Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Great Swag Swap Giveaway Hop

Welcome to The Great Swag Swap Giveaway Hop hosted by Gypsy Mama Logsand Mama goes BAM. This is a special event to thank you our readers, and is your 2nd chance to get your hands on some of the best swag from some of your favorite bloggers.
The event begins at 12:01 AM February 29 & ends 11:59 PM March 7th!!
This is a giveaway hop to give away some swag (goodies bloggers sometimes get) and share it with blog readers. I have a bunch of goodies from the book The Pledge by Kimberly Derting. I didn't get the book, just the goodies. Hopefully someone who either loved the book will enjoy this or someone who loves YA will love the book and goodies. 

The goodies are : 
a poster with the cover design on it, signed by the author. 
a bookmark with the cover design on it
3 stickers - 2 for The Pledge and 1 for Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia
a passport like the characters in the book The Pledge carry, signed by the author

To enter, just fill out the rafflecopter form below. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Academy Award Winning Books #oscars

So who watched the Academy Awards Sunday night? I watched the red carpet for a little while, then decided to catch up on The Big Bang Theory, Hawaii Five-0, and The Walking Dead. Then I just checked online later to see who won.

Did you know that out of the nine movies nominated for Best Picture, six were based on books? Well now you do. Including all categories, eleven of the films nominated came from books. So let's learn more about them.

The Descendants: A Novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings - This is George Clooney's latest movie. The book is about a father trying his best to take care of his children after his wife ends up in a coma. His two daughters are a mess (even before the wife's accident) and it turns out that his wife was having an affair. The father ends up taking his daughters on a journey to find the man with whom the wife was having the affair. It is set in Hawaii and the main character is a descendant (hence the title) of Hawaiian royalty. I haven't read this one, but it sounds really good. It has almost a 4 star rating on goodreads and the author is a goodreads' author which is pretty cool. I'm also a sucker for a nice cover and this cover is pretty cool looking.

Moneyball : The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis - Not going to lie, this one goes completely over my head. It is about baseball and from what I gather the Oakland A's general manager and his unorthodox hiring practices. Not really my thing, but this might a good book for the sport's lover in your life. The author, Michael Lewis, is also the author of the Blind Side. If you've seen that movie (which you should) or read that book, he is the dad.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick - The movie is simply called Hugo. It is the story of a boy who lives in a Paris train station. I actually won this one a while ago and it has been staring at me from the bookshelves begging to be read ever since. It is literally staring at me as the spine is Hugo's face. I don't much about the book other than that it is a grand adventure with some sort of clock timey-wimey robot looking things. The book itself has won many awards and Brian Selznick is considered one of the most promising new authors for children.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer - This has been on my to-read list forever. I have no idea why I haven't picked it up. I think it is because I am afraid it will be depressing. It concerns a 9-year-old boy whose father died in the World Trade Center. He is on a mission to find the lock that fits a key that was his father's. Along the way he meets a crazy cast of New York characters. It has a 4.11 rating on goodreads which is really high for goodreads. I have heard nothing but good things about it and I'm sure that I'll love it once I get around to it. I do have to admit that I hate the cover. I don't know why but it just irritates me. I'm weird, I know.

War Horse by Michael Morpurgo - This book is actually based on a middle grade novel about a horse named Joey. He starts his life off on the farm with his owner Albert. When war breaks out, he is sent to be a war horse. Like Black Beauty, the book is narrated by the horse. You read as he fights in the trenches, gets to know and love his fellow soldiers, and dreams of getting back to his true master, Albert. Honestly, I'm getting teary-eyed just writing the description. It has gone to the top of my to-read list. From what I can tell, it is a really quick read at only 165 pages. Probably a great book for all the young history buffs and horse lovers in your life.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett - This was one of my favorite reads of 2011. I absolutely loved this book. It is set in 1960's Mississippi and tells the story of a group of upper class white women and "the help". The help being the maids who basically are raising their children for them. One woman, Skeeter, wants to be a real writer some day, and decides to write a book about the maids. She sets into motion a lot of craziness, a TON of obnoxious racism that made me want to punch some white women in the face, and learns a lot about who she is. This is a really great book that I highly recommend.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John Le Carre - This is actually a series about George Smiley, a British spy. John Le Carre is one of the foremost spy authors out there. He also wrote The Constant Gardener, which I loved. The plot centers on the spy George who must discover who the mole is in British Intelligence. The mole has been in British Intelligence for so long that they may very well be at the very top. This sounds really good, and Le Carre's books always have great ratings. You've probably heard of his most famous novel, also about George Smiley, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold.

Tintin in the Land of the Soviets (The Adventures of Tintin: Original Classic) by Herge - If you don't know who TinTin is, I am sorry for your childhood. I used to love the TinTin books. The book I linked to is a reprint of the original TinTin book. TinTin is a Belgian reporter sent all over the world on assignment with his dog Snowy. Along the way he gets into tons of adventures. If you have a child, they need these books. If you want to re-capture your adventurous side, you need these books.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larson - I'm not even going to describe this book. If you haven't heard of it, you might have been living under a rock for the last 2 years. This trilogy is hugely popular. I tried to get into the first one, but I just couldn't do it. I have since heard that once you get past the beginning, the book is amazing. I might re-try to read it at a later date, but maybe not.

My Week with Marilyn by Colin Clark - I really want to read this book. The book is the diaries of an assistant on the set of The Prince and the Showgirl, starring Marilyn Monroe and Laurence Olivier. He is assigned to take care of Marilyn. They end up traveling all over the the English countryside and of course Colin falls just a little bit in love with her as she falls into more and more pills. I can't wait to read this. I love books that are diaries and of course Marilyn is just, well, Marilyn.

In addition to these books, both Puss-In-Boots and Albert Nobbs, are based on short stories.

I hope that you find some new books to read. Remember, take the pledge and always read the book first!
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Monday, February 27, 2012

Women in Western Art

I ame in awe, of the amazing artists, of the beauty of women, and of the person who made this video. Pin It

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Silent Sunday

I meet Caleb!!

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Meet My Shelves

As I write a blog that often focuses on books, you can probably surmise that I read a lot. Since I read a lot, you can safely assume I have a lot of books. Well, I do. I have a lot. Like.... A LOT. Like... bordering on having a hoarding problem. Someday I am going to have a house with a library in it, and my books will have their own home. Until then, they reside on bookshelves. How many bookshelves do you have in your house? I have eight. So altogether that is 40 shelves. Plus the hundreds of books on my nook and the books by my bed. I have a lot of books.

So anywho, I've decided that every once in a while, I will share one of my shelves. It is kind of like getting a little peek into my psyche. You can see which books I hold dear, how I order them. Personally, when I go into someone's house, I immediately look for their bookshelves. You can learn a lot about a person from their bookshelves. 

So meet one of my bookshelves...

This is the first bookshelf when you come into my apartment. It holds part of my classics collection. Each book has a story. Well, most of them do. 

From left to right...
The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition (This is the hubby's edition of Alice.) 
The Illustrated Children's Bible (This is a Rand MacNally edition. I picked it up at used bookstore right after I found out I was pregnant. I'm still on the look out for the Illustrated Children's Bible I had and loved as a kid.)
Shakespeare: The Complete Works (No dust jacket, I've had this forever but I don't remember when I got it.)
Great Works - Locke, Berkeley, Hume (This is from back in the day when people had Great Works delivered by mail order. I think this may have come from my mom's best friend's house. But as I don't think anyone there knows how to read, I don't think it is missed.)
Dune by Frank Herbert (I've never read this, it is one of the hubby's favorites.)
Gray's Anatomy (Barnes & Noble Leatherbound Classics) (I got this for the hubby this past Christmas since he's my favorite nurse.)
The Complete Novels of Jane Austen (Got this as a birthday present from my cousin Amanda years ago. I've lost the dustcover.)
The Adventures and the Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (Leatherbound, no idea where it came from, but the pages are awesomely yellowed and it smells that delicious book smell. I just took it off the shelf and sniffed it Yum. Apparently this version is out of print, it was from Octopus Publishing.)
The Chronicles of Narnia Boxed Set (This was hubby's when he was a kid. I had a big paperback with all of them in the same book, but we consolidated our books and mine went to the used bookstore.)
Gone With the Wind l (My favorite book of all-time. I had three copies, but I consolidated and this is the only one left. It's the prettiest. No idea where the dustcover went.)
Sherlock Holmes' The Complete Illustrated Novels (I bought this at the American University in Cairo bookstore when I was studying abroad. It still has the AUC sticker on it, and I probably won't ever take it off.) 
Dante's The Divine Comedy (Just a regular copy, nothing fancy. Does anyone know where I can get a copy that has the original Italian on one side and a translation on the other side?)

So there ya go. What does this bookshelf say about me? I'm a book hoarder who can't give up any book that has any sort of story related to it? Yep. Sure does.

Here's my Amazon bookstore with the books on this shelf. Some of these are different but similar to the editions I have. Some of the editions are out of print or just hard to find.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

"I think he said his name was... Thor?"

Newest publicity stills for The Avengers movie.

All images copyright Walt Disney Studios. Pin It

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

An Ode to Cheese

Ode to Cheese
by Lindsey Aylward

O! You have been delicious
From the stinkiest gouda
To the sharpest cheddar
And the crumbliest feta
You were melty on my grilled cheese sandwich
And softened the kick of buffalo chicken
But alas!
While your scrumptiousness has been heaven to my lips
It is poison to my child
So banned from the household You are
Until a time when the babe can partake
Without trips to the doctor
And the constant company
Of an epi-pen.
O! Cheese. You shall be missed
So why am I writing odes lamenting the loss of cheese? While like I've mentioned before, the baby has a severe milk allergy. So we've decided once and for all to get rid of the cheese in the house and go full-on soy. I'll still have cheese on special occasions when we go out, but I won't have it in the house. No more grilled cheese. No more feta on my hummus and tabouleh. I'm not quitting cold turkey. Oh no. Once all the cheese in the house is gone though, that is it. No more cheese enters the house. The babe can now open the refrigerator and it is just an accident waiting to happen. 

So if you know and good dairy-free cheese substitutes, let me know. How did you like my poem? It's pretty sweet eh? I didn't pay $40,000 a year for a BA in English for nothing....

Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

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Monday, February 20, 2012

MG/YA E-book Review - The Jinx by DF Lamont

The Jinx is a short novel about Stephen Grayson, who has pretty much the worst luck ever. It all starts on the first day of school when he crashes his bicycle. It only gets worse from there. After nearly setting fire to his house, Stephen decides that for the safety of his family, he must run away. That's when things get crazy. He runs into crazy creepy creatures called Chaons and learns from the mysterious Daedalus (named aptly for the mythological inventor I would venture to guess) that there are strong forces in the world causing his bad luck. He's not just a jinx. The forces he is now a part of are at war, a war between order and chaos.

I really enjoyed this short novel. It was a very quick and enjoyable read. Stephen was a very relateable teenager. He wasn't the emotionally broken or overly angsty teenage anti-heroes that we read about in YA/MG fiction so much these days. His love for his family was part of what drives him and I really liked that. The sci-fi and fantasy elements of the story were surprising. I didn't expect them at all. I would recommend this book to all sci-fi and/or fantasy YA/MG fans.

The Jinx is currently available for nook and for kindle and on paperback over on amazon. Or you could win an e-book copy from me.

To enter, just leave a comment below with the unluckiest thing that ever happened to you. Pin It

Thursday, February 16, 2012

GoneReading Discount

I've mentioned before how much I love the store GoneReading. You can read about their mission here, but basically, they rock. 100% of the money they make goes towards building libraries and literacy programs in the developing world. How sweet is that? To make it even better, their products also rock.

They have awesome book-related t-shirts, book journals, book marks, and even book-ends. My favorite bookmark is the "My wizard can beat up your vampire" one.

GoneReading is currently offering 25% to anyone and everyone. Just use the code BBANDS25

Let me know which goodies you get! Pin It

Welcome to the World!

It is a good thing that I had the last few posts already scheduled. I don't know what it was, but I was dead to the world for 24 hours. I didn't have the strength to pull my body out of bed. I was freezing cold and the only thing that would keep me warm for 5 minutes was to sit in a scalding hot shower. Then I didn't have the energy to pull myself out of the bathtub. I had a moment where I actually thought to myself, "It's ok to just sleep in the bathtub right?" But anywho, I'm better now. Still not 100%, but definitely a lot better than I was. The bambino is also sick. He's had bad cough for over a week now, so tomorrow we're going to take him in to the pediatrician to see what's what.

Well, in less depressing and COMPLETELY AWESOME NEWS....

I'm an auntie!! Well, I'm already an auntie, but I'm an auntie even more now!!

Welcome to the world, Caleb!!

Caleb Clay
Isn't he just precious? I am so freaking proud of my cousin, Caleb's mommy, Amanda. She was induced because Caleb wasn't growing (he was 4lbs, 11oz) at birth and she was calm as a cucumber the whole time. She went from 1 cm to 10 so fast that she couldn't get an epidural, and she rocked that labor. I am so freaking proud of her. I am also a little bit in awe. They had him on the tube for a little bit so he could gain weight. He is already (less than 24 hours later) off the tube and nursing like a champ. Woot wooot! So congratulations to Ken and Amanda, the new mommy and daddy. I can't wait until CJ and I are both better and we can come visit the little schmoops!! Pin It

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - The Garden Intrigue by Lauren Willig

This is my first time participating in Breaking the Spine's Waiting on Wednesday. Honestly, I hardly ever get a book right when it comes out, so it didn't make sense for me to participate. But now I'm super excited for a book coming out this week...

Lauren Willig's The Garden Intrigue. It is already available for pre-order from both Amazon and Barnes & Noble. This is the 9th in Willig's "Pink Carnation" series. If you haven't read these, they are hilarious. They are all about diffferent spies during the reign of Napoleon. You even get to meet Napoleon and other historical characters. In this book, I think we get to meet his step-daughter Hortense.

Here's the synopsis from goodreads :

In the ninth installment of Lauren Willig's bestselling Pink Carnation series, an atrocious poet teams up with an American widow to prevent Napoleon's invasion of England.
Secret agent Augustus Whittlesby has spent a decade undercover in France, posing as an insufferably bad poet. The French surveillance officers can't bear to read his work closely enough to recognize the information drowned in a sea of verbiage.
New York-born Emma Morris Delagardie is a thorn in Augustus's side. An old school friend of Napoleon's stepdaughter, she came to France with her uncle, the American envoy; eloped with a Frenchman; and has been rattling around the salons of Paris ever since. Widowed for four years, she entertains herself by drinking too much champagne, holding a weekly salon, and loudly critiquing Augustus's poetry.
As Napoleon pursues his plans for the invasion of England, Whittlesby hears of a top-secret device to be demonstrated at a house party at Malmaison. The catch? The only way in is with Emma, who has been asked to write a masque for the weekend's entertainment.
Emma is at a crossroads: Should she return to the States or remain in France? She'll do anything to postpone the decision-even if it means teaming up with that silly poet Whittlesby to write a masque for Bonaparte's house party. But each soon learns that surface appearances are misleading. In this complicated masque within a masque, nothing goes quite as scripted- especially Augustus's feelings for Emma.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday

Brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Books That Broke Your Heart a Little (or a lot)
(There be spoilers ahead. Ye are warned.)

1. Gone with the Wind - I've read this over 20 times and every time, I hope the ending has changed and they all live happily ever after. So when I get to the end, and Rhett walks out on Scarlett, my heart breaks all over again. OH and Bonnie Blue Butler... don't even get me started. The book does vary from the movie, so don't judge the book on its movie. In this case, both are AMAZING so  I guess it doesn't really matter. Both are also equally heart-breaking.

2. Love You Forever - I got this from someone right before I had CJ and I sobbed. I cry even more now that I have him. It's a mother's tale of how she will love her son when he's a baby, a teenager, and an adult. Then at the end, the son is holding his elderly mother. I'm getting teary-eyed just thinking about it. Yea, it kind of seems a little creepy when she's sneaky in his bedroom when he's a grown man, but I can't promise I won't do the same exact thing.

3. The Outsiders - I've talked about this on the blog before, but this book is one of my most emotional reads. I've read it maybe 10 times, and there's one part where every single time I get to it, I sob my little heart out. My sister read it in high school fully expecting to cry, and had no reaction whatsoever. I've been feeling lately like I am overdue to read this one, so I might read it again this month. "Stay gold Ponyboy." ::Sobs::

4. The Sweet Far Thing (Gemma Doyle, Book 3) - This is the final book in the Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray. Although there are some heartbreaking scenes in the first two, it is the fate of Kartik that breaks my heart in this one. Again, I sobbed. It's one of the sweetest and saddest love stories I've ever read. This is also due for a re-read.

5. The Velveteen Rabbit - This has been breaking my heart since I was a child. I don't remember the first time I read it, but I'm pretty sure I cried. The story of a toy becoming real and learning that "once you become real, you can't become un-real again" is so sweet. We actually read this at our wedding. I love the skin-horse and his wisdom. "Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. 'It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real. It doesn't happen all at once. You become. It takes a long time. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

6. Jane Eyre - One of my favorite love stories, it still breaks my heart for a little while. Even though they do live happily ever after, it is a rough road that leads them there. I just want to jump in the book and hug them all. The mystery in the attic also breaks my heart a little bit. The love Mr. Rochester must have had before that he lost is just really sad.

7. The Secret Garden - My heart breaks because of the way Mary is treated by her parents, then when she loses her parents, and then everything that happens in England. The whole book is just really sad up until the end. And even the happy ending breaks my heart a little bit. The story about the aunt and uncle is so tragic. :( My aunt told me that in another book, Mary marries her cousin and Dickon goes off to war and dies. That makes me even more sad. :(

8, 9, 10. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - If you've read the series, these 3 are sort of self-explanatory. If you haven't read them, I don't want to spoil it for you.

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