...never judge a book by its movie

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2012

Mount TBR Challenge

The Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2012 is being hosted by Bev at My Reader's Block!


From the blog:

I've decided to create my own TBR reading challenge and plan to concentrate on reading primarily from my own books this year. And you're invited to join me in knocking out some of those books that have been waiting in the wings for weeks....months...even years.

Challenge Levels

Pike's Peak: Read 12 books from your TBR pile/s
Mt. Vancouver: Read 25 books from your TBR pile/s
Mt. Ararat: Read 40 books from your TBR piles/s
Mt. Kilimanjaro: Read 50 books from your TBR pile/s
El Toro: Read 75 books from your TBR pile/s
Mt. Everest: Read 100+ books from your TBR pile/s

And the rules:
*Once you choose your challenge level, you are locked in for at least that many books. If you find that you're on a mountain-climbing roll and want to tackle a taller mountain, then you are certainly welcome to upgrade.

*Challenge runs from January 1 to December 31, 2012.

*You may sign up anytime from now until November 30th, 2012.

*Books must be owned by you prior to January 1, 2012. No ARCs (none), no library books. No rereads. [To clarify--based on a question raised--the intention is to reduce the stack of books that you have bought for yourself or received as presents {birthday, Christmas, "just because," etc.}. Audiobooks may count if they are yours and they are one of your primary sources of backlogged books.]

*Books may be used to count for other challenges as well.

I'm definitely in on this one .. going for the Mt. Kilimanjaro level!  My initial list taken as just an armful from the top shelf of my personal TBR bookcase (I will add to these until I hit the 50-book mark) (click cover for Goodreads link):

A Drink Before the War/Darkness Take My Hand by Dennis Lehane
1/9/2012
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob deZoet by David Mitchell
1/31/2012
The Various Haunts of Men by Susan Hill
1/27/2012
The Perfect Suspect by Margaret Coel
1/24/2012
Sides by Peter Straub
1/4/2012
The Countess by Rebecca Johns
1/22/2012
One Amazing Thing by Chita Divakaruni
1/16/2012
REVIEW LINK
The Other Family by Joanna Trollope
1/6/2012
A Terrible Beauty by Graham Masterson

I'll hit the second shelf for the next set of books once these are done!

Sign up and read with us!

Julie






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Apologies for my absence . . .

I have been going through some personal crises, and coupled with the holidays, I was just a bit overwhelmed with everything, so the blog and other Internet-related items suffered. I deleted EVERY. SINGLE. EMAIL from all of my other email accounts, but left my blog email intact :) I will be going through the email there a bit at a time, so if you've written in the past few weeks, please be patient. For now, I will sort of throw myself back in the flow and start posting (maybe like crazy, maybe not) :)


I hope everyone has a wonderful, healthy, and prosperous New Year!


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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

12 Days of Christmas Giveaway Hop - Giveaway #1 - Internat'l through 12/24

The 12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop is being hosted by Intoxicated By Books and will run from December 13th through December 24th.

I am running mine a little bit differently - check back every 2-3 days for a new book-related giveaway - some will be international and some will be US and CAN only, but I'm certain you will find something  for you or someone on your list. 

Today, because Bebe Boy James is sick, and my time has been limited at the computer, I'm making it super simple.

What can you win?  One of you will win up to $25 worth of books from either Amazon or The Book Depository!


HOW CAN YOU WIN?
HOW TO ENTER (PLEASE READ - commenting alone will NOT enter you):

I'm going to make this super duper easy.  All you have to do is:

1. Enter your name and email address in the Rafflecopter form.

2.  Then scroll up to the Rafflecopter form (you MUST have Javascript enabled to see 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. (Please email me directly at knittingandsundries(at)gmail(dot)com if you have problems with the form).


You can get an extra entry each for:

1.  Commenting with at least one book that you would choose
2.  Following via GFC/Twitter/RSS/email
3.  Tweeting about the giveaway
4.  Entering another current giveaway

YOU ONLY HAVE TO ENTER YOUR NAME AND EMAIL ADDRESS INTO THE RAFFLECOPTER FORM FOR YOUR INITIAL/MANDATORY ENTRY; you can use the form for all of your additional entries (extra entry options listed on the form)!  :)

Eligibility:  International to anywhere The Book Depository ships - Ends December 24, 2011 at midnight ET



a Rafflecopter giveaway


Visit the other blogs on the hop for more chances to win!



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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Teaser Tuesdays - December 6, 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: 
Thread Reckoning by Amanda Lee
I realized he was going to report every word of our conversation - such as it was - to his employer, so I tried to come up with something to explain all the questions.  "She died right outside my shop, you know.  It was terrible."
- page 225 (ARC), Thread Reckoning by Amanda Lee (The Book Depository / Amazon)


Goodreads description:

Cupid's arrow is making its way to Tallulah Falls, Oregon, bringing lots of business to Marcy Singer's embroidery specialty shop-like the bride who wants her mother's dress embellished with jewels. But someone wants to squash all the romance-and in this case they'll go as far as murder... 



If you like cozies, look for a review and giveaway of this one coming up soon!

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!

Julie
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Maria Juana's Gift by T. Lloyd Winetsky - BOOK REVIEW/GIVEAWAY - US/CAN thru 12/20

Maria Juana's Gift by T. Lloyd Winetsky
Title:  Maria Juana's Gift
Author:  T. Lloyd Winetsky
Publisher:   Booklocker, Inc.
Release Date:  March 31, 2011
Paperback, 300 pages
ISBN 10:     1609107470
ISBN 13:  9781609107475
The Book Depository / Amazon

Goodreads description:

In his latest novel, MARIA JUANA'S GIFT, T. Lloyd Winetsky explores the frustration and heartbreak of preventable human medical error. Set during America's Bicentennial, it is the story of a young teaching couple fighting for the survival of their infant daughter born in a hospital on the Arizona-Mexico border. The novel's theme approaches the core of inhumanity but also celebrates a "gift" the couple will treasure for the rest of their lives.

My Take: 

As an advocate for social justice, the premise of this novel hooked me.  We have a young couple living in a poor, barren city on the border of Arizona and Mexico during the 1970's who are dedicated to helping immigrant workers and their children.

At the beginning of the book, they are in the hospital with their newborn daughter Emma, and Jake is frantic to get the doctor to pay attention to the fact that something is wrong with her.  Maria Juana, who seems to be a nurse's aide at the small hospital, confirms the couple's fear that something is wrong with the baby.  Her "gift" is her affinity with the children under her care.

There is a shift back to how Jake and Tina met, married, and ended up in a forsaken outpost.  We meet a lot of the neighbors and politicians and read of how migrant workers are scorned, including an incident that ends in the deportation of the parents of one of Jake's students.  Many children are mistakenly pigeonholed into special education classes in spite of their intelligence.

As Jake fights to get someone .. anyone ... to pay attention to his pleas for help for his daughter, the reader feels the frustration of a desperate father stuck in a no-man's land where politics seems more important than the Hippocratic oath.

Although the premise and the story is intriguing, I felt that the execution was flawed in many ways.  The beginning is rather confusing, and there are many editing errors, i.e. "taught" rather than "taut", "imbedded" rather than "embedded", and lots of unnecessary italics.  The romance between Jake and Tina feels rushed and the inclusion of quite a bit of minutiae bogs the reader down here and there.  To be fair, the other reviews I've read have been quite a bit more complimentary, so I emphasize that this is my own opinion.

In spite of this, the author tells a convincing story that made this reader curious and kept me reading.

Writing:  2.5 out of 5 stars
Plot:   3.5 out of 5 stars
Characters:  2.5 out of 5 stars
Reading Immersion:   2 out 5 stars

BOOK RATING:   2.6 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.

Author website


BUY IT:  At Amazon, The Book Depository and through other on-and-off-line booksellers.

WIN IT!

Elaine from PR by the Book was kind enough to offer one of my readers from the US/CAN a chance to win a copy for themselves!

HOW TO ENTER:

Comment:  Let me know in the comments what your pet social justice cause is! Please remember to include your email address kind of like this: user(at)domain(dot)com or something similar to prevent spambots from picking your email address up.

Extra entries:

You can get an extra entry for following Knitting and Sundries (email/Twitter/GFC/RSS) - TWO extra entries if you are an old follower or subscriber.

You can also get an extra entry for entering any other current giveaway - one comment for each giveaway you entered.

Make a separate comment for each entry and include your follower name or the email address you subscribe under.

Eligibility:  US/CAN through 12/20/2011


 Disclosure:  I  received a  complimentary copy of this title from PR by the Book to facilitate my review.  No other compensation was received and I was not required to post a positive review.
Julie
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Monday, December 5, 2011

Just For Fun Reading Challenge - December, 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.

I'll be doing this challenge next year as well!

For November, 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.


My mini-review:


Nina Revskaya is a former Russian ballerina, now ill to the point of dying, who decides to auction her collection of jewelry to benefit art.  Russian Winter revolves around her life in a Russia where friends' parents and others disappear, sometimes never to return.  Creative people, especially those of Jewish descent, are looked on with suspicion and distrust.  


Nina's first love is always dance, but she eventually meets and falls in love with an acclaimed poet named Viktor.  A childhood best friend named Vera, whose parents "disappeared" when she was a child, comes to also dance at the Bolshoi, and she falls in love with a Viktor's best friend, a Jewish composer named Gersh.

This is a lovely piece of work, where the mystery behind a piece of jewelry owned by Grigori Solodin leads to a partnership with Drew Brooks, who works at the auction house that is selling Nina's collection.  At the end, I felt rather sad at how easily one misconception could lead to a totally different outlook and path in life (I wish I could say more on this, but that would definitely be a spoiler).  



Another worthy read.


For December, I sent Grandbebe Boy JoJo off to the shelves, and here is what HE came out with:


And Only to Deceive by Tasha Alexander

Goodreads description:

From gifted new writer Tasha Alexander comes a stunning novel of historical suspense set in Victorian England, meticulously researched and with a twisty plot that involves stolen antiquities, betrayal, and murder. For Emily, accepting the proposal of Philip, the Viscount Ashton, was an easy way to escape her overbearing mother, who was set on a grand society match. So when Emily's dashing husband died on safari soon after their wedding, she felt little grief. After all, she barely knew him. Now, nearly two years later, she discovers that Philip was a far different man from the one she had married so cavalierly. His journals reveal him to have been a gentleman scholar and antiquities collector who, to her surprise, was deeply in love with his wife. Emily becomes fascinated with this new image of her dead husband and she immerses herself in all things ancient and begins to study Greek. Emily's intellectual pursuits and her desire to learn more about Philip take her to the quiet corridors of the British Museum, one of her husband's favorite places. There, amid priceless ancient statues, she uncovers a dark, dangerous secret involving stolen artifacts from the Greco-Roman galleries. And to complicate matters, she's juggling two very prominent and wealthy suitors, one of whose intentions may go beyond the marrying kind. As she sets out to solve the crime, her search leads to more surprises about Philip and causes her to question the role in Victorian society to which she, as a woman, is relegated.

Some more historical fiction!  All right!
Julie
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It's Monday! What Are YOU Reading? - December 5, 2011

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!

READ:


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

Benny's Angel by Laura Allen Nonemaker
4 of 5 stars








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

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander DumasDavid Copperfield by Charles Dickens
11/22/63 by Stephen King


Next to be read on the personal pile (click cover for Goodreads page):

An Unpardonable Crime by Andrew Taylor
Kiss Me Deadly edited by Trisha TelepThe Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart


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

Thread Reckoning by Amanda Lee
The Queen's Pawn by Christy EnglishVigilante by Robin Parrish


FAVE OF THE WEEK: 
Bag of Bones by Stephen King
Book Depository
Amazon

I was SUPPOSED to be reading this one at the rate of 125 pages a week for the Bag of Bones read-a-long at Castle Macabre - but, really, when a book is THIS good, it's difficult to put down.

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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Winner Wonderland Giveaway Hop {GIVEAWAY CLOSED}

Welcome to the Winner Wonderland Giveaway Event. This event is hosted by Put A Little Umbrella In Your Drink, Seeds of Life, And The Little Ones Too and Taking Time For Mommy. This event features giveaways with a value of $25 or more at each of the participating blogs! Check out all of the great Winner Wonderland Sponsors being featured in this event! Be sure to visit each blog from the linky below and enter for your chance to win! This event will close on December 4th at 11:59 pm EST.




It's getting close to Christmas and I'm giving YOU the presents!  TWO of you will win!

WHAT CAN YOU WIN?

Your choice of a children's, middle reader, or YA book prize package:  
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Friday, December 2, 2011

Book Lover's Holiday Hop - GIVEAWAY! - International through 12/6/2011


The Book Lover's Holiday Giveaway Hop is being hosted by Kathy from I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy.  It runs from today, December 2nd, through December 6th.

My post was supposed to go up last night, but Blogger was having some issues.

What can you win?  One of you will win up to $25 worth of books from either Amazon or The Book Depository!


HOW CAN YOU WIN?
HOW TO ENTER (PLEASE READ - commenting alone will NOT enter you):


I'm going to make this super duper easy.  All you have to do is enter your name and email address in the Rafflecopter form.

You can get an extra entry each for:

1.  Commenting with at least one book that you would choose
2.  Following via GFC/Twitter/RSS/email
3.  Tweeting about the giveaway

2.  Then scroll up to the Rafflecopter form (you MUST have Javascript enabled to see 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. (Please email me directly at knittingandsundries(at)gmail(dot)com if you have problems with the form).

YOU ONLY HAVE TO ENTER YOUR NAME AND EMAIL ADDRESS INTO THE RAFFLECOPTER FORM FOR YOUR INITIAL/MANDATORY ENTRY; you can use the form for all of your additional entries (extra entry options listed on the form)!  :)

Eligibility:  International to anywhere The Book Depository ships - Ends December 6, 2011 at midnight ET


Here's a chance to buy a Christmas present or two for yourself!  While you're here, look to the upper left of the blog for some other great giveaways that are going on right now!





Visit the other blogs on the hop for more chances to win!





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