Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Best Book I Read This Month - And How You Can Win It

This month I read a lot of great books but one stands out – How to Save a Life bySara Zarr. A father dies, spurring his widow to pursue an adoption that they had discussed but never started. The book is written from two perspectives: that of the couple’s biological daughter and the mother of the child that is set to be adopted.

This book’s main strength is in characterization. Every character was distinct in their thoughts, the words they used to express them and their physical attributes. They felt real because they grew slowly, as people do in the real world.

How to Save a Life was also very emotionally engaging. The birth mother’s story was so sad that it was hard to read. She grew up in an abusive home and you feel it in the choices she makes as a young adult. The grief that the daughter feels as she mourns her father is so real it hurt. Even when she escapes her pain into denial, you feel nothing but sympathy.

What’s the best book you read this month? Why? Tell us in the comments below and you might win How to Save a Life!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

My Favorite Founding Father

Over the past few weeks I have been noticed a remarkable similarity in the people who are seeking the Republican nomination for president. Each and every one of them made a point of talking about American history in their speeches or TV interviews. This is remarkable for two reasons. One, I expected them to go out of their way to distinguish themselves from one another. Even stranger, when talking history, some of them were inaccurate and some were flat out wrong.

Before this blog becomes one of many thousands pitting Republicans and Democrats, I would like to tell you about my favorite founding father. ‘Bet you didn’t see that coming. Tell me who your favorite historical figure is and why and you could win a copy of Marianna Baer’s excellent new book, Frost before it hits the shelves.

My favorite founding father is John Adams because he was very smart, methodical and had a real partnership with his wife Abigail Adams. He valued her intelligence and judgment at a time when few men did. I also admire his willingness to speak his mind. He did it so often that, while he was vice president, the Constitutional congress passed a law prohibiting the vice president from talking during votes.

Who’s your favorite? Put it in the comments below and you could win Frost!

If I was an Alchemist

This week I’m giving away and advanced reading copy of Bloodlines by Richelle Mead, which will come out this August. In this book, a family of alchemists takes on challenges that I would mention but it will give away a good story.

That got me thinking about what I would do if I was an alchemist. Originally the idea was to spin straw into gold. But a few hundred years have passed and no one has done that yet. Also, all my jewelry is platinum. If I suddenly added gold it would look weird.

That got me thinking about what I would like to convert into something else. Staying on the clothing angle, I thought that spinning spaghetti into jewel-encrusted tiaras would be a neat trick. That would be great for the next time I host my publishing friends. “Just a minute girls...” Then, voila, we’re all princesses!

I also thought my form of magic could make a few things I loathe into things I like. For example, I hate loafers with tassels. I would like to be able to turn them into bunny rabbits. I also don’t like acid wash jeans. Maybe I could make those into kitchen appliances I’ve always wanted. Then there’s my least favorite creature: cockroaches. They would be so much more likable as chocolate chip cookies.

What would you do? Put it in the comments below and you could win the copy of Bloodlines!