Wednesday, September 29, 2010

CHALLENGE: Fall Into Reading 2010


    I guess I'm a little late jumping (or "falling") into this reading challenge, which means I won't be eligible for the prizes being awarded at the end of the challenge. However I need a little focus for my reading, so I am joining in anyway. This is one of my favorite challenges after all!

    This challenge runs from September 22 through December 20, 2010. There are no rules regarding how many books you have to read, or any such thing. It's simply a time to enjoy some reading!

    So here is my list of books. I don't really expect to get through all of these books (I've said before what a slow reader I am), but it will help me to stay focused on what I need to read the remainder of this year. The dates in parentheses are the dates by which I want to review the books:
    1. Queen's Pawn by Christy English, 400 pages (October 15, 2010)
    2. Falling Home by Karen White, 352 pages  (November 15, 2010)
    3. Vixen by Jillian Larkin, 421 pages (November 30, 2010) 
    4. Purgatory Inn by Ernesto Jose Herrera, 196 pages (December 31, 2010) 
    5. California Roll by John Vorhaus, 264 pages (December 31, 2010)
    6. Darling Jim by Christian Moerk, 320 pages  (December 31, 2010)
    7. The Maze Runner by James Dashner, 416 pages 
    8. Under the Dome by Stephen King, 1088 pages  
    9. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater, 400 pages 
    10. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, 390 pages
    11. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, 464 pages
    Sign up over at Callapidder Days, and get going today! It's too late to qualify for the prizes, but it's a fun challenge anyway!

Post Title

CHALLENGE: Fall Into Reading 2010


Post URL

http://ohjustinbiebier.blogspot.com/2010/09/challenge-fall-into-reading-2010.html


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Guest Blog Post by Reviewer Sarah Johnson

    Sarah Johnson of Historical Novels Review will be stopping over by literary publicist Stephanie Barko's blog on Monday, October 4 to do a guest blog post addressing how she selects titles for review. Stephanie says, "The post will be especially useful for writers who are trying to figure out what it takes to get reviewed and for historical fiction writers and readers."

    Sarah will be inviting visitors to comment on what they look for in historical fiction, and a winning commenter will be randomly selected from those who respond to her question by midnight PDT, and will win a signed copy of John Pipkin's award-winning historical Woodsburner (Random House).

    Set against the backdrop of a devastating forest fire that Henry David Thoreau accidentally set in 1844, John Pipkin's novel brilliantly illuminates the mind of the young philosopher at a formative moment in his life and in the life of the young nation.

    The Thoreau of Woodsburner is a lost soul, resigned to a career designing pencils for his father's factory while dreaming of better things. On the day of the fire, his path crosses those of three very different people, each of whom also harbors a secret dream. Oddmund Hus, a shy Norwegian farmhand, pines for the wife of his brutal employer. Eliot Calvert, a prosperous bookseller, is also a hilariously inept aspiring playwright. Caleb Dowdy preaches fire and brimstone to his followers through an opium haze. Each of their lives, like Thoreau's, will be changed forever by the fire.

     I think I need to add that book to my Wish List! I hope to see you over at Stephanie's place on Monday!



Post Title

Guest Blog Post by Reviewer Sarah Johnson


Post URL

http://ohjustinbiebier.blogspot.com/2010/09/guest-blog-post-by-reviewer-sarah.html


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What's Releasing (09-29-10 edition)

Post Title

What's Releasing (09-29-10 edition)


Post URL

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Monday, September 27, 2010

REVIEW: The Wake of Forgiveness by Bruce Machart


    Synopsis

    On a moonless Texas night in 1895, an ambitious young landowner suffers the loss of “the only woman he’s ever been fond of” when his wife dies during childbirth with the couple’s fourth boy, Karel. From an early age Karel proves so talented on horseback that his father enlists him to ride in acreage-staked horseraces against his neighbors. But Karel is forever haunted by thoughts of the mother he never knew, by the bloodshot blame in his father’s eyes, and permanently marked by the yoke he and his brothers are forced to wear to plow the family fields. Confident only in the saddle, Karel is certain that the horse “wants the whip the same way he wants his pop’s strap . . . the closest he ever gets to his father’s touch.” In the winter of 1910, Karel rides in the ultimate high-stakes race against a powerful Spanish patriarch and his alluring daughters. Hanging in the balance are his father’s fortune, his brother’s futures, and his own fate. Fourteen years later, with the stake of the race still driven hard between him and his brothers, Karel is finally forced to dress the wounds of his past and to salvage the tattered fabric of his family.

    Reminiscent of Kent Haruf’s portrayals of hope amidst human heartbreak and Cormac McCarthy’s finely hewn evocations of the American Southwest, Bruce Machart’s striking debut is as well wrought as it is riveting. It compels us to consider the inescapable connections between sons and their mothers, between landscape and family, and between remembrance and redemption.


    About the Author

    BRUCE MACHART's fiction has appeared in Zoetrope: All-Story, Glimmer Train, Story, One-Story, and elsewhere, and has been anthologized in Best Stories of the American West. A graduate of the MFA program at Ohio State University, he currently lives and teaches in Houston.


    My Thoughts

    Hmmmm. I'm not even sure how I would summarize this story. So let's keep it brief:

    Karel was raised by a hard man. Having lost his mother at birth, his life has been spent side-by-side with his older brothers, all of them carrying the yoke of their father (quite literally). As an adult, he is estranged from his brothers and free of his father, and riding on the "wake of forgiveness".

    Karel's father Vaclav is hard and cruel, and yet I can't help but feel a certain sympathy for him. The softness of his wife was torn from him. At that moment, his soul was bared and exposed, and quickly scabbed over to become scarred and hard. Part of me feels for him, but his cruelty is hard to comprehend. Someone in our discussion reminded me of a passage from the book:
    The townsfolk would assume, from this day forward, that Klara's death had turned a gentle man bitter and hard, but the truth, Vaclav knew, was that her absence only rendered him, again, the man he'd been before he'd met her, one only her proximity had ever softened.
    So really Vaclav was a hard man to begin with, and only the softness of his wife made him gentle. Once she was gone, he returned to the man he'd once been.
    The older boys had also admired their father-- his stubbornness and sharp tongue, the way he refused to beckon the help of other men-- and so had Karel, and it was this admiration that he couldn’t cotton to, the reverence for a man you surely hated, the hard plaque of respect that all the bad blood couldn’t scour from your heart. This, too, he and his brothers had shared, and the bile of a common indigestion that rose from the two brands of unsuited feelings had been easier to swallow when there were others around who were burning inside with the same struggle to choke it down.” (page 198)
    But amidst all of this hardness, there are moments of softness and gooey goodness.
    “I’ve seen them, Karel,” she says, and his name on her lips sets loose something warm and liquid beneath his skin, a rush of comfort that seeps into him and swirls around his bones. (p. 130)
    Probably my favorite passage comes when his wife Sophie (sweet Sophie) addresses Karel's infidelity after the birth of their son...
    Sophie worked a finger into the corner of the baby’s mouth to unlatch him, and then she turned him to the other breast, his tiny arms thrown up as if he’d found himself unmoored and falling from the night’s only comfort when she did. “What I want, Karel, is for you to think about him if you have to.”
    “I have been,” Karel said, “I am.”
    “That’s not what I’m saying. What I mean is, I want you to try thinking about him when thinking about me isn’t enough.” (page 299)
    So what did I really "think" about this book? Well, it was tough for me at times. That isn't to say that it is a bad story, or that it was bad writing. Quite the contrary, I think that the writing was quite good. It simply wasn't "my type" of writing style. It didn't "flow" for me.  Just look at that quote that I posted above:
    The townsfolk would assume, from this day forward, that Klara's death had turned a gentle man bitter and hard, but the truth, Vaclav knew, was that her absence only rendered him, again, the man he'd been before he'd met her, one only her proximity had ever softened.
     Do you see all of the commas in that thing? That's one sentence! And the majority of this book was narrative. I'm a dialogue-kinda gal. That's probably why I like Stephen King. I have seen author Machart compared to Cormac McCarthy, and I am not a fan of McCarthy. So it stands to reason that I may not be a huge fan of Machart.

    So this was a "good" story. It didn't really grab me or excite me, but it was well-written. If you like stories of human heartache, filled with narrative and little dialogue, then definitely give this book a try.
    • Pub. Date: October 2010
    • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
    • Format: Hardcover, 320pp


    My Rating: 7.5 out of 10


    (My thanks to Barnes and Noble for allowing me a "First Look" at this book. Their generosity in no way affected my honest review.)

Post Title

REVIEW: The Wake of Forgiveness by Bruce Machart


Post URL

http://ohjustinbiebier.blogspot.com/2010/09/review-wake-of-forgiveness-by-bruce.html


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Friday, September 24, 2010

Book Giveaways in Blogworld (09-25-10 edition)

    Note: A reminder that you are free to email me about any giveaways that you are having, if you want me to blog them, and I'll be happy to try to post them even if I am not entering them. Just include a link to the giveaway, what you are giving away, how many copies are being given away, and the deadline in order to assure being included. Email me at nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com.

    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:

    Once Upon a Review is having a MEGA birthday giveaway! Deadline is September 25. International!

    Bookin' with Bingo is giving away 3 copies of Gilded Lily. Deadline is September 25. US only.

    Finding My Muse
    is giving away The Disappearance. Deadline is September 25. International!

    Looksie Lovitz Books is giving away an ARC of The Scorch Trials. Deadline is September 25. US only.

    A Hen's Nest is part of the Smart Chicks Kick It Tour. Deadline is September 25. US/Canada only.

    Fantastic Book Review is giving away a copy of Radiance. Deadline is September 25. US/Canada only.

    The Wide World of All Things Cute and Cuddly is giving away 3 copies of Ah-choo! Deadline is September 26. US/Canada only.

    Peeking Between the Pages is giving away What We Have. Deadline is September 26. US/Canada.

    All About {n} is giving away a boxed set of J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series. Deadline is September 26. International!
    Mommy PR is giving away 2 copies of Oogy: the dog only a family could love. Deadline is September 27. US/Canada only.
    Simply Stacie is giving away a copy of Never Wave Goodby. Deadline is September 27. US/Canada only.

    Readaholic is giving away The Ovary Wars. Deadline is September 27. US/Canada only.

    YA Book Shelf is giving away a copy of Hush, Hush. Deadline is September 28. US/Canada only.

    A Good Addiction is giving away 3 YA books as part of their big Blogoversary! Deadline is September 28. US/Canada only.

    A Live Bound By Books is giving away a copy of Low Red Moon. Deadline is September 28. US only.

    Looksie Lovitz is giving away Matched and The Virals. Deadline is September 29. International!

    Good Choice Reading is giving away a bunch of books as part of the Welcoming in the Fall Giveaway! Deadline is September 29. International!

    I Am a Reader, Not a Writer is giving away a copy of The Forest of Hands and Teeth. Deadline is September 29. US/Canada only.

    The Eager Readers are giving away your choice from a number of books as part of The Welcoming of Fall Giveaway! Deadline is September 29. International!

    The Elliott Review is giving away 2 copies of Mockingjay! Deadline is September 29. One copy US only and one copy International!

    The Elliott Review is giving away a copy of Speak. I think the deadline is September 29. US only.

    Bookin' with Bingo is giving away 2 copies of The Good Daughters. Deadline is September 29. US only.

    Tequila Reader is giving away 6 books to 3 winners in her massive 1000 follower giveaway! Deadline is September 30. International!

    The Book Buzzer is having a big YA blogoversary giveaway! Deadline is September 30. US only.

    Fantastic Book Review is giving away Low Red Moon. Deadline is September 30. US/Canada only.

    A Fanatic Book Blog is giving away a book of your choice. The more followers, the more prizes added. Deadline is September 30. International!

    The Eclectic Reader is having a September competition. Your choice of four books. Deadline is September 30. International!

    Reading with Tequila is having a huge 1000 follower contest! So far there will be 7 winners, and more may follow! Deadline is September 30. International!

    Confessions of a Book Addict is giving away an autographed copy of Clockwork Angel. Deadline is September 30. International!

    Just Bookin' Around is having a Ginormous 1 Year Blogoversary giveaway! Deadline is September 30. US/Canada only.
    Pirate Penguin's Reads is giving away a copy of Low Red Moon. Deadline is September 30. US only.
    Queen of Happy Endings is giving away your choice of three books. Deadline is September 30. International.
    Clandestine Sanctuary is giving away $30 worth of books through the Book Depository. Deadline is October 1. International!

    Readaholic is having a Smart Chicks Surprise Pack! Deadline is October 1. US/Canada only.
    My Book Views is giving away 5 copies of Last to Die. Deadline is October 2. US/Canada only.
    Sea of Pages is giving away a copy of Speak. Deadline is October 2.US only.
     For What It's Worth is giving away a copy of Speak. Deadline is October 2. International!
    Talk is Cheap is giving away a copy of Nightshade. Deadline is October 2. US only.
    The Book Scout is giving away a copy of Scars. Deadline is October 3. US only.
    Cari's Book Blog is giving away a copy of Speak. Deadline is October 3. US/Canada only.
    Literary Jules is giving away a copy of The Forest of Hands and Teeth. Deadline is October 3. US/Canada only.
    I Am a Reader, Not a Writer is giving away The Maze Runner. Deadline is October 3. US only.

    All About {n} is giving away the first three books in the Vampire Academy series. Deadline is October 3. International!

    Luxury Reading and Simply Stacie have joined up for a "Simply Reading Kindle Giveaway"! Up for grabs is a Kindle along with a selection of e-books! Deadline is October 4. International!
    Carol's Prints is have an ARC giveaway! Deadline is October 4.  
    Feed Your Reading Habit is giving away a copy of Mockingjay. Deadline is October 5. Open to various countries.
    Book Blabbing is giving away a copy of Behemoth. Deadline is October 5. US/Canada only.
    Bookin' with Bingo is giving away 3 copies of Katie Up and Down the Hall. Deadline is October 5. US/Canada only.
    Literary Escapism is giving away a copy of Hush, Hush! Deadline is October 5.
    Maria's Space is giving away 2 copies of Oogy. Deadline is October 5. US/Canada only.
    1st Books is giving away The Man Who Loved Books Too Much. Deadline is October 5.
    Bookin' with Bingo is giving away a copy of The Comfort of Apples. Deadline is October 6. US only.
    Paperback Dolls is giving away a pendant along with the entire Vampire Academy collection! Deadline is October 7. International!
    Ramblings of a (Future) Librarian is giving away Torment and Misguided Angel. Deadline is October 7. International!
    So Many Precious Books, So Little Time is giving away 3 copies of Eating Animals. Deadline is October 8. US/Canada only.
    Radiant Light is giving away 2 copies of The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise. Deadline is October 8. US only.
    The Book Butterfly is giving away 2 copies of Clockwork Angel. Deadline is October 8. US only.
    Down the Rabbit Hole is having a 100 follower contest? She is giving away a signed copy of City of Glass and other books and swag, and choice of book from the Book Depository for international followers. Deadline is October 5. International!
    All About {n} is giving away 2 copies of The Good Daughters. Deadline is October 10. US only.
    Book Babbling is giving away Clockwork Angel. Deadline is October 15. International!
    The Book Cellar is giving away 6 ARCs. Deadline is October 15. US Only.
    Booklover Book Reviews is having a birthday bash! Your choice of five books. Deadline is October 18. International!
    Voracious YAppetite is having a 6 month blogoversary giveaway! Deadline is October 27. International!

    *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 (09-25-10 edition)


Post URL

http://ohjustinbiebier.blogspot.com/2010/09/book-giveaways-in-blogworld-09-25-10.html


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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What's Releasing (09-22-10 edition)

    Books that are releasing the week of 9/28/10:

    Torment by Lauren Kate

    Hell on earth.

    That’s what it’s like for Luce to be apart from her fallen angel boyfriend, Daniel.
    It took them an eternity to find one another, but now he has told her he must go away. Just long enough to hunt down the Outcasts—immortals who want to kill Luce. Daniel hides Luce at Shoreline, a school on the rocky California coast with unusually gifted students: Nephilim, the offspring of fallen angels and humans.

    At Shoreline, Luce learns what the Shadows are, and how she can use them as windows to her previous lives. Yet the more Luce learns, the more she suspects that Daniel hasn’t told her everything. He’s hiding something—something dangerous.
    What if Daniel’s version of the past isn’t actually true? What if Luce is really meant to be with someone else?

    The second novel in the addictive FALLEN series . . . where love never dies.


    Fall of Giants by Ken Follett

    Ken Follett's World Without End was a global phenomenon, a work of grand historical sweep, beloved by millions of readers and acclaimed by critics as "well-researched, beautifully detailed [with] a terrifically compelling plot" (The Washington Post) and "wonderful history wrapped around a gripping story" (St. Louis Post- Dispatch)

    Fall of Giants is his magnificent new historical epic. The first novel in The Century Trilogy, it follows the fates of five interrelated families-American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh-as they move through the world-shaking dramas of the First World War, the Russian Revolution, and the struggle for women's suffrage.

    Thirteen-year-old Billy Williams enters a man's world in the Welsh mining pits...Gus Dewar, an American law student rejected in love, finds a surprising new career in Woodrow Wilson's White House...two orphaned Russian brothers, Grigori and Lev Peshkov, embark on radically different paths half a world apart when their plan to emigrate to America falls afoul of war, conscription, and revolution...Billy's sister, Ethel, a housekeeper for the aristocratic Fitzherberts, takes a fateful step above her station, while Lady Maud Fitzherbert herself crosses deep into forbidden territory when she falls in love with Walter von Ulrich, a spy at the German embassy in London...

    These characters and many others find their lives inextricably entangled as, in a saga of unfolding drama and intriguing complexity, Fall of Giants moves seamlessly from Washington to St. Petersburg, from the dirt and danger of a coal mine to the glittering chandeliers of a palace, from the corridors of power to the bedrooms of the mighty. As always with Ken Follett, the historical background is brilliantly researched and rendered, the action fast-moving, the characters rich in nuance and emotion. It is destined to be a new classic.

    In future volumes of The Century Trilogy, subsequent generations of the same families will travel through the great events of the rest of the twentieth century, changing themselves-and the century itself. With passion and the hand of a master, Follett brings us into a world we thought we knew, but now will never seem the same again.


    Also available this week:

Post Title

What's Releasing (09-22-10 edition)


Post URL

http://ohjustinbiebier.blogspot.com/2010/09/what-releasing-09-22-10-edition.html


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Friday, September 17, 2010

Book Giveaways in Blogworld (09-18-10 edition)

    Note: A reminder that you are free to email me about any giveaways that you are having, if you want me to blog them, and I'll be happy to try to post them even if I am not entering them. Just include a link to the giveaway, what you are giving away, how many copies are being given away, and the deadline in order to assure being included. Email me at nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com.

    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:

    Paperback Dolls is giving away a copy of Dust. Deadline is September 18. US only.

    Bookin' with Bingo is giving away 2 copies of Last Night at Chateau Marmont. Deadline is September 18. US only.

    Ellz Readz is giving away $120 to CSN Stores. Deadline is September 18. US/Canada only.

    Jo-Jo Loves to Read is giving away Oogy. Deadline is September 18. US/Canada only.

    Bookin' with Bingo is giving away a copy of Edge of Winter. Deadline is September 18. US only.

    Alison's Bookmarks is giving away When You Reach Me and a copy of Mockingjay. Deadline is September 18. US only.

    Bookin' with Bingo is giving away 3 copies of The Human Bobby. Deadline is September 19. US only.

    Readaholic is giving away 2 copies of The Darkest Edge of Dawn. Deadline is September 19. US only.

    One Book at a Time is giving away a copy of The Summoning. Deadline is September 19. US only.

    In which a girl reads is having a "humongous" giveaway! 3 winners, six books chosen from a group of twenty-five! Deadline is September 19. International!

    Confessions of a Bookaholic is giving away a copy of Extraordinary. Deadline is September 20. US only.

    Luxury Reading is giving away The Good Daughters. Deadline is September 20. US only.

    Can I Get the Recipe? is giving away a copy of the cookbook Rose Reisman's The Complete Light Kitchen. Deadline is September 21. US/Canada only.
    Paranormal and Romantic Suspense is giving away 5 copies of Last to Die. Deadline is September 21. US/Canada only.

    Just Jennifer Reading is giving away 3 copies of The Postcard Killers. Deadline is September 21. US/Canada only.

    Bookin' with Bingo is giving away a copy of Top Chef: The Quickfire Cookbook. Deadline is September 21. US only.

    Pirate Penguin's Reads is giving away a copy of Matched on behalf of Squeaky Books. Deadline is September 21. US/Canada only.

    Bookin' with Bingo is giving away a copy of Mockingjay. Deadline is September 21. US only.

    Bookhounds is giving away 5 copies of Last to Die. Deadline is September 22. US/Canada only.

    Just Jennifer Reading is giving away 5 copies of Last to Die. Deadline is September 22. US/Canada only.

    Simply Stacie is giving away a Smart Chicks Kick It Tour surprise pack. Deadline is September 22. US/Canada only.
    Novel Thoughts is giving away a UK Edition of The Dark Divine on behalf of Squeaky Books. Deadline is September 22. US/Canada only.

    Dark Faerie Tales is giving away No Mercy. Deadline is September 23. US/Canada only.
    Reading Teen is having a big back-to-school giveaway. Deadline is September 24. International!

    Once Upon a Review is having a MEGA birthday giveaway! Deadline is September 25. International!

    Bookin' with Bingo is giving away 3 copies of Gilded Lily. Deadline is September 25. US only.

    Finding My Muse
    is giving away The Disappearance. Deadline is September 25. International!

    Looksie Lovitz Books is giving away an ARC of The Scorch Trials. Deadline is September 25. US only.

    A Hen's Nest is part of the Smart Chicks Kick It Tour. Deadline is September 25. US/Canada only.

    Fantastic Book Review is giving away a copy of Radiance. Deadline is September 25. US/Canada only.
    The Wide World of All Things Cute and Cuddly is giving away 3 copies of Ah-choo! Deadline is September 26. US/Canada only.

    Peeking Between the Pages
    is giving away What We Have. Deadline is September 26. US/Canada.

    All About {n} is giving away a boxed set of J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series. Deadline is September 26. International!

    Simply Stacie is giving away a copy of Never Wave Goodby. Deadline is September 27. US/Canada only.
    Readaholic is giving away The Ovary Wars. Deadline is September 27. US/Canada only.

    YA Book Shelf is giving away a copy of Hush, Hush. Deadline is September 28. US/Canada only.

    A Good Addiction is giving away 3 YA books as part of their big Blogoversary! Deadline is September 28. US/Canada only.

    A Live Bound By Books is giving away a copy of Low Red Moon. Deadline is September 28. US only.
    Looksie Lovitz is giving away Matched and The Virals. Deadline is September 29. International!
    Good Choice Reading is giving away a bunch of books as part of the Welcoming in the Fall Giveaway! Deadline is September 29. International!
    I Am a Reader, Not a Writer is giving away a copy of The Forest of Hands and Teeth. Deadline is September 29. US/Canada only.
    The Eager Readers are giving away your choice from a number of books as part of The Welcoming of Fall Giveaway! Deadline is September 29. International!
    The Elliott Review is giving away 2 copies of Mockingjay! Deadline is September 29. One copy US only and one copy International!
    The Elliott Review is giving away a copy of Speak. I think the deadline is September 29. US only.
    Bookin' with Bingo is giving away 2 copies of The Good Daughters. Deadline is September 29. US only.

    Tequila Reader is giving away 6 books to 3 winners in her massive 1000 follower giveaway! Deadline is September 30. International!

    The Book Buzzer is having a big YA blogoversary giveaway! Deadline is September 30. US only.

    Fantastic Book Review is giving away Low Red Moon. Deadline is September 30. US/Canada only.

    A Fanatic Book Blog is giving away a book of your choice. The more followers, the more prizes added. Deadline is September 30. International!

    The Eclectic Reader is having a September competition. Your choice of four books. Deadline is September 30. International!

    Reading with Tequila is having a huge 1000 follower contest! So far there will be 7 winners, and more may follow! Deadline is September 30. International!
    Confessions of a Book Addict is giving away an autographed copy of Clockwork Angel. Deadline is September 30. International!

    Just Bookin' Around is having a Ginormous 1 Year Blogoversary giveaway! Deadline is September 30. US/Canada only.

    Clandestine Sanctuary is giving away $30 worth of books through the Book Depository. Deadline is October 1. International!
    Readaholic is having a Smart Chicks Surprise Pack! Deadline is October 1. US/Canada only.

    I Am a Reader, Not a Writer is giving away The Maze Runner. Deadline is October 3. US only.

    All About {n} is giving away the first three books in the Vampire Academy series. Deadline is October 3. International!
    Luxury Reading and Simply Stacie have joined up for a "Simply Reading Kindle Giveaway"! Up for grabs is a Kindle along with a selection of e-books! Deadline is October 4. International!

    Feed Your Reading Habit is giving away a copy of Mockingjay. Deadline is October 5. Open to various countries.
    All About {n} is giving away 2 copies of The Good Daughters. Deadline is October 10. US only.
    Booklover Book Reviews is having a birthday bash! Your choice of five books. Deadline is October 18. International!

    *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 (09-18-10 edition)


Post URL

http://ohjustinbiebier.blogspot.com/2010/09/book-giveaways-in-blogworld-09-18-10.html


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I Wanna...In the Land of Cotton by Martha A. Taylor

    In the Land of Cotton by Martha A. Taylor

    SLAVERY IS MORE THAN CHAINS AND SHACKLES

    SLAVERY IS A STATE OF MIND

    Immerse yourself in this highly anticipated political docu-drama set in the Deep South amidst the backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement.

    Martha was a young white girl living in the Deep South, inundated with the racist sentiments of the times. But Martha's natural curiosity and generous heart led her to question this racial divide. When she discovered a primitive Negro family living deep in the woods near her house, everyone's life changed forever.

    Take the journey of a lifetime alongside Martha as she forges relationships that lead to self discovery and a clearer understanding of the world around her. In the Land of Cotton provides an outstanding snapshot of life in the South during those troubled times - a snapshot everyone should take a close look at, regardless of era or color.

    The year was 1956.

Post Title

I Wanna...In the Land of Cotton by Martha A. Taylor


Post URL

http://ohjustinbiebier.blogspot.com/2010/09/i-wannain-land-of-cotton-by-martha.html


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Monday, September 13, 2010

Mailbox Monday (09-13-10 edition)

    Image licensed from bigstockphoto.com
    Copyright stands

    Mailbox Monday is brought to us by The Printed Page. Here are just some of the books I've received over the last few weeks:

    Follow Me by Joanna Scott
    Won from Readaholic

    On a summer day in 1946 Sally Werner, the precocious young daughter of hardscrabble Pennsylvania farmers, secretly accepts her cousin's invitation to ride his new motorcycle. Like so much of what follows in Sally's life, it's an impulsive decision with dramatic and far-reaching consequences. Soon she abandons her home to begin a daring journey of self-creation, the truth of which she entrusts only with her granddaughter and namesake, six decades later. But when young Sally's father--a man she has never known--enters her life and offers another story altogether, she must uncover the truth of her grandmother's secret history.

    Boldly rendered and beautifully told, in FOLLOW ME Joanna Scott has crafted a paean to the American tradition of re-invention and a sweeping saga of timeless and tender storytelling.


    Queen Pin by Jemeker Thompson-Hairston and David Ritz
    Won from
    Just Jennifer Reading

    Jemeker Thompson-Hairston paid a heavy price for her involvement in the drug game. Learning from her sources of a federal investigation, Jemeker went on the run. It was love for her young son that brought her back to Los Angeles, even though she knew she would be arrested. A subsequent 12-year sentence would cost her not only her legitimate business and the fortune she'd amassed through the drug trade, but the most precious thing of all: time with her child. But not all was lost. Fortunately, while Thompson-Hairston was serving out her sentence, one pivotal moment helped her turn her life around, setting her on a path to help and inspire others like her. Now, in QUEEN PIN, written with New York Times bestselling author David Ritz, she reveals in gripping detail her journey of redemption that readers won't soon forget.

    Linger (Wolves of Mercy Falls Series #2) byMaggie Stiefvater
    Won from Alison's Bookmarks

    In Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabelle, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.

    At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love - the light and the dark, the warm and the cold - in a way you will never forget.


    Cheap Cabernet: A Friendship by Cathie Beck
    Won through Library Thing's Early Reviewers for review

    I didn’ t know that people come into our lives, and sometimes, if we’ re terribly lucky, we get the chance to love them, that sometimes they stay, that sometimes you can, truly, depend on them.

    Cathie Beck was in her late thirties and finally able to exhale after a lifetime of just trying to get by. A teenage mother harboring vivid memories of her own hardscrabble childhood, Cathie had spent years doing whatever it took to give her children the stability— or at least the illusion of it— that she’ d never had. More than that, through sheer will and determination, she had educated them and herself too. With her kids in college, Cathie was at last ready to have some fun. The only problem was that she had no idea how to do it and no friends to do it with. So she put an ad in the paper for a made-up women's group: WOW . . . Women on the Way. Eight women showed up that first night, and out of that group a friendship formed, one of those meteoric, passionate, stand-by-you friendships that come around once in a lifetime and change you forever . . . if you’ re lucky.


    Won from Pop Damage as part of the Hatchette Beach Book Giveaway:

    Adam by Ted Dekker
    The Island by Elin Hilderbrand
    Backseat Saints by Joshilyn Jackson
    The Recessionistas by Alexandra Lebenthal
    Rich Boy by Sharon Pomerantz


    Thanks so much to everyone for the books!

Post Title

Mailbox Monday (09-13-10 edition)


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Friday, September 10, 2010

Book Giveaways in Blogworld (09-11-10 edition)

    Note: A reminder that you are free to email me about any giveaways that you are having, if you want me to blog them, and I'll be happy to try to post them even if I am not entering them. Just include a link to the giveaway, what you are giving away, how many copies are being given away, and the deadline in order to assure being included. Email me at nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com.

    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 3 copies of I'd Know You Anywhere. Deadline is September 12. US only.

    Brizmus Blogs Books is giving away your choice of 6 books. Deadline is September 12. International!

    Cherry Mischievous is giving away the entire Shifter series! Deadline is September 12. International!

    Graced with Books is giving away a bunch of books for Blogfest! Deadline is September 12. US only.
    Bookin' with Bingo is giving away 3 copies of Judgment and Wrath. Deadline is September 13. US only.

    Radiant Light is giving away 2 copies of Blind Man's Alley. Deadline is September 13. US
    only.

    So Many Books, So Little Time is giving away a copy of Low Red Moon. Deadline is September 13. US only.

    The Hiding Spot is giving away a copy of Clockwork Angel or City of Bones. Deadline is September 13. International!
    Bloody Bookaholic is giving away a bookcase from CSN Stores. Deadline is September 15. US/Canada only.

    Bookin' with Bingo is giving away a copy of Lock and Key. Deadline is September 15. US only.
    Passages to the Past is giving away a copy of Wolf Hall. Deadline is September 16. US only.

    Fantastic Book Review is giving away a copy of Nevermore. Deadline is September 16. US/Canada only.

    Two Little Dicky Birds is giving away a copy of the cookbook Jamie's Kitchen. Deadline is September 16.

    Bookin' with Bingo is giving away a copy of Swan. Deadline is September 16. US only.

    Bookin' with Bingo is giving away a copy of Light of the Moon. Deadline is September 16. US only.

    Fangtastic is having a huge Blogmania giveaway! Deadline is...probably the end of Blogmania on September 16, or September 17. US only.

    Bookin' with Bingo is giving away 3 copies of the audiobook Wicked Appetite. Deadline is September 17. US/Canada only.
    Paperback Dolls is giving away a copy of Dust. Deadline is September 18. US only.

    Bookin' with Bingo is giving away 2 copies of Last Night at Chateau Marmont. Deadline is September 18. US only.

    Ellz Readz is giving away $120 to CSN Stores. Deadline is September 18. US/Canada only.

    Jo-Jo Loves to Read is giving away Oogy. Deadline is September 18. US/Canada only.

    Bookin' with Bingo is giving away a copy of Edge of Winter. Deadline is September 18. US only.

    Alison's Bookmarks is giving away When You Reach Me and a copy of Mockingjay. Deadline is September 18. US only.

    Bookin' with Bingo is giving away 3 copies of The Human Bobby. Deadline is September 19. US only.

    Readaholic is giving away 2 copies of The Darkest Edge of Dawn. Deadline is September 19. US only.

    One Book at a Time is giving away a copy of The Summoning. Deadline is September 19. US only.

    In which a girl reads is having a "humongous" giveaway! 3 winners, six books chosen from a group of twenty-five! Deadline is September 19. International!

    Confessions of a Bookaholic is giving away a copy of Extraordinary. Deadline is September 20. US only.

    Luxury Reading is giving away The Good Daughters. Deadline is September 20. US only.

    Paranormal and Romantic Suspense is giving away 5 copies of Last to Die. Deadline is September 21. US/Canada only.

    Just Jennifer Reading is giving away 3 copies of The Postcard Killers. Deadline is September 21. US/Canada only.

    Bookin' with Bingo is giving away a copy of Top Chef: The Quickfire Cookbook. Deadline is September 21. US only.

    Bookin' with Bingo is giving away a copy of Mockingjay. Deadline is September 21. US only.

    Bookhounds is giving away 5 copies of Last to Die. Deadline is September 22. US/Canada only.

    Pirate Penguin's Reads is giving away a copy of Matched on behalf of Squeaky Books. Deadline is September 21. US/Canada only.

    Novel Thoughts
    is giving away a UK Edition of The Dark Divine on behalf of Squeaky Books. Deadline is September 22. US/Canada only.

    Reading Teen is having a big back-to-school giveaway. Deadline is September 24. International!
    Once Upon a Review is having a MEGA birthday giveaway! Deadline is September 25. International!

    Bookin' with Bingo is giving away 3 copies of Gilded Lily. Deadline is September 25. US only.

    Finding My Muse
    is giving away The Disappearance. Deadline is September 25. International!
    Looksie Lovitz is giving away a copy of The Scorch Trials. Deadline is September 25. US only.
    The Wide World of All Things Cute and Cuddly is giving away 3 copies of Ah-choo! Deadline is September 26. US/Canada only.

    Peeking Between the Pages
    is giving away What We Have. Deadline is September 26. US/Canada.

    Readaholic is giving away The Ovary Wars. Deadline is September 27. US/Canada only.

    Bookin' with Bingo
    is giving away 2 copies of The Good Daughters. Deadline is September 29. US only.
    Looksie Lovitz is giving away Matched and The Virals as part of the Welcoming of Fall Giveaway! Deadline is September 29. International!
    Tequila Reader is giving away 6 books to 3 winners in her massive 1000 follower giveaway! Deadline is September 30. International!

    The Book Buzzer is having a big YA blogoversary giveaway! Deadline is September 30. US only.

    Readaholic is having a Smart Chicks Surprise Pack! Deadline is October 1. US/Canada only.

    Confessions of a Book Addict is giving away an autographed copy of Clockwork Angel. Deadline is September 30. International!

    I Am a Reader, Not a Writer is giving away The Maze Runner. Deadline is October 3. US only.

    All About {n} is giving away the first three books in the Vampire Academy series. Deadline is October 3. International!

    All About {n} is giving away 2 copies of The Good Daughters. Deadline is October 10. US only.

    *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 (09-11-10 edition)


Post URL

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I Wanna...Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

    Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

    Incarceron is a prison unlike any other: Its inmates live not only in cells, but also in metal forests, dilapidated cities, and unbounded wilderness. The prison has been sealed for centuries, and only one man, legend says, has ever escaped.

    Finn, a seventeen-year-old prisoner, can’t remember his childhood and believes he came from Outside Incarceron. He’s going to escape, even though most inmates don’t believe that Outside even exists. And then Finn finds a crystal key and through it, a girl named Claudia.

    Claudia claims to live Outside—her father is the Warden of Incarceron and she’s doomed to an arranged marriage. If she helps Finn escape, she will need his help in return. But they don’t realize that there is more to Incarceron than meets the eye. Escape will take their greatest courage and cost far more than they know.

    Because Incarceron is alive.

Post Title

I Wanna...Incarceron by Catherine Fisher


Post URL

http://ohjustinbiebier.blogspot.com/2010/09/i-wannaincarceron-by-catherine-fisher.html


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Sunday, September 5, 2010

Book Giveaways in Blogworld (09-04-10 edition)

    Note: A reminder that you are free to email me about any giveaways that you are having, if you want me to blog them, and I'll be happy to try to post them even if I am not entering them. Just include a link to the giveaway, what you are giving away, how many copies are being given away, and the deadline in order to assure being included. Email me at nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com.

    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:

    A Good Addiction is giving away an ARC of Clockwork Angel. Deadline is September 6. US/Canada only.

    The ABCD Diaries is giving away 3 copies of Ah-Choo. Deadline is September 6. US/Canada only.

    Let's Just Give it Away is giving away 2 copies of Ah-Choo. Deadline is September 6. US/Canada only.

    Let's Just Give it Away is giving away 2 copies of The Glamour of Grammar. Deadline is September 6. US/Canada only.

    Carol in Print is having a massive ARC giveaway! Deadline is September 6. International!

    Beth's Book Review Blog is giving away 3 copies of Eating Animals. Deadline is September 6. US/ Canada only.

    Dark Faerie Tales is giving away 2 copies of Mockingjay. Deadline is September 7. US only.

    Leslie Loves Veggies is giving away 2 copies of Mosaic Meals. Deadline is September 8. US/Canada only.

    Heavenly Savings is giving away 3 copies of The Glamour of Grammar. Deadline is September 8. US/Canada only.

    Just Jennifer Reading is giving away 5 copies of Desperate Deeds. Deadline is September 8. US/Canada only.

    Leslie Loves Veggies is giving away 2 copies of Mosaic Meals. Deadline is September 8. US/Canada only.

    Babbling Flow is having a massive ARC giveaway! Deadline is September 9. International!

    The Book Vixen is giving away an autographed copy of Linger and signed bookmark! Deadline is September 10. US/Canada only.
    Bookin' with Bingo is giving away 3 copies of I'd Know You Anywhere. Deadline is September 12. US only.

    Bookin' with Bingo is giving away 3 copies of Judgment and Wrath. Deadline is September 13. US only.
    Radiant Light is giving away 2 copies of Blind Man's Alley. Deadline is September 13. US only.
    Bloody Bookaholic is giving away a bookcase from CSN Stores. Deadline is September 15. US/Canada only.

    YA Book Shelf is giving away a copy of Mockingjay. Deadline is September 17. US/Canada only.

    Paperback Dolls is giving away a copy of Dust. Deadline is September 18. US only.
    In which a girl reads is having a "humongous" giveaway! 3 winners, six books chosen from a group of twenty-five! Deadline is September 19. International!
    One Book at a Time is giving away a copy of The Summoning. Deadline is September 19. US only.


    Readaholic is giving away The Ovary Wars. Deadline is September 27. US/Canada only.
    Tequila Reader is giving away 6 books to 3 winners in her massive 1000 follower giveaway! Deadline is September 30. International!
    Readaholic is having a Smart Chicks Surprise Pack! Deadline is October 1. US/Canada only.
    A Journey of Books is giving away 2 copies of Cold Rock River. I can't find any deadline mentioned. US/Canada only.

    *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 (09-04-10 edition)


Post URL

http://ohjustinbiebier.blogspot.com/2010/09/book-giveaways-in-blogworld-09-04-10.html


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Friday, September 3, 2010

I Wanna...If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name: News from Small-Town Alaska by Heather Lende

    If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name: News from Small-Town Alaska by Heather Lende

    Tiny Haines, Alaska, is ninety miles north of Juneau, accessible mainly by water or air—and only when the weather is good. There’s no traffic light and no mail delivery; people can vanish without a trace, and funerals are community affairs. Heather Lende posts both the obituaries and the social column for the local newspaper. If anyone knows the goings-on in this close-knit town—from births to weddings to funerals—she does.

    Whether contemplating the mysterious death of eccentric Speedy Joe, who never took off his hat—not even for a haircut; researching the details of a one-legged lady gold miner’s adventurous life; observing the Chilkat Bald Eagle Festival; or ice skating in the shadow of glacier-studded mountains, Lende’s warm, folksy style brings us inside her busy life.We meet her husband, Chip, who owns the local lumber yard, their five children, and a colorful assortment of friends and neighbors, including aging hippies, salty fisherman, native Tlingit Indians, and volunteer undertakers, as well as the moose, eagles, sea lions, and bears with whom they share this wild and perilous land.

Post Title

I Wanna...If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name: News from Small-Town Alaska by Heather Lende


Post URL

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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Introducing...The Queen's Pawn by Christy English

    Introducing a book through its first chapter or so...

    My mother died the day I was born. I now know that this was in no way unusual, but for the first years of my life, I felt quite singled out by the hand of God. She was a great loss to me, my first loss, though I never knew her. My nurse often told me that I have her bright eyes.

    -- The Queen's Pawn by Christy English

Post Title

Introducing...The Queen's Pawn by Christy English


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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

CHALLENGE: Summer Break Reading Challenge (Completed)

Post Title

CHALLENGE: Summer Break Reading Challenge (Completed)


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REVIEW: Born Under a Million Shadows by Andrea Busfield

    Synopsis

    A moving tale of the triumph of the human spirit amidst heartbreaking tragedy, told through the eyes of a charming, impish, and wickedly observant Afghan boy

    The Taliban have withdrawn from Kabul’s streets, but the long shadows of their regime remain. In his short life, eleven-year-old Fawad has known more grief than most: his father and brother have been killed, his sister has been abducted, and Fawad and his mother, Mariya, must rely on the charity of parsimonious relatives to eke out a hand-to-mouth existence.

    Ever the optimist, Fawad hopes for a better life, and his dream is realized when Mariya finds a position as a housekeeper for a charismatic Western woman, Georgie, and her two foreign friends. The world of aid workers and journalists is a new one for Fawad, and living with the trio offers endless curiosities—including Georgie’s destructive relationship with the powerful Afghan warlord Haji Khan, whose exploits are legendary. Fawad grows resentful and worried, until he comes to learn that love can move a man to act in surprisingly good ways. But life, especially in Kabul, is never without peril, and the next calamity Fawad must face is so devastating that it threatens to destroy the one thing he thought he could never lose: his love for his country.

    A big-hearted novel infused with crackling wit, Andrea Busfield’s brilliant debut captures the hope and humanity of the Afghan people and the foreigners who live among them.


    About the Author

    Andrea Busfield is a British journalist who first traveled to Afghanistan to cover the fall of the Taliban in 2001 as a reporter for the News of the World. She is now a full-time writer living in Bad Ischl, Austria. Born Under a Million Shadows is her first book.


    Quick Facts for Andrea Busfield located on Macmillan Books:

    Where are you from?
    England.

    Who are your favorite writers?
    Louis de Bernieres, Colin Bateman, Joseph Heller, Barbara Kingsolver, Isabel Allende. To be honest I’m a pick n mix kind of reader.

    Which book/books have had the biggest influence on your writing?
    Birds Without Wings (Louis de Bernieres)
    Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)

    What are your hobbies and outside interests?
    Music, friends, my family and my dog.

    What is the single best piece of advice anyone ever gave you?
    “Don’t read beauty magazines – they will make you feel ugly.” Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen) by Baz Luhrmann.

    What is your favorite quote?
    “All right, I'm coming out. Any man I see out there, I'm gonna shoot him. Any sumbitch takes a shot at me, I'm not only gonna kill him, but I'm gonna kill his wife, all his friends, and burn his damn house down.”—Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven.

    What is the question most commonly asked by your readers? What is the answer?
    Is this autobiographical?
    No.

    What inspired you to write your first book?
    Love – for my boyfriend, and for a country that deserves so much more.

    Where do you write?
    On my lap on a laptop. I don’t have much furniture!


    Five Books Andrea Busfield Can't Live Without:

    An Unexpected Light: Travels in Afghanistan by Jason Elliot
    Emergency Sex (and Other Desperate Measures): A True Story of Hell on Earth by Kenneth Cain, Heidi Postlewait, and Andrew Thomson
    Kestrel for a Knave by Barry Hines
    Birds Without Wings by Louis de Bernieres
    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon


    My Thoughts
    My name is Fawad, and my mother tells me I was born under the shadow of the Taliban.

    Because she said no more, I imagined her stepping out of the sunshine and into the dark, crouching in a corner to protect the stomach that was hiding me, while a man with a stick watched over us, ready to beat me into the world.
    This haunting excerpt is how we are introduced to Fawad.

    Fawad is a charming boy. Smart, good-humored, brave and strong, you find yourself praying that life goes well for him. I mean, things are stacked against him, and you really want him to find a way to have everything he dreams of.

    This book portrays the complex and dark beauty of Afghanistan's face, as well as its dark underbelly. At times you find yourself in awe at the kindness of the people, the love they have for their country, their humor and passion. At other times you cringe at the cruelty, the blatant disregard for humanity, the ugly complexity of their hierarchical and tribal society and its tenuous relationship with surrounding countries, primarily Pakistan.

    This is a country that has spent much of its existence "occupied", under the rule of some governing power that is unwanted.
    "...the Taliban fight goes on in the south against Afghans and foreigners; and in the streets the adults beat boys, the boys beat smaller boys, and everyone beats donkeys and dogs." (p. 60-61)
    "My mother told me that when the Taliban originally came marching from the south to lay claim to Kabul, they were welcomed like saviors. The capital had become a city of rubble after the Russians left because the victorious mujahideen had turned on one another, fighting like dogs over a piece of meat-- and Kabul was that piece of meat. In the chaos and confusion of civil war, crime was everywhere; shops were made to pay special taxes, homes were taken, people were murdered, and their daughters were raped. But when the Taliban came, it all stopped. Order was brought, and the people were grateful. However, as Spandi's father said, you cannot know a man's real intentions in only one night, and over the years the Taliban showed their true colors. They stopped women from working, they wouldn't let girls go to school, they roamed the streets beating people with sticks, they jailed men with short beards, they banned kite flying and music, they chopped off hands, they crushed people under walls, and they shot people in the football stadium. They had freed Afghanistan from war, but they locked up our people in a religion we no longer recognized..." (p. 46-57)

    There is such a dichotomy in the rich tapestry of Afghanistan. I just can't get over the complexity found in its simplicity. Or is it simplicity in its complexity? My mind is shaky with exhaustion in trying to wrap itself around it.

    This story has a wealth of wonderful characters, from housemates Georgie, James and May, streetmates Spandi and Jamilla, the dark and tormented beauty of Haji Khan (who himself could represent for me the country of Afghanistan), the hope of Shir Ahmad, the quirky and endearing character of Pir Hederi, and even Pir the Madman.

    One thing of note was the way that Fawad's own mother practically disappears from the picture for much of the story. After an illness takes her away for a time, you barely hear of her any further, even after she returns, until the end of the story. Fawad spends his time with Georgie and some of the other supporting characters. It kind of reminded me of what you see happen in many TV shows. There will be a storyline, like a baby being born into the family, but once the storyline plays out and the baby is born, it seems to sort of disappear. You don't see it anymore nor hear too much about it (anyone remember the TV show Friends? That's what happened after Rachel had her baby.) So Fawad's mother becomes an inconsequential character about halfway through the story. But I guess that's okay. After all, this is Fawad's story. And I can understand why this happened. His mother is not as integral a character, and if Fawad were an adult, her absence would go unnoticed. However since he is a child, I found her absence from his story striking, but perhaps necessary in order to keep her from clouding his story with motherly pursuits (as mothers are wont to do).

    At the end of the book that I received there was an interview with the author Andrea Busfield. She shared some startling statistics and striking imagery of Afghanistan.
    • Afghanistan has the world's second-highest infant mortality rate.
    • The average life expectancy is forty-four.
    • Abject poverty and the image of a child walking barefoot in the snow.
    • There is no "dating" social life in Afghanistan. Marriages are typically arranged by the family, and "dating" would be forbidden.
    Yet the author speaks so fondly of the country and its people. "It would be hard to find a more hospitable place on earth than Afghanistan."

    She says in her interview:
    "...I wanted to capture the beauty found there-- the fun, the laughter, the love. Therefore, I opted for a romantic plot and decided it should be narrated by a hero who was still young enough to see the good in life-- and bounce back from tragedy."

    And when asked what she hopes her readers take away from this novel, she replies:
    "Ultimately, that Afghans are deserving of our continued support-- and as the last page turns that they discover a little piece of Afghanistan in their hearts."
    Mission accomplished-- on all accounts.

    In the end, I'm left with hope. Hope for Fawad and the realization of his dreams, hope for Jamilla and her happiness and freedom from the tyranny of men, hope for impossible romance, hope for compassion amidst such cruelty and beauty amid such horror-- hope for Afghanistan.

    Andrea Busfield-- I think I'm in love with you...


    My Rating: 9.5 out of 10

    (My thanks to Jason of Holt, Henry & Company for the book in exchange for my honest review.)

Post Title

REVIEW: Born Under a Million Shadows by Andrea Busfield


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