Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Blogging Withdrawal and Teaser Tuesday!

Well it has been over a week since I have posted an entry on my blog. It's been crazy here with everything going on! I mentioned about a week ago that my sister was going to be receiving hospice care once she left the hospital. Well last Monday I got a call informing me that she didn't have as much time as they thought. Actually they told us it would be hours or days. So in my state of panic I hopped on a plane to Denver last Tuesday morning and I have been here since.

Last Wednesday we had a meeting with her doctor who informed us that Brenda would probably not last more than seven days. So at that time she helped us transfer Brenda to a hospice facility here in Denver and that is where I have been spending my free time. Brenda and some other family members are from Colorado Springs so I have been able to go and spend a couple of nights down there to get some laundry and stuff done.

I must say that I am amazed at this woman though! Last week when I got here Brenda has been only able to drink clear liquids, but since we have been at the hospice she has been eating solid foods. For someone that has hardly any colon left in her body I was amazed watching her eat that huge breakfast burrito yesterday smothered in green chile! Boy, that just made me laugh... Her pain has been controllable, but I am just on edge wondering if she is suddenly going to make a turn for the worst. She has two young kids and her daughter's 9th birthday is tomorrow, so I wonder if somehow that has an influence on her good condition at this time.

But boy do I miss posting my blog entries! Although there is a computer available here for me to use that allows me to check email and go blog surfing a little bit, it doesn't allow me to copy and paste. So needless to say I am still out of the loop a little bit.

I also wanted to let you know that I haven't forgotten about my contest for This Side of Heaven by Karen Kingsbury. I will draw for a winner as soon as I get home. I also have to post a review of The View from Mount Joy by Lorna Landvik that will get done next week.

Since today is Teaser Tuesday I'm still going to share a teaser with you. Since I don't have the capability to cut and paste all you get is the teaser sentence today from Shanghai Girls by Lisa See:

"She must hope for a son-and what mother doesn't wish for this thing?-because then their deeper positions will be clear. Every mother must obey her son, even if she is a Dragon."
pg. 108

Monday, March 23, 2009

Audiobook Review: One for the Money by Janet Evanovich

The following is a summary of One for the Money by Janet Evanovich from her website:

Watch out, world. Here comes Stephanie Plum, a bounty hunter with attitude. In Stephanie's opinion, toxic waste, rabid drivers, armed schizophrenics, and August heat, humidity, and hydrocarbons are all part of the great adventure of living in Jersey.

She's a product of the "burg," a blue-collar pocket of Trenton where houses are attached and narrow, cars are American, windows are clean, and (God forbid you should be late) dinner is served at six.

Now Stephanie's all grown up and out on her own, living five miles from Mom and Dad's, doing her best to sever the world's longest umbilical cord. Her mother is a meddler, and her grandmother is a few cans short of a case.

Out of work and out of money, with her Miata repossessed and her refrigerator empty, Stephanie blackmails her bail bondsman cousin, Vinnie, into giving her a try as an apprehension agent. Stephanie knows zilch about the job requirements, but she figures her new pal, fearless bounty hunter Ranger, can teach her what it takes to catch a crook.

Her first assignment: nail Joe Morelli, a former vice cop on the run from a charge of murder one. Morelli is also the irresistible macho pig who took Stephanie's virginity at age sixteen and then wrote the details on the bathroom wall of Mario's Sub Shop. There's still powerful chemistry between these two, so the chase should be interesting.

It could also be extremely dangerous, especially when Stephanie encounters a heavyweight title contender who likes to play rough. Benito Ramirez is known for his brutality to women. At the very least, his obsession with Stephanie complicates her manhunt and brings terror and uncertainty into her life. At the worst, it could lead to murder.

My Review:

Oh my goodness, I just loved this book! I'm sure that there was always something that made me laugh as I was listening to this in my car. Stephanie Plum is down on her luck, out of money and needs a job fast! She goes to see her cousin Vinny intending to get an office job as a file clerk, but somehow ends up starting a new career as a bounty hunter!

As Stephanie is so broke, many of her possesions have been repossessed, so she decides to start off by trying to apprehend a pretty high-profile suspect. Joe Morelli is a former cop and love interest of Stephanie's that she must bring in to earn the handsome fee of $10,000. Morelli is accused of murder, but as Stephanie continues her search for him, new evidence regarding the murder scene becomes revealed.

There are so many twists and turns in this novel that you start to wonder what could possibly happen to Stephanie next. At one point Stephanie decides to 'borrow' Morelli's car to help her finish her job. When Morelli realizes that she has stolen his car he breaks into her apartment while she is taking a shower and handcuffs her to a towel rack. This just had me laughing away on my drive to work. When someone else decides to steal Morelli's car from Stephanie, it is quite a shock when the car explodes right in front of her apartment building. At this point Stephanie has come to realize that there is probably more to the Morelli case than meets the eye.

As I usually do when reading a mystery, I found myself trying to figure out who could have committed the murder if Morelli didn't do it. I don't want to give anything away, but I will say that I was surprised by who the culprit turned out to be. I am definitely looking forward to reading more books in this series.

In the genre of a comical, mystery, thriller I am going to rate this book:

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday Salon

Well we have had a busy week in our home and it looks like it is only going to get busier yet. My daughter went on a trip to Hawaii last week with the high school choir and she had a marvelous time! She came home Thursday night, but she has really had a problem adjusting to the time difference. So I finally got her out of bed at 9 this morning to get ready for church and told her she couldn't take any naps today! Quite a difference from when she was four years old and I would put her down for a nap right after church.

My son made it home safely on Friday night for his spring break vacation from college. He is looking forward to a relaxing vacation without all of the studying! He used to be quite a reader, but since he is reading textbooks all the time now, leisure reading has definitely taken a backseat.

Around Christmas time I had mentioned that my little sister has been very sick and in and out of the hospital quite a bit. After church this morning I had a call from her boyfriend informing me that her medical condition has made quite a drastic turn for the worst. She's had terrible problems with her colon and they actually removed most of it. A tumor has been close to the colon that she has left and has been growing into it. They started to do chemotherapy on her to shrink or stop the growth and that was working. It sounds like the chemo has created an infection though so they will not be able to continue the treatments. It came as quite a shock when he told me that if they do not continue the treatments they suggest starting hospice care on her right away. This is pretty hard being a big sister and not being able to help at all. This is one of those things that I am just having a problem understanding since I am 40 and she's only 32 years old.

I didn't want to be a downer by posting about this, but I really feel that I have gotten to know a lot of you on a more personal level. So if you don't hear from me for awhile it could be because of that situation. Please do me a favor and keep my sister Brenda in your prayers.

As for the rest of my Sunday, I may start reading Shanghai Girls by Lisa See at some point. I want to try to keep some sense of normalcy in my life so I will probably be watching my favorite Sunday night shows at 8 o'clock.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Award Recognition Time!

I can't tell you what it means to me when I check my blog and a fellow blogger has commented that they gave me an award! It is just such a thrill!

The first one that I want to recognize is the Proximidade Award that I received from Desert Rose Booklogue. Thank you so much for giving me this award!

Since I have already awarded some fellow bloggers earlier this month with award, I will not be passing this one on today.

Alyce from At Home With Books was kind enough to give me the Friends Award! Alyce was a wonderful Secret Santa to me this last Christmas and she was also very helpful when it came to helping me with some technical blogging issues I was having a month or so ago. Thanks again Alyce!

Here is what the Friends Award stands for:
These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.

I am going to pass this award on to:

Kaye at Pudgy Penguin Perusals
Michele at A Reader's Respite
Janel at Janel's Jumble
Daisy at Daisy's Book Journal
Meg at Literary Menagerie
Lisa at Books and Cooks

I was awarded the Sisterhood Award from both Reading Extravaganza and
Desert Rose Booklogue! I feel so honored that you both thought of me for this award.

Here are the rules to spread the sisterhood spirit:
1. Put the logo on your blog or post.
2. Nominate up to 10 blogs which show great attitude and/or gratitude!
3. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
4. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
5. Remember to link to the person from whom you received your award.

My sisters that I nominate this award to are...
Ti from Book Chatter and other Stuff
Serena from Savvy Verse and Wit
TexasRed Books
Ramya from Ramya's Bookshelf
Toni from A Circle of Books
Dar from
Peeking Between the Pages

Please take the time to go check out all of these blogs if you haven't done so already. They all have something wonderful to offer and I look forward to seeing what new and interesting things they have posted about every day! Thanks again for sharing these awards with me!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday Finds-March 20

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

I found Mademoiselle Boleyn by Robin Maxwell from historical-fiction.com.

Here is a summary of Mademoiselle Boleyn from Robin Maxwell's website:

When young Anne Boleyn is sent to French court with her father and sister Mary, she believes she's going for an innocent adventure. But when the ambitious Ambassador Thomas Boleyn leads them into the highly sophisticated and sexually permissive court of Francois I, Anne quickly learns that they are merely pawns to be used for their father's own political purpose. Since all good English girls are expected to do their father's bidding, Mary becomes mistress to the outrageous French king and is ultimately seduced into his dangerous world by the luxuries of court. But Anne has a different fate in mind.

Anne is younger, cleverer, and stronger willed than her elder sister, and with the guidance of chosen, powerful allies and unlikely friends, such as Leonardo da Vinci, she learns how to navigate the challenges, passions and betrayals of court. As she grows into a beautiful young woman, Anne undergoes her own sexual awakening, each daring exploit taking her one step closer to the life that is her destiny.

So what caught your eye this week?

Current Giveaways!

A lot of buzz has been created about Galway Bay by Mary Pat Kelly from the Blog Tour that started this week. This sounds like an amazing novel and here are just a few of the blogs that you can win a copy from:

Diary of an Eccentric--Contest ends 3/24.

Savvy Verse and Wit--Contest ends 3/24.

A Circle of Books--Contest ends 3/28.

Jenn's Bookshelf--Contest ends 3/28

Peeking Between the Pages--Contest ends 3/29.

So Many Precious Books, So Little Time--Contest ends 3/31.

At Home With Books--Contest ends 3/31.

Booking Mamma--Contest ends 3/31.

Enroute to Life--Contest ends 3/31.

A Bookworm's World--Contest ends 4/7.

Here are a few other contests that you can enter:

Savvy Verse & Wit is giving away an audiobook of Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich--Contest ends 3/26.

A Circle of Books is giving away an audiobook of I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti by Giullia Melucci--Contest ends 3/31.

A Circle of Books is also giving away an audiobook of Drood by Dan Simmons--Contest ends 4/1.

Of course I still have my contest for This Side of Heaven by Karen Kingsbury that ends on 3/28. You can enter this contest here. Please check back sometime over the course of the weekend as I may have another contest to celebrate my 100th post, which has come and gone without a peep out of me.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wondrous Words Wednesday-March 18

Bermudaonion 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!

I found a new word this week as I was reading The View from Mount Joy by Lorna Landvik.

Mafioso: [mah-fee-oh-soh] a member of a Mafia or of a mafia.

This made sense to me when I read the definition with the pronunciation, but when I first read it in the text I had no idea what it meant. Here is how I found the word in the book on page 74:

"Not the kind you drink. Juice juice. Connections. The power of persuasion. You know--muscle."

"What are you, a mafioso?"

Did you find any new words this week?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Teaser Tuesday-March 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 The View from Mount Joy by Lorna Landvik

It wasn't as if I was in a slump, but I wasn't scoring like I had been in those first couple prove-myself games. To make matters worse, Blake was the sort of team captain who believed in positive reinforcement and never failed to mention the nice plays I'd made each game, to which I would think: If you only knew.

pg. 63

Friday, March 13, 2009

Review: Bedlam South by Mark Grisham and David Donaldson

The following is a summary of Bedlam South from Mark Grisham's and David Donaldson's website:

Set in the heart of the Confederacy, Bedlam South is the story of ordinary people who fought and suffered, and loved and lost during the Civil War. The novel begins and ends in an insane asylum outside Richmond, Virginia, as it interweaves the
fates of its characters in a panoramic view of the Civil War. The asylum's chaos and internal strife echo the military and personal battles taking place over four years.

The story begins in 1862, when Dr. Joseph Bryarly leaves England to head Richmond's Wingate Asylum, run by the sadistic and scarred Captain Samuel Percy. Bryarly launches his own war battling the Captain on behalf of the inmates, while also battling his own demons. On the frontlines near Fredericksburg, seventeen-year-old Zeke Gibson joins his brother, Corporal Billy Gibson. In the midst of heavy fighting, they are separated. Each embarks on a path that will take him deep into lunacy and a struggle for survival as the war progresses and their fates become intertwined with Dr. Bryarly's.

My Review:

This was an enjoyable novel that really had something for everyone within it's pages. True brotherly love was revealed between two men as they were fighting side by side in the Civil War. Grisham and Donaldson not only brought us to the front-lines of several battles, but also showed us how soldiers were forced to deal with their anguish after they were committed to an insane asylum. There were several main characters in this novel that didn't even know the others existed, but once their paths would cross they would never be forgotten.

Dr. Bryarly is a well recognized psychological doctor from England and a close friend of President Jefferson Davis. When President Davis requests Dr. Bryarly's presence at the Wingate Asylum (named Bedlam South by residents), he feels that he has a responsibility to fulfill the President's charge by going to the asylum and helping as many soldiers as possible. He arrives at Bedlam South only to find it in total chaos under the current orders of Captain Samuel Percy. Captain Percy seemed to take pleasure in administering inhumane treatments to the soldiers that were in residence at the asylum. The only light at the end of the tunnel for these soldiers was when Dr. Bryarly arrived and did everything he could to protect them from Percy. Captain Percy of course frowned on Bryarly's actions and vowed he would kill him one day for interfering with his business.

Zeke Gibson at the age of seventeen, decided to join the Confederate cause so he could hopefully fight beside his brother Billy. He did find his brother Billy and was lucky enough to be assigned to the same brigade. Billy had been Zeke's childhood hero, so you can imagine how awed he was to learn that Billy was known as a war hero and actually earned the rank of a corporal officer. In the heat of battle the two brothers are separated and realize that it is highly possible that the other has been killed. As the book goes on, they both find themselves fighting for love, faith, and survival.

The following excerpt is just one example of the thought provoking writing within this book that I found on page 251:
Reading the paper Daniel mused, "Did you hear the government has armed the slaves, Zeke? I guess President Davis worries that if they don't fight for us, then they'll probably fight against us. Either way, giving the slaves a chance at freedom is long overdue. Every man, white or black, should be able to fight for his freedom. That's the only reason I'm still fighting. After my boys were killed, I decided that freedom is the only thing worth dying for."

Mary Beth was a local prostitute with the heart of a giant who proved to be an important and very interesting character in this novel. She never turned a blind eye to anyone in their time of need. Mary Beth was well known by the local orphanage as she was always contributing large donations of money. At one point in the novel, in addition to her regular donation she actually supplied new shoes to all of the children. So even though the local women did not approve of Mary Beth because of her profession, she served as a guardian angel to many people in need.

I enjoy learning new historical facts as this book delivered a lot of information. It also showed that good things do happen to those that stand firm in their faith during times of adversity. David Donaldson is the CEO of Impact Missions and a portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book will help to support that charity. I would like to give a special thank you to both Paula and Penny from Author Marketing Experts, Inc. for supplying me with a review copy of this book. Overall, I throughly enjoyed this book and look forward to reading future work by Grisham and Donaldson.

My Rating: 4/5

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Current Giveaways!

The Book Giveaway Carnival is over but there are still plenty of worthy contests out in blogland right now! Here are just a few:

Write for a Reader has a Spring Cleaning giveaway. HURRY, because this contest ends tonight-3/12.

So Many Precious Books, So Little Time is giving away The Kingmaking by Helen Hollick--Contest ends 3/13.

Savvy Verse and Wit is giving away 2 copies of Mr & Mrs. Darcy: Two Shall Become One by Sharon Lathan--Contest ends 3/14.

Passages to the Past is giving away Mistress of the Sun by Sandra Gulland--Contest ends 3/16.

Booking Mama is giving away an autographed copy of Standing Still by Kelly Simmons--Contest ends 3/18.

Bookish Ruth is giving away a copy of Drood by Dan Simmons--Contest ends 3/19.

Peeking Between the Pages is giving away The Sudden Disappearance of Seetha by Andrea Gunraj--Contest ends 3/20.

S. Krishna's Books is giving away a copy of The Chocolate Run by Dorothy Koomson--Contest ends 3/25.

Drey's Library is having a Spring-y Madness giveaway--Contest ends 3/31.

And don't forget about my contest for This Side of Heaven by Karen Kingsbury that ends 3/28.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Teaser Tuesday-March 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 Bedlam South by Mark Grisham and David Donaldson again:

"They have over forty thousand men; we have twenty thousand men. Do the math and you tell me who will win," Daniel warned in a quiet voice.

pg. 223

**Please note that this is from an ARC uncorrected proof so the final printing may change.

The Winner of Shanghai Girls by Lisa See

I am so glad that I participated in The Book Giveaway Carnival that was hosted by Tracy at Bookroom Reviews.

There were over 100 entries for this ARC that I have available and the winner is.................

Paula H

Congratulations Paula! I will be emailing you shortly for your mailing information. I also want to thank everyone that stopped by to enter this contest!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sunday Salon

Well we have certainly had a busy weekend in our household. My daughter played Eliza Doolittle in the high school production of My Fair Lady. It has been quite a hectic weekend as they have had a performance every day since Thursday, with the last one being this afternoon. As the proud mother of a cast member I went to last night's play and this afternoon's and they were both fabulous!

Here is a picture of Miss Doolittle with a couple of the other cast members. My daughter is the cute blonde gal in the middle.

These kids did such a great job on this play and I am proud of all of them. Especially my little girl--she's got guts! I've always loved to sing, but I don't know if I would have had the nerve to act and sing as she had to in this play--Good job! I'm proud of you!

I have an awfully busy week ahead of me too! My work week will be a bit crazy and then I will be performing in a choir concert Friday night. The real fun will begin Saturday as a few members of my book club hit the road to go and meet an author in Minneapolis. We are definitely excited for our little getaway and hopefully I will be able to post a picture of our festive get-together.

Well I am going to go and enjoy the rest of my Sunday by reading a little bit before my favorite tv shows come on.

Happy reading everyone!

Giveaway: This Side of Heaven by Karen Kingsbury

A special thanks goes out to Miriam from Hachette Book Group for providing me with the review copy and offering to give away a copy of This Side of Heaven by Karen Kingsbury. To find out more about this enjoyable novel you can read my review here.

Now for the giveaway! To enter this contest 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 include your email so I will have a way to contact you if you win.

You will have until March 28th to enter and I will draw for a winner on the 29th.

Good luck everyone!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Friday Finds-March 6

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

One of the books that caught my eye this week was The Lost City of Z by David Grann that I found over at A Bookworm's World:

This book is described as a true story of an expedition to the Amazon. In 1925 Percy Fawcett headed an expedition to the Amazon and was never heard of again. David Grann was so interested in this story he went on his own expedition and followed Fawcett's route. It sounds like a fascinating and intense novel that will keep me on the edge of my seat! Luanne also mentioned that Brad Pitt may be starring in a movie based on this book. Ok, so that may have helped to pique my interest!

Another book that caught my attention was Keeping Hannah Waiting by Dave Clarke, that I found at Diary of an Eccentric.

Here is a what Hologram Publishing has to say about Keeping Hannah Waiting:
Keeping Hannah Waiting, the new novel from bestselling author Dave Clarke, makes a poignant plea for tolerance and forgiveness of the past, but above all, it is a tribute to the power of everlasting love.

Anna also had a wonderful interview with Dave Clarke that made me even more interested in this book. You can read the interview here.

So what new books did you find this week?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Current Giveaways!

With the Book Giveaway Carnival going on this week there are some amazing contests out there! One book that I have noticed on several blogs is Drood by Dan Simmons. You can sign up to win this book at the following blogs:

Jenn's Bookshelf--Contest ends 3/6.

Savvy Verse and Wit--Contest ends 3/6.

A Circle of Books--Contest ends 3/7.

Drey's Library--Contest ends 3/8.

Booking Mama--Contest ends 3/13.

A Bookworm's World--Contest ends 3/20.

Here are some other contests that I have found out there in the blogosphere:
Book Club Girl is giving away Handle With Care by Jodi Picoult--Hurry because this contest ends TONIGHT-3/5.

Bookkitten is giving away a copy of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski--Contest ends 3/7.

At Home With Books has a couple of great giveaways right now. You can win Life of Pi by Yann Martel and The Help by Kathryn Stockett--Both contests end 3/8.

Savvy Verse and Wit is giving away The Kingmaking by Helen Hollick--Contest ends 3/8.

Redlady's Reading Room has a couple of contests for Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. You can win the audiobook version or an ARC edition--Both contests end 3/8.

S. Krishna's Books is giving away The Kingmaking by Helen Hollick--Contest ends 3/8.

S. Krishna's Books is also giving away Your Roots are Showing by Elise Chidely--Contest ends 3/9.

Peeking Between the Pages is giving away The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry--Contest ends 3/9

Luxury Reading is giving away Honolulu by Alan Brennert--Contest ends 3/31.

And don't forget about my contest for Shanghai Girls by Lisa See. You have until 3/7 to enter this contest. You should also check back here this weekend as I will be posting a new giveaway for a Karen Kingsbury novel.

Good Luck Everyone!

Award Time!

Lisa over at Books and Cooks has been so generous as to give me the following award! Thanks so much Lisa, and I would urge all of you to go check out her blog if you haven't done so already.

This award is given to either newbie blogs or blogs that are new to you. Thanks again Lisa! Now I get to pass this award on to 5 other bloggers who are new to me. This is pretty easy as I have come across a few new ones recently that really caught my eye. Here are just a few:

Stacy's Bookblog
Vera from Luxury Reading
Jenners from Find Your Next Book Here
Laura from Laura's Book and Movie Reviews
Write For a Reader

And then I found out that Reading Extravaganza has given me the Proximidade Award! Talk about making me blush! Please check out her blog as she always has something new and interesting posted.

Here's what this award stands for:

"This blog invests and believes in the PROXIMITY-nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement! Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this clever-written text into the body of their award."
And now is the time to announce eight recipients of this award:

Alyce from At Home With Books
Dar from Peeking Between the Pages
Bella from Bella is Reading
TexasRed Books
Michele from A Reader's Respite
Joy from Joy's Blog
Luanne from A Bookworm's World
Sheri from A Novel Menagerie

Thanks again for these wonderful awards, I can't tell you how much they mean to me! Please check out these blogs that I have listed--I bet you will enjoy them as much as I do!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wondrous Words Wednesday-March 4

Bermudaonion 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!

I have found a few new words as I have been reading Bedlam South by Mark Grisham and David Donaldson.

Reveille: [rev-uh-lee; Brit. ri-val-ee] a signal, as of a drum or bugle, sounded early in the morning to awaken military personnel and to alert them for assembly.

I've seen it used a few times already in this book, but here is the first sentence that I found with this word from page 16:

A bugle sounded reveille at five o'clock the next morning.

Malinger: [muh-ling-ger] to pretend illness, esp. in order to shirk one's duty, avoid work, etc.

Here is how malinger was used on page 69:

"Our country is at war, sir! We cannot delay our duty while you malinger."

Zouave: [zoo-ahv, zwahv] a member of any body of soldiers adopting a similar dress and drill, esp. a soldier serving in any of certain volunteer regiments in the American Civil War.

I found this word a few times already also. Here is one example from page 73:

This camp housed a battalion of Zouaves, the last remnant of NewOrleans' Louisiana Tiger Battalion.

So what new words did you find this week?

Review: Tallgrass by Sandra Dallas

The following is a summary of Tallgrass by Sandra Dallas from her website:

During World War II, a family finds life turned upside-down when the government opens a Japanese internment camp in their small Colorado town. After a young girl is murdered, all eyes turn to the newcomers. Rennie has just turned thirteen, and until this time, life has been predictable and fair. But the winds of change are coming and with them, a shift in her perspective and a discovery of secrets that can destroy even the most sacred things. Part thriller, part historical novel, Tallgrass is a riveting exploration of the darkest—and best—parts of the human heart.

My Review:

I must admit that this book delves into a part of America's past that I really was not very knowledgeable about. Although this novel didn't really describe the Japanese internment camp itself, Dallas did a wonderful job of showing how this small Colorado community changed after the camp was opened.

There are several strong themes included in this novel, such as the strong bonds of family, friendships among women, and fears created by circumstances. The book starts out in a small Colorado town, not long after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. A Japanese internment camp was built close to this small community, which puts all of the residents in a new state of fear. There were a few of these camps built throughout the Western United States and the purpose of these camps was to incarcerate all individuals that would have been considered Japanese ethnicity that resided on the West Coast.

Residents became scared of the situation that was being forced upon them. They were sending their local boys off to war in the Pacific to fight against the Japanese, yet the government was putting Japanese people in their back yards. Local residents didn't care if these Japanese people were actually American citizens that were just as upset because they were being stripped of their rights. I found it ironic that many of these boys were forced to stay at the internment camp, but if they were to join the Army they were free to go and fight for the USA.

Rennie Stroud was a young teenage girl that lived on a neighboring farm to the Tallgrass internment camp. Her parents tried to provide a solid and morally sound family life for their children. Rennie's father is not shy in voicing his disappointment in his neighbors when they claim their distrust of the new Japanese residents. He shares his frustrations with his family and friends as he indicates that these American citizens have been stripped of their rights. Rennie becomes even more confused as she sees the confinement of these people in her town, but when she makes a trip to Denver with her mother, there are Japanese people walking free.

To complicate matters further, a young girl is murdered not long after the Tallgrass camp was built. With all of the fear in the community it isn't a surprise that the residents claim that it was one of the Japanese occupants that committed the murder. I enjoy how Dallas kept this part of the story a mystery until the end of the novel.

The Stroud family stood their ground when it came to how they felt about their new neighbors. Mr. Stroud was harrassed for hiring some of the Tallgrass inhabitants to help with the beet harvest. By hiring these boys they really got a chance to know them on a personal level and actually considered them as part of the family.

Women pulling together during difficult times was a very important part of this novel. The Jolly Stitchers was the name of the sewing group that Rennie's mother belonged to and they would show up at the doorstep at the drop of a hat. Here are a couple of excerpts that I enjoyed:

When the Jolly Stitchers found out Mom was ailing, they brought their casseroles and cakes, their cabbage rolls and carrot puddings. Mom drew strength from the women, even those she didn't like so much, because their calling on her showed they cared. I learned a great deal about women during that time, about how in tough times, they pulled together, looked out for one another. They brought their first daffodils to Mom and sewed on their quilt squares while they gossiped and assured her she'd be all right. pg. 134-135

I was learning that when women liked each other the way Mom and Cousin Hazel did, they formed a bond that was different from what either one had with her husband. It didn't mean Mom was disloyal to Dad for being that tight with women. That closeness was in addition to what she had with Dad. pg. 161

Although this was a good story that gave a lot of historical information about a peice of America's dark history, I don't think that Dallas' writing did much for me. I did enjoy learning about Executive Order 9066, that Dallas included in its entirety at the end of the book. If you are interested in learning more about it you can read the Executive Order here. My book club meets tonight to discuss this so I can't wait to see what their thoughts will be.

My Rating: 3/5

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Teaser Tuesday-March 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!

My teaser is from Bedlam South by Mark Grisham and David Donaldson:

"Maniacs and lunatics often beg for release," his lordship announced, in a successful effort to impress his guests. "They don't possess the cognitive capacity to understand the physiological value of Drowning Therapy."

pg 25

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Winner of Matrimony is.....

And the winner of an inscribed copy of Matrimony by Joshua Henkin is:


Congratulations Becky! I will be emailing you shortly to get your mailing information.
And I want to give a special Thank You to Joshua Henkin for offering to give a copy of his book away on my blog!

Happy Birthday to.....Jon Bon Jovi!!!

Ok...so I know that this totally not book-related in any way, but when one of my co-workers told me it was Jon Bon Jovi's birthday today (which she learned on the radio), I figured that I needed to help him celebrate it somehow!

It was almost a year ago now since I decided to head to St. Paul to see Bon Jovi in concert and it was probably the best concert I have ever attended! Woohoo...Rock on Jon! Here is a pic from the concert:

Ya know...I can't share just one pic, so here is another one:

Ok...now that I got that off my chest I can go on with my day!

Book Giveaway Carnival-Shanghai Girls by Lisa See

I am so excited as this is the first time that I am participating in the Book Giveaway Carnival that is hosted by Bookroom Reviews.

I have decided to give away an ARC of Shanghai Girls by Lisa See, as I received an extra copy in the mail. She is such a talanted writer that I am very excited that I have the opportunity to share this with someone.

Now for the giveaway! To enter this contest 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 include your email so I will have a way to contact you if you win.

You can enter the contest until March 7th and I will draw for a winner on March 8th.

Good luck everyone, and don't forget to go check with Tracy for more great contests!

Monday's Movie-Changeling

A Novel Menagerie asks us 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.

The movie that I want to bring to your attention today is Changeling.

Here are the details of the film:

Starring: Angelina Jolie, Jeffrey Donovan, Colm Feore

Genre: Drama, Action

Runtime: 2 hrs, 21 mn

MPAA Rating: R

The following is a summary from the MSN Movie Website:

Inspired by actual events that occurred in 1920s-era Los Angeles, Clint Eastwood's The Changeling tells the story of a woman driven to confront a corrupted LAPD after her abducted son is retrieved and she begins to suspect that the boy returned to her is not the same boy she gave birth to. The year was 1928, and the setting a working class suburb of Los Angeles. As Christine said goodbye to her son Walter and departed for work, she never anticipated that this was the day her life would be forever changed. Upon returning home, Christine was distressed to discover that Walter was nowhere to be found. Over the course of the following months, the desperate mother would launch a search that would ultimately prove fruitless. Yet just when it seemed that all hope was lost, a nine year old boy claiming to be Christine's son seemed to appear out of thin air. Overcome with emotions and uncertain how to face the authorities or the press, Christine invites the child to stay in her home despite knowing without a doubt that he is not her son Walter. As much as Christine would like to accept that fact that her son has been returned to her, she cannot accept the injustice being pushed upon her and continues to challenge the Prohibition-era Los Angeles police force at every turn. As a result, Christine is slandered by the powers that be, and painted as an unfit mother. In this town, a woman who challenges the system is putting her life on the line, and as the situation grows desperate, the only person willing to aid her in her search is benevolent local activist Reverend Briegleb (John Malkovich). ~ Jason Buchanan, All Movie Guide

My Movie Thoughts:

This was one of those movies that really got under my skin and made me just plain mad! But it was a great story that unveiled the corruption that was taking place at the LA Police Department during this time period. Christine is a single mom working hard to keep a decent paying job that offers a promise of advancement in the future. After arriving home from work one afternoon, she finds that her son Walter is missing. After several months of searching the LAPD informs Christine that her son has been found and he will be coming home. Much to Christine's dismay, when she is reunited with her son at the train station, she realizes that this boy is not Walter. She tries to share this information with the police at the time, but they won't listen-they just tell her that since he has been gone for so long the boy has changed and she probably just doesn't recognize him. Christine does take the boy home, because the police forced her to do so, and gains the support of Walter's teachers and doctors that this boy is not her son. Christine continually confronts the police department with this information, but they will not listen to her. They eventually know that they made a mistake but if the public were to find out about this error, the LA police department would get more bad press that they couldn't afford. So the police department proceeds to do everything within it's power to keep Christine silent. The strength and hope of this one woman was amazing!

I am rating this movie 5 out of 5 bags of popcorn!