Saturday, January 29, 2011

There's a book I can't wait to get my hands on.

It's coming in April and it's Elizabeth I by Margaret George! I am an absolute, die-hard fan of this writer and her books have never failed me. I thought I was done with Tudors (too many books about them, kinda like those love-struck teenage vampires), but because it's Margaret George, I know it will be outstanding. By the way, those who compare her to Philippa Gregory, please stop. You are doing Ms. George a grave disservice. Gregory and George are not even on the same planet as far as writing and historical accuracy go. Anyway, below is a little info on the book from the author's website:

New York Times best-selling Margaret George captures history’s most enthralling queen—as she confronts rivals to her throne and to her heart.
One of today’s premier historical novelists, Margaret George dazzles here as she tackles her most difficult subject yet: the legendary Elizabeth Tudor, queen of enigma—the Virgin Queen who had many suitors, the victor of the Armada who hated war; the gorgeously attired, jewel-bedecked woman who pinched pennies. England’s greatest monarch has baffled and intrigued the world for centuries. But what was she really like?
In this novel, her flame-haired, look-alike cousin, Lettice Knollys, thinks she knows all too well. Elizabeth’s rival for the love of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, and mother to the Earl of Essex, the mercurial nobleman who challenged Elizabeth’s throne, Lettice has been intertwined with Elizabeth since childhood. This is a story of two women of fierce intellect and desire, one trying to protect her country, and throne, the other trying to regain power and position for her family. Their rivalry, and its ensuing drama, soon involves everyone close to Elizabeth, from the famed courtiers who enriched the crown to the legendary poets and playwrights who paid homage to it with their works. Intimate portraits of the personalities who made the Elizabethan age great—Shakespeare, Marlowe, Dudley, Raleigh, Drake—fill these pages, giving us an unforgettable glimpse of a queen who ruled as much from the heart as from the head, and considered herself married to her people.
This magnificent, stay-up-all-night page-turner is George’s finest and one that is sure to delight readers of Alison Weir, Philippa Gregory, and Hilary Mantel.
Also, when you visit Ms. George's website, make sure to read Ten Surprises About Elizabeth Tudor.

Elizabeth I by Margaret George will be published on April 5th, 2011 by The Viking Press

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Black Hills by Dan Simmons Audio Book Giveaway!

This time I am giving my very gently used copy of Black Hills on audio (Unabridged). And when I say 'very gently', I mean I opened it and took only one disc out. So, it's pretty much not used at all. Unfortunately, the book didn't work for me but I'm hoping it will find a good home where it'll be appreciated.

The book's synopsis:

Black Hills: A NovelPaha Sapa, a young Sioux warrior, first encounters General George Armstrong Custer as Custer lies dying on the battlefield at Little Bighorn. He believes--as do the holy men of his tribe--that the legendary general's ghost entered him at that moment and will remain with him until Sapa convinces him to leave.

In BLACK HILLS, Dan Simmons weaves the stories of Paha Sapa and Custer together seamlessly, depicting a violent and tumultuous time in the history of Native Americans and the United States Army. Haunted by the voice of the general his people called "Long Hair," Paha Sapa lives a long life, driven by a dramatic vision he experiences in the Black Hills that are his tribe's homeland. As an explosives worker on the massive Mount Rushmore project, he may finally be rid of his ghosts--on the very day FDR comes to South Dakota to dedicate the Jefferson face.

Giveaway 411:
1. Please leave a comment with your email or a way to contact me (if you have an email in your profile, no need to leave it here).

2. Because of the shipping costs, this one is open to U.S. and Canada residents only.

3. Deadline for entries is February 10th, 2011. The winner will be announced on February 11th, 2011.

An extra entry:

Become a follower of my blog for one extra entry. Please leave a separate comment if you do. If you already are a follower, please also leave a separate comment letting me know

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Vixen by Jillian Larkin International Giveaway Results

Vixen (The Flappers)
The giveaway for Vixen by Jillian Larkin ended last night. The winner has been chosen and notified via email.

LAMusing is a winner. 


Thank you everyone who visited my blog and participated on the giveaway! Don't lose your spirit, I will have many new giveaways coming up on my blog this year and there is still time to enter my The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating giveaway.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

2-in-1: The Anatomy of Ghosts by Andrew Taylor & Matched by Ally Condie

1. The Anatomy of Ghosts by Andrew Taylor

The book's synopsis from the author's website:

The Anatomy of Ghosts1786, Jerusalem College, Cambridge

They say Jerusalem is haunted by Mrs Whichcote's ghost. Frank Oldershaw claims he saw her in the garden, where she drowned. Now he's under the care of a physician.
Desperate to salvage her son's reputation and restore him to health, Lady Anne Oldershaw employs her own agent - John Holdsworth, author of The Anatomy of Ghosts, a controversial attack on the existence of ghostly phenomena. But his arrival in Cambridge disrupts the uneasy status quo. He glimpses a world of privilege and abuse, where the sinister Holy Ghost Club governs life at Jerusalem more effectively than the Master, Dr Carbury, ever could.

But Holdsworth's powers of reason and his knowledge of natural philosophy have other challenges. He dreams of his dead wife, Maria, who roams the borders of death. Now there's Elinor, the very-much-alive Master's wife, to haunt him in life. And at the heart of it all is the mystery of what really happened to Sylvia Whichcote in the claustrophobic confines of Jerusalem.

Why was Sylvia found lying dead in the Long Pond just before a February dawn? And how did she die? Indeed, why was she at Jerusalem, living or dead, in the first place?

It was an okay book for me. It took too long to get into the whole murder mystery and despite there being more than one secret to reveal, I just couldn't get myself very interested. The Anatomy of Ghosts is considered a literary thriller and maybe I'm just not that big of a fan of this particular genre. There is definitely a lot more to the story than simply solving the murder case. The whole little society of scholars living on the grounds of Jerusalem College (a fictitious part of Cambridge University) seems to be almost drowning in secrets. The characterization is not bad really. No one's character seems to be really spotless and the ones that do, turn out quite the opposite at some point in the story.

I actually liked the ending quite a lot and this is what redeemed the whole novel for me. The action picked up as the mysteries started to get revealed, one by one and I didn't see the outcome of the murder coming at all. Fans of literary thrillers will probably like The Anatomy of Ghosts a lot, as well as history fans since it was interesting to read about the life in Cambridge in the 18th century. But if you're just looking for the swift plot and quick action, it's probably not a book for you.

2. Matched by Ally Condie

The book's synopsis from the book's website:

MatchedIn the Society, Officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die.

Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s hardly any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one… until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow — between perfection and passion.
It was a nice read, very quick, it can be easily read in one day, if the time allows. The concept of the dystopian society where everything is controlled, including the nutritional content of the food one eats, and no one stands out is interesting and scary. I hope it will never come to that in real life (I think that teenagers, if no one else, would rebel sooner or later, unless there's something in the food that makes them docile and not interested in asking questions and seeking answers). Ms. Condie did create a convincing, if frightening, reality.

What I didn't like was the love triangle. I think this part of the plot is what usually keeps me away from the YA books. Call me a bitter cynic or something, but the sappiness of it all just put me off and was the barrier keeping me from fully enjoying the story. And Cassie was another problem. Her cowardice throughout most of the book was annoying and I'm just glad she showed some guts in the end. All and all, it was an all right book and young readers will definitely enjoy it.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

2-in-1: Queen Hereafter by Susan Fraser King & The Dressmaker by Posie Graeme-Evans

1. Queen Hereafter by Susan Fraser King

The book's synopsis from the author's website:

Queen Hereafter: A Novel of Margaret of ScotlandMargaret, a young Saxon princess, is shipwrecked with her family on the coast of Scotland and forced to accept sanctuary from the recently widowed warrior-king Malcolm Canmore of Scotland.  Malcolm sees a political prize in Margaret, and promises to help her brother, the outlawed rebel Edgar of England, in return for his sister’s hand in marriage.
When Malcolm brings a female bard, Eva, to court as a hostage to ensure good behavior of her kinswoman, his conniving enemy Lady Macbeth, Margaret, and Eva expect to resent one another.  Instead, they discover an unlikely bond as outcasts of a sort–Eva a wild Celtic spirit captive among her enemies, Margaret suppressing her passions as she endures increasing pressure as a queen and a mother of princes.
Torn between loyalties, Eva must betray the king and the new queen in order to honor her devotion to the former queen.  Thrown into Malcolm’s dungeon, charged with witchcraft and treason, Eva soon learns that Queen Margaret–counseled by the furious king and his powerful priests–will decide the fate of the young bard and her mentor, the troublesome Lady Macbeth.
I liked Queen Hereafter because it introduced me to Queen Margaret of Scotland of whom I had known nothing before this book. Nor did I know much about the medieval history of Scotland. Thanks to Ms. Kings, my spark of interest has been ignited and I now want to really put my effort into finding out more about Scotland and her people. Enough about that. Let's go back to the book itself. I really enjoyed Queen hereafter, it was very intriguing to read about the saintly life of Margaret (who is also a saint now) and about how her successful efforts to bring refinement into the court life.

The way the author writes about her, it's really impossible not to like Margaret. And that brings me to the biggest disappointment. Queen Hereafter was simply cut too short for me. In the afterword, Ms. King talks about the rich life on Margaret and how it would make for a door stopper of a book. Honestly, I wish it were one. It would have been such a better story. I wanted to read more about Margaret, Malcolm and their family of future kings of Scots, instead, I felt I was given just a morsel and now I'm craving for more.

2. The Dressmaker by Posie Graeme-Evans

The book's synopsis from GoodReads:

The Dressmaker: A NovelSet in 1850s London, at the height of Victoria's reign, Posie Graeme-Evans' glorious fourth historical novel tells of a woman ahead of her time. Ellen Gowan is a famous dress designer for ladies of high society and one of the very few women in England who owns her own business. But her life wasn't always one of such privilege.
The only surviving daughter of a Cambridge scholar-turned village minister and a beautiful woman who was disowned by her family for marrying for love, Ellen had a childhood plentiful in affection, if not in currency and dresses made of fine silks. Tragedy strikes on her thirteenth birthday, when her father dies suddenly, leaving Ellen and her mother penniless and dependent upon the kindness of her mother's estranged family. 
And so begins Ellen's road to to success paved with humiliation, deprivation but also with good people, friends who love her, care for her and want to help. One request to all who want to read this book: do not read the description provided by the publisher because you might as well just stop there. It pretty much tells the whole story almost from beginning to the very end. It was very disappointing to me to keep reading, nearing the end and realizing that I already knew all that from the synopsis with a few little events not mentioned (even the GoodReads description is like that so I only provided the first two paragraphs).

Besides that failure of a synopsis, The Dressmaker was quite all right. The story wasn't boring, it kept me engaged and interested in Ella's fate from the beginning till the last page. I thought I would be bored with the details of dresssmaking but that wasn't bad either, it was actually fun to read about the process. The story is set in the Victorian England so while a lot of people were getting rich, there also was a lot of despair present, especially in the way women were treated, as possessions and with no rights, other than the ones bestowed upon them by men. All the more praise to Ellen then for having the strength of character and enough perseverance to survive and be successful in this world of men. My only problem (besides the infamous synopsis) is that the story ended too neatly and very improbably. Maybe it's the cynic in me but what happened was just too predictable and I wish it had ended differently. Not necessarily in any kind of tragedy, but just not the way it did (I can't divulge more because it would spoil the book).

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey International Giveaway!

I am giving away a brand new ARC of The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating, a memoir by Elisabeth Tova Bailey which from the sound of the reviews, is a really great book on nature and life. Here's the synopsis from the author's website:

The Sound of a Wild Snail EatingElisabeth Tova Bailey tells the inspiring and intimate story of her uncommon encounter with a Neohelix albolabris—a common forest snail. While an illness keeps her bedridden, Bailey watches as the snail takes up residence on her nightstand. She discovers the solace and sense of wonder that this mysterious creature brings and comes to a greater understanding of the interconnections between species and her own human place in the natural world. Intrigued by the snail’s molluscan anatomy, cryptic defenses, clear decision making, hydraulic locomotion, and mysterious courtship activities, Bailey becomes an astute and amused observer, providing a candid and engaging look into the curious life of this overlooked and underappreciated small animal. Told with wit and grace, The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating is a remarkable journey of survival and resilience, showing us how a small part of the natural world illuminates our own human existence.

Giveaway 411:

1. Please leave a comment with your email or a way to contact me (if you have an email in your profile, no need to leave it here).

2. This giveaway is open internationally!!!

3. Deadline for entries is February 3rd, 2011. The winner will be announced on February 4th, 2011.

An extra entry:

Become a follower of my blog for one extra entry. Please leave a separate comment if you do. If you already are a follower, please also leave a separate comment letting me know.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Winter Garden Giveaway results.

Winter Garden

The giveaway for Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah ended last night. The winners have been chosen and notified via email.

 Jessica from Vent and Melanie are the winners

Thank you everyone who visited my blog and participated on the giveaway! Don't lose your spirit, I will have many new giveaways coming up on my blog this year and there is still time to enter my Vixen giveaway.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

FIRST Wild Card Tour:Havah by Tosca Lee

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

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

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

B&H Books; 2 edition (August 1, 2010)
***Special thanks to Julie Gwinn, Trade Book Marketing, B&H Publishing Group for sending me a review copy.***


Tosca Lee is author of the critically acclaimed and extensively-awarded novels Demon: A Memoir and Havah: The Story of Eve. A sought-after speaker and former Mrs. Nebraska, she continues to work for local charities and as a senior consultant for a global consulting firm. Tosca holds a degree in English and International Relations from Smith College and also studied at Oxford University. She enjoys travel, cooking, history, and theology, and lives in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: B&H Books; 2 edition (August 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1433668793
ISBN-13: 978-1433668791


A whisper in my ear: Wake!

Blue. A sea awash with nothing but a drifting bit of down, flotsam on an invisible current. I closed my eyes. Light illuminated the thin tissues of my eyelids.

A bird trilled. Near my ear: the percussive buzz of an insect. Overhead, tree boughs stirred in the warming air.

I lay on a soft bed of herbs and grass that tickled my cheek, my shoulders, and the arch of my foot, whispering sibilant secrets up to the trees.

From here I felt the thrum of the sap in the stem—the pulsing veins of the vine, the beat of my heart in harmony with hundreds more around me, the movement of the earth a thousand miles beneath.

I sighed as one returning to sleep, to retreat to the place I had been before, the realm of silence and bliss—wherever that is.


I opened my eyes again upon the milling blue, saw it spliced by the flight of a bird, chevron in the sky.

This time, the voice came not to my ear, but directly to my stirring mind: Wake!

There was amusement in it.

I knew nothing of where or what I was, did not understand the polyphony around me or the wide expanse like a blue eternity before me.

But I woke and knew I was alive.

A rustle, a groan practically in my ear. I twitched at a stir-ring against my hip. A moment later, a touch drifted across a belly I did not yet know I owned, soft as a leaf skittering along the ground.

A face obscured my vision. I screamed. Not with fear—I had no acquaintance with fear—nor with startlement because I had been aware of the presence already, but because it was the only statement that came to lips as artless as mine.

The face disappeared and returned, blinking into my own, the blue above captured in twin pools. Then, like a gush of water from a rock, gladness thrilled my heart. But its source was not me.

At last! It came, unspoken—a different source than the voice before—and then the words thrust jubilantly to the sky: “At last!”

He was up on legs like the trunks of sturdy saplings, beating at the earth with his feet. He thumped his chest and shouted to the sun and clapped his hands. “At last!” He cried, his laughter like warm clay between the toes. He shook his shoulders and stomped the grass, slapping his chest as he shouted again and again. Though I did not understand the utterance, I knew its meaning at once: joy and exultation at something longed for suddenly found.

I tried to mimic his sound; it came out as a squawk and then a panting laugh. Overhead, a lark chattered an extravagant address. I squeaked a shrill reply. The face lowered to mine and the man’s arms wrapped, wombtight, around me.

“Flesh of my flesh,” he whispered, his breath warm against my ear. His fingers drifted from my hair to my body, roaming like the goat on the hills of the sacred mount. I sighed, expelling the last remnants of that first air from my lungs—the last of the breath in them not drawn by me alone.

He was high cheeked, this adam, his lower lip dipping down like a folded leaf that drops sweet water to thirsty mouths. His brow was a hawk, soaring above the high cliffs, his eyes blue lusters beneath the fan of his lashes. But it was his mouth that I always came back to, where my eyes liked best to fasten after taking in the shock of those eyes. Shadow ran along his jaw, like obsidian dust clinging to the curve of it, drawing my eye to the plush flesh of his lips, again, again, again.

He touched my face and traced my mouth. I bit his finger. He gathered my hands and studied them, turning them over and back. He smelled my hair and lingered at my neck and gazed curiously at the rest of me. When he was finished, he began all over again, tasting my cheek and the salt of my neck, tracing the instep of my foot with a fingertip.

Finally, he gathered me up, and my vision tilted to involve an altogether new realm: the earth and my brown legs upon it. I clutched at him. I seemed a giant, towering above the earth—a giant as tall as he. My first steps stuttered across the ground as the deer in the hour of its birth, but then I pushed his hands away. My legs, coltish and lean, found their vigor as he urged me, walking far too fast, to keep up. He made for the orchard, and I bolted after him with a surge of strength and another of my squawking sounds. Then we were running—through grasses and over fledgling sloes, the dark wool of my hair flying behind me.

We raced across the valley floor and my new world blurred around me: hyssop and poppy, anemone, narcissus, and lily. Roses grew on the foothills amid the caper and myrtle.

A flash beside me: the long-bodied great cat. I slowed, distracted by her fluidity, the smooth curve of her head as she tilted it to my outstretched hand. I fell to the ground, twining my arms around her, fingers sliding along her coat. Her tongue was rough—unlike the adam’s—and she rumbled as she rolled against me.

Far ahead, the adam called. Overhead, a hawk circled for a closer look. The fallow deer at a nearby stream lifted her head.

The adam called again, wordlessly, longing and exuberant. I got up and began to run, the lioness at my heels. I was fast—nearly as fast as she. Exhilaration rose from my lungs in quick pants in laughter. Then, with a burst, she was beyond me.

She was gone by the time the adam caught me up in his arms. His hands stroked my back, my hips, my shoulder. I marveled at his skin. How smooth, how very warm it was.

“You are magnificent,” he said, burying his face against my neck. “Ah, Isha—woman, taken from man!”

I said nothing; although I understood his meaning, I did not know his words. I knew with certainty and no notion of conceit, though, that he was right.

At the river he showed me how he cupped his hands to drink and then cupped them again for me. I lowered my head and drank as a carp peered baldy from the shallows up at me.

We entered the water. I gasped as it tickled the backs of my knees and hot hairs under my arms, swirling about my waist as though around a staunch rock as our toes skimmed a multitude of pebbles. I wrapped my arms around his shoulders.

“All of this: water.” He grunted a little bit as he swam toward the middle of the river where it widened into a broad swath across the valley floor. “Here—the current.”

“Water.” I understood, in the moment I spoke it, the element in all its forms—from the lake fed by the river to the high springs that flow from the abyss of the mount. I felt the pull of it as though it had a gravity all its own, as though it could sweep me out to the cold depths of the lake and lull me by the tides of the moon.

From the river I could see the high walls of our cradle: the great southern mount rising to heaven and, to the north, the foothills that became the long spine of a range that arched toward the great lake to the west.

I knew even then that this was a place set apart from the unseen lands to the north, the alluvial plain to the south, the great waters to the east and far to the west.

It was set apart solely because we dwelt in it.

But we were not alone. I could see them after a time, even as we left the river and lay upon its banks. I saw them in sidelong glances when I looked at something else: a sunspot caught in the eye, a ripple in the air, a shock of light where there should be only shadow. And so I knew there were other beings, too.

The adam, who studied me, said nothing. We did not know their names.

The first voice I heard urging me to wake had not been the man’s. Now I felt the presence of it near me, closer than the air, than even the adam’s arms around me.

I returned the man’s strange amazement, taken by his smooth, dark skin, the narrowness of his hips, his strange sex. He was warmer than I, as though he had absorbed the heat of the sun, and I laid my cheek against his flat breasts and listened to the changeling beat of his heart. My limbs, so fresh to me, grew heavy. As languor overtook me, I retreated from the sight of my lovely, alien world.

Perhaps in closing my eyes, I would return to the place I had been before.

For the first time since waking, I hoped not.

I slept to the familiar thrum of his heart as insects made sounds like sleepy twitches through the waning day.

When I woke, his cheek was resting against the top of my head. Emotion streamed from his heart, though his lips were silent.


I am the treasure mined from the rock, the gem prized from the mount.

He stirred only when I did and released me with great reluctance. By then the sun had moved along the length of our valley. My stomach murmured.

He led me to the orchard and fed me the firm flesh of plums, biting carefully around the pits and feeding the pieces to me until juice ran down our chins and bees came to sample it. He kissed my fingers and hands and laid his cheek against my palms.

That evening we lay in a bower of hyssop and rushes—a bower, I realized, that he must have made on a day before this one.

A day before I existed.

We observed together the changing sky as it cooled gold and russet and purple, finally anointing the clay earth red.

Taken from me. Flesh of my flesh. At last. I heard the timbre of his voice in my head in my last waking moment. Marvel and wonder were upon his lips as he kissed my closing eyes.

I knew then he would do anything for me.

That night I dreamed of blackness. Black, greater than the depths of the river or the great abyss beneath the lake.

From within that nothingness came a voice that was not a voice, that was neither sound nor word but volition and command and genesis. And from the voice, a word that was no word but the language of power and fruition.

There! A mote spark—a light first so small as the tip of a pine needle. It exploded past the periphery of my dreaming vision, obliterating the dark. The heavens were vast in an instant, stretching without cease to the edges of eternity.

I careened past new bodies that tugged me in every direction; even the tiniest particles possessed their own gravity. From each of them came the same concert, that symphony of energy and light.

I came to stand upon the earth. It was a great welter of water, the surface of it ablaze with the refracted light of heavens upon heavens. It shook my every fiber, like a string that is plucked and allowed to resonate forever.

I was galvanized, made anew, thrumming that inaugural sound: the yawning of eternity.

Amidst it all came the unmistakable command:


The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern

The book's synopsis from the publisher's website:

The Book of Tomorrow: A Novel Born into the lap of luxury and comfortable in the here and now, spoiled, tempestuous Tamara Goodwin has never had to look to the future—until the abrupt death of her father leaves her and her mother a mountain of debt and forces them to move in with Tamara's peculiar aunt and uncle in a tiny countryside village.
Tamara is lonely and bored, with a traveling library as her only diversion. There she finds a large leather-bound book with a gold clasp and padlock, but no author name or title. Intrigued, she pries open the lock, and what she finds inside takes her breath away.
Tamara sees entries written in her own handwriting, and dated for the following day. When the next day unfolds exactly as recorded, Tamara realizes she may have found a solution to her problems. But in her quest to find answers, Tamara soon learns that some pages are better left unturned and that, try as she may, she mustn't interfere with fate.
The Book of Tomorrow truly is an enjoyable read, even though the heroine is a spoiled rotten teenager. Tamara is, at least to my surprise, very likable and I couldn't help but root for her. I suppose that it might have something to do with the charm with which Cecelia Ahern writes :) Her characters play their roles effortlessly and despite the book being fairly short, in the end you will quite possibly feel that you know them all very well.

I think what I liked the most about the book is its modernized gothic atmosphere. Despite the plot taking place in the 21st century, it feels that the readers are all of a sudden transported to an undiscovered, unknown and shrouded in secrecy place to try and help Tamara solve a mystery of a lifetime. The novel even has its own Mrs. Danvers (Tamara's aunt, Rosaleen) which makes this whole mysterious quest for answers even more delicious. The only two things that I might complain a little bit about is that it did take a little bit of patience to get into the story and that Tamara's language is quite crude at times when it comes to sexual nature, especially considering she is only sixteen.

The Book of Tomorrow is the second book of Ahern's that I had the pleasure to read, and even though it's geared more toward the Young Adult audience than her previous novels, it can easily be enjoyed by both young and adult readers. If anything, this book fills a little bit of a void in the YA market which nowadays is flooded with paranormal romances. I'd even venture as far as saying that The Book of Tomorrow is a breath of fresh air with a heroine that's just a normal girl that has to deal with an awful tragedy and deals with it she does. Pretty remarkably, in my opinion. Tamara is inquisitive, unafraid to face difficult truths about herself and also mature enough to try and do the right thing, even if she stumbles along the way. Cecelia Ahern wrote a really fun and intelligent book and if you're looking for a change of scenery in your YA stories, give The Book of Tomorrow a try.

The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern will be published by HarperCollins on January 25th, 2011 (next Tuesday).
This book was provided to me by the publisher for review.

One more very important thing and good news for the fans of Cecelia Ahern.  

HarperCollins is currently offering a low price e-book edition of one of her  titles, THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES.  It’s being offered at $1.99 through all major retailers, and it includes an excerpt from the new book. The price goes back up to $9.99 on 1/25, so hurry up!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Best Books Read in 2010

My post is probably one of the latest ones appearing in the blogosphere summarizing the previous year in reading. I suppose I hesitated with the idea of writing one at all but decided that it's more a way of reference for myself and a few readers that may want to look for what I liked in the past years. I will only list the books that I absolutely loved or liked enough to keep them on my shelves for possible future re-reads. If you are so inclined, you can read a complete list of books I read in 2010 here. My only request is for you to not think that the books I don't mention in this post but are included in my 2010 read list are all bad. They are not, a lot of them are okay but simply just weren't my taste and I'm still glad I read them. You can always read my reviews (the ones that I did review) to see if you still would like them.

Books I loved (in alphabetical order):

City of Tranquil Light by Bo Caldwell - historical fiction, christian fiction, Asian fiction

The Passage by Justin Cronin - horror/ dystopian/ vampires 

Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah - contemporary fiction, women's fiction 

Song of the Silent Harp by BJ Hoff - christian historical fiction, Ireland

Here Be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman - historical fiction, England, Wales

This Must Be the Place by Kate Racculia - contemporary American fiction 

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers - christian fiction, historical fiction, 19th cent. America

The Street of a Thousand Blossoms by Gail Tsukiyama - Asian fiction

Books I really, really liked (they're also definite keepers and now belong on my shelves permanently):

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins - dystopian, YA

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins - dystopian, YA 

The Maze Runner by James Dashner - YA, sci-fi, dystopian

Heart of the Lonely Exile by BJ Hoff - historical, christian fiction, Ireland

Broken: A Love Story by Lisa Jones - memoir

By Fire, By Water by Mitchell James Kaplan - historical 

Strangers by Dean Koontz - thriller, suspense, paranormal

What the Night Knows by Dean Koontz - horror

Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok - Asian fiction/ women's lit. 

The Surrendered by Chang-Rae Lee - literary fiction, Asian 

The Blue Notebook by James A. Levine - contemporary fiction

Heart of Lies by M.L. Malcolm - historical fiction 

Falling from the Moon by Lise Marinelli - historical fiction

The Language of Trees by Illie Ruby – contemporary American fiction, magic realism, 

Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith - YA/thriller

Solitary by Alexander Gordon Smith (Escape from Furnace 2) - YA thriller