Monday, February 28, 2011

Mailbox Monday (2/28/11 edition)

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    Mailbox Monday is brought to us by The Printed Page.  Here is what I received this week:

    The Eternal Ones by Kristen Miller
    Won from Between the Covers

    Haven Moore canÕt control her visions of a past with a boy called Ethan and a life in New York that ended in fiery tragedy. In our present, she designs beautiful dresses for her classmates with her best friend Beau. Dressmaking keeps her sane, since she lives with her widowed and heartbroken mother in her tyrannical grandmotherÕs house in Snope City, a tiny town in Tennessee. Then an impossible group of coincidences conspire to force her to flee to New York, to discover who she is, and who she was.

    In New York, Haven meets Iain Morrow and is swept into an epic love affair that feels both deeply fated and terribly dangerous. Iain is suspected of murdering a rock star and Haven wonders, could he have murdered her in a past life? She visits the Ouroboros Society and discovers a murky world of reincarnation that stretches across millennia. Haven must discover the secrets hidden in her past lives, and loves, before all is lost and the cycle begins again.

    Matched by Ally Condie
    Won from The Pageturner's Blog

    Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

    The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

    Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
    Won from CiCi's Theories
     
    "Don't worry, Anna. I'll tell her, okay? Just let me think about the best way to do it."
    "Okay."
    "Promise me? Promise you won't say anything?"
    "Don't worry." I laughed. "It's our secret, right?"


    According to her best friend Frankie, twenty days in Zanzibar Bay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy ever day, there's a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there's something she hasn't told Frankie—-she's already had that kind of romance, and it was with Frankie's older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.

    Beautifully written and emotionally honest, this is a debut novel that explores what it truly means to love someone and what it means to grieve, and ultimately, how to make the most of every single moment this world has to offer.

    (In addition to Twenty Boy Summer, I also received from Cici a lovely bookmark, a solid chocolate heart, and a $10 gift card to Barnes and Noble.)

    Thanks so much everyone!

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Mailbox Monday (2/28/11 edition)


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Sunday, February 27, 2011

GIVEAWAY (Secondhand Sunday): Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure and Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country by Allan Richard Shickman

    After amassing a large number of books, I have decided that it is time to clean the shelves. In my attempt to do so, I am passing on some books that I've previously read, so that someone else may enjoy them. The following books have been gently read:

    Genre/Age Range: Adventure/Young Adult

    Zan-Gah, seeking his lost twin brother in a savage prehistoric world, encounters adventure, suffering, conflict, captivity, and final victory. In three years hero passes from an uncertain boyhood to a tried and proven manhood and a position of leadership among his people. Themes include survival, brotherhood, cultures, gender roles, psychological trauma, and nature's wonders and terrors. This is the electronic version of Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure, which has been awarded Mom's Choice Gold Medal for Series, the Eric Hoffer Notable Book Award, and was a finalist for ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year.

    The prehistoric saga continues as Zan-Gah and his disturbed twin brother, Dael, come into conflict. When their clan migrates to a new Beautiful Country, Dael's furious violence, joined with the magnetic power of his personality, precipitates division and an unwanted, preventable war. Zan's task is to restrain his brother's destructive and self-destructive tendencies, leading him to peace and recovery in the bountiful new land. But it is not to be, despite Zan's efforts and those of two strong female characters. This book features themes of war and peace, tribal conflict, traumatic stress, gender roles, and sibling rivalry, bereavement, redemption.

    Read my review of Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure here
    Read my review of Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country here

    GIVEAWAY: Win this gently read Zan-Gah collection of two books.

    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!
    • There will be a single winner who will receive both books.
    • Those who don't follow the rules risk being disqualified.
    Deadline is March 13, 2011.

    Please note that these books are being shipped by me, and will be shipped without insurance or tracking. Therefore I am at the mercy of the post office. So far no book that I've shipped has been lost by them, but I can make no guarantees!
     
    Good Luck! Ready, Set, Go!

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GIVEAWAY (Secondhand Sunday): Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure and Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country by Allan Richard Shickman


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Friday, February 25, 2011

Book Giveaways in Blogworld (02-26-11 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:

    The Babbling Bookworm is giving away a signed copy of Matched and a signed Breathless tour poster. Deadline is March 1. Book is US only, poster is International!
    Chrissy's World of Books is giving away $40 worth of books from The Book Depository. Deadline is March 1. International!
    The Bookish Type is having a big blogoversary celebration. A winner gets their choice of 2 books! Deadline is March 8. International!
    SMS Book Reviews is giving away a copy of Saving Women's Hearts. Deadline is March 8. US/Canada only.
    Peeking Between the Pages is giving away a copy of Wench. Deadline is March 12. International!
    The Book Chick is giving away your choice of book as part of her 3 year blogoversary! Deadline is March 11. International!
    Book Flame is giving away a copy of Angelfire. Deadline is March 15. US only.
    Suko's Notebook is giving away $60 to CSN Stores. Deadline is March 21. US/Canada only.
    A Moment with Mystee  is giving away $25 to Book Depository. Deadline is March 31. International!
    Sparkling Reviews is giving a color Nook! Deadline is whenever 1100 followers is reached. 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.

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Book Giveaways in Blogworld (02-26-11 edition)


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I Wanna...Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

    In the zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic America where Benny Imura lives, every teenager must find a job by the time they turn fifteen or get their rations cut in half. Benny doesn't want to apprentice as a zombie hunter with his boring older brother Tom, but he has no choice. He expects a tedious job whacking zoms for cash, but what he gets is a vocation that will teach him what it means to be human.

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I Wanna...Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry


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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Introducing...Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan

    Introducing books through the first paragraph or so...

    The story goes that even after the Return they tried to keep the roller coasters going. They said it reminded them of the before time. When they didn't have to worry about people rising from the dead, when they didn't have to build fences and walls and barriers to protect themselves from the masses of Mudo constantly seeking human flesh. When the living weren't forever hunted.


    They said it made them feel normal.


    -- The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan

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Introducing...Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan


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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

REVIEW: Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank

    Synopsis

    The classic apocalyptic novel that stunned the world.








    About the Author

    "Pat Frank" was the lifelong nickname adopted by the American writer, newspaperman, and government consultant, who was born Harry Hart Frank (1908-1964), and who is remembered today almost exclusively for his post-apocalyptic novel Alas, Babylon. Before the publication of his first novel Mr. Adam launched his second career as novelist and independent writer, Frank spent many years as a journalist and information handler for several newspapers, agencies, and government bureaus. His fiction and nonfiction books, stories, and articles made good use of his years of experience observing government and military bureaucracy and its malfunctions, and the threat of nuclear proliferation and annihilation. After the success of Alas, Babylon, Frank concentrated on writing for magazines and journals, putting his beliefs and concerns to political use, and advising various government bodies. In 1960 he served as a member of the Democratic National Committee. In 1961, the year in which he received an American Heritage Foundation Award, he was consultant to the National Aeronautics and Space Council. From 1963 through 1964 the Department of Defense made use of Frank's expertise and advice, and this consultancy turned out to be his last response to his country's call. His other books include Mr. Adam and Forbidden Area.

    My Thoughts

    “In Fort Repose, a river town in Central Florida, it was said that sending a message by Western Union was the same as broadcasting it over the combined networks.”

    ...and so we are introduced to the setting of the book Alas, Babylon. Fort Repose is an idyllic little town located in Central Florida. At least everything is idyllic until "The Day". "The Day" is the day that the bombs fell-- nuclear bombs-- and entire cities were wiped off the map. 

    This book was written in the heat of the cold war with Russia, and just shortly before the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. So it isn't surprising that the Russians are portrayed as the enemy in the story, or that a book about man's attempt to survive after a nuclear holocaust would be so popular at the time, and remains so 50 years later. 

    The story is told primarily from the perspective of Randy Bragg, and follows him before, during and after the nuclear attack. Randy is a guy that just wants to do what is best for everyone. He isn't a control freak or someone who has to be the leader in every situation. He simply wants what is best for everyone.

    Randy's love interest is Lib McGovern. Strong and intuitive and empathetic, Lib lends strength to Randy and their relationship builds through the story.

    Randy's sister-in-law Helen and her children come to live with him, and she is a “man’s woman”. She's a good woman that any man would want as his partner in life, in good times or in bad. Smart, tough and strong, she takes over as a sort of "head of household" figure and keeps everything running smoothly.

    Dr. Dan Gunn is a man who had all of the best intentions in spending a life in charitable pursuits, but has found himself a little embittered after a divorce as he finds his life's path altered and diverted. Admirable and hard-working and the only medical doctor, he is integral to the survival of the town.

    Admiral Sam Hazzard is a retired admiral who settled in Fort Repose before “The Day”. At times tactless, but honest and forthright, he says it like it is and is blessed with a little inside knowledge of how the military and government works.

    Quotes:

    “...Mrs. McGovern she can’t ‘bide bugs or little green lizards and she won’t go out of the house after dark for fear of snakes. I don’t think the McGoverns going to be with us long, Mister Randy, because what’s Florida except bugs and lizard and snakes?” p.10 (Believe me, this is definitely Florida. Don't believe me? Just check out my spider posts on my other blog!)

    “When it became common to spend a million dollars to elect senators from moderately populous states, I think that should have been a warning to us. For instance, free pap for the masses. Bread and circuses. Roman spectacles and our spectaculars. Largesse from the conquering proconsuls and television giveaways from the successful lipstick king.” p. 236

    “I love you. I worry about you. I wonder whether I tell you enough how I love you and want you and need you and how I am diminished and afraid when you are not with me and how I am multiplied when you are here.” p. 237

    (After receiving leaflets dropped by air): “...It was also useful as toilet paper. Next day, ten leaflets would buy an egg, and fifty a chicken. It was paper, and it was money.” p. 307 (This struck me funny, with the way the value of a dollar is falling. I guess if things get really bad, at least the dollar will still have value as TP!)

    Vocabulary/Things learned:
    These are actually words that I’m familiar with, but not comfortable enough to use them in my own daily conversation...

    Cravenly- Characterized by abject fear; cowardly.
    Usage: You mean to say that your cooks have all cravenly left for their homes? (p. 101)

    Atavistic- The return of a trait or recurrence of previous behavior after a period of absence.
    Usage: Today the rules had changed, just as Roman law gave way to atavistic barbarism as the empire fell to Hun and Goth. (p. 98)

    Palaver- To flatter or cajole; to chatter idly
    Usage: So my “Footnote” deals with tactical palavers of no real importance. (p. 236)


    The Cover: At first I wasn't sure how I liked the cover. It didn't reach out and grab me. But then I looked more closely and found it to really be a great cover for this story. The landscape is quite evidently Florida landscape, and the hand held up blocking what could be a setting sun, or the blinding light of a nuclear bomb.

    My final word: I found this to be a well-written story, the characters well thought out and well-fleshed out. The story had some depth.

    I should warn you that the “N” word and the term "negro" are both used quite extensively throughout this book, as it takes place in the south in the heat of the unrest preceding the civil rights movement. That’s not to say that the book has a racist bent, as I am happy to say that it actually portrays the local black family (the Henry family) in a very positive light, and the racists in town as the arrogant ignoramus they are.

    The attack is quite realistic, as is the reaction of the people. You can feel the confusion and tension and fear as the people try to understand what has happened, and how to deal with it. You shake your head at the people who still haven't grasped the gravity of the situation, and treat it as a temporary inconvenience. You wonder how they will deal with the lack of water, and with trade shutdown everyone is forced to become "locavores" and survive on whatever may be found within walking distance of home. Trade is a necessity, new skills are learned. Man adapts and survives.

    I liked it. I liked the people, I liked that it took place in my own backyard, I liked that it was quite real, when I am used to reading fantastical post-apocalyptic zombie lit. I just plain liked it.

    Buy Now:

    Order from Barnes and Noble
    Order from Amazon

    My Rating: 8.5 out of 10 

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REVIEW: Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank


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What's Releasing? (2/23/11 edition)

    Available for release the week of February 28th:

    Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult

    Every life has a soundtrack. All you have to do is listen.

    Music has set the tone for most of Zoe Baxter’s life. There’s the melody that reminds her of the summer she spent rubbing baby oil on her stomach in pursuit of the perfect tan. A dance beat that makes her think of using a fake ID to slip into a nightclub. A dirge that marked the years she spent trying to get pregnant. 

    For better or for worse, music is the language of memory. It is also the language of love.

    In the aftermath of a series of personal tragedies, Zoe throws herself into her career as a music therapist. When an unexpected friendship slowly blossoms into love, she makes plans for a new life, but to her shock and inevitable rage, some people—even those she loves and trusts most—don’t want that to happen. 

    Sing You Home is about identity, love, marriage, and parenthood. It’s about people wanting to do the right thing for the greater good, even as they work to fulfill their own personal desires and dreams. And it’s about what happens when the outside world brutally calls into question the very thing closest to our hearts: family.


    Demonglass (Hex Hall Series #2) by Rachel Hawkins 

    Sophie Mercer thought she was a witch.
    That was the whole reason she was sent to Hex Hall, a reform school for delinquent Prodigium (aka witches, shapeshifters, and fairies). But that was before she discovered the family secret, and that her hot crush, Archer Cross, is an agent for The Eye, a group bent on wiping Prodigium off the face of the earth.

    Turns out, Sophie’s a demon, one of only two in the world—the other being her father. What’s worse, she has powers that threaten the lives of everyone she loves. Which is precisely why Sophie decides she must go to London for the Removal, a dangerous procedure that will destroy her powers.

    But once Sophie arrives she makes a shocking discovery. Her new friends? They’re demons too. Meaning someone is raising them in secret with creepy plans to use their powers, and probably not for good. Meanwhile, The Eye is set on hunting Sophie down, and they’re using Acher to do it. But it’s not like she has feelings for him anymore. Does she?


    Tiger, Tiger by Margaux Fragoso

    One summer day, Margaux Fragoso meets Peter Curran at the neighborhood swimming pool, and they begin to play. She is seven; he is fifty-one. When Peter invites her and her mother to his house, the little girl finds a child’s paradise of exotic pets and an elaborate backyard garden. Her mother, beset by mental illness and overwhelmed by caring for Margaux, is grateful for the attention Peter lavishes on her, and he creates an imaginative universe for her, much as Lewis Carroll did for his real-life Alice.

    In time, he insidiously takes on the role of Margaux’s playmate, father, and lover. Charming and manipulative, Peter burrows into every aspect of Margaux’s life and transforms her from a child fizzing with imagination and affection into a brainwashed young woman on the verge of suicide. But when she is twenty-two, it is Peter—ill, and wracked with guilt—who kills himself, at the age of sixty-six.

    Told with lyricism, depth, and mesmerizing clarity, Tiger, Tiger vividly illustrates the healing power of memory and disclosure. This extraordinary memoir is an unprecedented glimpse into the psyche of a young girl in free fall and conveys to readers—including parents and survivors of abuse—just how completely a pedophile enchants his victim and binds her to him.


    The Happiness Project by Gretchen Ruben

    What if you could change your life without really changing your life? On the outside, Gretchen Rubin had it all—a good marriage, healthy children and a successful career— but she knew something was missing. Determined to end that nagging feeling, she set out on a year-long quest to learn how to better enjoy the life she already had.

    Each month, Gretchen pursued a different set of resolutions—go to sleep earlier, tackle a nagging task, bring people together, take time to be silly—along with dozens of other goals. She read everything from classical philosophy to cutting-edge scientific studies, from Winston Churchill to Oprah, developing her own definition of happiness and a plan for how to achieve it. She kept track of which resolutions worked and which didn’t, sharing her stories and collecting those of others through her blog (created to fulfill one of March’s resolutions). Bit by bit, she began to appreciate and amplify the happiness in her life.

    The Happiness Project is the engaging, relatable and inspiring result of the author’s twelve-month adventure in becoming a happier person. Written with a wicked sense of humour and sharp insight, Gretchen Rubin’s story will inspire readers to embrace the pleasure in their lives and remind them how to have fun.



    Also available this week:

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What's Releasing? (2/23/11 edition)


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Monday, February 21, 2011

Mailbox Monday (2/21/11 edition)


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    Copyright stands

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

    The Lake of Dreams by Kim Edwards
    Won from BookTrib

    The highly anticipated new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Memory Keeper's Daughter
     
    With revelations that prove as captivating as the deceptions at the heart of her bestselling phenomenon The Memory Keeper's Daughter, Kim Edwards now gives us the story of a woman's homecoming, a family secret, and the old house that holds the key to the true legacy of a family. 

    At a crossroads in her life, Lucy Jarrett returns home from Japan, only to find herself haunted by her father's unresolved death a decade ago. Old longings stirred up by Keegan Fall, a local glass artist who was once her passionate first love, lead her into the unexpected. Late one night, as she paces the hallways of her family's rambling lakeside house, she discovers, locked in a window seat, a collection of objects that first appear to be useless curiosities, but soon reveal a deeper and more complex family past. As Lucy discovers and explores the traces of her lineage00from an heirloom tapestry and dusty political tracts to a web of allusions depicted in stained-glass windows throughout upstate New York-the family story she has always known is shattered, Lucy's quest for the truth reconfigures her family's history, links her to a unique slice of the suffragette movement, and yields dramatic insights that embolden her to live freely. 

    With surprises at every turn, brimming with vibrant detail, The Lake of Dreams is an arresting saga in which every element emerges as a carefully place piece of the puzzle that's sure to enthrall the millions of readers who loved The Memory Keeper's Daughter

    (I'm sorry to see what poor ratings this book is getting. Being written by the same author of The Memory Keeper's Daughter, I had really high hopes for this one.)

    My Father at 100 by Ron Reagan
    Won from NY Journal of Books

    A moving memoir of the beloved fortieth president of the United States, by his son. 
     
    February 6, 2011, is the one hundredth anniversary of Ronald Reagan's birth. To mark the occasion, Ron Reagan has written My Father at 100, an intimate look at the life of his father-one of the most popular presidents in American history-told from the perspective of someone who knew Ronald Reagan better than any adviser, friend, or colleague. As he grew up under his father's watchful gaze, he observed the very qualities that made the future president a powerful leader. Yet for all of their shared experiences of horseback rides and touch football games, there was much that Ron never knew about his father's past, and in My Father at 100, he sets out to understand this beloved, if often enigmatic, figure who turned his early tribulations into a stunning political career. 

    Since his death in 2004, President Reagan has been a galvanizing force that personifies the values of an older America and represents an important era in national history. Ron Reagan traces the sources of these values in his father's early years and offers a heartfelt portrait of a man and his country-and his personal memories of the president he knew as "Dad."

    Get Energy! by Denise Austin
    Won from An Inspired Family

    With busy schedules, demanding careers, and little time, many of us battle just to stay awake. But energy is something that is in our control, even when time is short. Now 50 years young, fitness guru Denise Austin shows readers how to super-charge their lives, using her innovative lifestyle plan. She eats the right foods at the right time of day. She uses the power of stretching and breathing to feed her body with energy-enhancing oxygen. She uses mini-workouts to get energy even on her busiest days—and now you can too!

    Denise shows how simple changes can add up to increased energy levels throughout the day. From the foods they consume to the way they sit in their chairs, readers won't believe how Denise's quick and easy plan will dramatically increase their energy levels. In as little as a week, results will be felt: radiant skin, more restful sleep, and a sharper mind...so follow Denise Austin and prepare for a fitness wake-up call!

    Smonk by Tom Franklin
    Won from Rachael Renee Anderson

    It's 1911 and the secluded southwestern Alabama town of Old Texas has been besieged by a scabrous and malevolent character called E. O. Smonk. Syphilitic, consumptive, gouty and goitered, Smonk is also an expert with explosives and knives. He abhors horses, goats and the Irish. Every Saturday night for a year he's been riding his mule into Old Texas, destroying property, killing livestock, seducing women, cheating and beating men—all from behind the twin barrels of his Winchester 45-70 caliber over and under rifle. At last the desperate citizens of the town, themselves harboring a terrible secret, put Smonk on trial, with disastrous and shocking results. 

    Thus begins the highly anticipated new novel from Tom Franklin, acclaimed author of Hell at the Breech and Poachers

    Smonk is also the story of Evavangeline, a fifteen-year-old prostitute quick to pull a trigger or cork. A case of mistaken identity plunges her into the wild sugarcane country between the Alabama and Tombigbee rivers, land suffering from the worst drought in a hundred years and plagued by rabies. Pursued by a posse of unlikely vigilantes, Evavangeline boats upriver and then wends through the dust and ruined crops, forced along the way to confront her own clouded past. She eventually stumbles upon Old Texas, where she is fated to E. O. Smonk and the townspeople in a way she could never imagine. 

    In turns hilarious, violent, bawdy and terrifying, Smonk creates its own category: It's a southern, not a western, peopled with corrupt judges and assassins, a cuckolded blacksmith, Christian deputies, widows, War veterans, whores, witches, madmen and zombies. By the time the smoke has cleared, the mystery of Smonk will be revealed, the survivors changed forever.

    (This book was on my Wish List. I won my "book of choice" from Book Depository, and chose this one.)

    Bought for myself from Barnes and Noble:

    The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan

    Gabry lives a quiet life. As safe a life as is possible in a town trapped between a forest and the ocean, in a world teeming with the dead, who constantly hunger for those still living. She's content on her side of the Barrier, happy to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast while she watches from the top of her lighthouse. But there are threats the Barrier cannot hold back. Threats like the secrets Gabry's mother thought she left behind when she escaped from the Sisterhood and the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Like the cult of religious zealots who worship the dead. Like the stranger from the forest who seems to know Gabry. And suddenly, everything is changing. One reckless moment, and half of Gabry's generation is dead, the other half imprisoned. Now Gabry only knows one thing: she must face the forest of her mother's past in order to save herself and the one she loves.

     The Mortal Instruments series boxed set

    City of Bones:
    When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder—much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing—not even a smear of blood—to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy? 

    This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know. . . . 

    Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare’s ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.

    City of Ashes:
    Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what's normal when you're a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who's becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn't ready to let her go—especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary's only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil—and also her father.

    To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings—and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father? 

    In this breathtaking sequel to City of Bones, Cassandra Clare lures her readers back into the dark grip of New York City's Downworld, where love is never safe and power becomes the deadliest temptation.

    City of Glass:
    To save her mother’s life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters—never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight. 

    As Clary uncovers more about her family’s past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he’s willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City—whatever the cost? 

    Love is a mortal sin and the secrets of the past prove deadly as Clary and Jace face down Valentine in the third installment of bestselling series the Mortal Instruments.

    Includes an exclusive sneak peek of the fourth book in the Mortal Instruments series: City of Fallen Angels! And don't miss the teaser from Clockwork Angel, the first book in the Infernal Devices trilogy, the prequel to the Mortal Instruments series.

Post Title

Mailbox Monday (2/21/11 edition)


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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Book Giveaways in Blogworld (2-19-11 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:

    My Guilty Pleasures is giving away 2 copies of The Headhunter's Daughter. Deadline is February 20. US/Canada only.

    Splash of Our Worlds is giving away $10 to Book Depository. Deadline is February 20. US/Canada only.
    Fantastic Book Review is giving away a copy of Delirium. Deadline is February 21. US/Canada only.
    Passages to the Past is giving away a $100 to CSN Stores. Deadline is February 22. US/Canada only.

    Confessions of a Bookaholic is giving away a Demon Trapper's Daughter gift pack. Deadline is February 24. US/Canada only.

    YA Booklover is having a big follower contest! 3 winners so far, and possibly more to come! Deadline is February 25. International!
    Pudgy Penguin Perusals is giving away a copy of Haunting Jasmine. Deadline is February 25. US/Canada only.
    The Babbling Bookworm is giving away a signed copy of Matched and a signed Breathless tour poster. Deadline is March 1. Book is US only, poster is International!
    The Bookish Type is having a big blogoversary celebration. A winner gets their choice of 2 books! Deadline is March 8. International!
    Sparkling Reviews is giving a color Nook! Deadline is whenever 1100 followers is reached. 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 (2-19-11 edition)


Post URL

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Friday, February 18, 2011

I Wanna...Matched by Ally Condie

    Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

    The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

    -- Matched by Ally Condie

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I Wanna...Matched by Ally Condie


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Thursday, February 17, 2011

REVIEW: Say You're One of Them by Uwem Akpan (audiobook)

    Synopsis

    Uwem Akpan's stunning stories humanize the perils of poverty and violence so piercingly that few readers will feel they've ever encountered Africa so immediately. The eight-year-old narrator of "An Ex-Mas Feast" needs only enough money to buy books and pay fees in order to attend school. Even when his twelve-year-old sister takes to the streets to raise these meager funds, his dream can't be granted. Food comes first. His family lives in a street shanty in Nairobi, Kenya, but their way of both loving and taking advantage of each other strikes a universal chord. 

    In the second of his stories published in a New Yorker special fiction issue, Akpan takes us far beyond what we thought we knew about the tribal conflict in Rwanda. The story is told by a young girl, who, with her little brother, witnesses the worst possible scenario between parents. They are asked to do the previously unimaginable in order to protect their children. This singular collection will also take the reader...

    About the Author


    Uwem Akpan was born in Ikot Akpan Eda in southern Nigeria. After studying philosophy and English at Creighton and Gonzaga universities, he studied theology for three years at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa. He was ordained as a Jesuit priest in 2003 and received his MFA in creative writing from the University of Michigan in 2006. "My Parents' Bedroom," a story from his short story collection, Say You're One of Them, was one of five short stories by African writers chosen as finalists for The Caine Prize for African Writing 2007. Say You're One of Them won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book (Africa Region) 2009 and PEN/Beyond Margins Award 2009, and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction. In 2007, Akpan taught at a Jesuit college in Harare, Zimbabwe. Now he serves at Christ the King Church, Ilasamaja-Lagos, Nigeria.

    My Thoughts

    This was a very brief audiobook, being only 3 CDs long, with one story per CD. Of course, it does say "Unabridged Selections: 3 Stories on 3 CDs read by Robin Miles and Dion Graham". So it seems that this is not the complete book, but only 3 of the stories from the book.

    The first story was the most powerful, told from the perspective of a young girl in Rwanda living through the genocidal slaughter of the Tutsi by Hutu members- a slaughter that turned family members and friends and neighbors against one another. This story drew me in, and the characters came alive for me. I loved this story, in a tragic and broken and heart-wrenching sort of way.

    The second CD contained the story of a destitute Kenyan family living in shanty town, trying to gather presents for "X-Mas" (it was odd hearing them continually calling it "X-Mas" and never "Christmas"). This was my least favorite of the three stories.

    The final CD consisted of the story of two young girls, best friends for years, torn apart by the religious differences of their parents. The third CD ends with an interview with the good-natured author.

    These stories were brought to life by two narrators with authentic African accents, breathing life into the characters. As I've said before, I loved the first story, and loved the narration.

    This was a quick audiobook, allowing me to listen through it in just a few hours, even though I had my attention towards the book continually interrupted by my workday. If all of the stories had been as good as the first one, this book would have been fantastic, and perhaps in its entirety it would be that fantastic. But as it was the book, with only these three stories, was just "okay". It had its moments.


    My Rating: 7 out of 10

Post Title

REVIEW: Say You're One of Them by Uwem Akpan (audiobook)


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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

REVIEW: Cheap Cabernet by Cathie Beck

    Synopsis

    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.

    About the Author
    from the back cover

    Cathie Beck is a Denver-based journalist and creative writer. She contributes to a number of publications and to KUVO radio in Denver. She is the recipient of writing awards from both the Louisiana and Denver Press Women's Clubs, and the Scripps-Howard Award for Excellence in Journalism. She holds an M.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

    My Thoughts
    We are hurtling north of Denver on Interstate 25 in Denise's death-trap, bottle-cap excuse of a car, at eight-three miles per hour, with the plan to stalk Jerry Jeff Walker of "Mr. Bojangles" and "Up Against the Wall Redneck Mother" fame.
    This is how we are introduced to our two main characters, Cathie Beck and Denise Katz: hurtling down an interstate as the two hurtled through the second stages of their lives.

    This book is a memoir (a fact that I somehow missed and realized about a third of the way through). It isn't supposed to be a work of fiction, but a memoir of a friendship. Cathie Beck has had a tough life, raised in an unstable home, pregnant and married as a teen, abandoned by her husband with two children to raise at age 21, she has clawed her way through life. Now, nearing the age of 40, she finds herself an empty-nester in need of friends and begins a woman's group called WOW (Women on the Way). At the first meeting of their new group, Cathie meets Denise Katz: forward, unapologetic, brash, and Cathie doesn't think she likes this woman very much. But then she changes her mind, and finds she likes her very much, and the two begin a many-year friendship that navigates the difficulties of Denise's struggles with Multiple Sclerosis.

    Cathie appears to be honest and real. She almost begrudgingly becomes friends with Denise, who is perhaps unlikeable to many, but I found that I liked her. Perhaps that is because I can identify with her. Denise has a warmth and heart that is kept very well hidden, but she also displays an evident strength. 

    This book was a very easy read. Certain writing styles are just very conversational and comfortable for me, and allow me to whiz through much more quickly than with strongly narrative or "stodgy" writing.

    I sort of delayed picking this one up, because I just wasn't sure that it would be able to grab me. I was pleasantly surprised. It built and held me most of the way. However I did find the final 100 pages to be less captivating, and began to lose me, and the ending was less than satisfying. But, given that it is a memoir, that may be something that cannot be helped-- it ended as it ended. You can't change life.

    One thing that confused me was that the beginning had nothing to do with the ending. The way that the opening chapter is laid out, I always thought that the end of the book would pick up where it left off and the story would end. But that isn't what happened. The story never really returned to that moment again, aside from a very brief mention of Wyoming at the end of the book. So that only added to disappointment in the ending. It's as if the beginning set me up for an ending that never came as expected.

    For the most part, this was an enjoyable story.

    Quotes:

    "My loneliness had grown out of poverty and her ugly sisters- shame and desperation. It was hard to shrug off." p. 12

    "Many people were afraid of Denise, but not me. Many people mistook her ballsiness for bitchiness, her inquisitiveness for nosiness, her brevity for rudeness." p. 292

    Town/Location/Environment: 
    Much of the story takes place in beautiful Colorado, but the locale takes a backseat and plays very little into the storyline.

    This book in five words: Honest, heart-wrenching, real, roller-coaster ride.

    My Rating: 7.5 out of 10

    Disclosure: I received a copy of this book to review through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers, in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not financially compensated in any way, and the opinions expressed are my own and based on my observations while reading this novel.

Post Title

REVIEW: Cheap Cabernet by Cathie Beck


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What's Releasing? (2/16/11 edition)

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What's Releasing? (2/16/11 edition)


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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Maggie Stiefvater reads from FOREVER

    Unfortunately I haven't been able to read either Shiver nor Linger by Maggie Stiefvater, but both sit on my shelf waiting patiently for my attention. From all of the good things that I've heard, I have little doubt that it will be well worth the wait, and that this book will be a great conclusion to the series. So for those of you who have been lucky enough to have fallen in love with the series, here is a video excerpt from Forever, read by author Maggie Stiefvater...


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Maggie Stiefvater reads from FOREVER


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OWOH Giveaway


    We're in the final stretch of the One World One Heart giveaway, and you don't want to miss your chance to help worldwide entrepreneurs! It's the final couple of days of the international blog hop in which I am giving away a $25 virtual gift card to Kiva.org, for one of my blog visitors to loan to a person in need. Just head over to my other blog Heather's Eden for your chance to make a difference!

Post Title

OWOH Giveaway


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Monday, February 14, 2011

WINNERS: Follower Love Giveaway Hop


    Well, the hop has ended, and the winners have been drawn! The winner of the Book Depository giveaway ($15 limit) is...

    Shahira

    The winner of the Lifetime LibraryThing membership is...

    Stacy (Urban Fantasy Investigations)

    I will be emailing both of you later, or if you see this first you are welcome to email me. I'll need some things from Shahira (delivery address, book choice), and I'll be emailing Stacy the code for her free membership.

    Thanks so much to everyone who joined in. Thanks to Kathy at I Am a Reader, Not a Writer for the hop! Keep your eyes open for future giveaways!

Post Title

WINNERS: Follower Love Giveaway Hop


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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Book Giveaways in Blogworld (2-12-11 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:

    Between the Covers is giving away a copy of Radiant Shadows as part of Follower Love! Deadline is February 13. International!

    Outhouse Reviews is giving away Kiss of Death and a goody bag as part of Follower Love! Deadline is February 13. International! 

    Hooked to Books is giving away a copy of Matched and $15 in book choices as part of Follower Love! Deadline is February 13. International!

    One Book Shy is giving away a $10 book of choice and a $65 CSN gift code as part of Follower Love! Deadline is February 13. International!

    Cici's Theories is giving away Twenty-Boy Summer and some other things as part of Follower Love! Deadline is February 13. 

    See Scoot Read is giving away your choice of six books to 2 winners as part of Follower Love! Deadline is February 13. International!

    The Book Rat is giving away your choice from a prize pool as part of Follower Love! Deadline is February 13. International!
    Courtney Allison Moulton is giving away a copy of Wither as part of her 13-week Fear the Reaper giveaway. Deadline is February 13. US only.
    Dark Faerie Tales is giving away a copy of The Iron Queen and an Iron Fey tee. Deadline is February 14. US only.

    My Bookish Ways is giving away a signed copy of Outside In. Deadline is February 15. US/Canada only.
    Midnyte Reader is giving away books from the Breathless tour. Deadline is February 18. US only.
    My Guilty Pleasures is giving away 2 copies of The Headhunter's Daughter. Deadline is February 20. US/Canada only.
    Splash of Our Worlds is giving away $10 to Book Depository. Deadline is February 20. US/Canada only.
    Passages to the Past is giving away a $100 to CSN Stores. Deadline is February 22. US/Canada only.
    Confessions of a Bookaholic is giving away a Demon Trapper's Daughter gift pack. Deadline is February 24. US/Canada only.
    YA Booklover is having a big follower contest! 3 winners so far, and possibly more to come! Deadline is February 25. International!
    The Babbling Bookworm is giving away a signed copy of Matched and a signed Breathless tour poster. Deadline is March 1. Book is US only, poster is International!
    Sparkling Reviews is giving a color Nook! Deadline is whenever 1100 followers is reached. 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 (2-12-11 edition)


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Friday, February 11, 2011

I Wanna...Precious by Sandra Novack

    It happens on a hot summer evening, while children with peeling sunburns roam the streets playing tag and cicadas hum in the trees. Sissy’s ex-best friend goes missing while riding her bike in the park, and it casts a shadow on her family, who are already struggling to maintain a sense of normalcy. For nine-year-old Sissy, whose mother is not there when she’s needed, whose father is angry, and whose older sister is focused on seducing her high school teacher, desperate secrets seem to underlie everything. As the summer grows hotter and the missing girl is never found, the sense of foreboding builds toward one violent night when everything will change forever for Sissy’s family.

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I Wanna...Precious by Sandra Novack


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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What's Releasing? (2/9/11 edition)

    Books being released the week of 2/14/11:

    In the seventh book in the bestselling series, evil scientists are still trying to convince Max that she needs to save the world, this time by providing the genetic link in speeding up the pace of evolution. Worse, they're trying to convince her that her perfect mate is Dylan, the newest addition to the flock. The problem is that, despite herself, Max is starting to believe it. 

    Fang travels the country collecting his own gang of evolved humans, but the two separate flocks must unite to defeat a frightening doomsday cult whose motto is Save the Planet: Kill the Humans. And this time, the true heroine, for once, might just be little Angel.


    The world knows Madame Tussaud as a wax artist extraordinaire . . . but who was this woman who became one of the most famous sculptresses of all time? In these pages, her tumultuous and amazing story comes to life as only Michelle Moran can tell it. The year is 1788, and a revolution is about to begin.

    Smart and ambitious, Marie Tussaud has learned the secrets of wax sculpting by working alongside her uncle in their celebrated wax museum, the Salon de Cire. From her popular model of the American ambassador, Thomas Jefferson, to her tableau of the royal family at dinner, Marie’s museum provides Parisians with the very latest news on fashion, gossip, and even politics. Her customers hail from every walk of life, yet her greatest dream is to attract the attention of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI; their stamp of approval on her work could catapult her and her museum to the fame and riches she desires. After months of anticipation, Marie learns that the royal family is willing to come and see their likenesses. When they finally arrive, the king’s sister is so impressed that she requests Marie’s presence at Versailles as a royal tutor in wax sculpting. It is a request Marie knows she cannot refuse—even if it means time away from her beloved Salon and her increasingly dear friend, Henri Charles.

    As Marie gets to know her pupil, Princesse Élisabeth, she also becomes acquainted with the king and queen, who introduce her to the glamorous life at court. From lavish parties with more delicacies than she’s ever seen to rooms filled with candles lit only once before being discarded, Marie steps into a world entirely different from her home on the Boulevard du Temple, where people are selling their teeth in order to put food on the table.

    Meanwhile, many resent the vast separation between rich and poor. In salons and cafés across Paris, people like Camille Desmoulins, Jean-Paul Marat, and Maximilien Robespierre are lashing out against the monarchy. Soon, there’s whispered talk of revolution. . . . Will Marie be able to hold on to both the love of her life and her friendship with the royal family as France approaches civil war? And more important, will she be able to fulfill the demands of powerful revolutionaries who ask that she make the death masks of beheaded aristocrats, some of whom she knows?

    Spanning five years, from the budding revolution to the Reign of Terror,
    Madame Tussaud brings us into the world of an incredible heroine whose talent for wax modeling saved her life and preserved the faces of a vanished kingdom.


    Me?

    A leader?

    Okay, I did prove that there's more to Inside than we knew.

    That a whole world exists beyond this cube we live in. And finding that led to a major rebellion—between worker scrubs like me and the snobby uppers who rule our world. Make that ruled. Because of me, we're free. I thought that meant I was off the hook, and could go off on my own again—while still touching base with Riley, of course. He's the one upper I think I can trust. But then we learned that there's outside and then there is Outside.

    And something from Outside wants In.


    David R. Dow has had access to a world most of us will never experience. As a lawyer, he has represented over one hundred death-row cases. Many of his clients have died. Most were guilty. Some might have been innocent. The Autobiography of an Execution is his deeply personal story about justice, the death penalty, and a lawyer's life. 

    His life at paradoxical extremes: Witnessing executions and then coming home to the loving embrace of his wife and young son, who inqure about Dow's day. Waging moral battles on behalf of people who have committed abhorrent crimes. Fighting for life in America's death-penalty capital, within a criminal justice system full of indifferent and ineffectual judges. Racing against time on behalf of clients who have no more time. 

    Regardless of your views on the death penalty, Dow's writing will take you inside the issue in striking, intimate ways: through the complicated minds of judges, inside prisons and execution-administration chambers, and into his own home, where the toll of working on these gnarled and difficult cases is often paid. Ultimately, he shows us a world where suspense clings to every word and action, where human lives hang in the balance, and where doing the right thing is never as easy as it sounds.

    Also available this week:

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What's Releasing? (2/9/11 edition)


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Monday, February 7, 2011

GIVEAWAY: Follower Love Giveaway Hop

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GIVEAWAY: Follower Love Giveaway Hop


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