Winner #3

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Our 2nd winner, Jennifer, chose The Day the Falls Stood Still!

Our third winner is................



...........................






........................









...................................






...............................




Christine @ Booktumbling!

Christine, please comment with your book choice!




An ARC of After by Amy Efaw
My Review


The Birthing House by Christopher Ransom


Another Faust by Daniel and Dina Nayeri


Ruined by Paula Morris


Crossing Washington Square by Joanne Rendell
My Review



The Space Between Before and After by Jean Reynolds Page
My Review


Close Encounters of the Third Grade Kind: Thoughts on Teacherhood by Phillip Done

Alice in Wonderland Challenge -- September 2009


For those of you who completed any of the tasks for this challenge during September of 2009, please link your reviews on mcklinky below. If you completed more than one task, please list them separately. I will also mark them off on my spreadsheet so I can see how far you are (I'm keeping track for purposes of giving out prizes later). MckLinky is only open for 5 days so if you don't get your review linked you can do so next month. Remember, only those who link their reviews here are eligible for prizes.

If you haven't joined yet and would like to, you can join at any time! Click on the picture above and it will take you to the page with the MckLinky sign up!

Winnter #2 again

Oh I hate hate hate to do this. I considered sending a reminder e-mail but after some thought I decided it wouldn't be fair because then I'd have to do it for everyone. My rules were that every person has 24 hours to come back and choose their book and that I wouldn't send e-mails out. Since our winner #2 did not report with her choice, I will have to choose again! I hope no one hates me for this! I'm just trying to be consistent and fair.

Okay, for those who did not see, our first winner, Melissa, chose Her Fearful Symmetry!




Now it's time for our second winner. The available books are listed below. And with that, winner #2 is.........






...................................






...............................




Jennifer @ Rundpinne!

Jennifer, please comment with your book choice!




An ARC of After by Amy Efaw
My Review


The Birthing House by Christopher Ransom


Another Faust by Daniel and Dina Nayeri


Ruined by Paula Morris


Crossing Washington Square by Joanne Rendell
My Review



The Space Between Before and After by Jean Reynolds Page
My Review


Close Encounters of the Third Grade Kind: Thoughts on Teacherhood by Phillip Done


The Day the Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan

Waiting on Wednesday


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


Here's my pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection:



From bn.com:

"I'd heard about him but had never seen him, the foreigner with the funny name who wandered the countryside painting pictures."

F rom a talented new author comes a poignant and haunting novel of creation and desire, passion and madness, art and love.

A young prostitute seeking temporary refuge from the brothel, Rachel awakens in a beautiful garden in Arles to discover she is being sketched by a red-haired man in a yellow straw hat. This is no ordinary artist but the eccentric painter Vincent van Gogh—and their meeting marks the beginning of a remarkable relationship. He arrives at their first assignation at No. 1, Rue du Bout d'Arles, with a bouquet of wildflowers and a request to paint her—and before long, a deep, intense attachment grows between Rachel and the gifted, tormented soul.

But the sanctuary Rachel seeks from her own troubled past cannot be found here, for demons war within Vincent's heart and mind. And one shocking act will expose the harsh, inescapable truth about the artist she has grown to love more than life.

Publish Date: October 13, 2009

One of my best friends loves Vincent Van Gogh and even named her baby Vincent. This book looks really good and was also written by a professor at USF over in nearby Tampa!! I will definitely be looking out for this book.


Bending Toward the Sun

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Bending Toward the Sun stirred in me many emotions and thoughts that I did not expect to experience while reading this book. It is a multi-generational memoir beginning when now grandmother, Rita Lurie, is a young child during the Holocaust. This book is advertised as a memoir about the Holocaust, and while that does definitely have a significant place in the lives of these women and is the foundation for much of the thoughts and feelings experienced by them, it is not what defines this memoir. I was drawn to many different themes in this book -- mainly to those about the often frustrating dynamics in mother-daughter relationships and to those themes regarding cultural differences and their effect on those individuals living through them.

Before reading any more of this review, you may want to watch a short interview with the three women on the Today show. I watched it before I read this book and it gave me a great introduction to whom I was to read about. That interview is here, and there is also an excerpt there if you're interested.

The memoir starts off with Rita describing her childhood from the time of the war and when they had to go into hiding. This part is, as you can imagine, heartbreaking. The entire book is well done in that it tells of a life story without spending too long on each topic as memoirs sometimes tend to do. It moves at a consistent pace throughout which maintains the readers' interest. The effects of the Holocaust are long lasting on Rita and she takes us through the events of the rest of her life including the birth and raising of her children.

The second part of the book is then the thoughts of Rita's daughter, Leslie. She grows up feeling a fierce protectiveness toward her mother as well as separation anxiety. This is all despite the many successes and accomplishments throughout the years. She discusses then the birth of her children and how her daughter, Mikaela, appears to have all the same anxieties toward her. It is then that Leslie starts to learn more about how trauma survivors can often pass down their anxieties to the next generation and so on. The memoir doesn't delve into this topic too much to exhaust the casual reader, but enough that it may pique the interest of those interested in psychology and mental health.

But as I mentioned above, what I enjoyed best about this book was both the multi-generational method of story-telling and the mother-daughter dynamics. The multi-generational aspect is something often seen in fiction, but I have never read a memoir in this fashion. I found it fascinating to follow the lives from the time Rita was a child through to her daughter's life and then through to another. This may be a result of my personal lack of multi-generational knowledge. I was never close with my maternal grandparents due to geographical and language barriers. Then, cultural differences often caused similar clashes between my mother and me that I read about here with Rita and Leslie, and for me it was almost therapeutic reading about it and being able to identify similarities in their interactions. The book is peppered throughout with pictures of Rita growing up, and of Leslie too. I love having a variety of pictures in memoirs so I can see the people I am reading about.

In the book, Leslie states that her mother, Rita, wanted to document her experience during the Holocaust, being, as she is, one from the last generation of survivors. I, too, think it's important and wonderful for her to document her history. As Leslie also stated, Rita's life and experiences are possibly what Anne Frank may experienced had she lived. For this reason alone, this book is worth reading.

Thank you to FSB Associates for providing me with a copy of this book for review!

Winner #2

Monday, September 28, 2009

Okay, for those who did not see, our first winner, Melissa, chose Her Fearful Symmetry!




Now it's time for our second winner. The available books are listed below. And with that, winner #2 is.........






...................................






...............................




Alyssa Kirk @ Teens Read and Write!!

Alyssa, please comment with your book choice!




An ARC of After by Amy Efaw
My Review


The Birthing House by Christopher Ransom


Another Faust by Daniel and Dina Nayeri


Ruined by Paula Morris


Crossing Washington Square by Joanne Rendell
My Review



The Space Between Before and After by Jean Reynolds Page
My Review


Close Encounters of the Third Grade Kind: Thoughts on Teacherhood by Phillip Done


The Day the Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan

Winner #1

We have our first winner!!!!


I tried to save a screenshot from random.org and I did, but I can't figure out how to make it a picture and upload it here. So hopefully you all will take my word for it! Our first winner has 24 hours to comment with the book he/she would like. I will then announce the next random winner. For your convenience I've listed all the available books here. Of course this time they are all available but that will change. =) And our winner is......



..........................



........................


...........................



Melissa @ Shh I'm Reading!!




An ARC of After by Amy Efaw
My Review


The Birthing House by Christopher Ransom


Another Faust by Daniel and Dina Nayeri


Ruined by Paula Morris


Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger


Crossing Washington Square by Joanne Rendell
My Review



The Space Between Before and After by Jean Reynolds Page
My Review


Close Encounters of the Third Grade Kind: Thoughts on Teacherhood by Phillip Done


The Day the Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan

The Sunday Salon

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Today is going to be a very busy day for me... leaving the house at 8:30 and won't be back until after 6 at which time I need to type up some progress notes and get ready for both work tomorrow and the clients I am supposed to see tomorrow after work. I haven't done much reading this week either. I did finish The Birthing House which I just recently reviewed. I'm almost finished with Bending Toward the Sun and hope to have the review up tomorrow. I really like it but just haven't had the time to read much at a time.

After that, I have 3 more days (weekdays at that!) to finish another book by the end of the month. I was really hoping to make that Rebecca since that will meet my September book for the 1001 books challenge as well as another on the R.I.P challenge... but I don't know that I'll be able to finish it by Wednesday night! I also need to get started on my Alice challenge. Especially since I will be participating in the upcoming blog tour for Random Magic by Sasha Soren and that will be used for the challenge. (I would really like to read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass first before completing any other parts of the challenge).

Ah, I'm crazy to try to "schedule" all this reading in, lol, but then I love reading because, after all, it does take... me... away... LOL.

Don't forget to sign up for the 100 followers giveaway! You only have through tonight since I will start announcing winners tomorrow!



Ok, that's all for now.

Location, Location

Friday, September 25, 2009

If you haven't already heard, I have an upcoming trip to New York City that I am soooo super excited about!! (And trust me, you will hear about it more, hehe). I have adored the thought of NYC my entire life and out of the whole world it has been the number one place I've wanted to go, lol. Some people may think I have small aspirations, but well, it is what it is. So, of course, recently I've only wanted to do, think, see, read, etc. all things NYC. Any book that takes place in the city and has descriptions of it is something I want to read. But another area I like to read about is Washington DC. I went there a couple years ago and fell in love with the hustle and bustle of that city (so imagine my excitement then for NYC!) as well as the significance of that city. A lot of the DC locations are mystery/thrillers or legal thrillers etc. that take place near the white house, and those are fun too.

I've noticed, however, that so very many books take place in the coastal areas off of Maine/Cape Cod and all those areas. For whatever reason, those settings tend to bore me. I enjoy the beach scene but only in tropical areas like Florida (where I live) or Hawaii, etc. If I read the synopsis for a book and it takes place in one of those northern coastal areas it automatically turns me off. Not to say I won't enjoy the book but that's a negative factor for me. At the same time, I realize others LOVE that location!

So what do YOU think? Do you have certain settings you like and ones you don't?

What have you read that takes place where you live? I don't know that I've ever read one that takes place in Orlando. The only Florida ones I've looked at have taken place in the more rural areas and those also do not interest me at all.

The Birthing House

I read The Birthing House by Christopher Ransom as part of my R.I.P challenge. The plot synopsis had me intrigued every time I looked at it at Barnes and Noble so I finally caved and bought it. A couple moves into a new home that was previously used in the past as a “birthing house” where mothers stayed during their pregnancy. (I’m not sure on how far in the past but I’m thinking a hundred years?? I’m sure it said and I didn’t catch it). The husband then finds an old picture of some of the pregnant women and notices his wife is one of the girls. More strange things start to happen in the house and the husband starts to unwillingly learn more about the history of the home and its inhabitants. This includes some supernatural things that happen in the house as well as some creepy information he learns about what happened to the people he bought the house from.

I have to say this book definitely fit the theme of the challenge I used it for. It was scary, yes… (some of you saw my comment on Twitter
that I was reading this before bed and it freaked me out so much I pulled out a chick lit, Shoe Addicts Anonymous, to ease my mind before going to sleep, lol). I want to say I don’t really scare easily, but it’s possible the book had this effect on me because it had an overall somber tone to it that I wasn’t necessarily expecting. I thought it was about a happy couple buying a new home and then, wham, all that happens. But in actuality, the storyline is pretty gloomy. The husband and wife are having problems. The husband buys the house sort of on a whim to get away. His wife goes away for a while and he stays home, depressed. Then things start to get creepy and all that. I don’t want to give too much away.

This wasn’t the most professional of reviews, but basically that’s all I’ve got in me today and I really wanted to get this posted. At first I wasn’t sure if I was going to like the book because it wasn’t what I initially expected. But once I got a little further into the storyline I enjoyed it. The writing was good and flowed well. Some parts were definitely strange but it all came together fairly well in the end. I am glad I read it because I was very curious and I would have always wondered about it if I hadn’t just finally bought it and read it.

Throwback Thursday

Thursday, September 24, 2009



Throwback Thursday – this is a weekly event hosted by me! It is the time each week to recognize those older books… an older book you’ve always wanted to read, or one that you have read and love; maybe one from your childhood; or review an older book -- how about even a classic! Leave a comment here and feel free to take an icon and use it on your blog!


This week's throwback is:

My Sergei: A Love Story by Ekaterina Gordeeva


From amazon.com:
In the former Soviet Union, the sports establishment, charged with producing winners for the greater glory of the empire, had almost unlimited power over the athletically gifted. Children as young as five or six were identified, sent to special schools and given rigorous training in the sports in which they were expected to excel. Two such youngsters were Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov, paired as skaters by their teachers when they were 11 and 14, respectively. Throughout their training and into the start of their competitive careers, each thought of the other only as an athletic partner, partly because the four-year difference in their ages meant they had few friends in common. But as time passed and their joint career led to international championships, they fell in love and married. Their success culminated in Olympic gold medals in 1990 and 1994. And then, suddenly, Grinkov died of a heart attack in 1995 at age 28. The story of their love and their happiness together is deeply moving, and the final chapters are heartrending, while the many photos heighten the tale.


This was a spontaneous purchase of mine on my first trip to a used book store when I was in high school. For me it represented the unique finds that are what I thought used book stores were all about. It's a wonderful but heartbreaking read about Ekaterina and Sergei's relationship and their rise in figure skating.