Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Reading Challenges Recap

I probably need to plan my reading better, so that I can complete more challenges.


To Be Continued…Challenge - 46 of 52
PB & J Challenge - 58 of 52 – COMPLETED (June 2010)
101 Books in 1001 Days Challenge – 83 of 101
The Naming Convention Challenge – 5 of 9
Book Around the States Challenge – 16 of 50
US Presidents Reading Project – 4 of 44
Disney Literature Challenge – 0 of ??
What an Animal II – 15 of 6 – COMPLETED (January 2010)
Cat Sleuth Challenge – 0 of 12 – EXPIRED
Winter Holiday Reading Challenge #2 – 4 of 6 – EXPIRED
Monthly Mixer Mele – 19 of 74
Four Month Challenge Part 2 – 2 – EXPIRED
Revisit Your Childhood Favorites Challenge 2009/10 – 0 of 5
London 2012 Challenge – 0 of 202
Winter Reading Challenge 2010 – 2 of 6 – EXPIRED
Winter Words – 1 of 3 – EXPIRED
Awesome Authors 2010 - 0 of 10
Read and Review Challenge 2010 – 44 of ??
Read Your Own Books 2010 – 20 of ??
TBR Challenge 2010 – 20 of ??
Reading From My Shelves Project 2010 – 20 of 20+
Young Readers Reading Challenge 2010 - 15 of 12 – COMPLETED (July 2010)
2010 Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge – 47 of 50
100 + Reading Challenge – 81 of 100+
The Nancy Drew Challenge – 0 of 56
Young Adult Reading Challenge – 11 of 25
Thriller & Suspense Challenge 2010 – 7 of ??
Flashback Reading Challenge – 0 of 3
YA Through the Decades - 7 of 8
Harlequin/Silhouette Romance Reading Challenge 2010 – 0 of ??
Romance Reading Challenge 2010 – 8 of 5 – COMLETED (August 2010)
Audio Book Challenge 2010 – 25 of 20 - COMPLETED
1st In A Series – 4 of 3 – COMPLETED
2nd Chance Challenge – 3 of 3 (June 2010)
Finish Up the Series Challenge – 0 of 3
Romance Challenge 2010 – 4 of 3 (April 2010)
Pages Read 2010 – 14740 of 20,000
Every Month is a Holiday – 2010 – 6 of 12
Short Story Reading Challenge 2010 – 0 of 10
American Civil War Challenge – 2 of 3
Contemporary Romance Challenge in 2010 – 4 of 10
Buy One Book and Read It 2010 – 2 of 1 – COMPLETED (April 2010)
Read, Remember, Recommend for Teens Challenge 0 of ??
the Read, Remember, Recommend Fiction Challenge 0 of ??
A to Z challenge 27 of 52
What An Animal III Challenge – 13 of 12 – COMPLETED (July 2010)

Guest Blog - Random Acts of Senseless Kindness by Graham Parke

Clinical studies have shown that reading the "Random Acts of Kindness" eBook is not only likely to make you more attractive to the opposite sex, it will also elevate your random luck by about 9.5%**

So, that's a nice bonus right there.

(**These statements have not been evaluated by anyone of consequence!)


You can find the eBook: here



Excerpt:


Blog entry: Arrived at the store late, found a homeless guy sleeping in the doorway. Hicks was already inside but gave no indication he’d noticed. I nudged the homeless guy and asked, “How are you doing down there, fellow? You okay?”

The homeless guy grumbled something in his sleep.

“It’s getting pretty cold,” I said. “Don’t you want to come inside?”

“Inside?” He coughed and opened his eyes.

I pointed out the store, not convinced he’d actually noticed where he’d crashed the night before. “This is my antiques store,” I told him. “We’ve got the heating on inside, shame to waste it on just two people. And it looks like it might start to snow soon.”

The homeless guy gave me a suspicious look. “You want me to come inside? With you?”

“Sure, if you’d like.”

“Is that because you think that if I come inside with you, I’ll let you touch me?”

“What? No!”

“Okay, because I can tell you right now, that’s not gonna happen.”

“Well, I suppose it is good to get those kinds of things clear beforehand. But no, I was just thinking you might enjoy the warmth, maybe a cup of coco.”

“A cup of coco you say…” He scratched his stubble. “And you’ll be charging me for this cup of coco?”

“No, the coco is free.”

“I see. So, are you operating under the assumption that if I come inside with you, and I drink your free coco, that I will touch you?”

“What? No!”

“Okay, because I can tell you right now, that’s not gonna happen either. Just because a guy is down on his luck, that doesn’t mean he goes around touching people in exchange for cups of coco.”

“I understand completely. And thanks again for pointing that out. But no, my friend and I noticed that you were sleeping in our doorway and, well, we’d like to invite you inside.”

The homeless guy turned and peered through the window in the door. He made eye-contact with Hicks, who panicked and went looking for his broom. “That your friend?”

I followed his gaze. “Yeah, that’s Hicks. He’s a bit peculiar, but he’s okay.”

“I see.” The homeless guy pulled on his collar. “And this friend of yours, will he be drinking coco also?”

“I suppose. I’m not entirely sure, but it seems likely.”

“I see.” The homeless guy considered this. “So,” he said, after a long moment, “will this friend of yours be expecting me to touch him?”

“No! There is no touching involved in any of this!”

“Okay, calm down,” the homeless guy said. “There’s no need to get all homophobic!”

“I wasn’t!”

“You sounded homophobic to me.”

“Me? You’re the one who can’t stop talking about touching people!”

I noticed people stopping in the street to stare at us. This made me very uncomfortable.

Download Free eBook here.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Book Review: A Season of Gifts by Richard Peck



Title: A Season Of Gifts
Author: Richard Peck
Genre: Holiday (Christmas), Young Adult


Rating: 4/5
No. of Pages: 208 (Audio) – Library Book
Published: 2009

Back Cover: One of the most adored children’s book characters of all time is the sccentric, forceful, bighearted Grandma Dowdel, star of the Newbery Medal – winning A Year Down Yonder and Newbery Honor-winning A Long Way from Chicago. And it turns out that her story isn’t over – not even close.

It is now 1958, and a new family has moved in next door to Mrs. Dowdel – a family in desperate need of her help (weather they realize it or not). There’s twelve-year-old Bob, shy on courage in a town full of bullies; his Elvis-obsessed older sister, Phyllis; Bob’s little sister, Ruth Ann, ready and waiting for a larger-than-life role model; and even Bob’s two parents, the young minister and his wife, who are amazed to discover that the last house in town might also be the most vital. As Christmas rolls, around, the whole family will realize that they’ve found a true home, and a neighbor with remarkable gifts to share.

Mine: I have to admit I hadn’t heard of the other books, but will definitely be trying to check them out at the library.

What a delightful story of the time. The new minister and his family move next door the very eccentric Mrs. Dowdel. The stranger soon become the families protector in so many ways. Phyllis get in trouble with the town’s bad boy who is much older. Bob gets dunked and tied up by the town pack of bullies and Ruth Ann is just find her place.

The comic relief helps the story move along and make for cute antedotes throughout. Stealing from the pumpkin patch, cutting the trees down from someone’s backyard and the best comes from the “Pickle” the green family car.

The gifts that come from Mrs. Dowdel are not obvious, but are the ones that are needed the most – the courage to fight back, the idea that a person can make a difference and that of a person that is a good neighbor.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Challenges I plan on taking On

What Are You Reading Monday? #25





Books I completed in the last week are:
*Reading a lot of children’s book – I’m going to make a challenge of the titles found in 1001 Children’s Books to Read before I Grow Up (just need help with a button)


Bookmarks are still living in the middle of:
*Reading a lot of children’s book – I’m going to make a challenge of the titles found in 1001 Children’s Books to Read before I Grow Up (just need help with a button)
Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen
A Season of Gifts by Richard Peck (Audio)


Up Next:
The Wedding Girl by Madeleine Wickham
The Election-Day Disaster by Ron Roy (Capital Mystery #10)
The Ghost at Camp David by Ron Roy (Capital Mystery # 12)
Civil War on Sunday by Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Tree House #21)
Revolutionary War On Wednesday by Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Tree House #22)


Reviews posted this week:


Author Guest Posts/Interviews:
Book Tour - Review - Sandra J. Gerencher - Second Chance: How Adoption Saved a Boy with Autism & His Shelter Dog (January 18)
Book Tour – Letters From Home by Kristina McMorris (February 21)

Special Blog Hop Giveaways
Dreaming of Books Hop (January 14 – 17)

Books still needing to have reviews written (as opposed to the ones that are simply awaiting posting):
Mrs. Miracle by Debbie Macomber
Cooking Up Murder by Miranda Bliss
The Perfect Christmas by Debbie Macomber
Stick It! 99 DIY Duct Tape Projects
The Absent Author by Ron Roy (Audio)
The Bald Bandit by Ron Roy (Audio)
The Canary Caper by Ron Roy (Audio)
The Knight at Dawn (Magic Tree House #2) by Mary Pope Osborne
Indiana Caper by Dallas Relaford
Moon River and Me by Andy Williams (audio)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Audio) by J.K. Rowling
Disney At Dawn (Kingdom Keepers #2) by Ridley Pearson
Disney After Dark (Kingdom Keepers #1) by Ridley Pearson (my nephew likes me to read his books sometimes and then we discuss)
*Are You My Mother? By P. D. Eastman
*Corduroy by Dan Freeman
A Fatal Slip (Crime & Clay #3) by Melissa Glazer
Back on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber (Audio)
Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts
*Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown (1001 Children’s Books)
Hero At Large by Janet Evanovich
Home: Memoir of my Early Years by Julie Andrews (Audio)
Let Them Eat Cake by Sandra Byrd(Audio)
The Year Mom Won the Pennant by Matt Christopher (my nephew likes me to read his books sometimes and then we discuss)
Miss Brooks Loves Books (and I don’t) by Barbara Bottner
Playing for Pizza by John Grisham (audio)
Savor the Moment by Nora Roberts


Giveaways on the blog this week:
A Painted House by John Grisham (ends 12/31/10)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Booklovers Secret Santa 2010




I was very pleased to received my Secret Santa package from Amy in Prince Edward Island, Canada. I actually recieved it about a week ago, but waited until Christmas to open it.

I have been looking forward to reading Three Cups of Tea for a while, so was thrilled to get it.

I was pleased to get the extra book and "Joy" ornament, postcards and a candy cane (that was a little worse for the post office).

As I look at what I received, I must admit to being embarrassed to only sending a book with n little extras.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Freebie Friday - A Painted House by John Grisham (ends 12/31)



Review from GoodReads
With A Painted House, however, he strikes out in a new direction. As the author is quick to note, this novel includes "not a single lawyer, dead or alive," and readers will search in vain for the kind of lowlife machinations that have been his stock-in-trade. Instead, Grisham has delivered a quieter, more contemplative story, set in rural Arkansas in 1952. It's harvest time on the Chandler farm, and the family has hired a crew of migrant Mexicans and "hill people" to pick 80 acres of cotton. A certain camaraderie pervades this bucolic dream team. But it's backbreaking work, particularly for the 7-year-old narrator, Luke: "I would pick cotton, tearing the fluffy bolls from the stalks at a steady pace, stuffing them into the heavy sack, afraid to look down the row and be reminded of how endless it was, afraid to slow down because someone would notice."

What's more, tensions begin to simmer between the Mexicans and the hill people, one of whom has a penchant for bare-knuckles brawling. This leads to a brutal murder, which young Luke has the bad luck to witness. At this point--with secrets, lies, and at least one knife fight in the offing--the plot begins to take on that familiar, Grisham-style momentum. Still, such matters ultimately take a back seat in A Painted House to the author's evocation of time and place. This is, after all, the scene of his boyhood, and Grisham waxes nostalgic without ever succumbing to deep-fried sentimentality. Meanwhile, his account of Luke's Baptist upbringing occasions some sly (and telling) humor:

I'd been taught in Sunday school from the day I could walk that lying would send you straight to hell. No detours. No second chances. Straight into the fiery pit, where Satan was waiting with the likes of Hitler and Judas Iscariot and General Grant. Thou shalt not bear false witness, which, of course, didn't sound exactly like a strict prohibition against lying, but that was the way the Baptists interpreted it.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Mid Winter's Giveaway Winners





Here are the winners of the Mid Winters Giveaway Hop

Congratulations to everyone. This was fun. Although I wasn't able to make it to all the blog. I sure saw a lot of nice new ones and look forward meeting new friends in the future.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Lora1967

Santa Paws by Nicholas Edwards

Khyla

The Winter Lodge by Susan Wiggs

Tina Peterson

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Midwinter's Eve Giveway Hop (12/21-22)




Midwinter's Eve is the longest night of the year so why not spend it entering some great giveaways.

The is a quick hop that runs from 12:01 AM on Tuesday, December 21st to 11:59 PM on Wednesday, December 22nd.

Each participating blog is hosting their own giveaway with their own entry requirements. All participating blogs are linked up through a Midwinter's Eve linky. After you have entered one giveaway hop to the next giveaway on the list.



Giveaways are labeled either US, US & Canada or International.


Should your name be on this list and isn't? Do you need your link deleted? Questions, problems, comments, etc. can be emailed to me at toobusyreading at gmail dot com.

Thanks for hopping by! Have a great Midwinter's Eve!




Santa Paws by Nicholas Edwards
The worst winter ever. The worst time to be homeless.

He was just a puppy when he found himself alone. Cold and alone in the dead of winter. He needed food, and water, and a warm place to sleep. He needed to find a way to survive by himself.

But who had rescued a drowning boy, found a blind girl's wallet, and helped a family escape from a burning house? Could it be the lost puppy?

The Winter Lodge by Susan Wiggs
On the longest night of the year, Jenny Majesky loses everything in a devastating house fire. But among the ashes she finds an unusual treasure hidden amid her grandfather's belongs, one that starts her on a search for the truth, and on a path toward a life that she never imagined.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
A Christmas Carol is a Victorian morality tale of an old and bitter miser, Ebenezer Scrooge, who undergoes a profound experience of redemption over the course of a Christmas Eve night. If the experience doesn't change Scrooge's ways, he will end up walking the Earth forever being nothing but an invisible and lonely ghost, like his deceased friend Jacob Marley. Mr. Scrooge is a financier/moneychanger who has devoted his life to the accumulation of wealth. He holds anything other than money in contempt, including friendship, love, and the Christmas season



Monday, December 20, 2010

Book Excerpt Offer: A Gomessy Xmas by Graham Parke



It's the age-old tale:
     Boy meets girl.
     Boy stalks girl.
     Girl already has a stalker.
     Boy becomes her stalker-stalker.”


“No Hope for Gomez!” is the award winning comedy novel that has already wrecked thousands of reasonably useful minds. To end the year with a twist, you get the Geeky eNovel “A Gomessy Xmas: Random acts of senseless kindness” with your copy of No Hope. Simply send your Amazon receipt to nohopeforgomez@gmail.com before January 15th.

As a bonus, and for a limited time only, reading “No Hope for Gomez!” will also make you more attractive to the opposite sex, and it will increase your random luck by about 9.5%
(These statements have not been evaluated by anyone of consequence.)

Read a free chapter here. , and get more details on this offer here.


"Extremely witty and clever writing that contains keen insights into human nature." California Chronicles

"The antics in this book will leave the reader laughing. Graham Parke is a genius." Readers Favorite

"A quick and unputdownable read that flies in the face of reason and smashes against the wall of detective novels. It's a Coens Brothers' film formatted in book form." BookReview.com

It's Monday What Are You Reading? #24





Books I completed in the last week are:
*Reading a lot of children’s book – I’m going to make a challenge of the titles found in 1001 Children’s Books to Read before I Grow Up (just need help with a button)
The Christmas List by Richard Paul Evans(Audio)


Bookmarks are still living in the middle of:
*Reading a lot of children’s book – I’m going to make a challenge of the titles found in 1001 Children’s Books to Read before I Grow Up (just need help with a button)
Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen
A Season of Gifts by Richard Peck (Audio)


Up Next:
The Wedding Girl by Madeleine Wickham
Kissing Christmas Goodbye by M.C. Beaton (Audio)
Who’s that Knocking on Christmas Eve by Jan Brett

Reviews posted this week:
The Christmas Blessing by Donna VanLiere (Audio) Sequel to the Christmas Shoes
The Christmas List by Richard Paul Evans(Audio)


Author Guest Posts/Interviews:
Book Tour - Review - Sandra J. Gerencher - Second Chance: How Adoption Saved a Boy with Autism & His Shelter Dog (January 18)
Book Tour – Letters From Home by Kristina McMorris (February 21)

Special Blog Hop Giveaways
Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Hop (December 21 & 22)
Dreaming of Books Hop (January 14 – 17)

Books still needing to have reviews written (as opposed to the ones that are simply awaiting posting):
Mrs. Miracle by Debbie Macomber
Cooking Up Murder by Miranda Bliss
The Perfect Christmas by Debbie Macomber
Stick It! 99 DIY Duct Tape Projects
The Absent Author by Ron Roy (Audio)
The Bald Bandit by Ron Roy (Audio)
The Canary Caper by Ron Roy (Audio)
The Knight at Dawn (Magic Tree House #2) by Mary Pope Osborne
Indiana Caper by Dallas Relaford
Moon River and Me by Andy Williams (audio)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Audio) by J.K. Rowling
Disney At Dawn (Kingdom Keepers #2) by Ridley Pearson
Disney After Dark (Kingdom Keepers #1) by Ridley Pearson (my nephew likes me to read his books sometimes and then we discuss)
*Are You My Mother? By P. D. Eastman
*Corduroy by Dan Freeman
A Fatal Slip (Crime & Clay #3) by Melissa Glazer
Back on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber (Audio)
Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts
*Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown (1001 Children’s Books)
Hero At Large by Janet Evanovich
Home: Memoir of my Early Years by Julie Andrews (Audio)
Let Them Eat Cake by Sandra Byrd(Audio)
The Year Mom Won the Pennant by Matt Christopher (my nephew likes me to read his books sometimes and then we discuss)
Miss Brooks Loves Books (and I don’t) by Barbara Bottner
Playing for Pizza by John Grisham (audio)
Savor the Moment by Nora Roberts


Giveaways on the blog this week:

The Cat Who Knew the Cardinal by Lilian Jackson Braun (ends 12/24)

Low Country by Ann Siddons (ends 12/17) – Tiffany (mailed)

The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy (ends 12/10) – Jessica (mailed)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Buy One Book and Read It Challenge 2011



January 1-December 31, 2011


Amy is hosting the Buy One Book and Read It Challenge again in 2011. She writes:


It's that time of year again! The time of year when I encourage you to pull out those wallets and buy a book...and then actually read it! The Buy One Book and Read It Challenge is back.

This challenge started when I read the depressing statistics that something like half of the adults in the United States wouldn't read a single book over the course of the year. Nothing plunges me into the depths of despair like that, so I decided to encourage people to read a book. When I also realized that bookstores and the publishing industry was suffering, I decided to add on the buying part.


There are two levels to this challenge:
1) Buy One Book and Read It.
This level is good for people who don't read often but think that would like to read more. It's also good for people who don't buy books. If you don't read much or don't buy many books, this is your level.
2) Level Two--Buy one book and read it every month
You don't have to buy a book in January and read it in January, but you must buy 12 books that you also go on to read during the year. This level is ideal for book bloggers notorious for the buying part, but not so much the reading part.


Rules
1) The book you read must be for pleasure. It cannot be a book you are reading to your children, for work, for research. This is all about fun.
2) The book(s) can be print or electronic. Unless you are unable to read print, audiobooks don't count towards this challenge.

Prizes: Everyone who completes the challenge at the level they signed up for will be entered into a drawing to win a ten dollar gift certificate from Gift Certificates.

To join, go to the Buy One Book and Read It Challenge.

Book Review -The Christmas List by Richard Paul Evans



Title: The Christmas List
Author: Richard Paul Evans
Genre: Holiday (Christmas), Romance

Challenges: 101 Books in 1001 Days Challenge, The Naming Convention Challenge, Book Around the States Challenge, Read and Review Challenge 2010, 2010 Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge, 100 + Reading Challenge, Romance Reading Challenge 2010, Audio Book Challenge 2010, Romance Challenge 2010, Pages Read 2010, Every Month is a Holiday 2010, A to Z challenge,

Rating: 5/5
No. of Pages: 352 (Audio)
Published: 2009

Back Cover: Wildly successful real estate mogul James Kier gets the shock of a lifetime when he opens the newspaper and discovers his own obituary has been mistakenly printed. Says the notice, “He was known as a fierce, oftentimes ruthless, businessman.” Kier’s initial anger soon melts with the realization that he’s been given a rare opportunity to face his own legacy. Confronting the mistakes he’s made, he creates a list of people he’s wronged and begins seeking atonement on a path strewn with surprises.

Mine: A wonderful story as usually by Mr. Evans – I love his holiday stories (The Christmas Box). James Kier is a ruthless businessman and mogal, but he wasn’t always. After seeing his premature obituary he decides to try to go back and see if he can rectify some of the deals he made.

Just like A Christmas Carol, he has his assistant make a list of the people that he has hurt the most with his business deals and tries to do right by them. Along the way he finds the old self of the humble beginnings. I think this should become a Christmas classic, since the true meaning of Christmas is always found in the end.

Book Review - The Christmas Blessing by Donna VanLiere


Title: The Christmas Blessing
Author: Donna VanLiere
Genre: Holiday (Christmas)

Challenges: To Be Continued…Challenge, 101 Books in 1001 Days Challenge, Book Around the States Challenge, Read and Review Challenge 2010, Read Your Own Books 2010, TBR Challenge 2010, Reading From My Shelves Project 2010, 100 + Reading Challenge, Romance Reading Challenge 2010, Audio Book Challenge 2010, Romance Challenge 2010, Pages Read 2010, Every Month is a Holiday 2010, Contemporary Romance Challenge in 2010

Rating: 5/5
No. of Pages: 224 (Audio)
Published: 2003

Back Cover: In The Christmas Shoes, young Nathan Andrews was a child who lost his mother to cancer. Now his deepest wish is to become a doctor. When a stranger named Robert gave him the money to buy his mother a pair of shoes for her last Christmas, both Robert and Nathan learned the deepest lessons of love and giving. Now a medical student in his third year, Nathan realizes there are still things to be learned about faith, blessings, and sacrifice. Lessons he will learn from Meghan Sullivan-a young woman born with a hole in her heart that has not kept her from becoming a champion runner. And lessons learned from a young boy named Charlie, who teaches how to live a life of true courage. Together, they will help guide Nathan through the darkest period in his life. The Christmas Blessing is an inspiring about hope existing in the darkest places, and love is always the greatest gift of all.

Mine: In the continuation of The Christmas Shoes, Nathan is now grown up and a medical student with a crisis of conscience (is he really cut out to be a doctor).

He runs into Robert (not knowingly at first) as he visits his mother at the cemetery as he leaves the shoes. Robert notices and tries to track him down.

Meghan Sullivan is a friend of Charlie’s and a patient that Nathan has to deal with. Meghan meets Nathan as she is looking for people to sponsor and participate in a charity race. Meghan and Charlie teach Nathan the meaning of Christmas and the gift of giving and faith again. Nathan thought that this was forever lost.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Freebie Friday - The Cat Who Knew the Cardinal by Lilian Jackson Braun (ends 12/24)




Back in Pickax, Jim Qwilleran expects to resume a quite life, but the people and animals of Pickax have other ideas. A noisy cardinal wakes him every morning Nosy neighbors drop by uninvited and the Siamese misbehave, even sneezing on guest. As if they weren't bad enough, Qwill's long-time companion acts as though she is in love - with another man. But worst of all, Qwill finds a body in his apple orchard. When Qwill's friend becomes the chief suspect, he embarks on a crusade to clear Dennis Hough's name and win back Polly Duncan's heart. Even Koko sniffs out a few clues. But will their efforts be too little too late? Not even Koko knows for sure in the quirky, engaging romp through Moose County.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tuesday Link-Ups

Hope you will check out these blog hops and find some great new blogs to follow - some have some great giveaways.


BWS tips  button Photobucket Busy Mom's Tips Tuesday Blog Hop

Guest Blog & Giveaway- Sybil Baker - Talismans

Confessions of a Writer and English Professor
By Sybil Baker

When I look at a blog such as Books Books the Magical Fruit, I’m ashamed and inspired.

Inspired because as a writer and writing teacher, I always love to see places devoted to books and book lovers. I start to feel optimistic about the world again.

But I’m ashamed as well. For even though I’m a book lover (as a writer and reader),I don’t do much of my own reading for the sheer joy of it any more, especially during the university semesters. Don’t get me wrong—I read, a lot. But what I read is not of my choosing.

For example, this semester I spent much of my time reading and commenting on student short stories, reading assigned published short stories, reading writing blogs and magazines such as Poets and Writers to stay current in my field, and reading demanding texts for my humanities classes such as The Odyssey, The Inferno, and The Aeneid. On the one hand I can’t complain (I’m getting paid to read The Odyssey, how cool is that?), but on the other when I see someone at a coffee shop or in the library reading just because they want to, I feel a tinge of envy.

For even when I do have time to read what I want, I’m still reading with my own career as a writer and teacher in mind. For example, I’ve been working on a novel set in South Korea, and as a result have been reading novels and nonfiction by Korean Americans. In the spring I’ll be teaching a contemporary Southern literature class, and will be spending much of my winter break reading the novels I’ll be teaching. And as a creative writing teacher, I find it’s important to stay current with the latest short story collections so that I can pass that information on to my students.

Again, I’m not complaining. I love to read short stories, Southern literature and Korean American literature. Heck, I’d probably read much of it anyway even if I didn’t feel that I needed to. But I am ashamed that I don’t carve a space for books that I want to read just for me without any pay off or purpose except for the joy of reading a good story. That’s why a blog like this inspires me to make sure I leave time to read and discover books that I want to read for me and no one and nothing else.




Synopsis:
Elise understands her father—a Vietnam vet who abandoned her when she was an
infant—about as much as she does her church organist mother and the rest of their
suburban Virginian town. When even that thin thread of connection is suddenly
severed, Elise is flung across the world, to Southeast Asia. Tracing the steps her father took through the war, Elise searches for a connection —with his ghost, with other travelers, with the foreign culture and environment she experiences. In a series of linked short stories, Talismans follows Elise’s journey to learn what she must hold onto,and what she must leave behind




About the Author:
Sybil has always had wandering feet. First, she left her hometown in northern Virginia for Boulder where she completed her Master’s in English at the University of Colorado. She eventually moved back to Virginia but soon the wandering bug bit her again. This time she spent twelve years teaching English in South Korea and traveling the world. So far she has checked off over 30 countries, many in Asia. Her path did lead back to the United States where she received her MFA at The Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2005 and began teaching creative writing at the University of Tennessee in 2007. These days she satisfies her wanderlust by writing about exotic locales from the Chattanooga home she shares with her husband.

Author's Websites:

Sybil Baker’s website: http://sybilbaker.com/home.html
Sybil Baker’s Blogs: http://sybilbaker.blogspot.com/


Monday, December 13, 2010

What Are You Reading Monday? #23





Books I completed in the last week are:
*Reading a lot of children’s book – I’m going to make a challenge of the titles found in 1001 Children’s Books to Read before I Grow Up (just need help with a button)
The Christmas Blessing by Donna VanLiere (Audio) Sequeal to the Christmas Shoes


Bookmarks are still living in the middle of:
*Reading a lot of children’s book – I’m going to make a challenge of the titles found in 1001 Children’s Books to Read before I Grow Up (just need help with a button)
Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen
The Christmas List by Richard Evans(Audio)


Up Next:
Beachcombers by
The Wedding Girl by Madeleine Wickham
Kissing Christmas Goodbye by M.C. Beaton (Audio)
A Season of Gifts by Richard Peck (Audio)
Who’s that Knocking on Christmas Eve by Jan Brett

Reviews posted this week:

Author Guest Posts/Interviews:
Blog Tour - Sybil Baker Guest Blog – Talisman (December 14)
Virtual Blog Tour -Andrewa Nepa Review -Red in the Flower Bed: An Illustrated Children's Story about Interracial Adoption (December 18)
Book Tour - Review - Sandra J. Gerencher - Second Chance: How Adoption Saved a Boy with Autism & His Shelter Dog (January 18)

Special Blog Hop Giveaways
Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Hop (December 21 & 22)
Dreaming of Books Hop (January 14 – 17)

Books still needing to have reviews written (as opposed to the ones that are simply awaiting posting):
The Christmas Blessing by Donna VanLiere (Audio) Sequeal to the Christmas Shoes
Mrs. Miracle by Debbie Macomber
Cooking Up Murder by Miranda Bliss
The Perfect Christmas by Debbie Macomber
Stick It! 99 DIY Duct Tape Projects
The Absent Author by Ron Roy (Audio)
The Bald Bandit by Ron Roy (Audio)
The Canary Caper by Ron Roy (Audio)
The Knight at Dawn (Magic Tree House #2) by Mary Pope Osborne
Indiana Caper by Dallas Relaford
Moon River and Me by Andy Williams (audio)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Audio) by J.K. Rowling
Disney At Dawn (Kingdom Keepers #2) by Ridley Pearson
Disney After Dark (Kingdom Keepers #1) by Ridley Pearson (my nephew likes me to read his books sometimes and then we discuss)
*Are You My Mother? By P. D. Eastman
*Corduroy by Dan Freeman
A Fatal Slip (Crime & Clay #3) by Melissa Glazer
Back on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber (Audio)
Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts
*Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown (1001 Children’s Books)
Hero At Large by Janet Evanovich
Home: Memoir of my Early Years by Julie Andrews (Audio)
Let Them Eat Cake by Sandra Byrd(Audio)
The Year Mom Won the Pennant by Matt Christopher (my nephew likes me to read his books sometimes and then we discuss)
Miss Brooks Loves Books (and I don’t) by Barbara Bottner
Playing for Pizza by John Grisham (audio)
Savor the Moment by Nora Roberts


Giveaways on the blog this week:

Low Country by Ann Siddons (ends 12/17)

The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy (ends 12/10) – Jessica (mailed)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Freebie Friday - Low Country by Anne Rivers Siddons (ends 12/17)





Caroline Venable has everything her Southern heritage promised: money, prestige, a powerful husband—and a predictable routine of country-club luncheons, cocktail parties, and dinners hosting her husband's wealthy friends, clients, and associates in his successful land-developing conglomerate.

To escape her stifling routine, Caro drinks a little too much. But her true solace is the Lowcountry island her beloved Granddaddy left her—an oasis of breathtaking beauty that is home to a band of wild ponies. When Caro learns that her husband must develop the island or lose the business, she is devastated. The Lowcountry is her heritage—and what will happen to the ponies whose spirit and freedom have captivated her since childhood?

Saving the island could cost Caroline more than she ever imagined. To succeed, she must confront the part of herself numbed by alcohol and careful avoidance—and shatter long-held ideals about her role in society, her marriage, and ultimately, herself.



Monday, December 6, 2010

Monday Link- Ups

Photobucket

What Are You Reading Monday? #22





Books I completed in the last week are:
*Reading a lot of children’s book – I’m going to make a challenge of the titles found in 1001 Children’s Books to Read before I Grow Up (just need help with a button)


Bookmarks are still living in the middle of:
*Reading a lot of children’s book – I’m going to make a challenge of the titles found in 1001 Children’s Books to Read before I Grow Up (just need help with a button)
Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen
The Christmas Blessing by Donna VanLiere (Audio) Sequeal to the Christmas Shoes

Up Next:
Beachcombers by
The Wedding Girl by Madeleine Wickham


Reviews posted this week:

Author Guest Posts/Interviews:
Blog Tour - Sybil Baker Guest Blog – Talisman (December 14)
Virtual Blog Tour -Andrewa Nepa Review -Red in the Flower Bed: An Illustrated Children's Story about Interracial Adoption (December 18)
Book Tour - Review - Sandra J. Gerencher - Second Chance: How Adoption Saved a Boy with Autism & His Shelter Dog (January 18)

Special Blog Hop Giveaways
Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Hop (December 21 & 22)
Dreaming of Books Hop (January 14 – 17)

Books still needing to have reviews written (as opposed to the ones that are simply awaiting posting):
Mrs. Miracle by Debbie Macomber
Cooking Up Murder by Miranda Bliss
The Perfect Christmas by Debbie Macomber
Stick It! 99 DIY Duct Tape Projects
The Absent Author by Ron Roy (Audio)
The Bald Bandit by Ron Roy (Audio)
The Canary Caper by Ron Roy (Audio)
The Knight at Dawn (Magic Tree House #2) by Mary Pope Osborne
Indiana Caper by Dallas Relaford
Moon River and Me by Andy Williams (audio)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Audio) by J.K. Rowling
Disney At Dawn (Kingdom Keepers #2) by Ridley Pearson
Disney After Dark (Kingdom Keepers #1) by Ridley Pearson (my nephew likes me to read his books sometimes and then we discuss)
*Are You My Mother? By P. D. Eastman
*Corduroy by Dan Freeman
A Fatal Slip (Crime & Clay #3) by Melissa Glazer
Back on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber (Audio)
Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts
*Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown (1001 Children’s Books)
Hero At Large by Janet Evanovich
Home: Memoir of my Early Years by Julie Andrews (Audio)
Let Them Eat Cake by Sandra Byrd(Audio)
The Year Mom Won the Pennant by Matt Christopher (my nephew likes me to read his books sometimes and then we discuss)
Miss Brooks Loves Books (and I don’t) by Barbara Bottner
Playing for Pizza by John Grisham (audio)
Savor the Moment by Nora Roberts


Giveaways on the blog this week:


The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy (ends 12/10)

Thanksgiving by Janet Evanovich (ends 12/3) - Glenda Cates (Mailed)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Freebie Friday - The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy (ends 12/10)




Pat Conroy has created a huge, brash thunderstorm of a novel, stinging with honesty and resounding with drama.

Spanning forty years, this is the story of turbulent Tom Wingo, his gifted and troubled twin sister, Savannah, and the dark and violent past of the extraordinary family to which they were born.

Filled with the vanishing beauty of the South Carolina lowcountry as well as the dusty glitter of New York City, The Prince Of Tides is Pat Conroy's most magnificent novel yet.