Forbidden by Kimberly Griffiths Little Pre-Order Giveaway!

On November 4th, HarperCollins unveils Forbidden, a seductive YA debut from award-winning middle grade author Kimberley Griffiths Little. Forbidden transports readers back in time to the deadly deserts and sweltering heat of Ancient Mesopotamia for a tale of danger, duty, and forbidden love. Jayden is on the brink of womanhood and betrothed to her tribe’s prince, cold-hearted Horeb. But when tragedy strikes, Jayden meets Kadesh, a mysterious visitor from the south who makes Jayden doubt everything she knows. Torn between loyalty to her tribe and the chance to escape her fate, Jayden must make a choice that will change her life forever.

Kimberley is also offering a HUGE preorder giveaway from October 6th to November 4th (release day!) to celebrate. See below for full details on how to enter.

TO ENTER:

  • You must preorder Forbidden through an online retailer or your local bookstore, then email a photo of your receipt to forbiddengiveaway@gmail.com.
  • Fill out the rafflecopter below
  • US/Canada Only
  • Ends at midnight EST on November 3, 2014
  • Optional entries: share the trailer on your own site or social media, follow Kimberley on twitter, and tweet about the giveaway (can be repeated daily for extra entries!)
  • Winners will be announced and contacted November 4th (release day!)
  • If the winner does not respond with their mailing address within one week, a new winner will be chosen.

PRIZES:


(1) GRAND PRIZE WINNER:
1. NEWLY RELEASED Kindle Fire HD6 Tablet with 6″ HD Display, Wi-Fi, Front and Rear Cameras, 8 GB — choose your color! (Black, Magenta, White, Citron, or Cobalt)
2. GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS by Rae Carson
3. CHAOS OF STARS by Kiersten White
4. Satin Belly Dance Skirt
5. Belly Dance 150-Coin Hip Scarf
6. Red Silk Veil (not pictured)
7. Red Middle Eastern Earrings
8. Belly dance DVD: Sensual Belly Dance with Blanca, a professional dancer (technique, choreography, and performances)
9. “Will YOU risk it all?” button (not pictured)
10. Set of 10 Book Club Cards
11. Jeweled bookmark (not pictured)
(1) SECOND PLACE WINNER:
1. GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS by Rae Carson
2. Red Middle Eastern Earrings
3. Red Silk Veil (not pictured)
4. Belly dance DVD: Sensual Belly Dance with Blanca, a professional dancer (technique, choreography, and performances)
5. “Will YOU risk it all?” button (not pictured)
6. Set of 10 Book Club Cards
7. Jeweled bookmark (not pictured)

(13) RUNNERS-UP WINNERS:
1. Red Middle Eastern Earrings
2. “Will YOU risk it all?” button (not pictured)
3. Set of 10 Book Club Cards
4. Jeweled bookmark (not pictured)
Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Forbidden: In the unforgiving Mesopotamian desert where Jayden’s tribe lives, betrothal celebrations abound, and tonight it is Jayden’s turn to be honored. But while this union with Horeb, the son of her tribe’s leader, will bring a life of riches and restore her family’s position within the tribe, it will come at the price of Jayden’s heart.
Then a shadowy boy from the Southern Lands appears. Handsome and mysterious, Kadesh fills Jayden’s heart with a passion she never knew possible. But with Horeb’s increasingly violent threats haunting Jayden’s every move, she knows she must find a way to escape—or die trying.
With a forbidden romance blossoming in her heart and her family’s survival on the line, Jayden must embark on a deadly journey to save the ones she loves—and find a true love for herself.
Set against the brilliant backdrop of the sprawling desert, the story of Jayden and Kadesh will leave readers absolutely breathless as they defy the odds and risk it all to be together.

Follow Kimberley:

About Kimberley: Award-winning author Kimberley Griffiths Little was born in San Francisco, but now lives in New Mexico on the banks of the Rio Grande with her husband and their three sons. Her middle-grade novels, When the Butterflies Came, The Last Snake Runner, The Healing Spell, and Circle of Secrets, have been praised as “fast-paced and dramatic,” with “beautifully realized settings.” Kimberley adores anything old and musty with a secret story to tell. She’s stayed in the haunted tower room at Borthwick Castle in Scotland; sailed the Seine in Paris; ridden a camel in Petra, Jordan; shopped the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul; and spent the night in an old Communist hotel in Bulgaria. You can visit her online at www.kimberleygriffithslittle.com.
Share your thoughts on the trailer in the comments!

Book Review: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

AttachmentsAttachments by Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: Plume
Paperback Release Date: March 27, 2012
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Publisher’s Description:

“Hi, I’m the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you . . . “

Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It’s company policy.) But they can’t quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.

Meanwhile, Lincoln O’Neill can’t believe this is his job now- reading other people’s e-mail. When he applied to be “internet security officer,” he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.

When Lincoln comes across Beth’s and Jennifer’s messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can’t help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories.

By the time Lincoln realizes he’s falling for Beth, it’s way too late to introduce himself.

What would he say . . . ?

I picked up this book right after I finished Landline because I am seriously in love with Rainbow Rowell. I almost moved on to Fangirl right after I finished Attachments but decided to wait so I can spread my Rainbow love out over a longer time period.

I found Attachments to be a unique story of unrequited love. (By the way, this story takes place in 1999 so long emails exchanged between friends instead of texting or instant messaging is realistic.) Lincoln’s job is to read emails that are marked with specific words that are no-nos, like sex, porn, etc. When Beth and Jennifer’s emails get red-flagged, he finds that enjoys reading their funny banter and decides not to send them a warning. Before he knows it, he’s reading all of their emails to each other. And without having ever seen her face, he’s falling in love with Beth. Unfortunately, she has a boyfriend. And it would be creepy if he introduced himself, “Hi, I’ve been reading your email.”

The banter between Beth and Jennifer IS laugh-out-loud funny. But, it’s balanced by the fact that they both have a serious side as well. Not everything in their lives is going the way they planned and sometimes humor is what gets them through their problems. Lincoln is sad and kind of pathetic but not in an annoying way. I wanted to give him a big hug and tell him that everything was going to be okay. And then ask him to be MY boyfriend. Rainbow writes such awesome male characters, it’s a shame they aren’t actual people.

All throughout reading this book, I kept thinking, how is this going to end? There can’t possibly be a way for this book to have a happy ending. It was a bit like reading a mystery novel that way that way and kept me riveted. Does it have a happy ending? You’ll have to read it to find out!

Other books I’ve reviewed by Rainbow Rowell:
Landline
Eleanor and Park

Let’s Go Royals, Let’s Go!

My latest excuse for taking a blogging hiatus is that my hometown boys in blue have been kicking ass all over the place and I’ve had many a late night staying up to watch them do it. I can’t wait for tonight’s game!

Page to Screen

Amy Dunne disappears on her and her husband Nick’s fifth anniversary. Nick is the prime suspect in the case. Gone Girl is both a portrait of a marriage and a study on how the media horns in on high profile crimes.

Gone Girl may the best adaptation of a book I’ve ever watched. Perhaps because Gillian Flynn herself adapted it. I’ve seen it twice already! Of course the movie had to be condensed from the book, otherwise it would have been five hours long. Flynn has done this masterfully. The timeline of events had to be tweaked just a little and some minor plot points left out but the meat of the book is definitely there.

Ben Affleck’s Nick was great. The only thing he could have done better was looked a little more slovenly. I’m  from Kansas City and loved that he wore a Boulevard Beer T-shirt for one scene – my home town brewery! Tyler Perry wasn’t as tacky as his character in the book but it worked. It would have taken away from the dark atmosphere of the movie if he was wearing loud suits.  And wow, he impressed me as a dramatic actor. No trace of Madea in sight.

The real star of this movie is Rosemund Pike. Her portrayal of Amy is spot on. Truly fantastic. I can’t say anything more about her without spoiling the movie but I will say that you will not be disappointed.

My husband hasn’t read the book but he still thought the movie was great. He said he judges if whether or not a movie is good if he is thinking about it days later and this movie haunted him for a while. We’ve discussed the movie with each other  several times.

Whether you’ve read the book or not, you must run, not walk to the theater and see this movie immediately.

My review of the book Gone Girl which includes an account of a book signing of Gillian Flynn’s that I attended.

Kids Say (And Do) the Dardest Things

Neve: Mommy, will you play with me?
Me: After I have my coffee.
Neve: But you had coffee yesterday.
Me: That’s not how coffee works, Neve.

*****

Neve: How did I get in the other Mommy’s tummy? Did she swallow me?

*****

Neve: Can you play the song they sing in the jungle?
Me: What song is that?
Neve: You know, it’s the “La Surfer Face” song.
Translation: The Monkees (jungle animals) I’m a Believer “then I saw her face…”

*****

West: There’s a boy on my bus who’s really mean but his name is Christian so I thought he would be nicer.

*****

Neve told me that she went to the store with Daddy and saw piggy rabbits. Translation: Guinea pigs.

Throwback Thursday: Fox In Socks

The tattered copy of Fox In Socks from my childhood

Fox In Socks is one of favorite children’s book. Written by Dr. Seuss and published in 1965, it’s the rhyming story of Mr. Fox and Mr. Knox. Mr. Fox spends the book trying to get Mr. Knox to repeat his tongue twisters. One of the reasons I love this book is because it’s so fun to read. It was the one book I didn’t mind reading to my kids over and over and over and over. At nine months old, my oldest son would crawl over to me, with the book clunking along in one hand so I could read it to him. My favorite part to read out loud is the tweetle beetle section. So fun!

Another reason I love this book is because my grandma, who died when I was 12, gave it to me. I still have my copy.I  had to buy another one eventually to read to the kids because mine was falling apart.

Fox In Socks is classic Dr. Seuss and should be in every child’s library.

The first Thursday of the month, I host Throwback Thursdays. If you you’d like to share a post from the past week about a book from “back in the day”, feel free to grab the button for your post and and link up below. Be sure and link directly to your post, not your blog’s home page. Thanks!

Page To Screen: This Is Where I Leave You

This Is Where I Leave you is adapted from Jonathan Tropper’s novel of the same name. I loved the book and since Tropper himself wrote the screenplay for this movie, I had high hopes for it. I have to say it did not live up to my expectations. What made the book great was the mix of drama and dark humor. The movie didn’t really have any darkness at all. There were sad sentimental moments but since the characters weren’t very developed, it was tough to conjure up empathy for them. It’s not that I didn’t like them, I just thought they were really bland compared to their book versions.

For instance, in the book there is a very serious and tragic reason that Paull (Corey Stoll) and Judd (Jason Bateman) don’t get along. That incident isn’t included in the movie, making Paul a different person, not the angry man he is in the book. Also what Alice (Kathryn Hahn) does to Judd in basement is considerably toned down.

Judd’s inner monologue is one of the best parts and the majority of the book. Understandably, that is hard to translate to the screen. I thought a voice-over for Judd would have added a lot to understanding him and the other characters, since a lot of his inner thoughts has to do with them. Then I read this from a  Hollywood Reporter interview with Tropper:

[Voice-over] becomes a crutch, …you have to be able to convey your story visually. If you’re using your narrator to do that, you’re pretty much writing your book in movie form.”

I must respectfully disagree with Tropper on this point. This movie would have benefited from Judd’s voice-over.

In the book, Wendy and Judd’s mom Hillary have the most hilariously inappropriate lines. Wendy is droll and unintentionally insensitive but her intentions are good. Tina Fey, who plays Wendy in the movie, would have been awesome delivering Wendy’s lines. Unfortunately, she didn’t get the chance. The movie Wendy is softer and not as funny as the book Wendy.

Judd’s mom in the book is cheerful and clueless. A child psychologist, she continuously makes her children uncomfortable talking about sex and other taboo subjects. Movie Hilary (Jane Fonda),  does get to say some of those lines but not nearly enough. She does do a good job wielding Hillary’s Unbelievably large fake boobs.

Bottom line: This film played it safe and left out most parts of the book that had any emotional weight. You may enjoy it if you haven’t read the book but if you have, prepare to be disappointed.

Book Review: The Story Hour by Thrity Umrigar

The Story HourThe Story Hour by Thrity Umrigar
Publisher: Harper
Release Date: August 19, 2014
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Publisher’s Description:

An experienced psychologist, Maggie carefully maintains emotional distance from her patients. But when she meets a young Indian woman who tried to kill herself, her professional detachment disintegrates. Cut off from her family in India, Lakshmi is desperately lonely and trapped in a loveless marriage to a domineering man who limits her world to their small restaurant and grocery store.

Moved by her plight, Maggie treats Lakshmi in her home office for free, quickly realizing that the despondent woman doesn’t need a shrink; she needs a friend. Determined to empower Lakshmi as a woman who feels valued in her own right, Maggie abandons protocol, and soon doctor and patient have become close friends.

But while their relationship is deeply affectionate, it is also warped by conflicting expectations. When Maggie and Lakshmi open up and share long-buried secrets, the revelations will jeopardize their close bond, shake their faith in each other, and force them to confront painful choices.

The Story Hour is about the relationship of Maggie and Lakshmi and their journey from patient/therapist to friends. It’s also about their individual personal lives, especially their marriages. Both women have secrets which were shocking to me as a reader and to each other when they are revealed. At no time was this story predictable, which I loved.

I liked that Maggie and Lakshmi were both flawed. There was no good guy/bad guy juxtaposition. They were both so well-drawn. Everything they did was organic and authentic. I sympathized with them at times and at other times I wanted to reach through the pages and shake them.

Because I loved The World We Found, I had high hopes for The Story Hour. I was not disappointed – it’s an amazing book.

(I received this book courtesy of the Amazon Vine program.)

Book Review: All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modren Parenthood by Jennifer Senior

All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern ParenthoodAll Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood by Jennifer Senior
Publisher: HarperCollins and Blackstone Audio
Release Date: January 28, 2014
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thousands of books have examined the effects of parents on their children. Award-winning journalist Jennifer Senior now asks: What are the effects of children on their parents? — In All Joy and No Fun, award-winning journalist Jennifer Senior isolates and analyzes the many ways in which children reshape their parents’ lives. She argues that changes in the last half century have radically altered the roles of today’s mothers and fathers, making their mandates at once more complex and far less clear. Recruiting from a wide variety of sources, she dissects both the timeless strains of parenting and the ones that are brand new, and then brings her research to life in the homes of ordinary parents around the country. Meticulously researched yet imbued with emotional intelligence, All Joy and No Fun is original and essential reading for mothers and fathers of today — and tomorrow.

All Joy and No Fun isn’t a traditional parenting book. It’s not going to give you a new system to disciple your child. Part of it is a fascinating look at how parenting has changed through the years. Up until child labor laws were enacted, children were expected to work or to be seen and not heard. Senior takes the reader up through present day. She explains the evolution of parenting that has led to the present day where children can be overscheduled and more and more parents are “helicopter parents”. She’s not critical, just informative. Interspersed throughout are personal examples of parents that she interviewed. She spoke to a wide variety, including a grandmother who parented her own children in the 1970s and is now parenting her grandchildren, a mother living in an affluent suburb, and a single working mother.

I found this book to be incredibly interesting and insightful as well as meticulously researched. I listened to the audio book which is narrated by the author. I’m usually wary when an authors narrates their own book since they are not usually experienced narrators. Senior did a great job and the book was pleasant to listen to.

I highly recommend this book to parents of kids of all ages.

Book Review: People I Want To Punch In the Throat by Jenn Mann

I know today is Thursday and that is usually Throwback Thursday. However, I’ve decided to change Throwback Thursday to monthly feature that will be on the first Thursday of the month. I look forward to reading your Throwback reviews on October 2!

People I Want to Punch in the Throat: Competitive Crafters, Drop-Off Despots, and Other Suburban Scourges by Jen Mann
People I Want to Punch in the Throat: Competitive Crafters, Drop-Off Despots, and Other Suburban Scourges
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date: September 9, 2014

Publisher’s Description:

Jen Mann doesn’t have a filter, which sometimes gets her in trouble with her neighbors, her fellow PTA moms, and that one woman who tried to sell her sex toys at a home shopping party. Known for her hilariously acerbic observations on her blog, People I Want to Punch in the Throat, Mann now brings her sharp wit to bear on suburban life, marriage, and motherhood in this laugh-out-loud collection of essays. From the politics of joining a play group, to the thrill of mothers’ night out at the gun range, to the rewards of your most meaningful relationship (the one you have with your cleaning lady), nothing is sacred or off-limits. So the next time you find yourself wearing fuzzy bunny pajamas in the school carpool line or accidentally stuck at a co-worker’s swingers party, just think, What would Jen Mann do?

Jen Mann has a popular blog which is also named People I Want to Punch in the Throat. She rails against stuck up suburban super moms on her blog and this book is more of the same. Each chapter is an anecdote about something crazy that has happened to Jen, from how she met her husband online to wearing pajamas to drop her kid off ant school and then unexpectedly having to get out of her car and walk into school. She is very snarky as you might expect from the title of the book. Sometimes I felt she was over the top. I don’t have a problem with swear words but I don’t like it when comedians use them excessively. They don’t always make a joke funnier and can be used as a way of getting cheap laughs. I think she used them to liven up a story but now and then she ended up coming across shrill.

Most of her stories were amusing but not laugh out loud funny. However, I think most moms will find at least one chapter that they can relate to. I chose this book for review because Jen and I live in the same metro area. I hope she doesn’t read this review and then hunt me down to punch ME in the throat!

(I received this book courtesy of the publisher.)

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