Showing posts from November, 2012

Friday Reads and counting down...

My week has been one of squee-rific jubilation. I've been asked to be a panelist for a workshop at the Historical Novel Society's 2013 Conference in St. Petersburg, FL! After checking with my wife and my bosses, we've decided and I can swing it and attend! I'll be participating in a discussion of outside-the-mainstream historical fiction with Julie K. Rose, Heather Domin, and Andrea Connell. I'm dying of joy.

My weekend reads are a bit of a jumble -- I'm all over the place due to being behind on some reviews, so I'm actually not sure what I'll be reading.  Which is a bit distressing.  What are you reading this weekend?

Voodoo in My Blood by Carolle Jean-Murat

Title:Voodoo in My Blood: A Healer's Journey From Surgeon to Shaman
Author: Carolle Jean-Murat, MD

Genre: Non-Fiction (Memoir / Haiti / 1950s / 1960s / 1970s / 1980s / Sexual Assault / PTSD / Medicine / Healing / Voodoo / Spiritual Beliefs / Coming-of-Age / Cultural Clash)
Publisher/Publication Date: Bettie Youngs Books (2012)
Source:Pump Up Your Book Virtual Book Tours

Rating: Liked a great deal.
Did I finish?: I did!
One-sentence summary: The memoir of a Haitian woman who grows up during Haiti's repressive Duvalier regime, becomes a successful gynecological surgeon, and finds her vocation as a healer by embracing her family's Voodoo heritage and her contemporary medical training.
Reading Challenges:Dewey Decimal, Immigrant Stories

Do I like the cover?: It's fine -- very reminiscent of self-help-y style books.

I'm reminded of...: Saima Wahab

First line: To most people, the word "Voodoo" conjures up images of black magic rituals, dolls bristling with pins, sacrif…

The Prescribed Burn by Laryssa Wirstiuk

Title:The Prescribed Burn
Author: Laryssa Wirstiuk

Genre: Fiction (Contemporary / Vignettes / Coming-of-Age / New Jersey / Ukrainian Heritage / Art / Young Woman / Romantic Relationships)
Publisher/Publication Date: Painted Egg Press (9/15/2012)
Source: The author

Rating: Liked to love!
Did I finish?: I did, I savored this book!
One-sentence summary: Fifteen stories about a young woman, an aspiring artist, who struggles to find her place in the world.

Do I like the cover?: I do, it is reminiscent of a line from midway in the book, an inside joke between characters that we readers are a part of.

I'm reminded of...: Michael Alenyikov, Valerie Laken, Lorrie Moore

First line: I was worried my heart would crack and reveal me, the way Baba's treasured pysanka had done., from 'Smuggling a Boy into Baba's'.

Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Borrow or buy if you like coming-of-age-ish fiction, smart stories about young women finding their footing, and place as character.

Why did I get this…

Mailbox Monday, Nov 26

Happy Mailbox Monday!  After last week's insane haul, this week's arrivals were far more moderate -- but equally awesome! What did you get this week? 

For Review

Historical Holiday Blog Hop

One of my all-time favorite bloggers, Amy of Passages to the Past, is having a Historical Holiday Blog Hop! Running from December 10 through 17, it will feature giveaways by bloggers and authors. I'm signing up -- I'll be offering at least one US and international giveaway -- and I've heard rumors of other awesome bloggers and authors. Interested? Sign up here!


This week's giveaway winners!

The winner of Princess Elizabeth's Spy is ... Jessica D.!

The winner of Because You Have To is ... Baxter!

The winner of Judith is ... Krystyn!

Congrats to the winners! I've emailed folks who have about three days to respond; if I don't hear from people, I'll redraw names. Be sure to check out my open giveaways if you didn't win -- I've got plenty more coming!

Interview with Timothy O'Brien

Just before Thanksgiving, I reviewed Timothy O'Brien's historical thriller, The Lincoln Conspiracy, a novel which satisfies mood, ambiance, and plot junkies. I'm thrilled to share my interview with the author; read on to learn more about him and his writing, and be sure to enter the giveaway!

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

The Lincoln Conspiracy is about a detective and his wife who inadvertently stumble upon a pair of diaries (at a murder scene in the old B&O Railroad Station in Washington, D.C.) that offer a set of clues about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. When they set out to unravel those clues, they become of the targets of a handful of powerful and ruthless players who want the diaries for themselves. The novel is set in post-Civil War Washington and it offers a rich, embroidered sense of the city at the time and of the various schemers and survivors who made Washington a real cauldron of change and of danger.

Do you have any writin…

The Lincoln Conspiracy by Timothy O'Brien

Title:The Lincoln Conspiracy
Author: Timothy O'Brien

Genre: Fiction (Historical / 1860s / Antebellum US / Washington D.C. / Abraham Lincoln / Assassination / Political Conspiracy / Historical Figures Fictionalized)
Publisher/Publication Date: Ballantine Books (9/18/2012)
Source:Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Rating: Liked.
Did I finish?: I did.
One-sentence summary: Following the assassination of President Lincoln, two diaries reveal clues to the extent of the conspiracy, and DC Detective Temple McFadden accidentally stumbles into the middle of it.
Reading Challenges:Historical Fiction, Immigrant Stories

Do I like the cover?: Eh, I'm not wild about it, but I presume it hits the right notes for the reader they're after -- guys and people who are into Lincoln.

I'm reminded of...: Matthew Pearl

First line: Rain kept the dust down.

Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Borrow if you're a fan of conspiracy stories.

Why did I get this book?: Lincoln seems to be hot these days!

Review: Betwe…

Married Love by Tessa Hadley

Title:Married Love: And Other Stories
Author: Tessa Hadley

Genre: Fiction (Short Stories / British / Contemporary / 1970s / 1920s / Relationships / Family / Marriage / Romantic Love / Class Differences)
Publisher/Publication Date: Harper Perennial (11/20/2012)
Source:TLC Book Tours

Rating: Liked to love.
Did I finish?: I inhaled them.
One-sentence summary: Twelve sharp, sad, moody stories of relationships -- good ones, bad ones, broken ones, successful ones -- set between the now and the early 1900s.

Do I like the cover?: I'm on the fence about it -- it's pretty, but I don't know if it captures the mood of the stories, which are sadder. Rainier.

I'm reminded of...: Jane Bowles, Daphne Du Maurier, Valerie Laken

First line: 'The winter after her brother killed himself, Ally got a job at a writers' centre near her parents' house, helping out with the admin in the office.', from 'She's the One'.

Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Borrow or buy, especially if you l…

Mailbox Monday, Nov 19

How is it almost Thanksgiving?  I swear, just yesterday it was the middle of August.  This year is going by too fast!  The agony of time passing was lessened, however, by the insanely wonderful glut of arrivals -- many I'm going to try to squeeze into 2012, which means it'll be weeks before I can come up with my top ten.  Eeek!  This week's Mailbox Monday is being hosted at Bermudaonion -- what did you get this week?

For Review


Many, many thanks to Marie at Burton Book Review for kindly swapping the above books!

So excited my friend Matthew's book has been released! He kindly gifted my wife and I with a copy and included a playlist!


Just one winner this week!

The winner of Lucky Bunny is ... Karen K.!

Congrats! If you didn't win, be sure to check out my open giveaways -- and as always, more are coming this week!

Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver

Title:Flight Behavior
Author: Barbara Kingsolver

Genre: Fiction (Contemporary / Appalachia / Tennessee / 20something / Marriage / Natural Phenomena / Families / Lepidoptera)
Publisher/Publication Date: Harper (11/6/2012)
Source:TLC Book Tours

Rating: Liked.
Did I finish?: I did.
One-sentence summary: In rural Tennessee, a young mother finds herself at the center of a heartbreaking and miraculous migration of butterflies.

Do I like the cover?: It's grown on me -- I was sort of 'eh' about it before reading but now I rather like it. The leaf/feather/wing motif is echoed in the chapter headers as well.

I'm reminded of...: Sena Jeter Naslund, Ann Patchett

First line: A certain feeling comes from throwing your good life away, and it is one part rapture.

Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Borrow or buy.

Why did I get this book?: I cave to popular sentiment: I couldn't pass up a new Kingsolver.

Review: Like Stephen King, my experience with Kingsolver has been one hit with many DNF'd misses. …