Posts

Showing posts from April, 2011

Ines of My Soul by Isabel Allende

Image
Title:Inés of My Soul
Author: Isabel Allende

Genre: Fiction (Historical / 16th century / South American)
Publisher/Publication Date: Harper Perennial (7/1/2007)
Source:TLC Book Tours

Rating: Liked a great deal.
Did I finish?: Yes.
One-sentence summary: The life of a 16th century Spanish girl, who rose from poverty to riches following the conquistadors of Chile.
Reading Challenges:Historical Fiction

Do I like the cover?: Yes but it's not my favorite among the various editions (the 2006 hardcover is stunning).

I'm reminded of...: Laura Esquivel, Sandra Gulland

First line: I am Inés Suárez, a townswoman of the loyal city of Santiago de Nueva Extremadura in the kingdom of Chile, writing in the year of Our Lord 1580.

Did... I feel a bit uncomfortable with the wholly pro-conquistador plot line?: YES, but the perk of these P.S. editions is the extras.  This book includes an NPR interview with Isabel Allende who talks about keeping Inés' voice authentic to the era and having to, essential…

Guest post from Molly Peacock

Image
I adoredThe Paper Garden.  For anyone who enjoys history, art, the creative process, and well-crafted biographies, this is a book for you.  I'm thrilled to offer a guest post by the author, Molly Peacock, on her and Mrs. Delaney.  Enjoy!

A Bouquet for Mrs. Delany by Molly Peacock
I first saw Mary Delany’s amazing cut-paper botanical collages seventeen years before I even dreamed of writing about them.  There they were, one hundred of them, carefully transported across the Atlantic Ocean from London to New York City, to hang in an exhibit at the Morgan Library. 

Each spectacular flower is composed of hundreds of dots, squiggles and half-moons of brilliantly colored paper, all assembled on dramatic black backgrounds—and amazingly well-preserved from when she began them in 1772.  Some of these beauties have actual botanical material, leaves and seed casings, pasted onto them, and these leaves have lasted for over two centuries.

Here’s something even more incredible: Mrs. Delany was …

Q&A with Lauren Belfer

Image
Even though I wasn't wild about A Fierce Radiance, I was awed at the amount of research put into the novel and its unique plot.  It's a historical novel, medical mystery, and war thriller in one with a hot romance just to seal the deal!  I'm pleased to share my Q&A with author Lauren Belfer.  See the end for another chance to win a copy of A Fierce Radiance.

What was the plot of your very first piece of fiction?

I decided to become a writer when I was six years old. My first stories were about magical pets going on adventures and about strong princesses leading their nations out of hardships. I don't remember the exact plot lines, but these subject areas kept me busy for quite a few years.

Do you have any writing rituals or routines?

I work best in the morning. I'm lucky enough to work at home, and I try to be at my desk, cup of tea beside me, by 9:30 every morning, including Saturday and Sunday. I never answer the phone when I'm working, except if my so…

The Paper Garden: An Artist Begins Her Life's Work at 72 by Molly Peacock

Image
Title:The Paper Garden: An Artist Begins Her Life's Work at 72
Author: Molly Peacock

Genre: Non-Fiction (Memoir/Biography)
Publisher/Publication Date: Bloomsbury USA (3/29/11)
Source:TLC Book Tours

Rating: Loved -- another that will make my top 10 in 2011!
Did I finish?: Yes -- and I'm ready for a reread already!

Do I like the cover?: Yes -- especially as it features one of Mrs. Delaney's 'mosaiks'. 

First line: Imagine starting your life's work at seventy-two.

Did... I walk into work every morning in raptures over this book?: YES.  My commute definitely wasn't long enough.

Did... I fall in love with Molly Peacock's writing style from the first page?: YES.  It's warm and funny, smart and interesting.  See my teaser for a taste!

Is... this book totally awesome to hold?: YES.  The hand-feel of the book is divine -- it's a compact, little hardcover that's easy to carry and tuck into a bag, with gorgeous smooth pages and divine full-color plates.  It sen…

Winners!

Three giveaways just ended and I have four winners!

The winner of Separate Kingdoms is ... Zibilee of Raging Bibliomania

The winner of Where the Dog Star Never Glows is ...BlueMist

The winners of Heart of Deception are ... Nancy and avalonne83

Congrats to all! If you haven't won, don't despair: I've got three giveaways going on now and a few more opening next week!

Interview with Sandra Worth

Image
I had my first Sandra Worth experience with her newest novel, the fabulous Pale Rose of England (my review is quite gushy).  I'm thrilled to offer my interview with Ms. Worth as well as a chance to win a copy of Pale Rose of England (see end of interview for details). 

What was the plot of your very first piece of fiction?

Thank you for having me here on your fabulous site, Audra! This is an interesting question – first time I’ve been asked that. It was a rags to riches saga about a Greek immigrant (never published).

Do you have any writing rituals or routines?

I need time in the garden, whether it’s early morning or late evening, short or long (but the longer, the better!). It’s not only restful, but natures inspires me. When the scenes pile up, I go inside and write.

Was Pale Rose of England the original title of your book?

It was. Seemed very appropriate because that was what people called Catherine in her day.

As you were writing Pale Rose of England, was there a particular sc…

Teaser Tuesday, April 19

Image
Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

- Grab your current read
- Open to a random page
- Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
- BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!
- Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers
This week's teaser is from the astoundingly awesome The Paper Garden: An Artist Begins Her Life's Work at 72 by Molly Peacock.  It's a biography about Mary Granville Delaney, who, at 72 (in 1772) essentially invented collage.  The author's writing style is very intimate and comfortable; this reads like a coffee date with Ms Peacock as she recounts a fascinating topic she's researching.  I'm in swoons.  The excerpt below is from the beginning of the book and perfectly encapsulates the feel of this wonderful book.  (I'll be giving away a copy next week; I'm telling y…

A Fierce Radiance by Lauren Belfer

Image
Title:A Fierce Radiance
Author: Lauren Belfer

Genre: Fiction (Historical / Medical / WWII)
Publisher/Publication Date: Harper Perennial (4/1/2011)
Source:TLC Book Tours

Rating: Okay-ish.
Did I finish?: Sadly, no.
One-sentence summary: The race to make penicillin, through the eyes of a magazine photographer and researcher.
Reading Challenges:Historical Fiction

Do I like the cover?: Yes -- very pretty -- although it's another missed opportunity cover, I think.  The image seems very much like the kind of photograph the heroine would take, but a medically-themed photograph would have been cool.

I'm reminded of...: Tracy Chevalier

First line: Claire Shipley was no doctor, but even she could see that the man on the stretcher was dying.

Why did I get this book?: First, the genre merging of historical novel, medical mystery, war thriller; plus, the setting, WWII New York City; and finally, the sound of the heroine.

Review: This solid historical no…

Mailbox Mon, April 17

Image
Seen both at The Printed Page (hosted in April at the fabulous Passages to the Past) and The Story Siren, my Mailbox Monday/In My Mailbox (technically Sunday).  What did you get?  Planning to read any of these?

For Review



Queen By Right by Anne Easter Smith

Won



Corrag by Susan Fletcher, thanks to Wonders & Marvels

Purchased



D.C. Noir, edited by George P. Pelecanos


Pale Rose of England by Sandra Worth

Image
Title:Pale Rose of England
Author: Sandra Worth

Genre: Fiction (Historical / late 15th century English)
Publisher/Publication Date: Berkley Publishing Group (2/1/2011)
Source:Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Rating: Love loved.
Did I finish?: Yes - you couldn't stop me!
One-sentence summary: The loves and losses of 15th century Scottish noblewoman, Catherine Gordon.
Reading Challenges:Historical Fiction

Do I like the cover?: YES!  It's super striking!  It's a coincidence, I presume, but the image is William Frederick Yeames's imagining of Amy (Robsart) Dudley, a woman meaningful to Elizabeth I, the granddaughter of this novel's 'villain', Henry VII.

I'm reminded of...: Susan Holloway Scott, Anya Seton, Sandra Gulland.

First line: Pain washed over Catherine in waves of unrelenting agony.

Did... I wish Worth was less historically accurate at times?: YES. Worth had me invested by the first chapter and I was just willing history to capitulate to Catherine and Ri…

Q and A with India Drummond

Image
Angels and mediums aren't new to many fans of paranormal fiction, but India Drummond's novel Ordinary Angels (which killed me with fun) managed to take both and turn the story into something new and thoroughly entertaining.  Ms. Drummond graciously agreed to do a Q and A with me so read on to learn more about her and her books.  (See the end for a chance to win a copy of Ordinary Angels.)

What was the plot of your very first piece of fiction?

Oh gosh. It was so long ago (I was eight) that I can’t actually remember the plot. It was about twin aliens named Ka and Ba (which I inexplicably pronounced Kay and Bay). I vaguely remember them walking through the forest, but not where they were going or why. I do wish I still had it!

According to your bio, you’re an American living in the Scottish highlands. How did you end up there?

I had the good sense to marry a Scot! We met when he was living and working in the States, but when he proposed, I was on my first trip to Scotland. I never…

Teaser Tuesday, April 12

Image
Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

- Grab your current read
- Open to a random page
- Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
- BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!
- Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers

This week's teaser is from the deliciously readable and super fabulous Pale Rose of England by Sandra Worth.  Even though I know nothing about this era, Worth's writing is so engaging and her characters so human, I'm sucked in.  This week's teaser is from early in the novel, when a sick Catherine is sent to sanctuary for safety.

The prior was a figure of misery as he stood rubbing the edge of his crucifix between his fingers.  He was thinking of the beautiful young woman in the tawny sea gown who had stood before him little more than a week earlier, her babe asleep in his nurse'…

Ordinary Angels by India Drummond

Image
Title:Ordinary Angels
Author: India Drummond

Genre: Fiction (Supernatural/Paranormal)
Publisher/Publication Date: Lyrical Press, Inc. (4/4/2011)
Source: The author

Rating: Greatly liked
Did I finish?: Yes - delicious escapist fun!
One-sentence summary: Young woman sees the dead but finds seeing angels makes life even trickier!
Reading Challenges:British Books, E-books

Do I like the cover?: Yes --it's very pretty: I need that shirt!

I'm reminded of...: Kelley Armstrong, Cate Tiernan, Kage Baker

First line: All but one of Zoe Pendergraft's friends were dead.

Did... I develop a bit of a crush on (maybe not so) angelic Thomas?: YES.  I'm not an angel girl but there was something super fun/dreamy about this Free Angel lawyer.  (You just have to read it to see what I mean!)

Did... I giggle and snicker a lot on my commute?: YES.  This is another one of those books that just tickles you with great one-liners and wry mental commentary.

Did... I wish I was living out in California?: YES. …

Mailbox Monday, April 10

Image
Seen both at The Printed Page (hosted in April at the fabulous Passages to the Past) and The Story Siren, my Mailbox Monday/In My Mailbox (technically Sunday) for the first of April.  What did you get?  Planning to read any of these?

For Review!




Inés of My Soul by Isabel Allende
The Rebellion of Jane Clarke by Sally Gunning
The Paper Garden: Mrs. Delany Begins Her Life's Work at 72 by Molly Peacock
French Lessons: A Novel by Ellen Sussman


Purchased



The Simple Art of Murder by Raymond Chandler
Trouble Is My Business by Raymond Chandler
Moby Dick; or, The Whale by Herman Melville (1981, University of California Press)


Winners - The Beauty of Humanity Movement

Image
The two lucky winners of the amazing The Beauty of Humanity Movement are...

Kathy of BermudaOnion Leeswammes
Congrats to the winners!  If you didn't win, check out my other giveaways - plus more are to come:
Ordinary Angels by India Drummond, opens 4/11A Fierce Radiance by Lauren Belfer, opens 4/18The Paper Garden: An Artist Begins Her Life's Work at 72 by Molly Peacock, opens 4/25

Q and A with Tara L. Masih

Image
I was absolutely entranced by Tara L. Masih's short story collection, Where the Dog Star Never Glows and have become a short fiction convert because of it.  Ms. Masih generously agreed to a Q and A with me - read on to learn more about her and her writing.  See the end for another chance to win a copy of her delicious collection!

What was the plot of your very first piece of fiction?

I did a lot of writing and primitive illustrating in my spare time when I was 9 or 10. I know I was fascinated by two things at that age--fairy tales and mice. I can't find the first fairy tale I wrote (something typical about a Cinderella-type and her Prince), but I did find a large piece of paper that was sort of a storyboarded rendition of a mouse tale. There's a cat in the beginning that starts the conflict, and a male mouse that saves a female mouse. (I cringe at these old-fashioned, milky-white themes.) So the female mouse asks the male mouse to stay overnight in her watering can home, an…

Heart of Deception: A Novel by M.L. Malcolm

Image
Title:Heart of Deception: A Novel
Author: M.L. Malcolm

Genre: Fiction (Historical / WWII / post-WWII)
Publisher/Publication Date: HarperCollins (4/5/2011)
Source:TLC Book Tours

Rating: Disliked.
Did I finish?: Yes.
One-sentence summary: Two unappealing Hoffmans muck up their lives and the lives of the people they know.

Reading Challenges:Historical Fiction

Do I like the cover?: Yes, but it's one of the sources of my frustration. The cover evokes a very different feel than the actual novel.

First line: If the city of Tangier had been a woman, she would have been a whore, and a wealthy one.

Do... I think this can be read as a stand-alone novel?: YES. All the context and background needed is offered in the first chapter. In fact, having finished the first book just an hour to starting this one, I was rather impatient with the recapping.

Was... I super annoyed that this wasn't really a book about WWII?: YES.  The jacket copy paints a very different novel than the one I read.

Did... this n…

Mailbox Monday, April 4

Image
Seen both at The Printed Page (hosted in April at the fabulous Passages to the Past) and The Story Siren, my Mailbox Monday/In My Mailbox for the last half of March.  As you'll see, some real delicious things arrived!  What did you get?  Planning to read any of these?


For Review!




The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen
Northanger Abbey and Angels and Dragons by Jane Austen and Vera Nazarian
A Song of Awakening by Roby James
Pale Rose of England by Sandra Worth

Won!



Finding Emilie by Laurel Corona, thanks to GoodReads First Reads
Exit the Actress: A Novel by Priya Parmar, thanks to Bippity Boppity Books
The Raven Queen by Jules Watson, thanks to Let Them Read Books

Purchased!



The Greatest Knight by Elizabeth Chadwick
This Is My Letter To The World: The Omikuji Project Cycle One by Catherynne M. Valente


Winners of Angelology Giveaway

Image
The two winners of my Angelology giveway are....

Jessica M and Diana D
Congrats!  For those who didn't win, don't despair: I've got three giveaways going on and many more opening soon.