mind...
  • The whole shebang! Submit a recipe, story, and photo.
  • A quick fix! Prep time in 30 minutes or less.
  • A lot for a little! Five ingredients, including at least one Pillsbury refrigerated dough product.
  • All that and more! Keep in mind creativity, consumer appeal, appearance, and include an inspiring story.
To find more information and contest rules, visit BakeOff.com.

So roll up your sleeves and get cooking for your chance to win this week's $500 prize! Best of luck!

Disclosure:  I received this information from Pillsbury through My Blog Spark.  I was not compensated in any fashion for this post.

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

This and That Thursday - October 27, 2011

Time for a new edition of This and That, a (somewhat) weekly roundup of interesting (mostly bookish) items from the web.

A Book Lover's Dream is hosting the Monster Mash and Bash Giveaway Hop from October 26th through October 31st, so mark your calendars to win some great prizes!  Participator signups are closed, but you can still hop to win!

Confessions of a Bookaholic and A Life Bound by Books are co-hosting a Haunted Halloween event with special posts, giveaways and lots of fun!

Michelle at Book Briefs and Bree from The Magic Attic are co-hosting a "My Bookworm Santa" event!  Looks like fun!  From the blog:

My Bookworm Santa is the book blogger's version of  'Secret Santa.' So you sign up via the form below, and we'll pair you up with another random entrant. If you're only willing to ship to America, we'll pair you up with someone from America.(remember though, that the Book Depository ships free to most countries. This is a good way to meet some international book bloggers) We'll send their wishlist and address to you, and your wishlist and address to them. Then, before December 10th, we'll ask that you purchase a book from the wishlist we sent over, and send the book to your randomly selected blogger. And on Christmas (December 25th), you'll reveal yourself to the other person, and hopefully make new friends :) Even if you don't celebrate Christmas, you're more than welcome to join us.

I'll be participating in Library Thing's ReadaThing from November 4th through the 7th!  What IS the ReadaThing?   From the website:
ReadaThing is NOT a read-a-thon!! You do not have to read for the entire 100 hours unless you want to! ReadaThing is a time when we gather to read & share what we read. The best analogy I can offer is that RaT is like a relay race where runner hand a baton off to the next runner. Some of the readers sign up for specific reading times & some don't, but there is always someone in the group reading somewhere in the world.
Since I'm reading almost anytime I can, but will be working that week and weekend, I'm signing up, but outside of times, since I'm not certain when I will actually be able to get some reading in!  

That is all for this week's edition!  

Feel free to contact me at knittingandsundries(at)gmail(dot)com if you have an event that you'd like to include in This and That Thursday!


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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 October, I chose:
The Bells by Richard Harvell

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.

I wanted this as a result of reading a review by Mary at Book FanOur tastes are very similar, and this was one of her 2010 favorites 

Book Fan's review

This one was a Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Historical Fiction in 2010, and with good cause.  I was reading a book that couldn't hold my interest, and I turned to this one to break up the monotony, and, well, I didn't put it down until I was finished (well, except when I had to, for things like work and sleep and such).  The description provides all of the necessary synopsis, so I will simply say this:  The writing is brilliant; the characters are intense and believable, and the story is utterly absorbing!  What a wonderful read!

Definitely a 5-star book!

This is one of my listed titles for the 2011 3 R's Challenge

This month I sent Bebe Boy James off to the shelves, and here's what he came out with:

  Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay

Goodreads description:
A mysterious jewel holds the key to a life-changing secret, in this breathtaking tale of love and art, betrayal and redemption.

When she decides to auction her remarkable jewelry collection, Nina Revskaya, once a great star of the Bolshoi Ballet, believes she has finally drawn a curtain on her past. Instead, the former ballerina finds herself overwhelmed by memories of her homeland and of the events, both glorious and heartbreaking, that changed the course of her life half a century ago.

It was in Russia that she discovered the magic of the theater; that she fell in love with the poet Viktor Elsin; that she and her dearest companions—Gersh, a brilliant composer, and the exquisite Vera, Nina’s closest friend—became victims of Stalinist aggression. And it was in Russia that a terrible discovery incited a deadly act of betrayal—and an ingenious escape that led Nina to the West and eventually to Boston.

Nina has kept her secrets for half a lifetime. But two people will not let the past rest: Drew Brooks, an inquisitive young associate at a Boston auction house, and Grigori Solodin, a professor of Russian who believes that a unique set of jewels may hold the key to his own ambiguous past. Together these unlikely partners begin to unravel a mystery surrounding a love letter, a poem, and a necklace of unknown provenance, setting in motion a series of revelations that will have life-altering consequences for them all.

Interweaving past and present, Moscow and New England, the backstage tumult of the dance world and the transformative power of art, Daphne Kalotay’s luminous first novel—a literary page-turner of the highest order—captures the uncertainty and terror of individuals powerless to withstand the forces of history, while affirming that even in times of great strife, the human spirit reaches for beauty and grace, forgiveness and transcendence.
This one has a mix of middling-to-good reviews, so I'm hoping that it will be fun to read!

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