Saturday, June 30, 2012

Amy's Virtual Baby Shower and Trivia {Give@way)

Looking for giveaway?  Scroll down almost to the end of the post.  Thanks!

Welcome, guests, to the party! We are celebrating Amy and her lovely newborn son, Vedder (yes, he arrived ahead of schedule!).  Our gifts for the sweet new baby boy are children's books that we loved as children and/or have lovingly read to our own children.  As part of the shower today, each of us describes why we love our choice of book (we are sending the books directly to you, Amy, so be on the lookout!).  After that, the party progresses to the shower game which is a trivia quiz with some great book prizes!

I would like to take a moment to thank everyone who is so generously participating.  I organized this event because Amy is such a wonderful part of the historical fiction and book blogging communities.  I wanted to give something back to her in this special time of her life.  It seems I'm not the only one who thinks Amy is great.

Amy blogs about historical fiction at Passages to the Past and runs Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.

I'd also like to thank the authors who were so kind to donate copies of their books for the trivia game.  An extra special thank you goes out to Michelle Moran who came up with the genius idea for the baby gifts.

Be sure to read all the way down to the end.  I will be revealing an extra special surprise just for Amy!



I chose The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton for Vedder's library.  It was a favorite when I was a child.  I just loved hearing about how the little house kept living through all the changes that were going on in the world around her, yet she stayed the same.  I used to get very sad when she became neglected and forgotten.  Thank goodness she gets her happy ending.  I read the book over and over again, never tiring of it.  My Mom saved all of our books from when we were kids so when my boys were old enough, I pulled out The Little House (the same copy) and read it to them.  It immediately became a favorite for them too.  It's a book that is not only good, but it teaches the lesson that nothing or no one should be neglected or forgotten.  It is a book that well deserved the Caldecott Medal (1943).

Amy, I already know you're a great mom to your lovely daughter.  Now you get to experience the wonder of being the mother of a son...and it is wonderful (I speak from experience).  Congratulations! I hope you and Vedder enjoy many years of reading The Little House together.

~Michelle/The True Book Addict

I loved this book as a child - I still love it. The bright colors are fun and it is an ABC book with a catchy rhyme that gets stuck in my head. It is just really cute and it will help with learning the ABC's and about uppercase and lowercase letters.

~Amber/The Musings of Almybnenr

This book was a gift from my Aunt when I was little and the first I remember someone reading to me. I felt so sorry for Corduroy, sitting on that shelf feeling unloved then exploring the department store to find his missing button so someone would take him home. I always felt so happy when the little girl gave him a family! It has such a sweet message about adventure and love and I have so enjoyed reading this book to my son. I hope Amy does the same and I wish her all the best in her own new adventure!

~Colleen Turner

When I was growing up, this book was given to me as a gift by my godfather. It was one of the first books I had ever owned; more importantly, its enchanting story taught me an invaluable lesson, of how we must accept and love our differences. As The Little Prince says, "It is only with the heart that we can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."

I hope Vedder Myrick treasures the journey and finds everything his heart desires.

With love,
Christopher (C.W. Gortner, author)

As a writer and a mother, I've never found the perfect words to describe the golden joy a child brings into our lives. I wish the whole, dad, sister, and baby a lifetime of that luminescent joy! And though I failed to get pics in in time my gift is Pat the Bunny, a wonderful tactile very early baby book. Though my sons are 19 and 22, I remember so well their faces of discover when they could touch and feel the texture of the animals in the story. It was magic!

All my love, 
Donna (Donna Russo Morin, author)

Hi Amy, wishing you and your wonderful new arrival all the joy and happiness in the world. May you be blessed all the days of your lives.

I chose Prince Cinders by Babbette Cole as my book for the shower because it’s a traditional fairy story with a modern twist and one that always made me laugh when I read it to my children. It was an all round favourite with something to keep everyone interested and amused. I hope you and the little one will enjoy it just as much as we did.

~Elizabeth Chadwick, author

My choice for the virtual baby shower gift is an anthology titled Classic Characters of Little Golden Books. This anthology includes the following stories: The Pokey Little Puppy; The Saggy, Baggy Elephant; Tootle; Scruffy the Tugboat, and The Tawny, Scrawny Lion. These were among my favorite stories to read as a kid and I still have my original editions at home in a box tucked away for my kids. My favorite was The Saggy, Baggy Elephant, but it is a close tie with Scruffy. The stories are timeless and can be enjoyed by children of all ages and appeal to both boys and girls. I can’t wait to share these stories with my kids someday and hope that Amy and her family enjoy experiencing them together as well. Congratulations on the beautiful baby boy!

~Heather/The Maiden’s Court 

My Mum (Helen Hollick) wrote this book for me when I was 4 years old - I am now 30. She wrote it because she wanted to tell me, in a way that I would remember, how to keep myself safe from being abducted or hurt by "strangers". COME AND TELL ME has a simple and straightforward message that all children can easily remember and ACT UPON should the need arise - always TELL before you GO, whether with a friend or someone you don't know, always COME AND TELL. Something like 75% of child abduction is committed by someone the child vaguely knows - i.e. a neighbour, or that nice man Mummy occasionally says hello to. It's no good saying "don't go with strangers" young children don't actually know what the definition of a stranger is! Be safe, read COME AND TELL ME to your child, it's not only informative, but a lovely little story as well!” quote from Kathy Hollick, Helen's daughter

~Helen Hollick, author

I have fond memories of reading about the adventures of Little Critter. These books are short and sweet with a focus on family relationships and lessons for little kids. Alas, my favorite Just Me and My Dad is not included in this collection but there are some good ones in there. I read these to my boy before he was school age and I'm hoping Vedder ends up loving Little Critter too. Congratulations Amy and Mike!

~Holly/Bippity Boppity Book

Hi Amy,
Congratulations to you and your husband, and welcome to your cute little Vedder! I'm sending Peter Rabbit to you. It was one of my favorite books, partially because it was about animals. Mostly I loved it because Peter was such an independent soul. He and I were both runaways, but our moms loved us anyway.

I wish you the best of luck in your new and challenging role as mother, and for Vedder in his new surroundings!

Jo Ann Butler (author)

I'm giving Goodnight Moon because it is the Ambien of baby sleep. It works like a charm with very small children, and they find it addictive. The book is definitely a new mommy's friend.

~Karen Essex, author

Dear Amy and Vedder,

The only relationships that may be more important than a young boy and his mother (and okay, yeah, his dad, too) are between a young boy and his teddy bear and a young boy and his imagination. When I was a small child, WINNIE THE POOH opened up Christopher Robin and Pooh's worlds -- not only into the "Hundred-Aker Wood" but into England, which led to a lifelong romance with the past -- and with my stuffed animals -- both of which endure today.

May you cherish all of them forever and may the words and pictures in WINNIE THE POOH and within your own imagination lead to your very own magical places!

Welcome to the world of books, Vedder! As your mother will tell you, it's a great place to live!

With all best wishes for a magical future!

~Leslie Carroll/Juliet Grey, author

Amy and Vedder -

I chose Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator because it's the perfect set of books to lose yourself in! I saw the Gene Wilder film first, fell in love with the idea of a perfect fantasy-land, through a child's eyes, and found the same in Roald Dahl's books. Charlie is a wonderful hero, who is devoted to his family, and who gets ahead in the world by being honest, being loyal and being compassionate. What could be better than running a candy factory and living in a world where anything and everything is possible? 

Amy, I hope that you enjoy reading these books to Vedder as he grows up. Vedder, I hope your life is filled with as much sweetness, fun and fantasy as is present in these books.
Enjoy and love!
~Lori/Psychotic State Book Reviews

Since I have two girls of my own, it took me awhile to choose a book that would be suitable for a boy! Most of our favourites have female characters - Jillian Jiggs, Anne of Green Gables, The Princess and the Potty...

Then I remembered back to my own childhood and a book I loved - and a book I had, indeed, bought for my own daughters. Danny and the Dinosaur. I recall thinking how cool it would be to have a pet that could take me around all over town, someone all the kids would love - but most of all, it taught me that anyone can be friends, even people who aren't exactly alike. 

I hope Vedder enjoys the book as much as I did, as much as my daughters did - as much as we STILL do.

Welcome to the world, little fellow! 

~Martina, Book Drunkard

I chose Stellaluna by Janell Cannon for Vedder and Amy because as soon as it came out I fell in love with it, and bought a copy for every child I knew. Stellaluna is a little bat who gets separated from her mother for a while, but they have a joyous reunion by the book's end. Of course I want Vedder to have this wonderful book, and hope he will love it, too.

~Melanie McDonald, author

The book I've chosen for Amy's baby boy is THE NEIGHBORHOOD MOTHER GOOSE. As a child, I remember sitting on my mother''s lap while she read these old nursery rhymes to me, and nothing felt more enchanting. I hope Amy's son grows up to have that same sense of wonderment at the world as I had at my mother's knee. I hope he is curious and creative and filled with joy at both life and living. Congratulations Amy! And welcome to a truly wonderful world, Vedder. 

~Michelle Moran, author

A series of pictures. Bright colors. No words. Each page a wordless comment on all the preceding images. Every picture a story, and every story a small element in multiple other stories. Point of view is everything.  Zoom surprises and fascinates. A book for small children and their parents. Both of my children loved it. Annie and I enjoyed weaving tales, different every time, about each picture. I hope you and your children enjoy it as much as we did, Amy.

~Mitchell James Kaplan, author

I had a copy of The Velveteen Rabbit that ended up in shreds because it was read to death. My mother would read it to me and then I would read it myself. I sent a copy with the same cover that my book had. The story is so sad in its way but so special. They were magical times with my mother before my brothers came along and ruined it all.

Welcome to little Vedder - may he become a reader, ready to explore all the world has to offer within the pages of books and without as he grows.

~Patty Woodland, goat-herding, book reading, cookie loving Montanan

I've loved Dr. Seuss since I was a kid with his creative characters and rhymes. You could say he was one of the first poets I read as a child, and I've loved creative characters and poems ever since, especially when they are humorous and teach you things without being boring. It was the first pick I made for my baby shower list because I knew that my copies were old and no longer around and I knew my daughter had to have them and I had to read them to her. I hope that Amy can find the same joy I found in them with her new bundle of joy. Welcome to motherhood. 

~Serena, Savvy Verse & Wit

It MUST Be Love

As a parent three times over I am a sucker for a good parent-child love story. A story that captures the special sort of love we feel for our children—fierce and completely unconditional. Both my book selections embody that sort of love.

Robert Munsch’s Love You Forever captures just how relentless and unflagging a parent’s love is. The image of the mother sneaking into her unruly teen’s room at night to sing him her special song (“I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living my baby you'll be”) and later driving across town to sing to him as a grown man, never fails to move me to tears. They are our babies. Always until the day we die. Heard early and often this message is tremendously powerful. Recently while tidying the room of my college-aged daughter I found a loved-to-death copy of Munsch’s book in her bedside table. I left it where I found it. Big girls need reassurance too.

I had a copy of Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are when I was a little girl. I took that copy to college with me. I gave it to my children. Somewhere in the untamed wilderness that is my house it wanders still (no doubt snarling its terrible snarl). There are many themes in the book, but from the first time I heard it read aloud, the most important page for me came at the end. Max has been sent to bed without any supper, and he certainly deserves the punishment. But when he returns to his room after his great adventure, his supper IS there—and it’s still warm. His mother loves him even when he is a wild thing, and her love is stronger than her will to send him to bed hungry.

Amy, I hope that you and Vedder enjoy my book selections for many years to come! 

All the best, 
Sophie Perinot, author

I chose James and the Giant Peach because it was my favorite book as a child. It's actually the first book I read by myself, as far as I can remember. I remember reading it before bed and my mom told me it was time to go 5to sleep. After she closed my door, out came the flash light. LOL! I just couldn't put it down. The characters were so vivid in my imagination, I felt transported. 

~Teddy Rose, So Many Precious Books, So Little Time and Historical Tapestry


The Baby Shower Game

I've put together a little quote trivia quiz.  Since it's a baby shower, I will list six quotes from books who have main characters that are children (they are from children's, middle grade, or adult books).  There will be a corresponding space for each answer in the Rafflecopter widget.  You must give the character's name and the book title for each quote.  Winners will be chosen from all correct responses.  We have some international prizes, so this is open to everyone!

Here are the prizes

(Please click the book cover or title for a book description)

Rebel Puritan by Jo Ann Butler (U.S. Only)
Visit author's website HERE

The Last Queen by C.W. Gortner (U.S. only)  WINNER--LARA
Visit author's website HERE
Read my review HERE

Sea Witch by Helen Hollick (International)  WINNER--AMANDA TEAGUE
Visit the author's website HERE

By Fire, By Water by Mitchell James Kaplan (International)  WINNER--JO ANN BUTLER
Visit the author's website HERE
Read my review HERE

The King's Agent by Donna Russo Morin (International)  WINNER--ERIN 
Visit the author's website HERE
Read my review HERE

Guess the quotes.  Enter answers in the Rafflecopter.  Remember character and book title must be entered to be counted.  Good luck!

1.  "I was born good, but had grown progressively worse every year."

2.  "Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."

3.  "We all grow up someday...we might as well know what we want."

4.  "Please, sir, I want some more."

5.  "When I was a little kid, I thought like a little kid, but now I'm five I know everything."

6.  "Thinking I'm a moron gives people something to feel smug about...why should I disillusion them?"

There will be five winners.  Winners will be chosen randomly using the Rafflecopter.  First winner will have first choice of book and so on down the line.  Giveaway will be open for two weeks and will end on Sunday, 7/15 at 12:01am EST.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


I hope you all enjoyed the party! Once again, congrats to Amy on the arrival of the beautiful, Vedder.  The joy of motherhood is really beyond compare!


Thursday, June 28, 2012

{Blog Tour} Interview with C.W. Gortner, author of The Queen's Vow

I'd like to welcome to the blog today, C.W. Gortner, author of the new novel, The Queen's Vow. Christopher, thank you for taking the time to visit and answer my questions today.

Your book, The Last Queen, is one of my favorite historical novels. The book is about Juana of Castile, the daughter of Isabella of Spain, who is the subject of your new novel, The Queen's Vow. What was it like to first write about the daughter, then the mother?

It was marvelous to return to the era, which I find so compelling, and to Isabella. The Last Queen covers the last twelve years of Isabella’s life and her death, and so I focused my research and portrayal of her on the accomplished queen of legend, as seen through her daughter Juana’s eyes. In that book, Isabella is the woman we envision when we think of her, and Juana’s relationship with her is fraught with expectations, frustration, and misunderstanding; they do not get along until much later, when they reach a common bond. In writing The Queen’s Vow, I felt like I connected the dots, so to speak; I got to show how Isabella became the queen and mother she was, and to see Juana as a child through her mother’s eyes. Isabella adored her children, despite that outward reticence so innate to her character; you can see her enduring, if at times exasperated, love for Juana in my book and I loved being able to explore that. We must remember that Isabella was unique for her time, in that she reared her children. She kept them with her as a family, like she herself had been raised. Yet just as she experienced turbulence and difficulty in her relationship with her mother, she’s destined to repeat the pattern with Juana. 

Were there characteristics of each woman that made you like one more than the other or were they equals in their own right?

I like them equally, for different reasons. I never want my characters to resemble each other unless the historical evidence warrants it. In many ways, Isabella and Juana were antithetical, yet they also share undeniable characteristics. Juana is emotion, impulse; she has the grandiosity of a diva, because it’s what she needs to survive. Isabella, on the other hand, is reason, control; she has her passions, certainly—and they can be as deep as Juana’s— but she is less prone to recklessness. Isabella has learned that caution is what she requires in order to survive. I love Juana’s drama, her fiery defiance, just as I love Isabella’s strength and unyielding determination. These were women who never gave up, never gave in. Returning to the first question, this is why writing both of these books has been so rewarding for me: together, the novels form a portrait of a mother and daughter who, for better and for worse, shaped the history of Spain.

You've written about some strong women from history: Juana of Castile, Catherine de Medici, Elizabeth I, Isabella of Spain. What inspired you to write about these women?

I’m clearly attracted to controversial women. In part, it’s because when I was growing up in Spain during the last years of Franco’s regime, I was taught censored history in regards to women; and in some respects, I’ve discovered that most popular history is, in fact, censored. We tend to pigeonhole historical women with convenient clichés: Juana as the mad victim, Catherine de Medici as the evil witch, Isabella as the devout fanatic. Yet it does them, and us, a great disservice, because these women were complex human beings. None of us are easy to decipher: our very contradictions define us, and that’s what I like about these women. Feminism did not exist in the 16th century; as much as we love movie depictions of sword-wielding heroines, most women of the past had few options. They forged lives against tremendous constraints; status, privilege, and crushing responsibility were often the lot of royal women. Being a princess was hardly a fairy-tale, yet despite this, the women I’ve written about became far more than anyone expected. I admire their fortitude, their courage; even when they lost, they still triumphed.

In a chat I attended, you spoke about travelling to the places where your books are set. Where have you visited and which place is your favorite?

I always travel to the places where my books take place. It’s essential for me to see the cities, the palaces and landscapes that my characters knew, even if much has changed, as it often has. Some of my favorite places are Hampton Court in England, the Alcazar of Seville in Spain, and the Château of Chenonceau in France.

Do you think it's absolutely necessary for a writer to visit the places they write about or is there hope for writers like me who cannot afford foreign travel (grin)?

For me, it’s essential. I have found no substitute for experiencing with my own senses the way a place looks, smells, feels. However, one of the wonders of the internet is that it brings the world to us. With the cost of travel so exorbitant these days, I imagine many writers cannot travel to every foreign place they write about and I’m quite sure you’d never know that by reading their book. With some imagination and good research, you can always recreate what a city looked like, what the weather was like, how people got from one street to another without actually going there yourself. What my partner and I do is combine vacation travel with my research needs; that way, we get to do both.

What would be your number one piece of advice for an aspiring writer of historical fiction?

Write the very best book you can. Or, in other words, master the craft. I learn something new every day when I sit down to write. But these days, with so many seemingly easy options for publication, I feel that some writers rush to get their work into the marketplace without fulfilling the necessary steps to prepare it for their readers. Revision is key. When I first started submitting to agents fourteen years ago I got dozens of rejections that said everything from “historical fiction is dead” to “no one wants to read about an obscure Spanish queen.” I also got some that said: “You need to de-purple your prose.” I paid attention. I took the time in-between submissions to attend writing courses, cut and edit, and do it all again. I was willing to rip the guts out of my books and put them back together again, because I learned that it’s during the revision stage where the magic of storytelling can truly happen. I fear that in this age of instant gratification, we’re losing the patience required to bring our writing to its full potential.

You're second Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles book is coming out in 2013 and you're currently working on your next book about Lucrezia Borgia (thrilling, to say the least!). Any future subjects on the back burner?

Yes, I’m always percolating ideas, but my agent has sworn me to secrecy!

I hope you don't mind me mentioning this, but as we are Facebook friends, I have noticed that you are very passionate about the plight of animals and you're also a cat lover, like me. Can you share a memorable experience or two that you've had with animals?

I recently took in two cats. I walk in a nearby park twice a day with my dog, Paris. About five years ago, we started seeing this wild orange cat streaking past us, under a small bridge we always crossed. I set up a feeding station under the bridge and slowly the cat began to approach to eat. Then, one day, she had kittens. They were fascinated by Paris, whose bluster conceals a deep gentility; she would never hurt another animal. With the help of the local feral cat program, I trapped the kittens; as luck would have it, we also caught the orange mom. Only one of the kittens eluded us— a male. The other kittens were adopted and the mom, whom I named Mommy Cat, was released back in the park, per feral cat rules of trap, spay /neuter, and release, providing someone is willing to feed the colony. I went up twice a day to feed and another lady who cares for other cats in the park agreed to be my back-up when I traveled. Eventually, the male kitten returned; he was a young suspicious cat now and we spent weeks luring him into a trap. We finally got him and after being neutered, he too was released. I named him My Boy; he and Mommy became constant companions. For about three years, I cared for them and worried for their safety. I had several run-ins with irresponsible dog owners who let their dogs chase the cats; a scary confrontation one night with a coyote in the feeding area, and other dangers. In February of this year, My Boy showed up with an injured paw. By now, I could pick him and Mommy up; they’d become very trusting with me. I took him to the vet and was told the paw required stitches. He’d have to be kept indoors or confined for a week until it healed. My partner and I decided to bring him and Mommy into our home, something we’d resisted because we were advised feral cats often cannot adjust to being indoors. It’s been four months now, and they seem happy to be with us. Paris isn’t as content as we’d hoped: she’s territorial with them, but is slowly adjusting. Boy loves to be cuddled. Mommy spends her days under the spare room bed (she hid most of her life in the park, so it’s ingrained in her) but she comes out for belly rubs. At night, we hear them racing around the house. They are safe now.

This last question has two parts and it's what I always ask authors because I love to hear what they're reading. So, what are you currently reading? What recent historical fiction novel would you recommend to my readers?

I’m currently reading a lot of nonfiction about Lucrezia Borgia, the subject of my next novel! In the little spare time I have to read fiction, I recently read Wolf Hall. I thoroughly enjoyed it; the first time I tried it, I simply couldn’t get into it. This second time, it clicked and I was swept up. That sometimes happens to me; a book doesn’t hit the spot and so I set it aside. But I always try again. I also recently read a marvelous novel called The Last Nude by Ellis Avery, set in 1920s Paris, about the artist, Tamara de Lempicka, and her love affair with a model. 

Christopher, it has been a pleasure having you here today. Thank you.

Thank you for having me! To find out more about me and my work, please visit

Read my review of The Queen's Vow.

Visit the other stops on the tour:  Tour Schedule
Twitter Hashtag:  #QueensVowVirtualTour


Cat Thursday--Siblings

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! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)

I give you sibling love....

And sibling rivalry...


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Memories of Summer Reading

Be sure to stop by over at Wordsmithonia today.  I'm guesting over there and I tell all about some summer reading habits I had as an adolescent.  Hope to see you there!


Anna Karenina Read Along

It may be foolhardy for me to attempt this again (I failed a previous read along of this one with Wallace at Unputdownables), but I am determined to read this book! I am already pretty far into Part I from starting it before so I'm a bit ahead of the game...if I can only stay ahead.  We shall see!

The read along is being hosted by Five Alarm Book Reviews.  If you would like to sign up, visit their blog HERE.

The details and schedule from their blog:
How It Works

This is summer, so we are keeping it fun and easy. There will not be any official questions, although I will post some each week if you would like to use them for conversation starters. We will each write up our thoughts on the book on the scheduled dates and link up. If you link up within a few days of the scheduled date, that is fine too.

You DO NOT have to be a blogger to participate. You can sign up by using a link to where you will be posting. ie: Goodreads, Amazon, Shelfari, etc.

We will use the hashtag #ReadingAnnaKarenina on Twitter.

Post and Reading Schedule

Start Up Post/Announcement Post – Now through July 1

1st Post for Parts 1 and 2 – July 7

2nd Post for Parts 3 and 4- July 14

3rd Post for Parts 5 and 6- July 21

4th For Parts 7 and 8- July 28

Final Review – July 31

Are you joining the read along?  Leave me a comment and let me know.


Monday, June 25, 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 can't believe that this is the last week in June.  It did not quite go the way I planned either.  I started a new job, which is great, but I also signed up for JuNoWriMo so I could get my novel written...and didn't write a word.  It just wasn't feasible with the new job and all.  The kids go back to school in a little over a month and I'm going to try to do Camp NaNoWriMo in August, but we shall see.  Once the kids go back, I'll have a little more time.  I need and want to get my novel written!

What's going on in my/the reading world....

Sign up for the High Summer Read-a-Thon coming in July at the dedicated blog, Seasons of Reading.  Click the button to go over and sign up.  Would love to have you join us!

Amy's (Passages to the Past and Historical Fiction Virtual Book ToursVirtual Baby Shower is this Saturday! Her beautiful son actually arrived early this past Saturday and we couldn't be happier for her.  The baby shower is still going forward as planned.  If you would like to be involved, visit the invite/information post HERE.  Even if you just stop by, there is going to be a great trivia game with a giveaway.  Some lovely authors have donated some great books.  Be sure to stop by and say hi and wish Amy well. =O)

Kai at Fiction State of Mind is hosting the Summer Chills Reading Challenge.  The challenge runs from July 22 through August 31.  It's all about doing some fun scary reading this summer.  I'm signed up and I'm super excited! If you would like to join us, check out Kai's sign up post HERE.

My annual Christmas in July event at my Christmas blog, The Christmas Spirit, is starting next week.  If you love Christmas any time of the year, you'll want to stop by for some fun! I'm also looking for guest bloggers so if you're interested in being my guest during the event, visit the announcement post HERE and find out what all will be going on.

Join us for The Queen's Vow (by C.W. Gortner) Read-a-Long at Historical Fiction Connection.  The dates are July 7 through July 21 and you can get all the details and the reading schedule at this POST.  Hope you will join us!

What I've been reading....
Currently reading:
A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
Middlemarch by George Eliot
The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith (halfway through)

Coming up:
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (yes, foolish me is going to attempt the read-a-long at Five Alarm Book Reviews next month!)
Not sure what else! Haven't decided.

Finished recently:
The Queen's Vow by C.W. Gortner (review)
*watch for my interview with Mr. Gortner on Thursday*

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia and is currently on tour. This month's host is Marie at Burton Book Review.   (You can click the book covers in the BookBox to view the book(s) on Amazon)

BookBox: embed book widget, share book list

Legend by Marie Lu (along with some awesome swag!)...from The Book Monsters

Middlemarch by George Eliot (with intro by A.S. Byatt)
Confessions of a Pagan Nun by Kate Horsley
Company of Liars by Karen Maitland
Pawn of Prophecy: Book One of the Belgariad by David Eddings

DEALS (Dollar Store):
Songs for the Missing by Stewart O'Nan
Girls in Trucks by Katie Crouch

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