Friday, November 28, 2008

Guest Book Review: Guernica

*Guest Review written by my friend Bonnie Findlay.*

Guernica by Dave Boling

Publishers Weekly: Examining the Spanish Civil War and the town that was famously firebombed by the Germans on the eve of WWII, this multigenerational family saga begins with the three abandoned Ansotegui boys, struggling to survive on the family farm at the end of the 19th century; younger brothers Josepe and Xabier become a fisherman and a priest, respectively, while the eldest, Justo, marries and raises a stunning daughter named Miren. Charismatic, beautiful and the best jota dancer around, Miren attracts the attention of Miguel Navarro, who winds up moving them to ill-fated Guernica after a run-in with the Spanish Civil Guard. Meanwhile, in nearby Bilbao, Father Xabier waxes political with real-life future Basque president José Antonio Aguirre, striking up an invaluable friendship. Boling's portrait of the Guernica tragedy is vivid, as is his illustration of the Basque people's oppression; wisely, he sidesteps elaborate political explanations that could slow the family drama. Boling is skillful with characters and dialogue, possessing a great sense of timing and humor, though some historical cameos feel forced (especially Picasso, who pops up throughout), and some plot twists can be seen from quite a long way off.

Bonnie Findlay's Review-

"The painting which I am presently working on will be called "Guernica". By means of it, I express my abhorrence of the race that has sunk Spain in an ocean of pain and death." -Pablo Picasso

I had mixed opinions about this book. Historical fiction is my favorite genre, but it was hard to get into this book at first. It was hard for me to relate to mostly male characters who had rough and tumble adventures, as well as switching the point of view to different characters with hard names to read and pronounce.

But at about page 200, I knew the characters fairly well...then the author wrote of the infamous bombing of Guernica and with horror I read his vivid, descriptive accounts of what happened to the town and some of the townspeople I had gotten to know, and the book came alive and was enthralling. His descriptions of the bombs and what they did-to people as well as buildings-reminded me of the movie "The Day After". I actually found myself getting choked up as I read of the destruction and death the bombing caused-and this actually happened in real life! I sympathized with the characters who survived and had to go on dealing with so much loss and sorrow. The three brothers and Miguel each dealt with their sorrow in their own ways.

I don't totally agree with the Publisher's Weekly review about forced historical cameos-Picasso made a painting of the bombing of Guernica that to me, fit right in with the story. After reading about the painting, I was curious enough to look up a picture of it online, which made the story all the more real for me. I DO agree with the Publisher's Weekly review about some plot twists that can be seen from a long way off-I did see one coming, but that was OK, because I didn't know HOW the author would make it all come together. I was glad to know there'd be a bit of happiness for the main characters at some point in the book.

This book did not have a happy ending realistically, but it did have a happy ending of sorts for the main characters. This book was not totally my style but for the most part it was a good read. In my opinion, this would be a book men might enjoy more than women. There are many adventures and predicaments the male characters get themselves into-the book at times reads like an adventure movie. This book got me curious enough to look up more info about the town of Guernica. It was a very sad event in European history. -Bonnie Findlay

*I want to thank my friend Bonnie Findlay for her wonderful review. This is her second review here and I enjoy having guest reviewers who can share different views and opinions. I didn't know about the background of Guernica and it was interesting to read about and you definitely need to check out the Picasso Painting, HERE!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Build-A-Bear Nintendo Wii Game Giveaway and Ebay Celebrity Auction !! EXTENDED THRU DEC 6th!!


I am excited to share with you that I am hosting an awesome giveaway and one lucky winner will win a Build-A-Bear Nintendo Wii Game from The Game Factory. This would make a wonderful Christmas/Hanukah/Birthday gift for any young child.

Build-A-Bear Workshop® A Friend Fur All Seasons

An interactive family-friendly experience, Build-A-Bear Workshop® A Friend Fur All Seasons allows families to share the interactive Build-A-Bear Workshop® experience using the Nintendo Wii™ system. Originally made for Nintendo DS, Build-A-Bear Workshop® entertainment experience allows up to four players to name, groom, feed and dress their bear using the revolutionary Wii™ remote. The game allows players to join their customized bear on adventures to explore islands, meet inhabitants and help furry friends.

Build-A-Bear Workshop® A Friend Fur All Seasons allows full interaction between the player and her/his furry friend in a variety of 20 fun mini-games, from throwing Frisbees to ice-skating. Four islands season-themed wait to be explored and six treasure spots hold magical chests! Developed for children and families, Build-A-Bear Workshop® packs fun for the whole family and allows players to take full advantage of the unique features of the Nintendo Wii™ game system.

Category: Adventure
Target Age: 3+
Players: 1-4
Rating: E for Everyone
Price: $39.99

*This game was just released in October 2008.

Key Features:

  • 2 different game modes! Discover and explore the 4 season-themed islands in the Adventure mode and play lots of fun mini-games in the Playground mode.
  • 20 fun mini-games to play including ice skating, build a snowman, a croquet party, a cool ride on a ladybug, throwing a Frisbee, and jumping on a jump stick. Some of the mini-games contain surprises too.
  • Play the mini-games as single or multiplayer party games (co-op) with up to 4 players – it’s fun for the whole family!
  • Find the 6 secret treasure spots hidden around the islands and dig up a magic chest with a surprise just for you!
  • Collect bear medals, other rewards and items to use in the Build-A-Bear Workshop. Choose from more than 80 items available to buy for your furry friend!
  • Natural and innovative game play that take full advantage of the unique features of the Nintendo Wii.

You can view a trailer for the game at The Game Factory .

*This game can be purchased at, Walmart, Target, Gamespot and most other game retailers.

Ebay Celebrity Auction of celebrity-built Build-A-Bear Workshop bears!!

Ebay is auctioning off celebrity-built Build-A-Bear Workshop bears, along with autographed copies of the Build-A-Bear Wii game. These bears and signed games will be on eBay's Giving Works to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern California. These one-of-a-kind bears were built by celebrities like Tori Spelling & Dean McDermott, the Jonas Brothers, James Gandolfini, Melissa Joan Hart, Bonnie Hunt, Mitchel Musso, Meaghan Jette Martin and more.

Here's a link to Ebay where the auctions are taking place just you can see what the bears look like and bid on a bear as well. The auctions end December 3rd so be sure to check this out now. They're all very cute and creative! Here are a few bears being auctioned off below:

*This bear was made by Joe Jonas of The Jonas Brothers!

*This bear was made by Nick Jonas of The Jonas Brothers and comes with an autographed copy of the new Build-A-Bear Wii game.

*This bear was made by Allie Grant (Isabelle Hodes from Weeds) and comes with an autographed copy of the new Build-A-Bear Wii game.



One Lucky winner will receive one Build-A-Bear Nintendo Wii Game from The Game Factory. To Enter:

  • For One Entry: Comment below and make sure that I have a way to contact you via email, otherwise I cannot add your name into the drawing.
  • For another Entry: Go to the Ebay auction site here and take a look at the bears and let us know which ones you like. Please, check out the Ebay site and not just comment on the 3 Bears that I posted pictures of above.
  • For two additional Entries: Spread the word about this Giveaway and link back here to my giveaway post. Please post the link to your post in a seperate comment.

**This giveaway will end December 6th at Midnight Eastern Time. I will use to pick a winner. This giveaway is open to US and Canada only. Game Factory will send out the game directly to the winner, hopefully in time for the Holidays.


Thanks To:

Monday, November 24, 2008

Mailbox Monday

Happy Monday!! Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page . We share what books that we found in our mailboxes last week. Here's what I received:

From Paperbackswap :

What books came into your house last week? To check out more Mailbox Monday posts, go to The Printed Page for links!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Review & Giveaway: Purry Logic by Jane Seabrook

Purry Logic by Jane Seabrook

My Review: This is a delightful book that both children and adults will enjoy. I read this book with my 10 year old son who loves all animals, but sadly is allergic to many, including cats. He adores cats and we both loved the beautiful full-color illustrations of the 30 different cats that are featured in this wonderful book. The author, Jane Seabrook, wrote and illustrated the book. She captured perfectly, the adorable expressions and positions that cats can get themselves into and express their unique personalities. These illustrations are complemented by matching quotes that are wonderful companions to the illustrations. Purry Logic is a beautifully bound medium sized hardcover book with rich colors. And, who cannot be pulled in by the adorable cat on the cover with those gorgeous blue eyes? This lovely book would make a wonderful gift for cat lovers as well as animal lovers. It would be a perfect stocking stuffer or hostess gift for the holidays. It is not a book about Christmas or the holidays at this time of year but stands alone in the category of Inspirational books that can be read year round. I like to display a collection of holiday books for different holidays and seasons and this is the type of book that complements my collection.

Here are some examples of the beautiful water color illustrations and quotes inside the book:

About the author from Ten Speed Press: "JANE SEABROOK is a designer and illustrator who, in recent years, has focused on paintings of wildlife. She lives in Auckland, New Zealand, with her husband, two teenage children, and four cats--three adorable seal-point Birmans named Fizz, Bean, and Maisie, and one elderly British blue named Philby." She also has another collection of books called The Furry Logic Series which you can read about here at Ten Speed Press.

*Make sure to check out the Purry Logic Book Page at Ten Speed Press here.*


Giveaway of Purry Logic:


Ten Speed Press
has graciously offered to give away a copy of Purry Logic to one lucky winner! This would be a wonderful book for anyone and it would also make a wonderful holiday and/or hostess gift. To Enter: Please comment below and make sure that I have a way to contact you by email. This giveaway is only open to US Residents and ends on November 30th. This should allow enough time for the sponsor to ship the book to the winner for the holidays. I will choose a winner using The winner must respond to my email notification with their mailing address within 2 days or I will need to randomly choose another winner.

Thanks to:

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Knit Two:My Guest Review, Author Interview and Giveaway at Words to Mouth!!!

Knit Two by Kate Jacobs will be available on November 25th!

WIN:You have a chance to win one of FIVE copies that Carrie at Words to Mouth is giving away!!!

AUTHOR INTERVIEW:You can also read a wonderful Interview with the author, Kate Jacobs as well.

GUEST REVIEW BY ME: In addition, I am a guest book reviewer there and you can read my review of Knit Two.

Here's a portion of my Guest Review for Knit Two by Kate Jacobs:

I was thrilled to hear that there would be a sequel to one of my favorite books, The Friday Night Knitting Club. Reading Knit Two felt like I was catching up with old friends. It was familiar and comfortable, and as you do with good friends, you pick up right where you left off. As with friends you may not see for awhile, some things do change. In Knit Two, time has passed and it has been 5 years since Georgia died. Dakota, her daughter, is now 18 years old and in college and struggling to find her way. She has the wonderful guidance of the Knitting Club to support her as well as her father, James. Actually, most of the characters are trying to find their way through issues in their lives. I believe, that is why it is so easy to connect to this story and it’s characters.

**There's much more so make sure to go to Words to Mouth to read the rest of my review and the wonderful interview with Kate Jacobs!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Testimony Video

Please check out this great video with Anita Shreve who discusses her newest novel Testimony. You can read my review of this wonderful book here as well as sign up for a chance to win my hardback copy in the giveaway that runs through this Friday, November 21st.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Mailbox Monday

Happy Monday!! Here’s what I found in my mailbox last week!

Raising a Successful Child: Discover and Nurture Your Child's Talents by Sandra Burt, Linda Perlis(Mini book expo & Ulysses Press)

When Wanderers Cease to Roam: A Traveler's Journal of Staying Put by Vivian Swift (This was sent to me from Bloomsbury. I love the cover art and the inside is filled with similar drawings. This looks like it will be a fun book to read)

Who by Fire by Diana Spechler (Book Club Girl, On Air Book Club discussion, November 20th)

(From the author, Check out my review andQ & A with the author here.)

What books came into your house last week? To check out more Mailbox Monday posts, go to The Printed Page for links!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Book Review & Giveaway: Testimony by Anita Shreve

Testimony by Anita Shreve

Description: At a New England boarding school, a sex scandal is about to break. Even more shocking than the sexual acts themselves is the fact that they were caught on videotape. A Pandora's box of revelations, the tape triggers a chorus of voices--those of the men, women, teenagers, and parents involved in the scandal--that details the ways in which lives can be derailed or destroyed in one foolish moment.Writing with a pace and intensity surpassing even her own greatest work, Anita Shreve delivers in TESTIMONY a gripping emotional drama with the impact of a thriller. No one more compellingly explores the dark impulses that sway the lives of seeming innocents, the needs and fears that drive ordinary men and women into intolerable dilemmas, and the ways in which our best intentions can lead to our worst transgressions.

After reading the opening scene of Testimony, I honestly didn't know if I was going to like this book. It does open with a bang, and is quite graphic and shocking. After I read further in the book I realized the significance of the shock factor. This story focuses on how a single act/decision that a person makes can have consequences that are life changing. It involves a group of teens at a private school and relates to a single night and choices that they all make and the series of events that may have impacted those choices.

This truly is a compelling story that is told in a unique style that alternates between all of the characters in the book. It weaves a sequence of events that is gripping and definitely keeps you on the edge of your seat until you get to the end. I didn't want to put the book down until I could find out what happened to all of the characters. The story is mainly told in first person by the main characters involved including several parents. It is told in the style of a Testimony which relates back to the title of the book.

Anita Shreve tends to focus on one issue in her novels that carries throughout the book. In this one, it is underage drinking which has been a serious issue in the news and in many communities. I feel as a parent of a son, I could relate to the mothers feelings about their sons. My son is still young but this is something I will need to be aware of as he becomes a teen and young adult.

This type of issue crosses over many age, sex, race and economic backgrounds. This is an issue that can effect many teens and young adults. It is something to be prepared for and to have an open dialogue about with our teens. I believe that this book would be good for parents of teens to read as well as teens nearing college age. It is graphic in parts and contains sexual content so you as a parent should read it yourself to determine if it is appropriate for your teen to read.

Testimony is a book that makes you think about life and the consequences of our actions and choices. I am still thinking about the characters a day after I finished the me, that's a sign of a good book!!

Thank you to Miriam at Hachette for sending me Testimony to read and review!

You can check out Anita Shreve's website here.

You can also read an excerpt here.

Here is information on where to buy your own copy of Testimony.


I am hosting a Giveaway here at Redlady's Reading Room for my hardback copy of Testimony!

To Enter:

  • Comment about this post, for one entry.
  • For another entry, share your thoughts about reading books that deal with challenging life issues: do you like that they make you think or do you prefer to steer away from them and why?

This contest is open to US and Canada Only due to postage costs. This will end at Midnight, EST on November 21st and I will draw a winner using

Review and Q& A with the Author:One of the Gang:Nurturing The Souls of Children With Food Allergies

One of The Gang

Nurturing the Souls of Children With Food Allergies

by Gina Clowes

About the Author: Gina Clowes is the Founder of the online support group AllergyMoms serving thousands of families and professional members worldwide. Active in food allergy advocacy, her interviews and parenting tips have appeared in numerous print, radio, and television features including People, Kiwi and Child Magazine. Gina lives in Southwestern Pennsylvania with her husband and two sons. For more information, please visit .

Introduction: Families of children with food allergies know that this invisible condition requires constant vigilance. The necessity of keeping these children safe cannot be overstated; however, their emotional well-being is equally important. Food is used in almost every type of celebration, and is often a focal point of these events. Even in day-to-day life, food is everywhere. Children who have food allergies may be excluded from many of these activities. Some seem to take it in stride, while others feel varying degrees of sadness, anger, or fear. This book was meant to shed light on the emotional side and to help children cope with these challenges. It also serves as a reminder that even though this condition must be managed on a daily basis, it need not stop them from enjoying a wonderful life and becoming everything they were meant to be.

As many of you know from reading my blog, I have a 10 year old son with major, life threatening food allergies. I believe strongly in educating those around us as this is a way of life for us that others don't often understand or experience. It is also vitally important to educate and support children with and without food allergies so that they can understand that when you are living with a food allergy you need to make some adjustments in your life and social activities to keep yourself safe. Even though children have to do things a bit differently, they are no different inside their hearts and souls than anyone else. I was excited when I heard about Gina Clowes book, One of the Gang. I contacted her and she graciously sent me a copy of her book to read and review. My son and I immediately sat down and read it together after I received it in the mail. He is often excited to read things related to food allergies and to connect with others that are like him. We liked that this story was told in pictures as it gives you a connection to what a child experiences in a real-life situation. My son was older than the target audience for the book which is ages 3-8 years old. Although, he enjoyed the story and felt it would be very helpful for younger kids to read. His favorite part were the pictures at the end of the book where adults with food allergies were featured, some were celebrities and sports stars. His eyes brightened and he asked me, "Do these people all have food allergies?". I confirmed that, yes, they do and it was heartwarming to see him brighten up and realize that there were endless possibilities ahead of him for his future. Thanks to Gina for writing this book and for sharing it with myself and my son and other children with food allergies as well as the communities they live in.

Q& A with Author Gina Clowes of:

One of the Gang

Nurturing the Souls of Children with Food Allergies

Why did you write this book? My passion has always been to enlighten others about the emotional toll of food allergies. There is the obvious need to care for our allergic children’s health but their emotional well being is equally important and often overlooked.

Who are you targeting? My target audience is young children 3-8 years old but I have many moms who have told me that they’ve purchased this for teachers, school nurses or relatives who really had no idea how our kids see the world, which was really my secret agenda.

Do you really have a secret agenda? My hope is that in seeing the world though our children’s eyes, other adults will realize how hard it is to be excluded and how good it feels to kids when they’re included. We socialize so often with food. It’s how we connect; we break bread. That birthday cake is the focal point of the celebration. It’s hard to be the one left out of that.

What do you hope to accomplish? Several things really. I want to validate the feelings these children have. Some people tend to deny their children’s feelings of sadness or anger or fear yet these are the same moms who come to our local support group meetings to share their frustrations. Kids need help with their feelings too and finding ways to cope is healthy.

I also like to help kids to put their food allergies in perspective. It’s just one part of them and they need to know that food allergies won’t stop them from having a great life and being everything they were meant to be. I’m hoping the adults in the book will help to make this point.
What is special about the adults in the book?
The adults at the end of the book all have food allergies yet they’re thriving and living terrific lives. Since food allergies are invisible, kids don’t get to see that there are people all around them with food allergies. So I included photographs of food allergic adults such as Superbowl champ Jermone Bettis, an NHL Hockey star Tom Poti, Television News Anchors Lori Stokes , Dr Robert Wood, Mrs Maine USA, and more.

Why did you decide to use photographs instead of having it illustrated? There are a lot of terrific children’s books on allergies but most of them feature a talking animal character playing the part of a child with food allergies. My kids are very literal and my son actually asked me “Do elephants really have peanut allergy?” So I knew early on that I’d want to use pictures to make it real for kids like mine.

Why was it important to you to use children who have food allergies? When we set up different scenes in the book, such as the birthday party where one girl is eating a safe cupcake while all of the other kids are eating the birthday cake, I wanted the expression on her face to be authentic. I’m not sure a typical kid would “get” what this is like for children who have food allergies. Often we (allergy parents) can’t even get adults to understand.

What is the reaction to the book? Adults love that the pictures can express what words cannot say. Kids love the pictures of the adults and are thrilled to know that Super bowl champs, hockey stars, television news anchors and even beauty queens can all have food allergies and still be out there having fun. I had one teacher say that when she read it in class, it sparked a long conversation about differences and all of the kids were yelling out things that are different about them. It was as though they recognized that everybody is dealing with something and that is okay. That was music to my ears!

Here is a link to to purchase One of the Gang.

Here is one to Barnes and Noble to purchase One of the Gang.

Knit Two Update!

As I mentioned in an earlier post , I received an ARC copy of this wonderful book, Knit Two, from Carrie at Words to Mouth. Carrie is going to be hosting some awesome contests:

  • A chance to WIN one of FIVE copies of Kate Jacob's sequel to Friday Night Knitting Club, Knit Two ~ Guest Book Review Coming Soon!

  • A chance to WIN a group of Three holiday-themed books from THREE different authors, including Debbie Macomber, Sherryl Woods, and Linda Lael Miller ~ Great Holiday Gift Package!

  • TWO five-book holiday giveaways hosted by Hachette Book Group

Check the Website at Words to Mouth regularly for Details on How to WIN!

Friday, November 14, 2008

BIBLE ILLUMINATED: The Book New Testament

I have to admit that I was drawn to the cover of this book when I first saw a picture online. I was curious about the idea of presenting the Bible in a unique and different way through the use of media and photography. I believe that is what Illuminated World did and for that purpose, they did a phenomenon job.

I found myself engrossed in the pictures that tell a story related to certain passages that are highlighted in the text. Here is an example:

The books of the New Testament are told in completion without seperation into chapters and verse which makes the story flow together. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts and Revelation are all told in seperation sections along with their own unique title page and photo. The letters are grouped together, Romans through Jude, in one section. There are very graphic photos throughout the book and some may not be appropriate for young children. Revelations has the most graphic photos of the book and are very powerful.

At the end of the book there is a message from The American Bible Society whose Good News Translation was used in The Bible Illuminated New Testament. I believe that this is a unique version of the Bible that may appeal to many but not all. It will most likely draw the younger teen and young adults to the Bible through the media approach and style. This can be a positive thing as some conservative versions may be less attractive to them. This truly is a beautiful version that takes into account modern day times and how it relates to the teaching of the Bible. The beauty of the photos and artwork will definitely draw you in and with an open mind and heart you will definitely appreciate this version of the Bible. I know that I did and plan to spend more time looking at in more detail. I was not a fan of the style of the book. It is an oversized, glossy, thin book that looks like a magazine. I found it a bit flimsy and am concerned that it will wear in time as a magazine would. I would prefer a hardback version so that it felt stronger in my hands. Some may disagree that this magazine style is unique and less daunting than a hardback book, it certainly is. That is for the reader to decide! I am honored to have had the opportunity to review this exciting new version of the New Testament. I want to thank Lisa Roe, at Online Publicist who assisted in sending me this copy. I look forward to seeing what the Old Testament version looks like in 2009!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

More Details on The Paper Bag Christmas!!

I recently reviewed and had a giveaway of a copy of the wonderful book called The Paperbag Christmas by Kevin Alan Milne. The author contacted me and wanted me to share with you that he is having a very special contest just in time for the Christmas Season. He is going to give two lucky winners 5 FREE, autographed books, so you'll have enough copies on hand to give away to your friends on Christmas morning. The contest will conclude on December 10th, thereby allowing enough time before Christmas for you to get your prize. Check out all of the details and sign up for this great contest HERE.

In addition, Kevin Milne of “The Paper Bag Christmas,” will be sharing his thoughts with readers and writers Wednesday, Nov. 19,” in a live, online chat at Here are the details:


Kevin Alan Milne, business professional by day, writer by night and husband and father 24/7. His first novel, “The Paper Bag Christmas” (Center Street, October 2008, ISBN-10: 1599950731), shares a fictional story about the hope and magic of Christmas and is soon to become a holiday classic.


“Authors at Abunga” Weekly Online Chat with Kevin Alan Milne at, an online bookstore offering more than 2 million family-friendly materials.


Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2008

11 a.m. – Noon PST / 1 – 2 p.m. CST / 2 – 3 p.m. EST (LIVE)



“The Paper Bag Christmas” tells the story of two brothers, Aaron and Mo, who are tasked with helping to bring holiday cheer to the children's ward at a nearby hospital. The boys encounter challenges with some of the children, especially Katrina, who is so embarrassed by her scarred exterior that she hides her face behind a paper bag and pushes people away. But as the inspiring book progresses, the children discover that Christmas joy emanates from a source far greater than the North Pole, and Katrina learns that she is more beautiful than she had ever imagined.

For information, visit or

Milne is donating a portion of the book’s proceeds to the Children’s Cancer Foundation. This nonprofit organization is also a Favored Abunga Nonprofit (FAN). gives 5 percent of each net sale to a FAN of the consumer’s choice. is an online bookstore founded to provide families a protected shopping environment. Headquartered in Knoxville, Tenn., offers safety with more than 2 million family-friendly titles; savings through distributor-direct prices and support to nonprofit organizations by donating 5 percent of each transaction to a consumer-selected charity. For more information, visit

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sneak Peak: Knit Two

Knit Two by Kate Jacobs

Description: The sequel to the number-one New York Times bestseller The Friday Night Knitting Club, KNIT TWO returns to Walker and Daughter, the Manhattan knitting store founded by Georgia Walker and her young daughter, Dakota. Dakota is now an eighteen-year-old freshman at NYU, running the little yarn shop part-time with help from the members of the Friday Night Knitting Club. Drawn together by the sense of family the club has created, the knitters rely on one another as they struggle with new challenges: for Catherine, finding love after divorce; for Darwin, the hope for a family; for Lucie, being both a single mom and a caregiver for her elderly mother; and for seventysomething Anita, a proposal of marriage from her sweetheart, Marty, that provokes the objections of her grown children. As the club’s projects—an afghan, baby booties, a wedding coat—are pieced together, so is their understanding of the patterns underlying the stresses and joys of being mother, wife, daughter, and friend. Because it isn’t the difficulty of the garment that makes you a great knitter: it’s the care and attention you bring to the craft—as well as how you adapt to surprises.

I received an ARC copy of this wonderful book, Knit Two, from Carrie at Words to Mouth. I am going to be a guest reviewer on her blog later in the month to review Knit Two. I will say now that I loved this book!! It is an excellent sequel to The Friday Night Knitting Club. You will find out about the lives of all of the Club members and the men as well. This is truly a wonderful novel about the value and special importance of community and friendship in our lives. I wish that I had a group of friends like this in my own life! I won't give too much away for now but I highly recommend that you get yourself a copy!! Isn't the cover art just gorgeous?! I love the black back ground which highlights the yarn colors. You can check out Kate Jacob's website here for more information. The hardcover edition will be available on November 25th so mark your calendars!! Make sure to keep your eye on Carrie's Blog at Words to Mouth for my review...of course, I will post about it here as well. Carrie just may have something special in the works so stay posted!!!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Mailbox Monday!

Happy Monday!! Here’s what I found in my mailbox last week!

  • Tomato Girl by Jayne Pupek (Thanks to the author)
  • COLE FAMILY CHRISTMAS by Jennifer Liu Bryan with Hazel Cole Kendle (Thanks to Lisa from Online Publicist
  • An Irish Country Christmas by Patrick Taylor (A double bonus with both the book and audiobook versions, thanks to the publisher at Tor/Forge Macmillan)
  • The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker (Thanks to Miriam at Hachette)

*Now, I have to work out a schedule to get these wonderful books read and reviewed!!

What books came into your house last week?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Do you want to review these books???

I'm swimming in books to review and want to share a few extra books with those that want to read them. I will be happy to send these Brand New ARC copies to someone who is interested in reading them and will promise to write a review of the book on their blog and link it back here to mine or guest review here on my blog. Please post in the comments section, first come/first served. I need your blog and email address and a promise to review the book!! I can only send these to US and Canada due to the high cost of overseas postage here in the US!

Titles from Left to Right:

Gone Away-World by Nick Harkaway-Taken by Jennifer

The Longest Trip Home by John Grogan -Taken by Ti

The Soul Thief by Charles Baxter-Taken by Ramya

*Thanks to everyone! All the books are now taken!!! I'll send them out next week.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Book Review:The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski

Book Description: Born mute, speaking only in sign, Edgar Sawtelle leads an idyllic life with his parents on their farm in remote northern Wisconsin. For generations, the Sawtelles have raised and trained a fictional breed of dog whose thoughtful companionship is epitomized by Almondine, Edgar's lifelong friend and ally. But with the unexpected return of Claude, Edgar's paternal uncle, turmoil consumes the Sawtelles' once peaceful home. When Edgar's father dies suddenly, Claude insinuates himself into the life of the farm--and into Edgar's mother's affections. Grief-stricken and bewildered, Edgar tries to prove Claude played a role in his father's death, but his plan backfires--spectacularly. Forced to flee into the vast wilderness lying beyond the farm, Edgar comes of age in the wild, fighting for his survival and that of the three yearling dogs who follow him. But his need to face his father's murderer and his devotion to the Sawtelle dogs turn Edgar ever homeward.

I had heard about this novel and had wanted to read it before it was chosen by Oprah's Book Club which then skyrocketed the interest in this book. This is a debut novel by David Wroblewski which is quite impressive. The writing is at times beautiful and poetic but overall, the story fell flat for me. I adored the main character Edgar who is mute, an only child and wise beyond his years. The relationship that he has with his parents is very touching. They had difficulty having a child and his mother Trudy had suffered a miscarriage that deeply affected her. Edgar's parents, Trudy and Gar love their son immensely and created their own way to speak with him in sign language. Their relationship was very touching. Edgar's dog , Almondine, was one of the wise and special Sawtelle dogs that his grandfather had started breeding. Edgar and Almondine had a bond that was very deep and Almondine watched over Edgar since he was born. Claude, Edgars uncle arrives on the scene and disturbs their peaceful family. Claude and Gar have unresolved issues that play out in a way that is unclear to the reader. Edgars life was not an easy one and it was made worse when his father suddenly died. He was faced with the deep loss and mystery of his father's death as well as the bizarre relationship of his mother and Claude and he was forever changed. I wanted to like this book more than I did but I had very mixed feelings about the book and overall I found it a disapointing read. It was too long, at 566 pages, which in my opinion, needed editing. Some scenes and story lines dragged on way too long and I lost interest. The narrative jumps between different narrators, including the dogs, which made it hard to follow. I was deeply disapointed in the way the author chose to end the book. The author did not tie up many loose ends and many story lines were left uncompleted. I don't expect all books to have happy endings but of all the ways the book could have ended, it surprised me that the author chose to end it this way. After sticking with the book through to the end I felt the reader deserved more.


For a different perspective you can check out these blog reviews:

Monday, November 3, 2008

Mailbox Monday

Happy Monday!! Here’s what I found in my mailbox last week!
What books came into your house last week?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy 10th Birthday!

Happy 10th Birthday to my son A.J.!!! We have lots of fun things planned and he's been thrilled with his presents so far!