Saturday, February 28, 2009

Audiobook Review: Saturday by Ian McEwan

The following is a brief summary of Saturday by Ian McEwan from his website:

Saturday is a novel set within a single day -- 15 February 2003. Henry Perowne is a contented man - a successful neurosurgeon, happily married to a newspaper lawyer, and enjoying good relations with his children, who are young adults. What troubles him is the state of the world - the impending war against Iraq, and a general darkening and gathering pessimism since the New York and Washington attacks two years before. On this particular Saturday morning, Perowne makes his way to his usual squash game with his anaesthetist, trying to avoid the hundreds of thousand of marchers filling the streets of London, protesting against the war. A minor accident in his car brings him into a confrontation with a small-time thug called Baxter. To Perowne's professional eye, something appears to be profoundly wrong with this young man. Baxter, in his turn, believes the surgeon has humiliated him, and visits the opulent Perowne home that evening, during a family reunion - with savage consequences that will lead Henry Perowne to deploy all his skills to keep this doomed figure alive.

My Review:

This was such an interesting novel and to think back on it, I find it amazing that all of these events took place over the course of just one day. McEwan takes us through Henry Perowne's journey of this Saturday that may turn out to be one of the worst days of his life. I don't want to give the impression that this book is all gloom and doom, because it is far from that.

When Perowne awakens Saturday morning, I think he knew this was going to be an odd Saturday because the first thing that he saw was an airplane engulfed in flames in need of making an emergency landing. He was deeply troubled by this sight and when the local news station deemed this story as irrelevant, he was even more bothered by the incident. This set Parowne's tone for the day, and everything that took place after that had a very negative snowball effect. It seemed that every thing that happened was out of his control and he just had to handle new problems as they arose.

I enjoyed how McEwan developed a story that took place over the course of only one day, but included the importance of the journey of Henry's family life as a foundation. He really brought out how the family was able to trust and count on each other during their time of crisis. Secrets are revealed at the most inconvenient moments, but they must put their differences aside to make sure that they all make it through the current tribulation safely.

I really enjoyed this novel and as it was ending I was thinking that the writing was so beautiful that it was comparable to a musical prose for me. The theme of relationships was so important in this novel that I appreciated how Henry was lying with his wife at the end of the book, looking back on the events of the day as if it were a journey they had taken together. As their whole life was a journey, so was this one day.

My Rating: 4/5

Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday Finds-Feb. 27

Should Be Reading asks you to share what books you discovered this week that interest you!

Here is what I found this week:

Little Bee by Chris Cleave I heard about from A Bookworm's World. She indicates that this is a very powerful book that everyone MUST read, so I guess I will! I think that this one is only available in Canada right now, which I don't understand why I keep finding's like the book is teasing and taunting me!

The other book that caught my eye is The Kingmaking by Helen Hollick. This book was brought to my attention by Dar over at Peeking Between the Pages. Dar indicates in her review that if you enjoy historical fiction that you should check this one out.

So that is what I found this week. Would you like to share what caught your eye?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Current Giveaways!

There are a lot of great contests out there right now and these are just a few of them that I have noticed:

Savvy Verse and Wit is giving away 5 copies of Secret Love Poems by Arlene Ang--HURRY, because this contest ends tonight, 2/26!

Bookin' With Bingo is giving away Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani--Contest ends 2/28.

Drey's Library is giving away 5 copies of The Terror by Dan Simmons--Contest ends 3/1.

Diary of an Eccentric is giving away Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One by Sharon Lathan--Contest ends 3/1.

Diary of an Eccentric is also giving away 2 copies of The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran--Contest ends 3/1.

Peeking Between the Pages is giving away an ARC of The Mighty Queens of Freeville by Amy Dickinson--Contest ends 3/2.

Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf is giving away an ARC of The King's Rose by Alisa Libby--Contest ends 3/3.

A Circle of Books is giving away 3 audiobooks of The Terror by Dan Simmons--Contest ends 3/7.

S. Krisha's Books is giving away Your Roots are showing by Elise Chidley--Contest ends 3/9.

And last but not least, don't forget about my giveaway for Matrimony, this contest ends Saturday, 2/28. And then don't forget to check back next week as I will be participating in the Book Giveaway Carnival!

You can go to Bookroom Reviews to find out more.

Good luck everyone!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wondrous Words Wednesday-Feb. 25

Bermudaonion has started a new meme that asks you to share new words that you have learned during your reading adventures in the last week. Feel free to join in the fun!

The word that I found this last week is from Tallgrass by Sandra Dallas.

Acrimony: sharpness, harshness, or bitterness of nature, speech, disposition, etc.

It was used in the following sentence on page 120 of Tallgrass:
If there were more like him in Ellis, we wouldn't have such acrimony.

And then the next sentence I thought was very appropriate and made me laugh:
Do you know what that word means?

Well I actually did have a pretty good idea of what this word meant, but now I know for sure!

What new words did you find this last week?

The Winner of The Triumph of Deborah

And the winner of The Triumph of Deborah by Eva Etzioni-Halevy is.....


Congratulations Marie! I will be emailing you shortly to get your mailing information to send out the book to you.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Teaser Tuesday-Feb. 24

Check out Teaser Tuesdays from Should Be Reading. TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:

Grab your current read.Let the book fall open to a random page.

Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.

You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!

Please avoid spoilers!

My teaser is from Tallgrass by Sandra Dallas:

They were just like Ellis High School kids, talking about movies and cars and how they would spend their wages. Sometimes, I had to stop and remember that they were Japanese and that they lived in a prison and couldn't own automobiles or go to the pictures whenever they wanted to and that most of their pay went to help their families.

pg. 114

Book Giveaway Carnival

Tracy from Bookroom Reviews is hosting a Book Giveaway Carnival that will be running from March 2-8. I have not participated in this before but there is a first time for everything right? If you are interested you can find out more information

Don't forget to check back here on March 2nd to find out what I will be giving away, and to check on all the other contests that will be going on that week!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

I've been tagged for a Photo Meme!

Drey over at Drey's Library has tagged me for a photo meme.

I'm supposed to find my 5th photo file folder, then the 5th photo in that file folder. Post that picture on your blog. Tag 5 others to do the same.

Since my kids probably have more photos on our computer than I do, who knows what one will find! But here is the 5th picture in the 5th folder thanks to my son:

A couple of years ago we decided to start some of our own flower plants to transplant into our yard. My son thought it would be fun to monitor and record the progress of these plants. I'm not known for having a green thumb so I wonder if he just wanted to record the short life span that they were destined for! lol

I'm not going to officially tag anyone for this meme, since I have seen it out there quite a bit. But if you would like to play along, please feel free to do so! Just leave me a link to your post if you do so I can check it out.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday Finds-Feb. 20

Should Be Reading asks you to share what books you discovered this week that interest you!

Here is what I found this week:

From Daisy's Book Journal I found La's Orchestra Saves the World by Alexander McCall Smith.

Here is a brief summary of this book from the website:

La's Orchestra Saves the World is another delightful story celebrating friendship and the healing power of music, told with the warmth and charm we've come to love from this favourite storyteller.

It's 1939 and the war in Europe casts a long, all-encompassing shadow. In a sleepy town in Suffolk, La, the generous and determined widow, forms an amateur orchestra to entertain the locals and soothe her own broken heart. She recruits Feliks, a refugee from Poland, to play the flute, and a touching friendship emerges. When the war is over and the orchestra disbands, La is left pondering her next move. What role can she play in her community now that the war is over? And can she let herself love again?

When our book club first started about 5 years ago one of the first books that we read was The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. We loved this book so much that we have been reading one book from this series every year. Of course there have been some that we have liked more than others, but I think our favorite so far is the last one we read, which was In the Company of Cheerful Ladies. This looks like another great story! But I must admit that I am confused, as I am wondering if it is only available in Canada? There is a lot of fun information on Alexander McCall Smith's website, but I don't see this book listed on there or the US Random House website. So now the question that I have found it, how long will I have to wait to read it?

What did you find this week?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Review: This Side of Heaven by Karen Kingsbury

The following is a summary of This Side of Heaven by Karen Kingsbury from the Hachette Book Group website:

Annie Warren always wanted the best for her son, Josh. But years of failure and bad choices created a heartbreaking distance that has grown far worse since the day Josh was hit by a drunk driver. Now on medical disability, Josh has put his life on hold for years, waiting for the insurance company to send a settlement that never seems to come. Worse, he believes the story of a scheming woman who claims they have a seven-year-old daughter named Savannah. Despite the unlikelihood and complete lack of evidence, Josh dreams of being a father and is determined to one day claim the child. His family doesn't know the full story. They don't know what happened the night of the accident that was worth the chronic pain Josh suffers every waking minute, or that he is turning his life around. They haven't seen that Savannah's eyes are his, and they don't know how desperately the little girl needs her family. When the settlement that rightly belongs to Josh is threatened, Annie sets out to defend her son. But she might find a treasure more valuable than money, one she never expected, one that is the greatest gift her son could ever give her--THIS SIDE OF HEAVEN.

My Review:

When I read this book I didn't realize that it is the third novel in the Cody Gunner series that Kingsbury has written. I did not read the first two books in this series so I can honestly say that I don't think that I missed out anything because of that.

This book starts out with Josh, who really seemed to give up on his faith a few years before, but has recently found it again after hearing the song, I Can Only Imagine. Josh has been living with chronic pain for a couple of years after he was hit by a drunk driver on New Year's Eve. One way that Josh can deal with his pain is knowing that he saved two young girls by putting himself in harms way that evening. He also looks forward to the day that he can prove Savannah is his daughter and fight for some type of custody arrangement for her.

Josh has made many bad decisions, as many of us do, before finding his faith again. As he grows more excited in his walk with God, he starts to attend church with his neighbors and opens up to some of his family members. His family seems to be too wrapped up in their own lives to appreciate how Josh has grown with the Lord. They don't even want to take the time to accept the fact that he actually may be the father of a little girl out there. Josh knows from the bottom of his heart that Savannah is his daughter, but his family cannot be brought to believe this.

As a believer myself, I really do enjoy reading Christian fiction now and then. The only problem that I have had with some of Kingsbury's previous work was that it just was not realistic to me. This book wasn't like that for me. This book was very probable for me as Josh had to live with his chronic pain, and actually was addicted to pain killers because of it. Even as he found his faith again he knew he had an addiction problem that he would have to deal with.

This book told me that we need to stop and listen to our loved ones, because someday they won't be there any more to share with us. Hold on tight to what our children and parents have to tell us now, because what may seem insignificant to us now, may be the most important thing in the world to them!

I love how Kingsbury took a popular song like I Can Only Imagine by MercyMe and integrated it into this novel. That really is a beautiful song and I remember when it topped the pop charts at the number one spot when it came out. If you haven't heard it I suggest you go to You Tube right away because it really is one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard.

Overall I really enjoyed this book, and I am sure that many Karen Kingsbury fans will love it. At the end of the novel Karen has an excerpt that explains her inspiration for this book, and it really is touching that she wrote this book from such a personal level. Book Critiques also posted a review of This Side of Heaven that you can see here. She is also having a giveaway for this novel. To find out more about Karen Kingsbury you can go to her website here.

In the genre of Christian fiction I am rating this book: 4/5

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

TV Meme

I first noticed this meme over at Literary Menagerie's blog, and decided that I would have to participate. It's always so much fun when our family finds a show that we all love!

1. Name a TV series in which you have seen every episode at least twice:
I would have to go with Friends and Little House on the Prairie.
2. Name a show you can’t miss:
Sunday night is my tv night this honor goes to Desparate Housewives...I consider it my guilty pleasure.
3. Name an actor that would make you more inclined to watch a show:Peter Krause-We just finished watching the HBO series, Six Feet Under, and he was great in that. He also was a producer and starred in Dirty Sexy Money that was just cancelled about a month ago, which I also loved!
4. Name an actor who would make you less likely to watch a show:Can't think of any...
5. Name a show you can, and do, quote from:Seinfeld---"No soup for you!"
6. Name a show you like that no one else enjoys:In my home it is Big Love. I just started watching this one but the rest of my family is not liking it...yet!
7. Name a TV show which you’ve been known to sing the theme song:Friends, Cheers, and Touched by an Angel
8. Name a show you would recommend everyone to watch:I can't give just one answer to these questions! Touched by an Angel and Little House on the Praire. These were just good and innocent tv shows.
9. Name a TV series you own:The only series I actually own is Season 1 of Little House on the Prairie.
10. Name an actor who launched his/her entertainment career in another medium, but has surprised you with his/her acting choices in television:How about some of those sports commentators--Like Terry Bradshaw, he just cracks me up!
11. What is your favorite episode of your favorite series?From Little House on the Prairie-He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not. It is when Almanzo finally realizes that he truly loves Laura...awwwww.
12. Name a show you keep meaning to watch, but you just haven’t gotten around to yet:Gilmore Girls
13. Ever quit watching a show because it was so bad?I'm sure there are but I can't think of any.
14. Name a show that’s made you cry multiple times:It would be shorter to name a show that hasn't made me cry! So here are a few that have: Little House on the Prairie, Touched by an Angel, Friends, and ER.
15. What do you eat when you watch TV? Popcorn or Doritos
16. How often do you watch TV? A little bit every night...depending what night it is.
17. What’s the last TV show you watched? Niptuck
18. What’s your favourite/preferred genre of TV?drama
19. What was the first TV show you were obsessed with?Probably the Hardy Boys. I remember that was on at 8:00 on abc. That was my bedtime and we also did not get good reception for abc. So I was usually squinting to be able to get a good glimpse of Shaun Cassidy!
20. What TV show do you wish you never watched?Damages...the preview made this look so good, but I just wasn't into it.
21. What’s the weirdest show you enjoyed?Niptuck
22. What TV show scared you the most?Probably The Twilight Zone. I remember one of the old episodes when a little kid talked to a deceased grandparent on a toy telephone. I was afraid of my little telephone for quite awhile after that!
23. What is the funniest TV show you have ever watched? This would be a tossup between Friends and Will and Grace. But if we are talking about a specific episode, the one that stands out in my mind was from WKRP in Cincinnati. The DJ Johnny Fever thought the phone cops were coming for him...I was laughing that whole episode!
24. What show was cancelled too early? Lipstick Jungle....I just loved it!

Would you like to share your thoughts about your tv addiction? Just answer these questions on your blog and leave me a comment so I can come check out your answers!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Teaser Tuesday-Feb. 17

Check out Teaser Tuesdays from Should Be Reading. TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:

Grab your current read.Let the book fall open to a random page.

Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.

You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!

Please avoid spoilers!

My teaser is from This Side of Heaven by Karen Kingsbury:

That's how Annie felt now, like the mother bear ready to tear into any attorney who would put her son through the rigors of demeaning questions, hearing after hearing after hearing. She thought about going to see Josh now, so she could hold him and will away his suffering.

pg. 91

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day Giveaway: Matrimony by Joshua Henkin

In celebration of Valentine's Day, author Joshua Henkin has offered to give away an inscribed copy of his book Matrimony, a New York Times Notable book!

You can find out more information about Joshua Henkin and his book Matrimony on his website here. He also enjoys participating in book group discussions for Matrimony, so if this interests you, please go to his website right away and send him an email to let him know.

Here is a summary of Matrimony from

Matrimony explores themes of love and friendship, sickness and health, money and ambition, desire and tensions of faith --- the kinds of big issues that make it perfect for a book club discussion.

Matrimony starts in 1987, when Julian Wainwright, an aspiring novelist and the Waspy son of New York old money, meets beautiful, Jewish Mia Mendelsohn in the college laundry room. So begins a love affair that, spurred on by family tragedy, carries the couple to graduation and beyond, through a series of college towns, spanning twenty years. Matrimony is about what it's like to fall in love when you're young and to try to stay in love as you reach middle age. As People Magazine said: "Charming.... Henkin keeps you reading with original characters, witty dialogue, and a view that marriage, for all its flaws, is worth the trouble."

There have been many reviews on other blogs of Matrimony. I won my copy from Dar over at Peeking Between the Pages and you can see her review here. At Home With Books, Bermudaonion's Weblog, and Booking Mama also posted reviews of Matrimony.
Books on the Brain actually had a guest post by Joshua Henkin that you can read here.

Now for the giveaway!
This is an international contest so it is open to everyone that is 18 years or older!

For one entry leave me a comment below.

For an additional entry, link this contest to your blog.

Please make sure I have a way to contact you if you win.

You will have until February 28th to enter, I will draw for a winner on the March 1st.

Good luck to everyone and a special Thank You to Joshua Henkin!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Current Giveaways!

There are a lot of giveaways out there again this week. I even found a couple more for The Italian Lover by Robert Hellenga at:

Carol's Notebook--Contest ends 2/23.
Drey's Library--Contest ends 2/24.

Here are a few other giveaways that I have found:

Peeking Between the Pages is giving away a copy of Cassandra and Jane by Jill Pitkeathley--Contest ends 2/18.

Booking Mama is giving away 5 copies of The Laws of Harmony by Judith Ryan Hendricks--Contest ends 2/20.

Bermudaonion's Weblog is giving away 3 audiobooks of Little Pink House by Jeff Benedict--Contest ends 2/21.

S. Krishna's Books is giving away Misstress Shakespeare by Karen Harper--Contest ends 2/22.

Hey Lady! Watcha Readin'? is giving away a copy of The Help by Kathryn Stockett--Contest ends 2/28.

A Bookworm's World is giving away 3 audiobooks of Little Pink House by Jeff Benedict--Contest ends 3/7.

And last, but not least, don't forget about my giveaway for The Triumph of Deborah by Eva Etzioni-Halevy. You can sign up and see my review here--Contest ends 2/23.

Also be sure to check back sometime this weekend as I will be hosting another giveaway for Matrimony by Joshua Henkin.

Good luck everyone!

Friday Finds-Feb. 13

Should Be Reading asks you to share what books you discovered this week that interest you!

Here is what I found this week:

I found The Help by Kathryn Stockett from the following blogs:
Booking Mama
At Home With Books
Hey Lady! Watcha Readin'? --And note that she is also having a giveaway for this book that ends 2/28.

I have seen many great reviews for this book, but see for yourself! You can find out more about this book that is set in 1962 Mississippi at Kathryn Stockett's website here.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Review: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

Here is a summary ofThe Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne from

The cautionary tale is about two boys, one the son of a commandant in Hitler’s army and the other a Jew, who come face-to-face at a barbed wire fence that separates, and eventually intertwines their lives.

Set during the Holocaust, Bruno is only nine-years-old when his father, a commandant in Hitler’s army, is transferred from Berlin to Auschwitz. The house at “Out-With,” as Bruno calls it, is small, dark, and strange. He spends long days gazing out the window of his new bedroom, where he notices people dressed in striped pajamas and rows of barracks surrounded by a barbed wire fence. Bored and lonely, and not really understanding the circumstance of his new existence, Bruno sets out to explore the area and discovers Shmuel, a very thin Jewish boy who lives on the other side of the fence. An unlikely friendship develops between the two boys, but when Bruno learns that his mother plans to take her children back to Berlin, he makes a last effort to explore the forbidden territory where the boy in the striped pajamas lives.

My Review:

I will start off by saying that I loved this book! Boyne does a great job of describing some of the events from the Holocaust through the eyes of a nine year old boy. I have read a few reviews of this book by people that thought the writing was poor and lacking, but if you consider that this book was intended for a very young audience, I think it was great. This book is highly recommended for children in grades 6 to 8, but I do know that many book clubs have also tackled this book.

At nine years old, Bruno is oblivious to politics and the news around him so he is horrified to come home from school one day to find that all of his belongings have been packed away so they can move to a new home. When they arrive at their new home, which Bruno calls 'Out-With', he is quite discouraged to see that the home is so much smaller than he is accustomed to and there does not appear to be any neighboring children to play with. He is very lonely and looks forward to the day that they can return to their beautiful home in Berlin, since their stay at Out-With is only temporary.

Bruno is curious about all of the people that he can see from his bedroom window that appear to be wearing the same striped pajamas all day long. He longs to play with children and he can see that there are plenty available over there, but Bruno has a feeling that he would be in deep trouble if he were to wander that way.

Young Bruno decides one day to go out exploring and follows that fenceline for quite awhile and happens to come along a young boy sitting by the fence wearing the striped pajamas. Not only is this boy his own age, but he can finally find out what really happens over there. As they meet almost every day, they form an interesting friendship and Bruno finds that he is starting to actually forget about his life in Berlin because if he were to leave Out-With he would miss his new friend, Shmuel too much. Bruno considers their friendship odd since it is basically the only friendship he has had that consists of talking, rather than playing.

Bruno understands that his father has a very important position under the 'Fury', as soldiers are always coming and going from their home, and his fathers uniform does look nicer than any of the other soldiers. Bruno does inquire about the people on the other side of the fence a couple of times, but he can't comprehend why his father would tell him that they are not really people at all.

I don't want to reveal too much about this book, but I honestly believe that everyone should read it. If you have this book and have been meaning to read it, I suggest that you just do it. It is a very fast read and you will be done with it before you know it. I found myself so touched when I finished it, as it was a shocking and abrupt ending to me, but during the Holocaust the lives of Jewish people were abruptly interrupted on a daily basis. They did not have control over their fate in any way. It really was a heart-wrenching story, even when I think about it now.

I think that many of you know that this book has been made into a movie, which comes out on DVD next month.

My Rating: 5/5

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wondrous Words Wednesday-Feb. 11

Bermudaonion has started a new meme that asks you to share new words that you have learned during your reading adventures in the last week. I thought this would be a good one for me to get involved in because quite often when I come across a word I don't know, I just blow it off and keep reading. Hopefully this will help me become more attentive.

I found the following word last week as I was reading The Triumph of Deborah:

Aggrandize: widen in scope; increase in size or intensity; enlarge; extend. make great or greater in power, wealth, rank, or honor. make (something) appear greater.

I am also having a contest for this book that you can check out here.

What kind of new words have you found lately?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Teaser Tuesday-Feb. 10

Check out Teaser Tuesdays from Should Be Reading. TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:

Grab your current read.Let the book fall open to a random page.

Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.

You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!

Please avoid spoilers!

My teaser is from The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne:

'Did you do something bad in work? I know that everyone says you're an important man and that the Fury has big things in mind for you, but he'd hardly send you to a place like this if you hadn't done something that he wanted to punish you for.'

pg. 50

Review and Giveaway: The Triumph of Deborah by Eva Etzioni-Halevy

The following is a summary of The Triumph of Deborah from Eva Etzioni-Halevy's website:


In ancient Israel, war is looming. Deborah has coerced warrior Barak into launching a strike against the neighboring Canaanites, who threaten their people with destruction. Against all odds he succeeds, returning triumphantly with two daughters of the Canaanite King as his captives. But military victory is only the beginning of the turmoil, as a complex love triangle develops between Barak and the two princesses.

Deborah, recently cast off by her husband, develops a surprising affinity for Barak. Yet she struggles to rebuild her existence on her own terms, while also groping her way toward the greatest triumph of her life: the attainment of peace.

Based on the book of Judges , and filled with brilliantly vivid historical detail, the novel shows that in her own life Deborah was very much a woman, and that her femininity did not detract from her stature as national leader. Thereby it pays tribute to Deborah's feminine strength and independence from which present day women, seeking to build lives of their own and assert themselves in whatever way they choose to do so, may derive inspiration.

The Triumph of Deborah describes a prominent woman leader who led her people to war but also to peace. Hence it should be of special relevance in an American presidential election year in which a female candidate is a front runner. It should also be of relevance on the occasion of the sixtieth anniversary of Israel, where women's leadership is becoming increasingly prominent, a year in which the topic of female leadership in time of war and peace will be most prominent on both countries' agenda.

My Review:

This is the first book that an author has asked me to review on my blog and I will admit that I really enjoyed this one. If you read the book of Judges in the Bible, you can understand how this story is believable, even though it is a work of fiction. I enjoyed how the author was true to the language at the time. The dialogue and sentence structures had an ancient familiarity to them, yet kept me intrigued and wanting to read more. Here is just a small excerpt that showcases the writing and how this novel followed the biblical story:

Yet Deborah was left with a vague feeling that the celebration she had arranged did not elicit favor from the Lord. Perhaps this was because, though it had been planned for his glorification, it had aggrandized her and Barak as well. Or perhaps it was because the Lord was not pleased at the people's celebrating the downfall of their enemies. This was strictly forbidden by Torah law, which states:

When Your enemy falls you shall not rejoice.

pg. 188

A war is imminent between Israel and Canaan and the prophetess Deborah is charged with the task of leading Israel in this battle. Deborah seeks assistance from the powerful warrior Barak, in leading this mission. Little does Deborah know that Barak's only requirement for serving his country is to receive a reward that only Deborah can provide! This creates so much tension in Deborah's marriage that her husband divorces her.

Upon the defeat of the Canaanite's, Barak decided that if any women were to his liking he would take them home to possibly serve as a wife to him. Since the end of the battle also released many individuals out of slavery, he offered his home as shelter to these people until they found a permanent resident. Asherah, the Canaanite King's daughter, instantly caught Barak's eye as the woman that he would take for his own and marry. But little did he realize that Nogah, an illigitimate daughter of the King, would also spark a desire within his heart.

It was interesting to learn bits and peices of the Torah law. As an example, Barak kept Asherah in his home but would not have his way with her until she was given her 30 days of mourning after losing her family in the battle. Although this man was quite a player for his time, he was never known to force himself upon any woman. To help him bade the time during Asherah's 30 days of mourning, he would entertain himself with the company of various maids throughout his home. Since Nogah was living in his home as a maid after being freed from her slavery, Barak found himself spending more time with this plain, but not unattractive young lady.

This novel is abundant with Israelite customs that are very interesting to read and compare to today's society. It is also a very passionate book that has you hoping that the characters get what they are looking for in their relationships. What I really loved about this book is that although I could feel the passion bouncing off of the pages, there really were not any sexually explicit scenes or obscene language throughout. I found myself liking almost all of the main characters at one point or another, whether they were Israelite or Canaanite.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and think it would also make an interesting discussion for a book club. I would like to thank the author, Eva Etzioni-Halevy for sending me this book to review. You can see what other books Eva has available by going to her website here.
My Rating: 4/5

Since I enjoyed this book so much I want to share it with someone out there. So I am going to give away my gently read copy to one lucky reader.

To enter this giveaway you must be 18 or older and live in the US or Canada.

For one entry leave me a comment below.

For an additional entry, link this contest to your blog.

Please make sure I have a way to contact you if you win.

You will have until February 23rd to enter, I will draw for a winner on the 24th. Good luck!

Monday's Movie-Pride

A Novel Menagerie has started a MEME that asks you to post about a movie that you watched the week before. We usually watch quite a few movies over the weekend and it is sometimes difficult to only discuss one. One movie that we watched, which I have decided not to rate or discuss much is An American Crime. This could be the most disturbing movie that I have ever seen. It is a true story that takes place in 1965 and it chronicles the abuse that was inflicted upon a young girl by a caregiver that her parents left her with. I will add that it is not for the weak hearted.

The movie that I do want to talk about that we really enjoyed is Pride.

Here are the details from the film:

Starring: Terrence Howard, Bernie Mac

Genre: Drama

Runtime: 1hr, 48mn

MPAA Rating: PG

The following is a summary from the MSN Movie website:

A college-educated African-American schoolteacher frustrated by his inability to find a job repairs an abandoned recreational pool hall in hopes of starting Philadelphia's first African-American swim team in this inspirational drama that takes its cue from the true-life story of charismatic 1970s-era schoolteacher Jim Ellis. The year is 1973 and the job market is tight. Jim Ellis (Terrence Howard) may have a college diploma, but despite his education he still can't seem to find a job. An aspiring teacher with a lifelong love of competitive swimming, Ellis determines to take his future into his own hands when he discovers a deserted recreational pool hall in the slums of the city. Though he and kindly local janitor Elston (Bernie Mac) do their best to get the crumbling pool hall in working order, the pair find their benevolent efforts thwarted when the building is targeted for demolition. Little do the forces that be know that Jim isn't a man to quietly lie down and admit defeat; despite the racism, violence, and threats made by an unsympathetic city official that all threaten to destroy his vivid new dream, the man who was once without purpose boldly resolves to recruit troubled street teens and transform them into capable swimmers in time for the upcoming state championships. ~ Jason Buchanan, All Movie Guide

My Movie Thoughts:

Have you noticed that there is just something special about the energy and storylines that are put into movies that focus on a sports theme? Even if I am not particularly fond of a sport I find myself engrossed in the film. That is kind of how this movie was for me, as I am not a fan of competitive swimming in general, but we were loving this movie! The movie started out with the character of Jim Ellis participating as a member on a swim team. He was part of a swim team but because he was an African-American he was never able to participate in competitions because of the discrimination. Upon completing his college education, he is unable to get a job that highlighted his qualifications in the depressed job market, so he ends up taking a job for the city that is puts him in charge of the clean-up of an old city building that housed a community pool. The building is in a pretty tough neighborhood where some kids get together to play basketball outside, while others complete drug deals. The area seemed to make it very easy for kids to stray down the wrong walk of life. Ellis reached out to a few of these kids and gave them something to strive for and focus on. He created a swimteam for these kids and even though they were able to participate in competitions, you could still see that discrimination was still alive. The team persevered, even though plenty of obstacles were put in their way and went on to be a very successful team. The building that the pool resided in did not get demolished so Ellis went on to coach successful swim teams for many years after that. This was a feel good sports movie that made you happy that the good guys won in the end!

I am rating this one 4 out of 5 bags of popcorn.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Brought To You By The Letter J

There is this great meme out there right now that asks you to list 10 things that you love that begin with a specific letter. The tricky part is that someone randomly assigns you with a letter. So I asked Serena over at
Savvy Verse and Wit to shoot a letter my way and she gave me the letter J!

So without further jabbering here is my list of 10 things that I love:

1. Jesus--I don't think I could start a list like this without first mentioning Jesus. I do love him and he died for us, so what more needs to be said?

2. Java--I couldn't imagine starting my day without my cup of coffee...If I must go without the coffee you really wouldn't want to be around me! I really do enjoy my coffee--at work I will drink it until early afternoon and even have a couple more cups when I get home at the end of the day.

3. Jewelery--Oh how I love all of my jewelry! Diamonds, emeralds, pearls...You name it, I'm not picky! lol

4. Jif peanut butter--I LOVE desserts that include peanut butter, whether it be peanut butter cookies, or my friend Donna's Oatmeal Fudgies (which she did give me the recipe, so woohoo), I just happen to always have Jif in my home so that is what I use for these desserts.

5. Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice. This is the only novel that I have read by Jane Austen so far but I loved it!

6. Jamaica--Although I haven't actually been to Jamaica I have such a love of tropical locations that I feel I needed to include that somehow. Put me on a sandy beach with my swimsuit and a pile of books and I am set for a week! Just make sure you bring me in at the end of the day for the proper hydration!

7. Joyful moments with my friends and family. Whether we are staying home for a quiet dinner, playing the wii, spending a sunny day out on the boat, or going out for Mexican and a margarita. As long as I am with my loved ones that is what counts!

8. Jon Bon Jovi's music. So I will start by saying that when I was in high school Bon Jovi was IT. I enjoyed their music but I wasn't totally goo goo over the band. When they went on tour last year I kind of himmed and haaaed about going to their concert. Well I caved in and went with a gal from work and we had the best time! So needless to say, next time they go on tour...I am there! Wowza...Rock on!

9. Job--I think with today's economy I should also definitely list my job. There are too many people out there right now without one to not be grateful and love what I do.

10. Jo-Jo Loves to Read--my blog! I know that my blog isn 't as fancy as some others but since I have started blogging I have had the opportunity to meet so many other book lovers out there. Everyone out there is so nice, supportive and appreciative--I just love all the blogs that I have been able to view so far, and I look forward to the ones that I haven't seen yet!

Well that was fun and I hope you've enjoyed my list! Would you like to play along? If so, leave a comment and I’ll assign you a random letter. With that letter create your list of 10 things you love that begin with your assigned letter, and when people comment on your post, you can assign them a letter to keep the meme going.

Friday Finds-Feb. 6

Should Be Reading asks you to share what books you discovered this week that interest you!

Here is what I found this week:

From Savvy Verse and Wit I found Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One by Sharon Lathan.

Here is a brief summary of Two Becomes One from
Sharon Lathan presents Mr & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy, the sweetest, most romantic Jane Austen sequel.
The first in a series that follows Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy from their wedding day into married life, Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy is inspired by the Keira Knightley/Matthew MacFayden movie. The author vividly imagines this young and energetic couple as they immerse themselves in their profound love and face the challenges of their era.

Elizabeth and Darcy are positively goo-goo eyes for each other and the burgeoning love and closeness between them drives the plot. As the narrative unfolds through the honeymoon and then the challenges of Elizabeth assuming the role of Mistress of Pemberley, Darcy and Elizabeth thoroughly reveal their differing points of view of how their relationship blossomed from misunderstanding to perfect understanding. As the couple grows in maturity and understanding, as they accustom themselves to each other and to married life, Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy emerges as a fascinating portrait of a deep and passionate marriage.

This novel sounds like it shows a more passionate side to the Darcy's life together-I am looking forward to this one!

From J. Kaye's Book Blog I found True Colors by Kristin Hannah.

Here is a very brief summary of True Colors from Kristin Hannah's website:

True Colors is New York Times bestselling author Kristin Hannah’s most provocative, compelling, and heart-wrenching story yet. With the luminous writing and unforgettable characters that are her trademarks, she tells the story of three sisters whose once-solid world is broken apart by jealousy, betrayal, and the kind of passion that rarely comes along.

I really enjoy stories that focus on the family dynamics between sisters, so I think this will be right up my alley!

What did you find this week?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Current Giveaways

Wow there are some great giveaways out there! The one that I have noticed popping up all over the place is The Italian Lover by Robert Hellenga. Here are just a few of the blogs that you can find this contest at:

Pudgy Penguin Perusals--Contest ends 2/10.

Jenn's Bookshelf--Contest ends 2/13.

Peeking Between the Pages--Contest ends 2/13.

At Home With Books--Contest ends 2/16.

A Circle of Books--Contest ends 2/17.

Literary Menagerie--Contest ends 2/21.

A Bookworm's World--Contest ends 2/21.

So Many Precious Books, So Little Time--Contest ends 2/27.

And here are a few other contests that I wanted to mention:

Peeking Between the Pages is also giving away a copy of The King's Rose by Alisa M. Libby--Contest ends 2/9.

Seaside Book Worm is giving away a copy of People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks--Contest ends 2/9.

She Reads and Reads is giving away The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker--Contest ends 2/16.

Bookin' With Bingo is giving away The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker--Contest ends 2/21.

These are just a few of the contests that are out there right now-So check them out and good luck!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Teaser Tuesday-Feb. 3

Check out Teaser Tuesdays from Should Be Reading. TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:

Grab your current read.Let the book fall open to a random page.

Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.

You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!

Please avoid spoilers!

Since I am still reading The Triumph of Deborah by Eva Etzioni-Halevy, my teaser is from that book again:

"You have finished your work for the day, yet you have not changed your apparel. And your hair looks wild and untidy."

pg. 168

Monday's Movie-Gran Torino

A Novel Menagerie has started a MEME that asks you to post about a movie that you watched the week before. My husband and I had date night Saturday night. We went out for a mexican dinner and enjoyed a night at the movies. So after having my margarita I had to sit through the serious film, Gran Torino, which we both enjoyed!

Here are some of the details from the film:

Starring: Clint Eastwood

Genre: Drama

Runtime: 1hr 56 mn

MPAA Rating: R

The following summary is from the MSN Movie website:

A racist Korean War veteran living in a crime-ridden Detroit neighborhood is forced to confront his own lingering prejudice when a troubled Hmong teen from his neighborhood attempts to steal his prized Gran Torino. Decades after the Korean War has ended, ageing veteran Walt Kowalski (Clint Eastwood) is still haunted by the horrors he witnessed on the battlefield. The two objects that matter most to Kowalski in life are the classic Gran Torino that represents his happier days working in a Ford assembly plant, and the M-1 rifle that saved his life countless times during combat. When Kowalski's teenage neighbor (Bee Vang) attempts to steal his Gran Torino as part of a gang initiation rite, the old man manages to catch the aspiring thief at the business end of his well-maintained semi-automatic rifle. Later, due to the pride of the Asian group, the boy is forced to return to Kowalski's house and perform an act of penance. Despite the fact that Kowalski wants nothing to do with the young troublemaker, he realizes that the quickest way out of the situation is to simply cooperate. In an effort to set the teen on the right path in life and toughen him up, the reluctant vet sets him up with an old crony who now works in construction. In the process, Kowalski discovers that the only way to lay his many painful memories to rest is to finally face his own blinding prejudice head-on.~ Jason Buchanan, All Movie Guide

My movie thoughts:
I really thought that I should post about this movie since I don't believe that the previews did it much justice. When I saw the previews in the theater for Gran Torino it appeared to be a movie that was going to very action packed and violent. In my opinion, there really was not a lot of action or violence in this movie. It was more about a lonely man that learns to put his prejudice feelings aside and open up his heart to the family that lives next door in their time of need. It was sad that he was able to create a nice friendship with the family next door, but unable to mend his own family relationships. There are many racial comments made throughout the movie so please be advised that some people may be offended from these comments. But I will also note that it was very heartwarming to see this character's whole attitude change by the end of the movie. Even though my husband was expecting a more action packed movie, we both thoroughly enjoyed it!

I am going to rate this movie 4 out of 5 bags of popcorn.