Monday, June 30, 2014

Uncovering Cobbogoth Book Blast and Giveaway

Uncover Cobbogoth

Uncovering Cobbogoth by Hannah L. Clark

Norah Lukens needs to uncover the truth about the fabled lost city of Cobbogoth. After her archaeologist uncle’s murder, Norah is asked to translate his old research journal for evidence and discovers that his murder was a cover-up for something far more sinister.

When she turns to neighbor and only friend James Riley for help, she realizes that not only is their bitter-sweet past haunting her every step, but James is keeping dangerous secrets. Can Norah discover what they are before its too late to share her own.


Praise for Uncovering Cobbogoth

"With a fascinating protagonist in Norah Lukens, a fully realized, never before seen fantasy world, and a fast paced, compelling story, Uncovering Cobbogoth establishes Hannah L. Clark as a major new voice in American fiction. The richness of the story and the scope of the world she's created screams for a film adaptation. This is a fantasy novel for everyone, even readers not usually drawn to the genre. Highly, highly recommended!"

-Bryce Clark, author of Red Shirt Kids

"This book takes you on a wonderful ride, bringing myth and legend to life. The characters are full and flawed, with a sweet romance woven through the adventure."

- Annette K. Larsen, author of Just Ella

"Uncovering Cobbogoth is an Icelandic tale that will appeal to many Harry Potter series fans […] For those who’ve missed the Harry Potter world, here’s a pretty good alternative!"

- Sharon Haddock, For the Deseret News
"This isn't a typical YA fantasy/scifi/para story like the multitude of vampire or witch or werewolf or mermaid themes that fill bookshelves in stores currently. When after a couple of chapters it became apparent that this wasn't yet another entry into the aforementioned themes, I was downright giddy. And then to find out there wasn't a standard issue love triangle? I wanted to find the author and buy her dinner."

-Radar626, Amazon reviewer

"A friend of mine recommended this book […] I checked it out and I was so pleased! I love this book. I can't wait to read the next one [...] and I am encouraging my daughter to read it as well. If you like fantasy with a little mix of science this book is perfect. I had such a hard time putting this book down just so I could deal with real life and working on promoting my own book. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of this book."

-Pamela Hall, author



Excerpt

The Legend of the Cobbogothians is really where Uncovering Cobbogoth begins. For as long as Norah can remember, her Uncle Jack has been obsessed with the mythical people. He became an archeologist and world famous Myth-chaser because of the Cobbogothian legends he heard while visiting his Granddad Aegissida’s farm in Iceland.



The Legend of the Cobbogothians

Long ago, at the beginning of time, a peculiar race ruled the earth. They found favor in the eyes of the gods and received great gifts of knowledge and power at their hands. These gifts made them elementalists—masters of earth, wind, fire, water, metal, wood and space. The elementalists thenceforth became rulers of the earth and sky.

With this power came corruption, and the elementalists soon forgot their patron gods. Instead, they turned to worshipping themselves and their own creations. This angered the gods, and in their wrath, the vowed to bring an icy end to the prideful race.

Rumors of the looming destruction were heralded throughout the land, and a final invitation was issued to the elementalists to renounce their fallen ways. Yet only a few heard and heeded. Among them was a man named Cobbogoth. Being a wise and humble servant of the gods, he believed the warnings and led all who would listen deep into the bowels of the earth to wait out the approaching storm.

When the day of destruction was come and the wrath of the gods rained down, the race of elementalists was wiped away, and then came the dawning of a violent and frigid ide age.

It is said that Cobbogoth’s posterity still lives beneath our feet, waiting to rise and rule the earth and sky once more.

Sigurd Jorgensson

Icelandic Bard, 1045 AD



*Translated from the original Old Norse by Dr. Jack A. Lukens of Harvard University, April 1975






hannah
Author Hannah L. Clark

Hannah L. Clark lives with her husband and their son in the Rocky Mountains. She has always known she would be a storyteller. In 2006 she graduated from Utah Valley University with a bachelor’s degree in English and immediately began writing Uncovering Cobbogoth, the first book in a seven book series based on Clark's mythological brain-child, the Icelandic Legend of the Cobbogothians.
Clark loves her family, running, mythology, laughing, soulful bluegrass music, road-trips, studying alternative medicine, retro hairdos, and growing things. Like her heroine Norah, she also kind of believes trees have souls, but must clarify (for her parents' sakes) that she was not raised by hippies. ;-)



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Blast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 7/31/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the publisher. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Sunday, June 29, 2014

In My Mailbox


In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

FROM NETGALLEY:



Recipes for Play Creative Activities for Small Hands and Big Imaginations by Rachel Sumner, Ruth Mitchener
School for SPIES Book 2 Thicker Than Water by Bruce Hale
The Bust DIY Guide to Life Making Your Way Through Every Day by Laurie Henzel, Debbie Stoller
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Saturday, June 28, 2014

True Colors Book Blast and Giveaway

True Colors Cover

True Colors

Landry Albright enters a modeling competition with her two best friends, but runs into jealousy when she advances to the next level without them. Enter the gorgeous Devon, who also makes the first cut of the modeling contest. Devon seems like the perfect new best friend, but can their friendship survive the competition? Throw in a new boy, jealousy and loyalty issues, and insults from hair stylists. How’s a girl to deal?

Excerpt

The competition was for girls between the ages of thirteen and seventeen, but it felt like Ericka, Tori, and I were the youngest ones there. I only saw a couple of girls from school, and the lineup looked more like something you’d see on a music video set. All the girls were gorgeous, and they had these curvy womanly bodies. I looked like a skinny little kid next to them. The first girl walked out, and I heard the judges say she “owned the runway,” and, “walked like a gazelle.” I was starting to feel ill. I wasn’t sure which way it was going to come, but I knew I had to find a bathroom — fast. I started to get out of line when Ericka grabbed my wrist.

“It’s almost time,” she said. A tiny bit of spit flew out of her mouth and hit my cheek.

I wasn’t sure why she was so intent on me going through with it, but she had a death grip on my arm, so I didn’t have much of a choice. Her number was called and she walked out to the stage. One of the other girls said she walked like a kid with sand bucket stilts on her feet, but she came back with a smirk on her face like she knew she’d get chosen.

“They said they had never seen such long legs,” she said.

Tori was next.

“She walks like a gorilla at feeding time,” said the girl behind me. I went next, and I tried to focus on not tripping over my feet. My mom’s pumps had a rubber sole on the bottom, which probably wasn’t the brightest idea seeing as my shoes were making squeaking noises as I walked. I was so nervous I couldn’t stop smiling as I walked. I looked like the plastic clown who blows up balloons with its mouth at the Pizza Palace. When I got to the end of the runway, I tried to cross my feet to turn like the other girls had, but I over rotated and ended up doing a full spin which made my kilt fan out and gave the mall walkers a view of my blue underpants. I tried to act like it was intentional and did an extra turn. One of the judges put her hand up to stop me, and I held my breath as she started to speak.



add to goodreads



Krysten L

Author Biography

Krysten Lindsay Hager is an author and book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and also writes middle grade, YA, humor essays, and adult fiction. Her debut novel, TRUE COLORS, will be out June 17th from Astraea Press. She is originally from Michigan and has lived in South Dakota, Portugal, and currently resides in Southern Ohio where you can find her reading and writing when she’s not catching up on her favorite shows.

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Blast Giveaway


$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 8/8/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the publisher. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Friday, June 27, 2014

Mysteries of the Grand Canyon Book Blast and Giveaway

Mysteries of the Grand Canyon by Marie von Minden


About the Book

Title: Mysteries of the Grand Canyon | Author: Marie von Minden | Publication Date: March 21, 2013 | Publisher: | Adventures of Discovery: Independent | Pages: 110 | Recommended Ages: 5 to 12 (read-aloud for younger children)


Summary: The author of the first interactive Grand Canyon ebook for children takes her readers on an exciting journey as a lively little dog befriends a California condor and an Abert’s squirrel, and together they explore the canyon.

What child wouldn’t want to go on the adventure of a lifetime with a great pup like Kristi Kay and follow her on a multimedia journey that is both fun and educational? Amazing stories told by her new friends keep you wondering what surprising new secrets they will reveal next. What happened to the people that lived in the canyon? Will the condors in the rescue program survive? This adventure story for elementary grade children offers an engaging way to experience the Grand Canyon.

For those who would like to learn more about the issues touched upon in the story, additional information is provided in the Kristi Kay Talks with a Ranger section at the end of the book via interactive media, photo galleries, maps, charts, and links to external websites.

This interactive ebook is especially appropriate for children 7-11 years old, and as a read aloud for younger children, and it would also be well-suited for an educational setting. Divided into 12 chapters, the book lends itself to be read in several sessions at the age appropriate pace.

“Mysteries of the Grand Canyon” is the first book in the A Cairn Terrier Travels to National Parks series, a series of educational adventure stories created to inspire appreciation and stewardship of our precious parks.


Book Trailer




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The Buzz

"Mysteries of the Grand Canyon is educational, exciting, and entertaining all rolled into one. Marie Von Minden gives readers a fascinating glimpse into the canyon's past as well as the creatures that still call the Grand Canyon home. The interactive function allows for further learning and the brilliant photos visually stimulate children and help instill the knowledge found within the story." I highly recommend picking up a copy of Mysteries of the Grand Canyon." ~ BeachBoundBooks
"A must have experience for young people. With its cute, intelligent looking dog, and a bird that looks like it was conceived by Dr. Seuss, it puts us into an animal society - so beautifully conceived in its civility, generosity, and interest and care for the world - that it is reminescent of books like Winnie the Pooh. These elements, set in the grandeur of the Grand Canyon, beautifully brought out by magnificent photographs and videos, make it a compelling book from both parents' and teachers' points of view. ~ Mr. Naturally, iBookstore Review
"Overall, this iBook provides a great introduction to the Grand Canyon to children who are about to visit it or who just want to learn more about this important National Park. It includes lots of beautiful photographs, the story is engaging and there is a huge wealth of information included. I found it a great opportunity to talk about the Grand Canyon with my son, and tell him about my own experiences visiting the park and hiking into the crater. I also really enjoyed learning about the California Condor and all the effort that has gone into the Recovery Program; it provided a great opportunity to talk about Endangered Species and our responsibility to help preserve them." ~ iMum
"More than just a story, the book has incredible imagery that appears to lift off the page – a true photographic journey." ~ Mom's Lifesavers
"Readers of all ages will enjoy this engaging story to discover one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World at the Grand Canyon National Park. This photographically rich and entertaining ebook is especially appropriate for 7-11 year olds and as a read aloud for younger children, and it would also be well suited for an educational setting." ~ The Appy Ladies
"As a teacher, I am grateful to use this amazing book with my class! My students loved learning about the Grand Canyon from precious Kristi Kay's point of view, and they were excited to participate in the interactive aspects of the book; they didn't want to put it down!" ~ A. Gillette, iBookstore Review

About the Author: Marie von Minden

KK and Marie for websiteJPG

Would you like to live each day surrounded by unsurpassed beauty and deeply connected to nature? Marie finds it hard to believe, but this is now her lifestyle and she wants to share it through her photography and stories.

Marie von Minden was born and raised in Poland. She immigrated to Canada in 1982 and in 1999 she and her husband relocated to the United States. Like many Europeans, she was overwhelmed by the vastness and the beauty of North America and she developed a passion for landscape photography.

They began camping in the wilderness and connecting with nature on weekends and holidays, first in a tent and later in a cap-over camper. It was during those camping trips that a dream of full-time traveling and living in an RV evolved. In 2002 that dream became reality and they have been traveling in a 34 foot Airstream trailer ever since. America’s National Parks continue to be one of their favorite places to visit.

When Kristi Kay, a Cairn Terrier, joined them, the idea of a children’s book series about America’s National Parks as seen through Kristi Kay’s eyes grew as a natural extension of their lifestyle and love of nature. Through interactive adventure stories enhanced by photography selected from her vast photographic library, animation, sounds, videos, and unique graphics Marie hopes to express her gratitude for what has become her home, and to help cultivate appreciation and stewardship of these precious resources.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads


* $100 Book Blast Giveaway *

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Prize: 2 x $50 Amazon Gift Cards or PayPal cash (winner’s choice)

Contest ends: July 25, 11:59 pm, 2014

Open: Internationally

How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Marie von Minden and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.
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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Polar Opposites Book Blast and Giveaway

Polar Opposites

Polar Opposites: Super Villain Academy #2

The supers are balanced. Academies have altered their curriculum to teach both sides of the super power spectrum. All’s well in the super world. Right?

When Mystic kidnaps Oceanus, Jeff learns it isn’t all right. Turning to the newly balanced supers for assistance, he panics to find they’ve done nothing to rescue Oceanus. When no ransom request follows, he worries Mystic’s plan never included returning his girlfriend. Frustrated, he’s forced to work with the only super willing to help. Oceanus’ ex-villain, ex-boyfriend, Set.

Mystic isn’t the only one hiding something. Nothing about Jeff is balanced. Temper flares result in scorched clothing or flying furniture, and his charm has become an indiscriminating people-magnet.

Jeff is convinced, or maybe just hopeful, that his lack of control is directly related to Oceanus being gone. But will he and Set find her before Jeff loses control completely and will they find her alive?


Excerpt

They never talked about how they ended the world. Twice. Jeff glanced at Oceanus, bent over her phone in the passenger seat of his car. A curtain of black hair shielded her profile from view, but he thought he saw her smile.

He reached over and tucked her hair behind an ear. Yep, she was smiling. So was he. He felt his skin heat, but not as a side-effect of his super power ability to create fire. This heat was due to thoughts of Oci running her small warm hands down his back and tilting her face up to accept his kiss.

“ How about a movie?” Oceanus asked.

“ Which one?” Jeff replied, scanning the traffic and then his girlfriend.

Oci’s thin arms, delicate wrists, and bird-like legs that barely reached the floorboards, all gave the impression she needed protection and caring for. Whereas, with her super strength, she could lift the car they drove in onto two wheels if someone were trapped underneath.

“ Oh, perfect!” Oceanus flung her hair over her shoulder and straightened in her seat. Her smile illuminated Jeff’s peripheral vision as he concentrated on traffic. “The one I want to see starts in forty-five minutes. That gives us plenty of time to get there, get popcorn and some good seats, and watch the previews. I love the previews, don’t you?”

Jeff glanced at her again. The devilish glint in her eye made him frown. “What movie?”

Oceanus peeked through thick black lashes. Jeff was pretty sure she even batted them a bit. “What movie, Oci?”

“ Accidental Hero.” At Jeff’s groan, Oceanus chuckled. “Come on, you have to admit the storyline looks kinda familiar. Besides, the special effects look amazing. You love that crap.”

Jeff stared at the traffic and said nothing. He knew it was useless. He could mount the best argument against seeing the movie, but Oceanus always got her way. Cursing his Oceanus-shaped soft spot, he turned at the next intersection and headed toward the theater.

The whiny guitar tones of the heavy metal song Super Villain erupted from his cell phone. He looked at the display and saw Mother’s number. “Can you answer that?”

Reaching for his phone, Oceanus said, “You know, now that we aren’t technically super villains anymore, you should consider changing your ringtone.”



King of Bad

King of Bad: Super Villain Academy #1

Jeff Mean would rather set fires than follow rules or observe curfew. He wears his bad boy image like a favorite old hoodie; that is until he learns he has superpowers and is recruited by Super Villain Academy – where you learn to be good at being bad. In a school where one kid can evaporate all the water from your body and the girl you hang around with can perform psychic sex in your head, bad takes on a whole new meaning. Jeff wonders if he’s bad enough for SVA.

He may never find out. Classmates vilify him when he develops good manners. Then he’s kidnapped by those closest to him and left to wonder who is good and who is bad. His rescue is the climactic episode that balances good and evil in the super world. The catalyst – the girl he’s crushing on. A girlfriend and balancing the Supers is good, right? Or is it…bad?




Author Kai Strand
Author Kai Strand

When her children were young and the electricity winked out, Kai Strand gathered her family around the fireplace and they told stories, one sentence at a time. Her boys were rather fond of the ending, “And then everybody died. The end.” Now an award winning children’s author, Kai crafts fiction for kids and teens to provide an escape hatch from their reality. With a selection of novels for young adult and middle grade readers and short stories for the younger ones, Kai entertains children of all ages, and their adults.




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Blast Giveaway

$100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 7/20/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the publisher. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Review: COUNTRY HEAVEN COOKBOOK: Family Recipes & Remembrances by Ava Miles


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
If you like The Pioneer Woman or Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove Cookbook, then you’ll like this special cookbook/memoir.
Former chef and USA Today Bestselling Author, Ava Miles, has assembled the COUNTRY HEAVEN COOKBOOK filled with tantalizing recipes, down home wit, Southern charm, and sweet remembrances about her own grandmother and her fictional character’s reflections from her novel, COUNTRY HEAVEN. Ava’s cookbook serves up a feast of scrumptious, soul-satisfying, cowboy-approved comfort food for the whole family. Included here are recipes for her famous spongy cornbread, decadent gingerbread waffles, and her family’s chocolate chip pie. It’s a fun hodgepodge of Southern cuisine and family farm recipes.
Readers have enjoyed the scrumptious recipes Ava wrote for COUNTRY HEAVEN so much that she wanted to share them all together in a cookbook with some extra family recipes NOT included in the book. The cookbook entries describe her heroine’s reflections about her grandmother, who taught her to cook, and Ava’s reflections about her grandma as well, who made food come alive for her.
This companion to COUNTRY HEAVEN, the first book in her new Dare River series set in the South, is connected to her bestselling small town Dare Valley series that started with the#1 National Bestseller, NORA ROBERTS LAND.

MY TAKE:
I'm always on the lookout for cookbooks that have recipes that are easy to make and don't have a lot of fancy ingredients that are hard to find.

In Country Heaven Cookbook: Family Recipes & Remembrances, readers are treated to simple but delicious sounding recipes that they can try at home. There's also an excerpt from Country Heaven at the end of the book.

In terms of ingredients, most of the recipes use ingredients that you can find at any supermarket. The instructions are pretty simple too, with instructions for some only taking up a paragraph or so.

Of the recipes I saw in the book, there were three that I wanted to try: Truck Driver Pancakes, Tory's Chocolate Chip Pie, and Tory's Creamy Vegetable Sauce. The Truck Driver Pancakes sound easy and delicious, but my family and I don't really eat a lot of pancakes. The Tory's Creamy Vegetable Sauce, on the other hand, I liked because it sounds like something my family can enjoy. As for Tory's Chocolate Chip Pie, the recipe sounds easy enough, but again, my family and I aren't fond of pecans so I'll probably have to modify that.

Thanks to NetGalley and Aspendawn Books for the e-copy.

THE GOOD:

  1. The recipes don't use a lot of hard-to-find ingredients.
  2. The recipes look easy to do.
  3. The table of contents contains links to the recipes.

THE BAD:

  1. It would have been nice if there had been more recipes.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
So if you're in need of comfort food, chocolate with your pie, or you want to shut someone up - this pie is for you. 
READ IT IF:

  1. You like home cooking.
  2. You like easy recipes.
  3. You are looking for recipes that don't use a lot of fancy ingredients. 

RATING:
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SOUNDS INTERESTING?
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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Teaser Tuesdays


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
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Monday, June 23, 2014

Kindle Fire HDX, $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 Paypal Cash Giveaway

Enter to win 1 of 2 great prizes. Winner’s choice of a Kindle Fire HDX or $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 Paypal Cash!

The first prize is available via the rafflecopter below. The 2nd is available only to bloggers who post about this giveaway. You can find info on how to enter the 2nd giveaway in the rafflecopter.

June Kindle Fire


Win a Kindle Fire HDX, Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash ($229 value)


The winner will have the option of receiving a 7" Kindle Fire HDX (US Only - $229 Value)


Or $229 Amazon.com Gift Card (International)


Or $229 in Paypal Cash (International)


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Giveaway Details

1 winner will receive their choice of an all new Kindle Fire 7" HDX (US Only - $229 value), $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 in Paypal Cash (International).

There is a second separate giveaway for bloggers who post this giveaway on their blog. See details in the rafflecopter on how to enter to win the 2nd Kindle Fire HDX 7", $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 in Paypal Cash.

Ends 7/15/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the participating authors & bloggers. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Sunday, June 22, 2014

In My Mailbox


In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

FROM NETGALLEY:


Ark Storm by Linda Davies
Families Around the World by Margriet Ruurs
Tickly Toes by Susan Hood
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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Review: Only in Spain: A Foot-Stomping, Firecracker of a Memoir about Food, Flamenco, and Falling in Love by Nellie Bennett


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
In search of herself, Nellie Bennett fell passionately in love...with the land of flamenco
One day, Nellie Bennett falls in love with flamenco in a Sydney dance studio. Tired of her boring retail job and longing to get closer to the authentic experience, she packs her suede dance shoes and travels to Seville, Spain. What Nellie didn't realize is that flamenco is not just a dance; it's a way of life. While there, she falls in love three times-with a smoky-eyed dance teacher, a tempestuous Gypsy, and with a handsome Basque chef-only to discover that it's the country that's held her heart all along.

MY TAKE:
There were two main reasons I was curious about this book: one, I have Spanish ancestors and two, I thought this would be in the vein of Eat, Pray, Love.

In Only in Spain: A Foot-Stomping, Firecracker of a Memoir about Food, Flamenco, and Falling in Love, Nellie Bennett decides on a whim to enrol in flamenco classes. After falling in love with the dance, she decides to head to Seville and dance flamenco there. One thing leads to another, and before she knows it, she decides to set up a new life in Spain.

If this book and Eat, Pray, Love were your siblings, then Eat, Pray, Love would beyour older, self-deprecating, introspective sister, and Only in Spain would be your vivacious, slightly irresponsible younger sister. As far as memoirs go, this one is a mostly happy one.

The author's flamenco and Spanish adventure reads like a letter from a close friend. If you've never learned flamenco but want to take a peek into that particular world, you'll find that this is a pretty good way to get acquainted with the dance.

The things that I enjoyed most about the book were the descriptions of the food and her life in Spain and her last two romances. My country was a former Spanish colony and much of their influence still remains in the language, culture and food. Here in the Philippines, Holy Week (also known as Semana Santa here) is also a big deal and Metro Manila usually empties out or becomes relatively quiet as people use the long holiday to head to their provinces and celebrate Holy Week there. Of the Spanish food Nellie enjoyed, my favorite is the churros. The fried dough dipped in chocolate is absolutely delicious when piping hot. As for the romances, well, her romance with the gypsy was hilarious, while her romance with the chef was sweet and seemed like a good movie plot.

Overall, while I may not have agreed or done some of the things that Nellie has done, I couldn't help but cheer for her. She's likable, if a bit impulsive, and her adventures most definitely make for a good story.

Thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks for the e-ARC. Publication of Only in Spain: A Foot-Stomping, Firecracker of a Memoir about Food, Flamenco, and Falling in Love is on July 1, 2014.

THE GOOD:

  1. Nellie is likable.
  2. The writing tone is fun and not tedious to read.
  3. It's easy to imagine everything described in the book.

THE BAD:

  1.  Nellie can seem a bit too romantic sometimes.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
And when your heart wants that, what can you say, but... Well, why don't you?
READ IT IF:

  1. You dream of going to Spain.
  2. You like or are interested in flamenco.
  3. You're looking for a fun memoir to read.

RATING:
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Friday, June 20, 2014

Review: Books That Cook: The Making of a Literary Meal by Jennifer Cognard-Black and Melissa A. Goldtwaite


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Whether a five-star chef or beginning home cook, any gourmand knows that recipes are far more than a set of instructions on how to make a dish. They are culture-keepers as well as culture-makers, both recording memories and fostering new ones.
Organized like a cookbook, Books that Cook is a collection of American literature written on the theme of food: from an invocation to a final toast, from starters to desserts. All food literatures are indebted to the form and purpose of cookbooks, and each section begins with an excerpt from an influential American cookbook, progressing chronologically from the late 1700s through the present day, including such favorites as American Cookery, the Joy of Cooking, and Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The literary works within each section are an extension of these cookbooks, while the cookbook excerpts in turn become pieces of literature—forms of storytelling and memory-making all their own.
Each section offers a delectable assortment of poetry, prose, and essays, and the selections all include at least one tempting recipe to entice readers to cook this book. Including writing from such notables as Maya Angelou, James Beard, Alice B. Toklas, Sherman Alexie, Nora Ephron, M.F.K. Fisher, and Alice Waters, among many others, Books that Cook reveals the range of ways authors incorporate recipes—whether the recipe flavors the story or the story serves to add spice to the recipe. Books that Cook is a collection to serve students and teachers of food studies as well as any epicure who enjoys a good meal alongside a good book.
Jennifer Cognard-Black is Professor of English at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, where she teaches creative writing, women’s literature, and the novel.
Melissa A. Goldthwaite is Professor of English at Saint Joseph’s University, where she teaches writing.
Marion Nestle is Paulette Goddard Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University as well as Professor of Sociology at NYU and Visiting Professor of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell. Nestle is the author of three prize-winning books, including Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health, Safe Food: The Politics of Food Safety, and What to Eat.

MY TAKE:
Some of my favorite things to read in books are descriptions of food, so this book sounded just right up my alley.

In Books That Cook The Making of a Literary Meal, readers are treated to excerpts from different selections (poems, cookbooks, etc.) that focus on food and its relationship to either the writer, the characters, or the characters' situations. Recipes are also included in most of the excerpts.

The selections in this book were quite diverse, but they all had such vivid descriptions of food. I was only familiar with a few of the selections chosen, such as Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe, and Mastering the Art of French Cooking. As it turns out, it doesn't really matter as I found plenty of interesting and useful information in the other excerpts. For example, there are tips on choosing meat, poultry and fish. There are also recipes for roast turkey, roast goose and rabbit stew. The most useful recipe for me, however, was the one for scrambled eggs. I've been looking for the perfect recipe that will allow me to have delicious, fluffy eggs like the ones served in five-star hotels.

My favorite excerpt of the lot is Boiled Chicken Feet and Hundred-Year-Old Eggs. It reminds me a little bit of Amy Tan's work, but with more intense food descriptions. I also noticed a selection called Suman sa Ibos, which seems to me like it was written by a fellow Filipino. I rather enjoy the taste of Suman, even if it can be a little heavy in the stomach.

Thanks to NetGalley and NYU Press for the e-ARC. Publication date of Books That Cook The Making of a Literary Meal is on September 2, 2014.

THE GOOD:

  1. There's a diverse range of excerpts to explore.
  2. There are plenty of useful tips here.
  3. There are plenty of delicious-looking recipes.

THE BAD:

  1. Not all the excerpts have accompanying recipes with actual measurements you can follow. 

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
What Rombaeur suggests here might be called the very beginnings of a fusion menu - Frenchified rabbit, soul-food southern fried chicken, and a pudding recipe from Merrie Ol' England. 
READ IT IF:

  1. You like reading about food.
  2. You like trying new recipes.
  3. You liked The Book Club Cookbook by Judy Gelman. 

RATING:
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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Review: The Art of Medicine Healing and the Limits of Technology by Herbert Ho Ping Kong


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
In The Art of Medicine, Toronto Western Hospital’s legendary internist Dr. Herbert Ho Ping Kong draws on his vast dossier of personal cases and five decades as a clinician, to examine the core principles of a patient-centred approach to diagnosis and treatment. While HPK, as he is fondly known, recognizes and applauds the many invaluable innovations in medical technology, as disease and its management grow increasingly complex, he insists that physicians must learn to develop an arsenal of more basic skills, actively using the arts of seeing, hearing, palpation, empathy, and advocacy to provide a more humane and holistic form of care. Aimed at medical practitioners, trainees, aspiring doctors and laymen, the book also contains interviews with more than a dozen of HPK’s patients, as well as short essays that explore the thinking of some 15 of his professional colleagues on the art of medicine.
MY TAKE:
If you've ever been a patient, then you probably know what a difference a doctor's bedside manner makes.

In The Art of Medicine Healing and the Limits of Technology, Dr. Herbert Ho Ping Kong, discusses the art of medicine, the things that go beyond the clinical nature of medicine. The book contains essays by some doctors who have worked with Dr. Ho Ping Kong, as well as the stories of some of Dr. Ho Ping Kong's patients and how the doctor's approach made a difference for them.

The concepts discussed in this book were not new to me at all. The University of the Philippines College of Medicine has subjects on the Art of Medicine and though it's not really a major subject, it's still an important one. I do know, however, that some doctors have terrible bedside manners or they often forget the human aspect and concentrate instead on the clinical aspects.

Some doctors or medical students may look at the book's summary and cover and think that the book will be boring. I think they'll be pleasantly surprised. There are plenty of anecdotes in the book about patients and how they were diagnosed, and the patients themselves offer their own story so doctors can see both sides.

In several of the stories presented, his colleagues share how they were amazed that Dr. Ho Ping Kong was able to diagnose patients sometimes just by spending a few minutes with them or just by looking at them. With some, it was because he had seen it before and knew from experience what they were, but with some of them, it was all about taking accurate histories and learning their stories.

I skimmed over the essays from the doctors, mainly because I've already heard most of the lessons they had to say, but I did stop whenever they shared a story about a patient.

Dr. Ho Ping Kong sounds like an amazing doctor and person. A few pages into the book, I wrote in my notes "a little holmes-ish and house-ish" and "house but nicer". I've been watching Elementary the past couple of days, so Sherlock Holmes was forefront in my mind. However, I couldn't forget Gregory House, who was based on Sherlock Holmes. Dr. Ho Ping Kong reminded me of the two. Interestingly enough, a few pages later, one of the patients mentioned that a surgeon told him that Dr. Ho Ping Kong was "'Like House - the TV internist,' he said, 'but much nicer'." If anyone could teach the art of medicine well, it sounds like this guy.

Thanks to NetGalley and ECW Press for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. Dr. Ho Ping Kong is an interesting guy.
  2. The patient's stories are fascinating.
  3. The lessons told here are important for any physician or physician-in-training. 

THE BAD:

  1. Some parts may feel boring and repetitive if you've studied the Art of Medicine in medical school. 

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
When you put on the doctor's white coat, you don't leave one self behind and become a new self. 
READ IT IF:

  1. You like reading about patients and their diagnosis.
  2. You want to learn how to be a better doctor.
  3. You want to learn how to become a 5-star physician. 

RATING:
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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Review: All’s Fair in Love and Cupcakes by Betsy St. Amant


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Kat inspected rows of the same old cupcakes. They seemed to blink back at her, as if they knew she was capable of so much more.
MY TAKE:
The summary on NetGalley was vague, but I figured that I'd probably like it if it had anything to do with food.

In All’s Fair in Love and Cupcakes, Kat has always felt stifled in her small town. When she is chosen to be part of a cooking reality show competition, thanks to her best friend Lucas, she realizes that this could be the opportunity she's been waiting for. As the competition progresses, however, things become a lot more complicated for Lucas and Kat. What does the future hold in store for her and will it include Lucas?

By the time I was finished with this book, I had mixed emotions. I started the book hating Kat because, she was so insecure, and liking Lucas, because he genuinely seemed to care. Near the end of the book, I liked Kat, because she had seemed to grow a backbone, and hated Lucas, because he was so freaking selfish! Had my husband tried to pull the stunt Lucas did, I would have been furious.

The ending also annoyed me at first because it all seemed too convenient and yet unlikely as well. Now that I've given it some thought, I guess that's really the only logical ending for this book. I'd give more details, but I don't want to post too many spoilers.

I did like the parts about the cupcake competition, though. It kind of reminds me of Cupcake Wars.

Thanks to NetGalley and Zondervan for the e-ARC. Publication date of All’s Fair in Love and Cupcakes is on September 2, 2014.

THE GOOD:

  1. The description of life as a reality show contestant seems believable.
  2. The food descriptions are mouthwatering.
  3. There is some potential here. 

THE BAD:

  1. The characters can be infuriating sometimes. 

READ IT IF:

  1. You like Cupcake Wars.
  2. You are in love with your best friend.
  3. You believe in waiting for a sign from God regarding your personal relationships. 

RATING:
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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Review: Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin by Chieri Uegaki


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Hana has signed up to play the violin at the talent show, even though she's only had three lessons. Her brothers predict disaster. But Hana practices and practices, inspired by her grandfather, or Ojiichan, who played the violin every day when she visited him in Japan. As Hana takes the stage, doubt is all she can hear, until she recalls her grandfather's words of encouragement, and shows the audience how beautiful music can take many forms.
MY TAKE:
This is one of the most beautiful books I've read in awhile.

In Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin, Hana is a young girl who signs up to play the violin at her school's talent show, despite the fact the she just started playing the violin. Her brothers don't believe she can do it, but she practices as hard as she can before the talent show. When the time comes, will her performance be as good as she dreams it will be?

The combination of the illustrations and the prose had a bittersweet, whimsical quality that reminded me a little bit of Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle. The ending of this book is a very happy one, though. I think it was mostly the style of the illustration, which reminded me of old-school Japanese anime cartoons I used to watch when I was a kid, as well as the imagery of the prose that made me feel that way.

Some of the words may be a little too advanced for younger children, and the length of the text on each page may seem a little long as well, but if an adult were to read it aloud to younger kids and explain the more complex words, even kids who have a more limited vocabulary may be able to appreciate this.

Thanks to NetGalley and Kids Can Press for the e-ARC. Publication date of Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin is on August 1, 2014.

THE GOOD:

  1. The illustrations are reminiscent of old-school Japanese anime cartoons, but with sharper colors.
  2. The prose is beautiful.
  3. It teaches the importance of perseverance and believing in yourself.

THE BAD:

  1. Some of the words may be too advanced for younger children. 

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
Ojiichan played every morning. From his study, the clear, bright notes would drift upstairs, through the shoji screen doors to where Hana slept on sweet-smelling tatami mats, and coax her awake as gently as sunshine. 
READ IT IF:

  1. Your child plays the violin.
  2. You or your child like whimsical books and movies.
  3. You like beautiful imagery. 

RATING:
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