Friday, July 31, 2009

Not My Giveaways!

Here's a few giveaways from around the book world that I've entered this week. Maybe you'd like a chance at these books, too!
Bookin' with Bingo -- one (1) copy of HAPPINESS KEY by Emili Richards -- Ends August 3rd

Bookin' with Bingo - two (2) copies of THE SPIES OF WARSAW by Alan Furst -- Ends August 2nd

The Review Broads - five (5) copies of SAND SHARKS by Margaret Maron -- Ends August 10th


Diary of an Eccentric - one (1) copy of THE SPIES OF WARSAW by Alan Furst -- Ends August 9th
Poppin's Lair - two (2) copies of DYING FOR MERCY by Mary Jane Clark -- Ends August 15th
The Tome Traveller -- one (1) copy of DRAGON HOUSE by John Shors -- Ends August 18th
Chocolate & Croissants -- three (3) copies of LABOR DAY by Joyce Maynard -- Ends August 15th
Mommy PR -- one (1) copy of SAY DADDY by Michael Shoulders -- Ends August 12th
A Patchwork of Books - five (5) copies of J IS FOR JACK-O'-LANTERN: A Halloween Alphabet
-- Ends August 3rd

Check out The Review Broads for the best Book Reviews and Giveaways!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Giveaway: THE MOON LOOKED DOWN by Dorothy Garlock

First I thought, I'd really like to read this book, so I entered some giveaways around the blogosphere. Now I find out that Hachette Book Group is allowing me offer my own giveaway! I'll be giving away five (5) copies of THE MOON LOOKED DOWN and posting my own review in a few weeks. (So, if I actually win any giveaways offered by other bloggers, I won't be accepting a copy - Hachette is sending me one for review! Thank you, Hachette!)

Rules for entering this giveaway are at the bottom of this post.



THE MOON LOOKED DOWN
Dorothy Garlock
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Pub. Date: July 2009
ISBN-13:
9780446577946
Sales Rank: 3,531
400pp

Synopsis (from the publisher):

The new Americana romance from bestselling author Dorothy Garlock, this time set against the backdrop of WWII.

Sophie Heller's family immigrated from Germany to Victory, a small town in Illinois, before WWII began. Now that the war has affected the town, the townspeople discriminate against Sophie and her family. When a train derails, it is an accident but the Heller family is blamed. Coming to Sophie's rescue is a teacher from the high school, and despite their cultural differences, a romance starts to bloom.

Click here to read an excerpt.

About the author (from the publisher):

National bestselling and award-winning author of thirty-five romances that often feature the exciting backdrop of the Old West, Dorothy Garlock is one of America's-and the world's-favorite novelists. Her books, all enthusiastically reviewed, now total more than eight million copies in print with translations in 15 languages. She lives in Clear Lake, Iowa.

Here's what Kristen Ramsdell of Library Journal has to say about this book: "The true strength here lies in the author's choice of theme and setting and her exceptional ability to make that place spring vividly to life. "
Sound good? Here's what you do:

RULES FOR ENTERING THE GIVEAWAY:

• Leave a comment on this post telling me you would like to win. Include an email address with your comment so that I can contact you if you do win. Use a spam-thwarting format such as geebee.reads AT gmail DOT com or geebee.reads [at] gmail [dot] com

You must leave an email address in order to qualify. If I can't contact you, you can't win!

• You can earn an extra entry by being or becoming a Follower or Subscriber of this blog and telling me about it in a separate comment.

• Blog about this contest and provide me with the link to the post in a separate comment, and I'll give you yet another entry.

• Tweeting about this contest and providing me the link in a separate comment will get you one more entry. I've added a Retweet button at the bottom of every post.

• Stumble this blog, Digg it, or Technorati Fave it, whatever, and leave a separate comment for another entry.

• Winners must provide a U.S. or Canadian street address. Hachette is unable to deliver to P.O. Boxes.

Deadline for entry is 11:59 p.m. Saturday, August 15, 2009 EST.

• Winners will have 48 hours to respond to my email announcing that they have won; if I don't hear from a winner, I will draw another name.

Thank you to Anna
at Hachette Book Group
for making this giveaway possible.

GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.

THE WINNERS HAVE ALL BEEN CONTACTED.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday: DEEP CREEK by Dana Hand

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:


DEEP CREEK: A Novel
by Dana Hand

Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
(February 10, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0547237480
ISBN-13: 978-0547237480


Description (from Amazon.com):

Idaho Territory, June 1887. A small-town judge takes his young daughter fishing, and she catches a man. Another body surfaces, then another. The final toll: over 30 Chinese gold miners brutally murdered. Their San Francisco employer hires Idaho lawman Joe Vincent to solve the case.

Soon he journeys up the wild Snake River with Lee Loi, an ambitious young company investigator, and Grace Sundown, a métis mountain guide with too many secrets. As they track the killers across the Pacific Northwest, through haunted canyons and city streets, each must put aside lies and old grievances to survive a quest that will change them forever.

Deep Creek is a historical thriller inspired by actual events and people: the 1887 massacre of Chinese miners in remote and beautiful Hells Canyon, the middle-aged judge who went after their slayers, and the sham race-murder trial that followed. This American tragedy was long suppressed and the victims nearly forgotten; Deep Creek teams history and imagination to illuminate how and why, in a seamless, fast-moving tale of courage and redemption, loss and love. A dazzling new novel for fans of Leif Enger, Lisa See, and Ivan Doig.


"Dana Hand has created a remarkable book—both a high-voltage crime novel and a true account of a violent episode in the history of the American frontier. And it works—vividly, with a fierce narrative power that never slows down." — Samuel Hynes, author of The Growing Seasons.

Click here to visit the author's website for background information on the real-life case, maps, reader's guides, and additional pre-publication praise.

About the Author (from Amazon.com):

Dana Hand is the pen name of Will Howarth and Anne Matthews, who live and work in Princeton, New Jersey. Under their own names, they have published eighteen nonfiction books on American history, literature, and public issues. DEEP CREEK is their first novel.

"WAITING ON WEDNESDAY"
is hosted byJill from
Breaking the Spine.
Join in and tell us . . .


What are you waiting for?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Book Review #13: MERCURY IN RETROGRADE by Paula Froelich


MERCURY IN RETROGRADE
by Paula Froelich

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
Pub. Date: June 2009
ISBN-13: 9781416598930
Sales Rank: 594
272pp

Synopsis (from Barnes & Noble):

When Mercury is in retrograde, the only guarantee is anything that can go wrong, will.

Penelope Mercury, an intrepid reporter at the New York Telegraph, has pounded the pavement for five years from city borough to borough, carrying out her boss's eccentric orders to break stories that seem inconsequential to everyone but him. Finally, she is inches away from being promoted to her dream job -- covering courtroom drama for the paper -- but after one spectacularly disastrous day, she is fired instead.

Lena "Lipstick Carcrash" Lippencrass has a pretty fabulous life, even by a socialite's standards, as a top editor at the high fashion magazine Y. Long lunches with her girlfriends and afternoons spent shopping at Bergdorf's are all in a day's work. But when Lena's always indulgent parents abruptly cut off her cash flow and kick her out of her beloved West Village duplex for refusing to work for the family business, she is forced to confront the reality of what it takes to pay the bills.

Dana Gluck, a workaholic lawyer, had been married for two years to a man who was perfect on paper but increasingly critical in reality. She hoped that her dreams of motherhood would be fulfilled soon, which surely would also fix their marriage problems. Instead, her husband leaves her for an exchange student/model who, to make matters worse, promptly gets pregnant.

When fate conspires to have these three very different women move into the same SoHo apartment building, they soon discover that having their carefully planned lives fall to pieces might be the best thing that could have ever happened to them.


My Rating: 3.5/5 stars


My Thoughts:

It was May, 2009. Things started to go wrong. Very wrong. Computers crashed. The fax machine broke. Files couldn't be found. Checks were lost in the mail. The copier chewed whole documents and spit them out folded in micro-mini-pleats. Annoying people called frequently. Callers we wanted to talk to couldn't get through. Messages were lost. I was particularly inarticulate. I stuttered. I said all the wrong things at all the wrong times. Nobody listened to me anyway. They were all having the same problems. Suddenly, I understood. I was able to get online long enough obtain confirmation. Mercury was in retrograde. We had no choice but to wait it out.

And then, a sign, a beacon of light in the darkness, an ARC, a book! A book about our shared experience. A book about how everything that can go wrong, will go wrong. A book that confirms it's not all in my head! A book called . . . MERCURY IN RETROGRADE. If only . . . if only I could get to BEA . . . get to BEA and secure a copy! But nnnnoooooo! No BEA for me this year. No advance copy. Of course not. Because . . . Mercury is in retrograde! AARRGGRRHH!

But eventually Mercury turns direct and Atria Publishing offers a galley grab online to those who can't make it to BEA and two months later -- I get my book. Yea!

Paula Froelich has created a fun, fast, friendly confection of a story. I was charmed by the premise and pleased with the outcome. The three main characters are each likable even if somewhat less than memorable. I was able to identify with some aspect of each one's personality and predicament. The secondary characters are comfortably familiar stereotypes -- the gay friend with the flair for fashion, the overbearing bosses, the clueless but meddlesome parents, and the status-obsessed socialite. Froelich doesn't really break any new ground here, but she writes well and the story is smoothly paced. If I was hoping for a little more depth, well, at least the book stays true to its title.

All in all, MERCURY IN RETROGRADE is a pleasant if predictable read -- perfect for the beach, poolside, or backyard lounge chair. I'm hoping there'll be more books from Paula Froelich.


Click here to read (generously lengthy) excerpt.

About the Author:

The deputy editor for the New York Post's Page Six column, Paula lives in New York City. MERCURY IN RETROGRADE is her first novel.


Thank you to Atria Books for my review copy.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Lookalikes: Where in the World?

OFF THE TOURIST TRAIL was a Library Thing Early Reviewer selection -- I fell in love with the cover, of course! The Dr. Summers book I came across by accident while looking for something else, and thought "Wait a minute . . ."
Anyone have any idea where in the world this cover photo was taken? I've got an inkling, but I'd love to hear what you think.

by Oscar Penn Fitzgerald
Publisher: BiblioLife
Pub. Date: March 2009
ISBN-13:
9781103627349
360pp


1,000 Unexpected Travel Alternatives
Forward by Bill Bryson
9780756653996
336pp




You can click here to watch Bill Bryson briefly discuss OFF THE TOURIST TRAIL. It looks like a book even armchair travellers could get lost in!
Publisher: DK Publishing, Inc.
Pub. Date: August 17, 2009
ISBN-13:

Book Review #12: MR. POPPER'S PENGUINS by Richard and Florence Atwater



MR. POPPER'S PENGUINS
by Richard and Florence Atwater
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pub. Date: November 1992
ISBN-13:
9780316058438
Sales Rank: 2,448
Age Range: 9 to 12
139pp


Synopsis (from Barnes & Noble):

Mr. Popper dreams about leaving his boring life and going on an adventure to the Antarctic. When the legendary Admiral Drake sends him a live penguin in response to his letter, he is thrilled. Very soon, he also receives a female companion for his penguin and they have 10 children. But Mr. Popper has enough trouble supporting his human family, and so he has the idea to take his penguins to the stage. Soon, Mr. Popper is up to his ears in adventure as he tries to manage 12 performing penguins and the trouble they inevitably get into. Mr. Popper's Penguins remains a classic, read and remembered by generations of loyal fans. Now, 70 years after its publication, it will be given a fresh new voice as an audiobook to attract a new generation of listeners.

My Rating: 5/5 -- Super highly recommended!

My Thoughts:

A few months ago, I started to see the audio version of the MR. POPPER'S PENGUINS discussed around the blogosphere. It was getting rave reviews, but I wasn't very interested in an audio version. When I began picking up books for the kids' summer reading, I remembered it and decided to hunt it down. Well, no "hunting" was necessary - at 71 years old, this book is still as popular as it was when published back in 1938! How had I made it all the way through childhood and a looooong adulthood without ever having heard of it?

I decided it would be one of the books that my 8-year-old nephew, "J", and I would read together. He's been pretty deep into the Wimpy Kid books lately, so I wasn't sure how he would take to some of the more old-fashioned elements of this story. But we really like penguins at my house, so I figured that aspect would capture his interest. I needn't have been concerned. He absolutely LOVED this book!

Mr. Popper is somewhat of an absent-minded dreamer, and he often finds himself in the middle of some of the most absurdly ridiculous predicaments -- even before any penguins take up residence at 432 Proudfoot Avenue. Once they begin to move in, though, the chaos is hilarious. One of the most hysterical scenes takes place when Mr. Popper telephones City Hall to find out whether he needs a license for his first penguin, Captain Cook. I won't spoil it for you, but it reads a lot like the old 'Who's on first' routine. My nephew was literally rolling around laughing, unable to catch his breath! I got a kick out of the variant ways characters reacted to seeing a virtual chorus line of penguins walking around town. Some were completely freaked out, which of course was funny, but others took it completely in stride, and that acceptance was laughably ludicrous!

There are some illustrations here and there throughout the book which enhance rather than overpower the story. The interior drawings are the original illustrations by Robert Lawson, and they nicely set the story in the 30's as well as show the sweetness of the penguins. The cover art of this edition, by Michael Emberley, is cute and funny.

This is a story not to be missed. I think anyone would enjoy the silliness, but there's nothing quite like experiencing this sort of inanity with a kid at your elbow and seeing it through their eyes. I hope you all have one handy to share this comical adventure about what can happen when dreams come true.

MR. POPPER'S PENGUINS was named a Newbery Honor Book in 1939.

About the Authors (from Barnes & Noble):

Before his death in 1948, Richard Atwater was a newspaper columnist and a professor of Greek. He is best known for writing Mr. Popper's Penguins with his wife, Florence, who finished the novel when he fell ill. Together, they were honored with the 1939 Newbery Honor Award.


Click here to read an excerpt.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Giveaway: MY NAME IS WILL by Jess Winfield


If you don't have anything to read this summer, don't blame the folks at Hachette Book Group. They are literally giving away books! And these generous folks have offered five (5) copies of MY NAME IS WILL to my readers. I'll be posting my review in a couple of weeks; in the meantime . . .

Rules for entering this giveaway are at the bottom of this post.



MY NAME IS WILL: A Novel of Sex, Drugs and Shakespeare
by Jess Winfield

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Pub. Date: July 2009
ISBN-13: 9780446508834
Sales Rank: 36,912
320pp
Edition Description: Reprint


Description (from the publisher):

A Tale of two Shakespeares...
Struggling UC Santa Cruz grad student Willie Shakespeare Greenberg is trying to
write his thesis about the Bard. Kind of...

Cut off by his father for laziness, and desperate for dough, Willie agrees to deliver a single giant, psychedelic mushroom to a mysterious collector, making himself an unwitting target in Ronald Reagan's War on Drugs.

Meanwhile, would-be playwright (and oppressed Catholic) William Shakespeare is eighteen years old and stuck teaching Latin in the boondocks of Stratford-upon-Avon. The future Bard's life is turned upside down when a stranger entrusts him with a sacred relic from Rome... This, at a time when adherents of the "Old Faith" are being hanged, drawn, and quartered as traitors.

Seemingly separated in time and place, the lives of Willie and William begin to intersect in curious ways, from harrowing encounters with the law (and a few ex-girlfriends) to dubious experiments with mind-altering substances. Their misadventures could be dismissed as youthful folly. But wise or foolish, the bold choices they make will shape not only the 'Shakespeare' each is destined to come... but the very course of history itself.

Click here to read an excerpt.

About the Author (from the publisher):

As a founding member of the Reduced Shakespeare Company, Jess Winfield co-created the full-length show The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged), which premiered at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1987 and became an international sensation, leading to multiple world tours and engagements. After leaving the RSC, Winfield spent ten years writing and producing award-winning cartoons for the Walt Disney Company. He left Disney to write this, his first novel. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife.

RULES FOR ENTERING THE GIVEAWAY:

• Leave a comment on this post telling me you would like to win. Include an email address with your comment so that I can contact you if you do win. Use a spam-thwarting format such as geebee.reads AT gmail DOT com or geebee.reads [at] gmail [dot] com.

You must leave an email address in order to qualify. If I can't contact you, you can't win!

• You can earn an extra entry by being or becoming a Follower or Subscriber of this blog and telling me about it in a separate comment.

• Blog about this contest and provide me with the link to the post in a separate comment, and I'll give you yet another entry.

• Tweeting about this contest and providing me the link in a separate comment will get you one more entry. I've added a Retweet button at the bottom of every post -- let me know if it works!

• Stumble this blog, Digg it, or Technorati Fave it, whatever, and leave a separate comment for another entry.

• Winners must provide a U.S. or Canadian street address. Hachette is unable to deliver to P.O. Boxes.

• Deadline for entry is 11:59 p.m. Saturday, August 8, 2009 EST.

• Winners will have 48 hours to respond to my email announcing that they have won; if I don't hear from a winner, I will draw another name.

Thank you to Valerie
at Hachette Book Group
for making this giveaway possible.


GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.

I am in the process of contacting the winners.

Book Review #11: THE WACKIEST WILDEST WEIRDEST ANIMALS IN THE WORLD by Jack Hanna


THE WACKIEST WILDEST WEIRDEST ANIMALS IN THE WORLD
by Jack Hanna

Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Pub. Date: June 2009
ISBN-13: 9781400311408
Sales Rank: 25,961
Age Range: 6 to 10
33pp
Edition Description: Book and DVD


Description (from Barnes & Noble):

A wacky, wild, and weird look at animals through the eyes of Jungle Jack Hanna!
Have you ever seen a naked mole rat? Do you know what a binturong is? Do you know what kind of bird has a deadly kick? Explore the world's wackiest, wildest, and weirdest animals with expert and host Jungle Jack Hanna. The book features thirty animals that are wacky, weird, or wild. Kids will learn amazing animal facts and stories of Jungle Jack's personal adventures with some of these unique creatures. The book includes a bonus DVD with hilarious bloopers from his Emmy award-winning show, Jack Hanna's Into the Wild, and other shows from his career.


My Rating: 4.5/5

My Thoughts:

This has got to be one of the best animal books for kids that I’ve ever seen. Geared toward early and middle readers, WACKIEST WILDEST WEIRDEST is chock full of interesting information and colorful, up-close photographs of some strange and/or ferocious creatures. Thirty animals are spotlighted starting with the blue-footed booby and ending with the naked mole rat. Each featured animal is presented with several different photos, general information about the animal’s description, habitat, and diet, as well as specific details regarding why they are included among the world’s wackiest, wildest, or weirdest animals. Included are land animals, sea creatures, birds, reptiles and even insects.

Both of the kids at my house thoroughly enjoy looking at this book and have already spent a good deal of time ooohing, aaahing, and ew-yukking over its pages. And speaking of pages, the book is printed on a nice heavy stock, almost a light cardboard, which will resist tearing during the multiple reads it's sure to endure. There’s also a nice glossary at the back defining such terms as “tragelaphid” (a spiral-horned antelope) and “macropod” ( a type of marsupial, literally meaning “big feet”).

My only criticism, and what keeps me from giving this a full 5-star rating, is that the DVD which is included was a BIG disappointment. It has bloopers from Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild and, unfortunately, it was pretty boring. The situations weren’t very funny, especially to young kids. I would have expected to see a lot of animal action in a DVD accompanying this kind of book, but this one was peopled with, well, people! My 5-year-old niece exclaimed “I want to see animals! Where are the animals?” That sums up my thoughts on the DVD.


The book itself is great, though. I have to admit to eagerly sneaking off with it one night so that I could look through it in peace! I would not let the disappointing DVD prevent me from purchasing this book. I only mention it because it was included with the book and promoted on the cover. If there had been no DVD at all, I would have rated this book 5 stars.

So, bottom line – I highly recommend
THE WACKIEST WILDEST WEIRDEST ANIMALS IN THE WORLD. You can use the DVD as a coaster.

Click here to visit the author's website. There's lots more pictures, information, activites, and links.

Thank you to the publisher, Thomas Nelson, for providing me with my review copy.

WINNERS! Galway Bay and Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven

Random.org has determined the winners of my 2 recent giveaways:


The winner of
GALWAY BAY
by Mary Pat Kelly is:


ICEDREAM






The winner of
UNDRESS ME IN THE TEMPLE OF HEAVEN by Susan Jane Gilman is

ESME




CONGRATULATIONS!

Thank you to everyone who has visited my blog and taken the time to read it, make comments, and enter giveaways. I'm loving being a part of the blogging community and you all make it a very rewarding experience!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Book Giveaways from Around the Blogosphere

Here's a listing of a few book giveaways I've entered. Check 'em out! You might want to take a chance, too! Click on the blog name for more details about entering each contest.

Pop Culture Junkie is giving away a copy of The Sweet Life of Stella Madison.

Books on the Nightstand is giving away 5 copies of When You Reach Me.

The Eclectic Book Lover has 1 ARC of The Prophecy of the Sisters to give away.

Silvia reads is giving away 1 copy of Easy on the Eyes.

Bloody Bad, A Book Blog has and unknown number of The Moon Looked Down up for grabs.

The Infinite Shelf is giving away a gently used copy of Daughters of the Grail.

Giveaway: RAVENS by George Dawes Green

Thanks to the abundant generosity of the folks at Hachette Book Group, I have been authorized to give away three (3) copies of the stunning new psychological thriller by George Dawes Green: RAVENS.

You can read the plot summary and my review here. If it sounds good to you, here's how to enter:

First entry: Leave a comment on this post telling me whether you read my review and why or why not. You must complete this step or you will not qualify for entry. Include your email address in spam-thwarting format (ex. geebee.reads AT gmail DOT com). You can't win if I can't email you!

Second entry: Be or become a Follower or subscriber. Leave a separate comment letting me know.

Third entry: Spread the word about this giveaway. You can post it on your own blog or spread the news through a social network such as Twitter, Facebook, etc. Leave a separate comment for each shout out.

Deadline for entry is Saturday, August 8, 2009 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

Winners will have 48 hours to respond to my email announcing that they have won; if I don't hear from a winner, I will draw another name.

Winners must provide a U.S. or Canadian street address. Hachette is unable to deliver to PO Boxes.

GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!

Thank you to Miriam of Hachette Book Group for making this giveaway possible.

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.

I am in the process of contacting the winners.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Book Review #10 and Blog Tour: RAVENS by George Dawes Green


RAVENS
by George Dawes Green

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Pub. Date: July 2009
ISBN-13: 9780446538961
Sales Rank: 988
336pp


Description (from the publisher):

The Boatwrights just won 318 million dollars in the Georgia State lottery. It's going to be the worst day of their lives.

When Shaw McBride and Romeo Zderko pull up at a convenience store off I-95 in Georgia, their only thought is to fix a leaky tire and be on their way again to Florida-away from their dull Ohio tech-support jobs. But this happens to be the store from which a 318,000,000 million dollar Jackpot ticket has just been sold -- and when a pretty clerk accidentally reveals to Shaw the identity of the winning family, he hatches a ferociously audacious scheme: He and Romeo will squeeze the family for half their prize.

That night, he visits the Boatwright home and takes the family hostage, while Romeo patrols the streets nearby, prepared to murder the Boatwrights' loved ones at any sign of resistance. At first, the family offers none. But Shaw's plot depends on maintaining constant fear-merciless, unfaltering terror-and soon, under the pressure, everyone's sanity begins to unravel . . .

At once frightening, comic, and suspenseful, RAVENS is a wholly original and utterly compelling novel from one of our most talented writers.


My Rating: 5/5

My Thoughts:

Only after reading George Dawes Green's bold new novel, can one appreciate the sly cleverness of the title. Take a close look at this definition of "raven" from Dictionary.com:

ra⋅ven 1  /ˈreɪvən/ [rey-vuhn]

noun
1. any of several large, corvine birds having lustrous, black plumage and a loud, harsh call, esp. Corvus corax, of the New and Old Worlds.
2. the divine culture hero and trickster of the North Pacific Coast Indians.
3. (initial capital letter) Astronomy. the constellation Corvus.

adjective
4. lustrous black: raven locks of hair.

verb (used without object)
1. to seek plunder or prey.
2. to eat or feed voraciously or greedily: to raven like an animal.
3. to have a ravenous appetite.

verb (used with object)
4. to seize as spoil or prey.
5. to devour voraciously.

noun
6. rapine; robbery.
7. plunder or prey.
------------------------------------------------------
Origin: bef. 900; ME; OE hrǣfn; c. G Rabe, ON hrafn

rav·en 2 (rāv'ən)
v.
rav·ened, rav·en·ing, rav·ens

v. tr.
To consume greedily; devour.
To seek or seize as prey or plunder.

v. intr.
To seek or seize prey or plunder.
To eat ravenously.

n. Variant of ravin.

[From Middle English ravin, raven, rapine, plunder, prey; see ravin.]

rav'en·er n.

rav·in also rav·en (rāv'ən)

n.
Voracity; rapaciousness.
Something taken as prey.
The act or practice of preying.

[Middle English ravin, raven, from Old French ravine, rapine, from Latin rapīna, from rapere, to seize; see rep- in Indo-European roots.]

Now add this further elucidation of "rapaciousness": subsisting by the capture of living prey; predacious

There's certainly plenty of rapaciousness in RAVENS. It's also got greed, plunder and prey aplenty! George Dawes Green has created one lusciously multi-layered, edge-of-your-seat thriller. I'm trying to resist saying that I devoured this book. I will tell you that once my review copy arrived, I spent several days trying to keep myself away from it; other titles held priority, but they couldn't capture my attention away from the simple white book with the actualizing title. Finally, I yielded, seized the book, and consumed it greedily.

While tension and suspense are constant throughout RAVENS, it was the quirky yet ordinary characters populating the novel that I found so compelling. There's Tara Boatwright, the 21-year-old who is trying to bridge not only adolescence and adulthood but the gulf between her Christian devotee father, Mitch, and her alcohol and gambling addicted mother, Patsy. From her annoying little brother, Jase, to her tattooed best friend, Clio, to her feisty, card-playing grandmother, Nell, all the way to the disrespected old cop, Burris (who harbors some secrets of his own), the residents of the small Georgia town of Brunswick seem like people you could meet anywhere. Green, however, gets inside their heads and shows us, if not exactly what makes them tick, then how they tick. I found the inner workings of the "good guys" in this psychological suspense to be quite disturbing. So how am I to describe the complexities and contradictions of the two guys wearing the black hats?

Shaw McBride, the so-called brains of the operation, is one of the most despicable and unsympathetic villains I have ever encountered in a work of fiction. Romeo Zderko is one of the most pathetic and misguided. Just because the characters are all compelling, it doesn't mean that they're at all appealing. Yet beginning with the opening scene's unfortunate roadkill to the explosive denouement, I could not look away.

And lest you still believe that RAVENS is no better than your everyday, run-of-the-mill thriller, go back up to the definition section and consider this entry:


noun

2. the divine culture hero and trickster of the North Pacific Coast Indians.

* * *



About the author (from the Publisher):

George Dawes Green is a highly acclaimed novelist and poet, and the founder of the groundbreaking storytelling organisation, The Moth. He currently divides his time between Georgia and New York.


Click here to read an excerpt.

Author website


Audio clip


GIVEAWAY: Enter to win a copy of RAVENS at the following sites:

This Book For Free (drawing to be held August 5th)


Drey's Library (deadline: August 5th)


A Bookworm's World (deadline: August 20th)

Thank you to Miriam and Hachette Book Group for organizing this blog tour and for providing me with my review copy of RAVENS.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Contest winners - Julie & Julia / Dads & Grads

WE HAVE SOME WINNERS!!


The winners of JULIE & JULIA by Julie Powell are:

Shawna (a/k/a weloveourdogs @ . . .)
throuthehaze
Debbie (a/k/a fourkidsrgreat @ . . . )
Wordlily
Dixie (a/k/ Southrngal @ . . . )



I realized my post for the winners of the Dads & Grads Giveaway (which ended on June 27th) was never published. But they won -- they really did!

Priya
alawrence
budletsmom
heatheranne99
mittens0831

I've heard back from all of the winners and their addresses have been forwarded to Hachette Book Group who will mail the books directly to the winners.

Congratulations to all the winners! Enjoy your books!

Thank you to everyone who entered - be sure to check out my current giveaways!

And a big thank you to Hachette Book Group for sponsoring this giveaway.

589x3mtb6n

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Giveaway: UNDRESS ME IN THE TEMPLE OF HEAVEN: A Memoir by Susan Jane Gilman

Just because I celebrated reaching 99 Followers, doesn't mean I can't also celebrate reaching . . . 102!

WHOOO HOOO!

I have one (1) brand new, never-been-read hardcover copy of UNDRESS ME IN THE TEMPLE OF HEAVEN: A Memoir by Susan Jane Gilman. (Part of a duplicate win I received a few months back.)

To enter, just leave a comment with your email address (in spam-twarting code). I'll give you an extra entry for spreading the word and coming back and telling me about it.

This giveaway is open world-wide until midnight, Friday, July 24, 2009 EST.


UNDRESS ME IN THE TEMPLE OF HEAVEN: A Memoir
by Susan Jane Gilman

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Pub. Date: March 2009
ISBN-13:
9780446578929
Sales Rank: 4,106
320pp

Description (from the publisher):
They were young, brilliant, and bold. They set out to conquer the world. But the world had other plans for them.Bestselling author Susan Jane Gilman's new memoir is a hilarious and harrowing journey, a modern heart of darkness filled with Communist operatives, backpackers, and pancakes. In 1986, fresh out of college, Gilman and her friend Claire yearned to do something daring and original that did not involve getting a job. Inspired by a place mat at the International House of Pancakes, they decided to embark on an ambitious trip around the globe, starting in the People's Republic of China. At that point, China had been open to independent travelers for roughly ten minutes.Armed only with the collected works of Nietzsche, an astrological love guide, and an arsenal of bravado, the two friends plunged into the dusty streets of Shanghai. Unsurprisingly, they quickly found themselves in over their heads. As they ventured off the map deep into Chinese territory, they were stripped of everything familiar and forced to confront their limitations amid culture shock and government surveillance. What began as a journey full of humor, eroticism, and enlightenment grew increasingly sinister-becoming a real-life international thriller that transformed them forever.Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven is a flat-out page-turner, an astonishing true story of hubris and redemption told with Gilman's trademark compassion, lyricism, and wit.

About the author (from the publisher):
Susan Jane Gilman is the author of Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress and Kiss My Tiara. She has written commentary for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and Ms. magazine, among others, and her fiction and essays have received several literary awards. Though she has lived most recently in Geneva, Switzerland, and Washington, D.C., she remains, eternally, a child of New York.

Click here to read an excerpt.


THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday: NECESSARY AS BLOOD by Deborah Crombie

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:


NECESSARY AS BLOOD
by Deborah Crombie

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Pub. Date: October 06, 2009
ISBN-13: 9780061287534
Sales Rank: 41,462
384pp

Description (from the author's website):
Once the haunt of Jack the Ripper, London's East End is a vibrant mix of history and the avant garde, a place where elegant Georgian townhouses exist side-by-side with colorful street markets and the hippest clubs. But here race and cultures still clash, and the trendy galleries and glamorous nightlife of Whitechapel disguise a violent and seedy underside where unthinkable crimes bring terror to the innocent. A young mother has gone missing, and only Scotland Yard's Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and his partner, Gemma James, can stop a vicious killer and protect the child whose fate hangs in the balance.

About the Author:
Deborah Crombie is a native Texan who has lived in both England and Scotland. She currently lives north of Dallas in McKinney, Texas, sharing a 102-year-old house with her husband, three cats, and two German shepherds. When not walking dogs or remodeling, she spends a good deal of time in the U.K., researching her Kincaid/James novels.



"WAITING ON WEDNESDAY"
is hosted by
Jill from Breaking the Spine.


What are you waiting for?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Mailbox Monday - July 13, 2009


Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page. If you'd like to join in, stop by Marcia's and leave a link - or just browse through the comments to see what new books have been showing up.

This week, my mailbox has been happy, sad, colorful, and subdued.





TOO TOO MANY TUTUS
Written by Suzanne Davis Marion
Illustrated by Marj Hales
(for review from the author)




A DISOBEDIENT GIRL
by Ru Freeman
(for an upcoming blog tour)



THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN
by Garth Stein
(from Harper Collins and Book Club Girl for an upcoming BlogTalkRadio Show)





by Elin Hilderbrand
(a win from
Radiant Light)





by Gaile Parkin
(an ARC for review through Shelf Awareness)






by Lisa Tucker
(from the Atria Galley Grab)






by Pat Conroy
(an ARC from Random House)




THE INCONVENIENT ADVENTURES OF UNCLE CHESTNUT
by Paul Nowak
(for review from the author)




by Anne Rivers Siddons
(for review from Hachette Book Group)

Lookalikes: Doubletakes


I absolutely PROMISE that I did not go looking for this! I was actually skimming through Google Reader and came upon the Mailbox Monday post at Debbie's World of Books.

This is the book that caught my eye:





It seemed like something I would like to read, so I Googled it and, on the Penguin USA website, I found this:



. . . which looks an awful lot like a book from my wishlist:

. . . which was also on the Penguin USA website.
Well, I guess someone had to change something sometime! All I know for sure is that now I've got BOTH books on my wishlist!
Here's a description for each book:

VELVA JEAN LEARNS TO DRIVE
by Jennifer Niven

Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Pub. Date: July 2009
ISBN-13: 9780452289451
416pp


Description: Set in Appalachia in the years before World War II, Velva Jean Learns to Drive is a poignant story of a spirited young girl growing up in the gold- mining and moonshining South. Before she dies, Velva Jean’s mother urges her to “live out there in the great wide world.” Velva Jean dreams of becoming a big-time singer in Nashville until she falls in love with Harley Bright, a handsome juvenile delinquent turned revival preacher. As their tumultuous love story unfolds, Velva Jean must choose between keeping her hard-won home and pursuing her dream of singing in the Grand Ole Opry.



THE WELL AND THE MINE
by Gin Phillips
Publisher: Hawthorne Books & Literary Arts, Incorporated
Pub. Date: January 2008
ISBN-13:
9780976631170
Sales Rank: 1,268
251pp

Description: A novel of warmth and true feeling, The Well and the Mine explores the value of community, charity, family, and hope that we can give each other during a time of hardship.

In a small Alabama coal-mining town during the summer of 1931, nine-year-old Tess Moore sits on her back porch and watches a woman toss a baby into her family’s well without a word. This shocking act of violence sets in motion a chain of events that forces Tess and her older sister Virgie to look beyond their own door and learn the value of kindness and lending a helping hand. As Tess and Virgie try to solve the mystery of the well, an accident puts their seven-year-old brother’s life in danger, forcing the Moore family to come to a new understanding of the power of love and compassion.

Winner of the 2008 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Fiction Award.

Giveaway: GALWAY BAY by Mary Pat Kelly

WHOOO HOOOO!
I have 99 Followers!
I like 9's, so why should I wait?
And here's how I'll celebrate:

I have one (1) brand new, never-been-read hardcover copy of GALWAY BAY by Mary Pat Kelly to give away. (I received it as part of a prize pack but I had already won a copy individually.)

To enter, just leave a comment with your email address (in spam-twarting code). I'll give you an extra entry for spreading the word and coming back and telling me about it.

This giveaway is open world-wide until midnight, July 20, 2009 EST.

Thank you everyone for helping to make blogging so much fun!

GALWAY BAY
by Mary Pat Kelly

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Pub. Date: February 2009
ISBN-13:
9780446579001
Sales Rank: 4,744
576pp



Synopsis (from the publisher):
Here at last is one Irish family's epic journey, capturing the tragedy and triumph of the Irish-American experience. In a rousing tale that echoes the myths and legends of Ireland herself, young Honora Keeley and Michael Kelly wed and start a family, inhabiting a hidden Ireland where fishermen and tenant farmers find solace in their ancient faith, songs, stories, and communal celebrations. Selling both their catch--and their crops--to survive, these people subsist on the potato crop--their only staple food. But when blight destroys the potatoes three times in four years, a callous government and uncaring landlords turn a natural disaster into The Great Starvation that will kill one million. Honora and Michael vow their children will live. The family joins two million other Irish refugees in one of the greatest rescues in human history: the Irish Emigration to America. Danger and hardship await them there. Honora and her unconventional sister Maire watch their seven sons as they transform Chicago from a frontier town to the "City of the Century", fight the Civil War, and enlist in the cause of Ireland's freedom. The Kelly clan is victorious. This heroic story sheds brilliant light on the ancestors of today's 44 million Irish Americans.

About the author:
In the author's colorful and eclectic life, she has written and directed award-winning documentaries on Irish subjects, as well as the dramatic feature Proud. She's been an associate producer on Good Morning America and Saturday Night Live, written books on Martin Scorsese, World War II, and Bosnia, and a novel based on her experiences as a former nun - Special Intentions. She is a frequent contributor to Irish America Magazine and has a PhD in English and Irish literature.

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Lookalikes Revisited

by Mary Kay Andrews



By Mia King
Just like last time, I'm probably not the first to spot this clever use of design technology, but I just couldn't let it pass unmentioned! Even though I now remember seeing the cover for GOOD THINGS quite a while ago, I didn't recall it. I came across it by accident and certainly recognized those shoes!
Have you seen any doppelgangers lately?

Giveaway: THE IMPOSTOR'S DAUGHTER by Laurie Sandell

Rules for entering this giveaway are at the bottom of this post.


THE IMPOSTOR'S DAUGHTER: A True Memoir
by Laurie Sandell

Little, Brown & Company
Category:BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY
Format:HARDCOVER BOOK
Publish Date:7/29/2009
Price:$24.99/$27.99
ISBN:9780316033053
Pages:256

Description (from the publisher):

Laurie Sandell grew up in awe (and sometimes in terror) of her larger-than-life father, who told jaw-dropping tales of a privileged childhood in Buenos Aires, academic triumphs, heroism during Vietnam, friendships with Kissinger and the Pope. As a young woman, Laurie unconsciously mirrors her dad, trying on several outsized personalities (Tokyo stripper, lesbian seductress, Ambien addict). Later, she lucks into the perfect job--interviewing celebrities for a top women's magazine. Growing up with her extraordinary father has given Laurie a knack for relating to the stars. But while researching an article on her dad's life, she makes an astonishing discovery: he's not the man he says he is--not even close. Now, Laurie begins to puzzle together three decades of lies and the splintered person that resulted from them--herself.

Can a memoir be referred to as a "graphic novel"? Can the serious issues of drug and alcohol addiction be dealt with in comic book form? Don't let the presentation fool you - this book is the real deal. Due to be released later this month, Hachette Book Group has generously offered to give away five (5) copies of this groundbreaking title to my readers so you can check it out for yourself.

RULES FOR ENTERING THE GIVEAWAY:

Leave a comment on this post telling me you would like to win. Include an email address with your comment so that I can contact you if you do win. Use a spam-thwarting format such as geebee.reads AT gmail DOT com or geebee.reads [at] gmail [dot] com.

You must leave an email address in order to qualify. If I can't contact you, you can't win!

• You can earn an extra entry by being or becoming a Follower or Subscriber of this blog and telling me about it in a separate comment.

Blog about this contest and provide me with the link to the post in a separate comment, and I'll give you yet another entry.

• Tweeting about this contest and providing me the link in a separate comment will get you one more entry.

• Stumble this blog, digg it, or technorati fave it and leave a separate comment for another entry.

Winners must provide a U.S. or Canadian street address. Hachette is unable to deliver to PO Boxes.

Deadline for entry is 12:00 midnight Sunday, July 26, 2009 EST.

• Winners will have 48 hours to respond to my email announcing that they have won; if I don't hear from a winner, I will draw another name.

Thank you to Anna
at Hachette Book Group
for making this giveaway possible.


GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED.

Review #9: GOOSED! by Bill Wallace


GOOSED!

by Bill Wallace
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Pub. Date: May 2004
ISBN-13: 9780689866814
Sales Rank: 27,901
Age Range: 7 to 9
Grades: 2 - 4
128pp

Synopsis (from the publisher):
One dog too many. T.P. is Jeff's dog. Jeff is T.P.'s boy. That's the way T.P. likes it. Life is pretty good — until a stinky, thumping, yapping box turns up at the front door. Jeff's friend Mandy has given Jeff a chocolate Lab puppy. They name her Mocha, and everything changes for T.P. Mocha drives him nuts with her endless chattering and questions. On top of all that, everyone keeps telling him to "be nice to the puppy." If only things could go back to the way they were before....

But when Mocha gets "GOOSED," will T.P. have the courage and compassion to come to her rescue?


My Rating: 4/5

My Thoughts:

A few weeks back I saw GOOSED! mentioned on several different blogs and thought it would be a great book for my 8-year-old nephew to read this summer. I ended up reading it to him a few chapters at time in the evenings, but that's okay because we both enjoyed it. The story is told from the point of view of T.P., the perfect buddy dog. He lives contentedly with "his boy" Jeff, Mama, and Papa. T.P. knows that he's a dog and they are people, but he doesn't really have a grasp of the fact that the differences between people and dogs are significant. He thinks they're all pretty much on equal footing. He also gets along great with the family cat, Cord. Then one day, a strange and annoying creature comes for a visit, and T.P. begins to feel displaced.

Author Bill Wallace has a great sense of humor, and my nephew and I chuckled throughout this amusing little story. "J" particularly liked the explanations of how T.P. and Cord got their names. There's a lot of action to keep a youngster interested, and the story moves along at a pretty good clip. The goose itself doesn't make an appearance until almost the end of the book, but before that there's some cantankerous coyotes and a giant rabbit or two for T.P. to contend with.

At almost 9 years old, my nephew certainly didn't need me to read this book to him, but I'm pretty good with voices and dialogue (if I do say so myself!), and Bill Wallace provided me with an excellent script. I think the parallels between T.P.'s experiences and any sibling rivalry between "J" and his sister were completely lost on him, but that's what this story is really all about: T.P. has to learn to adapt to a new member of the family and basically learn how to be a "big brother."

This book is a lot of fun and provides some postive lessions in a wholesome package. Bill Wallace has written dozens of books for kids, and we're certainly looking forward to bringing a few more home to our family!

Click here to READ AN EXCERPT.

About the author:
Bill Wallace grew up in Oklahoma. Along with riding their horses, he and his friends enjoyed campouts and fishing trips. Toasting marshmallows, telling ghost stories to scare one another, and catching fish was always fun.

One of the most memorable trips took place on the far side of Lake Lawtonka, at the base of Mt. Scott. He and his best friend, Gary, spent the day shooting shad with bow and arrows, cutting bank poles, and getting ready to go when their dads got home from work.

Although there was no "monster" in Lake Lawtonka, one night there was a "sneak attack" by a rather large catfish tail. Checking the bank poles was not nearly as fun or "free" after that point, but it was the inspiration for this story.

Bill Wallace has won nineteen children's state awards and been awarded the Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award for Children's Literature from the Oklahoma Center for the Book.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

My Favorite Reads #5: SAME PLACE, SAME THINGS: Stories by Tim Gautreaux


Alyce of At Home with Books hosts My Favorite Reads, a weekly feature spotlighting favorite reads from pre-blogging days. Because it's been a while since the books were read, these posts are not reviews per se, but rather impressionistic remembrances of a positive reading experience. I think of this feature as an opportunity to more deeply explore the range of my reading interests and those of other book bloggers and readers of book blogs outside of the current crop of new releases.

Do you have an old favorite that you'd like to share?



SAME PLACE, SAME THINGS: STORIES
by Tim Gautreaux

Publisher: Picador
Pub. Date: August 1997
ISBN-13: 9780312169947
Sales Rank: 173,952
224pp
Edition Description: REV
Edition Number: 1

Synopsis(from the publisher):

In this collection of stories, Tim Gautreaux chronicles the lives of "ordinary" people who face extraordinary circumstances and decisions: a farmer faced with the prospect of raising his infant granddaughter; a young man who falls in love with a voice on the radio; a train engineer who causes a colossal disaster. In stories filled with heart and humor, event and consequence, the customs and culture of Louisiana come to life in the hands of a writer who blends rare talent with an even more unusual humanity.

Why I chose this book:

I love reading short stories, and there have been times in my life when that was pretty much all I read. I probably "discovered" Tim Gautreaux sometime around 1996 or 1997, shortly before this collection debuted. It might have been through THE BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES series or The Oxford American, both of which I used to devour. I recall being really excited to learn that there was soon to be a whole book of his work.

I may be a bit old-fashioned, but I like a story to have a beginning, a middle, and an end; I like to come away feeling as though an issue has been confronted and not just exposed. I want someone or something in the story to be transformed. The stories in this collection meet that criteria. Through description and dialogue, they also evoke a strong sense of place - rural Louisiana. And when it comes to capturing the musical cadence of the Cajun dialect, Gautreaux is a master.

I breezed right through these stories and then read them all again. I talked about the stories to everyone I knew. I gave copies of the collection as gifts. I carried my copy around with me in order to be near them. I just loved these stories.

Read a sample chapter from Tim Gautreaux's second collection of short stories, WELDING WITH CHILDREN, which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year in 2000.

About the author:

Tim Gautreaux has written three novels and two collections of short stories, one of which, Welding With Children, was selected by The New York Times as a Notable Book of the Year. His fiction has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, GQ, and Zoetrope, and also in volumes of The O. Henry Prize Stories, Best American Short Stories, and New Stories from the South. He is a professor emeritus/writer in residence in the English Department at Southeastern Louisiana University.