...never judge a book by its movie

Thursday, June 28, 2012

This and That Thursday - June 28, 2012



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!

This is a very abbreviated This and That, but I wanted to put up a couple of items.




Found at Chronicle of a Reticent Clack (click pic to open larger in a new window):

 
I am one of those who HATES it when people crack my books' spines, so this one has a special place in my heart.


Not-So-Bebe-Girl Autumn is teaching in China this summer! (that's her at the bottom right with her "geek glasses" on).  Am I the only one who finds it strange that they're in CHINA, but taking a pic in front of a Japanese restaurant?


 I love The Bloggess!  She's super-duper funny (but not for the faint of heart - if you don't like f-bombs and such, she's probably not one for you!). 


Anyway, a recent post of hers explores those "Author Unknown" quotations we always read, but then she ADDS to them.  Here's an example (or two, because they just make me laugh [the asterisks are for the benefit of my more sensitive readers]):


“Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book.”   Or maybe they only get one soap opera.  Stop being so literal, a**hole.

MY favorite (likely due to the update):

“It’s always been and always will be the same in the world: The horse does the work and the coachman is tipped. ”  So if you have a choice in your college, major in being a horse.

 UPDATED:  Holy sh*t, you people are brilliant and I’ve been giggling uncontrollably at your comments.  Also, lots of you have pointed out (quite astutely) that regarding the horse quote I should have said that you should major in being a coachman since he’s the one who gets the tips but I ask you, what would a horse do with a tip?  A horse is happy just being a horse and he’s always employed.  Except when he isn’t, in which case he’s just on a paid vacation.  Horses almost never care about tips.  That’s how you know you’ve made it.  When you don’t care about getting tips anymore.  Or when you’re a horse.  Honestly, people.  You’ve gotta think this sh*t through.  

For even more laugh-out-loud fun, be certain to read the comments!  Click the  "Author Unknown" to get there.



That's all for this week's abbreviated edition!
Julie

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Secret Keeper by Sandra Byrd - BOOK REVIEW and link to GIVEAWAY

The Secret Keeper by Sandra Byrd
Title:  The Secret Keeper
Author:  Sandra Byrd
Publisher:   Howard Books, a division of Simon and Schuster
Release Date:  June 5, 2012
Paperback, 352 pages
ISBN 10:    1439183147
ISBN 13:   9781439183144
The Book Depository / Amazon



Goodreads description:

The author of To Die For returns to the court of Henry VIII, as a young woman is caught between love and honor. 
Juliana  St. John is the daughter of a prosperous knight in Marlborough. Though  her family wants her to marry the son of her father’s business partner,  circumstances set her on a course toward the court of Henry VIII and his  last wife, Kateryn Parr.

Sir Thomas Seymour, uncle of the  current heir, Prince Edward, returns to Wiltshire to tie up his business  with Juliana’s father’s estate and sees instantly that she would fit  into the household of the woman he loves, Kateryn Parr. Her mother  agrees to have her placed in the Parr household for “finishing” and  Juliana goes, though perhaps reluctantly. For she knows a secret. She  has been given the gift of prophecy, and in one of her visions she has  seen Sir Thomas shredding the dress of the king’s daughter, the lady  Elizabeth, to perilous consequence.

As Juliana learns the secrets  of King Henry VIII’s court, she faces threats and opposition, learning  truths about her own life that will upset everything she thought she  once held dear.

My Take: 

This is the tale of the fictitious Juliana St. John, daughter of a merchant knight, who finds herself serving in the household and, later, in the court of Kateryn Parr (Henry VIII's last wife, usually known as Catherine Parr, as well as other spellings as seen in the following portrait):

In 1542, Juliana is 17 years old.  Her father has died the year before, and now she has only her loving younger brother Hugh and her unaffectionate mother for company.  The book opens with a dramatic scene:  Juliana's mother has called her a witch, and Juliana goes to her neighborhood priest to find out if her portentious dreams mean that she really IS a witch.

Shortly after, Sir Thomas Seymour, a favorite of the court who serves on diplomatic and military missions for Henry VIII, visits Marlborough, where Juliana lives. While there, he recommends Juliana for service to Lord Latimer's Lady, Kateryn Parr.

This novel realistically depicts the almost wide-eyed wonder of a rural innocent arriving and living in London, as well as the slightly tarnished worldview and disappointment that results from being surrounded by the treachery and intrigue of the court.  We read of how Kateryn, recently widowed, is pursued by the King, now an obese man with an oozing, ulcerated, apparently untreatable, leg - as well as her eventual decision that she must accept his marriage proposal to help further the "true" teachings of God and temper Henry's reprisals on those that attempt to practice the Protestant brand of Christianity.

Juliana is treated almost as a daughter by Kateryn, and suffers her own blows and disappointments. In spite of this, she remains good at heart and loyal to a fault. Although her visions are few and far between, they manage to guide her through some sticky situations.

If you are looking for excruciating historical detail, this may not be the book for you.  But, if you enjoy being able to fill in the blanks with your own knowledge of Tudor history, and you're looking for "lighter" historical fiction, I feel that it would be a great, escapist type of read.    If you are "on the fence" about historical fiction, I would definitely recommend this one. I think it will whet your appetite for more.  It is well-written and compelling.  I  wanted to keep reading to see if Juliana would finally get her own happy ending after being surrounded by so much tragedy.

One of the characters that I want to learn more about is Anne Askew:


Although no true portraits remain of her, the above is a representation based on historical descriptions.  Anne is the only woman ever tortured in the Tower.  Being high-born made it doubly unique. Her crime? Preaching from Tyndale's Bible, "gospeling" as it was called, a double-crime against Henry's edicts banning Tyndale's teachings and books as well as banning women from gospeling or even reading aloud ANY holy writ in public. Burned at the stake in her mid-twenties, after being tortured on the rack, she was a true martyr to her beliefs.

QUOTES


...I recalled to mind that only a year and a half had passed since Queen Catherine Howard had run shrieking down this very hallway begging for her life from the king, who'd refused, as was his habit, to see her afore sending her to her death.  I made me very cold indeed with concern for my lady.

"Lord Edward was married to another woman first, but she is supposed to have continued having relations with Lord Edward's father, so her husband put her aside.  Many believe Edward Seymour's first two children to be his brothers and not his sons."

I was shocked and horrified that I had been the woeful messenger of this terrible news.  A warrant for her arrest, signed in his own hand.  And the king did not shy from executing his wives.

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

BOOK RATING:   4 out of 5 stars

Sensitive Reader:  There are a couple of sticky parts here, but I think most of you would be OK with them, as they are integral to the story.

WIN IT: Go to the blog tour/giveaway post for your chance to win a copy for yourself!

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.

About Sandra Byrd


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 Historical Fiction Book Tours 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, June 18, 2012

Monday Memes - It's Monday! What Are YOU Reading?, In My Mailbox, Mailbox Monday - June 18, 2012


"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's host is Marie at Burton Book Review!   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 only received one book this week (don't forget to enter my giveaway for your own copy)!

The Secret Keeper by Sandra ByrdThe Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr by Sandra Byrd - For review through Historical Fiction Book Tours - Released June 5, 2012 - (The Book Depository / Amazon) - Although I had a blog tour scheduled, I neglected to put a "read" reminder on my calendar, so when the "blog tour" reminder popped up, I realized that I didn't have the book yet - it ended up here on Friday, so I set other reading aside in order to get my review up before the giveaway ends!  A very compelling, but quick, read.  Look for my review tomorrow evening!

Goodreads description:

The author of To Die For returns to the court of Henry VIII, as a young woman is caught between love and honor.

Juliana St. John is the daughter of a prosperous knight in Marlborough. Though her family wants her to marry the son of her father’s business partner, circumstances set her on a course toward the court of Henry VIII and his last wife, Kateryn Parr.

Sir Thomas Seymour, uncle of the current heir, Prince Edward, returns to Wiltshire to tie up his business with Juliana’s father’s estate and sees instantly that she would fit into the household of the woman he loves, Kateryn Parr. Her mother agrees to have her placed in the Parr household for “finishing” and Juliana goes, though perhaps reluctantly. For she knows a secret. She has been given the gift of prophecy, and in one of her visions she has seen Sir Thomas shredding the dress of the king’s daughter, the lady Elizabeth, to perilous consequence.

As Juliana learns the secrets of King Henry VIII’s court, she faces threats and opposition, learning truths about her own life that will upset everything she thought she once held dear.






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!

So, due to upcoming release dates as well as a late blog tour arrival, I didn't stick to my reading schedule, but after a book or two, I'll be back on track!


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

Portrait in Sepia by Isabel Allende
4.5 of 5 stars
"Quick Take" review
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
2 of 5 stars
"Quick Take" review





READ:
(Click on the cover for the Goodreads page)

The Sometimes Daughter by Sherri Wood Emmons
Hard copy
The Concubine Saga by Lloyd Lofthouse
Hard copy
The Taker by Alma Katsu
Hard copy
The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr by Sandra Byrd
Hard copy


CURRENTLY READING:
(Click on the cover for the Goodreads page)

The Divorce of Henry VIII by Catherine Fletcher
Hard copy
25 Favorite Novels 2
Nook


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

Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Night Train by Clyde Edgerton The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

No, I did NOT get to any books on my personal pile this week :(


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

The Third Gate by Lincoln Child The Midwife of Venice by Roberta Rich Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel



FAVE OF THE WEEK:

The Secret Keeper by Sandra Byrd

This was a read that I was quickly able to get into.  The writing flows well, and the story is compelling. I think it would be a good read for those who LOVE historical fiction and are crazy about the Tudor time period, but it would also be a good "wet your whistle" book for those who are new to historical fiction and the Tudors as well.  Unlike "some" historical novels, it is also suitable for the sensitive reader, as it is not sex-centric :)  (yes, I know ... I LIKE to make up my own words!)

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!

Julie



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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Last-minute deal for Father's Day!

Sonos Play

If you're like me, Father's Day (and, well, most birthdays and major holidays except Christmas and Thanksgiving), tend to sneak up on you and you're caught shopping at the last minute.  I usually end up with something less than perfect due to the time constraints.  Let me tell you about a GREAT last-minute gift - DEFINITELY not less than perfect, either!

Guys LOVE gadgets.  Sonos  has the ultimate techie/music-lover gadget that allows you to play Pandora, ITunes, and other music ANYwhere.  Take a look at the video:




Today is the last day for this Target deal: Through June 16th at Target, Free $30 Target gift card with purchase of Play:3 unit and Free $40 Target gift card with purchase of Play:5 unit.

Sonos Players and Controllers
 Head on over to Target TODAY to get in on this great deal!


Julie
Disclosure: I participated in this campaign as a member of One2One Network and I'm eligible for a prize drawing.  All opinions stated in the post are my own.
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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

It's Wednesday! Time for Cym Lowell's Book Review Party! - June 13, 2012

Just a quick reminder that it's time for Cym Lowell's Book Review Party! Click on the banner below, and link up one of YOUR reviews that you want a bit more publicity for! Don't forget to visit the other bloggers who have linked up when you're done!

CymLowell

My featured title this week (click the cover to go to the review):

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Julie

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Quick Takes - Portrait in Sepia by Isabel Allende // Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

Welcome to a new feature that I'll introduce on Tuesdays.  I read a LOT of books, not just review books.  With all of the review books, how do I find time and room to review from my personal reading pile?  My solution:  Quick Takes - A quick look at a book with the Goodreads description and a quickie paragraph or two.

This week, we have two TOTALLY different types of books for review:  "Portrait in Sepia" by Isabel Allende and "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" by Jonathan Safran Foer.




Portrait in Sepia by Isabel Allende

I won a copy of this title from Amy at The House of the Seven Tails

Goodreads description:

Internationally celebrated novelist Isabel Allende has written a magnificent historical novel set at the end of the nineteenth century in Chile, a marvelous family saga that takes up and continues the story begun in her highly acclaimed Daughter of Fortune

Recounted in the voice of a young woman in search of her roots, Portrait in Sepia is a novel about memory and family secrets. Aurora del Valle suffers a brutal trauma that shapes her character and erases from her mind all recollection of the first five years of her life. Raised by her ambitious grandmother, the regal and commanding Paulina del Valle, she grows up in a privileged environment, free of the limitations that circumscribe the lives of women at that time, but tormented by horrible nightmares. When she is forced to recognize her betrayal at the hands of the man she loves, and to cope with the resulting solitude, she decides to explore the mystery of her past. 

Portrait in Sepia is an extraordinary achievement: richly detailed, epic in scope, intimate in its probing of human character, and thrilling in the way it illuminates the complexity of family ties.

Quick Take:  I read "Daughter of Fortune", somehow skipped the middle novel, "The House of the Spirits", and read the third-in-series.  (I didn't know it was a series until I started reading this one and realized that I had read of this family before).  Great historical, multigenerational, character-driven fiction with enough drama to keep you reading as much as possible.  Allende is a truly gifted writer, and this is a marvelous book.

Rating:  4.5 out of 5 stars

2012 Books Won Reading Challenge
One of my listed titles for the 2012 Books Won Reading Challenge



Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

This was a book chosen for an online book club discussion.


Goodreads description:

Jonathan Safran Foer emerged as one of the most original writers of his generation with his best-selling debut novel, Everything Is Illuminated. Now, with humor, tenderness, and awe, he confronts the traumas of our recent history.

Nine-year-old Oskar Schell has embarked on an urgent, secret mission that will take him through the five boroughs of New York. His goal is to find the lock that matches a mysterious key that belonged to his father, who died in the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11. This seemingly impossible task will bring Oskar into contact with survivors of all sorts on an exhilarating, affecting, often hilarious, and ultimately healing journey.


Quick Take:   I can't even say I wasn't warned.  If this hadn't been a discussion book, I likely would not have finished it.  It's "smart", I guess - maybe too smart for me.  I kept backtracking and reading super slowly, thinking maybe it was just me (and that could possibly be the case).  It was very gimmicky:  the formatting was odd, the writing itself was confusing, and I just couldn't get my head around ANY of the characters.   I closed this book thinking, "Oh, my gosh!  All of that time wasted when I could have read something I would have enjoyed."  I'm in the minority here, and that's OK.  This one just wasn't my cup of tea.

Rating2 out of 5 stars


That's all for this week's Quick Takes; let me know what you think!

BLOGGERS:  Have you reviewed either of these books? 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.  

Julie

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Teaser Tuesdays - June 12, 2012


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: 

The Concubine Saga by Lloyd Lofthouse

"I thought I could trust you," Horatio said.  "That's why I recommended that you fill my job while I was recovering from the knife wounds. Why did you turn the Dynasty against me?"

- page 453, The Concubine Saga by Lloyd Lofthouse (Amazon)

Goodreads description:

No Westerner has ever achieved Robert Hart's status and level of power in China. Driven by a passion for his adopted country, Hart became the "godfather of China's modernism," inspector general of China's Customs Service, and the builder of China's railroads, postal and telegraph systems and schools. However, his first real love is Ayaou, a young concubine. Sterling Seagrave, in Dragon Lady, calls her Hart's sleep-in dictionary and says she was wise beyond her years. Soon after arriving in China in 1854, Hart falls in love with Ayaou, but his feelings for her sister go against the teachings of his Christian upbringing and almost break him emotionally. To survive he must learn how to live and think like the Chinese. He also finds himself thrust into the Opium Wars and the Taiping Rebellion, the bloodiest rebellion in human history, where he makes enemies of men such as the American soldier of fortune known as the Devil Soldier. During his early years in China, Robert experiences a range of emotion from bliss to despair. Like Damascus steel, he learns to be both hard and flexible, which forges his character into the great man he becomes. Full of humanity, passion, and moral honesty, The Concubine Saga is the deeply intimate story of Hart's loyalty and love for his adopted land and the woman who captured his heart. Historical fiction potboiler, yes. But where The Concubine Saga truly shines is its thought-provoking passages on relationships, attitudes and cultural differences. The heated dialogue between Hart and Ayaou will especially touch a nerve for any westerner who has ever lived and loved in China…" Thomas Carter, photojournalist and author of "China: Portrait of a People"


This combination of My Splendid Concubine and Our Hart, Elegy for a Concubine promises to be a fascinating read about an equally fascinating time period.  Come back on June 20th for my blog tour post!


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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Monday, June 11, 2012

We Give Books Read for my Summer Reading Program - Free and Fun!

We Give Books


Back in March of 2011, I told you all about a great program:

"We Give Books is a free website that enables anyone with access to the Internet to put books in the hands of children who don't have them, simply by reading online.
Simply choose the charity you want to read for and then select the books you want to read. For each book you read online, we donate a book to a leading literacy group on your behalf.
The more you read, the more we give."

Well, here is a new program from them:

We Give Books’ Read for My Summer is your chance to share books – and share giving – with young readers in your life. Designed specifically for children ages 5 through 8, Read for My Summer highlights a special book for you and your child to read online from the We Give Books library every week, along with fun activities and reading tips to make each book come to life. This free 10-week program helps parents, schools, and libraries offer children an exciting online reading experience, filled with captivating children’s books including Llama Llama Red Pajama, The Little Engine that Could, Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad, and more!

Each week, We Give Books will send you an email announcing that week’s book and leading you to additional reading guides, activities, and fun online surprises! At the end of the summer, your young reader will be able to print out his or her reading record for the first day of class.

Read for My Summer kicks off on June 11.

If you have little ones in your life, this is a great way to keep reading through the summer!  Click the link to check it out for yourself!


Julie


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The Secret Keeper by Sandra Byrd - BLOG TOUR AND GIVEAWAY (giveaway open to US through 6/25/2012)



The Secret Keeper by Sandra Byrd
Title:  The Secret Keeper
Author:  Sandra Byrd
Publisher:   Howard Books, a division of Simon and Schuster
Release Date:  June 5, 2012
Paperback, 352 pages
ISBN 10:    1439183147
ISBN 13:   9781439183144
The Book Depository / Amazon

Goodreads description:

The author of To Die For returns to the court of Henry VIII, as a young woman is caught between love and honor.

Juliana St. John is the daughter of a prosperous knight in Marlborough. Though her family wants her to marry the son of her father’s business partner, circumstances set her on a course toward the court of Henry VIII and his last wife, Kateryn Parr.

Sir Thomas Seymour, uncle of the current heir, Prince Edward, returns to Wiltshire to tie up his business with Juliana’s father’s estate and sees instantly that she would fit into the household of the woman he loves, Kateryn Parr. Her mother agrees to have her placed in the Parr household for “finishing” and Juliana goes, though perhaps reluctantly. For she knows a secret. She has been given the gift of prophecy, and in one of her visions she has seen Sir Thomas shredding the dress of the king’s daughter, the lady Elizabeth, to perilous consequence.

As Juliana learns the secrets of King Henry VIII’s court, she faces threats and opposition, learning truths about her own life that will upset everything she thought she once held dear.


I am a big fan of the Tudor period in historical fiction. I love seeing the different viewpoints offered up by authors on Catherine (Kateryn) Parr and the people and events she is surrounded by.

I did not get my review copy in time for the tour, but rest assured that when it arrives, I will dive into it with a passion!


UPDATE:  I probably shouldn't have struck through the above part, because I didn't receive the title in time for the tour, but I DID receive it on Friday and read it over the weekend!  Take a look at the review, and I think you'll want to win it even more!

Here are some snippets from other reviews:

"If you’re looking for a bit of royal intrigue, spiritual wonderment, romance and adventure, The Secret Keeper would be a fine way to start off some quality summer reading." - The Calico Critic

"I loved all the descriptions of the clothing and the parties - I almost felt as if I was there myself! We also get a glimpse into Juliana's personal life - a life that is thrown upside down once a  major secret is revealed" - Always with a Book

 See the full tour schedule, including other giveaways and reviews, at Historical Fiction Book Tours.

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.

Browse inside the book

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

WIN IT:  ONE of you will win your very own copy!

Wanna win?  Here's how:
 
HOW TO ENTER (PLEASE READ - commenting alone will NOT enter you):

MANDATORY ENTRY:

1. Leave a comment letting me know what period do you most love to read about in historical fiction.  Please include your email address like this or similar to prevents spambots:  knittingandsundries(at)gmail(dot)com

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 COMMENT AND 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:  US residents only through June 25, 2012




Disclosure:  A giveaway copy of this title is being provided by the author/publisher through Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.  No other compensation was received.
Julie
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Sunday, June 10, 2012

Monday Memes - Mailbox Monday, It's Monday-What Are YOU Reading, In My Mailbox - June 11, 2012


"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's host is Marie at Burton Book Review!   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!

These are the latest books that I've received through the mail:


The Breakthrough by Jerry B. Jenkins
The Breakthrough by  ARC for review from the author - Releases September 1, 2012 - (The Book Depository / Amazon) - having enjoyed both The Brotherhood and The Last Operative, I was thrilled to see this latest release come into my mailbox - they seem to get better each time!

Goodreads description:

As the youngest bureau chief and head of the Chicago Police Department's Major Case Squad, Boone Drake seems to have it all under control. Only those closest to him know that just a few short years ago, he lost everything that mattered to him in a tragic accident. After years of healing, his life is back on track. He recently married a wonderful woman named Haeley, adopted her son, bought a beautiful home, and rediscovered his faith. But Boone can't fight the feeling that something is about to go terribly wrong . . . again.

When an all-too-personal case takes Boone to Beijing at a time when Haeley can least afford to let him go, Boone is forced to make a difficult choice. There he becomes enmeshed in a dangerous human-trafficking ring that takes him through the famed Hutong District's narrow streets, alleys, and hovels. Teamed with a former Liberation Army officer, Boone has one chance to pull off an elaborate sting and rescue a young boy before he disappears forever.


The Divorce of Henry VII by Catherine Fletcher
The Divorce of Henry VII by Catherine Fletcher - ARC for review from the publisher - Releases June 19, 2012 (The Book Depository / Amazon

Goodreads description:

In 1533 the English monarch Henry VIII decided to divorce his wife of twenty years Catherine of Aragon in pursuit of a male heir to ensure the Tudor line. He was also head over heels in love with his wife’s lady in waiting Anne Boleyn, the future mother of Elizabeth I. But getting his freedom involved a terrific web of intrigue through the enshrined halls of the Vatican that resulted in a religious schism and the formation of the Church of England. Henry’s man in Rome was a wily Italian diplomat named Gregorio Casali who drew no limits on skullduggery including kidnapping, bribery and theft to make his king a free man. In this absorbing narrative, winner of the Rome Fellowship prize and University of Durham historian Catherine Fletcher draws on hundreds of previously-unknown Italian archive documents to tell the colorful tale from the inside story inside the Vatican.

To Kill the Duke by Sam Moffie
To Kill the Duke by Sam Moffie -  For review from the author -  (The Book Depository / Amazon) - I so enjoyed the author's last title The Book of Eli, smart satire that made me smile in so many places!  This one also promises to be a fun piece of writing!


Book description:

This novel is a carefully woven escapade that brings together the elite Russian spy squad of Mr. Zavert, Boris Gila, Alexei Aleksandra and Ivan Viznapu as they start on a dangerous mission that brings them into contact with the gangsters Mickey Cohen and Johnny Stompanato, the billionaire Howard Hughes, the producer/director Dick Powell, the actress Susan Hayward, countless others, and of course the big man himself - John Wayne. It is Moffie's most ambitious novel to date. An unusual aspect is that one of the worst films ever made "The Conqueror," and the sand it was filmed on, play prominent roles in the book. Shot near St. George, Utah, the cast and crew were unaware of the life-and-death risks involved in filming on ground laden with radioactivity from the nuclear tests downwind in Nevada. In addition, Howard Hughes had 60 tons of the uniquely colored sand send back to RKO for post-production shots, and to this day no one knows exactly what happened to it. At least 91 of the 220 cast and crew members developed cancer after filming. Forty-six died, including John Wayne, Susan Hayward, Pedro Armendariz (who shot himself soon after learning he had terminal cancer), Agnes Moorehead, John Hoyt and director Dick Powell. "The topic of why so many people died of cancer filming "The Conqueror" has always been something I wanted to tackle, because I wanted to expose the horror's of the 50's Red Scare," said Moffie. "Having the ultimate symbol of America-John Wayne- as an ironic victim of his own overzealous patriotism was the perfect way to write about it." Moffie is no stranger in poking fun at The Establishment, His last novel, The Book of Eli reimagined a Heaven that would make Rick Santourm cry. God sounds like Orson Welles and atheists like Madelyn Murray O'Hare are there, along with Groucho Marx and of course Ayn Rand and Freud!

Alice on the Outside by Phyllis Reynold Naylor
Alice on the Outside by Phyllis Reynold Naylor - For review from the publisher  -  (The Book Depository / Amazon

Goodreads description:

In this charming repackage from a beloved series, Alice doesn’t feel like fitting in. 

Alice McKinley likes her life, but she senses things are changing. She gets a little bored by her best friends Elizabeth’s and Pamela’s obsession with clothes and makeup. She’s just not that interested. And though she is very interested in her boyfriend, Patrick, she’s not entirely sure how to keep their relationship going. Alice is struggling to figure out how she feels about things—and then how her feelings fits into what other people think she should be feeling. Getting older is even trickier than Alice thought—is she ready for the challenge? As Alice stumbles her way through the minefield of early adolescence, there are plenty of bumps, giggles, and surprises along the way. Every girl should grow up with Alice, and with this irresistible new look, a whole new generation will want to.





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!

Well, I have NOT been keeping great track of the books I've read, so I will just start with what I'm currently reading and what's upcoming!


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

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
5 of 5 stars
More Like Her by Liza Palmer
3.5 of 5 stars




CURRENTLY READING:
(Click on the cover for the Goodreads page)

The Sometimes Daughter by Sherri Wood Emmons
Hard copy
25 Favorite Novels 2
Nook

The 25 Favorite Novels II is a Nook book, with over 15,000 pages - so far, I've re-read The Three Musketeers, Little Women, and Oliver Twist.  I've also read The Jungle by Upton Sinclair (what a great book - no wonder it's a classic!  Currently I'm re-reading A Tale of Two Cities. You'll be seeing THIS one on my "Currently Reading" list for some time to come!

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

Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Night Train by Clyde Edgerton The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey



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

The Concubine Saga by Lloyd Lofthouse
The Third Gate by Lincoln Child The Taker by Alma Katsu


UPCOMING:

The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr by Sandra Byrd

Stop by tomorrow when I participate in a blog tour for The Secret Keeper:  A Novel of Kateryn Parr by Sandra Byrd.  One of you will have a chance to win a copy for yourself!

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!

Julie



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