Thursday, September 30, 2010

5 finalists for the Wind Warrior Contest

Here are the 5 finalists for the Wind Warrior Contest

1.  Cheryl C.
2.  Kimberly K.
3.  Spamgirl
4.  Sarah
5.  Stacey S.

Congrats to the finalists.  I have sent your name and e-mail address on to the author, Cynthia Roberts and she will pick a winner on Oct 1st from all the blog finalists.  Good luck ladies!!  I hope one of you wins. 

Almost to Die For Contest Ends Today!

Almost to Die For Contest Ends Today!

Today is the last day of September and the author of the month contest ends today.  Please enter by midnight, central time, September 30th (today).  Tate Hallaway is giving away 5 personalized copies of her book Almost To Die For.  Please fill out this form located HERE.  You must be a follower of Booksnob.  You choose which way to follow.  Good Luck!!

I would like to thank Tate Hallaway for being September's Hometown Track, Minnesota Author in the Spotlight.   The features presented for September's author were, author of the month announcement, a contest, a book review on Almost to Die For, an author interview with Tate and a booklist with commentary on Tate Hallaway's published works.

Tomorrow, I will announce October's Hometown Track Author in the Spotlight so stay tuned.
I will also e-mail contest winners tomorrow and announce the winners on the blog as soon as I get addresses from everyone.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Wind Warrior Contest Ends Tomorrow!

The Wind Warrior Contest Ends tomorrow.  You have 24 hours left to enter to win some great prizes from the author, Cynthia Roberts.  I will be picking 5 finalists and I will send your name and e-mail to the author who will then choose 5 winners from all the entrants.

Here are the prizes and the requirements for entering.  Hurry up and enter.  Good Luck!

  1.    Leave a comment at the end of this post, a must. Leave name and e-mail address.
2.      Tweet the following text:   
      Wind Warrior by Cynthia Roberts A story of longing, wanting & a love so strong it conquers human evil. On sale now at Major Book Retailers.
3.      Post the same tag on your Facebook and/or Myspace Profile (Don't have - Don't Worry - Will not Disqualify You.
4.      Become a fan/follower/subscriber of the site, a must.
5.      You may enter on each of the blogs registered below, however, only one family member may do so in a household.
6.      Open to ALL not just the US & Canada
7.      Each participating blog will randomly choose five entrants from their list of participants to be placed in the grand pool where 5 winners will be randomly selected
8.      Winners will be chosen on Sept. 30th and notified via email by Cynthia
9.      All finalists must provide their name and official delivery address at the time of finalist selection to the site owner who chooses them randomly as a finalist.

Here are the fabulous Prizes!  Don't forget to check out my review of the book.  You are gonna want to read it.                         
  1. Romantic Two-lid willow picnic basket with deluxe service for two ~ $125.00 value
  2. Succulent Godiva Chocolate Tier ~ $75.00 value
  3. Exquisite Pearl & Crystal Necklace ~ $50.00 value
  4. Amazon Gift Certificate ~ $25 value
  5. Amazon Gift Certificate ~ $25 value.

The Wind Warrior

The Wind Warrior by Cynthia Roberts

This a multi-faceted historical romance.  It begins in the NorthEast woods somewhere near upstate New York in the 1700's or 17th century( I'm guessing).  Leslie is a woman who has visions and she foresees a Indian man in her dreams.  After her father's murder and her escape from the village, Leslie is wounded and her reality entangles with the man from her dreams, Winnokin.  He is Seneca and his tribe is part of the Iroquois Confederacy (5 Indian Nations who formed a political and social system together).

The story is mainly about Leslie's and Winnokin's journey of melding their two distinct cultures together with some sex thrown in.  Leslie travels to Winnokin's tribe with many trials and pitfalls (kidnapper's included) along the way.  Mainly the novel is about acceptance.

I haven't read a true romance in a few years and I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly I devoured it.   I really enjoyed the historical part of the book and that it dealt with the culture of the Seneca Nation.  I wish the author would have been a bit more specific with actual historical events, dates and locations but my guess, if I remember correctly, is that historical romance is supposed to be more about the romance than the historical backdrop.  Unfortunately I not really into the romance of a novel anymore but more interested in the issues and history it presents.

Leslie is a strong main character, the book seems historically accurate and presents a strong sense of culture. It was a good read for me and strongly I believe the racism of the time will play out in later novels.  This is the first book in a series of three.

I received this book from Crazy Book Tours.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tate Hallaway Booklist

Hometown Track Minnesota Author in the Spotlight:  Tate Hallaway.  Tate is a resident of Saint Paul, MN and has published 6 books under her pen name and 5 books under her real name of Lyda Morehouse.  All the information I am providing about Tate's books comes from her website.  Please check it out here.  I will list the books in the order Tate has them on her website.
 A.  Almost to Die For:  Check out my review and enter the contest by midnight on Sept. 30th, 2010
  This is Tate's first young adult novel and it takes place in Saint Paul.  It is about a 16 year old who is half vampire, half witch and it searching for her identity.

B.  Honeymoon of the Dead:  Takes place in Minneapolis, MN.  The female lead marries her vampire husband and expects a great honeymoon in Transylvania but doesn't get what she asks for.  She begins to see gods and goddesses all over Minneapolis because she is possessed. 
C.  Dead if I do:  Here is where the heroine, Garnet Lacey, of the novel falls in love with her vampire husband to be.  She plans and executes her wedding with a few pitfalls along the way.

D.  Romancing the Dead:  Garnet Lacey is a witch who is being chased by the Vatican Witch hunters.  The vampire she loves has just proposed and things are going pretty well until he disappears and she figures out that someone is trying to kill her.
E.  Dead Sexy:  Garnet has a lot going on in this novel.  She runs a bookstore and pesky zombies keep popping up everywhere as well as a cute FBI agent is following  her.  Is she trying too hard whilst concocting a love spell and will her new boyfriend find out that she is storing her ex boyfriend's coffin in the basement?  Only the reader knows the answers.
F.  Tall, Dark and Dead:  Definitely my favorite book cover of all the books listed.  Garnet is a witch and the Vatican Assassins are in Minneapolis looking for her.  She must leave town and so she moves to Wisconsin and opens a bookstore specializing in the Occult and in walks someone who is Tall, Dark and Dead.

Let me know if you have read any of these titles.  All the books hold the common theme of witches and vampires.  I have personally only read her latest book:  Almost to Die For, but I am intrigued by the covers and their locations so I may be reading one of Garnet Lacey books soon.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Jeremy Fink and The Meaning of Life

Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life by Wendy Mass

How do you define the meaning of life?

One month before his 13th birthday, Jeremy Fink receives a mysterious engraved box in the mail.  The box was created by his father(who died when Jeremy was 8), and it holds the meaning of life.  The only problem is that the keys are missing and they only have one month to find them before Jeremy's birthday. 

So Jeremy and his best friend Lizzy, set off on a adventure quest to locate the keys and along the way encounter people who are willing to impart their wisdom on life.  What ensues is an endearing journey of love and discovery. 

Turning 13 is a rite of passage for most kids as they turn from child to teenager.  It should be celebrated and I love the author's idea of creating a box and enclosing the meaning of life.  So much so that I am creating a time capsule type box for my son and daughter when they turn 13.  I really want to create a personal quest for them as a rite of passage.  Any ideas??  My son turns 13 in May, 2011.  I am definitely putting this book in his box. 

What is the meaning of life?  My answer to that question is complicated but I mainly feel that life is about the journey and experiences you have along the way.  You can't learn and grow as a person if you don't encounter new things and change the route of your journey from time to time.  Be open to new experiences even if it scares you.

I love books that inspire me to action and change my life.  This book has changed my life and will even affect the lives of my children with their future time capsule boxes and rite of passage quests that I create.  I am super excited about this project and hope my kids will love it.  Are there books out there that have inspired you to make a change in your life?  I want to know.

Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life is being made into a movie to be released in 2011. 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Krik? Krak!

Krik? Krak! by Edwidge Danticat

Wow, this small book of interweaving short stories packs a powerful punch of Haitian reality.   It gives readers a spoonful of Haiti's turbulent past and combines stories that intersect through many years of time and generations.  It depicts strong Haitian women, traditions of culture and vague instances of history. 

The history of Haiti is long and varied and this book had me longing to know more.  So I did a bit of research.  As a world history teacher I probably know more than most but still learned a lot and want to share my new knowledge.  If you are going to read this book, you need to understand some basic history of Haiti.  For example:  Haiti is the first place Christopher Columbus lands and claims the land for Spain.  All the Indians die of disease or are worked to death.  Slaves are then imported from Africa.  Haiti is the first South American country to win its Independence in 1838.

Here is what I learned.  In 1937 Dominican Republic's President Trujillo ordered the massacre of Haitians living on the border.  The river is now called The River of Blood.  In 1957, Dr. Francois Dulalier (Papa Doc) is elected in military controlled elections.  He later declares himself President for Life and rules with an Iron Fist.  He forms the infamous paramilitary Tonton Macoute (which means, Uncle Boogeyman)  These henchman are responsible for the killing and exile of thousands of people.  Papa Doc dies and his son (Baby Doc) takes power in 1971.  In 1972 the first Boat people( Haitian refugees) try to escape Haiti.  He rules unfavorably until 1986.  This is the history of the stories told in Krik? Krak!

This is the second book I have read by Edwidge Danticat and I want to read more.  In my opinion, this author is under the radar but she shouldn't be as she has won awards and even had a Oprah book.  Her stories are not all happy and full of hope, they basically reflect the reality of day to day life with small moments or glimmers of hope, which are hard for each reader to find.  Her writing is amazing and powerful, each story literally wowed me.

"When Haitians tell a story, they say "Krik?" and the eager listeners answer "Krak!".

Anyone out there like a good story?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Interview with Tate Hallaway

Interview with Author Tate Hallaway.  

Hey Book readers and Vampire lovers, I have asked the talented author of the book, Almost to Die For, Tate Hallaway, some important questions that inquiring minds would want to know the answers too.  So please read on!!

  1. Tate, Tell us a little bit about yourself?

One thing that you might be interested in knowing about me is that when I was in high school, Ronald Reagan was president.  I’m also a practicing Wiccan, though I can’t do anything like what Bea or Ana can do in ALMOST TO DIE FOR.

  1. Tell us in one sentence what your book is about?

ALMOST TO DIE FOR is about a girl who discovers she’s both witch and vampire, and has to decide what she wants to do about it.

  1. How did you decide on the title for your book?

Honestly?  After the Garnet Lacey series, in which, my editor insisted my titles always have the word “Dead” in it, I wanted something a bit more flexible.  The next book will repeat the ALMOST, but nothing else.  Trust me, you can do a lot more with “almost…” something than you can trying to come up with yet another pun/familiar phrase around the word dead that Charlaine Harris, MaryJanice Davidson, or Kim Harrison hasn’t already used!

  1. What inspired you to tell this story?

A number of things…but probably the biggest one is that I really wanted to write about a teenage girl who is, at her heart, a geek/nerd, like I was.  I don’t think there are nearly enough stories with nerdy smart chicks in the lead.  We often get to be best friends in these kinds of books, but rarely the princess.

  1. How many books have you written in your career as a writer?
           Which one was the most fun to write?  Which one do you consider your best?

I’ve written nearly a dozen books.  I wrote an adult science fiction “tetrology” (or, as friend calls it, a four book trilogy) under my given name, Lyda Morehouse, with a fifth book in that series coming out next March.  So, that’s five…

Next, I wrote five books in the Garnet Lacey series… so, we’re up to ten.

I’m contracted for three of the vampire princess of St. Paul series (so far,) and I’ve completed two of those.  ALMOST TO DIE FOR which came out in August, and ALMOST FINAL CURTAIN, which I’m currently revising for my editor, which will be out early next spring (I think.)

My editor also bought another adult book in a completely new series, which I’ve been describing as CSI meets X-Files, a kind of urban fantasy police procedural.

  1. Is this your first Young Adult novel and if so, why did you decide to write for this age group?

It is.  I decided to write for the teen market, because, honestly, this is where all the cool kids are.  I’ve been really impressed with the young adult books I’ve been reading lately, things like Scott Westerfeld’s UGLIES series, and I’ve been devouring Suzanne Collin’s HUNGER GAMES books (I haven’t read MOCKINGJAY yet, though I ripped through the first two.)  To me, the YA market is really the most exciting place to be, and I think one of the reasons is that “YA” is the category, as it were, and so you’re much more free as a writer to stretch the boundaries of genre (or not) as the spirit moves you.

  1. I know this book is part of the Vampire Princess series.  When can we expect the next book to be in stores?  Can you share something about the next book?

While I try to hunt through my stuff to figure out when the next book is officially supposed to hit the shelves, what I can tell you is that the pitch line I’ve been using to describe ALMOST FINAL CURTAIN is “Glee meets Vampire Dairies.”  Because in the next book Ana tries out for a play… and vampire hijinx ensue.

  1. In my review post I wrote about some real life issues that teens face in your book.  Can you tell me why you chose to give the characters real-life issues and maybe what some of those issues are?

A lot of reviewers have picked up on this idea of divorce, as Ana clearly feels pulled between what her mother wants her to be (a True Witch) and what her father wants her to be (a vampire princess.)  But, those associations were accidental on my part, as I can’t say that I’m writing from experience there… my parents have been together my entire life.  What I was trying to tap into is something that’s probably a lot less common, which why it transmutes for most readers into the issues surrounding divorce. I wanted to write about the experiences of someone walking between two cultures – an immigrant experience, really, which is part of why one of Ana’s best friends is a Somali-American. 

I very intentionally structured Ana’s life on stories that I heard people talking about when I worked at the Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota – missing Saturday morning cartoon references because those hours were spent attending Hebrew class, or Latvian or Ukrainian language classes… things like that.  Ana’s sense of never really fitting in with “normal” kids, because she had this other life that only a few of her friends really understood.

  1. Usually an author puts some of her own life experiences in the book.  Did you do that?  Do you have anything in common with your characters? 

Oh yes, several things.  Ana’s theatre stuff is all me, as are any of her more nerdy/geeky pursuits – although I was not as smart in school as I’ve made Ana (I took advanced courses, but I got Cs).  My father is a college professor, and I grew up in a house that is over a hundred years old.  

  1. Why did you have Ana attend a fictional St. Paul high school as opposed to a current existing school? 

I actually have a very specific reason: I wanted to have an open campus, and I don’t think that any of the St. Paul high schools are.  It’s very clearly Central High School, in terms of where it’s located, but I wanted to have more freedom in design and rules, etc.

  1. OK, I know that Tate Hallaway is not your real name.  What made you decide to write under a pen name? 

Alas, it wasn’t *my* decision, though I think that the universe was definitely guiding me to an interesting career.  Probably, if it had been up to me, I’d still be writing very obscure science fiction novels.  The good news/bad news is that science fiction (or at least the stuff I wrote) doesn’t sell very well, and my editor at the time was visionary when it came to directing my career into a more sustainable genre.  At a science fiction convention he and I were talking about the book I was supposed to be writing next for him, and neither of us was all that into it, honestly.  When we got to talking about other stuff and I confessed a guilty sort of pleasure in vampire novels, he suggested I propose paranormal romance with vampires…

The rest, as they say, is history.

The name change came about because I was writing in such a different genre that we both thought a fresh start and, let’s be honest, new a “branding” opportunity, was appropriate.  Thus Tate Hallaway was born!

  1. Could you tell us in one sentence why we should read Almost to Die For?

Because you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll kiss ten bucks good-bye!

Again thanks for taking your valuable time to answer these questions!  I loved the book and I thought it was super fun reading a book that takes place in Saint Paul.

Go, St. Paulies!  And, you’re very welcome.  Thanks for the opportunity! (Tate)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Th1rteen R3asons Why

TH1RTEEN R3ASONS WHY.  A Novel by Jay Asher

A book review highlighting 13 reasons why you must read this book and share it with a teenager in your life.

1.  This book is about a teenage girl named Hannah who commits suicide and tells her story on 13 audio cassette tapes.

2.  Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death of people 15 to 24 and it is on the rise.

3.  Hannah Baker tried to reach out many times before she died and her attempts were not noticed.  This book will make you aware of some of the warning signs so that you can recognize when someone is in danger of committing suicide and get them some help.

4.  This book will make you  think about how your actions and words affect others around you. 

5.  Give this book to a teenager and then have a conversation about it.  Every one of us knows someone who has committed suicide.  It is 100% preventable and 100% regrettable when it happens.

6.  This book contains many moral dilemmas faced by teenagers today.  Arm yourself with knowledge.

7.  This is one unique story told from two perspectives.  Hannah tells her suicidal story from the cassette tapes Clay receives.  Clay tells his story of denial, love and frustration while listening to Hannah. Very Powerful.

8.  There are many issues in this book that adults and teens need to be aware of as dangerous to our emotional state of being.  Rape, Bullying, Rumors, Spying, Safety, Manipulation and Suicide are just some of the issues that this story brings up and should be talked about.

9.  Hannah is just like any teenager, living anywhere in the world.  She may be living next door.  Reach out.

10.  This book is a page turner.  You can't put it down because you want to know what happens to Hannah and Clay.  Do you want to know what goes on in the life of someone who is depressed, angry and frustrated with life?  You should.

11.  Teenagers just want someone to understand them, listen to them and love them.  That is all Hannah wanted and yet she couldn't find it or accept it, then she felt she didn't deserve it.

12.  The journey of life is hard and some people need to be carried part of the way.  Pick them up and carry them where they need to go.  Hold their hand.  Hug Them.

13.  Do you keep secrets?  Don't keep this book a secret because it is a unique, heart wrenching story that should be embraced by the community and talked about for years to come.

It is a powerful experience to make a difference in someone's life.  I want to share a story with you that happened to me recently.  A student of mine was handing in their last assignment of the school year in a sealed envelope that I planned to mail 3 years from now.  When he handed it to me, he said it was his suicide note.  What? I said and he repeated, this is my suicide note.  I did a little freaking out of course and then handed it to my guidance counselor in the building who called his father to convince him to get his son some series help for depression.  I just saw this student in the hall last week, alive thankfully, as I worried about him all summer.  He hasn't come in to talk to me yet but I am hoping he will.  What if I didn't turn that letter in or ignored his cry for help??  I don't like to think about the answer to that question.

Check out the author's website.  It contains audio tapes of the thirteen people Hannah included in her reasons for dying.  You can see the map in the story, listen to the audio tapes as well as see what real people comment about the book.  Go to

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Almost to Die For

Almost to Die For by Tate Hallaway

Ana Parker is turning sixteen and her world is about to be turned upside down when she meets her estranged father who informs her that she is a vampire princess and not a witch like her mother.   Ana is a really strong character although she doesn't think so.  She is bullied by the local jocks, can't perform magic and sits alone at lunch.  Her mother is a head case that Ana can't figure out, her parents hate each other and life is crazy.  Basically she suffers from low self-esteem but she is totally one kick ass chick!

This is a young adult novel that holds teen issues at the heart of it.  I could find a lot of teens sitting in my classes everyday who can relate to not fitting in or sitting alone in the lunch room.  Other important teen issues raised are divorce, bullying, sex, safety, gangs and low self-esteem.  I am sure there are more.  The author does an excellent job of showing the metamorphosis of Ana from weak, picked on girl to kick ass, vampire princess.  And while the average human doesn't make that drastic of a transformation, change does happen and can be profound.

This book was a lot of fun for me to read.  It takes place right in Saint Paul, which is where I live, and it is so fun to read a book that takes place in your hometown.  There is one scene in the book where there is a fight outside a bowling alley (Bryant Lake Bowl).  I am wondering if the author was there when I visited last because there was a fight that night too.  I was like, WEIRD?  Basically the vampires own St. Paul at night and that is why everything closes and everyone goes home so early.  Makes sense to me.

I am sure you know by now that I am not a vampire expert nor do I read a lot of vampire/witch type of books.  OK, honestly I have read two in my life, three if you count this book, and I have to say that this book was really entertaining for me.  I laughed out loud a few times, I had a few grossed out moments and I loved how the book ended and I can't wait for more. This is the first book in the Vampire Princess series.

If you liked my review and want to win personalized copy of the book from the author please click on the book in my side bar and enter by September 30th, 2010.  Still to come this month is an interview with Tate Hallaway.  If you have a question you want me to ask let me know in the comments and I will include it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

BBAW- Day 3 Unexpected Treasure

Book Blogger Appreciation Week- Day 3 Unexpected Treasure.

Today we are supposed to share a book that we tried and read due to the influence of another blogger.  The book that I read and loved and probably never would have read without a lot of encouragement was Northhanger Abbey by Jane Austen.  The blogger who hosted a readalong was Jennifer from Reading with Tequila. 

I read one other book by Jane Austen (Sense and Sensibility) and found that Jane and I just didn't have the makings for a good reader/author relationship but when Jennifer suggested a readalong with only 50 pages a week and about 8 other bloggers signed up to read it too, I knew I should try Austen again.  I am so glad I did!  I loved Northhanger Abbey, and I discovered I love readalongs as well.  So basically if anyone wants to host an Austen readalong, I am in.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

BlogFest Winner

BlogFest was a huge success and I would like to welcome all my new followers.  Thanks for all the great comments about addiction.  It really is a problem that many people face so I believe we should support and talk to each other to overcome and work through addictions.  Prayers to all of you who need the support. 

The lucky winner of the book Fallout by Ellen Hopkins is Madalena from Portugal.
The book was released today and I bought one copy for my lucky winner and I expect she will love it.  Congratulations!!

BBAW- Day 2 Blogger Interview

Book Blogger Appreciation Week Day 2 - Blogger Interview

I want to introduce you all to Carina from Reading Through Life blog.  Carina is a teacher from Toronto who writes one of my favorite blogs and I am so pleased that I was able to interview her and present to you her thoughtful answers.   After you read this interview you need to check out her amazing blog, just click on the title of her blog printed above and it will take you there. 

  1.  Tell us a little bit about yourself and your blog?

I’m a 20-something teacher in Toronto (Canada) who’s been book blogging for almost a year now. I read a lot, though my speed varies depending on the time of year and the types of books that I’m reading. I really plowed through books over the summer while I was off of school, but my reading (and thus reviewing) tends to slow down a bit over the winter since I have other obligations.

I write about a lot of things on my blog. So far, most of my posts have been reviews, but I’m trying to branch out more into discussions of reading in general, literacy education, and student engagement within the context of reading. I also participate in a variety of events, including read-a-longs, read-a-thons, and reading challenges. This summer, I hosted a small challenge (the Summer Slimdown) and my very first month-long reading event (Ramadan Reading), which will likely become a yearly occurrence.

  1. Describe your blog in 6 words?

Canadian teacher loves: books, learning, literacy.

  1. What makes your blog unique?

The most unique part of my blog is probably the variety of books that I read – everything from YA and adult contemporary fiction to manga to political non-fiction to graphic novels to religious exegesis. Also, like I said above, I just finished my first theme month, which featured daily reviews and discussion posts related to Muslims and Islam, for all thirty days of Ramadan.

  1. Can you share a list of 5 books you would recommend and why?

There are a ton of books that I’d like to recommend, but I’m going to keep myself to books that I’ve read (and reviewed) since I started blogging.

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

I think that everyone should read this book (as well as The Handmaid’s Tale) as cautionary tales about where our world could be headed. Plus, I absolutely love Atwood’s writing style and she creates really fantastic and relatable characters.

Every parent, teacher, and person concerned with literacy should read this book. It talks not only about how the current generation is ending up less literate (and very seldom ending up as “readers”), but also gives concrete suggestions about how different people can work towards changing these things.

Watchmen by Alan Moore

Even if you are not a comic book or graphic novel fan, you should read this. It’s so much better than the movie, and one of my reasons for loving it is in the same vein as my reasons for loving Atwood’s dystopias – it’s a really great cautionary tale about where we could be going wrong with our world, even if it is meant as an alternate history of the Cold War period. There’s also the really great layer of the philosophy behind superheroes, and tons and tons of detail and hidden stuff in the piece that make it way more nuanced than even most full-length classic literature that I’ve read. Hands down the best graphic novel ever written to date.

Palestine by Joe Sacco

Also in the vein of graphic texts – not always “novels”, since they’re not always fiction – are the works of Sacco, of which this one is my favorite so far. As many book blogger rants have gone, graphic texts are a format not a genre, and this is definitely one of the cases that proves the rule. This a piece of comic journalism at its finest, using the visual medium to really portray Sacco’s experiences in the Occupied Territories in a way that words alone really could not. It’s a great work in terms of both the content and the form, something that I think would interest many people.

The Reader by Bernhard Schlink

Finally, this is my last suggestion, and it’s particular to people who are as immersed in the world of books and reading as we are. This is a fairly short novel in terms of length, but it makes up for it in depth and feeling. I’m not sure if I can really call it a love story in the traditional way, but it definitely has a bit of that feel to it; it’s also a very heartfelt commentary on the last few decades in German society as well as on the issues surrounding reading and literacy and how these can affect people’s lives in the most profound of ways.

  1. What was your favorite book as a child?

My favorite books when I was a kid were the Bernstein Bears picture books. My father used to read those to me and my siblings before we went to bed, which is one of the best memories I have from when I was a child. In later years, I realized that my dad really isn’t a reader – I think he’s read two books since I was born! – which has made me realize just how much more special those bedtime stories were, since he was really just reading the books to us for our enjoyment and to have some quality time together, not necessarily because he liked books or reading on his own. One of my favorite books from the Bernstein Bears series was The Bernstein Bears and the Truth, which was a consistent read in my house given that I had three younger siblings and we always tried to blame each other for whatever we had done wrong. My parents were quick to pick up on that, and made sure that this book was repeated quite often. I really loved the way that Brother Bear and Sister Bear keep re-telling the story of how the lamp was broken with slight differences, sort of like one of those deja-vu episodes that television shows like to do. It’s definitely a book – and a series! – that I’ll be reading to my kids one day.

  1. How do you find the time to read and blog?

Now that I’ve started reading much more again (I’m almost finished my 100th book for the year!), I’ve really had to prioritize reading over other things in order to have more time to spend on it. I never really watched that much television to begin with, but I’ve pretty much cut out almost all of my TV-time in exchange for more reading time. I also spend less time blindly surfing the web or talking online to people, choosing instead to be selective about who I talk to online and for how long, and using the “doing nothing online” time that I used to have to read – or blog – instead. I’ve also gotten more into the habit of carving little bits of reading time into my day, such as listening to audio books anytime that I leave the house or am doing chores, making sure to read a bit before bed every night, etc. In terms of actual blogging, it’s really just a matter of prioritizing blogging over other things when I’m sitting at my computer; instead of looking through news websites or facebook for hours, I’ll choose to read blogs or to work on posts instead.

  1. Do you have other hobbies you enjoy?

Outside of reading and blogging, there are a few other pastimes that I really enjoy. For one, I really love softball during the summer – playing, watching, umpiring, coaching … pretty much anything. Another summer-ish hobby that I’ve picked up fairly recently is geocaching: my partner and I got into it together a little over a year ago, and it’s something that we do with varying frequency depending on the weather and what our schedules are like. My absolutely favorite hobby – if you can call it that – is cooking and baking. I love being in the kitchen and making tasty things! With less frequency, but just as much interest, I also enjoy salsa dancing and sewing. They’re both things that I find really fun, but that I don’t often have real chunks of time to devote to. I’m really hoping to find more time for the sewing this winter, though, once it cools down enough to go outside less and I need something to do at home.

  1. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Depends a little on my mood, but I’ve got a few old stand-bys: chocolate chip cookie dough, mint chocolate chip, maple walnut fudge, dolce de leche, peanut butter chocolate, and mayan chocolate (chocolate with cinnamon). Mmm mmm mmm. Right now, I’d say my absolute favorite is peanut butter chocolate, but that really does vary day by day.

  1. How do you choose what books you will read?  Or what is your favorite genres?

I largely choose what to read based on whatever mood I’m in at the time, although there are exceptions. If I’m in the mood for something based on a certain topic – particularly with non-fiction – or with a certain type of narrative, I will buy it and add it to my gigantic mountain of TBR books, even if I’m not necessarily going to read it right away. When it comes time for me to start a new book, I take a look at my piles (or shelves) and just grab the first thing that catches my attention. Sometimes, that means that I buy new books right away, while other times, it means that a book might sit on the pile for weeks or months (or even years!) before I actually get around to reading it. There are two exceptions to this willy-nilly pattern of reading: one is when I have to read something for an event, and one is when I get into a reading rut. If I have a book that I need to read for book club or for school, then it gets put near (or at) the top of my TBR list and comes up more quickly. Also, sometimes I get really into a certain topic or style of book, and I’ll stay in one genre or whatever for a while – for example, earlier this year I got really into food theory/farming-type books for a while, and read in that same vein for a few weeks, and even bought other similar books that I haven’t gotten to yet and are waiting until I’m in the mood for that topic again. But, typically, I change directions quite often and read a very eclectic mix of things.

  1. What are your favorite movie/movies?

I watch an awful lot of movies, to be honest, and have a hard time picking my favorites because it largely depends on what kind of mood I’m in. The “old favorites” for me, though, are largely dramas: Boys Don’t Cry, Quills, The Virgin Suicides, Philadelphia, and Girl, Interrupted. I watch “chick flicks” and action movies for the fun of it, but own almost none of them: for example, I really loved watching Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Salt, The Ugly Truth, P.S. I Love You, and others, even though none were particularly “good” movies. I also have a huge soft spots for movies like Sin City and Watchmen. (You also may be able to deduce from my choices that I have mini-crushes on Angelina Jolie and Hilary Swank. I also have one on Drew Barrymore, Johnny Depp, and Ellen Page, among others!

  1. What is your favorite time period in history?

I think it really depends on the context. In terms of books (so, largely in terms of historical fiction), I really enjoy the period of time in Europe where women were wearing absolutely gorgeous gowns with corsets and stays, men thought that the women were totally oblivious to the world around them outside of the kitchen or outside of pretty clothes, and women were scheming or pulling strings to run things behind the scenes. Basically, the time when people either had money or didn’t, so they were either rich or poor, both of whom make really interesting characters for fiction.

In terms of the real world, though, my favorite time period in history is probably the last few decades, particularly in terms of women’s and queer rights. I really enjoy learning about the sexual revolution, the fight for legal (and safe) birth control and abortions, the protests and such leading up to queer rights both in the States (like Stonewall) or here in Canada (like the bathhouse raids and legalization of same sex marriages). I get chills down my spine every time I read about Trudeau’s historic declaration that the state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation. It’s a time period that I’m very sorry to have missed in some ways, but happy not to have had to live through in others. I’m very thankful for the women and men who came before my generation who fought for so many of the things that I take for granted now, and that came as pre-cursors to the kinds of things that my generation is currently fighting for.

  1. Would you like to share a favorite quote from an author or book that you find meaningful?

The first thing that comes to mind is something that I tend to quote quite a lot, and has even been on my Facebook basically since I got one almost 5 years ago:

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because people who mind don't matter and people who matter won't mind." -- Dr. Seuss

It’s something so simple, and yet so profound, especially for a generation of people that are obsessed with the contradictions of working hard to project their individuality while also worrying about the opinions that other people have of them.

  1. (In case you didn’t want to answer one of the other questions, here is an alternate question)  What do you love about blogging?

The thing that I love the most about blogging is getting to have a dialogue with other book lovers about what I read. I also enjoy the sense of community between book bloggers and the events that bring us all together. In more of a “love-hate” way, I love being exposed to so many books and authors that I never would have found out about otherwise – this has both made my wish-list overflow and my mind expand!

Thanks so much Carina for taking the time to answer these questions today, you even answered the alternate question!   I appreciate you!

Friday, September 10, 2010

BlogFest Giveaway

BlogFest 2010
It's time for BlogFest Baby!!  Time to rock the house and stay on the computer all weekend entering contests.  Pick Me!  Pick Me!
No your Ugly!  Seriously, I am giving away a fabulous read, that I have not read yet but really, really, really want to.  One lucky person will win a copy of FALLOUT by Ellen Hopkins which is to be released on Tuesday.  Fallout is the third book in the Crank series.  This contest is open internationally!

Here is the book blurb from Goodreads.

Hunter, Autumn, and Summer—three of Kristina Snow's five children—live in different homes, with different guardians and different last names. They share only a predisposition for addiction and a host of troubled feelings toward the mother who barely knows them, a mother who has been riding with the monster, crank, for twenty years. Hunter is nineteen, angry, getting by in college with a job at a radio station, a girlfriend he loves in the only way he knows how, and the occasional party. He's struggling to understand why his mother left him, when he unexpectedly meets his rapist father, and things get even more complicated. Autumn lives with her single aunt and alcoholic grandfather. When her aunt gets married, and the only family she's ever known crumbles, Autumn's compulsive habits lead her to drink. And the consequences of her decisions suggest that there's more of Kristina in her than she'd like to believe. Summer doesn't know about Hunter, Autumn, or their two youngest brothers, Donald and David. To her, family is only abuse at the hands of her father's girlfriends and a slew of foster parents. Doubt and loneliness overwhelm her, and she, too, teeters on the edge of her mother's notorious legacy. As each searches for real love and true family, they find themselves pulled toward the one person who links them together—Kristina, Bree, mother, addict. But it is in each other, and in themselves, that they find the trust, the courage, the hope to break the cycle.
Told in three voices and punctuated by news articles chronicling the family's story, FALLOUT is the stunning conclusion to the trilogy begun by CRANK and GLASS, and a testament to the harsh reality that addiction is never just one person's problem.

Rules for this contest:
1.Open Internationally
2.Must be a follower of Booksnob.  You chose which way you want to follow.
3.Leave a comment and tell me if you have known anyone struggling with an addiction.
4. Fill out the Form enclosed on this post.
5.  Have Fun and Good luck!!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Book Blogger Appreciation Week 9/13 to 9/17

Book Blogger Appreciation Week 9/13 to 9/17, 2010

I am super excited to participate this year in BBAW 2010.  Here is what the week's posting schedule look like:

Monday—First Treasure
We invite you to share with us about a great new book blog you’ve discovered since BBAW last year!  If you are new to BBAW or book blogging, share with us the very first book blog you discovered.  Tell us why this blog rocks your socks off and why you keep going back for more.
Tuesday—New Treasure—Interview Swap
Post the interview you did with your BBAW Interview Partner.  If you didn’t sign up in time, please email bookbloggerappreciationweekATgmailDOTcom because there is a waiting list.
Wednesday—Unexpected Treasure
We invite you to share with us a book or genre you tried due to the influence of another blogger.  What made you cave in to try something new and what was the experience like?
Thursday—Forgotten Treasure
Sure we’ve all read about Freedom and Mockingjay but we likely have a book we wish would get more attention by book bloggers, whether it’s a forgotten classic or under marketed contemporary fiction.  This is your chance to tell the community why they should consider reading this book!
Friday—Future Treasures
We’ve been visiting each other and getting to know each other better…now is your chance to share what you enjoyed about BBAW and also what your blogging goals are for the next year!

Happy Posting Book Bloggers!  I Appreciate You!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The End of the Alphabet

The End of the Alphabet by CS Richardson

A book review highlighting the 26 letters of the Alphabet.

A- Ambrose has learned that he is dying and has only 30 days to live.
B- Beautiful wife, breathtaking experiences.
C-Courage must fall to all who love Ambrose.
D-Don't be sad and try not to think about it.
E-Experiences are what make your life worth living
F-Fun, fun, and more fun, finally.
G-God, why me? Why now?
H-Home is important and where your heart lies.
I-It is totally not fair!
J-Just live life to the fullest.
K-Know what you want in life and go for it.
L- Love endures while life goes on.
M-Make a list of places you want to visit in 30 days.
N-No regrets.
P-Pack your suitcase and we'll go to Paris where we met.
Q-Quit work.
S-Silence, sadness, soul-searching.
T-Travel here and there immediately, not much time left.  So tired.
U-Universe conspires to receive your soul.
V-Vino in Venice.
W-Write in your journal, record your thoughts and memories.
X-X-ed out too soon.
Y-You are a part of my puzzle
Z-Zipper loves Ambrose.  From A to Z

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Postmistress

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

September 7th, 2010

Dear Reader,
I wanted to write you a letter and tell you about this wonderful book I just read called The Postmistress.  It takes place in the United States right before World War Two when some Americans believed they were safe and secure. 

In Europe, the war has already begun with nightly bombings in England.  The war correspondents are busy reporting over the airwaves hoping to reach an interested soul.  The Jews have begun there massive exodus and the trains are full of people with nowhere to go. 

Iris, Emma and Frankie are three female narrators of their intertwining fates.  Love and peace have abandoned them, letters connect them.  The characters are strong, especially Frankie who is a radio journalist.  She sets out to tell a story and the story becomes who she is and encompasses her. 

Many letters are written and mailed with kisses, hand prints and love.  Some letters are just voices recorded for the world to hear and not sent.  Many letters are sealed, stamped, postmarked and sent on their journey.  I am wondering where do the letters go that don't make it to their intended?  Are voices and letters sent out into the universe collected and kept?  If so, then by whom?  Are some stories intentionally not told?  Is it our duty to tell every story?  Is God really listening?

Sorry I have so many questions and none of the answers.

I hope this letter finds you safe and surrounded by peace wherever you are in the world.   Count your blessings and hug your loved ones.  I will be thinking about you and our journey in this world together.

With much love and hope,
Your Friend and fan of The Postmaster who carries our letters here and there,

I received this book as part of Crazy Book Tours.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Blog News

Blog News

I have several important bits of news to announce today. 

1.  I would like to announce my two August contest winners.  The winner of the Little House Guidebook is Holly from 2kidsandtiredbooks and the winner of the Laura Swag (bookmarks and postcards) is Pam from 100booksin100weeks. Congrats to both winners.  The goods are in the mail and you should receive them this week.  Enjoy!

2.  Something I am super excited about it BlogFest and it is coming up this weekend!  I am giving away a copy of FALLOUT by Ellen Hopkins so make sure you stop by and enter to win it.  

3.  Book Blogger Appreciation week is coming up and I am interviewing Carina from Reading Through Life.  Carina is a teacher and she lives in Toronto.  She has a really great blog so look for my interview post on September 14th.

4.  Yesterday I created a fan page on Facebook for Booksnob's blog.  So please stop by, check it out and hit the like button if your a fan. 

5.  I also joined Networked Blogs on Facebook and while I am new to this venue, I am excited about branching out my follower base.  As you can see, my only follower is me, myself and I, but you have to start somewhere. 

That's all folks!  Happy Labor Day!

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Tate Hallaway Contest!

Tate Hallaway, the Hometown Track Author in the Spotlight this month, has graciously agreed to GIVEAWAY FIVE SIGNED and PERSONALIZED COPIES of her book Almost to DIE For to 5 lucky followers of my blog.

Here is the synopsis on the back of the book:
On her sixteenth birthday, Anastasija Parker's present winds up being the shock of a lifetime. When her mom referred to her absentee dad as a deadbeat it was actually half true -- he's a vampire. And a king, no less. A king who wants his daughter to assume her rightful position at his side. But, thanks to Ana's mother, the blood of a witch also runs through her veins....

Too bad vampires and witches are mortal enemies.

With her parents gearing up for an all out brawl over her destiny, Ana's about ready to scream. But things get even crazier when a male witch and a brooding bad boy vampire start vying for her affection. Then the barely leashed tension between the vampires and the witches starts to boil over, and Ana has to figure out once and for all if she wants to become heir to her dad's throne. And deciding your eternal destiny is a pretty big deal for a girl who just wants to get through high school. 

This contest is open internationally and will end on September 30th at midnight.  Please fill out this form and leave a comment for Tate or I after you enter. Remember you must be a follower to enter.  Thanks and good luck everyone!

Wind Warrior Contest


These are the fantastic prizes, author Cynthia Roberts, is giving away as part of her blog tour.  Check out her website to find the other 100 bloggers participating and enter on each of their blogs.
  1. Romantic Two-lid willow picnic basket with deluxe service for two ~ $125.00 value
  2. Succulent Godiva Chocolate Tier ~ $75.00 value
  3. Exquisite Pearl & Crystal Necklace ~ $50.00 value
  4. Amazon Gift Certificate ~ $25 value
  5. Amazon Gift Certificate ~ $25 value.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Hometown Track- MN Author Spotlight #2

Hometown Track- MN Author Spotlight #2

The announcement you have all been waiting for, drum roll please.....The author in the Hometown Track spotlight for the month of September is TATE HALLAWAY.

 Tate Hallaway currently lives in Saint Paul and has just published a new young adult Vampire Princess book called ALMOST TO DIE FOR.  It is the first book in a series and it actually takes place here in Saint Paul, MN.  Look for a review this month.

The features of September's author spotlight will be a contest, a book review, an author interview and a short biography and list of Tate and her alter ego Lyda Morehouse's books.  You are gonna love them.

  I am really excited to have Tate Hallaway as my featured author this month as this will be the first book I have read by her.  I learned about Tate's books in an article in the Saint Paul Pioneer Press and knew that I wanted to feature her and her books on my blog.