Where I share my love of books with reviews, features, giveaways and memes. Family and needlepoint are thrown in from time to time.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Back to the Books Giveaway Hop (Sept 1 - Sept 7)

Back to the Books Giveaway Hop

I haven't done one of these giveaway hops in awhile and figured it was time!  This hop is being hosted by I am a Reader, Not a Writer and Buried in Books. (Thank you so much for all your hard work!) You might say - What's a hop?  Well, a bunch of blogs - in this case over 300 - have decided to all host their own giveaways and the hosts have hooked them all together with a linky list - so you get to hop all over and enter contests!  (Yay! - New blogs and new giveaways!)

So, for my giveaway I have gone through some of my arcs and have compiled a box of books containing the following:


Murder on the Down Low
Secret Daughter: A Novel
Euphemania: Our Love Affair with Euphemisms
Ah-Choo!: The Uncommon Life of Your Common Cold
A Rogue, A Pirate, and A Dry Martini
Black Ties and Lullabies
The Border Lord and the Lady (Border Chronicles)
Edge of Sight (The Guardian Angelinos)

This is what I have put together so far, but the box still has a little room, so I am pretty sure there might be a couple more books added. 

To enter  - just fill out the form - My giveaway is only open to US addresses.

Here is the list of all the other blogs participating in this giveaway.  Be sure to visit and show them some blogger love! But most of all - HAVE FUN!

Donation Day!

So, I seem to have gotten motivated over the weekend to finally clear out all the giveaway stuff from our spare bedroom.  Even though I was the one that put it in the bedroom, I was the one that packed it all up, and I was the one that hauled it outside - I still felt like I needed to rip open all the boxes and make sure I hadn't put anything in that I couldn't bear to part with!  Ever feel that way?

Well, I restrained myself and sometime during the day it all disappeared.  But, speaking of donations - I will be "donating" a box of books to one of my readers starting later tonight!    Watch for the "Back to the Books Giveaway Hop"!

Library Loot (Aug 31, 2011)

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they've checked out from the library.  If you'd like to participate, just write up your post - feel free to steal the button - and visit the above 2 blogs to see who has the Mr. Linky this week. Don't forget to check out what others are checking out!

Our library is closing soon for about 5 weeks to complete some renovations, so I have been stocking up!

Witches on the Road Tonight
by Sheri Holman

By the best-selling author of The Dress Lodger, Sheri Holman's new and most ambitious novel to date, Witches on the Road Tonight, uncovers the secrets and lies that echo through three generations of one Appalachian family.  It is a deeply human, urgent exploration of America's doomed love affair with fear.

On the eve of World War II, eight-year-old Eddie Alley lies in bed watching his first horror movie, hand-cranked and flickering on the bare wall of a backwoods cabin.  In 2011, Eddie's daughter, Wallis, an anchorwoman for a twenty-four-hour news channel, lies in bed with a stranger, spinning ghost stories.  Between these two nights winds the story of the Alley family -- Eddie's mother, Cora, an Appalachian mountain witch who slips out of her skin after nightfall; Captain Casket, Eddie's alter ego, a campy 1970's TV horror-movie host; and Jasper, the orphaned boy Eddie brings home, who is determined to destroy Eddie's illusions even if it means destroying himself.

Deftly moving from the rural, Depression-era South to modern New York City, Holman teases out the dark compulsions and desperate longings that can blur the line between love and betrayal.  Witches on the Road Tonight is an unflinching story that digs at the roots of myth -- both familial and societal -- and beautifully renders our perpetual yearning to make sense of the past in our present.

Left Neglected
by Lisa Genova

Sarah Nickerson is like any other career-driven supermom in Welmont, the affluent Boston suburb where she leads a hectic but charmed life with her husband Bob, faithful nanny, and three children -- Lucy, Charlie, and nine-month old Linus.

Between recruiting the best and brightest minds as the vice president of human resources at Berkley Consulting; shuttling the kids to soccer, day care, and piano lessons; convincing her son's teacher that he may not, in fact, have ADD; and making it home in time for dinner, it's a wonder this over-scheduled, over-achieving Harvard graduate has time to breathe.

A self-confessed balloon about to burst, Sarah miraculously manages every minute of her life like an air traffic controller.  Until one fateful day, while driving to work and trying to make a phone call, she looks away from the road for one second too long,  In the blink of an eye, all the rapidly moving parts of her jam-packed life come to a screeching halt.

A traumatic brain injury completely erases the left side of her world, and for once, Sarah must pay close attention to the details surrounding her, including her formerly absent mother.  Without an awareness of the food on the left side of her plate or even her own left hand, she is forced to search for answers in the void of this strange hemi-world -- both about the past and her uncertain future.

Now, as she wills herself to regain her independence and heal, Sarah must learn that her real destiny -- her new, true life -- may lie far from the world of conference calls and spreadsheets.  And that a happiness and peace greater than all the success in the world is close within reach if only she slows down long enough to notice.

Powers: A Novel
by John B. Olson

"Bury me standing.  I must be buried standing."

Deep in the swamps of southern Louisiana, Mariutza's beloved grandfather whispers his ominous last request -- and dies in her arms.  All her life he's looked after her, trained her in the old Gypsy ways and kept her hidden away in the swamp.  But now. . .

The Badness has found her.

Mari's only hope is to find Jaazaniah the Prophet, the legendary hero of her grandfather's bedtime stories.  But how can a girl who has never left the swamp survive the terrifying world of men long enough to find a saviour who may not even exist?

In the heart of New orleans, musician Jazz Rechabson runs for his life.  Everyone is out to get him. Soldiers, government agents, mysterious hoooded men.  What do they want?  And who is the beautiful young woman who haunts his waking dreams?

Can strangers from different worlds come together in time to unmask a horrifying enemy?  And if they do, will they be able to stand?

Mother's Milk
by Edward St. Aubyn

Celebrated English author Edward St. Aubyn's brilliant and scathingly witty family portrait examines the shifting allegiances between parents, children, husbands, and wives.

The novel's perspective carousels between each member of the Melrose family -- the same family featured in St. Aubyn's trilogy Some Hope -- starting with Robert, who provides an exceptionally droll and convincing account of being born; to Patrick, a hilariously churlish husband who has been sexually abandoned by his wife in favor of motherhood; to Mary, who's consumed by her children and an overwhelming desire to not repeat the mistakes of her own mother.  All the while, St. Aubyn examines the web of false promises that entangle this once illustrious family, whose last vestige of wealth -- an old house in the South of France -- is about to be permanently donated by Patrick's mother to a new-age foundation.

An up-to-the-minute dissection of the mores of child-rearing, marriage, adultery, and assisted suicide, Mother's Milk showcases St. Aubyn's luminous and acidic prose -- and his masterful ability to combine the most excruciating pain with the driest comedy.  Once Mother's Milk is absorbed into the bloodstream of American culture, postpartum depression will never be the same again.

The Sea
by John Banville

The author of The Untouchable now gives us a luminous novel about love, loss, and the unpredictable power of memory.

The narrator is Max Morden, a middle-aged Irishman who, soon after his wife's death, has gone back to the seaside town where he spent his summer holidays as a child -- a retreat from the grief, anger, and numbness of his life without her.  But it is also a return to the place where he met the Graces, the well-heeled vacationing family with whom he experienced the strange suddenness of both love and death for the first time.  The seductive mother; the imperious father; the twins -- Chloe, fiery and forthright, and Myles, silent and expressionless -- in whose mysterious connection Max became profoundly entangled, each of them a part of the "barely bearable raw immediacy" of his childhood memories.

Interwoven with this story are Morden's memories of his wife, Anna -- of their life together, of her death -- and the moments, both significant and mundane, that make up his life now: his relationship with his grown daughter, Claire, desperate to pull him from his grief; and with the other boarders at the house where he is staying, where the past beats inside him "like a second heart."

What Max comes to understand about the past, and about its indelible effects on him, is at the center of this elegiac, vividly dramatic, beautifully written novel -- among the finest we have had from this extraordinary writer.

The Devil and Miss Prym
by Paulo Coelho

A community devoured by greed, cowardice, and fear.  A man persecuted by the ghosts of his painful past.  A young woman searching for happiness.  In one eventful week, each will face questions of life, death, and power, and each will choose a path.  Will they choose good or evil?

In the remote village of Viscow -- a village too small to be on any map, a place where time seems to stand still -- a stranger arrives, carrying with him a backpack containing a notebook and eleven gold bars.  He comes searching for the answer to a question that torments him:  Are human beings, in essence, good or evil?  In welcoming the mysterious foreigner, the whole village becomes an accomplice to his sophisticated plot, which will forever mark their lives.

Paulo Coelho's stunning novel explores the timeless struggle between good and evil, and brings to our everyday dilemmas fresh perspective:  incentive to master the fear that prevents us from following our dreams, from being different, from truly living.

The Devil and Miss Prym is a story charged with emotion, in which the integrity of being human meets a terrifying test.

by Mandy Hubbard

Lexi is cursed with a dark secret.  The water calls to her, draws her in, forces her to sing her deadly song to unsuspecting victims.  If she succumbs, she kills.  If she doesn't the pain is unbearable.  To keep herself and those she cares about safe, she shuts herself off, refusing to make friends or fall in love -- again.  Because the last time she fell in love with a boy, he ended up dead.

Then Lexi finds herself torn.  Against her better judgment, she's opening up again, falling in love with someone new when she knows she shouldn't.  But when she's offered the chance to finally live a normal life, she learns that the price she must pay to be free of her curse is giving him up.

Mandy Hubbard spins a sea-ravaged tale of melancholy beauty, and the choices one girl makes between land and waves, love and freedom, her future -- and her heart.

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood
by Marjane Satrapi

Originally published to wide critical acclaim in France, where it elicited comparisons to Art Spiegelman's Maus, Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi's wise, funny, and heartbreaking memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution.  In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah's regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq.  The intelligent and outspoken only child of committed Marxists and the great-granddaughter of one of Iran's last emperors, Marjane bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country.

Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran: the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life and the toll repressive regimes exact on the individual spirit.  Marjane's child's-eye-view of dethroned emperors, state-sanctioned whippings, and heroes of the revolution allows us to learn as she does the history of this fascinating country and of her own extraordinary family.  Intensely personal, profoundly political, and wholly original, Persepolis is at once a story of growing up and a reminder of the human cost of war and political repression.  It shows how we carry on, with laughter and tears, in the face of absurdity.  And, finally, it introduces us to an irresistible little girl with whom we cannot help but fall in love.

The White Tiger
by Aravind Adiga
Narrated by John Lee

Balram Halwai is a complicated man.  Servant.  Philosopher.  Entrepreneur.  Murderer.  Over the course of seven nights, Balram tells us the terrible and transfixing story of how he came to be a success in life -- having nothing but his own wits to help him along.

Balram's eyes penetrate his native India as few outsiders can.  And with a charisma as undeniable as it is unexpected, Balram teaches us that religion doesn't create virtue, and money doesn't solve every problem -- but decency can still be found in a corrupt world, and you can get what you want out of life if you eavesdrop on the right conversations.

Sold in sixteen countries around the world, The White Tiger recalls The Death of Vishnu and Bangkok 8 in ambition, scope, and narrative genius, with a mischief and personality all its own.  Amoral, irreverent, deeply endearing, and utterly contemporary, this novel is an international publishing sensation.

A Discovery of Witches
by Deborah Harkness
narrated by Jennifer Ikeda

Deep in the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research.  Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery, so she banishes the book to the stacks.  But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library.

The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking, Book 1)
By Patrick Ness
Narrated by Nick Podehl

Prentisstown isn't like other towns.  Everyone can hear everyone else's thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise.  Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee -- whose thoughts Todd can hear, too, whether he wants to or not -- stumble upon an area of complete silence.  They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden -- a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives.  But how do you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought?

The Ask and the Answer (Chaos Walking, Book 2)
by Patrick Ness
Narrated by Angela Dawe and Nick Podehl

Fleeing before a relentless army, Todd has carried a desperately wounded Viola right into the hands of their worst enemy, Mayor Prentiss.  Immediately separated from Viola and imprisoned, Todd is forced to learn the ways of the Mayor's terrifying new order.  But everything is shrouded in secrets.  Where is Viola?  Is she even still alive?  And who are the mysterious Answer?  And then one day, the bombs begin to explode. . .

Monsters of Men (Chaos Walking, Book 3)
by Patrick Ness
Narrated by Angela Dawe, Nick Podehl and Macleod Andrews

As a world-ending war surges to life around them, Todd and Viola face monstrous decisions.  The indigenous Spackle, thinking and acting as one, have mobilized to avenge their murdered people.  Ruthless human leaders prepare to defend their factions at all costs, even a a convoy of new settlers approaches.  And as the ceaseless Noise lays all thoughts bare, the projected will of the few threatens to overwhelm the desperate desire of the many.  The consequences of each action, each word, are unspeakably vast: To follow a tyrant or a terrorist?  To save the life of the one you love most or thousands of strangers?  To believe in redemption or assume it is lost?  Becoming adults amid the turmoil, Todd and Viola question all they have known, racing through horror and outrage toward a shocking finale.

Monday, August 29, 2011

First Wild Card Tour: Life-Changing Bible Verses You Should Know (Book Review)

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

My thoughts: Regardless of where you are in your spiritual walk, this book will no doubt be of some help.  If you have felt the desire to start memorizing scripture, but did not know where to start, this book will help you find some starting places.

Each chapter is about something that relates to Christian living, whether it be grief, redemption, temptation, anxiety - and gives you 1 or 2 verses that pertain to that topic.  The authors then explain why they think this verse(s) capture this subject.  At the end of each chapter are some discussion questions, which you can either contemplate on your own or use as the basis of a small group Bible study. 

There are 40 topics - so 40 chapters.  You can pick and choose which ones that you would like to memorize.  At the end of the book are some supplemental verses broken down under the topics. 

When I was a teenager, I was on a Bible quiz team and so memorized verses all the time.  Can't say that this has been a large part of my life since then.  I am one of those people that need a list to work off of, and this gives me a great list to start with.  I usually write the passage out on a 3X5 card with the Chapter and verse reference on the back.  Then I stick it in my purse or on my mirror or on my fridge - somewhere that I will see it alot. Hopefully by the end of the week I have it memorized.

How do you memorize Bible passages?

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Harvest House Publishers (August 1, 2011)
***Special thanks to Karri | Marketing Assistant | Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***


Dr. Erwin W. Lutzer, Senior Pastor of The Moody Church since 1980, is an award-winning author of more than 20 books including Walking with God. He’s a celebrated international conference speaker and the featured speaker on three radio programs that are heard around the world. Rebecca Lutzer has used her gifts of hospitality, mercy, and teaching to minister to many women. She is an RN and enjoyed working as a surgical nurse for several years. They coauthored a book on the women in the life of Jesus and how He changed their worlds titled Jesus, Lover of a Woman’s Soul. They have been married for 35 years, live in the Chicago area, and are the parents of three married children.


Erwin Lutzer, senior pastor of the Moody Church, and his wife, Rebecca, encourage readers to reap the blessings of memorizing Scripture in this gathering of relevant verses, 35 topics, insightful explanations, and engaging questions. This foundation of wisdom inspires readers to experience God’s Word in powerful ways.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99

Paperback: 208 pages

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (August 1, 2011)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0736939520

ISBN-13: 978-0736939522



Psalm 46:1—God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

1 Peter 1:6-7—In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

When we think back to the devastating earthquake in Haiti that killed nearly 200,000 people, many images come to mind, but one image that stands out well above the others is that of a young mother being interviewed on television as she held a baby in her arms.

“I lost my son…he died in the rubble.”

“Did you get to bury him?”

“No, no chance; his body was crushed in the rubble; I just had to throw him away.”

Just then the camera zeroed in on her backpack as she prepared to board a bus. Stuffed in a side pocket was a Bible. As she boarded the bus she could be heard, speaking to no one in particular, saying, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble…” Her voice trailed off as she disappeared from view.

When the report was over we just kept staring at the television for a while, pushing back tears and letting what we’d just seen sink into our souls. A dead child with no chance to plan a funeral and pay respects to her precious little one, a baby in her arms, and she was boarding a bus that was going she knew not where. Yet she still expressed belief; she still trusted that God is her refuge and strength.

Faith in adversity!

This mother—God bless her—began quoting Psalm 46, which was written as a praise song after God spared the city of Jerusalem from an invasion by Assyrians who were threatening to annihilate the inhabitants. In the midst of a harrowing escape, the Israelites found God to be an unshakable pillar.

God is our refuge. A refuge is a safe place you can run to for shelter when life’s storms are swirling around you. No wonder this dear mother found solace in this psalm, which continues, “Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging” (verses 2-3).

Yes, the mountains did give way and fall into the heart of the sea, but God is unaffected by the fluctuation on events of earth; He is always there, solid, unmoved. When the mountains are shaking and the ground beneath you is quaking, run to God, and He will meet you. Yes, even when our world falls apart in the aftermath of a horrendous natural disaster, God is unchanging and remains with us.

In the midst of the devastation, God is our source of supply. The psalm continues, “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells” (verse 4). Most likely that refers to a tunnel that had been built some time earlier to bring water into the city in case it was ever besieged. The people of Jerusalem saw this provision as God giving them specific help at their time of their need.

Then the psalm gives us a command: “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth” (verse 10). Let us cease striving and let God be God. Even in adversity He is there; or perhaps we should say especially in adversity He is there!

Adversity should not drive us away from God; rather, it should drive us into His arms. He is there for the grieving mother, and for the family that has experienced indescribable loss. The psalm ends, “The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress” (verse 11).

God wants to be believed. And our faith is more precious to Him than gold, which perishes. When we continue to trust Him even when there appears to be no reason to do so—and we go on believing God’s bare Word, our faith will “result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Peter 1:7).

Reverend Henry F. Lyte was a pastor in Scotland who battled tuberculosis most of his life. On his final Sunday, September 4, 1847, amid many tears the congregation sang a song he himself had composed, “Abide with Me.” It spoke of the unchanging God in an ever-changing world:

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;

The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide.

When other helpers fail and comforts flee,

Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;

Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;

Change and decay in all around I see;

O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;

Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.

Heav’n’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;

In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

The young mother in Haiti—who was clutching an undernourished baby in her arms and had no time to mourn the tragic death of her son—found solace in the God who was still beside her when the earth gave way. “God is our refuge and strength,” she said amid her grief and uncertainty of the future.

In times of adversity, our faith can hold fast. And God is both honored and pleased.

Taking God’s Word to Heart

Reflect on the account of the Haitian mother who tragically lost her son. How has Psalm 46 been a source of strength for you during adversity? What other Scripture passages do you turn to for help in difficult times?

What does it mean to you that God is your refuge? In life’s journey, why is God’s unchangeable nature a source of strength for us?

Recall an instance when God provided timely help for a specific need. What did that experience teach or confirm for you about God’s character?

What are some ways God has used adversity to shape your life?

Why is God honored and pleased when we exercise faith in times of adversity?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Aug 29, 2011)

What are you reading on Mondays is hosted by Sheila at One Person's Journey - You can hook up with the Mr. Linky there with your own post - but be sure and let me know what you are reading too!  First week of school, and first week of my new dream job is behind us.  Can't believe my baby is in first grade!

Currently Reading:
Stray Dogs, Saints and Saviors by Alexander Russo
Chasing the Red Car by Ellen Ruderman
Whistling in the Dark by Lesley Kagen

Next Up:
In Search of Rose Notes by Emily Arsenault
Good Graces by Lesley Kagen

Singular by David Porteous
Colin Preston Rocked and Rolled by Bert Murray

Bathroom Book:
Pie Town by Lynne Hinton

Reviewed Since Last Post:
Route 66 by Krish Kandiah
Reversible Skirt by Laura McHale Holland

Children's Books Reviewed Since Last Post:

Waiting for Reviews:
 White Sleeper by David R. Fett and Stephen Langford
The Place of Belonging by Jayne Pearson Faulkner
The Blackberry Bush by David Housholder
The Girl in the Green Raincoat by Laura Lippman
Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Airmail by Naomi Bulger

E-books waiting for review:
Sudden Moves by Kelli Sue Landon
This World We Live In (The Last Survivors, Book 3) by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Children's Books waiting for review:
Pearl's Wisdom by Auntie LuLu
Bug Meets His Friend (Bug's Adventure Series) by K.M. Groshek
Multiply on the Fly by Suzanne Slade
Ten for Me by Barbara Mariconda
Animalogy by Marianne Berkes
Prairie Storms by Darcy Pattison



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