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Showing posts from April, 2012

Mailbox Monday, April 30

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Seen both at Mailbox Monday -- hosted in April at Cindy's Love of Books -- my Mailbox Monday. What did you get? Read any of these? (To learn more about any of these titles, just click on the cover; it'll open in a new window/tab.)



For Review







Purchased/Swapped/Gifted




Interview with Angela Davis-Gardner

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Earlier in the month I read the dark, sorrowful, but delightful Butterfly's Child by Angela Davis-Gardner. I'm thrilled to share my interview with Ms. Davis-Gardner; read on to learn more about her book, her writing, and what she does when she's not writing. Plus -- another chance to win a copy of this book!

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

The first fiction I composed was for my brother when I was nine and he was five. We lived in a big apartment complex in Baltimore, and I made up some tales in which a boy and girl found a subterranean world beneath the buildings and secret doors into each apartment. In the stories, the kids would sneak into the apartments and do verboten things like watch t.v. and steal cookies right from the oven. I don’t remember other details, but my brother did; he retold these stories to his kids, decades later. My primary drives as a fiction writer haven’t changed much: to create an imaginary world and to try to keep the …

The Queen’s Lover by Francine du Plessix Gray

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Title:The Queen’s Lover
Author: Francine du Plessix Gray

Genre: Fiction (Historical / 18th Century / French Court / Marie-Antoinette / Romance / Epistolary)
Publisher/Publication Date: The Penguin Press (6/14/2012)
Source:TLC Book Tours

Rating: Luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurved it!
Did I finish?: I did!
One-sentence summary: The adult life of Marie Antoinette's lover, Swedish courtier Axel von Fersen.
Reading Challenges:Historical Fiction

Do I like the cover?: I adore it. Maybe my favorite cover of 2012 so far. It's so unusual and unique for a historical novel to feature something other than a headless woman in costume! The layout, the colors, the passionate emptiness...so good!

I'm reminded of...: David Lodge

First line: My late brother, Count Axel von Fersen, was a notorious seducer, known through Europe as 'le beau Fersen' and in our Swedish homeland as "Lange Fersen", "tall Fersen".

Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Borrow or buy -- this is a great, unique …

In My Father’s Country by Saima Wahab

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Title:In My Father’s Country: An Afghan Woman Defies Her Fate
Author: Saima Wahab

Genre: Non-Fiction (Memoir / Afghanistan / War / Immigration / 1970s / 1980s / War in Afghanistan / U.S. Military)
Publisher/Publication Date: Crown (4/24/2012)
Source:TLC Book Tours

Rating: Liked to love.
Did I finish?: I did -- I couldn't put it down!
One-sentence summary: Memoir of an Afghani-American translator who returns to Afghanistan to work with US forces fighting terrorism there.
Reading Challenges:Dewey Decimal, Immigrant Stories

Do I like the cover?: I do -- it's very striking!

I'm reminded of...: Diana Abu-Jaber

First line: I should have died when I was five.

Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Buy or borrow, even if you're not a memoir fan - this is an intro to the conflict in Afghanistan over the last decade and the story of a fascinating woman living through intense times.

Why did I get this book?: I'm fascinated by women in wartime and this memoir was too intriguing to resist!

Review: From th…

Miss Fuller by April Bernard

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Title:Miss Fuller
Author: April Bernard

Genre: Fiction (Historical / 1850 / New England / Transcendentalists / Marriage / Friendship)
Publisher/Publication Date: Steerforth Press (4/3/2012)
Source: The publisher.

Rating: Loved.
Did I finish?: I did -- I even reread it to savor the language!
One-sentence summary: The life of 19th-century American feminist, Margaret Fuller, as seen through an unsent letter after her tragic death.
Reading Challenges:Historical Fiction

Do I like the cover?: I do -- it captures two elements of the novel rather uniquely!

I'm reminded of...: A.S. Byatt, Anne Carson, Ellen Feldman, Jeanette Winterson

First line: News of the wreck made everyone want to be up and going, doing something, talking, moving, to keep the knowledge from puddling and festering.

Am... I super excited to see the author at her reading this week?: YES. Expect another fangirl photo with me grinning like an idiot!

Did... I kind of hate those crotchety Transcendentalists for being jerks?: YES. I…

Afterwards by Rosamund Lupton

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Title:Afterwards
Author: Rosamund Lupton

Genre: Fiction (Contemporary / Supernatural / Out-of-Body Experience / School Fire / Arson / Mother-Daughter Relationships)
Publisher/Publication Date: Crown (4/24/2012)
Source:TLC Book Tours

Rating: Disliked / Unfinished
Did I finish?: I didn't!
One-sentence summary: A mother, fighting for her own life after racing into a burning school to save her daughter, attempts to solve the mystery and save her family.

Do I like the cover?: Yes, although I don't think it captures the story as the victims aren't elementary school kids.

First line: I couldn't move, not even my little finger or a flicker of an eye.

Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Borrow if you like domestic thrillers and unusual narrative styles.

Why did I get this book?: I've heard nothing but good things about Lupton's previous novel Sisters.

Review: I think if you're a fan of Lovely Bones but want something less inspirational in tone, then this might be your book. Unfortunately…

Mailbox Monday, April 23

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Seen both at Mailbox Monday -- hosted in April at Cindy's Love of Books -- and The Story Siren, my Mailbox Monday/In My Mailbox. What did you get? Read any of these?


For Review







Won



Purchased/Swapped




Interview with Michel Stone

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Earlier this month I read Michel Stone's novel of immigration and belonging, The Iguana Tree, and I'm excited to share my interview with her. Read on to learn more about Ms. Stone's writing, her book, and what she does when she's not writing. Be sure to check out the giveaway as well!

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

When I was in the fourth grade I wrote and illustrated a story called “Planet Boom-Boom” about an astronaut named Johnny who discovered a new planet. That story was my one and only jaunt into writing sci-fi. In hindsight, I suspect I was inspired by Larry Hagman’s character discovering a genie, Barbara Eden’s character, in the television program “I Dream of Jeanie.”

Do you have any writing rituals or routines?

My most successful writing days involve good coffee and several hours of uninterrupted solitude.


Was The Iguana Tree the original title of your book?

Great question, and no, The Iguana Tree was not the original title. For ove…

Dancing at the Chance by DeAnna Cameron

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Title:Dancing at the Chance
Author: DeAnna Cameron

Genre: Fiction (Historical / New York City / 1900s / Vaudeville / Romance)
Publisher/Publication Date: Berkley Trade (4/3/2012)
Source: The author

Rating: Okay to liked.
Did I finish?: I did, on one lazy Saturday.
One-sentence summary: An orphaned vaudeville dancer struggles to keep her love, career, and home in 1907 New York City.
Reading Challenges:Historical Fiction, Immigrant Stories

Do I like the cover?: I do -- it's pretty, and despite the eye-less model, an unusual layout for a historical novel cover.

First line: For a full half hour the stage manager sat on a stool near the footlights, his fingers curled on the hooked head of his cane, silently watching the vaudeville players at morning rehearsal.

Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Borrow for a fun, easy, beach-y historical fiction read.

Why did I get this book?: I love vaudeville and that world and I couldn't resist a historical novel set there!

Review: This is an easy, predictable, and …

The Sumerton Women by D.L. Bogdan

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Title:The Sumerton Women
Author: D.L. Bogdan

Genre: Fiction (Historical / Tudors / Reformation / Sibling Relationships / Marriage)
Publisher/Publication Date: Kensington Publishing (4/24/2012)
Source:Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Rating: Okay to liked.
Did I finish?: I did, very quickly.
One-sentence summary: The rise and fall, loves and hates, of two strong-willed women during Henry VIII's reign.
Reading Challenges:Historical Fiction

Do I like the cover?: I do -- it captures exactly what the two main characters look like. Although they're both a bit scowl-y for me, I do love seeing their faces!

I'm reminded of...: Philippa Gregory

First line: She hid in her mother's wardrobe.

Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Borrow or buy, if you like fast-paced and easy-to-sink-into hist fic.

Why did I get this book?: I've heard nothing but praise for Bogdan's books.

Review: I'm a bit of a broken record, but I'm tired of the Tudors. However, this Tudor fic entertained me with its f…