Banned Books Week - September 24 - 30

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Cat Thursday {Christmas} No Christmas Spirit


Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Enjoy! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)

Everyone who knows me, knows I love Christmas.  Even with everything my family is going through right now, I still manage to muster up the spirit.  However, I cannot resist Grumpy Cat and his total lack of Christmas spirit.  He (she?) is hilarious!





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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

{Book Tour} Whirlpool by Eileen Enwright Hodgetts--Review and Guest Post


Only in Niagara Falls
I had been writing for a long time before I actually started to tell people that I was a writer. Now that I have two published novels, and a dozen published stage plays, I am finally willing to say “yes, I’m a writer.” There is a downside to claiming to be a writer, and the downside is the fact that almost everyone has a story idea that they want to give you. Unfortunately I don’t think I will ever have time to write someone else’s story idea because I already have too many of my own characters walking around in my head and interrupting my thoughts. Some of the strongest characters try to insinuate themselves into stories that don’t belong to them. Perhaps they are afraid that I’ll never have time to write their story so they try to get in on whatever story I happen to be writing.

And sometimes it’s not a character; sometimes it’s a place. My novel Whirlpool is about a woman who is determined to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel. Evangeline is a very determined character and she wanted her story told, but more than the story of Evangeline and her ride to the brink of the Falls, I wanted to write of the Niagara River itself. I am an immigrant to the United States. I came here from England and Niagara Falls was on my list of places to see. Nothing had prepared me for the journey along the Niagara parkway from Buffalo; seeing the mist in the distance and beginning to hear the roar of the Falls. I can only imagine what it was like for the first settlers who had no idea what awaited them just around a bend in the river. Standing at the Falls and watching the green water sliding smoothly over the brink is hypnotic. I can see how a suicidal person could be tempted to jump, but the question I kept asking myself was “who would think of a barrel?” Why would anyone think that they could survive in a barrel? I spent a summer directing one of my plays in the Niagara region, and that was when Evangeline first started to talk to me and tell me that she had a story to tell; and the more I wrote about her, and the more real she became in my mind, I realized that her story had to be more than a story about stubborn ambition; it had to be a story about how the quest for fame can replace the quest for love.
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Niagara Falls is now closed to daredevils, and barrel riding is strictly illegal, but in the 1920s the town was a mecca for all kinds of people seeking fame by risking their lives. As soon as I set Evangeline and her ambition down amidst the carnival atmosphere and introduced her to Joshua, the one man who could offer her the best chance of survival, the story began to write itself. It is a story that could only happen in one place; Niagara Falls. 

My thoughts:
Whirlpool is an adventure in a novel.  It's not only the adventure of someone going over the falls in a barrel; it's the adventure of finding romance, a woman coming out of her shell, gambling and double cross, and even the women's movement.  Very adventurous indeed.  I really enjoyed this book.  Ms. Hodgetts definitely knows how to tell a story.  The characters were real and I genuinely felt part of the story.  I can't believe that people used to go over Niagara Falls in barrels.  Were they brave, or just crazy?  Hodgetts gives some good insight into what would motivate a person to take that kind of chance.  Whirlpool is an interesting book and definitely worth a read.

About the book:
The year is 1923 and the jazz age is in full swing. Evangeline Murray, a young widow from Ohio, is recruited by the Women’s Freedom Movement to represent the spirit of modern womanhood by going over Niagara Falls in a barrel. Evangeline eagerly embraces her opportunity to achieve fame and fortune, until she sees the power of the River and begins to understand the risk she is taking. Joshua McClaren, an enigmatic battle-scarred veteran of World War I, and the best boatman on the river, reluctantly agrees to launch the headstrong Evangeline. Joshua has seen hundreds of bodies surface in the Whirlpool below the Falls, and has faced death on the battlefields of Flanders and has no respect for the charming, impetuous Mrs. Murray, and her desire for fame. Before the barrel can be launched, each of them will have to face their own demons, painful secrets will be revealed and the Niagara Rivers will claim two more lives. Inspired by true stories of the Falls, Whirlpool is a romance, an adventure, and the closest that most of us will ever come to taking the fateful plunge over the Falls.Whirlpool is a fiction that is based on reality. Seven people have tried to ride over Niagara Falls in a barrel. Four have succeeded and three have died. The first person to make the attempt was Annie Taylor, a middle aged school teacher from Michigan who made a successful journey in 1901. Barrel riding at Niagara Falls is now forbidden by law, but at the beginning of the 20th century Niagara was a haven for daredevils of all types, and many of their exploits are included in the novel.


About the author:
Eileen Enwright Hodgetts is the author of Whirlpool. She is a much traveled writer. Brought up in England and Wales, she has also lived and worked in South Africa and Uganda and now makes her home in Pittsburgh, PA. Her life experiences allow her to use exotic backgrounds for her novels and to understand how an adventure can begin with just one small incident. For ten years she directed a humanitarian mission in East Africa and is also involved in a Ugandan Coffee Farm. Much of her writing reveals not only her great fondness for the British Isles, but also her British sense of humor which still sees the funny side of most situations.

In addition to writing novels, Eileen Enwright Hodgetts is also an accomplished playwright with a number of national awards to her credit. Her novel, Whirlpool, began life as a stage musical playing at the Niagara Falls Convention Center in Niagara Falls, New York. In 1993 the Mayor of Niagara Falls, NY, proclaimed the summer of 1993 as Whirlpool Theater Days in honor of the production.

The author’s award-winning courtroom drama Titanic to All Ships will open at the Comtra Theater on April 13 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. The drama, created under a Fellowship Grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a dramatic re-telling of the Senate Hearings into the tragedy. The play has won several national awards.


Find out all about Whirlpool at Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/14429821-whirlpool

Thanks to Pump Up Your Book for having me on the tour.

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Monday, November 26, 2012

TTBA Weekly News and Mailbox Monday

This feature was inspired by It's Monday! What are you reading? hosted by Sheila at Book Journey and also by The Sunday Salon.

I'm forgoing my normal weekly news post to share with you some news about some life changes I'm going through right now.  I don't normally get too personal on my blog, but I feel I need to share this because it may affect my presence in the coming weeks (months).  My husband and I are separating and myself and my sons are moving in with my mom because we're losing our apartment.  That means that I'm working on packing up my 3000+ books, plus all my other stuff.  We're moving this weekend and then I'll be going through the long process of unpacking and reshelving all my books once again.  All this during the holidays is particularly overwhelming.  It's a sad state of things, but it really has been a long time coming unfortunately.  I'm going to have to do some shifting of things.  I'm trying to stay positive so I'm going to keep trying to post for Sharing the Joy on my Christmas blog.  However, my ongoing read-a-long of Stephen King's Dark Tower series is going to have to be reconfigured so, if you're taking part in that, be watching for details over at the Stephen King Challenge blog.

What I'm reading....
  • I'm hoping to still be able to participate in the Les Miserables read-a-long, but I'm already behind on it.
  • I've been keeping up nicely with The Hobbit read-a-long.  Hopefully, I continue to.
  • Whirlpool by Eileen Hodgetts for review this week (Wednesday)
  • Merry Ex-Mas by Sheila Roberts for review this week (Friday)

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia and is being hosted by Bermuda Onion this month. 




Won from Kai at Fiction State of Mind....Zom-B by by Darren Shan, two awesome The Empire Strikes back bookmarks, and assorted other goodies.  Thanks again, Kai!


Won from C.W. Gortner on his blog Historical Boys...Sacred Treason by James Forrester


Won from vvb32 reads...Necronomicon--The Best Weird Tales of H.P. Lovecraft


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Thankfully Reading Weekend

*Sticky Post for Updates*


WRAP-UP
Well, about 100 pages of The Wastelands it is.  Just couldn't get much reading in since I'm having to pack books, etc.  Oh, well.  Better luck next time.  Thanks to Jenn for hosting.  I will try again next year!

UPDATES AND CHALLENGES

Haven't done much reading like I planned.  A lot of life changing moments going on in my life right now (more on this later) so reading is suffering.  I've read about 100 pages in The Wastelands by Stephen King and hoping to get more in later today.

Now for my challenge responses....

My Perfect Reading Recipe:
This is what I want....a completely quiet room, my comfy armchair and footstool, non-binding PJ pants and a comfy top, a soft fleece throw, and a book that grabs me by the heart (whether that's making it pound or giving it a hug) and won't let go.  I want my heart to tell my brain to direct my hands to not let go...DON'T STOP READING (yes, I know the brain sends the signal to the heart normally, but you get my drift).

Do I always get what I want?  No.  But I keep striving toward the ideal.

The book I'm most thankful for this year....
That would have to be Breed by Chase Novak.  Why?  Because it was one of those books I talked about in the recipe challenge above.  I. could. not. put. it. down.  Thank you, Mr. Novak, for reigniting my excitement for the horror genre.  If I had to choose a number 2, it would be The Passage by Justin Cronin.  For basically the same reason.

Family reading traditions/memories....
My fondest memories are of my parents reading.  I swear there was hardly a moment in a day that they didn't have their noses in a book.  When we traveled, my mom would always read aloud to my dad and sometimes him to her.  I remember a few years back, my Grandfather told me how when we would come visit, "Your dad would sit in the chair and read the whole time.  He sure did love to read."  Every time I saw my grandfather, he would bring that up.  My parents were so fond of reading that they didn't care if I brought my book everywhere or that I would read while we waited for our food at a restaurant (they did make me put it away when the food came).  I am very thankful to my parents for showing me their love of reading and instilling that love in me.  I hope my sons will also have fond memories of me reading years from now.  It's a great memory to have.

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Yes, I think I'll participate in this little read-a-thon.  My plans have really went to pieces for this weekend so I'm probably going to have plenty of time to read.  Jenn at Jenn's Bookshelves is hosting this event starting today (11/22) through Sunday, 11/25.  You can still sign up HERE.

I'm going to be working on finishing The Waste Lands by Stephen King, reading Coriolanus by Shakespeare, and trying to put a dent in Les Miserables.  We shall see if I actually concentrate on reading or get distracted like I normally do.  If I decide to put up Christmas decorations this weekend, that will be a factor too.

Are you joining in on this one?

Happy Thankful Reading!

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Week Long Read-a-Thon with Book Drunkard


Martina at Book Drunkard is hosting a week long read-a-thon the week of December 2 - 8.  I'm going to join in as much as I can, but I'll probably be unpacking since I'm moving this week.  I'll have more about this major life change I'm going through tomorrow in my Monday post.

If you would like to join us for the read-a-thon, you can visit Martina's sign up post HERE.  Hope you will!

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Saturday, November 24, 2012

TuesBookTalk December Book Selection: Wishin' and Hopin' by Wally Lamb


TuesBookTalk Read-a-Longs on Twitter (@tuesbooktalk  #tuesbooktalk) and on Goodreads will be reading a Christmas book in December.  Our first discussion will be on Tuesday, December 4.  Our chats take place on Twitter at 9:30pm ET/8:30pm CT on Tuesday nights.  If you can't join us on Twitter, feel free to share your thoughts in the Goodreads group.  Get the full reading schedule for Wishin' and Hopin' HERE.  Hope you will join us!

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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Cat Thursday: Happy Thanksgiving and remembering Socrates


Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Enjoy! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)

Happy Thanksgiving! Hope you and yours and all your fur babies have a safe holiday.



Last week, I was looking forward to Thanksgiving.  Now, not so much.  I feel about like this...not welcome anywhere. =O(



Please help me in sending out positive thoughts and love to Yvonne who lost her beloved Socrates on Monday.  She had found out just a couple of weeks ago that he was afflicted with heart disease, a mass and cancer.  Socrates was a regular on Cat Thursday.  Yvonne shared many moments and pics of him over the years.  He will be missed.  Socrates, I hope you are happy on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge.




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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Cat Thursday--One week until Thanksgiving!


Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Enjoy! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)

I find myself really looking forward to Thanksgiving this year...more than I have in the past few years.  So, I thought I would do a little anticipatory Cat Thursday....





The one thing I really look forward to every Thanksgiving...the parades!


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Monday, November 12, 2012

TTBA Weekly News and Mailbox Monday

This feature was inspired by It's Monday! What are you reading? hosted by Sheila at Book Journey and also by The Sunday Salon.

Listening To:  My son's 11th birthday was Friday and my sister got him the "NOW That's What I Call Party Anthems" CD and one of the CDs I bought him was "Queen's Greatest Hits" (yes, he has great taste in music) so we've been listening to those.  We also got him his own CD boom box.  That party anthems CD has some great dance songs on it!

Book finished: zero....zilch  =O(

Reading: Gilead by Marilynne Robinson, The Waste Lands by Stephen King, Shakespeare's CoriolanusThe Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer (the 2nd half of it)

On the Nightstand:  The Home by Scott Nicholson, Spooky Showcase by Alan Draven, a couple other review books (haven't picked which yet), Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (maybe)

Watching:  More new Christmas movies on Hallmark Channel and Lifetime this past weekend.  I'm in my element! Also, watched "The Return of the King" on Encore today.  Love that movie! And I'm beyond thrilled...I got free advance screening passes to "Life of Pi" on Thursday night!!! I can't believe it.  One of my most favorite books of all time.  I hope it's good!

Making:  I've had some nice fabric to recover the seats of my dining room chairs for years so I'm going to get started on that...hopefully this week, in between working on my book.  At least my house is clean.  We're also going to start putting up Christmas decorations this weekend.  Squeeee!

Grateful for:  My house being clean (as mentioned above) and for all the family and friends who helped to make Gabe's birthday party special on Saturday.

Looking forward to:  Well, not actually looking forward to it because it started today, but glad to be in it...my write-a-thon, Sit Down and Write 2.  It's not too late to SIGN-UP.  I'm still hoping it will help me catch up on my NaNoWriMo word count!


Also...have you seen?  I've posted the sign-ups and official dates for the Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge! All the details HERE.

Picture:  I finally got my bookshelves put together after they sat in their boxes for months.  How do you like my corner window bookshelves nook?



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Since it's a very Christmas-y week of books,
I thought I would break out the Christmas mailbox pics!

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia and is being hosted by Bermuda Onion this month. 


BookBox: embed book widget, share book list

FOR REVIEW:
From the publisher, Crown:
The Nutcracker  byE.T.A. Hoffman, Illustrated by, none other than, Maurice Sendak
A Christmas Home by Greg Kincaid

WON:
Christmas in Lucky Harbor by Jill Shalvis...from the lovely Martha at Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf...also, some bookmarks and a pen =O)

BOMC2:
A Winter Dream by Richard Paul Evans...another SQUEEEE!

Note:  Be prepared because my Christmas season officially starts, well...this weekend, so there will be a Christmas background up on this blog very soon (and probably also on my writing blog).  =O)

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Friday, November 9, 2012

Happy Birthday, Gabe!


My son is 11 years old today! My, how time flies.  It seems just like yesterday he was just a little ole thing.  Why must they grow up so fast?  Happy birthday, Sweetie...I love you so.  You are a wonderful son.  Being your mom is the best thing in my life.


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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Cat Thursday: Authors and their cats (17)


Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Enjoy! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)

The second Cat Thursday of each month is Authors and their Cats Thursday.  Each time I will feature an author and their cat(s).

My favorite author, Anne Rice, and her kitty, Sugarplum.  This newest edition to Rice's household bears a striking resemblance to her other kitty, Oberon.  They could be twins.  Visit Anne's page on Facebook and check out all the pics of her gorgeous kitties.  



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Monday, November 5, 2012

TTBA Weekly News and Mailbox Monday

This feature was inspired by It's Monday! What are you reading? hosted by Sheila at Book Journey and also by The Sunday Salon.

Listening To:  Nothing much really...a few Christmas tunes here and there. =O)

Book finished: The Passage by Justin Cronin, The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King, Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow by Juliet Grey

Reading: Gilead by Marilynne Robinson, The Waste Lands by Stephen King, Shakespeare's Coriolanus, The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

On the Nightstand:  The Home by Scott Nicholson, Spooky Showcase by Alan Draven, a couple other review books (haven't picked which yet), Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (maybe)

Watching:  I saw the newest "Resident Evil" movie over the weekend.  I didn't like it as well.  Too much fighting and shooting, not enough zombies.  LOL! I also watched "We Bought a Zoo" on HBO. What an inspiring movie.  Just a really great film! I also enjoyed the Christmas movie marathon on the Hallmark Channel all weekend and the two new Christmas movies they debuted, "The Christmas Song" and "Love at the Thanksgiving Parade."

Making: ...myself get this house in order for my son's birthday party this Saturday and also in preparation for the Christmas decorating to commence soon after.

Grateful for:  the election finally being over tomorrow.  Whatever the outcome, I'm just glad there will be no more bad blood (I hope) between people.

Looking forward to: my son's 11th birthday on Friday and his party on Saturday.  Also, the bag sale at my monthly book sale on Saturday.  Melissa's read-a-thon this weekend and my write-a-thon, Sit Down and Write 2, next week (you can still SIGN-UP).  Hopefully, the write-a-thon will help me get caught up on my NaNoWriMo word count!

Picture:  Yeah, that about sums it up...



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Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia and is being hosted by Bermuda Onion this month. 

Check out this lovely book I received from Titan Books.  I'm assuming for review.  My sons literally flipped their lids over this one.  One of their favorite video games.  I thought about reviewing this over at Castle Macabre, but a lot of this game has historical settings.  You should see the period dress and locales in the art work.  Watch for my review on this blog soon.





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Sunday, November 4, 2012

Read-a-Long, Read-a-Thon, Write-a-Thon News


TuesBookTalk Read-a-longs on Twitter (@tuesbooktalk  #tuesbooktalk) and on Goodreads has chosen literary/general fiction for our November read.  We have chosen the Pulitzer Prize winning novel Gilead by Marilynne Robinson.  Our first discussion is Tuesday, November 6 on Twitter at 9:30pm EST/8:30pm CST.  You do not have to join us on Twitter.  Feel free to share your thoughts in the Goodreads group if you can't make the chat on Twitter.  Get the full reading schedule HERE.  I apologize for being a bit late with this announcement, but this book is less than 300 pages long so it seems a manageable read.  Each section is only about 60 or so pages long.  I do hope you will join us!


Wallace at Unputdownables is hosting a read-a-long of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.  Doesn't she rock!?  I really wanted to read it again before I see the film in December.  If you'd like to join in, you can find out all the details HERE.


I'm hoping to join in on this, but it's only a month long and I'm not sure if I can read such a daunting book in such a short time.  I did want to read it before the film comes out so this is a tentative statement of intent to participate.  =O)  Look for more details soon at Historical Tapestry.


Melissa at Must Read Faster is hosting her birthday read-a-thon next weekend, November 10 and 11.  No official button yet, but I've offered to make her one so we'll see if she takes me up on it. =O)  Full details HERE.


Sit Down and Write 2 is coming in a little over a week! A write-a-thon that I think is a great companion to NaNoWriMo.  But it's not just for novel writers.  Do you have a bunch of reviews to catch up on?  You can do it during Sit Down and Write! I'm hosting over at my writing blog, Stories Inside.  All the details and sign up info are HERE.  Hope you will join me!

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