Sunday, May 31, 2009

Last Day in May Giveaway

The Novel Bookworm has been giving away wonderful books all month long. Well, to celebrate the last day of the giveaways she is offering 4 titles this time. You could win The Alexander Cipher by Will Adams, Follow Me by Joanna Scott, The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale, or Life After Genius by M. Ann Jacoby. The first winner will get their choice and then the second chooses after that and then, well, you get the idea. You have until June 7th to enter and it is open to anyone who wants to enter.

The list of previous giveaways is available and some of them are still open so you should check them out too!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

More Changes

Peeking Between the Pages is giving away 2 copies of Sea Changes by Gail Graham. All you have to do is leave a comment that includes a way to contact you and you will be entered to win. Make sure you check out how to get extra entries to increase your chances. The contest is open to residents of the US and Canada only. Winners will be drawn on June 11th.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


In the Shadow of Mt. TBR is giving away a copy of Goblins! An UnderEarth Adventure by Royce Buckingham. If you would like a chance to win all you have to do is leave a comment. There are a bunch of ways to get extra entries so make sure you check them out. The winner will be posted June 1st so get over there now!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Adventurous Book Giveaway

Today's Adventure is having a 'clean out the book box' giveaway. She has a lot of titles to choose from so there is bound to be one just right for you. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment that has your email address and which book you would like to win. You can get extra entries for blogging and following or telling her one thing you love about the blog or something you think can be improved. Make sure you leave a separate comment for each entry. And make sure you tell all your friends to get over and enter too because a winner will be chosen for every 25 people who enter. Winners will be chosen on June 25th. Open to residents of the US and Canada only.

Monday, May 25, 2009

How to Raise a Pirate

What a copy of Guide to Pirate Parenting by Tim Bete? Go here and you can download a free e-book copy. It's the entire book with no strings attached. However if you want to leave a donation he won't turn you down. Have fun!

Do You Speak Hebrew?

Or maybe these words are Yiddish. Either way I don’t speak the language. Nor, apparently, do I know anything about Judaism. It seems my ignorance knows no bounds. So after reading Sunday the Rabbi Stayed Home by Harry Kemelman I was left with a lot terms I didn’t know. Some of them I was familiar with but it took me a moment to realize it. Yarmulke is not spelled the way I expected. Others I’m not sure I have ever heard before even after I figured out how to pronounce them. So I looked them up.

Shul - a synagogue

Pentateuch - the first five books of the Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy

Kashruth 1.the body of dietary laws prescribed for Jews
2. fitness for use with respect to Jewish law

Haggadah - a book containing the liturgy for the Seder service on the Jewish festival of Passover

Phylactery - either of two small, black, leather cubes containing a piece of parchment inscribed with verses 4–9 of Deut. 6, 13–21 of Deut. 11, and 1–16 of Ex. 13: one is attached with straps to the left arm and the other to the forehead during weekday morning prayers by Orthodox and Conservative Jewish men

Smicha - Rabbinical ordination

Hadassah - a benevolent organization of Jewish women founded in New York City in 1912 by Henrietta Szold and concerned chiefly with bettering medical and educational facilities in Israel, forwarding Zionist activities in the U.S., and promoting world peace

Yicchus - a person’s background pertaining to their ancestors, status

Rebbitzin - the wife of a rabbi

Pilpul - a method of disputation among rabbinical scholars regarding the interpretation of Talmudic rules and principles or Scripture that involves the development of careful and often excessively subtle distinctions

Havdalah - a religious ceremony, observed by Jews at the conclusion of the Sabbath or a festival, that consists of blessings over wine, spices, and the light of a candle

Pogrom - an organized massacre, esp. of Jews

Brith - the Jewish rite of circumcising a male child eight days after his birth

Cantor - the religious official of a synagogue who conducts the liturgical portion of a service and sings or chants the prayers and parts of prayers designed to be performed as solos

Minyan - the number of persons required by Jewish law to be present to conduct a communal religious service, traditionally a minimum of 10 Jewish males over 13 years of age

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Pope Joan

Passages to the Past is giving away a copy of Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross. You will get 5 extra entries if you sign up as a follower or if you already are one. The contest is open until June 8th and all domestic and international entries are welcome. It sounds great so you don't want to miss out. And make sure you check back in the next few weeks because she has promised a review and an interview with Donna Woolfolk Cross herself. Good luck!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Eyes Wide Open Review

Eyes Wide Open by Jud Wilhite with Bill Taaffe

From the back of the book:

'In Eyes Wide Open, Jud Wilhite invites you to discover the real you. Not the you who pretends to satisfy everyone's expectations. Not the you who always feels guilty before God. Not the you who looks in the mirror and sees a failure. The real you, loved and forgiven by God, living out of your identity in Christ.

A travel guide through real spirituality from one incomplete person to another, Eyes Wide Open is about following God in the messes of life, about broken pasts and our lifelong need for grace. It is a book about seeing ourselves and God with new eyes - eyes wide open to a God of love.'

In Eyes Wide Open Wilhite talks a lot about grace. This is not a new concept in Christianity. In fact most of the ideas in the book are not new and you have probably heard them before. He tells people that God loves them, just the way they are, and that God’s grace is big enough for everyone. He tries to show people the difference they can make in their own lives and in the lives of those around them if they actually accept these things as true, believe them in their heart, and start living like they are true. I worried that Wilhite would claim that he had found the way to finally make you see, that he knew how to make you truly believe, that he had the one missing piece, and since changes of the heart can’t come from a book, no matter how good it is, I was a little leery. But Wilhite never claims that, nor does he talk like he has found the ultimate answer that will instantly open your eyes. He shares stories about what God’s grace has done in other’s lives and is open and honest about his own struggles with the very issues he is talking about. He shows you what is available to you and what could be yours if you reach out and take hold of it and why it is so important that you do. He talks about real world situations, even mentioning some people you may have heard of, so you can see it at work. He is honest enough to show you the ugly parts too and to admit that he doesn’t have all the answers. He isn’t offering you an instant fix. He doesn’t promise everything will be perfect tomorrow, or that you will be. But he does show you how it has worked out in other people, how they have found redemption and hope, and he offers you the same hope. And he shows you how accepting God’s grace and believing you are a saint in God’s eyes now will help you live a more Godly life instead of the other way around. And how this new life will let you help those around you. The book is easy to read has a conversational tone. You don’t have to be a biblical scholar or a theologian to understand it. Having a working knowledge of the scriptures was nice because I did recognize many of the quotes but it is not really necessary. You don’t need to have a Bible handy to read the book but Wilhite does give you all the references so you can look up the verses for yourself and not just take his word for it. I’m not saying this book will throw the switch that will make everything clear. The kind of changes Wilhite is talking about are hard and personal and belief has to come from you but I do believe that Wilhite gives you a lot to work with and think about, he raises a lot of good points and puts them in a very accessible way. I don’t think any one book will work for everyone but I can see how this one could help people who have a hard time accepting these things in their life to understand that it is possible to come to the point where they can or people who don’t know these things yet to come to a better understanding of them. And maybe help people see how it even goes beyond losing the guilt and feelings of inferiority into finally living the life God has for you.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Feel the Burn

So, after thirty odd years of sitting on the sofa reading books and eating potato chips I decided it was time to start exercising. I’m fat and out of shape and it sounded like a healthy idea. Besides I was tired of huffing and puffing after climbing any flight of stairs more than three steps or so. I didn’t seek professional help or anything. I just decided to use all those fitness DVDs that are available. This is a very daunting task. There are a lot of fitness programs available in a variety of forms. Once I pick one I try to follow along as the instructor (who is probably annoying with a big smile and endless enthusiasm and support while I feel like I am going to die) tells me what to do in what, at times, seems like a foreign language. They name moves that I have no idea what are and once I finally get the hang of it they are on to something else. They tell me to use muscles I don’t know where are to do things I didn’t know they could do and often have no idea how to go about telling those muscles to do any of it. And that is all besides the things I just can’t do because of the afore mentioned fat and out of shape thing. I am making some progress though. I have learned several things. The first thing I learned is that I don’t like to exercise and I’d much rather be on the sofa with a book. I’ve learned that when you are clumsy and uncoordinated exercising with the use of dance is not as much fun as they make it look on the cover. I’ve learned that a 3 pound weight is a lot heavier than it looks. I’ve learned that if I check the scale every day I’m going to get discouraged so it’s better not to look. And I’ve learned that Gatorade is my friend. I have managed to get to the point where I can be in almost constant motion for 20 minutes altogether without keeling over. Right now that is just enough of a victory to keep me going. Someday I hope to be able to say that all my clothes are loose, or at least that I can actually do a sit-up without pulling up on my legs or pushing off the floor with my hands. Of course it might help if I didn’t go straight from the crunches to eating a bowl of ice cream. Maybe I’ll try that technique next.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sea Changes

Today's Adventure is giving away a copy of Sea Changes by Gail Graham. Make sure you leave a comment on the interview with Gail Graham to be entered. There are extra entries to be had by posting about the giveaway. The winner will be chosen randomly on June 7th. This contest is limited to residents of the US and Canada.

Daphne du Maurier Turns 102

It's Daphne du Maurier's birthday and in honor of the occasion you have a chance to win her books (several chances actually). Up for grabs are:

Frenchman's Creek and My Cousin Rachel

A lovely shore breeze has a copy of each. Just leave a comment to enter. Open until May 20th.

Books and Needlepoint has a copy of each. Open until May 20th.

Passages to the Past has a copy of each. Extra entries for following and blogging. Open until May 27th.

Booking Mama has a copy of Frenchman's Creek. Open until May 27th. Extra entries if you blog or tweet.

The Tome Traveller's Weblog has a copy of each. Just leave a comment saying which you would rather win. Extra entries for following, blogging or tweeting. Open until May 31st.

All contest are open to residents of the US or Canada only.

Monday, May 11, 2009


BookNAround is giving away 5 copies of Do-Over by Robin Henley. You can get an entry just for commenting but you can get one for following and one for blogging too. She wants to make things easier for herself so make sure you leave each entry in a separate comment. It's a reasonable enough request for a chance at this wonderful book. So don't complain. The winner will be drawn on May 27th. So pop over and get your comments in (all of them), but only if you live in the US or Canada. No PO boxes allowed. Good luck.

Royal Blood

Passages to the Past is giving away a copy of Royal Blood by Rona Sharon. This one is open to everyone. Run over and get your entries in by May 24th. Want to better your odds? Become a follower or blog about the contest.

Signora da Vinci

So Many Precious Books, So Little Time is giving away a copy of Signora da Vinci by Robin Maxwell. You can read her review here. And you may want to check out the interview with Robin Maxwell. In fact you'll have to if you want to win the book. You'll have to leave a comment on the interview post and on the contest post saying that you did. Make sure you follow the directions because she will be checking. There are extra entries to be had so make sure you check out how. You have until May 23rd to get your entries in. It is open to anyone on the planet with a mailing address.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Moon and the Sun Vocab

Okay, I might have to stop keeping track of all the words I come across that I don't know. When I started I didn't realize how big a project it would be. Apparently there is a whole lot I don't know. In this case I think I can be cut a little slack though. Because really, who uses these words? Except, of course, for Vonda McIntyre in The Moon and the Sun.

Afrit (afreet) - a powerful evil spirit or gigantic and monstrous demon in Arabic mythology

Tippet - a scarf, usually of fur or wool, for covering the neck, or the neck and shoulders, and usually having ends hanging down in front

Parure - a set of matched jewelry or other ornaments

Monstrance - a receptacle in which the consecrated Host is exposed for adoration

Inchoate - not yet completed or fully developed; rudimentary

Perruke - a man's wig of the 17th and 18th centuries, usually powdered and gathered at the back of the neck with a ribbon; periwig

Tabouret -1. a low seat without back or arms, for one person; stool
2. a frame for embroidery

Caleches - a type of calash pulled by a single horse, seating two passengers and having two wheels and a folding top
(So what is a calash? - a light vehicle pulled by one or two horses, seating two to four passengers, and having two or four wheels, a seat for a driver on a splashboard, and sometimes a folding top)

Postillion - a person who rides the left horse of the leading or only pair of horses drawing a carriage

Steenkirk - a kind of neckcloth worn in a loose and disorderly fashion

Fontanges - a kind of tall headdress formerly worn

Aurochs - a large, black European wild ox

Fascia - a band or fillet, as for binding the hair

Palatine – 1. (adj.) having royal privileges
2. (adj.) of or pertaining to a palace; palatial
3. (noun) a vassal exercising royal privileges in a province; a count or earl palatine
4. (noun) an important officer of an imperial palace

D├ęcolletage - the neckline of a dress cut low in the front or back and often across the shoulders

Chevalier - the lowest title of rank in the old nobility

Calvados - a dry apple brandy made from apple cider in Normandy

Lambrequin – a short ornamental drapery for the top of a window or door or the edge of a shelf

I didn't have to read the book with a dictionary in hand though. Most of these words were easy enough to figure out in context. You might not know that a postillion rides the left horse but you can get the idea.

Summer Reading

On My Bookshelf is giving away 2 copies of The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe. All you have to do is leave a comment and tell them what your favorite summer read is. You can get extra entries for following and blogging. Entries are due Wednesday, May 20 at 9:00 a.m. That's kind of early so you might want to get them in by Tuesday just to be safe. This one is only open to residents of the US and Canada.

(Check out their other giveaway for Words Unspoken by Elizabeth Musser here)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Walking People

The Phantom's Lair is giving away a copy of The Walking People by Mary Beth Keane. But she doesn't want any of those boring 'please enter me' comments so make sure you tell her what you're reading. You can get extra entries for blogging about the contest or following on Twitter or you can tweet. But leave a separate comment for each entry. You have until May 26th to get your entries in. It is open to residents of the US and Canada, no PO boxes.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Moon & the Sun Review

The Moon and the Sun by Vonda N. McIntyre

The story is about Marie-Josephe and her fight to save the life of a sea woman who her brother, Yves, caught and the king plans to eat. When Marie-Josephe finds out that the sea woman is intelligent she is willing to risk everything to save her. I liked the dual nature of Marie-Josephe’s character where one minute she is shy and blushing and the next she is standing up to the king. It makes her more complex but at times she is almost too complex. She is open minded, and accepting of everyone even if society isn’t, and proficient in so many skills and subjects, and she’s beautiful, and so reverent of the king and pope, and everything else that there is so much to her that it is hard to bring her into focus as a real person. And due to her wide eyed innocence every innuendo had to be explained bluntly to her and it got rather annoying. I was happy to see that the sea woman wasn’t always sweet, gentle, and loving, not the one dimensional, perfect, innocent, doe-eyed opposite of the big bad humans. Yves also has some interesting parts to his character because he is so conflicted unlike, it seemed to me, many of the other characters for whom everything was hard lines. But even with Yves, as with many of the characters, I felt he was taken to extremes. If it was a movie I would say everyone was overacting their part and they needed to tone it down a bit. I also found some of the plot rather hokey. When Marie-Josephe learns to understand the sea woman, even though no one else can, it reminded me of a children’s movie where some kid can understand all the barnyard animals when they ‘talk’. And there was something overly simplistic about the big run for freedom, something reminiscent of the Little Engine That Could repeating ‘I think I can, I think I can’ and thinking that if they believe hard enough it will all work out. There was also a lot of description of hair-dos and clothes and court splendor that got tedious after a while but it does help give you a very good picture of the setting. You can imagine the pomp and can get a good idea of the world in which these characters reside. The story was okay. It had a strong female lead, a little romance, a little fantasy, a little historical fiction. I liked the mix of genres and how it talked about Newton and emerging science of the period. But okay was as far as it got for me. There was nothing so extraordinary about the story or the characters that made this book special in my mind, nothing that made it stand out.

But maybe I'm wrong. It did win the 1997 Nebula Award and other people have loved it. If you want to read it and judge for yourself you can go here and find several ways to get an electronic copy for free.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Want to win the 3 books in the Atherton series by Patrick Carman? Well, Booking Mama is giving you just that chance. There is also an interesting Q&A with Mr. Carman. You can pop on over to see what Mr. Carman has to say and enter to win his books too. The set includes The Dark Planet, The House of Power, and Rivers of Fire. You have until May 15th to get your entries in. The contest is open to the US and Canada, no PO boxes. Good luck!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Giveaways Galore!

The Novel Bookworm is having a giveaway every day in the month of May.

CLOSED May 1st - The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly
CLOSED May 2nd - Cemetery Dance by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
CLOSED May 3rd - The Secret Speech by Tom Rob Smith
CLOSED May 4th - The Way Home by George Pelecanos
CLOSED May 5th - Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea
CLOSED May 6th - An Honorable German by Charles McCain
May 7th - The Nine Lessons by Kevin Alan Milne
May 8th - Mating Rituals of the North American WASP by Lauren Lipton
May 9th - Santa Olivia by Jacqueline Carey
May 10th - Ghostwriter by Travis Thrasher
May 11th - Who Made You a Princess? by Shelley Adina
May 12th - Made in the USA by Billie Letts
May 13th - The Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson

Make sure you check back often for more great giveaways. To enter all you have to do is leave a comment, but there are extra entries to be had by following and blogging.

Each giveaway will run for a week and the books will be sent out once a week.

Books I Finished in April

Here are the books I finished in April. How is this interesting to you? Well, frankly, it isn't. But it's my blog and I like to make lists so you are just going to have to deal.

Full Meridian of Glory: Perilous Adventures in the Competition to Measure the Earth by Paul Murdin
Not as good as I had hoped. You can read more of my thoughts on it here.

Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway
I liked this one. It is strange and different and funny. The story and the language and Harkaway’s style make it a really fun read.

Dead Man’s Mirror by Agatha Christie
Who doesn’t like Hercule Poirot?

A Lever Long Enough by Amy Deardon
You can read my review here.

Skinned by Robin Wasserman
Eh, this didn’t do anything for me. It wasn’t bad per se but it wasn’t really good either. I don’t think I’ll bother with the others in the trilogy.

Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers by Grant Naylor
It’s a Red Dwarf book. What more is there to say?

Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult
I’m sort of in the middle about this one. You can read my review here.

Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall
Interesting and original.

Latino Book Month Giveaway

The people over at the Hatchette Group are at it again. This time they are letting Back To Books give away a bunch of books for a Latino Book Month Giveaway.

The books available are:

B as in Beauty by Alberto Ferreras
Into the Beautiful North by Luis Urrea
Hungry Women in Paris by Josefina Lopez
The Disappearance of Irene Dos Santos by Margaret Mascarenhas
Houston, We Have a Problema by Gwendolyn Zepeda

There will be five winners and each winner will receive all five books.

Open until May 31st. You must be a resident of the US or Canada to enter, no PO boxes.