Saturday, March 31, 2012

Sping Reading Affair: Saturday Stardust and Peony in Love

Hello darling readers!

It's Saturday!

From now on Saturday's posts are not only going to feature a review but will also include a sum-up of the previous week in Books, a challenge update, as well as a peek into what's up on the agenda for the next week!

The last Saturday of each month (like today!) Will present the new Featured Author and Featured Trilogy for the month to follow.

Today there will be no sum-up for this past week as I was out of pocket for a while for wedding planning. Expect a full week next time however and look out for all of the great things coming up for April.

And now.... a REVIEW!


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REVIEW
PEONY IN LOVE
by Lisa See 
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“I finally understand what the poets have written. In spring, moved to passion; in autumn only regret.”

For young Peony, betrothed to a suitor she has never met, these lyrics from The Peony Pavilion mirror her own longings. In the garden of the Chen Family Villa, amid the scent of ginger, green tea, and jasmine, a small theatrical troupe is performing scenes from this epic opera, a live spectacle few females have ever seen. Like the heroine in the drama, Peony is the cloistered daughter of a wealthy family, trapped like a good-luck cricket in a bamboo-and-lacquer cage. Though raised to be obedient, Peony has dreams of her own.

Peony’s mother is against her daughter’s attending the production: “Unmarried girls should not be seen in public.” But Peony’s father assures his wife that proprieties will be maintained, and that the women will watch the opera from behind a screen. Yet through its cracks, Peony catches sight of an elegant, handsome man with hair as black as a cave–and is immediately overcome with emotion.

So begins Peony’s unforgettable journey of love and destiny, desire and sorrow–as Lisa See’s haunting new novel, based on actual historical events, takes readers back to seventeenth-century China, after the Manchus seize power and the Ming dynasty is crushed.

Steeped in traditions and ritual, this story brings to life another time and place–even the intricate realm of the afterworld, with its protocols, pathways, and stages of existence, a vividly imagined place where one’s soul is divided into three, ancestors offer guidance, misdeeds are punished, and hungry ghosts wander the earth. Immersed in the richness and magic of the Chinese vision of the afterlife, transcending even death, Peony in Love explores, beautifully, the many manifestations of love. Ultimately, Lisa See’s new novel addresses universal themes: the bonds of friendship, the power of words, and the age-old desire of women to be heard.
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Auggie-Talk Quill Rating
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Peony in  Love was a book I picked up because of my intense love for Lisa See's work. Her imagery, her mastery over presenting emotion, and her ability to demand feeling from the reader has kept me enthralled with her books since I first picked one up quite a few years back.

Ms. See's books are all engaging, and there are a lot of tear jerking moments in each of her works. However, I was not prepared for the emotion I felt while reading 'Peony in Love'. Within the first few chapters I was bawling, raging, and just plain pissed. I closed the book and almost vowed to never pick it back up. I was that mad!

I don't enjoy being depressed which is why I very much avoid movies and books that others have dubbed 'sad'. I'm even wary of the 'bittersweet' works that I'm recommended from time to time. I live very much in my emotions and because all the doors and windows are opened while I'm reading, any emotion hoping to be provoked is just drawn right out!

I finally told myself that I wouldn't be happy leaving the book off that way and that surely it would make more sense later, so I picked it back up and finished it.

Peony in Love is every much as haunting and wonderful as the description leads on. You feel a deep connection with the main character even in the times when you're severely disagreeing with her attitude, thought processes, or approach to her predicament and obstacles.

The culture that Lisa See presents is full of life and tradition and gives the reader an inside look into a world that seems almost unreal but at the same time is so tangible that it becomes more like a personal memory.

To anyone looking for a rich cultural experience and a story of unimaginable loss, undying love, unwavering loyalty, and the journey to find a renewal of spirit you've come to the right place in Lisa See's "Peony in Love".

I give this book a 4/5.

The only reason this book didn't make a 5/5 for me was that I was quite depressed for a few days after reading it, even though it was so good. It was one of those 'bittersweet' deals that I mentioned earlier.

Anyway find it here:

Amazon: $16.99 *Hardcover*
Kindle: $11.99
Nook: $11.99

Read read read! 


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APRIL ANNOUNCEMENTS
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APRIL AUTHOR
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Alright! This is an exciting time, and even though it's still March (until 12am tonight) I've decided to go ahead and post April's Featured Author.


HARUKI MURAKAMI

(Good Reads Author book list)

This coming Friday ( April 6th) I will present April's Featured Author in more detail and give a list of books by Mr. Murakami that I will be reviewing for this Month.

If you have read any of the books that will be featured for this month and would like to do a review and have it linked check the "Contact" page and send me an e-mail.

I will also be hosting a MURAKAMI GIVEAWAY this month for one of his books. All of the information and details for participation will be posted in April 6th's Featured Friday post.


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APRIL TRILOGY
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Now to Announce April's Featured Trilogy! Ooh! *excited wiggles* So exciting!

Aprils Featured Trilogy will be:

THE KEY TRILOGY

By Nora Roberts. I'm a big fan Nora Roberts trilogies, and this one especially was very good. 

This coming Tuesday (April 3rd) I will post the review for the 1st book in this Trilogy. The following Tuesdays I will post the 2nd and 3rd book. The last Tuesday of April I will post an overall and announce May's Featured Trilogy.

If you have read  (or would like to read during this month) the KEY trilogy and would like to contribute a review that will be linked check the "Contact" page and send me an e-mail.

 


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CHALLENGE UPDATES
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This past week has been slow with reads, mostly because of all of the hectic business that's been going on. Thankfully, I'll be able to pull more books for this next week. So be on the lookout!

Witches and Witchraft 2012 Challenge: 1/20
Book Chick's City 100 books in 2012: 09/100 (I've more than this, but I started with my book intake as of mid Feb.) I've been so slow! I intend to pick up the pace here in the next few months. I few obligations from now until August so I'm excited about being able to dedicate more time to my reading!

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HOSTING!
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In April I will be taking part in the "REDEMPTION" book tour, which beings April 9th and is hosted by CBLS PROMOTIONS.

Here is the Tour schedule:

I will be presenting the books in two separate blogs. Book #1 of Redemption will be featured on Tuesday (April 10th) and Book #2 of Redemption will be featured on Tuesday (April 17th). Check the link schedule to find where the Giveaways for these books will be hosted, and good luck!


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BOOK GIVEAWAY
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As of today there will be 2 book Giveaways this month. 

Tomorrow I will post the first Giveaway of the month so come back to give it a look see.

Friday I will be posting the APRIL Featured author book Giveaway.  The author of this book will be Haruki Murakami. Come back on Friday to find out which book by this Author will be offered.

Each Giveaway will last the month of April.

If you are an author interested in having your book featured and a Giveaway set, visit the "CONTACT" page for instructions.


Well all, I'll see you tomorrow with an IN MY MAILBOX!

Until next Blog,

Read on!

~A. 

POST DIVIDER

Friday, March 30, 2012

Spring Reading Affair: Featured Fridays

Hello my darling darlings!

Another post today dedicated to a new tradition that's being introduced to Auggie-Talk.

Introducing

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FEATURED FRIDAYS
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This weekly post will be centered around the Monthly Featured Author.

Here's how it works: 

Every month I will introduce a Featured Author. Each Friday will be dedicated to reviewing a book written by that month's Featured Author. Pretty simple, isn't it!

During one of the Featured Fridays posts I will give the reader information about the author and include links to official websites.

A link to the Featured Author's book/s and website will be listed in every post made for that month. 

Also there will be a special FEATURED GIVEAWAY. The Giveaway book will be one written by the featured author for that month. 

If you are interested in being a featured author please contact me via e-mail and I will send you information.

I will introduce April's Featured author next Friday! So keep a look out!

Next Friday I will also post the first GIVEAWAY.

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  • If you're interested in writing a guest review blog send me an e-mail.
  • I'm looking for APRIL books. If you have a book you'd like for me to review let me know via comment or e-mail.
  • Keep and eye out for my very first GIVEAWAY (Announced next Friday!)
  • Remember to check out the 2012 challenges (featured on the sidebar) I'm participating in and feel free to join! The more the merrier!


See you Saturday!

Until next Blog,

Read on!

~A.
POST DIVIDER

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Spring Reading Affair: Trilogy Tuesdays!

Hello darlings!

Introducing ----- *dramatic music* -----

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TRILOGY TUESDAYS!
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I've decided to introduce this tradition to Auggie-Talk! So exciting!

Let me explain to you how Trilogy Tuesdays is going to work. 

Every month I will choose a trilogy to read/review.  Every Tuesday for that month my post will be dedicated to the trilogy chosen.  The first 3 Tuesdays will be reviews of each individual book in the trilogy. The final Tuesday in the month will have a review and response to the trilogy as a whole along with a snippet about the author.

From time to time the final Tuesday of the month will feature a guest reviewer who has read the trilogy being featured that month.

As usual there will be links to where you can purchase these books in each review. However, if you're not up for purchasing then support your local library! Check out the book or ask your library to order the book for you.

I live in a particularly small city and I have never had a problem with the Library refusing to order a book for me because I was the only one who asked for it. All of my requests (even the most obscure ones) have been ordered in! So don't be shy! Go Librarying!

That's all for the post this Tuesday, ladies and gents.

No review today because it's the last Tuesday of the month. Starting next Tuesday I'll introduce April's Featured Trilogy and we'll get started!

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  • If you're interested in writing a guest review blog send me an e-mail.
    • I especially have an interest in guest reviews for the features (Featured author, or featured trilogy). 
  • I'm looking for APRIL books. If you have a book you'd like for me to review let me know via comment or e-mail.
  • Remember to check out the 2012 challenges (featured on the sidebar) I'm participating in and feel free to join! The more the merrier!


See you on Wednesday everyone!

Until next Blog,

Read on!

~A.
POST DIVIDER

Monday, March 26, 2012

Spring Reading Affair: Agnes and the Hitman

Hello Readers!


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Auggie-Talk Quill Rating
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4/5
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For today's review I chose a book that I had never planned on reading. Agnes and the Hitman had a title and a cover that would never have struck my fancy, even slightly.

One afternoon I was having coffee with one of my dearest and oldest friends and our topic of conversation had turned to books. She brought up this title and insisted vehemently that I pick up a copy and read it. She was sure I would love it!

Her enthusiasm had me running out to the local book seller. The book was on sale and I snagged it for around $5. I figured it was a sign. I would have found a reason not to pick the book up if it would have been it's full price.

Anyway, I took it home and had it read in 2 days. Though it wasn't my favorite book of all time it was definitely worth the time for the read!

Agnes, the main character, is spunky and uncharacteristically flawed for a main character. When I say 'flawed' I don't mean she has some mental disorder, or some horrible past that has made her a stalker or a kleptomaniac.

It is very easy to relate to Agnes. In all honesty it's very easy to relate to all of Ms. Crusie's main characters. They're strong women who appeal to people through their quirkiness. No supermodel scientists who happen to love a good cappuccino and a shopping spree at Sac's.

Instead Ms. Cruisie offers a character who is multidimensional, colorful, and flawed in a way the reader can relate to. Full of spunk, fire, love, and quandary Agnes represents a woman who is darn well able to take care of her own self, but finds herself falling accidentally head over heals for a hit-man who, at first, simply is not her type.

Agnes is never a flailing, whining woman who needs a knight in shining armor to come and scoop her up. She's her own knight, sparring with the best of them while at the same time easily maintaining her feminine appeal. 


"AGNES AND THE HITMAN" is a book full of 'Oh my ..." and "What the heck?" moments that have you nearly gasping for breath between laughs.

It's a book that has everything. A bit of adventure, a bit of suspense, a bit of mystery, a bit of romance... and Pink Flamingos. 

Yep.  2 of them. 

I give this book a 4/5 and recommend that you pick up a copy just for yourself!

Agnes Crandall's life goes awry when a dognapper invades her kitchen one night,
seriously hampering her attempts to put on a wedding that she's staked her entire net worth on. 
Then a hero climbs through her bedroom window.  His name is Shane, no last name, just Shane, and he
has his own problems:  he's got a big hit scheduled, a rival trying to take him out, and an ex-mobster uncle asking
him to protect some little kid named Agnes.  When he finds out that Agnes isn't so little, his uncle has forgotten to
mention a missing five million bucks he might have lost in Agnes's house, and his last hit was a miss, Shane's
life isn't looking so good, either.  Then a bunch of lowlifes come looking for the money, a string of hit men show
up for Agnes, and some wedding guests gather with intent to throw more than rice.  Agnes and Shane have their
hands full with greed, florists, treachery, flamingos, mayhem, mothers of the bride, and--most dangerous
ofall--each other.  Agnes and the Hitman is the perfect combination of sugar and spice, sweet and salty--a novel
of delicious proportions.


Enjoy everyone!

Until next Blog,

Read on!

~A.


POST DIVIDER

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring Reading Affair: Thrift Store Booking and New Rating System

Hello darlings!

I had a fantastic day today! Mum and I went to the florist and got the floral arrangements all worked out. We then went around to look for antique jewelry for the gown. While we were at our local thrift mall (yes, the local flea market is  MALL size.) I kept running into walls of used books.

Not just books but lot's of amazingly gorgeous little teacups! My mom and I couldn't quit gawking at these dainty little floral cups. I love shopping with my mom! Anyway! Back to those books...

Shelf after shelf of books! We stood in front of one display for quite a while and pilfered through the piles. Mom gave the the names of a couple of authors that she wanted me to try and we just started grabbing!

It was buy 2 get 1 free and each of the books were only $1! I picked up 6 of them and then found another one in a different pile for $2.  I had also purchased two other books from a different section of the market for $1 each. So far that's 9 books total.

After that, while we were leaving the parking lot of the thrift mall, mom spotted a big yellow "BOOKS" sign a few stores down and asked if I wanted to go check it out. When would my answer have ever been 'No'?!

Used books again, but not thrift style, so they were a bit more expensive (paper backs were $3, unless they were really popular authors and then they were $4. Hardbacks ranged between $5-$7.) We spent quite a while roaming through the isles. Mom is a book nut too, so it was a lot of fun listening to her talk with the owner of the little book nook (a 70 year old woman reading a Harlequin romance novel!). She made a lot more suggestions for authors and I picked up 8 more books.

17 books! 

I think at the end of the day I'd spent less than $30 for all of them!

I'm going to have a great IMM this Sunday! So be sure to come by and check it out.

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New Rating System!
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Tonight I'm introducing a new rating system to Auggie-Talk. It's nothing special but it will make rating simpler.

Instead of having an 'Out of 10' rating set up, everything will now be based on a 5 point rating system.


 1 Quill Rating- Not worth the read/Couldn't finish it

 2 Quill Rating - Readable/ Nothing Special. 
 3 Quill Rating - Entertaining/Average.
 4 Quill Rating - Very Enjoyable Read!

 5 Quill Rating - Fantastic! Highly recommend!
Note: The quill images are not free to copy or use. Please refrain from borrowing these images from me to use on your own blog or website. 
There! From now on I will be utilizing this rating system. I will continue to give specific and detailed reasons for why I rated a book the way I did, but I figured this made things a little easier by being more straight forward. 

No book review tonight, dears. However! You can expect one for tomorrow (maybe even 2 in the same post. *gasp*).  I have QUITE a few books to go through, and when things start to get settled back into the normal routine then I'll be giving you guys more reviews. 


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  • If you're interested in writing a guest review blog send me an e-mail.
  • I'm looking for APRIL books. If you have a book you'd like for me to review let me know via comment or e-mail.
  • Keep and eye out for my very first GIVEAWAY (April dates to be announced next blog!)
  • Remember to check out the 2012 challenges (featured on the sidebar) I'm participating in and feel free to join! The more the merrier! 
Until next Blog,

Read on!

~A. 




POST DIVIDER

Monday, March 19, 2012

Spring Reading Affiar: The Game

Hello darling readers!

Mr. J and I took our engagement photos today! We both had a great time hopping around a local botanical garden with family and getting a lot of great pictures. It was a fantastic experience! When the pictures have been looked through and edited I'll share a few on the side-blog!

Now, on to today's review.

I would like to review today a book from an author who changed my life with her work and really made my growing up years magical. Actually, her work makes my life magical even still.

The book is Ms. Diana Wynne Jones' "The Game"

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The Game
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Hayley’s parents disappeared when she was a baby. Since then, she has been raised and homeschooled by her grandparents. Grandad is overworked and travels a lot; Grandma is much too strict and never lets her meet any children her own age. When Hayley does something wrong — she is not quite sure what - they pack her off to her aunts in Ireland. To Hayley’s shock, her family is much bigger than she thought; to her delight, the children all play what they call “the game,” where they visit a place called “the mythosphere.” And while she plays the game, Hayley learns more about her own place in the world than she had ever expected. This original novella by Diana Wynne Jones is sharply funny, fast-paced, and surprising until its very end—like all of this acclaimed author’s work.


This book was one of Ms. Jones' more recent works and was published on March 1, 2007. Almost 4 years exactly before her passing.

I picked up this book knowing that I was going to love what I read, but not knowing what sort of fantastic story I was going to find. Ms. Jones' writing spanned all sorts of worlds, dimensions, ideas, and moral concepts. Her characters are always deep and engaging, full of spunk and adventure and humanity.

"The Game" is no different.

What I loved most about "The Game" is how much Ms. Jones drew from Classic Mythology. She explained myth in a very modern way and even made traveling from well known story to well known story a children's game. The reader, if they have ever been interested in Greek or Roman mythology, will start to recognize key elements of mythology in the places the children visit, props they pick up, and people they meet.

The main character, Hayley, has a family full of quirky cousins and aunts who make you wish you were a part of their constant shenanigans, mysteries, and secrets.  I personally love this sort of family personality aspect, possibly because my own family is so quirky!

Ms. Jones has the ability to create characters that will seize your attention and make you feel that you've met them...somewhere...sometime... before. There are characters who give you that great feeling of warmth and home, characters who demand your full attention and awe, and characters who are so annoying that you really wish you could just knock them right on the ears!

"The Game" is a story that bundles up drama, adventure, "Run run run!" moments, and hilarious exchanges that have you gasping for your next breath between giggles. (I personally thought the ending was particularly humorous.)

Diana Wynne Jones will forever be, to me, the master of magical stories and this is one that I will be reading to the kids someday. 

In comparison to books I have read in general, I give "The Game" a 10/10

In comparison to Ms. Jones' OTHER works, I give "The game" an 8/10

Amazon: "The Game" ($9.22)


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New Challenges!
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I am very pleased to have accepted two new challenges, and I hope that you will join me in trying to reach great reading goals this year!

The first of the challenges is:

Book Chick City's 100+ Books In a Year Challenge!



 You can find all of the rules on the challenge website (click the lovely banner above!) but to give you the short version here are the main guidelines:

  • Read 100+ books in 2012
  • No non-fiction
  • No audiobooks
  • You don't need a blog to join! That's right!   

Run run run! Right now! Go to the challenge webpage and read all of the official rules and sign on up! This challenge will give you the opportunity to really push yourself with reading and network with others who are doing the same thing.

Witches and Witchcraft 2012 Challenge! ❀ 

My first goal: Initiate 1-5 books
I am very excited about this challenge! Hosted by Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf, this challenge is all about getting readings to read fiction and non-fiction genre's focused on witches and magic. I love magical fiction (Much anticipation about reading "A Discovery of Witches") and am looking forward to reading some of the suggestions that were posted on the blog post to help readers get started.

The reader can choose how many books they would like to choose out of this category to read in 2012. It can be as few as 5 or as many as 20.

You can always start small and work your way up, but if you start out at the max... then there's no going back! Once you've set your goal number you can only increase it. No decreasing allowed in this challenge.

I personally am going to start out small and work my way up. So, that means my goal at this point is 5 books in this genre.

What's your goal going to be?

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NEWS
  • If you're interested in writing a guest review blog send me an e-mail.
  • March is full but I'm looking for APRIL books. If you have a book you'd like for me to review let me know via comment or e-mail.
  • Keep and eye out for my very first GIVEAWAY (April dates to be announced next review post!) 
Until next Blog,

Read on!

~A. 




POST DIVIDER

Spring Reading Affair: IN MY MAILBOX



Hello my darling darlings!

Thank you for patiently waiting and here... finally... for the first time ever on Auggie-Talk!!!

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IN MY MAILBOX
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Please excuse the quiet talking, the household was asleep at the time of making this and I didn't want to disturb anyone. Also, please expect videos of a much better quality in the IMM's to follow. This one was rather rushed, but I hope you still enjoy!



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BOOKS
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❀ Bloodroot - Amy Greene ❀

Named for a flower whose blood-red sap possesses the power both to heal and poison, Bloodroot is a stunning fiction debut about the legacies—of magic and madness, faith and secrets, passion and loss—that haunt one family across the generations, from the Great Depression to today.

The novel is told in a kaleidoscope of seamlessly woven voices and centers around an incendiary romance that consumes everyone in its path: Myra Lamb, a wild young girl with mysterious, haint blue eyes who grows up on remote Bloodroot Mountain; her grandmother Byrdie Lamb, who protects Myra fiercely and passes down “the touch” that bewitches people and animals alike; the neighbor boy who longs for Myra yet is destined never to have her; the twin children Myra is forced to abandon but who never forget their mother’s deep love; and John Odom, the man who tries to tame Myra and meets with shocking, violent disaster. Against the backdrop of a beautiful but often unforgiving country, these lives come together—only to be torn apart—as a dark, riveting mystery unfolds.

With grace and unflinching verisimilitude, Amy Greene brings her native Appalachia—and the faith and fury of its people—to rich and vivid life. Here is a spellbinding tour de force that announces a dazzlingly fresh, natural-born storyteller in our midst.

Nook:

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❀ The Tiger's Wife - Tea Obreht ❀

In a Balkan country mending from years of conflict, Natalia, a young doctor, arrives on a mission of mercy at an orphanage by the sea. By the time she and her lifelong friend Zóra begin to inoculate the children there, she feels age-old superstitions and secrets gathering everywhere around her. Secrets her outwardly cheerful hosts have chosen not to tell her. Secrets involving the strange family digging for something in the surrounding vineyards. Secrets hidden in the landscape itself.
But Natalia is also confronting a private, hurtful mystery of her own: the inexplicable circumstances surrounding her beloved grandfather’s recent death. After telling her grandmother that he was on his way to meet Natalia, he instead set off for a ramshackle settlement none of their family had ever heard of and died there alone. A famed physician, her grandfather must have known that he was too ill to travel. Why he left home becomes a riddle Natalia is compelled to unravel.

Grief struck and searching for clues to her grandfather’s final state of mind, she turns to the stories he told her when she was a child. On their weeklytrips to the zoo he would read to her from a worn copy of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, which he carried with him everywhere; later, he told her stories of his own encounters over many years with “the deathless man,” a vagabond who claimed to be immortal and appeared never to age. But the most extraordinary story of all is the one her grandfather never told her, the one Natalia must discover for herself. One winter during the Second World War, his childhood village was snowbound, cut off even from the encroaching German invaders but haunted by another, fierce presence: a tiger who comes ever closer under cover of darkness. “These stories,” Natalia comes to understand, “run like secret rivers through all the other stories” of her grandfather’s life. And it is ultimately within these rich, luminous narratives that she will find the answer she is looking for.


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❀ Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother- Amy Chua ❀

An awe-inspiring, often hilarious, and unerringly honest story of one mother's exercise in extreme parenting, revealing the rewards-and the costs-of raising her children the Chinese way.

All decent parents want to do what's best for their children. What Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother reveals is that the Chinese just have a totally different idea of how to do that. Western parents try to respect their children's individuality, encouraging them to pursue their true passions and providing a nurturing environment. The Chinese believe that the best way to protect your children is by preparing them for the future and arming them with skills, strong work habits, and inner confidence. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother chronicles Chua's iron-willed decision to raise her daughters, Sophia and Lulu, her way-the Chinese way-and the remarkable results her choice inspires.

Here are some things Amy Chua would never allow her daughters to do:

• have a playdate
• be in a school play
• complain about not being in a school play
• not be the #1 student in every subject except gym and drama
• play any instrument other than the piano or violin
• not play the piano or violin

The truth is Lulu and Sophia would never have had time for a playdate. They were too busy practicing their instruments (two to three hours a day and double sessions on the weekend) and perfecting their Mandarin.

Of course no one is perfect, including Chua herself. Witness this scene:

"According to Sophia, here are three things I actually said to her at the piano as I supervised her practicing:
1. Oh my God, you're just getting worse and worse.
2. I'm going to count to three, then I want musicality.
3. If the next time's not PERFECT, I'm going to take all your stuffed animals and burn them!"

But Chua demands as much of herself as she does of her daughters. And in her sacrifices-the exacting attention spent studying her daughters' performances, the office hours lost shuttling the girls to lessons-the depth of her love for her children becomes clear. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother is an eye-opening exploration of the differences in Eastern and Western parenting--and the lessons parents and children everywhere teach one another.

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❀ A discovery of Witches - Deborah Harkness ❀
A richly inventive novel about a centuries-old vampire, a spellbound witch, and the mysterious manuscript that draws them together.

Deep in the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.

Debut novelist Deborah Harkness has crafted a mesmerizing and addictive read, equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense. Diana is a bold heroine who meets her equal in vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont, and gradually warms up to him as their alliance deepens into an intimacy that violates age-old taboos. This smart, sophisticated story harks back to the novels of Anne Rice, but it is as contemporary and sensual as the Twilight series-with an extra serving of historical realism.
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❀ The Read Pyramid - Rick Riordan ❀
Since their mother's death, Carter and Sadie have become near strangers. While Sadie has lived with her grandparents in London, her brother has traveled the world with their father, the brilliant Egyptologist, Dr. Julius Kane.

One night, Dr. Kane brings the siblings together for a "research experiment" at the British Museum, where he hopes to set things right for his family. Instead, he unleashes the Egyptian god Set, who banishes him to oblivion and forces the children to flee for their lives.

Soon, Sadie and Carter discover that the gods of Egypt are waking, and the worst of them —Set— has his sights on the Kanes. To stop him, the siblings embark on a dangerous journey across the globe - a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family and their links to a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs.

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❀ The Book of Lost Things - John Connolly ❀
High in his attic bedroom, twelve-year-old David mourns the death of his mother, with only the books on his shelf for company. But those books have begun to whisper to him in the darkness. Angry and alone, he takes refuge in his imagination and soon finds that reality and fantasy have begun to meld. While his family falls apart around him, David is violently propelled into a world that is a strange reflection of his own -- populated by heroes and monsters and ruled by a faded king who keeps his secrets in a mysterious book, The Book of Lost Things.Taking readers on a vivid journey through the loss of innocence into adulthood and beyond, New York Times bestselling author John Connolly tells a dark and compelling tale that reminds us of the enduring power of stories in our lives.

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❀ Faking It - Jennifer Crusie ❀

Meet the Goodnights, a respectable family who run a respectable art gallery—and have for generations. There’s Gwen, the matriarch, who likes to escape reality; Eve, the oldest daughter, who has a slight identity problem (she has two); Nadine, the granddaughter, who’s ready to follow in the family footsteps as soon as she can find a set that isn’t leading off a cliff. And last, Matilda, the youngest daughter, who has inherited the secret locked down in the basement of the Goodnight Gallery, a secret she’s willing to do almost anything to keep, even break into a house in the dead of night to steal back her past.
Meet the Dempseys, or at least meet Davy, a reformed con man who’s just been ripped off for a cool three million by his financial manager, who then gallantly turned it over to Clea Lewis, the most beautiful sociopath Davy ever slept with. Davy wants the money back, but more than that, he’ll do anything to keep Clea from winning, including break into her house in the dead of night to steal back his future.
One collision in a closet later, Tilda and Davy reluctantly join forces to combat Clea, suspicious art collectors, a disgruntled heir, and an exasperated hit man, all the while coping with a mutant dachshund, a jukebox stuck in the sixties, questionable sex, and the growing realization that they can’t turn their backs on the people they were meant to be . . . or the people they were born to love.

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❀ Dreams of Joy - Lisa See ❀

In her most powerful novel yet, acclaimed author Lisa See returns to the story of sisters Pearl and May from Shanghai Girls, and Pearl’s strong-willed nineteen-year-old daughter, Joy. Reeling from newly uncovered family secrets, Joy runs away to Shanghai in early 1957 to find her birth father—the artist Z.G. Li, with whom both May and Pearl were once in love. Dazzled by him, and blinded by idealism and defiance, Joy throws herself into the New Society of Red China, heedless of the dangers in the Communist regime. Devastated by Joy’s flight and terrified for her safety, Pearl is determined to save her daughter, no matter the personal cost. From the crowded city to remote villages, Pearl confronts old demons and almost insurmountable challenges as she follows Joy, hoping for reconciliation. Yet even as Joy’s and Pearl’s separate journeys converge, one of the most tragic episodes in China’s history threatens their very lives.
Nook:$11.99


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NEWS
  • If you're interested in writing a guest review blog send me an e-mail.
  • March is full but I'm looking for APRIL books. If you have a book you'd like for me to review let me know via comment or e-mail.
  • Keep and eye out for my very first GIVEAWAY (specific hosting dates soon)
Until next Blog,

Read on! 

~A. 



POST DIVIDER

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Quick Update

Hello my darling readers!

I just wanted to post a quick update.

The past few days have been extremely busy. Mr. J and I drove to his family's house for an overnight visit yesterday. Because his beautiful family lives out in the fields (gorgeous, green, hilly farmland), there was no internet connection.

We had a great time, though! As part of the adventure, Mr. J and I ended up sleeping in my car! Our cat, Diodorus, was making all kinds of noise, meowing up a storm, and was keeping us awake (I had the couch, and he had the recliner in the living room). We guess this is because he was feeling uncomfortable in his suddenly new surroundings. Our only hope for sleep was to get out of the house. It was actually quite a bit of fun!

Today we drove into my hometown where we'll be staying for a while. Planning a wedding is busy business and this is the first time we've been able to be in town together, so there's a lot of appointments to keep!

So, I apologize for no reviews these past few days and promise to begin posting again starting tomorrow.

Also, tomorrow is my very first IMM! So please stop by for a visit. I've gained a bunch of new titles and I can't wait to share them with you!

Oh oh oh.. and HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY everyone!

Until next blog,

~A.
POST DIVIDER

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Spring Reading Affair: Sookie Stackhouse Series

Hello my darling readers!

Very sorry for the lack of review yesterday. It was quite a busy day! I met up with Mr. J's family and hung out with them unexpectedly (but it was oh so enjoyable!) and then ran into a friend at the local book seller. Between all of this I was shopping! I picked up two new books and found quite a few more to read!

Now I'm back and ready to settle in and write a review!

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SOOKIE STACKHOUSE




In honor of the release of Charlaine Harris newest Sookie Stackhouse book "Deadlocked" (May 1 2012),  I've decided to offer a quick review of the series.

The Sookie Stackhouse series is so full of adventure, storylines, emotions, and ideas that it would take months to write a review about all of the great things about these books!

I will very honestly admit that Charlaine Harris' other books and series never much gained my interest. Initially, I wasn't even that drawn to the first book or so of the Sookie Stackhouse series.  Finally while I was flitting around my local Target, I snatched it up to give it a read just for fun.

Instant love.

As the series has grown I've only gotten more and more into her style of storytelling that is capturing, entertaining, and 'on the edge of your seat' exciting.

Charlaine Harris has created an entire world in the Southern united states filled with both modern and ancient ideas of the supernatural. Her research has made her knowledgeable in all manner of myths and legends, which has allowed her to write in a very engaging and intellectually stimulating way.

The main character, Sookie, is a southern young woman filled with old and new ideas of her world, constantly accepting things as they are with grace, and fighting against what she believes is wrong with a ferocity that matches her spunk in all other things.

The characters that surround Sookie are all multi-layered and each manage to evoke some sort of emotion from the reader. Sookie's feelings and thoughts are contagious throughout the book, and you find yourself agreeing with her about most everything... even if she turns out to be wrong.

There's just enough mystery in each book to really keep you on the edge about what's going to happen next. Ms. Harris is NOT afraid to kill or maim characters that the reader has become fond of (though I, of course, can't tell you who!) and after the reader has figured this out you're always wondering what she has in store for the next dramatic event.

Charlaine Harris incorporates a lot of "OH MY GOSH, NO WAY! ARE YOU SERIOUS! THAT'S CRAZY!" moments into each of her books, which definitely keeps you coming back for more.

As far as a series goes... I give the Sookie Stackhouse series a 10/10. 

Start the series here with "Dead until Dark".

Oh... and my advice to you is:  DON'T watch Trueblood before you read the series. The HBO episodes are entertaining but don't remain true to the book's storyline. HBO has invented random characters and side storylines as well as keeping certain characters alive that met an untimely end in the original series. Trueblood is, at best,  loosely based on the Sookie Stackhouse books.


PRE-ORDER "DEADLOCKED" HERE

Sookie Stackhouse Full Series


This most recent box set is minus "Dead Reckoning", which you can get here



Enjoy!

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NEWS
  • I will be vlogging my very first IMM this Sunday! Hope you can stop by to have a look see! 
  • If you're interested in writing a guest review blog send me an e-mail.
  • March is full but I'm looking for APRIL books. If you have a book you'd like for me to review let me know via comment or e-mail.
  • Keep and eye out for my very first GIVEAWAY (specific hosting dates soon)
Until next Blog, 

Read on!

~A. 
 
POST DIVIDER

Monday, March 12, 2012

Spring Reading Affair: Escapade Library and More Resources!

Hello my readers!

You are meeting an absolutely giddy Auggie today!

The temperatures here have somehow managed to find their way into the 70's and I am BASKING, I tell you, BASKING in the feel of the warm sun on my skin again! While cold weather does make me want to curl up with a nice cup of tea and a good book... it also makes me sleepy.

Warm weather puts so much energy in my veins sometimes I'm not sure how Mr. J can handle it! But I turn that energy into reading power, so there you go!

I am itching to do a review but I'm going to put that off for today to bring you ESCAPADE LIBRARY and also more very wonderful online resources for all of your readishing needs!

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ESCAPADE LIBRARY

I bounced out to the local library yesterday to pick up a few books. Some of the ones I wanted were on hold, so I plowed through my TBR list and landed a few.

The Tiger's Wife

SHORT SYNOPSIS
In a Balkan country mending form years of conflict, Natalia, a young doctor,
arrives on a mission of mercy at an orphanage by the sea. By the time she and
her lifelong friend Zora being to inoculate the children there, she feels age-old
supersitions and secrets gathering everywhere around her. Secrets her outwardly
cheerful hosts have chosen not to tell her. Secrets involving the strange
family digging for something in the surrounding vineyards.
Secrets hidden in the landscape itself.


"The Tiger's Wife" is one of the Bookworm Bitches Bookclub's (Oooh, I love it!) books of the month. I had been meaning to read this for a while and finally rounded myself up to check it out. If you are reading this book, or are thinking of reading it, and would like to join the discussion come and join us at BOOKWORM BITCHES on Goodreads.com.

Bloodroot
SHORT SYNOPSIS
"Named for a flower whose blood-red sap possesses
the power both to heal and poison, Bloodroot is a stunning
fiction debut about the legacies - of magic and madness,
faith and secrets, passion and loss - that haunt
one family across the generations, from the
Great Depression to today."
 This was another bookclub read that I snatched up. You can join the discussion at  
SOUTHERN LIT LOVERS on Goodreads.com.

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother
SHORT SYNOPSIS
Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother is the unerringly honest, often hilarious,
and always provocativestory of one mother's adventure in extreme parenting.
Totally at odds with Western parentalindulgence, Amy Chua has made an
iron-willed decisionto raise her daughters, Sophia and Lulu, the Chinese way.

This non-fiction book is simply one that I've wanted to pick up ever since I read a review about it in a random lit magazine (I can't even remember the name of it!) I was poking through at my local book seller. I'm very excited to read this book because I know that I'll have plenty of my own opinion to share. I expect this to be a very interesting and eyeopening read.

 BUY HERE!

The Tiger's Wife

Bloodroot

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

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ONLINE RESOURCES
GOODREADS

Your haven for book reviews! Your own personal virtual bookshelf!

I really enjoy this website that serves as a large community for all types of bookreaders. You'll find groups, forums, and thousands upon thousands of reviews from others who have read the books you're interested in. Write your own reviews and share them with the world!

Connect with me on Goodreads: Auggie@Goodreads


BOOK BLOGS

If you've got a blog that's all about books, or if you're looking for great blogs that specialize in book reviews, giveaways, author interviews and more then this is the place for you! The website also offers forums and groups with weekly, monthly, and yearly challenges.

Connect with me on Book Blogs: Auggie@BookBlogs

SMASHWORDS

eBooks galore! A great way to look up new books by genre, length, and even price. Looking for books under $5.99? How about books for just $.99? They've got them! This is your chance to find thousands of books published by independent authors.

If you're looking to ePublish your literary work, this is a great option for you.

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 Well everyone, that's the post for today.

Hopefully I'll have a lovely review for you tomorrow!

Some NEWS:
  • If you're interested in writing a guest review blog send me an e-mail.
  • March is full but I'm looking for APRIL books. If you have a book you'd like for me to review let me know via comment or e-mail.
  • Keep and eye out for my very first GIVEAWAY (specific hosting dates soon)
Until next blog,

Read on!

~A.
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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Spring Reading Affair: Bookworm Bitches March Challenge

Introducing: 

BOOKWORM BITCHES

A book club for all you bookish bitches out there. ;)

BB is an active book club established through GOODREADS.COM, which every single one of my book lovin' friends should join ASAP. I mean, come on ya'll. Us bibliophiles have to stick together!

Anyway, enough of that (or not enough, but moving on).

I am participating in a mini challenge within my 100 books in 2012 challenge. I hope that some of you will hop in and join. If you're a book lovin' lady then wag your tail right on down to the BB forum:


You'll have to sign up for a Goodreads account before you can participate through the forum, but that's painless. You need to have a Goodreads account anyway! When you get there go ahead and find me, I'd love to connect with you!


Got any guys reading out there? Great! You can participate too. No worries!

Here's the challenge:

BB'S MARCH MINI CHALLENGE:

Read 3 books this month that you've had on your TBR (TO-BE-READ) list for at least 6 months.

Here are mine:

1.  DREAMS OF JOY by Lisa See



2. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami



3. Sex with Kings: 500 years of


I'm heading to the library this afternoon to pick up these titles. I had a few other books in line to read before these, but now that I've got this challenge to complete I'm actually going to get them read!


Will you accept the challenge?!

The challenge ends on March 31st, so get a'readin'!

Until next blog,

Read on!

~A.
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