Saturday, October 31, 2009

Book Giveaways in Blogworld (10-31-09 edition)

    NOTE: Sorry folks. I've just been tooooo busy this week to even follow any blogs. I'll get back to it when things settle down...

    Here is a list of some giveaways going on in Blogworld*. Please note that new giveaways that were added this week are indented in Blockquotes:

    Bookin' with Bingo is giving away 5 copies of Girl on Top. Deadline is November 2.

    Libby's Library News is giving away 5 copies of Connected. Deadline is November 2.

    Jo-Jo Loves to Read is celebrating her one-year blogging anniversary by generously offering one winner their choice between three gently read books! Deadline is November 6.

    My Own Little Corner of the World is giving away 5 copies of The Heretic's Daughter. Deadline is November 7.

    One Person's Journey Through a World of Books is giving away 5 copies of The Heretic's Daughter. Deadline is November 11.

    The Book Vixen is giving away a copy of Catching Fire. Deadline is November 13.

    Jeanne's Ramblings is giving away 5 copies of The Heretic's Daughter. Deadline is November 15.

    Alaine- Queen of Happy Endings is giving away a copy of Captive of Sin. There is no deadline. She will end the contest when she reaches a certain number of entries, but isn't announcing when that is!

    *Courtesy Note: Please keep in mind the many, many hours of work that goes into me compiling this list each week. Please be courteous and thoughtful, and do not steal my text. Either recreate your own list, or link to this list and direct your readers here for giveaway information. Thank you so much for your consideration!

Post Title

Book Giveaways in Blogworld (10-31-09 edition)


Post URL

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Teaser Tuesday (10/27/09 edition)

    Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! 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!
    Today's Teaser:

    Death is not a lover.
    Oh yes he is.
    Please don't do this.
    I'm sorry.
    I can't do it alone.
    Then don't. I can help you...

    -- The Road by Cormac McCarthy, pg. 57

Post Title

Teaser Tuesday (10/27/09 edition)


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Monday, October 26, 2009

REVIEW: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

    Synopsis

    In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before-and survival.


    About the Author

    Since 1991, Suzanne Collins has been busy writing for children’s television. She has worked on the staffs of several Nickelodeon shows, including the Emmy-nominated hit Clarissa Explains it All and The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo. For preschool viewers, she penned multiple stories for the Emmy-nominated Little Bear and Oswald. She also co-wrote the critically acclaimed Rankin/​Bass Christmas special, Santa, Baby! Most recently she was the Head Writer for Scholastic Entertainment’s Clifford’s Puppy Days.

    While working on a Kids WB show called Generation O! she met children’s author James Proimos, who talked her into giving children’s books a try.

    Thinking one day about Alice in Wonderland, she was struck by how pastoral the setting must seem to kids who, like her own, lived in urban surroundings. In New York City, you’re much more likely to fall down a manhole than a rabbit hole and, if you do, you’re not going to find a tea party. What you might find...? Well, that’s the story of Gregor the Overlander, the first book in her five-part fantasy/​war series, The Underland Chronicles.

    At present, Suzanne is hard at work on the third book in her sci-fi series, The Hunger Games.

    She currently lives in Connecticut with her family and a pair of feral kittens they adopted from their backyard.


    My Thoughts

    Katniss is just trying to do the right thing. She's ethical and hard-working, and just trying to take care of her family. She was the "adult" of the house after her father died and her mother "checked out" of life for awhile. Then comes the day of the Reaping, when the Capitol draws the names of one boy and one girl to represent each district in The Hunger Games.

    Katniss has become a second mother to her little sister Prim. There's such a protective tenderness that exists between them. There's a charming moment in the book when the family is getting ready for the Reaping and Katniss says of her little sister "I notice her blouse has pulled out of her skirt in the back again and force myself to stay calm. 'Tuck your tail in, little duck,' I say, smoothing the blouse back in place." (p. 16) I just really found that touching.

    I'm afraid to say too much, as I don't want to throw out any spoilers for the handful of people who, like me, haven't yet read this book. But I really enjoyed this story. I read half of it during the read-a-thon, and finished up with the rest the following day (which is unheard of for me. I'm a slow reader and usually take 1-2 weeks per book.) The book is exciting, with more than a few "on the edge of your seat" moments. There is tension, despair, hope. There are funny moments in Katniss' thinking, such as when she thinks "I can't help feeling a little grateful since the last thing I want to do is strip down Haymitch, wash the vomit out of his chest hair, and tuck him into bed." (p. 48) The chest hair comment got me!

    Now I can't wait to read the sequel Catching Fire! I highly recommend this book for a fun and exciting story with emotional intrigue, and mild enough for teens, but edgy enough for adults. Read it now!



    My Rating: 9 out of 10

Post Title

REVIEW: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins


Post URL

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

GIVEAWAY: Daniel X or The Juror audiobooks

    Synopsis

    All's quiet in the small town of Holliswood, the television sets a-glow in every home. But not all is as perfect as it seems.

    A terrifying outlaw has just arrived in town, with the goal of throwing it into chaos—and filming the pandemonium for the fellas back home.

    Only one person can stop him and his thugs from destroying the city and everyone living there. Daniel X assembles an all-star team of his own creation, but not even he could imagine the enormity of this made-for-TV-villain's powers.


    See my review of Daniel X here.

    Synopsis

    Annie Laird is Juror 224. A sculptor with a career going nowhere. A single mother struggling to raise a son. A good citizen who has been summoned to what looks like a routine tour of civic duty. But the trial she is called to serve on is no ordinary trial. It is a mob trial, whose outcome has been meticulously orchestrated by a man of insidious power and deadly precision. A man who lives by the teachings of Lao Tsu ... whose magnetism is irresistible ... whose mind is as brilliant as it is twisted. He is known to some as the Teacher, and he's set his sights on Annie Laird. Pulled into the most chilling depths of the criminal underworld, Annie will be seduced by double-edged promises, stalked by the specter of terror, then, finally, driven to a shocking decision by the most basic motivation a woman can know. Graced with a rarely equaled mastery of style, peopled with a remarkable gallery of characters, and featuring one of the most compelling criminal minds in contemporary fiction, George Dawes Green's The Juror is a tour de force of crime and obsession, evil and innocence - a story that taps into fears so primal they linger long after the last page has been read.

    See my review for The Juror here.

    GIVEAWAY: Win your choice of the Daniel X: Watch the Skies or The Juror (abridged) audiobooks

    Rules (you knew there had to be some):
    • You must be 18 years or older
    • Open to US and Canada residents only
    • To enter, just comment below. Be sure to leave your email address in your comment, or have it visible in your profile.
    • For extra entries, follow my blog and/or blog about this contest. One extra entry for each. Sidebars are okay.
    • Leave a separate comment for each entry.
    • That's a total of 3 possible entries!
    • Those who don't follow the rules risk being disqualified.

    Deadline is November 8, 2009

    Good Luck! Ready, Set, Go!

Post Title

GIVEAWAY: Daniel X or The Juror audiobooks


Post URL

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Read-a-Thon Fall 2009: Final Update

    Title of book(s) read since last update:The Hunger Games and The Postmistress, but neither has been completed.
    Number of books read since started: Reading the two above, and completed The Heretic Queen. So 3 have been read, but not completed.
    Pages read since last update: 160
    Running total of pages read since started: 254
    Amount of time spent reading since last update:5 hours and 29 mins
    Running total of time spent reading since started:(keep track of this one to be eligible for a prize!) 7 hours and 45 mins
    Mini-challenges completed:I don't know. Maybe 6 or 8?
    Prizes won:0
    Junk fuel ingested:Sour cream and onion chips and coke, half a root beer, various candies, Garlic Chicken pizza, apple crisp with a scoop of ice cream. Ugh. No wonder I feel terrible!

    As usual, I am amazed at how little I really read. 8 hours of reading in 24 hours? Not even 300 pages read? What's up with that? Next Read-a-Thon, maybe I should concentrate on quality rather than quantity-- really read, but don't push to try to stay awake all night to do it. The more tired I get, the slower that I read and the more I have to go back and re-read things to try to comprehend what I'm reading.

    Still I enjoyed it, and I am really enjoying The Hunger Games. I hope everyone else enjoyed their time. See you again next time!

Post Title

Read-a-Thon Fall 2009: Final Update


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Read-a-Thon Fall 2009: Hour 24 Meme

    Well, we're in the final stretch, and this meme will be one of the last things I do before heading to bed.

    1. Which hour was most daunting for you? Probably around hour 19. It was around 1-2 AM that it really hit me like a Mack truck.
    2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? Hunger Games is a good one.
    3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Nope. You guys did great!
    4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? Good challenges, good prizes, great cheerleaders-- it's all good!
    5. How many books did you read? Aw, I'm always a loser at this. I completed one that was almost finished when I started, and got halfway through another, and gained a little leeway in a third that I've been reading for a couple of weeks.
    6. What were the names of the books you read? I finished The Heretic Queen, got halfway through Hunger Games, and read a couple of chapters in The Postmistress.
    7. Which book did you enjoy most? I'm loving Hunger Games!
    8. Which did you enjoy least? Uh, I've liked all three.
    9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? Nope. I can't think of how they can improve.
    10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? I'll be reading again.

    *sigh* So tired. That bed is calling my name. I'm going to get back to reading, and finish out this final hour.

Post Title

Read-a-Thon Fall 2009: Hour 24 Meme


Post URL

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Read-a-Thon Fall 2009: Hour 21 Challenge

    It's 4:30 AM, and this is what I see as I look out from my recliner...



    TRAITORS!!!


Post Title

Read-a-Thon Fall 2009: Hour 21 Challenge


Post URL

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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Read-a-Thon Fall 2009: Hour 15 Challenge

    We've been asked to share a memory of Dewey, who started the Read-a-Thon. Unfortunately I never had the opportunity to get to know Dewey, as I just got into blogging this year, but I did have the pleasure of joining in the last Read-a-Thon, which I understand was the first without Dewey. She seems to have been something of a pioneer in the book-blogging world, and we all get to benefit from her efforts and love of books.

    So here's to Dewey! Thank you, Dewey, for fueling the book blog world and starting something so profound that people want to carry on your efforts even after you are gone.

Post Title

Read-a-Thon Fall 2009: Hour 15 Challenge


Post URL

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Read-a-Thon Fall 2009: Hour 14 Update

    Well I've changed into my comfy PJs and moved to the recliner in the living room now. Simon is resting on the back of the chair, and the cat brush is waiting on chair arm for the inevitable visit from Fancy or Shotsie.

    The book pile, drinks and netbook sit to my side.











    A trash bag hangs within easy reach, along with bags of my fuel: candy and potato chips.










    And Nermal still sits at the ready, to assist in any way I may need.










    And I have a Garlic Chicken Pizza fresh out of the oven just waiting for me.










    Life is good!

Post Title

Read-a-Thon Fall 2009: Hour 14 Update


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Read-a-Thon Fall 2009: Hour 13 Halfway Update

    Okay. Halfway there. Here is my halfway update meme:

    1. What are you reading right now? I just read a chapter in The Postmistress, and now will be switching back over to The Hunger Games.

    2. How many books have you read so far? I finished reading The Heretic Queen, which I started and had almost completed before the thon began.

    3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? I've been looking forward to The Hunger Games for months, so I look forward to continuing with it in the second half.

    4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day? Nope. Just made some trips to the store today for supplies of junk food. Otherwise it's all about me! (No kids or hubby to worry about, and the cats are perfectly happy with me reading.)

    5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? I constantly interrupt myself. I don't know how to deal with me!

    6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? That I still spend so much time blogging, even though I'm making a concerted effort this time to cut down on the challenges!

    7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Not yet. Everything is running fine.

    8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year? I have no idea. Stock up on supplies the day before for one. Have everything setup and ready to go.

    9. Are you getting tired yet? I'm okay right now. I did take a nap this afternoon.

    10. Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is working well for you that others may not have discovered? Nope. Most of the others seem to be doing so much better than me at committing to reading.


    So that's where we are at the halfway mark. Now it's time to heat up the oven and toss in a California Pizza Kitchen frozen Garlic Chicken pizza. Have fun everyone!

Post Title

Read-a-Thon Fall 2009: Hour 13 Halfway Update


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Read-a-Thon Fall 2009: Hour 11 Update

    Well, I'm still not doing as well as I hoped. I am just terrible at staying focused. The older I get, the harder it is to do.

    Title of book(s) read since last update:I'm working on The Hunger Games, but haven't completed anything since the last update.
    Number of books read since started:1 completed, currently reading The Hunger Games
    Pages read since last update:51
    Running total of pages read since started:94
    Amount of time spent reading since last update:55 mins
    Running total of time spent reading since started:(keep track of this one to be eligible for a prize!) 2 hr and 16 mins
    Mini-challenges completed:Probably 3 or 4
    Prizes won:0
    Junk fuel ingested:Sour cream and onion chips and coke. Heading to the store now to stock up on candy.

    So, as usual, I'm not doing that well and may or may not reach my goals. But the good news is that I finished reading The Heretic Queen, which was a great book, and am now reading The Hunger Games and really enjoying it. And that is the point, right?

Post Title

Read-a-Thon Fall 2009: Hour 11 Update


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Read-a-Thon Fall 2009: Hour 7 Update

    So here I am at hour 7, and I'm taking a few minutes to eat and post an update on my progress.

    Title of book(s) read since last update:The Heretic Queen
    Number of books read since started:1 completed, currently reading The Hunger Games
    Pages read since last update:43
    Running total of pages read since started:43
    Amount of time spent reading since last update:1 hr and 21 mins
    Running total of time spent reading since started:(keep track of this one to be eligible for a prize!) 1 hr and 21 mins
    Mini-challenges completed:uhhhh...3, I think?
    Prizes won:0
    Junk fuel ingested:Sour cream and onion chips and coke

    So I'm still spending way too much time blogging. Now that I've started reading The Hunger Games, I hope to spend more time reading and less blogging. See ya!

Post Title

Read-a-Thon Fall 2009: Hour 7 Update


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Read-a-Thon Fall 2009: Hour 4 Challenge

    Bart's Bookshelf is hosting a challenge. Get 3-4 books off your shelf, and form a sentence from their titles. Post a pic.

    How'd I do?

Post Title

Read-a-Thon Fall 2009: Hour 4 Challenge


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REVIEW: The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran

    Synopsis

    In ancient Egypt, a forgotten princess must overcome her family’s past and remake history. The winds of change are blowing through Thebes. A devastating palace fire has killed the Eighteenth Dynasty’s royal family–with the exception of Nefertari, the niece of the reviled former queen, Nefertiti. The girl’s deceased family has been branded as heretical, and no one in Egypt will speak their names. Nefertari is pushed aside, an unimportant princess left to run wild in the palace. But this changes when she is taken under the wing of the Pharaoh’s aunt, then brought to the Temple of Hathor, where she is educated in a manner befitting a future queen. Soon Nefertari catches the eye of the Crown Prince, and despite her family’s history, they fall in love and wish to marry. Yet all of Egypt opposes this union between the rising star of a new dynasty and the fading star of an old, heretical one. While political adversity sets the country on edge, Nefertari becomes the wife of Ramesses the Great. Destined to be the most powerful Pharaoh in Egypt, he is also the man who must confront the most famous exodus in history.

    About the Author

    From her own blog:

    Michelle Moran was born in the San Fernando Valley, CA. She took an interest in writing from an early age, purchasing Writer's Market and submitting her stories and novellas to publishers from the time she was twelve. When she was accepted into Pomona College she took as many classes as possible in British Literature, particularly Milton, Chaucer, and the Bard. Not surprisingly, she majored in English while she was there. Following a summer in Israel where she worked as a volunteer archaeologist, she earned an MA from the Claremont Graduate University.

    Michelle has traveled around the world, from Zimbabwe to India, and her experiences at archaeological sites were what inspired her to write historical fiction. In 2006, Michelle was married at the Chateau d'Esclimont in France, a 16th century location which spoke to both her and her husband's love of history. Every year, both Michelle and her husband embark on an historically-themed trip for two to three months. In 2008, they retraced the journey of Homer's Odysseus, and most recently they followed the path of the American Revolution from Boston to France to Virginia.

    A public high school teacher for six years, Michelle Moran is currently a full-time writer living in California with her husband. She is the author of Nefertiti, The Heretic Queen, and Cleopatra's Daughter. Her fourth novel, Madame Tussaud, will debut in March 2011.


    My Thoughts

    I loved this book from the start. The writing style is right up my alley, appropriately descriptive without being excessive, with lots of dialogue. This was my first novel from the Egyptian culture and the days of the great rulers. I wondered what I would think of such a storyline. I found I loved it!

    This is the story of Princess Nefertari, most of the storyline taking place before she became queen. The author took a lot of liberties with the storyline, since there are so many gaps in Egyptian history. In this story, Nefertari is the niece of the deceased Queen Nefertiti, who was viewed, along with her husband, the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten, as a heretic for turning against the Egyptian gods and worshiping only the sun god Aten.

    So when Princess Nefertari becomes the wife of Pharaoh Ramesses II, the people and court are not happy with a relative of Nefertiti on the throne, as Nefertari is cursed to carry her family's reputation as a "heretic". However with the support of Ramesses' aunt Woserit, a high priestess, and driven by a fiery and determined nature that takes her into battle with her husband, Nefertari goes on to become the queen of Egypt, and known by the people as the Warrior Queen instead of the Heretic Queen.

    This was a very enjoyable read, full of adventure and excitement and intrigue. I would highly recommend it, and now I'm really looking forward to the opportunity to read Cleopatra's Daughter! Thanks so much to Michelle Moran for offering me this book for review.

    Product Details
    • Pub. Date: September 2009
    • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
    • Format: Paperback, 416pp
    • ISBN-13: 9780307381767


    My Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Post Title

REVIEW: The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran


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Read-a-Thon Fall 2009: Hour 2 Mini-Challenge

    OK. I still haven't started reading! I'm stuck in the same blogging loop I got stuck in last read-a-thon! I can't stop!

    Now I have assisted in getting the Read-a-Thon listed as a trend on Twitter.

    OK! So NOW I'm going to go feed the cats, and then try to finish The Heretic Queen. Only about 50 pages left to go! Enjoy everyone!

Post Title

Read-a-Thon Fall 2009: Hour 2 Mini-Challenge


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Book Giveaways in Blogworld (10-24-09 edition)

    Here is a list of some giveaways going on in Blogworld*. Please note that new giveaways that were added this week are indented in Blockquotes:

    Chick with Books is giving away 2 copies of Breaking the Bank. Deadline is October 24.

    Readaholic is giving away 5 copies of Life After Genius. Deadline is October 24.

    Readaholic is giving away The Heretic's Daughter! Deadline is October 24.

    Drey's Library is giving away a bookmark and paperweight. Deadline is October 25.

    Recipe Lion is giving away a copy of the book Unforgettable Desserts. Deadline is October 25.

    Luxury Reading is giving away The Sound of Sleigh Bells. Deadline is October 26.


    A Sea of Books
    is giving away 2 copies of Traveling with Pomegranates. Deadline is October 26.

    So Many Precious Books, So Little Time is giving away a copy of The Queen's Mistake. Deadline is October 26.

    Libby's Library News is giving away 5 copies of Run for Your Life. Deadline is October 26.

    Bookin' with Bingo is giving away 3 copies of Death Message. Deadline is October 26.

    Bookin' with Bingo is giving away 3 copies of the audiobook Alibi. Deadline is October 27.

    He Followed Me Home is giving away 5 copies of Run for Your Life. Tell 'em nfmgirl sent you! Deadline is October 27.

    The Tome Traveler is giving away 5 copies of Life After Genius. Deadline is October 28.

    At Home with Books is cleaning off the shelves, and offering up Her Fearful Symmetry, The White Queen, Julie & Julia and Alex & Me. Deadline is October 29.

    Froggarittaville is giving away 5 copies of Lovely Bones. Deadline is October 30.

    Book Blab is giving away Hugh and Bess. Deadline is October 30.

    Bookin' with Bingo is giving away 5 copies of The Heretic's Daughter. Deadline is October 30.

    Libby's Library News is giving away 2 copies of Day by Day Armageddon. Deadline is October 31.

    Bookin' with Bingo is giving away 5 copies of Girl on Top. Deadline is November 2.

    Libby's Library News is giving away 5 copies of Connected. Deadline is November 2.

    Jo-Jo Loves to Read is celebrating her one-year blogging anniversary by generously offering one winner their choice between three gently read books! Deadline is November 6.

    My Own Little Corner of the World is giving away 5 copies of The Heretic's Daughter. Deadline is November 7.

    One Person's Journey Through a World of Books is giving away 5 copies of The Heretic's Daughter. Deadline is November 11.
    The Book Vixen is giving away a copy of Catching Fire. Deadline is November 13.
    Jeanne's Ramblings is giving away 5 copies of The Heretic's Daughter. Deadline is November 15.
    Alaine- Queen of Happy Endings is giving away a copy of Captive of Sin. There is no deadline. She will end the contest when she reaches a certain number of entries, but isn't announcing when that is!
    *Courtesy Note: Please keep in mind the many, many hours of work that goes into me compiling this list each week. Please be courteous and thoughtful, and do not steal my text. Either recreate your own list, or link to this list and direct your readers here for giveaway information. Thank you so much for your consideration!

Post Title

Book Giveaways in Blogworld (10-24-09 edition)


Post URL

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Read-a-Thon Fall 2009: Hour 1 Meme

    Welcome to the Read-a-thon everyone! How many of you out there are like me, and you just don't have anyone who "gets" this whole Read-a-Thon-thing? My Mom doesn't get how I can spend the day reading when there are floors to mop and yard work to be done!

    Okay. Here's the first mini-challenge:

    Where are you reading from today? I am starting out in bed, and will move later to the recliner in the living room.

    3 facts about me …(1) I'm a slow reader (2) I'm easily distracted (3) I have 8 animals (5 cats, 1 lovebird and 2 turtles) that are doing everything they can to keep me from reading today! Well, okay, the turtles aren't doing much to distract me. They just want food and sun, and are very quiet about the whole thing!

    How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours? I have 7 books in my pile, but I only expect to read 2-3 of them.

    Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)?My goals are: (1) Finish The Heretic Queen and The Postmistress and at least begin Hunger Games or City of the Dead. (2) Read at least 12-15 hours and 600 pages

    If you’re a veteran read-a-thoner, Any advice for people doing this for the first time?Just enjoy yourself! Try not to get too distracted by the computer and blogging, but that is tough to do. If you get tired, take a little nap. The whole point is to have fun!

    So have fund everyone!

Post Title

Read-a-Thon Fall 2009: Hour 1 Meme


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Read-a-Thon Fall 2009: Ready, Set, Go

    It's time! The Read-a-Thon has begun, and I'm off! To the left is my official pool of books. I hope to get through one or two of them. (I am not a fast reader.) Additionally I have about 50 pages left to read in The Heretic Queen.

    I'll probably have to run out sometime today to get food or go to the grocery store. I didn't get stocked up on goodies beforehand. Otherwise I will try to stay committed to reading.

    Oh, and that is my mascot Nermal pictured above. He assisted me in the last Read-a-Thon. I figured he should help out this time, too.

    Have fun everyone!

Post Title

Read-a-Thon Fall 2009: Ready, Set, Go


Post URL

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Friday, October 23, 2009

24-Hour Read-a-Thon

    I just wanted to mention that I am indeed joining in on the 24-Hour Read-a-Thon this weekend. I did my first read-a-thon in the Spring. I spent way too much time blogging and doing challenges last time, so I wound up only spending about 6-8 hours reading, even though I was up for about 20-22 hours.

    So this year I hope to read at least 12-15 hours. I don't know what I'll be reading, but I have a pool of books to choose from. I am almost done with The Heretic Queen, and have a couple hundred pages left in The Postmistress. So I'm sure I'll be reading them, but here is my book pool to choose from, depending on my mood:
    • The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran
    • The Postmistress by Sarah Blake
    • City of the Dead by Brian Keene
    • Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
    • The Road by Cormac McCarthy
    • Confessions of an Ivy League Pornographer by Sam Benjamin
    • Darkest Evening of the Year by Dean Koontz
    So bring on the fun!

Post Title

24-Hour Read-a-Thon


Post URL

http://ohjustinbiebier.blogspot.com/2009/10/24-hour-read-thon.html


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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Introducing...The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

    An introduction through the first chapter:

    The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

    There were years after it happened, after I'd returned from the town and come back here to the busy blank of the city, when some comment would be tossed off about the Second World War and how it had gone-- some idiotic remark about clarity and purpose-- and I'd resist the urge to stub out my cigarette and bring the dinner party to a satisfying halt. But these days so many wars are being carried on in full view of all of us, and there is so much talk of pattern and intent (as if a war can be conducted like music), well, last night I couldn't help myself.

Post Title

Introducing...The Postmistress by Sarah Blake


Post URL

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Teaser Tuesday (10-20-09 edition)

    Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! 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!
    Today's Teaser:

    "Stop them!" Ramesses shouted angrily. His guards formed a tighter circle around us, but the people's chanting was quickly building to a feverish pitch. Even children, who didn't know what they were shouting, squinted into my face and yelled, "Another Heretic Queen!"

    -- The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran, page 156

Post Title

Teaser Tuesday (10-20-09 edition)


Post URL

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Monday, October 19, 2009

WINNERS: Testimony and Mrs. Meyer's Clean Home

    We have our winners of the Testimony/Mrs. Meyer's giveaway:

    The winner of Testimony by Anita Shreve is...

    #25 Amy






    The winner of Mrs. Meyer's Clean Home is...

    #7 edmontonjb





    Congratulations to you both! I will be emailing you about the win, but you are welcome to email me your mailing address if I don't get to you first: nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

    Thanks to all who entered! I have a contest going now for Mother of the Believers, but it is for my used copy-- not a new copy. Just wanted to clear that up, because I realized that I posted the giveaway this morning and forgot to mention that.

    Thanks everyone!

Post Title

WINNERS: Testimony and Mrs. Meyer's Clean Home


Post URL

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GIVEAWAY: Mother of the Believers by Kamran Pasha

    Synopsis
    Deep in the heart of seventh-century Arabia, a new prophet named Muhammad has arisen. As his message of enlightenment sweeps through Arabia and unifies the warring tribes, his young wife Aisha recounts Muhammad's astonishing transformation from prophet to warrior to statesman. But just after the moment of her husband's greatest triumph -- the conquest of the holy city of Mecca -- Muhammad falls ill and dies in Aisha's arms. A young widow, Aisha finds herself at the center of the new Muslim empire and becomes by turns a teacher, political leader, and warrior.


    GIVEAWAY: Win Mother of the Believers by Kamran Pasha. See my review here.

    ALERT!! I forgot to mention that this is for my "used" book. It is pretty gently read, but there is light wear and perhaps a curl on a corner or something.

    Rules (you knew there had to be some):
    • You must be 18 years or older
    • Open to US and Canada residents only
    • To enter, just comment below. Be sure to leave your email address in your comment, or have it visible in your profile.
    • For extra entries, follow my blog and/or blog about this contest. One extra entry for each. Sidebars are okay.
    • Leave a separate comment for each entry.
    • That's a total of 3 possible entries!
    • Those who don't follow the rules risk being disqualified.

    Deadline is November 1, 2009.

    Good Luck! Ready, Set, Go!

Post Title

GIVEAWAY: Mother of the Believers by Kamran Pasha


Post URL

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Mailbox Monday (10-19-09 edition)



    Mailbox Monday is brought to us by The Printed Page. In my mailbox last week I got:

    America Libre from Raul Ramos y
    Sanchez

    Won from All About {n}

    How will today's immigration crisis shape our nation? This provocative novel set in the second decade of the 21st century poses a chillingly credible nightmare vision . . . a Hispanic liberation movement seeking to redraw the borders of the United States.

    After years of anti-immigrant backlash, anger seethes in the nation's teeming barrios. The crowded streets bristle with restless youth idled by a deep recession. When undercover detectives in San Antonio accidentally kill a young Latina bystander during a botched drug bust, riots erupt across the Southwest. As the inner-city violence escalates, Anglo vigilantes strike back with barrio shooting rampages. Exploiting the turmoil, a congressional demagogue succeeds in passing legislation that transforms the nation's Hispanic enclaves into walled-off Quarantine Zones. Amid the chaos in his L.A. barrio, Manolo Suarez is out of work and struggling to support his growing family. Under the spell of a beautiful Latina radical, the former U.S. Army Ranger eventually finds himself questioning his loyalty to his wife-and his country.

    Fast-paced and action-packed, America Libre is a wake-up call to the dangers of extremism - on both sides of this explosive issue.


    Bo's Cafe by John Lynch
    Won from The Review Broads

    High-powered executive Steven Kerner is living the dream in southern California. But when his bottled pain ignites in anger one night, his wife kicks him out. Then an eccentric mystery man named Andy Monroe befriends Steven and begins unravelling his tightly wound world. Andy leads Steven through a series of frustrating and revealing encounters to repair his life through genuine friendship and the grace and love of a God who has been waiting for him to accept it. A story to challenge and encourage, BO'S CAFE is a model for all who struggle with unresolved problems and a performance-based life. Those who desire a fuller, more authentic way of living will find this journey of healing a restorative exploration of God's unbridled grace.

Post Title

Mailbox Monday (10-19-09 edition)


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Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Profound Thank You

    Looky, looky what came in the mail for me!

    According to the accompanying card, that is a coin from 2nd to 4th century AD! This was a wonderful gift from author Michelle Moran for hosting a giveaway for her books The Heretic Queen and Cleopatra's Daughter, and I couldn't be happier or more surprised to receive it.
    The 2nd to 4th centuries. 100-400 AD. The early days of Christianity. The days of Pliny the Younger and Ptolemy. Jonah is swallowed by the whale in this era. The days and decline of the Roman Empire. This coin is over 1500 years old! Can you wrap your mind around that?

    I love "old things". So you can imagine how excited I am to have a coin from the early days of the first millennium. A coin that just missed sharing the earth with Christ by a mere few hundred years. A coin that could have sat in the hand of Ptolemy, or shared the sea with Jonah. Maybe it was lost at sea after being newly minted, and was never touched by anyone but the minters and the salvagers. But can you wrap your mind around the antiquity of this tiny little coin? It baffles the mind!

    Michelle Moran-- thank you, thank you, thank you! I got such a kick out of receiving this coin in the mail. Learn more about Michelle's books here!

    On a sidenote: I am reading Michelle's book The Heretic Queen right now, and I promise you that I have been in no way influenced by the coin when I say that I am loving the book! I love the ease of her descriptive writing style, which paints pictures in my mind of the scenes being played out. The coin just helps pull me even closer into the time period in which the story is staged.

    Thanks so much, Michelle!

Post Title

A Profound Thank You


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Poetry Sunday (10-18-09 edition)

    Love's Philosophy
    by Percy Bysshe Shelley


    The fountains mingle with the river,
    And the rivers with the ocean;
    The winds of heaven mix forever,
    With a sweet emotion;
    Nothing in the world is single;
    All things by a law divine
    In one another's being mingle:--
    Why not I with thine?

    See! the mountains kiss high heaven,
    And the waves clasp one another;
    No sister flower would be forgiven
    If it disdained its brother;
    And the sunlight clasps the earth,
    And the moonbeams kiss the sea:--
    What are all these kissings worth,
    If thou kiss not me?

Post Title

Poetry Sunday (10-18-09 edition)


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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Book Giveaways in Blogworld (10-17-09 edition)

    Here is a list of some giveaways going on in Blogworld*. Please note that new giveaways that were added this week are indented in Blockquotes:

    Chick with Books is giving away 3 copies of Beat the Reaper. Deadline is October 17.

    The Lateiner Gange Book Review Spot is giving away your choice of an ARC or a hard copy of Catching Fire. Deadline is October 17.

    Readaholic is giving away 5 copies of The Bible Salesman. Deadline is October 17.

    A Sea of Books is giving away 5 copies of Lovely Bones. Deadline is October 17.

    Bookfoolery and Babble is giving away 5 copies of The Bible Salesman. Deadline is October 18.

    Passages to the Past is giving away 5 copies of The Tudor Rose. Deadline is October 19.

    Crazy for Books is giving away 2 copies of Breaking the Bank. (I can't link directly to the giveaway, as it misdirects to Amazon on her site.) Deadline is October 19.

    Outnumbered 3 to 1 is giving away 3 copies of 9 Dragons. Deadline is October 20.

    Luxury Reading is giving away 5 copies of Run for Your Life. Deadline is October 20.

    Tutu's 2 Cents is giving away 5 copies of Lovely Bones. Deadline is October 20.

    Tutu's 2 Cents is also giving away 5 copies of The Bible Salesman. Deadline is October 20.

    Book Giveaways is giving away a Downlite Reading Wedge Pillow. Deadline is October 20.

    Bookshelf Monstrosity is giving away Pope Joan. Deadline is October 20.

    A Circle of Books is giving away 5 copies of The Heretic's Daughter. Deadline is October 20.

    At Home with Books is giving away 2 copies of The Queen's Mistake. Deadline is October 21.

    The Review Broads is giving away 5 copies of Eating Animals. Deadline is October 22.

    Passages to the Past is giving away 2 copies of The Queen's Mistake. Deadline is October 23.

    Books and Needlepoint is giving away 5 copies of The Bible Salesman. Deadline is October 23.

    The Book Resort is giving away The Lost Symbol. Deadline is October 23.

    Libby's Library News is giving away 5 copies of A Highlander's Temptation. Deadline is October 23.

    All About {n} is giving away 5 copies of The Heretic's Daughter. Deadline is October 23.

    Chick with Books is giving away 2 copies of Breaking the Bank. Deadline is October 24.

    Readaholic is giving away 5 copies of Life After Genius. Deadline is October 24.

    Readaholic is giving away The Heretic's Daughter! Deadline is October 24.

    Drey's Library is giving away a bookmark and paperweight. Deadline is October 25.

    Recipe Lion is giving away a copy of the book Unforgettable Desserts. Deadline is October 25.

    Luxury Reading is giving away The Sound of Sleigh Bells. Deadline is October 26.

    A Sea of Books
    is giving away 2 copies of Traveling with Pomegranates. Deadline is October 26.

    So Many Precious Books, So Little Time is giving away a copy of The Queen's Mistake. Deadline is October 26.
    Libby's Library News is giving away 5 copies of Run for Your Life. Deadline is October 26.

    Bookin' with Bingo is giving away 3 copies of Death Message. Deadline is October 26.

    Bookin' with Bingo is giving away 3 copies of the audiobook Alibi. Deadline is October 27.

    He Followed Me Home is giving away 5 copies of Run for Your Life. Tell 'em nfmgirl sent you! Deadline is October 27.

    The Tome Traveler is giving away 5 copies of Life After Genius. Deadline is October 28.
    At Home with Books is cleaning off the shelves, and offering up Her Fearful Symmetry, The White Queen, Julie & Julia and Alex & Me. Deadline is October 29.

    Froggarittaville is giving away 5 copies of Lovely Bones. Deadline is October 30.

    Book Blab is giving away Hugh and Bess. Deadline is October 30.

    Bookin' with Bingo is giving away 5 copies of The Heretic's Daughter. Deadline is October 30.

    Libby's Library News is giving away 2 copies of Day by Day Armageddon. Deadline is October 31.

    Bookin' with Bingo is giving away 5 copies of Girl on Top. Deadline is November 2.

    Libby's Library News is giving away 5 copies of Connected. Deadline is November 2.

    Jo-Jo Loves to Read is celebrating her one-year blogging anniversary by generously offering one winner their choice between three gently read books! Deadline is November 6.

    My Own Little Corner of the World is giving away 5 copies of The Heretic's Daughter. Deadline is November 7.

    One Person's Journey Through a World of Books is giving away 5 copies of The Heretic's Daughter. Deadline is November 11.

    Jeanne's Ramblings is giving away 5 copies of The Heretic's Daughter. Deadline is November 15.

    *Courtesy Note: Please keep in mind the many, many hours of work that goes into me compiling this list each week. Please be courteous and thoughtful, and do not steal my text. Either recreate your own list, or link to this list and direct your readers here for giveaway information. Thank you so much for your consideration!

Post Title

Book Giveaways in Blogworld (10-17-09 edition)


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WINNER: Cemetery Dance audiobook

    I know, I know. I'm late to my own ball. Sorry about that! I've been working long hours at work this week, and haven't had much time for blogging. But we finally have our winner of the Cemetery Dance audiobook! And the winner is...

    Libby of Nea's Nuttiness and Libby's Library News! Yeah, Libby!

    Congratulations, and I'll get this out to you next week. Thanks to everyone who entered to win. There is still another giveaway going on for your choice of Testimony or Mrs. Meyer's Clean Home. Plus I expect to have another giveaway posted tomorrow.

    Don't forget the 24-hour Read-a-thon next weekend! I've been looking forward to this since I joined in on the spring read-a-thon earlier this year. Who doesn't love an excuse to just lay around and read instead of cleaning the house or yardwork?!

Post Title

WINNER: Cemetery Dance audiobook


Post URL

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Teaser Tuesday (10-13-09 edition)

    Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! 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!
    Today's Teaser:

    The men around her were tense and quiet. She flicked on her flashlight and glanced down at her watch, noting the time and the sound of waiting all around her. Men breathing, a couple of coughs. A quiet with eyes and ears. An animal quiet.

    --
    The Postmistress by Sarah Blake, page 37

Post Title

Teaser Tuesday (10-13-09 edition)


Post URL

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

REVIEW: The Juror audiobook by George Dawes Green

    The Juror by George Dawes Green

    Annie Laird is Juror 224. A sculptor with a career going nowhere. A single mother struggling to raise a son. A good citizen who has been summoned to what looks like a routine tour of civic duty. But the trial she is called to serve on is no ordinary trial. It is a mob trial, whose outcome has been meticulously orchestrated by a man of insidious power and deadly precision. A man who lives by the teachings of Lao Tsu ... whose magnetism is irresistible ... whose mind is as brilliant as it is twisted. He is known to some as the Teacher, and he's set his sights on Annie Laird. Pulled into the most chilling depths of the criminal underworld, Annie will be seduced by double-edged promises, stalked by the specter of terror, then, finally, driven to a shocking decision by the most basic motivation a woman can know. Graced with a rarely equaled mastery of style, peopled with a remarkable gallery of characters, and featuring one of the most compelling criminal minds in contemporary fiction, George Dawes Green's The Juror is a tour de force of crime and obsession, evil and innocence - a story that taps into fears so primal they linger long after the last page has been read.

    My Thoughts

    This audiobook was abridged, and a very quick listen. Only three disks long, I got through it in two workdays. I thought that Lolita Davidovich and John Heard both did great jobs at narrating, and it was nice for a change having a woman to narrate a woman and a man to narrate a man.

    Nice, quick story.

    My Rating: 7.5 out of 10 (maybe it would be higher if it weren't abridged and had a little more to it)
    Nice, quick story.

Post Title

REVIEW: The Juror audiobook by George Dawes Green


Post URL

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Poetry Sunday (10-11-09 edition)

    Love Me Little, Love Me Long
    Author Anonymous
    Originally Printed in 1569


    Love me little, love me long!
    Is the burden of my song:
    Love that is too hot and strong
    Burneth soon to waste.
    Still I would not have thee cold,--
    Not too backward, nor too bold,
    Love that lasteth till 't is old
    Fadeth not in haste.
    Love me little, love me long!
    Is the burden of my song.

    If thou lovest me too much,
    'T will not prove as true a touch;
    Love me little more than such,--
    For I fear the end.
    I'm with little well content,
    And a little from thee sent
    Is enough, with true intent
    To be steadfast, friend.

    Say thou lovest me, while thou live
    I to thee my love will give,
    Never dreaming to deceive
    While that life endures;
    Nay, and after death, in sooth,
    I to thee will keep my truth,
    As now when in my May of youth:
    This my love assures.

    Constant love is moderate ever,
    And it will through life persevere;
    Give me that with true endeavor,--
    I will it restore.
    A suit of endurance let it be,
    For all weathers,--that for me,--
    For the land or for the sea:
    Lasting evermore.

    Winter's cold or summer's heat,
    Autumn's tempests on it beat;
    It can never know defeat,
    Never can rebel:
    Such the love that I would gain,
    Such the love, I tell thee plain,
    Thou must give, or woo in vain:
    So to thee-- farewell!

Post Title

Poetry Sunday (10-11-09 edition)


Post URL

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Book Giveaways in Blogworld (10-10-09 edition)

    Here is a list of some giveaways going on in Blogworld*. Please note that new giveaways that were added this week are indented in Blockquotes:
    Jeanne's Ramblings is giving away 5 copies of Beat the Reaper. Deadline is October 10.

    Radiant Light is giving away 5 copies of The Bible Salesman. Deadline is October 10.

    Radiant Light is giving away 5 copies of Beat the Reaper. Deadline is October 10.
    Books and Needlepoint is giving away 5 copies of Beat the Reaper. Tell 'em nfmgirl sent you! Deadline is October 11.

    Drey's Library is giving away 5 copies of Evenings at the Argentine Club. Deadline is October 12.
    Sumanam is giving away 5 copies of Lovely Bones. Deadline is October 12.

    Lori's Reading Corner is giving away Dying Scream. Deadline is October 12.
    Simply Stacie is giving away a copy of Circle of Souls. Deadline is October 15.
    My Own Little Corner of the World is giving away 5 copies of Beat the Reaper. Deadline is October 15.

    Cheli's Shelves is giving away The Recipe Club: A Tale of Food and Friendship. Deadline is October 15.
    Mom Saves Money is giving away 5 copies of Six Pixels of Separation. Deadline is October 16.

    Jo-Jo Loves to Read is giving away Lovely Bones. Deadline is October 16.
    Chick with Books is giving away 3 copies of Beat the Reaper. Deadline is October 17.

    The Lateiner Gange Book Review Spot is giving away your choice of an ARC or a hard copy of Catching Fire. Deadline is October 17.
    Readaholic is giving away 5 copies of The Bible Salesman. Deadline is October 17.

    A Sea of Books is giving away 5 copies of Lovely Bones. Deadline is October 17.

    Bookfoolery and Babble is giving away 5 copies of The Bible Salesman. Deadline is October 18.
    Passages to the Past is giving away 5 copies of The Tudor Rose. Deadline is October 19.

    Crazy for Books is giving away 2 copies of Breaking the Bank. (I can't link directly to the giveaway, as it misdirects to Amazon on her site.) Deadline is October 19.

    Outnumbered 3 to 1 is giving away 3 copies of 9 Dragons. Deadline is October 20.
    Luxury Reading is giving away 5 copies of Run for Your Life. Deadline is October 20.
    Tutu's 2 Cents is giving away 5 copies of Lovely Bones. Deadline is October 20.

    Tutu's 2 Cents is also giving away 5 copies of The Bible Salesman. Deadline is October 20.

    At Home with Books is giving away 2 copies of The Queen's Mistake. Deadline is October 21.
    The Book Resort is giving away The Lost Symbol. Deadline is October 23.

    Libby's Library News is giving away 5 copies of A Highlander's Temptation. Deadline is October 23.
    All About {n} is giving away 5 copies of The Heretic's Daughter. Deadline is October 23.

    Chick with Books is giving away 2 copies of Breaking the Bank. Deadline is October 24.

    Libby's Library News is giving away 5 copies of Run for Your Life. Deadline is October 26.

    Bookin' with Bingo is giving away 3 copies of Death Message. Deadline is October 26.

    Bookin' with Bingo is giving away 3 copies of the audiobook Alibi. Deadline is October 27.
    At Home with Books is cleaning off the shelves, and offering up Her Fearful Symmetry, The White Queen, Julie & Julia and Alex & Me. Deadline is October 29.
    Froggarittaville is giving away 5 copies of Lovely Bones. Deadline is October 30.

    Bookin' with Bingo is giving away 5 copies of Girl on Top. Deadline is November 2.

    Libby's Library News is giving away 5 copies of Connected. Deadline is November 2.

    Jeanne's Ramblings is giving away 5 copieso f The Heretic's Daughter. Deadline is November 15.

    *Courtesy Note: Please keep in mind the many, many hours of work that goes into me compiling this list each week. Please be courteous and thoughtful, and do not steal my text. Either recreate your own list, or link to this list and direct your readers here for giveaway information. Thank you so much for your consideration!

Post Title

Book Giveaways in Blogworld (10-10-09 edition)


Post URL

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Friday, October 9, 2009

RANT

    There was a Day by Day Armageddon blog tour, and I didn't know about it?! AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! Grrrr....

Post Title

RANT


Post URL

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REVIEW: Mother of the Believers: A Novel of the Birth of Islam by Kamran Pasha

    Synopsis

    Deep in the heart of seventh-century Arabia, a new prophet named Muhammad has arisen. As his message of enlightenment sweeps through Arabia and unifies the warring tribes, his young wife Aisha recounts Muhammad's astonishing transformation from prophet to warrior to statesman. But just after the moment of her husband's greatest triumph -- the conquest of the holy city of Mecca -- Muhammad falls ill and dies in Aisha's arms. A young widow, Aisha finds herself at the center of the new Muslim empire and becomes by turns a teacher, political leader, and warrior.

    Written in beautiful prose and meticulously researched, Mother of the Believer is the story of an extraordinary woman who was destined to help usher Islam into the world.


    My Thoughts

    I should have delved into this book sooner, as it is quite well-written and full of adventure and conflict, but I was intimidated by the size of the book and feared it may be too "heavy" for a summer read. My fears turned out to be groundless.

    However let me preface this "review" of my thoughts by stating that there were times when I had personal religious "issues" with this book, but had to tell myself to put all of that aside and simply read this as just a good story. So that's what I tried to do.

    The story is told by the central character Aisha, who is known as the "Mother of the Believers", as she was the wife of the prophet Muhammad, the founder of the Muslim religion.

    Aisha is an intelligent and strong-willed young child when we are introduced to her. Her father is one of the first followers of Muhammad, The Messenger of God who brought the Muslim religion to the world. The Messenger has a vision that reveals to him that Aisha is to be his wife. By their cultural "rules", Aisha cannot be married to him until she begins her cycles, which is at the tender age of nine.

    When I read of young Aisha being married off at the age of nine to The Messenger (who I think was around 51 years of age), I began to suspect that the author of this book was a man (as I had not looked up info on the author yet at that point). All it took was reading of Aisha's wedding night, as the 9-year-old remembers:
    I let myself go and fell into his embrace, losing myself in the wondrous sensuality of his body pressed against mine.

    There was no fear. There was no pain.

    There was only light.
    Sorry. Surely only a man could dream up that a little 9-year-old girl could desire sex with a man-- that she would want it, enjoy it, and that there would be no pain. I'm sure that this was probably done to drive home the mystical connection that is believed to have existed between Aisha and Muhammad, but it just rubbed me the wrong way.

    The story goes on to follow the early years of the Muslim religion-- the battles that occurred, both on the field and in the private lives of The Messenger and his family and followers.

    Moments of this book were very difficult to read. There were moments of incredible brutality, and most disturbing is knowing that this is not fantastical brutality, but that these are the types of things that do commonly occur in some other countries, especially areas like Saudi Arabia and Iran.

    Aisha's character is strong, courageous and full of life. As just a child, her older half-sister Asma chose the new religion over her own mother.

    Aisha and Asma's father, Abu Bakr, is one of the first followers of Islam. He is an honorable man and a loving father who expects a lot of his children.

    One issue with the book (which probably really can't be helped, as I think that it is simply being authentic) is trying to keep people straight. Within just a few paragraphs, I had to deal with Abu Sufyan, Abu Talib, Abu Jahl and Abu Bakr. I sometimes had to read it over a few times in order to sort how who was doing what. Throughout the story, I eventually gave up understanding who people were. They could speak of Zubayr as if I should know who he was, but he was blurred together in my mind amidst the other 30 or so prime characters in the story. Some of this may be my own fault, as I took so long to read this story. I would put it down and come back and read 10 pages, and put it down. It wasn't until the final 200 pages that I really committed to sticking with this book and reading it through. So many characters in this book to keep track of!

    The Messenger, Muhammad, is a strange mixture. Generally just and peaceable, he can exhibit great cruelty and heartlessness in the name of God.

    I know that I prefaced this by saying that I tried to put my own religious views aside and view this simply as a good story. However I have to say that the things that I couldn't get past were the contradictions. You have men professing their faith in God, and using violence and murder to push their agenda. Not simply in defense of themselves, but in offense to gain ground with their religion and to garner more power. This bothered me.

    I don't know how much of this story is based on fact and actual truth of who Muhammad was, but I have to take definite issue with a "man of God" issuing people's hands cut off for thievery and declaring war on Jews because they retaliated when one of his followers killed a Jew for a mere "prank". Definitely not the acts of a man of God.

    You also had men "preaching" piousness, and at the same time taking young girls as slaves and raping them as war trophies, and keeping mistresses and such. None of this did much in gaining my sympathy. I always viewed the Muslim religion as a peaceful and pacifist and most assuredly pious religion (excluding the extremists who use terror for their own benefit), but this book has actually changed that. Now I'm not sure how I feel about it or what the true nature of the Muslim religion is. However, when it all boils down, it comes to this very basic fact: We're all human. And the author Kamran Pasha does a good job at portraying these characters as very human, just as flawed and vulnerable as the rest of us. Even The Messenger was really just a man.

    The book also tells a story of what inspired the "law" that required women to be sheltered behind a veil-- one dealing with a wife of the Messenger of God flirting mercilessly with other men after she allows her jealousies get the best of her. There is a passage that says:
    From now on, my life was to become a prison, even when I was not confined to the tiny apartment whose mud walls seemed to be closing in on me. For whenever I ventured out into the sun, my face would be hidden away behind a veil. The bars of my jail would follow me everywhere and were unbreakable, forged from a tiny strip of cotton that was stronger than the mightiest Byzantine steel.
    This passage really drove it all home to me-- what it's like to be a woman of this culture. Previously when I saw the elaborate hijab that women are required to wear in many middle eastern areas, I would mainly think of the physical discomfort of doing so: the weight of it, the heat in a stifling climate, the claustrophobia of having cloth sitting on my face all of the time, etc. I don't think that I fully appreciated the psychological/emotional discomfort. How stifling, to never be able to walk down a street and feel the sun on my face. To always feel the weight of the fabric would feel like a straight-jacket to me. It would be psychologically crippling for me. I just don't know how the women do it.

    All in all, this was a good book. It was very well-written-- I can't fault the author in that. Most of my issues with the book are personal religious issues or moral issues. The book itself is well thought out and put together, with an exciting storyline that just keeps going and going. Very nice!

    My thanks to A Bookish Mom for passing this book onto me for review when she found some parts of it too much to stomach to continue on with it.


    About the Author

    Kamran Pasha is a writer and producer for NBC's highly anticipated new television series Kings, which is a modern day retelling of the Biblical tale of King David. Previously he served as a writer on NBC's remake of Bionic Woman, and on Showtime Network's Golden Globe nominated series Sleeper Cell, about a Muslim FBI agent who infiltrates a terrorist group.

    Kamran will soon be a published novelist as well. He has secured a two-book deal with Simon & Schuster's Atria Books to publish Mother of the Believers, an historical fiction tale showing the rise of Islam from the eyes of Prophet Muhammad's teenage wife Aisha, and Shadow of the Swords, a love story set amidst the Crusades.

    And Kamran has also made strides in the video game world. He recently wrote Blood on the Sand for Vivendi Universal, the sequel to hip-hop mogul 50 Cent's bestselling game Bulletproof.

    An expert on the Middle East, Kamran is one of the few successful Muslim screenwriters in Hollywood. In 2003, he set up his first feature script at Warner Brothers, an historical epic on the love story behind the building of the Taj Mahal. He is currently writing an epic film entitled The Voyage Of Ibn Battuta, which follows the adventures of a famous Arab traveler who journeyed to China in the 14th century. This feature is being financed by the Moroccan government and produced by French production company Forecast Pictures.

    Kamran holds a JD from Cornell Law School, an MBA from Dartmouth and an MFA from UCLA Film School. He spent three years as a journalist in New York City, writing for media companies such as Knight-Ridder. During his time as a reporter, Kamran interviewed prominent international figures such as Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori, and Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

    Learn more about the author and this book on his website.

    UPDATE 11/19/09: Please go here to read the author's response to my review.

    Product Details
    • Pub. Date: April 2009
    • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
    • Format: Paperback, 560pp
    • ISBN-13: 9781416579915
    • ISBN: 1416579915
    My Rating: 8 out of 10

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REVIEW: Mother of the Believers: A Novel of the Birth of Islam by Kamran Pasha


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http://ohjustinbiebier.blogspot.com/2009/10/review-mother-of-believers-novel-of.html


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