Jaime Loves Stuff : August 2009

Giveaway Winners! Hooray!

First up the winner for the Wanchai Ferry Prize Pack Giveaway is...

Now the winner of Taken by Norah McClintock is.....

Winners please email me at booknerdextraordinaire@yahoo.com within 48 hours with your mailing information!

Winners were chosen by Random.org

Congratulations to the winners and thank you so much to everybody who entered. Please keep watching, I have many more great contests going on now and in the near future. Always watch the sidebar for my current contests!

Thanks again!


The Smart One and The Pretty One Book Giveaway!

When Ava Nickerson was a child, her mother jokingly betrothed her to a friend's son, and the contract the parents made has stayed safely buried for years. Now that still-single Ava is closing in on thirty, no one even remembers she was once "engaged" to the Markowitz boy. But when their mother is diagnosed with cancer, Ava's prodigal little sister Lauren comes home to Los Angeles where she stumbles across the decades-old document.

Frustrated and embarrassed by Ava's constant lectures about financial responsibility (all because she's in a little debt. Okay, a lot of debt), Lauren decides to do some sisterly interfering of her own and tracks down her sister's childhood fiancé. When she finds him, the highly inappropriate, twice-divorced, but incredibly charming Russell Markowitz is all too happy to re-enter the Nickerson sisters' lives, and always-accountable Ava is forced to consider just how binding a contract really is . . .

How would you like to win this book? You can thanks to Miriam at Hatchette Book Group I am able to give away 5 copies to residents of the US and Canada! Very simple contest I am hosting. I am extremely busy with school right now and I don't have the time to go through all the bonus entries...

So here we go...

Make a comment that you would like to win this book!

Being a follower is NOT required but definitely RECOMMENDED as I will announce the winner right here on my blog!

Good luck and contest ends on September 15th!


C.L. Talmadge Guest Post!

I am so excited to have C.L. Talmadge here to offer her amazing writing talents in a guest post here at Revenge of the Book Nerds.
Be sure to visit her site to read more about her amazing book series, The Green Stone of Healing, and about the author herself..HERE! Many thanks to Goddessfish.com for connecting us on this blog tour!

Modern vs. Traditional Romance
By C.L. Talmadge

Perhaps from woeful personal experience, Shakespeare wrote, “The course of
true love ne’er did run smooth.”

Never is that more the case than in modern romance. It’s a lot more problematic than traditional romance. Modern romance is much more open about relationship difficulties, social issues, and sex than traditional romance, which either ignored the preceding entirely or mentioned them only indirectly and never in explicit language.

And that’s a good thing. Readers today expect stories that ring true to our own
experiences in life. We have problems with spouses, boyfriends/girlfriends, and
other family members. Why shouldn’t the heroines we read about also face such difficulties? The realism of modern romance makes it far more credible.

But here’s the rub. However modern it is, romance can be realistic only up to a
certain point. Readers of any kind of romance, traditional or modern, also crave tales filled with passion and spark, not ambivalence and snark. Yes. Passion is what draws us to romance, old-fashioned or updated. We want to experience passion on the pages because our lives seem so dreary and mundane (a not always accurate perception).

My own fiction, the Green Stone of Healing® (www.greenstoneofhealing.com)
series, is a modern, paranormal romance ironically set in an ancient, lost civilization that embodies the Bard’s observation about love.

The parents of the first-generation heroine, Helen Andros, love each other deeply and passionately. Yet they never wed. Helen’s mother is fiercely independent and does not want to be subject to the laws of the land that keep wives under their husbands’ rule.

There’s also a little thing called racism. The heroine’s mother is a different race
than her father. Their country is deeply divided by race, a thoroughly modern
aspect of this tale, with profound repercussions on the heroine’s life.

As an illegitimate half-breed, Helen is subject to all manner of challenges, and these take such a toll on her self-esteem that she believes she is unworthy of love. So when the chance for love first presents itself, she dodges it, but cannot escape her heart. She lives her entire life very much in love with one man while married a good deal of it to another, who happens to be gay.

The man Helen loves returns her feelings but also wrestles with his own sense of inadequacy and self-worth. How about that modern twist on the strong silent type? Yes, he’s tall, dark, and dashingly handsome, but he has personal issues, too.

They do not get together until it’s almost too late — for that lifetime.
Helen embodies that ancient Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times.”
She lives an “interesting” life. It’s full of agony and glory, with last-minute
moments of ecstasy in her true love’s arms. She’s also a strong-willed modern
romantic heroine who takes action on her own and does not wait for her lover to rescue her. Just the opposite: She rescues him a number of times.

As the series progresses, Helen’s descendants also experience “interesting,” passionate lives. In a modern twist, they reincarnate, replaying their relationships, all the while looking for love that lasts and sustains them.

Modern or traditional, that search for love is the age-old, never-ending story.

C.L. Talmadge is the author of the Green Stone of Healing® speculative epic. The fourth in the series, Outcast, will be published Oct. 1. Vote for the first book, The Vision, through Sept. 25 and get a free e-book on healing, love, and spirituality. Details at her blog: www.healingstonebooks.com/stonescribe


What a great post! I am so honored to have C.L. Talmadge share her talents and a HUGE thank you! I certainly hope you enjoy this as much as I have!


Q&A With Michelle Moran & Cleopatra's Daughter Giveaway

As you all know, there is an ENORMOUS buzz on the blogosphere concerning Michelle Moran's newest book, Cleopatra's Daughter and I am beyond excited that she has graced my blog with her presence!

Q: What prompted you to write a novel about Cleopatra’s daughter?

A: I do a great deal of traveling both for research and for fun, and most of my destinations are archaeological sites. On a trip to Alexandria in Egypt, I was afforded the amazing opportunity of participating in a dive to see the submerged remains of Cleopatra’s ancient city. More than ten thousand artifacts remain completely preserved underwater: sphinxes, amphorae, even the stones of the ancient palace. Although I'm not a fan of diving, it was an incredible experience, and it changed the way I looked at Cleopatra. I immediately wanted to know more about her life, and it was mere coincidence that my next trip took me to Italy, where her ten year-old children were brought to live after her suicide. While in Rome, I was able to retrace her daughter's steps, and upon seeing where her daughter had lived on the Palatine, I knew I had my next novel.

Q: What was it like to walk where Selene walked? In particular, what was it like to visit Octavian’s villa?

A: Unbelievable. For two thousand years, Octavian’s villa has sprawled across the top of the Palatine Hill, slowly deteriorating. At one time, its vibrantly painted dining room had hosted magnificent feasts, one of which would have been the celebration of the emperor’s triumph over Marc Antony and Cleopatra in Egypt. As the heir to Caesar, Octavian was determined to rule the western world without interference. He changed his name to Augustus, and with the help of his general Agrippa and his architect Vitruvius, he turned a city of clay into a city of marble.
I had known all of this on that day in March when the villa was opened for the first time in more than a century. What I hadn’t known, however, was just how unbelievable that trip back into the world of ancient Rome would be. After three million dollars in restoration, Italian archaeologists have been able to recreate not just the intimate library and studies Augustus used, but the mosaic floors he once walked on and the vividly painted ceilings he once walked beneath with Ovid, Seneca, Cicero, Horace, and even Julius Caesar himself. As we were quickly escorted through the frescoed rooms, we stopped in the triclinium – the dining room which had once seen so many famous faces smiling, laughing, even crying for mercy. With a little imagination, it was easy to see the tables and couches that had once adorned the chamber, and there was the undeniable feeling of standing in the presence of the ancients. It was the kind of feeling you only get in Grecian temples or Egyptian tombs.

Q: In all three of your novels, your narrators have been teenage girls. Is there are reason for this?

A: Actually, yes. I like to begin my novels during the time of greatest transition in a person’s life. And in the ancient world, the greatest transition in a woman’s life was often the time when she was married. Because women married at much younger ages two thousand years ago (twelve years old was not uncommon), my narrators have all been very young girls. In fact, Random House will be making a conceted effort to market Cleopatra's Daughter to young adults as well as adults. However, as my novels progress through time (my next book, for example, will be about Madame Tussaud), my narrators will be older.

Q: Is the Red Eagle based on an historical person?

A: Yes. The Red Eagle is actually based on several men who led slave rebellions (unsuccessfully, I might add) against Rome. Spartacus led the most famous revolt, but there were other men too, such as Salvius, who waged war with his army of slaves in ancient Sicily.

Q: You write in your acknowledgements page that the character of the Red Eagle is an homage to the works of several authors. What made you decide to do this?

A: Creative as well as personal reasons. First, I wanted to create a character that fans of swashbuckling adventures might love, and it wasn’t at all difficult to find historical personalities on which to base such a hero. Men like Spartacus and Salvius were heroes in the truest sense of the word. But I didn’t want there to be too much action, and certainly not so much that it would detract from the real story – that of Selene and her twin brother Alexander growing up in a foreign court. I could certainly have chosen not to include anything as obviously fictitious as the Red Eagle. But I wanted to illustrate just how threatening slave rebellions were at that time, and how ever-present the danger of becoming a slave would have been, even to captured royalty. And the creation of the Red Eagle wasn’t a huge stretch. Many rebels who came before – and after – the Red Eagle employed similar tactics: rousing the plebs, arming the slaves, and encouraging those in servitude to passive resistance.
On a more personal note, however, I wanted to include the Red Eagle because I knew it would be a character my father would have loved. He devoured anything having to do with ancient Rome, and I deeply regret not having written this while he was still alive.

Q: Was a third of Rome’s population really enslaved?

A: Sadly, yes. And you didn’t have to be born a slave to become one. You could be kidnapped and sold into slavery, your city could be overrun and you could be turned into a slave, or you might be sold into servitude by your own parents. Slavery meant an absolute loss of every human right we now take for granted, and as a slave, your body was no longer your own. Many slaves were physically and sexually abused, regardless of age or gender.

Q: Where did these slaves come from?

A: Many were Gallics and Greeks. The Gallics were from Gaul, a region which now encompasses France, Belgium, parts of Switzerland, and Germany.

Q: When did slavery end?

A: It hasn't. In the Western World, it was slowly - very slowly - phased out with the coming of Christianity (which was one of the reasons Christianity flourished… it appealed to the disenfranchised and enslaved, making everyone equal if not on earth than in the next life). But slavery certainly hasn't ended for everyone. There are women and children who are ensalved today, even in America and Europe. Of course, this isn't legal. Many of these victims of modern-day human trafficking have been brought over from places like Albania or Algeria and have no resources to escape. That's why organizations such as STOP International exist. You can visit them here.

Q: What resources did you use to write this novel?

A: I did most of my research on-site (in Rome, Alexandria) and in libraries. In order to describe the Palatine, I went there (not that this was necessary… but it was certainly fun!). To get a feel for life on Capri, my husband and I booked a week there and took several trips into the Blue Grotto (where you can no longer swim). I also used dozens of books and contacted scholars such as Duane W. Roller whose work on the life of Kleopatra Selene was invaluable to me.

Q: Why did you change Cleopatra Selene’s name to Selene in the novel?

A: I thought it would be nice (and easier for the reader) to differentiate Selene from her mother by calling her by her second name. Selene means moon, while her brother – Alexander Helios – was named after the sun. Very pretty, I think!

Q: Is it still possible to visit the places Selene visited when she was in Rome?

A: Yes. In 2008, I went on a photographic safari in search of the places Selene would have gone during the brief years she was in Rome. Many of the photos are included here!

Q: What are you working on next? Will it also be marketed to both adults and YA?

A: Actually, my next book will be firmly adult fiction. MASKS OF THE REVOLUTION is about Madame Tussaud, who joined the gilded but troubled court of Marie Antoinette, and survived the French Revolution only by creating death masks of the beheaded aristocracy. I’m very excited about this novel, since Marie (the first name of Madame Tussaud) met absolutely everyone, from Jefferson to the Empress Josephine.

Isn't she awesome?

Giveaway is over.  Ended in 2009

 I am so excited to also announce that she has extended her generosity to include being able to giveaway a SIGNED copy of Cleopatra's Daughter to ONE lucky reader! I have read both Nerfertiti and The Heretic Queen, both of which are on my top books of all time list, and I know Cleopatra's Daughter will NOT disappoint!

How to enter, well this time I am going to keep it super simple.

To enter? Simply leave a comment answering one of these questions:

If you could go back in time and live during a specific historical event, what would it be?

How did you find my blog? :)

Following is not required, but I would recommend it because I will announce the winner on here and the winner will have 48 hours to contact me, I will NOT contact the winner.

If you want to earn extra entries:

Leave each in a seperate comment, if you don't, I will count these as ONE entry instead of the multiple entries that you did! Thanks~

These are only worth one extra entry:
post on Twitter @Historyslover this contest (leave link!)
Post this on your blog (leave link)

Giveaway ends on September 15th, 2009 at midnight. Winner will be announced on this blog. This IS an International contest, so doesn't matter where you live- it's open! (Hooray!)

I like to see what my blogging friends look like, don't you?

I just think it's fun to share what we look like with each other Sure we have our profile photos, but they are tiny! Let's have some fun and see what we look like!
Here's me with my daughter:




In My Mailbox 5 (Longest Post Yet!)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. Go ahead and join in on the fun. I know I love to see what arrives in everybody's mailboxes, don't you?

So I didn't participate last week. It was just so crazy getting back into the swing of things that I didn't really get a chance to blog during the week, but I did all my homework Friday and Saturday night and studied for two tests coming up this week. I didn't realize when I enrolled in one class that it was accelerated.. WHOOPS! It's a good WHOOPS because it will be over on October 15 and I will only have to worry about finals in December in 3 classes instead of 4!

So this week's in my mailbox is a little different because I received some items that are not books! I just wanted to share in some prize winnings and introduce you to some GREAT blogs and sites I have found along the way!

But first off... rain. In Phoenix. Awesome. We have been extra dry this year and couldn't help but take a photo of our parched grass getting some desperately needed drinks of rainwater


So first item for IMM, is a Reynold's Handi-Vac sealer and bags. I won this by signing up for the Make Ahead Meals For Busy Moms newsletter. Jane Doiron is the author of her upcoming cookbook, Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms, and she has a monthly giveaway for subscribers to her newsletter. I was lucky to win this! She was also kind enough to email me her manuscript of her cookbook and next weekend I will be making some of the recipes and using the Handi-Vac sealer to freeze and store! I am so excited! I will also be reviewing her cookbook and hosting a giveaway in the near future! So keep watching my blog. To sign up for her newsletter click HERE!!!!


The second item I won from a giveaway is a Sharon Bolton perfume roll on in LUV. And my goodness, when I first put it on, I didn't care so much for the smell but after about 20 minutes when it went in sync with my body chemistry.. holy moly! Awesome. I am not kidding you, I kept smelling my wrist. Smells so lovely, LUV is comprised of Hawaiian white flowers, rare pink gardenia, creamy vanilla and an essence of white musk. This is also an OIL so it lasts even longer. I can still smell it on my wrist this morning (I put it on last night!). I won this from Shauna at her awesome blog Trying to Stay Calm. Head on over to her blog, say Hi and enter a giveaway or two. Let me tell you.. she has some GREAT giveaways going on and such a variety!


Now.. for what you are waiting for.. BOOKS!! Books, books and more books!!!


In the back row is "Angel Lane" by Sheila Roberts, set to be released on September 29th. I will be hosting Sheila Roberts here on October 30th. Thank you Sheila!

Next is "Tortured" by Amanda McIntyre. I won this book from a giveaway hosted by
Seductive Musings Head on over to her blog, she is always having a great giveaway, an author interview or guest post and some excellent reviews and overall blogging! Also, I have chatted with Amanda McIntyre over email since winning and she is such a good person! I am so excited to get to reading "Tortured!" In case you are curious, Tortured is about a female executioner in the Medieval times!

Next is Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult, which I won from Sheila at One Person's Journey Through Books! Thanks Sheila! Be sure to visit Sheila at her blog, she is always up to something fun and exciting! Give her a quick hello!
From Amazon.com:
Fans of Picoult's fluent and absorbing storytelling will welcome her new novel, which, like Harvesting the Heart, explores family dynamics and the intricacies of motherhood, and concludes, as did The Pact, with tense courtroom drama. In the small town of New Canaan, N.H., 33-year-old Mariah discovers that her husband, Colin, is having an affair. Years ago, his cheating drove Mariah to attempt suicide and Colin had her briefly committed to an institution. Now Mariah's facing divorce and again fighting depression, when her eight-year-old daughter, Faith, suddenly acquires an imaginary friend. Soon this friend is telling the girl how to bring her grandmother back from the dead and how to cure a baby dying of AIDS. As Faith manifests stigmata, doctors are astounded, and religious controversy ensues, in part because Faith insists that God is a woman. An alarmed Colin sues for custody of Faith, and the fear of losing her daughter dramatically changes meek, diffident Mariah into a strong, protective and brave womanAone who fights for her daughter, holds her own against doctors and lawyers and finds the confidence to pursue a surprising new romance with TV atheist Ian Fletcher, cynical "Spokesman of the Millennium Generation." Though the novel feels a bit long, Picoult's pacing stabilizes the increasingly complicated plot, and the final chapters, in which Mariah fights for Faith's custody in court, are riveting. The mother-daughter relationship is all the more powerful for being buffeted by the exploitative and ethically questionable domains of medicine, media, law and religion; these characters' many triumphant transformations are Picoult's triumphs as well. Agent, Laura Gross.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Next is "Everything Sucks" by Hannah Friedman. I received this when Hannah emailed me asking if I wanted to read and review her memoir, I couldn't say NO especially after watching her Youtube video. Being different, is cool! Trust me, you won't want to either! Hannah has a GREAT future ahead of her and I love her personality! Thanks Hannah!

"The Ascent of Man" by Richard Guy, I received through Bostick Communications. Author's Site I thought this sounded interesting and I think the title says it all, "The Ascent of Man, Downhill All The Way".

"Dragon House" by John Shors. I received this from the author and wow. Read my review HERE. The story of the Vietnamese street children, an American Woman (daughter of a Vietnam war Veteran), a wounded American Iraq War Veteran, a Vietnamese woman who finds beauty in all things, a Vietnamese police officer still angry after the Vietnam war... they all find their heart, souls, future, love, life, healing and redemption.

Oxana's Pit and Raji, by Ariion Kathleen Brindley. via the author.
Raji: (from Amazon.com)
Rajiani Devaki (Raji) is a girl of thirteen from India. On a cold December morning in 1925, Vincent Fusilier finds Raji sleeping in his parents' barn. He thinks she's a Gypsy and tells her she has to go. She doesn't understand English and doesn't know where she is, having recently escaped from a house in Queens New York where she had been held for the past nine years as an indentured servant. After Vincent leaves for school, Raji slips into his house to find something to eat. She peeks into the front room and is startled to see a man sitting in a wheelchair. He stares at her but apparently cannot move or speak.

Oxana's Pit From Amazon.com:
Oxana uses forced labor to operate an illegal mine in the Amazon. Her open-pit excavation is on land owned by Echo Forests, an environmental company based in New York City and controlled by Kennitosh Scarborough (Tosh). When he discovers Oxana's pit on a satellite photo, Tosh goes to investigate and is captured by Oxana's thugs. One of Tosh's employees, and also his lover, Amber Bravant, organizes a search for him. She is also taken prisoner by Oxana. Tosh and Amber's escape is engineered by two Yanomami children befriended by Tosh before his capture.

Edit: I can NOT believe I skipped a couple, lol.

I received "Of Ghosts and Magic" by Alfred Albers via www.reviewthebook.com of which I review books for.
From Amazon.com
In 1973, Alex Holloman got a job as a courier and met a wonderful lady. Suddenly, his world fell apart; his parents were killed and then he inexplicably disappeared.

When Americas Foremost Magician, John Michaels, agreed to perform for his high schools 30th Anniversary Reunion in June 2000, he didnt know it would also involve searching for his friend, Alex Holloman.

Unlike creating a magic illusion, which is based on principles of mathematics and science, attempting to find a missing person would challenge John Michaels expertise to create a miracle in less than three weeks.

Last but certainly not least, I won a SIGNED copy of "The Other Boleyn Girl" by Philippa Gregory and the DVD in Touchstone Fireside's White Queen Contest. I have entered so many contests for the White Queen but it's ok that I haven't won yet because I have a ton to read and will buy it soon enough! Thanks Touchstone Fireside Books for such a GREAT contest! I had so much fun hunting down all those answers!


"My Cousin Caroline" by Rebecca Ann Collins- Review

Copied from Goodreads.com
Sixth in the bestselling Jane Austen sequel series from Australia
In this installment of The Pemberley Chronicles series, Mr. Darcy's cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth's cousin Caroline Gardiner take center stage.
The daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner, Caroline develops from a pretty young girl into a woman of intelligence and passion, embodying some of Austen's own values. Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth, Jane, Mr. and Mrs. Bennett, and the Wickhams all move through the story as Caroline falls in love, marries, and raises her children. Caroline rejects the role of a compliant Victorian wife and mother, instead becoming a spirited and outspoken advocate of reformist causes in spite of the danger of scandal.
Caroline's advocacy of reform, undaunted by criticism, demonstrates strength in a time when a woman's role was severely restricted.

My review:

As a fan of "Pride and Prejudice" I was NOT disappointed! Rebecca Ann Collins' Chronicles of Pemberley series carries on the tradition and characters of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" and "My Cousin Caroline" continues beautifully. I thoroughly enjoyed reading as Colonel Fitzwilliam's and Caroline's love grew and blossomed. I also enjoyed learning the political turmoil that was going on during the Regency period and through the transition to the Victorian era. Keeping with the same pace and style as Jane Austen, this book flowed beautifully. One thing that I really liked is that instead of the book being 300 pages of the courtship, we are walked through the wedding, through Caroline and Col. Fitzwilliams' children's births, through life and death in their families and without losing the essence of the book.

Although this is the 6th book of the series and the first one I have read, I am certainly going to go back and read the first five!

I do have an exciting announcement, this is a romantic month here at "Revenge of the Book Nerds" and will have several exciting author interviews, guest bloggers and giveaways! I am super excited because... I am going to have an interview with none other then Rebecca Ann Collins herself and thanks to Danielle at Sourcebooks, there will be a giveaway for book 1 IThe Chronicles of Pemberley) and book 6 (My Cousin Caroline) of the Chronicles of Pemberley books! Aren't you super excited? Miss Austen would be impressed!


"Dragon House" by John Shors Review

Copied from Goodreads.com:

From John Shors, author of the critically acclaimed novels Beside a Burning Sea and Beneath a Marble Sky, comes an unforgettable story of redemption…

Set in modern-day Vietnam, Dragon House tells the tale of Iris and Noah—two Americans who, as a way of healing their own painful pasts, open a center to house and educate Vietnamese street children.

Iris and Noah find themselves reborn in an exotic land filled with corruption and chaos, sacrifice and beauty. Inspired by the street children she meets, Iris walks in the footsteps of her father, a man whom Vietnam both shattered and saved. Meanwhile, Noah slowly rediscovers himself through the eyes of an unexpected companion.

Resounding with powerful themes of suffering, sacrifice, friendship, and love, Dragon House brings together East and West, war and peace; and celebrates the resilience of the human spirit.

My review:

How do I write a review about a book that tugged, actually, YANKED at my heart strings as much as this book did and give it the credit that is due? I am not sure but I will do my best.

The children of the streets of Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon, Vietnam) are the heart and soul of "Dragon House". Tam, a child who is dying from Leukiemia, and her grandmother Qui beg on the streets just so Tam can have medicine to ease her pain. Mai and Minh held under the "protection" of Loc, an Opium addicted, cruel man.. or I would rather refer to him as a pimp, he may not sell the children's bodies for sex but he pimps them to sell their goods. Minh doesn't speak since Loc beat him for saying the wrong thing and Minh only has one hand. He plays foreigners in games of Connect 4 for money. Mai who is his voice sells fans but mostly helps Minh obtain players.

The key adult players are Iris, whose father an American veteran of the Vietnam war who wasn't around to raise her as he was battling the internal scars from the Vietnam war. When her father died, he left her the center he was building in Vietnam for street children. Noah, a childhood friend of hers who lost the lower portion of his leg in Iraq and who is battling his own scars, joins her at his mother's begging. Thien, Iris' father's assistant, a beautiful Vietnamese woman inside and out, finds beauty in each and everything she can. Then there's Sahn. He is also a survivor of the Vietnam war and has a disdain towards Americans after losing his entire family in the war but as a Police office with failing sight, he was to save the future of Vietnam.

Every single one of these people save each other in more ways then one. They find their futures, their souls, their lives, hope, family and love.

John Shors paints a vivid picture of survival, anger, cruelty, beauty and redemption throughout this entire book. He brings to life the trauma that the children who have to live and survive on the streets of Vietnam. Many of which never get another life off of the streets. Post war Vietnam is not a pretty place, don't ever expect it to be. There are horrific injuries sustained to victims of Agent Orange, street girls become prostitutes, opium addiction, and the same. There are many organizations out there trying to do what they can for the Vietnamese children, one of which is Blue Dragon Children's Children Foundation. (Here's the website: http://www.bdcf.org/)
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of "Dragon House" goes to Blue Dragon Children's Foundation. In Vietnam, a tiny bit goes a long ways. You may also purchase or go directly to the site to donate : http://www.bdcf.org/ You may also email the author, shors@aol.com for more information or if you want to donate by check.

Wow, ok, honestly, I really didn't mean to step on a soap box or to even promote any one organization, but I have read two books in a row (Saffron Dreams is another) in which proceeds of the book's sales goes to help feed the hungry. $1 goes so far. So so far. I try to donate when I can. When I finished the book, the first thing I did after emailing Mr. Shors that I loved this book, was google for Volunteer Opportunities throughout various other countries. Hopefully, as my daughter gets older and her health is much better, she and I can do something overseas. Maybe teach English, clean up water supplies, build or do something! I definitely will be reading more of John Shors' works, that's for SURE!

Review: Saffron Dreams by Shaila Abdullah

Arissa Illahi is a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, Pakistani, American, and Muslim. When the United States, and consequentially the world, was rocked by the horrific terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Arissa's life is turned upside down. Her husband, Faizan, was working at a restaurant in one of the towers and lost his life. Reeling with the loss of her love, Arissa is left struggling and trying to make sense of it all. She is also pregnant with a baby who is destined to have severe special needs and alone. She also becomes a victim of prejudice when attacked because she is wearing her veil. She sheds her veil and goes on a journey of heartbreak and empowerment all the while healing from being abandoned by her mother and building a beautiful relationship with Faizan's parents.

Poetic and moving, the story of Arissa Illahi's heartbreak and strength comes alive in Shaila Abdullah's "Saffron Dreams". This novel is written in a memoir style, taking you deep in to Arissa's heartbreak and inner struggles. Attempting to bring forth what it must be like to be a victim in so many aspects due to the terrorist attacks. Imagine what it must be like to be in the shoes of a follower of Allah and have the world blame you for what you yourself is a victim of also. Shaila Abdullah's book is multifaceted, we are given a treat of reading beautiful words, a moving story and we are also educated at the same time. Although this is a work of fiction, Arissa's heartbreak is real. Her experiences are real. Her struggle with removing her veil and blending in with an America that is reeling and scared. Her surviving when Faizan did not, her decisions to continue with his novel, and the choices and struggles with raising their special needs son. I was moved to tears several times during this book, my heart ached for Arissa and I also found myself cheering her on as she and her son found their footing and moved through their lives, never forgetting who they are: Wife, Mother, Daughter, Son, Pakistani, American and Muslim.

Shaila Abdullah's "Saffron Dreams" is a must read. I want to add, if you purchase "Saffron Dreams" directly from the author's site, http://shailaabdullah.com/SD-buy.html a portion of the proceeds goes to help feed the world's hungry through the Aga Khan Foundation.

From the Author's site: According to the World Bank, the current global crisis has pushed 90 million people into poverty and is slated to have a disastrous impact on health and education projects in the developing world unless the rich nations begin aiding the poor. Please do your part in alleviating global poverty. Your support can help disadvantaged people in the most resource-poor regions of the world
Aga Khan Foundation U.S.A. (AKF USA), a renowned international organization. The book is also offered at a discounted rate of $16.95. Feel free to buy a few copies for friends, family, and coworkers. Aga Khan Foundation develops and promotes creative solutions to address problems that impede social development, primarily in Asia and Africa. Under the umbrella of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), AKF works in the areas of health, education, rural development, civil society and the environment. It is presently engaged in over 100 projects in 18 countries. Please spread the word!



Go read my interview over at Genevieve's Blog!
Be sure to check out her blog, it's a great one!


Contest Winners!!! Hooray!!

The winners for Dark Hunger by Rita Herron are......

1. Tamika
2. Misused Innocence
3. Beth
4. Wanda
5. Mary

PhotobucketThe Winners for Seduce Me by Robyn DeHart are....

1. Throuthehaze
2. DCMetroReader
3. Cindy
4. LuvDayLillies
5. Julie

Congratulations to all the winners! All winners have been emailed! If you don't see an email from me, please let me know ASAP at booknerdextraordinaire@yahoo.com

Thank you to all who entered and keep your eyes peeled for more great giveaways on the horizon!


Jake The Snake and The Stupid Time-Out Chair by Shelly Faith Nicholson - Review

From Amazon.com:
"Jake the Snake is a rambunctious kindergartner who is always getting into mischief! And when that happens, he is sent to the “stupid time-out chair.” Jake the Snake is scared Santa Claus is watching and will bring a stupid lump of coal for Christmas ’cause Christmas isn’t far away! When Jake the Snake drowns his brother’s pet lizard in chocolate sauce, he is really afraid. But things only get worse when Jake the Snake goes to the mall to visit Santa and barfs in the mall elf’s hat! Will Jake the Snake get a stupid lump of coal for Christmas? Or will Santa forgive him for all the naughty things he’s done all year?"

My Thoughts:

Ahhhh, life through the eyes of Jacob Sylvester Nelson. Or as his friends and family lovingly refer to him as "Jake The Snake". Well, Mr. Jake the Snake is an important five and three quarters years old. Don't forget, that three quarters is VERY important to a kindergartner!

Poor Jake. His intentions are always so well meaning, like attempting to do laundry and building a sandcastle out of laundry detergent to help his mom out. Or dangling from a chandelier like a monkey. Or trying to help his poor tired dad out by trying to put the star on the Christmas tree by himself. He even accidentally drowned his brother's lizard, Larry, in chocolate that was being melted on the stove for pretzels. Unfortunately, for Jake the Snake, his intentions albeit good, turn into disasters and he winds up in "Stupid Time-Out Chair". He tries to be good so Santa won't being him a new "North Pole Mom" or a "lump of coal".

This book was adorable, funny and lil Jake The Snake is so endearing. He tries so hard but his brain thinks he has a good idea but trouble ensues! Shelly Faith Nicholson did a great job writing through the eyes of a five year old boy. Oops, I mean a five and three quarters year old boy!

Unfortunately my daughter's attention didn't hold for this book, however, she does like something with more bright pictures. However, I enjoyed the story and it will make for great reading for a young child to enjoy! Jake's antics are hilarious and makes you say "Boys will be boys!" I highly recommend this book for children ages 5-8.. maybe even up to nine.

Make sure you visit the author's website at www.booksbyshelly.com for more information and printable coloring pages!

Enjoy the book trailer:


What do you think?

I have been playing around with some graphics. See, I am graphically challenged. So this is the first time I have tried to create a button or anything. What do you think of these? Are they a little TOO racy? I love Pinup Girl art. I love all things vintage. Heck, I am trying to buy a 1966 Volkwagen Squareback. Here's the VW.. hee hee, I have to share:


Pretty fabulous, huh? I am drooling over it. The guy wants $5000 but I can score one for $1000 as a project car. I found a decent one that runs well but needs to get prettified :)

Ok.. so tell me... my trusted blogging buddies.. first one:


Second one:

Or neither of them!


BBAW Nominations!! OMG!

I received notification that my blog has been nominated for three (3) award categories and I am so moved, honored, excited, goosebumply and floating!

The categories are:
Best New Blog
Most Eclectic Taste
Best General Review Blog

To whoever nominated me, I thank you so much. Just to be nominated is huge! There are so many fantastic blogs out there that I can't believe my blog would be nominated for any one of the categories let alone 3!

I began this blog with the intention of just writing and sharing my love of books. In the short time I since I began, I have met some of the most wonderful people, read amazing book reviews, recommendations, and chatted with who I believe are the coolest people on the web!

I love my computer.... all my friends live in it!

Big hugs from me to you!


Upcoming Bookcase review - CSN Office Furniture

Ok. Let's be honest here, I squealed like a little girl when I received the email from Jason at CSN Office Furniture with the awesome opportunity to review a bookcase from their amazing collection!

I am so beyond excited that I can't contain it! I feel so honored to have the opportunity to be apart of such a beyond GENEROUS chance!

CSN Office Furniture sells everything from home office furniture to children’s furniture and toys! I could hardly believe my eyes when I perused the website! So many beautiful items at such reasonable prices. Make sure you head on over to their site to view their lines of home office furniture!

So keep your eyes on my blog as I will be reviewing this beautiful shelf:

I think it will make a perfect shelf to hold all the books that are currently being read!

I want to say this... HUGE thanks to J Kaye at J Kaye's Book Blog . Make sure you visit her site. She is a very warm, welcoming, and giving fellow blogger with an AWESOME blog. If it wasn't for her referral list, CSN Furniture probably would not have found my blog and given me this chance. Thank you J Kaye and Jason @ CSN Office Furniture!


Reading Influences...

We all have somebody or something that influenced our reading. Maybe it was a teacher. An author. A friend. A brother. A sister. Cousin. A movie. Or even a pretty book cover. Something or someone made us LOVE reading. For me it was my mother.

I am the youngest of nine.. yes I said 9 children. I was fortunate. By the time I was born, the 8th child was three years old and my mom had time for us as the older children were in school (there is 15 years between my oldest sibling and myself). However, when my sister (the next one older then me, started school, I was my mom's baby. I went with her EVERYWHERE! The place we went to the most? The small public library. My mother gobbled books like you wouldn't believe, so as you can imagine we were always at the library. I remember sitting in on story time while my mom was searching out books. I will say, my mom loved Mystery/Thriller and Romance novels (especially Kathleen Woodewiss and anything with Fabio on the cover, lol).

Thanks to mom, I am a true blue book lover. I loved then and still do hunting down books and buying them like crazy at yard sales, thrift stores and library book sales. I began reading long before kindergarten and have tested and continue to test extremely high in English, composition, grammar, reading comprehension and such (except when I am typing really fast...lol) She was an amazing woman and I wish she was here today to read my blog and be a guest poster. She would have loved having her own blog. She passed away on February 3, 2006 in her home and in her own bed due to metastatic lung cancer (spread throughout her entire body). In her memory may I present, the one, the only....


Yep, you guessed it... FABIO

Rest in Peace Mom! Thank you for turning me in to a true blue bookworm.
June 6, 1943 to February 3, 2006
Alyce or preferred to be called "Jonnie"


So with that.... let's discuss your reading influences. Tag!! You're IT!

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