Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Review & Giveaway: Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay

About (from Daphne Kalotay website):
Set in both modern-day Boston and post-WWII Moscow, RUSSIAN WINTER tells the story of Bolshoi ballerina Nina Revskaya as she becomes a member of Stalin's cultural elite before escaping to the West following a terrible betrayal. Decades later, she has decided to auction off her famed jewelry collection—including the rare set of amber that a Boston professor, Grigori Solodin, translator of the works of Revskaya's late poet-husband, believes may hold the key to a long-kept secret. The literary mystery Grigori sets out to solve—with the help of Drew Brooks, a young associate at the Boston auction house—reaches much deeper: to the cost of making art and trying to live and love under circumstances of enormous repression.

My Thoughts:

Daphne Kalotay's novel "Russian Winter" is beautifully written and the kind of novel that sweeps you away from the moment into another world that holds your interest. Russian Winter was that kind of novel for me that pulled me in and held my interest. I was drawn into the life of Nina Revskaya, a Bolshoi ballerina in WW II Russia ruled under Stalin. The darkness and secrecy living a life of distrust and fear was felt strongly. As a reader, I could envision what it would be like watching Nina dance in Swan Lake and how grueling the life of a ballerina can be balanced with the beauty of the art of the dance. I could envision the hardships of having little food and clothing, being watched or the fear of being watched and the hardships of women who must work paving and repairing roads to save their lives. 

We reflect back with Nina as she is now an old woman and invalid, having escaped Russia and traveled the world and being coveted as a prima ballerina in Boston. She decides to sell her jewelry collection from her past, at auction to benefit the Boston Ballet as she wants to separate herself from what she perceives as the deceptiveness that it represents.  This reflection on the past and the memories that connect to each piece of jewelry is skillfully interwoven with the story of Grigori Solodin, a professor of languages who has a connection to Nina that he does not quite understand. He has been on a mission to find the answers to their connection. He has translated the poems of Nina's late husband, and he is the owner of an amber necklace that may belong to a collection that Nina is selling. 

Ms. Kalatoy has created a magnificent mystery and novel of historical fiction filled with characters who have great depth and strength. As a reader, you will be filled with emotion as the story proceeds. I was pulled into the mystery of Nina and Gregori's past as well as the layers of the story as they are revealed. I found the novel riveting and the conclusion leaves a twist that will have you thinking about trust, love, secrets, redemption and more. 

Thanks to TLC Book Tours  for providing me an opportunity to be part of the book tour for Russian Winter  and to Harper Perennial for sending me a copy of the trade paperback for review. 

Check out the other tour stops for Russian Winter, here.

Check out Daphne Kalotay's Website for more information.


I have one copy of Russian Winter to give away complements of TLC Book Tour and Harper Perennial.

To Enter:   

For 1 Entry: All you have to do is leave a comment about this review and what do you find interesting about Russian Winter. Make sure to include your email address so that I can contact you if you are a winner. Otherwise, I won't be able to include your name in the drawing. 

For a 2nd Entry (Separate Comment):  Follow my blog, you can follow through Google Friend Connect to the left in my side column. If you already do, thank you, and please  make sure to let me know in your comment so I can pass the entry on to you as well. Make sure to include your email address.

For a 3rd Entry (Separate Comment): Spread the word about this giveaway and Retweet, retweet button below my name at the end of this post. Make sure to include your email address.

Open to US and Canada only.

Enter by May 10, 2011.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Join the E-Vent Book Party for A Thread of Sky: Tuesday April 26

BookTrib is celebrating the release of renowned author Deanna Fei’s debut novel A Thread of Sky. I am looking forward to reading this book . RSVP at deannafei@booktrib.com,  and come chat live with Deanna on the BookTrib  homepage on Tuesday, April 26th at 3pm E.T. This will qualify you to be in the running for one of 10 exclusive BookTrib gift bags filled with beautiful goodies including a handmade passport holder from Dollbirdies, a handmade wallet from Dumb Kid Designs and a notebook to record your own travels made with recycled materials from Jenni Bick.

Mailbox Monday- April 25

Mailbox Monday~ 
is hosted by Passages to the Past during the month of March
We share what books that we found in our mailboxes last week.

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. (Library books don’t count, but eBooks & audiobooks do). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists!

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia at The Printed Page, who graciously hosted it for a long, long time, before turning it into a touring meme (details here).

I haven't posted a Mailbox Monday post for several weeks. Here are some of the books that I've received:

Ruby Red (Ruby Red - Trilogy) The Language of Flowers: A Novel22 Britannia Road: A NovelThe Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives: A Novel

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier from Henry Holt/Macmillan (I'm excited about this one as my cousin from Germany highly recommended this series which was first published in Germany)

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh from Random House

22 Britannia Road by Amanda Hodgkinson from Penguin

the secret lives of baba segi's wives by Lola Shoneyin from William Morrow/Harper Collins

What was in your mailbox?

Review: The Apothecary's Daughter by Julie Klassen

Description from Amazon:

Lillian Haswell, brilliant daughter of the local apothecary, yearns for more adventure and experience than life in her father's shop and their small village provides. She also longs to know the truth behind her mother's disappearance, which villagers whisper about but her father refuses to discuss. Opportunity comes when a distant aunt offers to educate her as a lady in London. Exposed to fashionable society and romance--as well as clues about her mother--Lilly is torn when she is summoned back to her ailing father's bedside. Women are forbidden to work as apothecaries, so to save the family legacy, Lilly will have to make it appear as if her father is still making all the diagnoses and decisions. But the suspicious eyes of a scholarly physician and a competing apothecary are upon her. As they vie for village prominence, three men also vie for Lilly's heart.

My Thoughts:
The Apothecary's Daughter was the first book that I have read on my Kindle. It was an enjoyable historical fiction novel, that transports you as a reader to a small village in England in the 19th century. The main character, Lilly Haswell is the daughter of an Apothecary who assists her father in their family owned business. She is consumed with wonder as to how and why her mother could have left her, her father and brother who is sweet and mentally slow. She is invited to spend time in London with her Aunt and Uncle which exposes her to a life of luxury and wealth that she has not experienced before. She hopes to find answers about her mother and possibly a suitor as that is her Aunt and Uncle's wish as they expose her to the luxurious life in London. Lilly loves the life she leads in London and the culture and fashion she is exposed to.  She is still drawn to her village life and a sudden change brings her back home where she learns where her heart lies and with whom. She learns much about family, friendship. loyalty and love.  This novel shares the strong elements of Regency England, the society of London and the village life wonderfully. There is a Christian element to the novel that is subtle and not preachy which I appreciated and it didn't deflect from the novel.  I am glad that I read this novel as it was a freebie offered by Amazon at the time and it is now purchase only. The benefits of the Kindle is that there are so many wonderful free novels that you can explore and find new authors as I did with Julie Klassen. The Apothecary's Daughter is also available in paperback.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sunday Salon: I'm ready for Spring!

It's nice to see daffodil's blooming and some color here in Ohio. It's been a gloomy winter and now we're getting some warmer weather but with lots of rain. It's been a bit quiet here on my blog as I've had a lot going on in my personal life. I was in a car accident several weeks ago and have a cervical neck injury which has limited my activity level. It's limited my reading and blogging as well as I have to be careful with how I position myself when reading and using the computer. I've started Physical Therapy and am on a reduced work schedule with restrictions. Fortunately, I work in the schools so I'll have the summer off.

I have several book reviews to catch up on including books read with my book club. I've gotten behind on posting my reviews as well as visiting and commenting on other blogs. I'll be having more book reviews and giveaways coming up so please check back and visit my blog. 

Wishing everyone who celebrates a Happy Easter and Happy Passover!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Caleb's Crossing Book Trailer

Check out this wonderful book trailer for Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks. According to the publisher Penguin, Ms. Brooks wrote this herself and it is to be wonderfully in tune with the book. I can't wait to read this book!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Winners of Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks....

Sherri from Sherri's Jubilee 


Thanks to the publisher, Penguin.  who will send copies of Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks to Sherri and Sandra. 

Thanks to all who entered!  Check back often as I have more book giveaways coming up soon.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Winner of The Paris Wife by Paula McLain....

Holly From 2 Kids and Tired 

Thanks to Pump Up Your Book Promotion and Random House who will send a copy of The Paris Wife by Paula McLain to Holly.

Thanks to all who entered! Check out the other giveaways I am hosting, listed in my sidebar to the left.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Winner of Letters From Home....


Won a BRAND NEW review copy of Letters from Home by Kristina McMorris.

Thanks to all who entered! Check out the other giveaways I am hosting, listed in my sidebar to the left.