Banned Books Week - September 24 - 30

Thursday, March 29, 2012

eBookSwag {Give@way}--Kindle Fires, Amazon cards, and F R E E eBooks!


Scott Nicholson and friends have a new eBook site, and to celebrate the launch, they are hosting an awesome giveaway this week of Kindle Fires and Amazon gift cards.  Head over to eBookSwag to find out all the details and enter to win.  While you're there, be sure to check out the offer for some cool new opportunities for bloggers.

Here are the free Kindle books up for grabs today and tomorrow:

Free books Thursday, March 29
Scott Nicholson Library Vol. 3
http://www.amazon.com/Scott-Nicholson-Library-Boxed-ebook/dp/B0069BFPL8










Free books Friday, March 30
Scott Nicholson Library Vol. 3
http://www.amazon.com/Scott-Nicholson-Library-Boxed-ebook/dp/B0069BFPL8








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Cat Thursday


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)


These two were just too cute and hilarious to pass up.  
There's just something about bubble wrap!

And here we have some pics of Arya in which she thinks she is a human (or she sits like a human). =O)  Don't worry.  Alice is still around.  She is getting back to her old self and really starting to accept Arya as an equal...sort of.



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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Gone Reading...Bookish Gifts for a Cause

Wouldn't you like to get your hands on this stuff?  I know I would!
Book Journal, "Books I've Read"
Hands-Free Reading
Book Holder, The "Gimble"
T-Shirt
These are just a few of the gifts that can be found at a new site called Gone Reading.  And what, you may ask, makes this bookish gift site different from others?  Well, check out their mission statement....

If you’re like me, you just can’t imagine living in a world without reading. Unfortunately, for almost a billion people today, that’s exactly where they find themselves. There are countless villages, towns and vast regions of this planet where the power of reading has yet to shine its light.

Even in wealthy countries, libraries struggle for funding while demand for their services has never been higher.

Gone Reading International, LLC was founded to counter these problems and spread the magic of reading. We believe that when people have open access to great reading materials, life always changes for the better. When libraries and reading materials are made available, people and their communities thrive through increased opportunity and self-empowerment.

That’s why Gone Reading International donates 100% of our after-tax profits to provide new funding for libraries and reading-centered non-profits. By purchasing GoneReading brand gifts and merchandise, you’re treating yourself and the world at large to a wonderful gift. All purchases from GoneReading help contribute to our philanthropic work.

What could be better than combining the love of books with philanthropy?  I can think of nothing else.  Head over to Gone Reading and check out all the cool stuff they have to offer.  Me?  I want one of everything!

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Book Tour: The Sister Queens by Sophie Perinot--Review and {Give@way}

Congrats to Linda for winning the copy of The Sister Queens!

My thoughts:
Almost immediately after beginning this book, I found myself on Google, searching out the names of the kings in the story, Henry III of England and Louis IX of France.  It is always a thrill to be sparked by historical fiction into further research on the historical figures which the story surrounds.  The sister queens, much to my delight, were married to two highly interesting such figures.  Eleanor, who married Henry III, the grandson of my beloved Eleanor of Aquitaine, and becomes the mother of Edward Longshanks, the king who was in power during the time of William Wallace (another treasured figure of mine).  And Marguerite, who married Louis IX, became the grandmother of Philippe IV, whose daughter, Isabella, became the wife of Longshanks' son, Edward II, and was notoriously suspected of plotting the murder of her husband.  You might think this a strange manner in which to begin a book review, but I do this to stress the importance of historical fiction, not only as entertainment, but as a tool for learning.  Good historical fiction will incite the reader to investigate the historical figures coming alive in its pages.  The Sister Queens is one such book.

I enjoy books that build stories around letter writing, what I feel is a lost art in our technical age.  The story of The Sister Queens surrounds the close relationship of these two sisters and the letters they wrote to each other regularly.  The letters that begin each chapter, fictionalized by Ms. Perinot, add an element to the story...a personal voice for each sister so we are not just shown the closeness of their relationship, but experience it first hand in their own words.  It's not hard to believe that the two queens most likely did exchange such letters, as close sisters most likely would in a time when letter writing was the only means of communication.

Not only does The Sister Queens tell an entertaining and well-researched story, it also boasts of characters who are multifaceted and interesting.  Of course, the stars of the story are Marguerite and Eleanor.  The former being calm and level headed and the latter being more stubborn and impulsive.  What is interesting in their story is how both queens learned to take on the traits of the other's personality to help them to smoothly navigate their royal marriages and lives.  It takes intricate knowledge of the relationship between sisters to be able to portray that this is indeed what sisters do.  Being an older sister myself, I can honestly say that adopting some of my sister's traits over the years has helped me in life, much as it did for Marguerite and Eleanor.

Not to be out shined by the sisters are the kings of the story.  I like the way Ms. Perinot did not make them only background characters.  Louis and Henry are very much a part of the story and she made them interesting and human...and much more than history has depicted, especially in the case of Henry III.  I have become intrigued by these men and their lives and I'm looking forward to doing some further reading on them both.

The Sister Queens is an amazing debut novel.  Telling a story about history in a way that only the best historical fiction does, this book belongs on the shelf of anyone who loves the genre, and even those who are not regular readers of historical novels.  I am looking forward to the future works of Ms. Perinot.


About the book:
Like most sisters, Marguerite and Eleanor were rivals. They were also queens.

Raised at the court of their father, Raymond Berenger, Count of Provence, Marguerite and Eleanor are separated by royal marriages--but never truly parted.

Patient, perfect, and used to being first, Marguerite becomes Queen of France. But Louis IX is a religious zealot who denies himself the love and companionship his wife craves. Can she borrow enough of her sister's boldness to grasp her chance for happiness in a forbidden love?

Passionate, strong-willed, and stubborn, Eleanor becomes Queen of England. Henry III is a good man, but not a good king. Can Eleanor stop competing with her sister and value what she has, or will she let it slip away?

The Sister Queens is historical fiction at its most compelling, and is an unforgettable first novel.


About the author:
Sophie Perinot writes historical fiction. In Spring 2012 her debut novel, The Sister Queens, will be released by NAL. Set in 13th century France and England, The Sister Queens weaves the captivating story of medieval sisters, Marguerite and Eleanor of Provence, who both became queens – their lifelong friendship, their rivalry, and their reigns

Ms. Perinot has both a BA in History and a law degree. She left the law to pursue artistic interests, including writing. An avid reader, especially of classic literature, and life-long student of history, it seemed only natural that Sophie should write historical fiction. As someone who studied French abroad and a devotee of Alexandre Dumas, French history was a logical starting point. An active member of the Historical Novel Society, she has attended all of the group’s North American Conferences.

Active among the literary twitterati as @Lit_gal (a moniker she also uses at Agent Query Connect www.agentqueryconnect.com), Sophie is a regular contributor to the group writers' blog "From the Write Angle" http://www.fromthewriteangle.com. Find her on facebook at www.facebook.com/sophie.perinot.author.

For more information, please visit Sophie Perinot's WEBSITE. You can also find Sophie on her blogFacebook and Twitter.

For other stops on this Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour, visit the TOUR SCHEDULE.
Twitter Event Hashtag: #SisterQueensVirtualBookTour

GIVEAWAY:  To enter for (1) copy of The Sister Queens (U.S. Only), please leave a comment telling me which historical novel(s) has prompted you to do further reading/research on the historical figures in the book(s).  Please be sure to leave a contact email so I can notify the winner.  Giveaway will end on Tuesday, April 10 at 11:59pm CST.  Good luck!

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Reading Challenges:










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FTC Disclosure:  I received a copy in conjunction with a book tour with Historical Fiction Virtual Book tours and in exchange for an honest review.  I received no monetary compensation. 

Monday, March 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 by The Sunday Salon.

Here we are approaching the end of another month and 2012 is already a quarter over with.  If the Mayan doomsday prophecy is real, I better get busy accomplishing everything I planned to this year.  LOL  There will be no Weekly News/Mailbox Monday post next week, as I will be out of town in Michigan.  I get to see my grand-nephew for the first time! Isn't he cute?  Joshua Tyler  =O)


What's going on in the reading world....
Have you heard about my new challenge, A Non-Fiction Adventure?  I took the lead from the awesome creators of the Fill in the Gaps: 100 Project and The Classics Club and decided to create a similar challenge focusing on non-fiction books.  The fruition of this idea came to me as I was looking at my shelves of non-fiction books.  In my library of 3000+ books, non-fiction makes up about 1000+ of that total.  I focus so heavily on fiction I never take the time to squeeze in some non-fiction reads which I do love to read.  So I thought, why not follow the lead of those I mentioned above and create this challenge for the non-fiction genre.  I have created a dedicated blog for this challenge.  You can read all the details and sign-up HERE.  Would love for you to join me for this adventure!
TuesBookTalk April Selection:  The Catcher in the Rye
TuesBookTalk Read Alongs on Twitter (@tuesbooktalk  #tuesbooktalk) and on Goodreads chose the classics for April's genre.  Our discussion starts Tuesday, April 3 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.  Please note the new Twitter chat times above.
The Forever Amber Read-a-Long is going on now.  There's still time to join us.  We just started the second section yesterday and our next discussion will be this Saturday.  We also have a catch up week the last week for anyone who finds themselves really behind.  Check out all the details HERE at Historical Fiction Connection.  Would love to have you join us! 
The Spring into Horror Read-a-Thon over at Castle Macabre is the week of April 23 - 29, on the tail of Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon.  I'm really hoping to make this read-a-thon more about the reading this time so any challenges will be reading related.  I'll also be seeking any prize donations or giveaway hosts so if you're game or you know anyone, let me know.  Authors looking to promote your books?  Contact me!  For all the read-a-thon details and to sign-up, head over to this POST at Castle Macabre.

What I've been reading....
Currently reading:
The Sister Queens by Sophie Perinot (review tomorrow)
Bleak House by Charles Dickens
House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (I was reading this for a read-a-long, but got seriously behind so now I've decided to just read it a bit at a time, even if it takes me all year)

Getting ready to start:
The Turquoise by Anya Seton
A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
A couple of review books from my pile, not sure which yet

Finished last week:
Nothing =O(
Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia and is currently on tour. This month's host is Diary of an Eccentric.

Only one book again this week.  =O(


I won this book (a galley copy) from Stormi at Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My!

From Goodreads:
Francesca Felizzi, former mistress of the Duke of Ferrara, is now an aspiring courtesan. Astonishingly beautiful and ambitious, she revels in the power she wields over men. But when she is visited by an inexperienced young man, it becomes horribly clear to Francesca that despite her many admiring patrons, she has never truly been loved. Suddenly, her glittering and sumptuous life becomes a gaudy facade. And then another unexpected encounter brings with it devastating implications that plunge Francesca and her two young daughters into the sort of danger she has dreaded ever since she began to work the streets all those years ago.


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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Book Nooks (13)




Book Nooks 
*Every weekend* 
Founder: Sasha Soren (Random Magic
I'm hosting through April 2012.
Show us something pretty!


Commentary:  This one has the feel of a zen retreat to me.  It's slightly casual.  The natural light coming from the ceiling (skylights, I'm assuming) and plants, plus the natural wood, really contribute to the feel.  Not only a reading nook, but a musical one too (see guitar case).

Photo credit: not listed

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Cat Thursday



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)

What exactly are these kitties trying to tell you?
credit: Shakespeare & Co. Books cat by austinevan
credit: "Omnivore's Dilemma" by swanksalot
In little cat voices..."You really must check out A Non-Fiction Adventure!"  (yes, folks, a shameless plug for my new non-fiction reading challenge.  Check it out HERE)


Happy Cat Thursday!


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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Announcing...A Non-Fiction Adventure

Taking the lead from the awesome creators of the Fill in the Gaps: 100 Project and The Classics Club, I have decided to create a similar challenge focusing on non-fiction books.  The fruition of this idea came to me yesterday as I was looking at my shelves of non-fiction books.  In my library of 3000+ books, non-fiction makes up about 1000+ of that total.  I focus so heavily on fiction I never take the time to squeeze in some non-fiction reads which I do love to read.  So I thought, why not follow the lead of those I mentioned above and create this challenge for the non-fiction genre.

I have created a dedicated blog for this challenge.  You can read all the details and sign-up for A Non-Fiction Adventure HERE.

My list is going to be 50 books over five years.  Now I just have to sit down and compile my list.  I should have that done by Wednesday at the latest.

I hope you will join me on this adventure!

Happy Reading!

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Monday, March 19, 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 by The Sunday Salon.

Well, I'm doing it again...taking on another project.  I just can't help myself.  When those wheels start turning in my brain, I just can't stop them.  What I'm working on shouldn't require too much maintenance on my part and what the project entails is a way of challenging myself in reading even more and expanding my horizons...and inviting others to join me.  Be watching for the announcement tomorrow.

What's going on in the reading world....
My friend's over at Read 2 Review are hosting some fun reading events this month.
This Saturday is the Mockingjay Read-a-Long event.  For all the details, go HERE.
The Easter Egg Treasure Hunt is a fun, scavenger hunt type of contest.  Go HERE for details.


Titanic--100 Years Remembrance, is in the early planning stages, but is looking like it's going to be an awesome event.  Check out all the details HERE.
The Forever Amber Read-a-Long started yesterday.  There's still time to join us.  You have all week to read the first section.  Our first discussion isn't until this Saturday.  Check out all the details HERE at Historical Fiction Connection.  Would love to have you join us! 
I have announced the Spring into Horror Read-a-Thon over at Castle Macabre.  The dates are April 23 - 29, on the tail of Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon.  I'm really hoping to make this read-a-thon more about the reading this time so any challenges will be reading related.  I'll also be seeking any prize donations or giveaway hosts so if you're game or you know anyone, let me know.  Authors looking to promote your books?  Contact me!  For all the read-a-thon details and to sign-up, head over to this POST at Castle Macabre.

I'm going to sign up for Bloggiesta in the hopes that I can use the first two days to work on my library blog.  I will be travelling on Sunday, April 1st (going to Michigan to visit my first grand-nephew for the first time)so won't be able to do anything that day.  But I'm not promising anything.  It's all going to depend on how much reading I get done during the read-a-thon hosted by the Cover to Cover group on Goodreads that starts this Saturday and runs through March 31.  So, I'm signing up, but am reserving my right to opt out, if necessary.  ;O)  To find out all the details and to sign-up for Bloggiesta, visit the host blog, It's All About Books.

Armchair BEA is coming back in May! This will be my third year to participate.  It's a great event for those of us who do not attend BEA in person.  Sign-Ups are yet to come, but you can read about what they have planned this year at this POST.
A Victorian Celebration, hosted by A Literary Odyssey, is coming in June and July.  So fun! Yes, I think reading classic literature is fun. =O)  I am signing up for this.  If you would like to, check out all the info and sign-up HERE.

What I've been reading....
Currently reading:
Bleak House by Charles Dickens
House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (I was reading this for a read-a-long, but got seriously behind so now I've decided to just read it a bit at a time, even if it takes me all year)

Getting ready to start:
The Turquoise by Anya Seton
A couple of review books from my pile, not sure which yet

Will not be able to start:
11/22/63 by Stephen King  =O(

Finished last week:
The Turning of Anne Merrick by Christine Blevins (review)
Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia and is currently on tour. This month's host is Diary of an Eccentric. (want to read a book description? Clicking the book covers will take you to the book's page on Amazon)

I only received one book last week (what!?!) and it was from Bookmooch:

Reach Your True Potential is the good part. Zampelli wrote it for herself and the millions like her. It gives you a step-by-step program for change, and a set of tools to help you put that program into action. These tools include task list, action plans, exercises, and worksheets, plus stories and examples of how real people overcame the real obstacles in their lives.

She begins by identifying self-defeating attitudes, including: uniqueness, the sense that no one else is like you nor can understand you, so you can't possibly succeed; perfectionism, the inability to accept less than some non-existent best; and feelings of unworthiness, impatience, and paralyzing fear. She then shows how these attitudes lead to self-defeating behaviors that impede success, including: procrastination and avoidance, compulsions and co-dependence, irresponsibility and self-destructive habits.

She also demonstrates the power of the conversations we have with ourselves. If you tell yourself you're a failure, then you are likely to be one. If you tell yourself you're worthy of success, of love and respect, of healthy, happy relationships, then you will find them.

One of the most powerful weapons in the war against self-sabotage is learning to acknowledge an accept your success. Zampelli explains how to track your successes, develop your self-esteem, and reward yourself for jobs well done, situations well handled, and problems well solved.

Other chapters concentrate on the art and skill of taking risks, on seeking and using help from others, and on defining your own goals and the path you'll follow to reach them. Ultimately, Zampelli will convince you that the only way to really fail is to quit. (from Goodreads)

Happy reading!
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- See more at: http://www.techtrickhome.com/2013/02/show-comment-box-above-comments-on.html#sthash.TjHz2Px9.dpuf