Saturday, April 28, 2012

Sikander by M. Salahuddin Khan (Feature and Giveaway)

This is an unique post because it is one of the first author/books that I have featured that will also be at the bookstore I work at.

JKS Communications is a literary publicity firm that I have worked with during Sandra Brannan's blog tours and have had the pleasure of meeting Marissa and Sami at BEA last year. They are wonderfully smart, passionate folks who are talented in their book advocacy.

When offered the chance to read and review another author they represent, I was hesistant due to my busy schedule. But I knew I could atleast feature it and also mention the author's book signing at the store I work at.

Marissa has also been kind enough to offer a copy to giveaway. Please take a peak at the description and enter if you are interested.

Also, if you live in the Twin Cities area, stop by Magers and Quinn Booksellers to meet the author.

Book Description from Goodreads:
It's 1986, a time when Ronald Reagan's commitment to the mujahideen of Afghanistan is steadfast. It leads 17 year-old Pakistani student, Sikander, to admire just about everything American and while yearning for the freedom of his ethnic Pashtun brethren in Afghanistan, he also longs to study and live in America. But when Sikander shames his family by being naively indiscreet about their financial difficulties, the resulting verbal lashing from his mother and overbearing father, who also strikes him physically, provokes Sikander into leaving the comfort of his upper middle-class Peshawar life.

Author's Website:

Event Info:
Saturday, May 5

Contest Info:
Contest Runs from April 29- May 6.
No restrictions
Please leave an email address
Book will be sent directly from JKS

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Confession

I have a confession to make. Shh, don't tell anyone.

I...uh...haven't finished a book in over a month. 

(crowd goes wild with outrage!)

I know. I know. A month?

But, you know what else?

It's because I am hopelessly, 110% addicted to...AUDIO BOOKS.

Yes. Yes. I know!

How did that happen?

Well, first, my time.  I simply don't have any. I sit down at the end of my day and read maybe 5 pages...TOPS! I've tried. I really have. I've picked up maybe 10 books in the last month, all of which, we're just fine. Some we're interesting and completely worthy of my time to finish.

And second....well, audio books are really, really satisfying. I feel like I am experiencing reading in such a different way. It's invigorating! I have picked a long string of really wonderful books that I had so much fun listening to. And I can do it all in my car!!

Reviews to come are Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua, Wild by Cheryl Strayed and the Rob Lowe bio!

I guess I would be a bit more worried if I had not been listening as well but I do feel strangely fulfilled in my reading. I really do. I feel like I've opened up a giant door to a world of exciting imagination.

So, be patient, kind readers. You will see reviews from me but they will probably be of the audio variety more often than not.

Any new suggestions out there for me for great audio books?

Happy Reading (and listening!) and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Audio Review: The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

Title: The Paris Wife

Author: Paula McLain
Genre: Fiction
Format: Unabridged Audio
Publisher: Random House
Source: Library

The Paris Wife is the fictional tale of Ernest Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley. I am probably one of the few people who have never read any Hemingway and know very little about him as an author or man. I enjoy discovering history through novels like this. A little bit historical. A little bit fiction. Definitely enjoyable.

I chose this in audio out of sheer impulse. It is in at my library. I needed one to listen to. There you go. I was hooked from the beginning. The narrator, Carrington McDuffie, was passionate and subtle in her reading of Hadley. She vocalized the strength I imagined the character to have but also the weakness and naivete as well.

Here is a description from Goodreads:

A deeply evocative story of ambition and betrayal, The Paris Wifecaptures a remarkable period of time and a love affair between two unforgettable people: Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley.

Chicago, 1920: Hadley Richardson is a quiet twenty-eight-year-old who has all but given up on love and happiness—until she meets Ernest Hemingway and her life changes forever. Following a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair set sail for Paris, where they become the golden couple in a lively and volatile group—the fabled “Lost Generation”—that includes Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.

Though deeply in love, the Hemingways are ill-prepared for the hard-drinking and fast-living life of Jazz Age Paris, which hardly values traditional notions of family and monogamy. Surrounded by beautiful women and competing egos, Ernest struggles to find the voice that will earn him a place in history, pouring all the richness and intensity of his life with Hadley and their circle of friends into the novel that will becomeThe Sun Also Rises. Hadley, meanwhile, strives to hold on to her sense of self as the demands of life with Ernest grow costly and her roles as wife, friend, and muse become more challenging. Despite their extraordinary bond, they eventually find themselves facing the ultimate crisis of their marriage—a deception that will lead to the unraveling of everything they’ve fought so hard for.

The love story between Hadley and Hemingway was an unique one. She was older than him, quiet, reserved, old fashioned. He was young, impulsive and self absorbed.
Whether or not she grounded him or he opened her up, they worked and married during the exciting, passionate, turbulent early 1920s. They traveled, drank, smoked, debated, argued, wrote, and loved all over the world though most of the story takes place in Paris.

I loved traveling through it all with them. There is something wonderful when you get a really good audio narrator teamed with an exceptional well written novel. You get gleeful storytelling that keeps you on the edge of your seat wanting more.

This made me want to research Hemingway a bit more and possibly pick up a few of his books. Unfortunately after asking several friends of mine who passionately exclaimed, "I hate Hemingway! What an ass!", I suddenly became turned off. :) Perhaps I'll feel differently later. He was definitely portrayed as pompous but in that child like, self absorbed creative type. He was constantly in his head as a writer and demanded his time to write when he wanted it.

Much like Loving Frank, I enjoyed learning about a real couple. They were passionately smart people who, most of the times, brought out the best in one another. Though it's no surprise that the marriage did not last, the mutual respect continued the rest of their lives.

Rating: Recommend
This was beautifully written and narrated by an exceptional voice. I am so glad I picked it on a whim. For anyone interested in the literary past, this book has it all. Not only do you hear Hemingway's story, you get to hear snippets about Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, and John Dos Passos. And you get a remarkable love story.

Book Club Pick?
Yes, I would recommend this for book clubs. We read Loving Frank and had a heated discussion about that one. I think this has similar themes that would create a stir.

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Ladies Book Club: January, February, and March 2012

The Ladies Book Club is back!

You may have thought that I forgot all about my Ladies Book Club posts! Oh no, not the case. We have just been simply absorbed in the world of the Hunger Games. I thought it would be much easier to do a "wrap up" post rather than "review" each book.

Let's face it. Hunger Games rocks but I'm done with it, okay. I read the first two books years ago when they came out. When Mockingjay came out much later I was not as enthralled to "catch up" and read it. I was happy that my group of ladies wanted to read the first one. I could vaguely remember what happened. But then the fever struck. They needed to finish them all!!! No problems really but I wasn't as enthusiastic as the others. I skimmed through Mockingjay and read the ending. I sat and listened to how it all turned out during the discussion and turns out had a great time being a part of the fun. Okay, okay, I give in. We made a plan to see the movie together and did just a few weeks ago. It was AMAZING! Really well done and so much better had I read the book.

This is not an official book club post since it covers three months but, no worries, lots of wine and chocolate were consumed and heated discussion was had. We seem to have a core group of us that make it every month which is lovely. They always come ready to chat and give their two cents.

Overall, these were fun books to read especially during the crazy time when it seems EVERYONE is reading it now. My bookstore certainly is selling them like hotcakes. Book clubs are fun to be a part of no matter what you read. I just love getting together and talking about books!

Next Book Up:
Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffennegger

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Friday, April 6, 2012

Vote for Me! Beginning April 10!

Hi All! I entered my blog into the Independent Book Blogger Award contest through Goodreads! If I win, I can get an all expense trip to BEA in NYC. Boy, would THAT be nice. Click on my sidebar and vote for me!
(it loaded weird but if you click on it, it works!)
Voting begins April 10!


Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Year of Mysterious Giveaways: April 2012

The Year of Mysterious Giveaways: April 2012

Okay, every thriller reader out there HAS to sign up for this giveaway, if you have not read this yet, of course. Lisa Gardner is my new favorite mystery/thriller author. She takes you on a crazy psychological ride that you can not get off of!

So mystery fans, spread the news around. I have a copy to giveaway!

Check this one out from Goodreads!

In New York Times bestselling author Lisa Gardner's latest D.D. Warren thriller, the relentless Boston investigator must solve a coldly calculated murder--before it happens.
In four days, someone is going to kill me . . .
Detective D. D. Warren is hard to surprise. But a lone woman outside D.D.'s latest crime scene shocks her with a remarkable proposition: Charlene Rosalind Carter Grant believes she will be murdered in four days. And she wants Boston's top detective to handle the death investigation.
It will be up close and personal. No evidence of forced entry, no sign of struggle.
Charlie tells a chilling story: Each year at 8:00 p.m. on January 21st, a woman has died. The victims have been childhood best friends from a small town in New Hampshire; the motive remains unknown. Now only one friend, Charlie, remains to count down her final hours.
But as D.D. quickly learns, Charlie Grant doesn't plan on going down without a fight. By her own admission, the girl can outshoot, outfight, and outrun anyone in Boston. Which begs the question, is Charlie the next victim, or the perfect perpetrator? As D.D. tracks a vigilante gunman who is killing pedophiles in Boston, she must also delve into the murders of Charlie's friends, racing to find answers before the next gruesome January 21 anniversary. Is Charlie truly in danger, or is she hiding a secret that may turn out to be the biggest threat of all?
In four days, someone is going to kill me. But the son of a bitch has gotta catch me first.

Are you terrified yet?

Contest Rules:
*Contest Runs from April 4-April 30
*Please leave your email address
* Please reside in the United States
*Please be a follower of my blog

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

The Year of Mysterious Giveaways: March winner

Thank you to all who entered!

Carol is our winner!
Historical fiction and mystery are my very most favorite genres. This books sounds like a dream. I would really love to read it.


I am a follower.

Please send me your address Carol and the book is all yours!

Stay tuned for next month's giveaway.

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Monday, April 2, 2012

Review: The Pea in Peanut Butter by Allyn M. Stotz

Author: Allyn M. Stotz

Illustrator: Valerie Bouthyette
Genre: Children's Picture Book,
Publisher: Future Word
Format: Review Copy
Source: Author
Purchase: Indie Bound

I made a decision to be more open to reviewing children's books this year. My son is getting older. We are "reading" a lot more and I am always on the look out for stories that have a good message.

Anything having to do with food and eating more fruits and vegetables is always top on my list. My son, like the young girl in this story, believes that everything green is yucky. Where he got this I have no idea. I think they come programmed that way!

We try everything and anything to get him to eat veggies and like most things with a four year old, it's a back and forth battle filled with compromise and some blackmailing. :)

Also like the young lady, Kailee, in this story, my son is obsessed with certain foods. I loved that this little gal loved peanut butter so much that she dreamed about putting in on everything. Very relatable as a parent with a young child.

The gist of the story is this little gal only wants to eat peanut butter and one night, with her grumbling tummy, she sneaks into the pantry to snack on some ol' pb. Well, she enters a dream like musical number where the food in the pantry convince her that green is not bad.

I particularly liked the little food song they sang;
"A color has no taste.
Avoiding it's a waste.
All colors need a chance.
To do the food yum...yummy dance!"

Kids respond to songs and one that has a good message like this is even better. My son certainly got a honk out of it. Is he eating tons of veggies? No, not yet. But having a little tune like this to pull out certainly doesn't hurt!

So in this fun, she comes to find out that other foods, NOT just peanut butter are pretty darn good.

Rating: Recommend
The edition I reviewed came with a coloring book which is a fun add on. It's a cute story with a good message. As a mom, that's what I look for. The illustrations are pretty simple yet colorful. If you have a young one in your life between the ages of 2-6, this would be a silly read to bring the topic of eating well into a new light.

Author's Blog:

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child