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Showing posts from February, 2012

The Turning of Anne Merrick by Christine Blevins

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Title: The Turning of Anne Merrick Author: Christine Blevins Genre: Fiction (Historical / American Revolution / 18th century / Historical Figures Fictionalized / Women in War / Love Triangle) Publisher/Publication Date : Berkley Trade Publishing (2/7/2012) Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours Rating: Loved! Did I finish?: Yes -- inhaled this one in days! One-sentence summary: Widow Anne Merrick disguises herself as a loyal Tory among English troops during their campaign to Albany while her true love fights with the American rebels. Reading Challenges: Historical Fiction Do I like the cover?: Yes! First, the woman has her whole head, hurrah! And I like -- nay, love -- her dress. And she's sort of unusual looking for a histfic cover model, I think, which endears the cover to me even more! I'm reminded of...: Diana Gabaldon, Sandra Gulland, Georgette Heyer First line : In the distance, the resound of ax iron biting into wood echoed up from the

The King's Agent by Donna Russo Morin

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Title: The King's Agent Author: Donna Russo Morin Genre: Fiction (Historical / 1500s / Italy / Florence / Art / Conspiracy) Publisher/Publication Date : Kensington (3/1/2012) Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours Rating: Okay to liked. Did I finish?: I did. One-sentence summary: A modest noblewoman with a secret and an honorable, patriotic thief take a jaunty journey, inspired by Dante's masterpiece, in search of a sculpture that might change everything. Reading Challenges: Historical Fiction Do I like the cover?: I do -- it's pretty -- but I hate the truncated head shot and it doesn't exactly fit the story (other than imply, I presume, the heroine). I would have loved one of the pieces of art mentioned in the story, or something alluding to Dante's works -- anything but the bland costumed lady! I'm reminded of...: Emilio Salgari First line : His hands quivered ever so slightly. Do... I like the author's blog ?: YES.

Interview with Nancy Bilyeau

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From the first line, I was completely taken by Nancy Bilyeau's intriguing Tudor novel, The Crown .  Following a noblewoman-turned-nun, this novel had everything I adore in a good book.  I'm excited to share my interview with Nancy Bilyeau, so read on to learn more about her writing, her book, and what she does when she's not reading.  Bonus: giveaway! What was the plot of your very first piece of fiction? I wrote stories in high school but I don't remember any of them now. Then there is a huge gap until I attempted fiction in the last seven years. My first novel is The Crown . But before that I wrote a short story in a Gotham Writer's Workshop class. The plot revolved around an American woman going to a cabin on a lake in Canada with her Canadian boyfriend to meet his family. Because it's me writing this, there are rivalries and drinking and illicit sexual encounters and finally a drug overdose. LOL. Do you have any writing rituals or routines? Not r

In my Mailbox Monday, February 27

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Seen both at Mailbox Monday -- hosted in February at Metro Reader -- and The Story Siren , my Mailbox Monday/In My Mailbox.  I think I've finally shaken of my cold -- hooray! -- and my relishing my nights of reading again (instead of, like, wheezing myself to sleep at 9pm). For Review Molly Make-Believe by Eleanor Hallowell Abbott Clair de Lune: A Novel by Jetta Carleton A Partial History Of Lost Causes: A Novel by Jennifer Dubois The Garden of Evening Mists by Twan Eng Tan We Bury the Landscape by Kristine Ong Muslim People Who Eat Darkness: The True Story of a Young Woman Who Vanished from the Streets of Tokyo--and the Evil That Swallowed Her Up by Richard Lloyd Parry Won Next To Love: A Novel by Ellen Feldman, thanks to Random House Secret Read

Winners!

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This week four giveaways ended -- really good ones, too! -- so I'm excited to announce the winners. First, my Jennifer Haigh-stravaganza! The winner of Faith is... Brooke ! The winner of Baker Towers is ... Anna of Diary of an Eccentric ! I've also got winners for two more awesome books: The winner of Gillespie and I is ... Irene ! The winner of The Kama Sutra is ... Terri C. ! Congrats to the winners! If you didn't win, check out my open giveaways -- currently five now, and more coming next week!

Friday Reads and being frustrated...

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So, I had a review scheduled for today but had to bump it as we've been internet-less for a few days at home. The repair tech just left, and hallelujah!, we've got internet again. It's shameful how badly I need my internetz. However, I got a good chunk of reading done while repairs were underway. Today's Friday Read is The King's Agent by Donna Russo Morin.  Super fun, very dramatic, a little silly, and perfect for my chilly weekend. What are you reading this weekend?

The Technologists by Matthew Pearl

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Title: The Technologists Author: Matthew Pearl Genre: Fiction (Historical / 1860s / Boston / MIT / Scientific Thriller / Historical Figure Fictionalized) Publisher/Publication Date : Random House (2/21/2012) Source: TLC Book Tours Rating: Okay to liked. Did I finish?: I did! One-sentence summary: The first class of MIT faces prejudice, fear, and accusations of black magic as weird technological disasters plague 1860s Boston. Reading Challenges: Historical Fiction Do I like the cover?: I don't think I have strong feelings about it, although I'm leaning toward 'eh' on it. First line : Its proud lines intermittently visible through the early morning fog, the Light of the East might have been the most carefree ship that ever floated into Boston. Do... I love Matthew Pearl's extras?: YES. His website has photographs of some of the characters as well as a prequel available for download. Am... I totally keen to prowl around MIT now?: YES.

When A Man Marries by Mary Roberts Rinehart

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Title: When A Man Marries Author: Mary Roberts Rinehart Genre: Fiction (1910s / Socialite / Domestic Comedy / Secret Identity / Romance) Publisher/Publication Date : Legacy Vintage Collection (2/14/2012) Source: The publisher Rating: Loved! Did I finish?: Yes, I inhaled this one. One-sentence summary: Socialite Kit McNair is convinced to play the wife of a rich friend when his fashionable dinner party is crashed by his even richer aunt and much drama ensues. Reading Challenges: E-books Do I like the cover?: I do -- it's rather sweet, which matches the mood of the novel, and hints at a scene...sort of. I'm reminded of...: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Janet Mullany First line : When the dreadful thing occurred that night, everyone turned on me. Did... I develop a hot crush on both our narrator, Kit, and the object of her love/hate, Tom Harbison?: YES. Both were charming and dramatic and intense and fun and romantic and silly and totally hot (in my mind'

Teaser Tuesday, February 21

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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 It's been a long time since I shared a teaser, but I haven't broken out of my habit of including more than two sentences. I can't help this -- this book is hilarious and begs to be quoted at length !  Written in 1910, When a Man Marries by Mary Roberts Rinehart is decidedly modern in feel -- banter, silly mixups, improbable circumstances -- but also reminds me a bit of F. Scott Fitzgerald -- lots of wealthy people behaving ridiculously.  Our narrator, Kit, pretends to be the wife of a friend to keep the friend's wealthy aunt from discovering he's divorc

Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson

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Title: Before I Go To Sleep Author: S.J. Watson Genre: Fiction (Contemporary / Thriller / Amnesia / Unreliable Narrator / UK) Publisher/Publication Date : Harper Paperbacks (2/7/2012) Source: TLC Book Tours Rating: Okay. Did I finish?: I did -- I was too petrified to stop! One-sentence summary: A woman wakes to find herself in her 40s without a memory of her last twenty years or so, and each day she starts over trying to untangle the mystery of how it happened. Do I like the cover?: I hate it, but I actually think it fits the book very well, and it's creepy and striking.  So...maybe I like it! I'm reminded of...: Jennifer McMahon First line : The bedroom is strange. Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Borrow, especially if you're facing a gloomy weekend (weather-wise): the ambiance will make this even creepier! Why did I get this book?: Some heavy hitters blurbed this book positively -- Dennis Lehane, Lionel Shriver, Anita Shreve -- so I figured I'd g

Mailbox Monday, February 20

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Seen both at Mailbox Monday -- hosted in February at Metro Reader -- and The Story Siren , my Mailbox Monday/In My Mailbox.  I'm sick again -- can you believe it?!  But another amazing week of arrivals perked me up!  What did you get this week? Read any of these? For Review A Wedding in Haiti by Julia Alvarez The Sumerton Women by D.L. Bogdan Coming of the Storm: Book One of Contact: The Battle for America by W. Michael Gear, Kathleen O'Neal Gear Fire the Sky: Book Two of Contact: The Battle for America by W. Michael Gear, Kathleen O'Neal Gear A Searing Wind: Book Three of Contact: The Battle for America by W. Michael Gear, Kathleen O'Neal Gear The Receptionist by Janet Groth The Year of the Gadfly by Jennifer Miller Girl Reading by Katie Ward Elegy for Eddie by Jacqueline Winspear The Mapping of Love and Death by Jacqueline Winspear Won Promise the Night by Michaela MacColl, thanks to Stiletto Storytime Purchased An

Winner!

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Just one giveaway ending this week! The winner of From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant is ... Kathy of Bermudaonion ! If you didn't win, no worries -- I have a ton of open giveaways !

The Crown by Nancy Bilyeau

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Title: The Crown Author: Nancy Bilyeau Genre: Fiction (Tudor / Reformation / 16th century / Nuns / Religious Conspiracy) Publisher/Publication Date : Touchstone Publishing (1/10/2012) Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours Rating: Liked immensely/basically loved. Did I finish?: I did -- zoomed through this one without stop! One-sentence summary: Reading Challenges: E-books , Historical Fiction , NetGalley Do I like the cover?: I love it. Even though it sort of has a The DaVinci Code -ish feel to it, I find it striking and unusual for a Tudor-set hist fic. I'm reminded of...: Mary Doria Russell First line : When a burning is announced, the taverns off Smithfeld order extra barrels of ale, but when the person to be executed is a woman and one of noble birth, the ale comes by the cartload. Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Borrow or buy -- this one is worth getting. History, action, unique take on a popularly novelized time, and great storytelling. Why

The Garden Intrigue by Lauren Willig

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Title: The Garden Intrigue Author: Lauren Willig Genre: Fiction (Historical / Regency / Napoleon / France / Ex-pats / Historical Figure Fictionalized / Contemporary / Academia Setting) Publisher/Publication Date : Dutton Adult (2/16/2012) Source: TLC Book Tours Rating: Really, really liked! Did I finish?: I did, super fast. One-sentence summary: British spies in Napoleonic France, a contemporary American historian struggling with love and vocation, and a mysterious invention that might change history all come together in this breezy novel. Reading Challenges: Historical Fiction Do I like the cover?: I loathe it. Other books in the series featured art but these newer ones have the awkward, headless model thing going and this weird grocery store romance cover vibe. I'm reminded of...: Janet Mullaney, Carol K. Carr First line : "A little to the left....A little to the...No!" Do... I absolutely adore Lauren Willig's website?: YES. A section

Interview with Anne Clinard Barnhill

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Last week I read Anne Clinard Barnhill's exploration of Anne Boleyn's reign in her novel At the Mercy of the Queen . Inspired by her real-life ancestors and her interest in the Tudors, her first novel is a coming-of-age story in a time and place fraught with dangers.  I'm excited to share my interview with her; read on the learn more about her, her writing, and what she does when she's not writing!  (Plus, there's another opportunity to win a copy of her book!) What was the plot of your very first piece of fiction? Oh my, that's a tough one--I've been telling stories since I was quite young. I'd say my very first story was about a young girl who discovers an old ring in the farmland surrounding her new Virginia home, takes it home, cleans it up and begins to wear it. As she wears it, she begins to change--she stays in her room, reading about history, particularly the Civil War. She dresses strangely, in longer and longer skirts. The ring ha

The Baker’s Daughter by Sarah McCoy

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Title: The Baker’s Daughter Author: Sarah McCoy Genre: Fiction (Historical / WWII / Germany / Nazis / Contemporary / Immigration / Texas / Bakeries) Publisher/Publication Date : Crown (1/24/2012) Source: TLC Book Tours Rating: Okay to liked. Did I finish?: I did -- I was halfway through this book without realizing it -- it reads very fast! One-sentence summary: Parallel stories of two women facing their own grey areas in life -- Elsie, a German woman during WWII, and Reba, a contemporary American woman dating a Border Patrol agent. Reading Challenges: Historical Fiction , Immigrant Stories Do I like the cover?: I do! I don't think it has anything to do with the story at all, but it's wicked pretty! I'm reminded of...: Camille Noe Pagan First line : Long after the downstairs oven had cooled to the touch and the upstairs had grown warm with bodies cocooned in cotton sheets, she slipped her feet from beneath the thin coverlet and quietly made her

Ragnarok by A.S. Byatt

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Title: Ragnarok: The End of the Gods Author: A.S. Byatt Genre: Fiction (Norse Mythology / WWII / Childhood) Publisher/Publication Date : Grove Press (2/1/2012) Source: NetGalley Rating: Liked with hardcore swooning. Did I finish?: Yes -- savored over a week. One-sentence summary: A young girl experiences Do I like the cover?: I do although I don't think it captures the feel of the story, either Byatt's little girl or the Norse mythology. I'm reminded of...: Jeanette Winterson First line : There was a thin child, who was three years old when the world war began. Do... I love the Canongate Myth series so hardcore?: YES. I'd elope with it if I weren't already married and it was legal. Did... I bookmark so many passages because the language was amazing?: YES. 53 of 193 pages were bookmarked because of some gorgeous, delicious turn-of-phrase, and that was me limiting myself!! Did... I seriously fall in love with line after line?: YES.

At the Mercy of the Queen by Anne Clinard Barnhill

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Title: At the Mercy of the Queen: A Novel of Anne Boleyn Author: Anne Clinard Barnhill Genre: Fiction (Historical / Tudors / Reformation England / Historical Figures Fictionalized) Publisher/Publication Date : St. Martin's Griffin (1/3/2012) Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours Rating: Okay. Did I finish?: I did -- this reads quickly! One-sentence summary: Young Madge Shelton is brought to the glittering court of Anne Boleyn, where she finds love, lust, and court intrigue in spades. Reading Challenges: A to Z Reading Challenge , Historical Fiction Do I like the cover?: I don't hate it -- I think the cover model looks a bit like Natalie Portman, which is kind of distracting. First line : Already the grassy fields surrounding Hever Castle were greening, though Easter was several weeks away. Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Borrow. Why did I get this book?: I was intrigued by the familiar Tudor tale seen through the eyes of a lesser known cousin.

Kama Sutra by Vatsyayana

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Title: Kama Sutra Author: Vatsyayana, A.N.D. Haksar (Translator) Genre: Non-Fiction Publisher/Publication Date : Penguin Classics (1/31/2012) Source: The publisher Rating: Liked. Did I finish?: I did! One-sentence summary: A new translation of the classic, notorious Kama Sutra -- without images, but still sexy. Reading Challenges: Books in Translation , Dewey Decimal Challenge Do I like the cover?: I adore the cover. It's gorgeous, naughty, playful, sinuous, sensual, striking, and provocative. I love the Beardsley-esque-ish style and the colors. The flipside has even naughtier poses! First line : The Kama Sutra was written in India nearly two thousand years ago. Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Borrow for sure -- learn what this notorious work really is about! Why did I get this book?: I'm still 15 inside and am curious about sex! Review: No need to feel mortified reading this book! Blessedly free of awkward 60s-ish drawn illustrations, Cosmo-esque

Faith by Jennifer Haigh

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Title: Faith Author: Jennifer Haigh Genre: Fiction (Contemporary / Boston / Families / Catholic Church / Priest Abuse / Irish-Americans Publisher/Publication Date : Harper Perennial (1/17/2012) Source: TLC Book Tours Rating: Liked a great deal. Did I finish?: Yes -- I inhaled this book. One-sentence summary: A woman reflects on her childhood, her family, and her brother, a Catholic priest, when he's accused of sexual abuse during Boston's 2002 abuse scandal. Do I like the cover?: Eh -- I'm not wild about it. I vastly prefer the hardcover design which fits the familial theme of the story. First line : Here is a story my mother has never told me. Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Buy or borrow -- this is a WOW! book. Why did I get this book?: After so many book bloggers I like raved about it, I knew I had to give it a try, despite the discomforting topic. I'm a sucker for anything set in Boston. Review: Everything you've heard about this book