Saturday, May 29, 2010

TuesBookTalk--Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Have you been wanting to read the Man Booker Prize winner of 2009, Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel?  Has it been languishing in your TBR stack--looking at you with forlorn eyes?  Well, I have just the thing for you.  On Tuesday, June 1st we will begin discussing Wolf Hall on TuesBookTalk on Twitter.  We are starting with Part One.  The chat starts at 10:30 pm ET (9:30 pm CT) and lasts for an hour.  You can follow @TuesBookTalk and/or @TrueBookAddict for information and updates.  The hashtag we use for the chat is #TuesBookTalk (or #tuesbooktalk).  I hope you will join us! From what I've been hearing around the blogosphere, it's a great book!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Armchair BEA: Book Blogger Convention--Being true to myself

I have always marched to the beat of my own drum and I'm not any different when it comes to my blog.  I just do not want to be like everyone else.  That being said, I do have some guidelines that I try to follow when it comes to my blog.
  • Honesty--I am honest to a fault.  Sometimes I'm told that I'm too honest.  But I think it's important.  My reviews reflect my true opinion of the book.  In no way am I ever influenced by a need to please an author by saying I adored their book when I didn't.  However, I'm a firm believer that every book has a redeeming quality (except for ones I could not finish...which are very few).  That's why I do not have a ratings system.  I just have a hard time putting a number on my opinion.
  • Humanity--in other words, kindness.  I believe that there is no reason to be unkind.  I try to reflect an air of friendliness and camaraderie on my blog.  I try to respond to all comments that are left and I appreciate each and every one.
  • Humor--I have a bit of a sense of humor, which may show up in some of my posts.  I just like to see the funny side of things.  Laughter is great medicine!
  • Individuality--Some may visit my blog and think, "My God, is her blog cluttered!"  I've never been called on it.  Mostly I get a lot of compliments.  But I know that mine is probably one of those blogs referred to as cluttered and with that pesky music player! Oh well...I feel like my blog is kind of like my room.  My own place to show off my interests and uniqueness.  If it offends the sensibilities of some, I do apologize.  Well, actually I don't! LOL!
  • Knowledge and Learning--I have a feature (that I have been neglecting terribly lately) called Addicted to the Past.  It is to pay homage to my love of history and historical topics.  I do it because I love writing about history, but also because I love to share with others and hopefully they might just learn something new!
So there we are.  Just a few little guidelines that I try to blog by.  I hope everyone enjoys my blog.  I do want to make it a pleasant experience for others while still being true to myself. 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Cat Thursday

Welcome to Cat Thursday, a 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!

So tomorrow is the last day of school for my boys and I have a lot of stuff planned this summer.  A focus on reading and I bought them journals because I want them to start journaling on a regular basis.  Also, I'm going to read a book to them.  I'm deciding between The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander or perhaps the first Harry Potter.  While this all sounds happy and blissful, I know as the summer wears on and we start getting on each others' nerves (LOL), I'm sure I will be hearing some of this...

I have loved this one from LOL Cats for a long time.  Not only does it remind me of my kids, but I know this is what Alis wants to say to me when I keep her from running outside!

Share yours...add your link.

Mailbox Monday...Mid-Week Edition

MM is a weekly event hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page.

This is going to be a monster MM, as it's two weeks worth so let's get started!

(For book descriptions, click the book titles)


These wins are all from contests I've won over the last month or so and just received in the mail in the past two weeks.

The Most Unsuitable Husband--Caroline Clemmons...from the author.  This was part of a Blogmania prize pack which also included a cool steampunk pocket watch necklace (no pics...broke my camera today), a bath set from Bath and Body Works and I also received a free download of Caroline's new novel, Out of the Blue.  Check out Caroline's blog, A Writer's Life...she gives a lot of insightful advice on writing and other topics.

...these were contest wins from the awesome Crystal at My Reading Room.

The Highest Stakes--Emery Lee...from the great Katherine at Blog O' The Irish.

Thanks again everyone for all my wonderful wins! I greatly appreciate it. =O)

From BookMooch:

From Paperback Swap:

Bought from BOMC2:

Bought from library sales:

I told you it was a monster mailbox! Hope you all got some great goodies this week as well!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Armchair BEA: New Title Showcase

I'm a little late posting my first Armchair BEA post.  Had end of school parties for my boys at school today and generally have just been very busy!

So...I've been over to the New Title Showcase listings for the BEA and I found five titles that really caught my eye.  Here they are:
Charlotte Sophia: Myth, Madness and the Moor
Tina Andrews
Publication Year:  2010
Publisher:  The Malibu Press
Charlotte Sophia was queen of England, wife of "mad" King George III, Queen Victoria's grandmother, and in love with Johann Christian Bach. But neither her king, her country, nor her lover knew she was black.
Joy Spraycar
Publication Year:  2010
Publisher:  AuthorHouse
A recurring nightmare holds Serry Miller in its grip and has for most of her life. In spite of her fear of the man who becomes a monster, she’s in love with him.
Sistine Heresy
Justine Saracen
Publication Year:  2009
Publisher:  Bold Strokes Books
Adrianna Borgia, survivor of the Borgia court, presents Michelangelo with the greatest temptations of his life while struggling with soul-threatening desires for the painter Raphaela.
The Afflicted Girls: A Novel of Salem
Suzy Witten
Publication Year:  2009
Publisher:  Dreamwand
Something terrible happened in Salem Village in 1692 . . . but it isn't what you think!
This debut historical novel offers a startling new theory of the Salem witch-hunt certain to put this 300-year-old unsettled mystery to rest. Centering her story on Salem Village and its inhabitants, exploring their dark household corners as if she is solving a crime, author-researcher Suzy Witten adeptly details how the disintegration occurred while spinning familiar facts in new directions, with the mysterious "afflictions" finally explained.

WINNER 2010 IPPY SILVER MEDAL for Historical/Military Fiction

A Walt Disney Studios Fellowship Finalist

A New Dawn Rising
Patricia Budd
Publication Year:  2007
Publisher: iUniverse
In the tradition of Jane Austin and the Bronte sisters, this historical romance, set in Georgia 1809, reflects one man's struggle for love and independence.

Head over to the New Title Showcase to see what titles interest you.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Book review--Anastasia's Secret by Susanne Dunlap

Blog Tour

Description from Goodreads:

“Will I never see you again either?” I asked, feeling as though I was about to jump off a high mountain peak and hope to land without hurting myself. That’s how impossible everything seemed at that moment, no matter what I did. “Perhaps we will meet again,” Sasha said, softening his voice. “But you must see that it does not matter. You have so much ahead of you. It’s your choice now. Choose the future! Choose life!”

For Anastasia Romanov, life as the privileged daughter of Russia’s last tsar is about to be torn apart by the bloodshed of revolution. Ousted from the imperial palace when the Bolsheviks seize control of the government, Anastasia and her family are exiled to Siberia. But even while the rebels debate the family’s future with agonizing slowness and the threat to their lives grows more menacing, romance quietly blooms between Anastasia and Sasha, a sympathetic young guard she has known since childhood. But will the strength of their love be enough to save Anastasia from a violent death?

Inspired by the mysteries that have long surrounded the last days of the Romanov family, Susanne Dunlap’s new novel is a haunting vision of the life—and love story—of Russia’s last princess.

My thoughts:

The Romanov family of Russia have always held a certain fascination for me.  I can remember reading about the tragic fate of the royal family when I was a teen and I subsequently looked for any book I could find on the subject.  Then there was a television movie about Anastasia surviving (which starred Amy Irving) and the attempt to prove her identity and I was thoroughly hooked on the notion that she did indeed survive and was living somewhere as a happy old woman.  I think most of us who know what happened to the Romanovs and have heard the legends surrounding Anastasia have always hoped that she did survive.  It's human nature to hope for triumph out of tragedy.

So when I saw this book come up for review on Other Shelf Tours, I signed up immediately.  And I was not disappointed.  The book relates the events leading up to the downfall of the Tsar and the fate of the Romanov family told entirely from Anastasia's point of view.  And a forbidden love enters the mix, which adds to the intrigue as Anastasia struggles to keep it secret from her family.  As time goes by, it becomes increasingly important to keep their relationship secret because Sasha wants to use his unique position as a soldier to save Anastasia.  Ultimately, Anastasia must decide between her family or the love of her life.  I will not tell you her decision.  That you will have to read for yourself!

I really enjoyed this book because it took an intriguing historical event and put a very personal, human face on it.  You feel sympathy for the royal family, yet it is also evident why the royal family's extravagance was misconstrued by the common people.  Yes, they did live lavishly, which is typical of a royal family, but they were a close knit family who spent much time together as a family in activities very much the same as any ordinary family.  Also, it was obvious that the Tsar did care about his subjects.  I found Ms. Dunlap's work to be very historically accurate.  Although it is obvious that this book is written for an young adult audience, it was a fast read and it kept my interest until the end.  I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys YA books, especially those who like the historical genre. 

The awful fate of the Romanovs

One of the greatest mysteries for most of the twentieth century was the fate of the Romanov family, the last Russian monarchy. Following the abdication of Tsar NicholasII, he and his wife, Alexandra, and their five children were eventually exiled to the city of Yekaterinburg. The family, along with four loyal members of their staff, was held captive by members of the Ural Soviet. According to historical reports, in the early morning hours of July 17, 1918 the entire family along with four loyal members of their staff was executed by a firing squad. After a failed attempt to dispose of the remains in an abandoned mine shaft, the bodies were transported to an open field only a few kilometers from the mine shaft. Nine members of the group were buried in one mass grave while two of the children were buried in a separate grave. With the official discovery of the larger mass grave in 1991, and subsequent DNA testing to confirm the identities of the Tsar, the Tsarina, and three of their daughters - doubt persisted that these remains were in fact those of the Romanov family. In the summer of 2007, a group of amateur archeologists discovered a collection of remains from the second grave approximately 70 meters from the larger grave. We report forensic DNA testing on the remains discovered in 2007 using mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), autosomal STR, and Y- STR testing. Combined with additional DNA testing of material from the 1991 grave, we have virtually irrefutable evidence that the two individuals recovered from the 2007 grave are the two missing children of the Romanov family: the Tsarevich Alexei and one of his sisters. (source: Science Blogs)

Romanov Royal Family
(Anastasia is the youngest girl in the center with her brother, Alexei)

This book was read for the following challenges:

I will list the challenges soon.

FTC Disclosure:  I received this book in conjunction with a blog tour.  Book was mailed on to next tour participant.  I was not monetarily compensated for reading or reviewing this book.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Cat Thursday

Welcome to Cat Thursday, a 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!

This painting is by one of my favorite contemporary cat artists, Lowell Herrero.  Evidently, he also knows that cats and books go together!

- See more at: