September 25, 2008

Mrs Dalloway: Review

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Take everything you know about writing or reading a novel and throw it out the window.

So, Clarissa Dalloway, the wife of a politician, starts her day with her party on her mind. The book ends the moment the party ends. That's the book- sort of. It's not like anything I've ever read before.

Virginia Woolf uses the stream-of-consciousness device to look into the lives of a handful of Londoners a few years after the first World War. We start with:

"Mrs Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself."

From there we meander through the heads of several bystanders into the disturbed mind of Septimus Smith, a former war hero who is descending in madness. His Italian wife, Rezia, meets with two inept doctors, who believe Septimus needs to snap out of his depression. At the same time Peter, an old boyfriend of Clarissa's, comes to town, stirring up feelings of discontent within her. What would it have been like to have married Peter?

At times, I felt like a bee buzzing in and out of everyone's heads. I never knew where I was until I was a couple of sentences into the character's 'narrative'. Woolf made me work like a dog. I've never had to work this hard at reading before. I'm sure I read one section five times before I realized a character was thinking about a homeless lady and not a fountain. Or was it a fountain and not a woman? Hmm.

This book was only 140 pages but it took a long time for me to finish. Mostly because of all the re-reading. Still, it was interesting. The theme of mortality, time getting away from us, gave me a lot to think about. Clarissa is a woman who is more than she seems. To most of the characters, she is a frivolous woman who likes to plan parties to impress people. Clarissa, however, is tired of trying so hard. It all seems so pointless since we're all going to die.

At some point, I will read Mrs Dalloway again. I'm sure I missed...a lot! I think if you want to exercise your brain, put away your Sudukos, grab some Redbull and Mrs Dalloway.

Other Reviews:
Maree @ Just Add Books

BTT: Now For Something Completely Different

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What was the most unusual (for you) book you ever read? Either because the book itself was completely from out in left field somewhere, or was a genre you never read, or was the only book available on a long flight… whatever? What (not counting school textbooks, though literature read for classes counts) was furthest outside your usual comfort zone/familiar territory?

And, did you like it? Did it stretch your boundaries? Did you shut it with a shudder the instant you were done? Did it make you think? Have nightmares? Kick off a new obsession?

Usually, I stick with what I know, but being part of a book club often allows me to step out of my comfort zone. Last year, we picked Lolita. Actually, I can't remember if I had voted for it, but it was our selection, tough cookies.

I knew it was about a pedophile. I knew it was controversial. I knew it was a famous movie. That was about it. I was curious but I had some preconceived notions. I thought it would be sad, like most modern 'literature'. I thought it would be cliched.

What I read was so unexpected. The language was beautiful. It had funny moments. It was strange. It was disturbing. It was weird. But I loved it, which sounds creepy to say. Apparently, I'm not alone in my reluctance to love it, but the heart wants what it wants. I haven't read anything else from Nabokov since and I don't know if I want to. This was his masterpiece.

Another book I read with a group was The Eyre Affair. Now that was different. It was a book that made me say 'huh?' but once I got used to the weirdness, I really enjoyed it! It's a freaky little ride.

Oh and I just read Mrs Dalloway. Now that is waayyy different. I'll write more about that later.

September 23, 2008

Weekly Geeks #18: The Ketchup Post

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Dewey challenged the Weekly Geeks to post a catch up post of all the things we need to catch up on our blogs. I have a few things:

First, my apologies to Amy for not getting to this sooner. She was sweet enough to give me this "I Love Your Blog" award. Thank you Amy!

Since I have so many blogs I love, I'm going to pass this on to the T's in my Google Reader (I skipped the THE's):

Tripping Through Lucidity

Trish's Reading Nook
Things Mean a Lot
Tammy's Book Nook

I think this is a good way to do it. I always have a hard time picking blogs to give these awards to. I do love these blogs though, don't get me wrong! Enjoy!

Other things need doing:

*Finish Mrs Dalloway by the end of the week.
*Figure out a way to keep track of books I've been given that need reviews. I have deadlines on these ones. I really have to get organized here.
*Reply to comments (I've been slacking).
*Sign up for the Read-a-thon in October. Yay!
*Decide on a better way to do a Blogroll. It needs updating. Should I do Following? Or something else? What do you think?

Now that it's in print I have to do it, right? Check back and see.

September 20, 2008

Hooked On Murder: Review

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In Hooked on Murder by Betty Hechtman, Molly Pink stumbles upon (literally) the body of her neighbour Ellen Sheridan. When the police arrive and find Molly hovering over the deceased, things get complicated. Things get even more complicated when her past relationship with Ellen is revealed. Ellen was once the business partner of Molly's husband. When he died, Ellen pushed Molly out of the business. Although Molly has since gone on with her life, the police don't believe there are no hard feelings. Not to mention Detective Heather has it out for Molly.

Ellen was the leader of the crochet group that meets at the book store where Molly works. To clear her name Molly takes up the hobby and joins the group in an attempt to find the real killer and clear her own name.

I enjoyed this light mystery. It's not going to be the cure for senility, that's for sure, but it was entertaining. Molly is an engaging character, although her inability to grasp the simpliest stitches of crochet was baffling. The ladies of the crochet group were quite funny. I especially liked Adele. Her reaction to two ladies who dared to pull out knitting in a crochet group was priceless:

"We may be the new kids on the block, since crochet isn't nearly as old as knitting, but we will not be treated like the poor stepsister anymore." Adele raised her fist in a sign of crochet power, and you could practically hear some kind of anthem start in the background.

That rivalry is highlighted throughout the book.

Although there was quite a bit about this book that I liked, I had high hopes for Detective Heather and was disappointed. The author makes her a two dimensional character out to steal the protagonist's man and put her in jail. And unless she has a dog named Scooby-Doo, I don't know how she could have been in charge of a homocide and miss such huge clues. That's my biggest gripe with the book.

If you want a quick entertaining read, I recommend this book.

(Some crochet from my Etsy Shop.)

September 19, 2008

Appreciating Amy!

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This summer, after book blogging was patronized in the mainstream media, Amy from My Friend Amy made a suggestion that we celebrate book blogging. From that idea, Book Blogger Appreciation Week was born. Many of us have participated in interviews, contests, giveaways, and through awards; but, this would never have happened were it not for the dream, perseverance, planning, hard work and dedication of Amy. This has been a wonderful week and as members of the Book Blogging community, in one voice we want to thank Amy for all that she has done.


Amy, you are truly the Queen of Book Bloggers and we love you!



Yes, Amy I don't know how you did it. All the posts, the awards, the giveaways. I was exhausted just giving out the awards I did! I hope you've planned something nice for yourself this weekend.

Thanks for a great week!

September 18, 2008

Best Thriller/Mystery/Suspense Blog: WINNER

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Now we come to my last award to giveaway.

The following bloggers specialize in reviewing the books that keep us up at night. If they're anything like me, they stay up until the wee hours to find out 'who done it' or if the hero is going to get away.

Let's have one last look at the nominees!

Bookgasm

Edited by Rod Lott "Reading material to get excited about. That includes all kinds of genre fiction, from horror and sci-fi to mystery and suspense. It also includes graphic novels, trashy paperbacks, cheap magazines and other things that much of America pretends to be ashamed of, for no good reason.
At BOOKGASM, we celebrate these escapist efforts, through daily news, reviews, interviews and other things that don’t end in “-ews.” Think of it as a community; we encourage your posts via the comments section under each item."

Cheryl's Book Nook

"A place to learn about the latest and upcoming books, contests, author interviews, book reviews, and all around fun." Cheryl is married, has two dogs, a cat, and lots of fish. "Books are great friends to treasure."

Detectives Beyond Borders

A forum for international crime fiction. "I'm a copy editor in Philadelphia. When not reading crime fiction, I like to read history. When doing neither, I like to travel. When doing none of the above, I like listening to music or playing it, the latter rarely and badly." Peter Rozovsky is from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Jen's Book Thoughts

Jen is a programmer/analyst from Ohio. "I'm a reader who never tires of talking books, so please feel free to converse with me on this blog about any of the books I post...also feel free to make recommendations."

Musings of a Bookish Kitty

"At the age of five, Literary Feline was diagnosed as a fabulavore. Due to the low story content of movies and television, she has required a steady supply of books to provide her sustenance. She currently resides in California with her loving husband, two affectionate cats and a very enthusiastic dog. Literary Feline has broadened her nutritional sources by reviewing books for Front Street Reviews and Curled Up With a Good Book. Please note: Literary Feline is not a bibliovore. She's not eating the books for goodness' sake." Wendy is from California.

Okay, now the winner!

*****Drumroll Please*****






Once again, congrats to Bookgasm!

Martha on Blogging

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I just happened to catch The Martha Stewart Show yesterday. I was surprised to see that the topic of the show was blogging. Martha has her own blog where she discusses the topics on her show, behind the scenes, her dogs, etc. Still, I was surprised to see a whole show devoted to blogging!

Perez Hilton was one of her guests and I found his segment the most informative. He blogs 12 hours a day! That's way more than a full time job but he makes a living from it. I don't think I could do that. When I think of the time I spend blogging though, I really wish I was getting paid. LOL! Oh well, for now the books I get to read are enough.

Most of the guests were blog big-wigs like the founders of cuteoverload and A Year of Mornings who turned their blogs into calendars and books. I have to say, sometimes when I hear about these things I think, "Why didn't I think of that?" Who would have thought a blog of animal pictures and morning breakfasts would have been so successful?

Anyway, I've requested MS's Cooking School for review. I really hope I get it because if anyone needs help in the kitchen, it's me.

September 17, 2008

Most Extravagant Giveaways: WINNER

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The following nominees are known for their generosity. Often times, they offer up books that they've read and enjoyed as giveaways to their visitors. Considering what voracious readers they all are it's quite a number. They must spend a fortune in postage but what a great way to share the passion of reading!

Let's have a look at them all before I announce the winner:


Bookroom Reviews

"I don't like to talk about myself much but I love to brag on books! It all started with Library Thing this past May, I discovered you could get free ARC's and there is this super cool message board that showed me how. Then it was suddenly raining books at my house. My dream come true. I discovered a love of writing reviews, though I do dread them sometimes. But I am passionate about helping authors get their book noticed. I also love to give away books! It is my favorite thing to do on my blog. On a personal note I am a wife and mom of two boys. We live in Iowa and are Hawkeye addicts. I am a teacher at the college level and have worked in social work. When I am not compulsively reading blogs and steadily wading through my latest (hopefully) beautifully constructed ARC my life revolves around my family and friends and church. This community of book blogs is the most generous and lovely group of people and it has been a joy getting to know them."

Tracy celebrated her nomination with...what else...a giveaway!


In the Shadow of Mt. TBR

And it's a big Mountain! Alisha is also known as KoolAidMom. "I am a single mom of three beautiful daughters, ages 9, 14, and 15. I also have 3 cats. I’ve got a few other blogs, but I’ve started this one here specifically for reviewing the books I read. I have only been reading contemporary fiction since about January, so I also have a deep love of the classics."


J.Kaye Book Blog

"My name is J. Kaye Oldner. The "J" stands for Judith, but most of my friends call me "J. Kaye". I love reading, writing, and blogging. Something I started late in 2007 is reviewing books. J. Kaye’s Book Blog began as a way to keep a record of books I read, but it blossomed into so much more. People who comment on a regular basis make the blog something special. Each morning with my first cup of coffee in hand, I fire up the computer to read and respond back to the latest blog posts. It’s like sharing morning coffee with friends around the kitchen table, only we’re doing it online."

J. Kaye is also a homeschooling mother of three who has written 2 books. Where does she find the time?!

Maw Books Blog

Nastasha is the author of Maw's Books. She's a stay at home mom of two little boys in Utah. "To tell you a bit about myself, I love to read. I also have a weakness: I love to own great books. For some odd reason it gives me great satisfaction to see all the different titles bursting at the seams on the bookshelf. I immensely enjoy having a personal library and know that having books in my home will also encourage my children to read." What a great way to pass on a passion!

Tree Swing Reading

Tami is a mom to two little girls and is on the leadership for her church's library. "It is my mission with this blog to introduce others to Christian fiction and all the things that reading a story can teach us about faith, hope, peace, love, and our Lord."

Why Tree Swing Reading? "I named my blog Tree Swing Reading because my favorite place to read is under the tree in our yard in the yard swing." She is also the author of Crafty Girl and Creative Tree Designs. Another Busy Bee!

So who is the winner of the first ever BBAW Most Extravagant Giveaways?

******Drumroll Please!******






Congratulations Maw Books!!!

Most Concise Blog: WINNER

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So how is the BBAW Awards Show so far? Having fun?

I have the honour of presenting the award for Most Concise Blog. The following bloggers have the ability to say a lot with just a few words. They'll never be accused of being long winded. They're great when your looking for a review with "just the facts, ma'am" instead of just rambling on and on and on...you know, like I do! No one will be playing the music over these folks' acceptance speeches.

Before I get to the winner, let's have a look at all the nominees:

Bookgasm

Edited by Rod Lott "Reading material to get excited about. That includes all kinds of genre fiction, from horror and sci-fi to mystery and suspense. It also includes graphic novels, trashy paperbacks, cheap magazines and other things that much of America pretends to be ashamed of, for no good reason.

At BOOKGASM, we celebrate these escapist efforts, through daily news, reviews, interviews and other things that don’t end in “-ews.” Think of it as a community; we encourage your posts via the comments section under each item."

Calico Reaction

Shara Shansaucie is the author of this LiveJournal.

"Reading has, for the most part, always been a major part of my life. And I read so much that I’ve long passed the point where I can easily remember what I read and what I thought about it. So this journal, in part, is a way for me to keep track of what I’m reading, how much, when, and my reactions. It allows me to go back and remember what I thought of a particular writer’s work, or a particular book, and that sort of thing. Don’t blame me, but I’m a nerd for stats."

And the unusual name... "To anyone familiar with calico cats, you know that those beautiful little creatures can be sweet as honey one minute and mean as fire the next. They're temperamental little creatures, and you never know quite what to expect from them. This is a good thing to keep in mind when reading this journal."

Literary License

Gwen Dawson is from Houston, Texas. "Short, thoughtful reviews with real opinions, leaving you more time to read the books." Now that's concise!

OCD, vampires, and amusing rants, oh my!

"We're two amusing chicks with more books and opinions than we know what to do with. Love to read and discuss the things you read about? Drop in and join us! Comments, questions, and friendly debates are always more than welcome. We'll read pretty much anything that falls into genre fiction: fantasy, science fiction, romance, horror, and even the occasional mystery/thriller." This is a LiveJournal community hosted by Ocelott and Sarlias.

Thoughts of Joy

"Over 2 years ago I began my blog. I named it "Thoughts of Joy...", because I truly just wanted to keep a record of my thoughts on the books I read - nothing profound, nothing literary, just my thoughts. After meeting such fabulous book bloggers, discovering so many new books, and participating in numerous challenges, my reading has been at its best! My horizons have been broadened well beyond what I could have ever imagined and my enjoyment has blossomed due to the blogging community. It's so much fun to share a passion with others - it makes it all the sweeter."

She even has a bit of the poet in her. Here's a Haiku she gave me:

Books and blogging friends
Sharing the passion of words
Happiness abounds!

Although they are all winners in my book, there can only be one 'official' winner.

*****Drumroll please*****




Congrats to Bookgasm! Your the first ever winner of BBAW Most Concise Blogger Award!

BBAW Ceremonies

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So today's the big day! The votes have been cast. The winners have been chosen. All the nominees have all their big name designer gowns ready and waiting. As a presenter, I have to look good too. What am I wearing? This old thing!? Oh yes, just a little number from Givenchy. I really should give up smoking giant cigarettes though.

Be sure to visit Book-a-rama at 5 PM Pacific Time (that's 9 PM Atlantic Time) when I'll be presenting the Most Concise Blog and Most Extravagant Giveaways Awards.

Here's the schedule for all the awards:


Wednesday Morning

Age 30+: A Lifetime in Books
Best Meme/Carnival/Event
Best Commenter/Commentator

Booking Mama
Best Design
Best Book Club Blog

Wednesday Evening

Caribou's Mom
Most Humorous Blog

My Friend Amy
Best Publishing/Industry Blog

Stephanie's Confessions of a Book-a-holic
Best Name for a Blog
Best Challenge Host

Literate Housewife
Best Community Builder
Best Author Blog

APOOO Books
Best Book Published in 2008

Bookroom Reviews
Best Book Community Site
Most Chatty

Book-a-rama
Most Concise
Most Extravagant Giveaways

Thursday Morning

My Friend Amy
Best General Book Blog

Stephanie's Confessions of a Book-a-holic
Best Romance Blog
Best Kidlit Blog

Literate Housewife
Best Fantasy/Sci-fi/Horror/Spec-fic Blog
Best History/Historical Blog

APOOO Books
Best Literary Fiction Blog
Best Cookbook Blog

Bookroom Reviews
Best YA Lit Blog

Book-a-rama
Best Thrillers/Mystery/Suspense Blog

Caribou's Mom
Best Non-fiction Blog
Most Eclectic Taste

The Friendly Book Nook
Best Christian/Inspirational Blog

Thursday Evening

My Friend Amy
Most Altruistic Blog

Chill the champagne and pop the popcorn. Get ready to see who wins!

Blogging Advice

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Questions from Amy:

What is one thing you wish you knew about blogging when you started or what advice would you give a newbie blogger? When I started blogging I knew nothing, absolutely nothing, about blogging. I was learning on the fly. I'm more a hands on learner so most of the time I sort of just discovered things as I went along. I'm still learning. I'm not sure if it was available at the time but I would advise any new blogger to sign up for Google Reader or Bloglines and use it to keep track of the blogs you visit. Believe me, it will make your life easier. You want to visit other blogs regularly and it's easy to forget where you were 2 days ago.

What is your best blogging tip? Hmm... Write in your own style. Say what you would say in real life. Never try to be someone else or copy their style. That's typical Mom advice: Be Yourself!

September 16, 2008

The Gargoyle: Review

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Burned and deformed, the narrator of Andrew Davidson's The Gargoyle thoroughly plans an elaborate and definite suicide upon his release from the hospital. He was once a beautiful man with a successful career as a porngrapher. He knows he hasn't led a good life and without his looks, he's left alone and penniless. He has nothing left to live for...until a beautiful yet mentally ill woman, Marianne Engle, enters his room one day and tells him they were once lovers 700 years ago.

Of course, he doesn't believe her but her presence helps keep his mind off his pain and the horrible treatment he must go through. Marianne entertains him with the story of how they met when she was a scribe at a famous convent in Germany during the 14th century. However, as she tells him their story she also tells him tales of doomed lovers, tales of love and sacrifice. The narrator finds himself working harder to get well so he can hear the rest of the story.

Upon his release, he moves in with Marianne where he witnesses her frightening, frenzy as she sculpts gargoyles in her basement. She claims her 'three masters' demand that she give her 27 hearts to the monsters in the stone for God. She works to exhaustion and can't manage to take care of herself. Now this injured man must take care of this sick woman, while he battles demons of his own.

I can't say enough how much I loved this book. At the beginning, I was reeled in by the *narrator's story of how he ended up in the hospital. It was difficult to like such a nasty person other than to feel sympathy for his situation. As his psychiatrist tells him, he thinks he knows more than anybody else. It's an annoying trait but his natural curiosity opens the door for Marianne and a change within him begins.

I enjoyed how it was written with the jumps between the present and the past. However, I found myself skipping pages to see how the story Marianne told would turn out. Bad me! Needless to say, it was a page turner. The research for the novel was impressive. Not only the medieval research but also the burns and the treatment. (Just a heads up here....the description of his burns and the treatment he receives is pretty graphic.) I was struck by imagery throughout of snakes, gargoyles, Dante's Inferno. Davidson wove that theme of The Inferno through the novel. It has a deep meaning for many of the characters.

Despite seeming like a dark novel, it's actually a story about love and redemption. Although Marianne is the main focus of his new life, I enjoyed his friendships with Gregor, Nan, Sayuri and even Jack. There is so much hope in this book. I'm so glad this is a Canadian author because Canadian books have a reputation of being gloomy. In fact, I'm bumping a book out of the Canadian Books Challenge and putting this one in it's place. It will be hard to beat as my favorite of the year.

Highly recommended

*Usually a nameless narrator gets on my nerves but I didn't mind it here.

September 15, 2008

To All the Blogs I've Loved Before...

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As part of Book Bloggers Appreciation Week, Amy asked us to show some love to the blogs who weren't nominated but mean a lot to us anyway. I've been blogging for 2 years come January and from that time I've been a loyal reader of these blogs:

*Bookfoolery and Babble
*An Adventure in Reading
*The Book Mine Set

You guys are great! Your reviews are insightful. Your blogs are down to earth. You add a little extra with your photos or weekly reader participation posts. So although you might not have been nominated, you sure are appreciated.

September 13, 2008

The Pre-Awards Show: BBAW

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I feel like Joan Rivers...without the crazy plastic surgery. "Who are you wearing?"

Anyway...

Here is some pre-award information to pass onto you all. From Amy's blog:


If you follow along for the festivities of BBAW at My Friend Amy, you will find many chances to win LOTS of goodies! Like what? Well have a look below. All of these things will be given away between September 15-19. There will be a huge variety of ways to win them and giveaways will be announced constantly throughout the week. So be sure to check in often!


A HUGE thank you to Hachette Book Group, Penguin Group USA, Harlequin, The B&B Media Group, Shera of SNS Blog Design, WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, Catherine Delors, Pamela Binnings Ewen, Andromeda Romano-Lax, Ceceilia Dowdy, Sormag, Book Club Girl, Savvy Verse and Wit, Cafe of Dreams, Fashionista Piranha, and Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin'?.

Daily Raffles:
Monday--Books and Chocolate sponsored by My Friend Amy and Hey Lady! Whatcha' Readin?
Tuesday--Books and Going Green sponsored by My Friend Amy
Wednesday--Books and Coffee sponsored by My Friend Amy
Thursday--Books and Charity sponsored by My Friend Amy and Fashionista Piranha
Friday--Books and Movies sponsored by My Friend Amy

Win a Book Club Girl Hostess Survival Kit!
Do you find it's your turn to host book club and not only do you not know what to serve but you don't know what books to offer up for the next month's selection?! Let Book Club Girl come to your rescue with the Book Club Girl Hostess Survival Kit.

One lucky winner of the kit will receive:

* A basket of cheese, crackers, cookies and wine for up to 12 people
* 5 great book group books to vote on for your group's next pick. And Book Club Girl will then donate 12 copies whichever book is chosen for your entire group to read.
* 12 Book Club Girl mousepads to give out as party favors that night
* 12 Book Club Girl bookmarks to mark everyone's favorite passages
* 12 Book Club Girl coasters to protect your coffee table from all those wine glasses!

TWO SORMAG Goody Bags containing books and more!


A Special Pamper Me Basket from Cafe of Dreams!
From Avon Foot Works
~ Inflatable watermelon shaped foot tub
~ 3.4 FL oz Watermelon Cooling Foot Lotion
~ 3.4 FL oz Watermelon Exfoliating Foot Scrub
~ 12 count Watermelon Effervescent Foot Tablets
~ An ARC of So Long At The Fair by Christina Schwarz
~ A variety of Hot Chocolate and Tea mixes

A pre-made blog template from SNSDesign!

A Subscription to Poetry Magazine from Savvy Verse and Wit!

BOOKS
Mistress of the Revolution by Catherine Delors
The Moon in the Mango Tree by Pamela Binnings Ewen
The Spanish Bow by Andromeda Romano-Lax
John's Quest by Cecelia Dowdy
Confessions of a Contractor by Richard Murphy
Acedia & Me by Kathleen Norris
The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell
The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks
The Book of Lies by Brad Meltzer
Supreme Courtship by Christopher Buckley
A Tale Out of Luck by Willie Nelson with Mike Blakely
The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent
When Will There Be Good News by Kate Atkinson
An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination by Elizabeth McCracken
Exit Music by Ian Rankin
The Smart One and the Pretty One by Claire LaZebnik
Gunmetal Black by Daniel Serrano
Isolation by Travis Thrasher
The Miracle Girls by Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt
Every Freaking! Day With Rachell Ray by Elizabeth Hilts
Dewey by Vicki Myron
The Shiniest Jewel by Marian Henley
Keep the Faith by Faith Evans
The Book of Calamities by Peter Trachtenberg
A is for Atticus by Lorilee Craker
After the Fire by Robin Gaby Fisher
Mike's Election Guide by Michael Moore
War as They Knew It by Michael Rosenberg
Fixing Hell By Col. (ret.) Larry C. James
Wild Boy: My Life with Duran Duran by Andy Taylor
The Last Under-Cover: The True Story of an FBI Agent's Dangerous Dance with Evil By Bob Hamer
Border Lass by Amanda Scott
Insatiable Desire by Rita Heron
Hungry for More by Diana Holquist
Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee
Trespassers Will Be Baptized by Elizabeth Emerson Hancock
He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not by Trish Ryan
Never Surrender by General Jerry Boykin
Dream in Color by Congresswoman Linda Sánchez, Congresswoman Loretta Sánchez
Beyond Belief by Josh Hamilton
Cobain Unseen by Charles R. Cross
Doing Business in 21st Century India by Gunjan Bagla
Branding Only Works on Cattle by Jonathan Salem Baskin
Launching a Leadership Revolution by Chris Brady, Orrin Woodward
How to Hear from God by Joyce Meyer
Knowing Right from Wrong by Thomas D. Williams
Pope John Paul II: An Intimate Life by Caroline Pigozzi
Pure by Rebecca St. James
He Loves Me! by Wayne Jacobson
So You Don't Want to Go to Church Anymore by Wayne Jacobson and Dave Coleman
Move On, Move Up by Paula White
The Rosary by Gary Jansen
Shoot the Moon by Billie Letts
The Choice by Nicholas Sparks
Right Livelihoods by Rick Moody
by George by Wesley Stace
The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold
Trunk Music by Michael Connelly
Hollywood Crows by Joseph Wambaugh
Dead Boys by Richard Lange
The Gifted Gabaldon Sisters by Lorraine Lopez
Sisterchicks Go Brit! by Robin Jones Gunn
Beyond the Night by Marlo Schalesky
With Endless Sight by Allison Pittman
Harlequin Titles: To Be Announced

Many other blogs are giving away books and prizes for BBAW as well! You can see the links to all of these giveaways here.

Interested in gaining entries into the daily raffles? Post this complete list on your blog with links and you'll earn two extra entries!


The award ceremony info:

Wednesday Morning

Age 30+: A Lifetime in Books
Best Meme/Carnival/Event
Best Commenter/Commentator

Booking Mama
Best Design
Best Book Club Blog

Wednesday Evening

Caribou's Mom
Most Humorous Blog

My Friend Amy
Best Publishing/Industry Blog

Stephanie's Confessions of a Book-a-holic
Best Name for a Blog
Best Challenge Host

Literate Housewife
Best Community Builder
Best Author Blog

APOOO Books
Best Book Published in 2008

Bookroom Reviews
Best Book Community Site
Most Chatty

Book-a-rama
Most Concise
Most Extravagant Giveaways

Thursday Morning

My Friend Amy
Best General Book Blog

Stephanie's Confessions of a Book-a-holic
Best Romance Blog
Best Kidlit Blog

Literate Housewife
Best Fantasy/Sci-fi/Horror/Spec-fic Blog
Best History/Historical Blog

APOOO Books
Best Literary Fiction Blog
Best Cookbook Blog

Bookroom Reviews
Best YA Lit Blog

Book-a-rama
Best Thrillers/Mystery/Suspense Blog

Caribou's Mom
Best Non-fiction Blog
Most Eclectic Taste

The Friendly Book Nook
Best Christian/Inspirational Blog

Thursday Evening

My Friend Amy
Most Altruistic Blog

Yes, I'm presenting a couple of awards. I'm not sure what I'm going to do on here yet. I have to start working on that. Wish me luck! I hope I don't trip on my gown walking to the podium.

September 9, 2008

Weekly Geeks #16: Heart Shaped Box

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Dewey's Weekly Geeks this time around was a lot of fun.

This week’s theme is to pair up with another Weekly Geek and interview each other about a book.

I was paired with Eva from A Striped Armchair. I interviewed her about Pirates by Celia Rees. For her part she asked me some questions about Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill. Here's how it turned out.

Eva: What made you read Heart-Shaped Box? Was it for the R.I.P. challenge?

Yes, it was actually. Last year during the RIP II Challenge so many bloggers read it that I added it to my list of must reads. I've had it for a while on my shelf now, I bought it on sale, but was saving it for Carl's challenge.

Eva: How does this one compare to other ghost/horror books you've read?

This ghost story is updated since the main character, Jude, buys the ghost on the internet. After that I don't think there were many great surprises. One thing I found that was different is that we know the motives of the ghost. He comes out and tells us what he plans on doing. In most other ghost stories, the ghost and the haunting are usually a mystery and the characters have to figure it out. It also wasn't a very gory story, which is a good thing.

Eva: Did the book scare you at all?

Not really. I'm the type of person who shuts her eyes during a movie before the ghost jumps out of the closet. I'm not scared once the ghost is already there. I like the mystery. For me, it was more suspenseful than scary...will they make it? can anyone help them? That kind of thing.

Eva: Did you think Jude Coyne (the main character)'s evolution through the novel was realistic? In fact, in general did Joe Hill succeed in making him feel like a real person or was he more like a characteriture?

I think it was realistic. Jude grew up throughout the novel, which is odd since he's 54 years old. He career as a rock star made him very self-absorbed and childish. Then once the ghost appears, he has to start making decisions that not only affect him but the people around him.

Eva: Speaking of characters, it seems like Hill took a definite risk in that every character in the book has a lot of bad qualities. Do you think he succeeded in making the reader care about them anyway? Or were you secretly rooting for the ghost?

They weren't really awful people, just damaged. They all had a background that made them the way they were. The character I liked was Georgia, and if I could touch on your last question a little, I found she changed the most in the novel. At the beginning, I thought of her as a bimbo and figured she'd be the standard 'Girlfriend' of the horror genre. It turns out she becomes a strong female character. I was rooting for her the most!
Eva: What was your favourite scene/moment in the book? Or if not a favourite, maybe one that will stay with you?

When Jude sees the other ghost in Bammy's backyard. That was really heart breaking. I'm also mad at Joe Hill about the dogs- you know what I mean.

Eva: Was this a fast read for you, or did you have to plod through parts?

I found it was fast paced. I read it in about 2 days and was so engrossed I barely paid attention to anything else.

Eva: Without any spoilers, did you think the ending was satisfying? Was it what you were expecting?

Maybe he could have left out quite a few bits at the end. It was very Dickens, "Here's what happens to everyone" all tied up very nicely. I was still pretty pleased with it though.

Eva: Who would you recommend this book to?

Anyone with an interest in a thriller/ghost type read. I'd call it Stephen King lite. It's a great Halloween read, perfect for Carl's challenge.

Eva: Anything else you wanted to talk about that I missed?

I don't think so. I think you have it all covered. Thanks for participating with me!

Other Reviews:
Nymeth @ Things Mean a Lot
Kristina

September 8, 2008

Nice Day If You're a Frog

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Due to the weather yesterday, we had to spend the day indoors. That meant keeping busy. Luckily, I had bought a package of origami paper from the dollar store which included instructions for this cute frog. My girl even made him a lily pad.

A Family of Frogs


Next thing you know, we had a whole family in a 'pond'. If you'd like to make these yourself, here are some online instructions.

September 5, 2008

Farworld: Review (by a Bad Blogger)

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J Scott Savage sent his book Farworld to me quite a while ago. I started to read it and unfortunately got distracted. I didn't have the time to get really into it and was starting to feel like I had to 'hurry up and read this', which is bad, bad and not good for anyone. So I put it aside with the thought of coming back to it...but I didn't. Next thing I know this book is about to be released and I get a very thoughtful email from the author- thanking me. I think, "Epp! Bad Blogger! I have to write something about Farworld."

Farworld is about two special kids from two different worlds- literally. One has grown up an orphaned boy with a disablity here on Earth, the other is a girl without magic in a magical land: Farworld. Both are being pursued by some Very Bad People who want them dead. Marcus and Kyja join forces and together they must defeat the evil of the Dark Circle.

Farworld has two engaging and unlikely heroes: Marcus and Kyja. You can't help but love these two. The pace is very quick. The adventure starts right from the beginning. It's very intense but there are a couple of funny characters to lighten the mood. The writing is just right for the younger audience.

I read about half of this book, just to let you all know. I don't think it's the book for me but I think this is the perfect novel for lovers of YA and fantasy. I'll be saving this for my daughter when she's older.

Farworld has an awesome looking website (it takes a bit to load). Dude, it looks like a movie trailer.

Here are some much more thoughtful reviews and interviews:
Stuff As Dreams Are Made On
Devourer of Books
Trish's Reading Nook

September 4, 2008

The Far Pavilions: Review

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Whew! Finally made it all the way through The Far Pavilions by M.M. Kaye. It had it's ups and downs...

Ashton Pelham-Martyn grew up believing he was an Indian. After the death of his father from cholera, his ayah (nurse) attempts to reunite the 4 year old with his English family only to be caught up in a bloody revolt. To save the child's life she claims him as her own and hides him in a far corner of India. Ashton became Ashtok.

Fate brings him to the palace of a Maharajah to be the companion of a spoiled and frightened boy. As Ash grows up, palace intrigues put his life in danger once more and he must flee. When he leaves he makes a promise to Juli, the neglected daughter of a once favoured Queen, that he will come back someday.

All at once, Ash finds out who he really is, a wealthy English boy. His English family sweep him away from his beloved India. He struggles through school with only one goal in mind to get back to India. When he returns, it is with the army who put him in charge of the large wedding party of two Indian princesses. So who happens to be one of the princesses? Juli of course! You can see where this is going.

I loved the first part of this book. It's quite an adventure story and Ash is the ultimate hero: strong, principled and just a bit dangerous. I felt the conflict within Ash between his Indian and English self. He tries so hard to reconcile them both and never fits in anywhere. His idealism is the perfect foil to Juli's level headed practicality. And the romance! *drool* Ash and Juli are romance incarnate. They know their love is forbidden but they can't fight destiny. It's one of the best love stories I've ever read. But that is just one part of the story. The history of Indian, the lush descriptions of the mountains were beautifully written. The characters are larger than life: loving Sita, wise Koda Dad, loyal Zarin, bat-shit crazy Shu-Shu, and cheerful Wally are just a few.

The second half of the book, however, could have belonged in an entirely different novel. For most of it, Ash is just a character who comes in occasionally to say 'things are getting hairy.' It's about The Guides and the Second Afghan War; Ash and Juli were barely there. I did find parts of it interesting* but a lot of it read like a history of a terrible event. As a member of my book club put it, this book has an identity crisis. It can't decide what it is!

*I learned a lot about Afghanistan and as a person whose country is involved in the conflict there, I felt how important it was.

BTT: Peer Pressure

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Booking Through Thursday

I was looking through books yesterday at the shops and saw all the Twilight books, which I know basically nothing about. What I do know is that I’m beginning to feel like I’m the *only* person who knows nothing about them.

Despite being almost broke and trying to save money, I almost bought the expensive book (Australian book prices are often completely nutty) just because I felt the need to be ‘up’ on what everyone else was reading.

Have you ever felt pressured to read something because ‘everyone else’ was reading it? Have you ever given in and read the book(s) in question or do you resist? If you are a reviewer, etc, do you feel it’s your duty to keep up on current trends?



The poster of this question is not alone. I know very little about the Twilight series other than they are very popular and have a following of foam-at-the-mouth rabid fans. So many of my book friends have read and reviewed them. Now the movie trailer is everywhere. I do feel a bit of pressure to read them. Not from anyone else, mind you, but from myself. What am I missing here? Anything? Maybe if I was younger I might be more susceptible to it. I remember reading Austen for the first time because there was the whole Austen craze in the 1990s when I was a young'un. Remember Gwyneth as Emma? That was a great example of peer pressure though. I fell in love with Austen.

I have not read one single Harry Potter book. Not a one. Put down the torches please. Some how I've managed to not read the books that are almost as popular as the Bible. I'm just not that into teenaged wizards. I've seen the movies and I still don't feel compelled to read them. Maybe someday. And that's how I feel about the Twilight series. It's not really on my radar at the moment. Maybe someday.

That's not to say I don't sometimes fall for it. Since blogging I've read Gaiman and Colleen Gleason entirely because of other bloggers who've read them. I'd never heard of either before. I'm not disappointed that I did either. I've had a good time reading their books. I also had no idea what a Poppet was before blogging either. Now I have two.

I guess marketing is hit or miss with me. Maybe it's the huge hype that turns me off.

September 3, 2008

Weekly Geeks 15: What Is It?

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This week's Weekly Geek theme is What Is It? I've taken close up shots of covers of books I've read and mentioned on my blog. The theme I've chosen for my covers is women. Not only to the covers contain women but the books have either women as the protagonist or the book revolves around a woman. They are powerful, manipulative, confused, victimized, pioneering or famous.

What do you think they are? Please leave a comment.

September 2, 2008

Wordless: Black-Eyed Suzies

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September 1, 2008

Yellowknife: A Review

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Last Canadian Book Challenge Steve Zipp sent me a copy of his book Yellowknife. I never did get around to reading it then but made sure I would for the second Canadian Book Challenge. I'm glad I did.

Yellowknife follows the lives of a collection of quirky characters who find themselves in Yellowknife, NWT at the end of the last century. There are drifters, scientists, politicians, con men, natives, and a bunch of others. There is no central character but all of their stories become entangled throughout the novel. Yellowknife itself is a character, always dangling a golden carrot just out of all their reaches.

I just loved this book. The writing was more than I expected. Smooth and lyrical with great humour. The characters were well developed. I got attached to them as soon as they arrived on the page. In fact, I wondered what happens to each of them after the book ends. Ever read a book like that?

I've never been to the North. It really does seem like a mysterious place to me. Zipp painted a picture of a place of gritty industrialism and endless wilderness. I felt like I was there. So many bizarre incidents happen in the novel. (My favorites were the snowmobile stealing dog and the hockey rink in Russia). But they all fit in well and keep a nice pace. I also enjoyed the sprinkling of magical realism. There is a fine line between myth and reality in Yellowknife.

I highly recommend Yellowknife, whether you're Canadian or not.

nrelate