Sunday, July 19, 2009

Book Bloggers Appreciation Week

Greetings from the City of Heat Stroke...I mean, City of Angels. Besides having had a frenzied couple of weeks at work, I've also been feeling tired in general, a feeling no doubt exacerbated by the heat wave we've been having here. Yes, I know it's summer and summer is known for hot sunny weather, but we've had over a week of 90° plus in Downtown L.A., where it usually reaches only into the mid- to upper-80s at worst. So, though I've had the A/C on pretty much every day, at least while I'm home (and I don't even want to think about next month's electric bill), I haven't even felt much like reading, much less blogging.

But this year's Book Bloggers Appreciate Week (September 14-18, 2009) is something I feel the need to blog about, notwithstanding my lethargy. What a great idea ~ a week to celebrate "the art of book blogging," to acknowledge the "contribution and hard work of book bloggers in promoting a culture of literacy, connecting readers to books and authors, and to recognize the best among us with the Second Annual BBAW Awards." (Got that from the BBAW website.) Why such a celebration? As the BBAW site says: "Because books matter. In a world full of options, the people talking about books pour hard work, time, energy, and money into creating a community around the written word."

I did not participate in last year's BBAW. I don't even think I knew about it, although, if I had known, I doubt if I'd have gotten involved. I'd only just started blogging, and it was all so new to me that I didn't even follow any blogs then. Also, I am basically pretty shy under all the brash confidence I may seem to exhibit.

This year is another story, though. I've read fascinating book reviews on the blogs I now follow and have learned a whole lot over the past year that I would have missed had I not been following those blogs. Plus I've been fortunate to meet (online) some wonderful bloggers. Last but not least, I'm all hyped on the goodness & importance of blogs in general, since it appears to me that the mainstream media and many of the sales websites *cough amazon dot com cough* have caved to the government, the corporate world, & big money and, imo, stopped reporting important (not to mention truthful) articles and reviews in favor of fluff, lies and innuendo.

Okay, hopping down off my soapbox now.

So, I urge you to check it out. BBAW is a great opportunity to get involved in the book blogging community whether you are a blogger, a reader, a writer, or just concerned about honesty in reporting today.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


This award was given to me by Missy at Missy's Book Nook. Thank you so much for thinking of means a lot to me!

The rules state that in order to accept this award, I must list seven of my very favorite things, and only then may I pass the award on to seven other bloggers. So, here goes. *deep breath*

My Seven Favorite Things are:
1. Hanging around with my daughter Meg
2. Hanging around with Nickel Silverwing, my African Grey parrot
3. Reading
4. Talking on the phone with my sisters
5. Blogging & posting on Twitter, LibraryThing
6. Dark chocolate
7. Photography and photographs, particularly black & white

Notice I did not list coffee, notwithstanding the fact that I cannot live without it. It's like air and water, so it's not really a "favorite" thing as much as a necessity for life itself! ;D

Okay, now to pass on this award to those of you whose blogs I find, for a myriad of reasons, to be highly creative and pretty much addictive. It hasn't been easy to choose, because there are so many excellent blogs out there. I did not include any of the blogs to which I already gave an award (see sidebar), though they are also creative and cool. Okay, my choices of blogs to get the Kreativ Blogger Award. Drumroll please!

Smart Bitches, Trashy Books
Good Bird Blog
Life in Southern California
Murder, Mystery & Mayhem
Maw Books Blog
Blood of the Muse
Outpost Mavarin

Thanks for blogging, and keep up the good work! :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Shakespeare Drawing: And the Winners Are...

Congratulations! I hope you enjoy My Name Is Will. I got my copy from Hatchette yesterday and am looking forward to reading it. I'll post my review as soon as I do.

A big thank-you to everyone who entered, and I'm sorry I couldn't give copies to all of you. An especially ginormous thanks to everyone who posted their favorite work by or about Shakespeare. There were some interesting choices, and one clear winner. I tallied the "votes," and here are the results:
Romeo & Juliet - 8
A Midsummer Night's Dream - 5
Hamlet - 4 (3 plus mine)

One each for The Tempest, Much Ado About Nothing, Macbeth, Twelfth Night, and Coriolanus.
One vote was for Nothing Like the Sun, a novel about The Bard by Burgess.

Note: I used Random.Org for the first time to choose the winners. It was so much easier than writing name on little pieces of paper, putting them in a big plastic bowl, and having my bird pick out the winners. Especially since she always tries to shred the paper before I can see who's name is on it. :)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Murder & Mayhem in Pre-Revolutionary Paris

I got an Advance Uncorrected Proof of The Cavalier of the Apocalypse from the author in exchange for my review. It's the third in the Aristide Ravel series of historical mysteries set in Paris around the time of the French Revolution. The author Susanne Alleyn is a skilled writer, does impeccable research, and fashions clever mysteries. Since I'd already read and enjoyed her first two ~ Game of Patience and Treasury of Regrets ~ I was sure I would similarly enjoy this one.

I was wrong. I didn't just enjoy this novel ~ I LOVED it! In fact, I gobbled it down in two evenings, both nights reading way past my bedtime, and then, as soon as I finished it, I wanted to read it all over again. That doesn't happen to me very often, so you know this is one special book.

Okay, the story (no spoilers). In this atmospheric murder mystery, we meet Aristide Ravel, a young, somewhat dour and disillusioned writer who's down on his luck. To supplement his meager income, he begins taking commissions to write revolutionary pamphlets and dissertations against the excesses of the government and the unfairness of the laws, which is an activity that could land him in jail or worse ~ dangling from the end of a rope.

One evening, while helping put out a suspicious fire in a church near his lodging, Ravel runs into a man he knows slightly who turns out to be a police inspector. Not long after, he has occasion to meet up with Inspector Brasseur again when he loses his purse to a pickpocket, and a few days later, he is rousted out of bed and, at the request of the inspector, brought to an old cemetery where a horrific murder has been committed, ostensibly to aid in the solution of the mystery.

Without being preachy or textbook-y in the least, Ms. Alleyn brilliantly portrays life in Paris during the months leading up to the storming of the Bastille: the arrogance, injustice, and excesses of the royals and aristos and the corresponding grinding poverty of the masses which brought about an answering rage, rebellion, and thirst for justice that turned into the bloody revolution. She does this while, at the same time, delivering one ripping good story.

The novel is set to be released this month, so don't delay. Go to your favorite online store to pre-order (click the link above which leads you to a list of online stores), or go to the nearest brick-and-mortar bookstore on July 21 to pick up your copy. I'm going to ~ as gifts for some of my mystery loving friends. It's so worth it!

Thrillers Drawings Winners

I've been remiss in posting the winners of the three drawings I held on June 22, so, without further ado, here they are!

The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly - unabridged audiobook:

Linda Ellen

Cemetery Dance by Preston and Child - unabridged audiobook:

Averitasm-Amanda M.

The Night Gardener by George Pelecanos

A Reader (liane66)

Congratulations to the winners and thanks so much to everyone for visiting my blog and participating in the drawings.

Ah, I see a few puzzled looks out there. Some of you may have noticed there are only four winners of The Night Gardener named, though I promised to give away five copies. Well, as it turned out, I actually drew seven names, but only four people responded that they still wanted the book. The other three had already won it from another blog contest and asked me to draw another name.

So, rather than keep drawing names of those who've already gotten it elsewhere, I had this brilliant idea (well, I thought it was brilliant, anyway) to ask everyone who entered the contest the first time but who has not yet gotten hold of The Night Gardener from someplace else to post a comment here letting me know you are still interested in winning this book. On Friday, July 10, I'll draw the last winner from those names.

Oh, yeah, one important last thing: PLEASE leave your email addy so I can reach you if your name is drawn. If you don't, and I can't find it easily by checking your blog, then I'm going to draw another name. Thanks!

Good luck!