Monday, October 31, 2011

Not For Resale! Respect the ARC

Advance Reading Copies (aka ARCs) are early versions of books sent out by publishers to reviewers and bookshop owners to help generate buzz for a new book. Uncorrected Proofs are essentially the same thing. They aren't made to be sold, and shouldn't be sold by the reviewers and bookshop owners who receive them.

Unfortunately, the way things should be isn't always the way things are. It is quite easy to find ARCs for sale on eBay on any given day. Author C.J. Redwine wrote up a fantastic post about it today at her blog (click here to read it). The selling of ARCs and Uncorrected Proofs annoys me to no end. What part of "NOT FOR RESALE" do people not understand? Apparently this is something that needs to stay on the radar, and since new bloggers might not be aware of this issue, I thought I'd jump on the bandwagon and post about it.

Here is a great vlog that Pam at Bookalicio.us made about selling ARCs (if you haven't seen it yet):




Here are a few more links to posts about not selling ARCs:

What do I do with the few ARCs I receive for this blog? Sometimes I keep them in my personal collection. Often I give them away here at A Few More Pages to help strike up some buzz about the book. But selling an ARC is not something I would ever consider doing. And I hope, now that you've become more educated about ARCs, you wouldn't choose to do that either.

Inspired by some of the "Respect the ARC" campaigns out there, I decided to make my own button. Feel free to grab it and use it on your own blog with my best wishes! Thank you for helping to spread the word about ARCs!

RESPECT THE ARC!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Book Beginnings on Friday: October 28, 2011

For some reason, Blogger doesn't like it when I try to schedule this post. It reverts to draft so often that I should just stop relying on it. Sorry this is late!


There's nothing quite like the anticipation that comes from cracking open a book for the first time!

How to participate: Share the first line (or two) of the book you are currently reading on your blog or in the comments. Include the title and the author so we know what you're reading. Then, if you would like, let us know what your first impressions were based on that first line, and let us know if you liked or did not like the sentence. The link-up will be at A Few More Pages every Friday and will be open for the entire week.

Thanks to Becky at Page Turners for starting this meme and to Rose City Reader for inspiring it!

It's a good time for a spooky read, and this is one that's been sitting on my TBR for a while. Hopefully I'll get to read it this weekend! It's The Haunted Hotel by Wilkie Collins. Here are the first lines:
In the year 1860, the reputation of Doctor Wybrow as a London physician reached its high point. It was reported on good authority that he was in receipt of one of the largest incomes derived from the practice of medicine in modern times.

Yeah, not especially exciting. In fact, I think it's a bit boring for a beginning. I suppose it could be a nice, unassuming way to start a story about a haunted hotel. We'll just have to see how it progresses.

What is the first line of your current read, and how did you like it? Please leave the link to your specific post, not just to the front page of your blog.



Thursday, October 27, 2011

Guest Post: Martyr Mom or Servant Model? by Carla Anne Coroy

I am so very pleased to welcome author Carla Anne Coroy to A Few More Pages today! Last week I reviewed her book, Married Mom, Solo Parent, which was a book that gave me a lot of guidance and a lot to think about. Please join me in welcoming Carla Anne to the blog today!
Martyr Mom or Servant Model?

Do you know a martyr mom? She does her teens’ laundry and makes their lunches. She cleans the house from top to bottom—all by herself. She stays up late, day in and day out, doing all of the unfinished work.

She’s the mom who ‘sacrificially’ gives up a family outing—even though they were her kids' chores she stayed home to do. She recites her arm-length to-do list after telling you about how she agreed to help her kids with their various projects.

You likely know a martyr mom. But have you ever wondered if you might be one?
We started serving our families out of love. We loved them as we did their laundry. We served them as we packed lunches, cleaned bathrooms, drove carpools, and fixed bicycles . . . And then somewhere along the line, our serving morphed into martyrdom.

Is doing everything for everyone really loving? How can we protect ourselves from becoming martyr moms?

What would Jesus advise you to do? He taught his disciples to do what he was doing. He took them along wherever he went. He let them do some work. He sent them out to preach, heal, and cast out demons. Sometimes they did well, other times they came back wondering what went wrong. Jesus knew they needed plenty of room to try, and sometimes to fail. He didn’t hover to make sure they did things perfectly and neither did he rush to fix things when their attempts went awry.

To be servant models, we need to imitate Jesus. We need to give our children the tools to work hard and develop responsibility. Let your children watch you work, then work with you, and eventually you can watch them work and succeed without you. Give them household chores and tasks so they can develop skills, recognize what they are capable of, and discover their contribution is valuable.

We need to teach our children to set boundaries. Let your children see you turn down requests to serve sometimes. Do you really need to volunteer on every committee? Healthy boundaries encourage your kids to experience the joy of serving and to choose best over good.

Serving our families requires us to teach our kids to do their best. If we expect their best and then accept what they do, we are setting them up to succeed and persevere. If your children do their best but it isn’t as good as you would do it, leave it alone. Don’t redo the job! If Jesus only accepted perfect work from his people, he wouldn’t have chosen the rag-tag team of men he did. He expects our best, and then accepts it, even when our efforts fall short.

Love sometimes says no. When we are exhausted and we do for our kids what they could do for themselves, we are teaching them they don’t need to care about how they affect others. We are also saying that our poorest effort is better than their best. Occasionally saying no to our children also gives them permission to say no when a request butts up against their limits.
Serving also means looking around to see how you might bless someone. It means bringing a meal to a sick family, or clothes to the family who needs some, or giving Daddy a backrub. Teach your children to ask, “How could I serve someone today?” Give them the joy of serving others at home, and by volunteering at church or in the community.

Let’s leave the Martyr Mom complex behind and be like Jesus—Servant Models.
Thank you for joining us today at A Few More Pages, Carla Anne! I know I have a tendency to be a Martyr Mom. It's so easy to fall into that trap. Thank you for this great post!

About the author:

Carla Anne Coroy runs the Married Single Mom blog at www.carlaanne.com/blog/. She speaks regularly and serves as a staff writer for an online Christian women’s magazine Mentoring Moments for Christian Women. Carla Anne lives in Canada with her husband and four homeschooled children.

Related Linkage:

Monday, October 24, 2011

Gothic Literature Classics Circuit: A Few Short Stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne


I knew that this month would be busy for me at work, and yet I still couldn't resist participating in the Classics Circuit this month--the focus is Gothic Literature! So I chose a few short stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne, first published in 1837 in Twice-Told Tales.

"The Wedding Knell" is the story of a most unusual marriage ceremony. When a twice-widowed woman, vain and now elderly, enters the church to wed a man she had once been engaged to in her youth, the church bell begins to toll. It makes everyone think of a funeral. And when her bridegroom arrives, he brings with him mourners and is dressed in a burial shroud! I struggled a little bit with the language, but I liked the dialog between the bride and bridegroom. Here was the bridegroom's reasoning:
At your summons I am here. But other husbands have enjoyed your youth, your beauty, your warmth of heart, and all that could be termed your life. What is there for me but your decay and death? And therefore I have bidden these funeral friends, and bespoken the sexton's deepest knell, and am come, in my shroud, to wed you, as with a burial service, that we may join our hands at the door of the sepulchre, and enter it together.
Church bells aren't used that often in modern-times (so the bell's toll during a wedding didn't strike me as meaningful at first), and I had to look up what exactly a death shroud is so I could picture the scene in the church in my mind.

"The Minister's Black Veil" by JELarson | RedBubble
"The Minister's Black Veil" was my favorite of the three stories I read. Set in a Puritan New England town, the story is about a minister who, to the astonishment of his parishioners, begins wearing a black veil over his face:
That mysterious emblem was never once withdrawn. It shook with his measured breath, as he gave out the psalm; it threw its obscurity between him and the holy page, as he read the Scriptures; and while he prayed, the veil lay heavily on his uplifted countenance. Did he seek to hide it from the dread Being whom he was addressing?
Such was the effect of this simple piece of crape, that more than one woman of delicate nerves was forced to leave the meeting-house. Yet perhaps the pale-faced congregation was almost as fearful a sight to the minister, as his black veil to them.
Everyone is puzzled and a bit terrified by the minister's veil, and yet no one can work up the courage to ask him not to wear it. His sermon on the day he began wearing the veil is on secret sin, and there is much conjecture in the community about why he wears the veil. Is he hiding some horrible sin behind that veil, or is he separating himself from the sin he sees in everyone else around him? He wears the veil for the rest of his life, and though it only physically darkens his view, everyone around him seems to feel like the world is darker when he is around. The psychological impact of the veil is interesting, but even more interesting is the fact that Hawthorne is rather ambiguous about it. The minister never really explains exactly why he wears the veil, so the reader is left to his own interpretations.

"The Haunted Mind" was remarkable to me because it is written as a second-person narrative. This short story dwells on the moments between waking and dreaming, in which both horrors and delights are imagined. The ghost scene really turned up the creepy factor (and reminded me of some of my more memorable nightmares). Here is a small taste:
In an hour like this, when the mind has a passive sensibility, but no active strength; when the imagination is a mirror, imparting vividness to all ideas, without the power of selecting or controlling them; then pray that your griefs may slumber, and the brotherhood of remorse not break their chain. It is too late! A funeral train comes gliding by your bed, in which Passion and Feeling assume bodily shape, and things of the mind become dim specters to the eye.
I've read Nathaniel Hawthorne before--I read The Scarlet Letter and "Young Goodman Brown" as assignments in high school and college. These were an interesting set of short stories that I enjoyed, but perhaps I should leave you with an excerpt from Edgar Allan Poe's review of Twice-Told Tales:
We know of few compositions which the critic can more honestly commend than these "Twice-Told Tales." As Americans, we feel proud of the book. Mr. Hawthornes distinctive trait is invention, creation, imagination, originality- a trait which, in the literature of fiction, is positively worth all the rest. But the nature of originality, so far as regards its manifestation in letters, is but imperfectly understood. The inventive or original mind as frequently displays itself in novelty of tone as in novelty of matter. Mr. Hawthorne is original at all points. It would be a matter of some difficulty to designate the best of these tales; we repeat that, without exception, they are beautiful.
Judging from this, I think Poe liked the stories a lot more than I did, and two of his favorites in the entire volume were "The Wedding Knell" and "The Minister's Black Veil." That's not to say I didn't like the stories because I did, I just struggled a bit trying to understand the meaning of some of the language and imagery. Overall, these were interesting Gothic reads that were not too scary for my wimpy sensibilities.

Related Linkage:

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Review: Married Mom, Solo Parent by Carla Anne Coroy

Married Mom, Solo Parent: Finding God's Strength to Face the Challenge by Carla Anne Coroy
Genre: Christian Non-Fiction
Pages: 272
Publication Date: October 2011
Publisher: Kregel Publications
Source: I received a free review copy to participate in this LitFuse book tour.
Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Description (from the publisher):
Bookstore shelves are full of parenting resources for moms who are newly divorced or widowed. But where do moms turn if they feel like a single parent--but they’re not? Whether he is away on business, deployed in the military, or obsessing over a computer game, dad may not be available for a variety of reasons. Moms who parent in this situation still need help and don’t necessarily relate to the advice given in divorce recovery or single parenting resources.
Married Mom, Solo Parent is a common-sense, down-to-earth look at the struggles wives and mothers face when their husband is not actively involved in family life. Writing from her own experience as a married single mom, Carla Anne Coroy will help wives and mothers sort through their questions, such as: Can I do this alone? How do I raise kids to honor their father? How do I give my children a healthy perspective of marriage if they never see one in action? With practical suggestions, anecdotes, and biblical teaching, this book will encourage moms to see their position as a high calling, to find healing for their worries and frustrations, and to tap into God’s strength for help in facing the daily challenge of being a married mom, solo parent.
❦❦❦❦❦❦❦

This is the kind of book that you only really pick up if it describes you. I am a married mom, who often feels like a solo parent. I've commented on this before with friends and family, so when I saw this book I knew I just HAD to read it. My husband is a firefighter who works 48-hour shifts. I spend two full days and nights alone at home with my kids, followed by two full days and nights with my husband here. Sometimes he works overtime and works longer than 48 hours - 6 days on duty isn't all that uncommon and if he gets sent out of town during the busy summer fire season it could be even longer. But I digress. This review shouldn't be all about me, though I can tell already it's going to be hard for me to write this review without a lot of personal anecdotes. I hope you can bear with me.

Being a married mom who spends so much solo time with her kids can feel like a heavy responsibility. It can feel overwhelming and exhausting to be the one person that everyone counts on all of the time. Carla Anne Coroy knows what this is like. She's lived the life of a married mom-solo parent, and in this book she addresses a lot of the issues that moms like me deal with on a regular basis. One of the best things about this book is that I felt less alone when I was reading it. It connected me back to the fact that a lot of moms go through this, and that my situation isn't that unique. Keeping that in the back of my mind during the day helps me to feel less sorry for myself and to be thankful for my blessings.

Another great thing about this book is that it provides a lot of practical advice as well as spiritual advice. Some of my favorite practical advice included: cut back on kids' activities to cut back on stress, set aside time to spend on yourself and with supportive friends, and train your kids to contribute to the family by giving them chores from an early age. There is a great chore list on pages 134-136 with age-appropriate suggestions. In the craziness of my daily existence (and my perfectionist tendencies), I will often try to do everything around the house myself. This book reminded me that not only will handing off some of the chores to my kids help the household to run smoother, it will give them skills that they need in adulthood. They need to learn this stuff so they can take care of themselves when they grow up. And the earlier they start taking on responsibilities at home, the less they will resist it.

Spiritually, this book was a goldmine for me. Most important, it reminded me that I need to lean more on God for guidance and support. I don't have to feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders, God can help me to carry that load. If I lean on God's strength, I'm not really alone. It also made me look at a lot of my scattered and unorganized thoughts and feelings about being a solo parent and face them. It gave me something more constructive to do than feeling resentful. For example, I need to deal with my anger so I can model for my kids "how a healthy adult should live" (57). I need to put myself more in my husband's shoes and try to understand what it must be like for him to be walking in on a household that seems to run just fine without him when he's gone. I need to be less harsh with him when he doesn't know our schedules and rules, because how can he know when he isn't here all of the time? I think I tend to expect perfection out of him, which is unfair. I also need to remember to honor him by helping him to not feel like an outsider--I need to think of ways to help him feel like a part of the family both when he is at work and when he is at home. And I need to pray more--for my husband, for my kids, and for myself.

As you can tell by my long-winded review, this book gave me a lot to think about. I've got a lot of sticky notes marking important passages that I plan to go back to on a regular basis. I am really glad I read this book. It has helped me to look at my husband from a new perspective and has forced me to think about making my actions and my attitudes good examples for my kids. I want them to be able to look at our family as something they want to emulate, not reject. The best way for me to do that is to lean on God's strength, because when I depend too much on my imperfect and weak self, it doesn't go that well. I highly recommend this book for any married mom who finds herself struggling to do the solo parenting gig for whatever reason. You'll find a lot of great support and advice within these pages.


Related Linkage:

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Book Beginnings on Friday: October 21, 2011


There's nothing quite like the anticipation that comes from cracking open a book for the first time!

How to participate: Share the first line (or two) of the book you are currently reading on your blog or in the comments. Include the title and the author so we know what you're reading. Then, if you would like, let us know what your first impressions were based on that first line, and let us know if you liked or did not like the sentence. The link-up will be at A Few More Pages every Friday and will be open for the entire week.

Thanks to Becky at Page Turners for starting this meme and to Rose City Reader for inspiring it!

This week has been busy like the last couple of weeks have been. I haven't really finished anything in a while. Here's the beginning of a book I started a while ago and have been meaning to finish, Veiled Rose by Anne Elisabeth Stengl:

They said a monster lived in the mountains.

That is a promising beginning! It's a little bit creepy, a little bit mysterious. What role will this monster play in the story? I'm looking forward to finding some time to sit down and really immerse myself in this story.

So, what is the first line of your current read, and how did you like it? Please leave the link to your specific post, not just to the front page of your blog.



Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Q&A with Jennifer Hudson Taylor, author of Highland Sanctuary

Please join me in welcoming author Jennifer Hudson Taylor to A Few More Pages today!

Jennifer Hudson Taylor is an award winning author of historical Christian fiction and a speaker on topics of faith, writing and publishing. Her debut novel, Highland Blessings received a 4 1/2 star review from Romantic Times and won the Holt Medallion Award for Best First Book. Jennifer's work has appeared in national publications, such as Guideposts, Heritage Quest Magazine, Romantic Times Book Reviews, and The Military Trader. She serves as the Publicist at Hartline Literary Agency. Jennifer graduated from Elon University with a B.A. in Journalism. When she isn't writing, Jennifer enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, genealogy, and reading.

Jennifer's newest book, Highland Sanctuary, came out this month, and she kindly agreed to answer a few questions about it! I reviewed it yesterday, so click here to read that review.

What was your favorite scene to write?
In Highland Sanctuary, I enjoyed the spiral stair scene in Braigh Castle where Serena isn’t paying attention and lands on Gavin’s feet.
I laughed out loud when I read that scene! Tell us a little bit about your main characters.
Serena Boyd, has grown up in a small one room cottage made of dirt and rock. She sleeps in a loft. Her mother raised her alone with the help of a servant. They live in the Village of Outcasts and Serena considers them her extended family. She has a secret and lives in fear for her life if it were to be discovered by the outside world. With her mother’s private education and the manners she’s been taught, she doesn’t appear to fit in with the villagers. Serena doesn’t see her natural beauty and believes her secret will keep her from experiencing the love of a husband and children of her own.

Gavin MacKenzie, is a chieftain heir who has come to Caithness, Scotland with his younger brother to provide protection and to help his brother learn a trade in repairing Braigh Castle. Unlike Serena, he grew up in a castle, used to being the center of attention. His family has expectations of him, of the bride he’ll bring home and as the leader of his clan. Gavin is healing from the death of the woman he’d planned to marry and struggles with the idea of disappointing his family if he chooses to wed a village lass like Serena.
I am always interested in the amount of research that goes into a historical novel. What was your research process like?
I had to research the history of the Catholic Church and the relationship between the Church and the Scottish monarchy. I needed to know what people believed about seizures in 1477, medical procedures, trials and executions. I needed to know about the area of Caithness, Scotland, the landscape, trees, flowers, the sea, seasons, and temperatures. I also had to research the layout, foundation, and how castles were built and restored.
The Village of Outcasts was one of my favorite parts of the book. Is it based on an actual village that you read about, or is it something you created?
There is a nearby village that was close to Brough Castle on which Braigh Castle is based. However, it was just a small village and wasn't a village of Outcasts--I created it as well as the layout of Braigh Castle and the cathedral.
If you could go and live inside a book, which would you choose?
I would have to say none of them, because I wouldn’t want to be stuck in one story. I like adventure, exploration and the freedom of choosing one’s destiny as I go.
Are you working on anything new at the moment?
Yes, I have two novellas coming out with Barbour Publishing in 2012. The first is Highland Crossings, four short stories in one volume by different authors following the generations of a family from Scotland to colonial North Carolina. The second is the Quakers of New Garden, also four short stories by different authors following the generations of a family from NC to IN from 1808 to present day.

I also have a Quaker historical, A Path of Promise, coming out with Abingdon’s new Quilts of Love series in Feb 2013. Then I have a 3-book series called The MacGregor Quest.
Wow! I certainly am glad that we will be seeing more of your work in the near future! Thank you so much for answering my questions, Jennifer!

Highland Sanctuary sounds great, doesn't it? Here is the book trailer to give you a bit of a different taste:



Related Linkage:

Monday, October 17, 2011

Review: Highland Sanctuary by Jennifer Hudson Taylor

Highland Sanctuary by Jennifer Hudson Taylor
(Highland Series #2)
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction
Pages: 336
Publication Date: October 2011
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Source: I received an e-galley for review through NetGalley.
Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Book Description (from the author's website):
Gavin MacKenzie, a chieftain heir who is hired to restore the ancient Castle of Braigh, discovers a hidden village of outcasts who have created their own private sanctuary from the world. Among them is Serena Boyd, a mysterious and
comely lass, who captures Gavin’s heart in spite of harboring a deadly past that could destroy her future.

The villagers happen to be keeping an intriguing secret as well. When a fierce enemy launches an attack against them, greed leads to bitter betrayal. As Gavin prepares a defense, the villagers unite in a bold act of faith, showing how God’s love is more powerful than any human force on earth.
❦❦❦❦❦❦❦

Ever since enjoying Jennifer Hudson Taylor's first book in the Highland Series, Highland Blessings, I have been looking forward to continuing the series. When I saw book two available for review through NetGalley, I jumped at the chance, and I can report that I liked this book even more than I liked the first book in the series!

Serena is a girl with a secret. She suffers from seizures that threaten her life directly, but also could threaten her life if her condition is discovered. It is 1477, and most people believed her malady was a sign of demon possession. Serena could be burned at the stake for her affliction. When Serena was a baby, her mother sacrificed her former life to keep her daughter safe, and they live in a village of outcasts where everyone has oddities that cause them to not fit in with the general population. This village was one of my favorite things about the story--it truly represented the way a Christian community should work, with people caring for each other regardless of their differences. They helped to keep Serena's secret safe until strangers arrived to help rebuild the nearby castle.

In the midst of the castle's reconstruction, two men end up competing for Serena's affections, though neither is aware of her secret until later in the story. Her potential suitors are both kind and worthy of her love, though only one of them gives her goosebumps and seems utterly devoted to her despite her lower status in society. Who can really blame her for falling for Gavin, though she tries to fight her attraction to him tooth and nail because she is convinced that she should not have a family with her health condition.

Highland Sanctuary is an interesting story filled with romance and suspense, especially when people from a neighboring village witness Serena having a seizure and are convinced that she is possessed. When church officials take her into custody, she learns about the father she never met--and why her mother took her so far away from him. The final chapters are full of twists and turns that kept me quickly turning the pages. The faith aspects of the novel are heartwarming and serious as well, with the more fanatic and superstitious elements of the church coming into conflict with those who recognize a medical condition as just that, and not as demon possession. I highly recommend this to fans of Christian Historical Fiction, especially if you like stories set in Scotland or in the Middle Ages.

**Please join me here tomorrow for an interview with the author, Jennifer Hudson Taylor!
  • Related reading: This book reminded me a little bit of Watermark, a general market historical novel I read last year set in Medieval France, because the characters are in similar situations. In Highland Sanctuary, the main character suffers from a medical condition that could result in being burned at the stake. In Watermark, the main character is albino, and she faces similar superstitions that could also result in her being burned at the stake (albinos were suspected of being witches). So in both stories, the main character goes to great lengths to try to hide her condition, but is eventually discovered and seized by church authorities. Just thought I'd throw this related book out there for those who might be interested. The storylines are very different, but the characters share a common bond. Click here to read my review of Watermark.

Related Linkage:
Reading Challenges: 2nds Challenge, Historical Fiction Challenge

    Thursday, October 13, 2011

    Book Beginnings on Friday: October 14, 2011


    There's nothing quite like the anticipation that comes from cracking open a book for the first time!

    How to participate: Share the first line (or two) of the book you are currently reading on your blog or in the comments. Include the title and the author so we know what you're reading. Then, if you would like, let us know what your first impressions were based on that first line, and let us know if you liked or did not like the sentence. The link-up will be at A Few More Pages every Friday and will be open for the entire week.

    Thanks to Becky at Page Turners for starting this meme and to Rose City Reader for inspiring it!

    This is the book I've been reading lately. Married Mom, Solo Parent: Finding God's Strength to Face the Challenge by Carla Anne Coroy. Here are the first lines:

    I'm not sure when I fully realized it. It took me years, and when I finally got it, I was not at all impressed. I was raising my children as a single mom even though I was married to their dad.

    I decided to read this book because the title describes the way I feel a lot of the time--my husband is a fireman who works 48-hour shifts, so I spend a lot of time alone with my kids. I sometimes struggle with what feels like a heavy weight of responsibility being the only adult in the house for half of the month. Single moms have my utmost respect for being in that position full-time. Anyway, from the first line of this book, I can relate, and I'm looking forward to getting some good advice and support on how to better handle the stress. So far, it's really keeping my interest. Lots of sticky tabs in this one so far.

    So, what is the first line of your current read, and how did you like it? Please leave the link to your specific post, not just to the front page of your blog.



    Monday, October 10, 2011

    Read Pink for Breast Cancer!


    PENGUIN GROUP (USA) IS IN THE PINK FOR
    BREAST CANCER AWARENESS
    It’s time to think pink to shrink cancer

    What’s black and white and pink all over? The initiative by the Penguin Group (USA) called Read Pink™ in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This literary embrace of a life-saving cause last year resulted in nearly 400,000 best-selling romances shipped with Read Pink seals and information about the charity it supports – the Breast Cancer Research Foundation®. In 2010 and 2011, some 12,000 floor displays also carried the Read Pink message. The result raised awareness for BCRF, the only cancer organization to receive A+ from the Institute for Philanthropy.

    “We are delighted to be able to continue this initiative in support of The Breast Cancer Research Foundation for a second time. We hope that awareness for the Foundation’s work will only grow by bringing more attention to this important cause,” said Leslie Gelbman, President of Mass Market Publishing, Penguin Group (USA). To mark the occasion, Penguin Group (USA) is again making a $25,000 donation to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

    “The Breast Cancer Research Foundation is very grateful to be part of Penguin’s Read Pink program again this year,” said Myra J. Biblowit, President, The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. “This visible initiative will certainly raise awareness about BCRF.”

    The donation provides vital funds to support the mission of The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. As Dr. Laura J. Esserman, director of the Carole Franc Buck Breast Cancer Center at the University of California at San Francisco said,. “[BCRF] awards support leaders in translational science and assume that they will be able to best dispense the funds. This is invaluable. Most grants require a year’s lead time before ideas can be funded. The BCRF funds allow you to plan ideas a few months ahead, and are flexible in support. The awards also come with the promise of continuity to explore new ideas as they arise. I also really appreciate the annual awards ceremony and the expression of thanks to the scientists. We don’t often get that and it really is rewarding and inspiring to see that people appreciate us, even if we don’t come up with all of the answers. It is an expression of thanks for the efforts we put forward to try to find answers.”

    The novels chosen for Read Pink 2011 are eight bestselling mass market titles by some of Penguin Group (USA)’s most beloved female authors. Included this year are Nora Roberts, Catherine Anderson, Christina Dodd, Jillian Hunter, Lynn Kurland, Amanda Quick, Bertrice Small and Lauren Willig. More than 300,000 copies of the special editions will be printed featuring Read Pink seals on the covers. In addition, Penguin Group (USA) is including information in the back of each book in an effort to make readers aware of The Breast Cancer Research Foundation and encourage them to become actively involved in supporting the organization.

    For more details about the Read Pink initiative and to view a complete list of the participating retail outlets, please visit www.penguin.com/readpink.

    ###

    About The Breast Cancer Research Foundation®

    The Breast Cancer Research Foundation® was founded in 1993 by Evelyn H. Lauder as an independent, not-for-profit organization dedicated to funding innovative clinical and translational research. In October 2011, BCRF will award $36.5 million to 186 scientists across the United States, Canada, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Australia and China. Currently, more than 90 cents of every dollar donated is directed to breast cancer research and awareness programs. With exceptionally low administrative costs, BCRF continues to be one of the most efficient organizations in the country. BCRF has received an“A+” from The American Institute of Philanthropy. For more information about BCRF, visit www.bcrfcure.org.

    About Penguin Group (USA)

    Penguin Group (USA) Inc. is the U.S. member of the internationally renowned Penguin Group. Penguin Group (USA) is one of the leading U.S. adult and children's trade book publishers, owning a wide range of imprints and trademarks, including Viking, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, The Penguin Press, Riverhead Books, Dutton, Penguin Books, Berkley Books, Gotham Books, Portfolio, New American Library, Plume, Tarcher, Philomel, Grosset & Dunlap, Puffin, and Frederick Warne, among others. The Penguin Group (www.penguin.com) is part of Pearson plc, the international media company.

    Thursday, October 6, 2011

    Book Beginnings on Friday: October 7, 2011


    How to participate: There's nothing quite like the anticipation that comes from cracking open a book for the first time! Share the first line (or two) of the book you are currently reading on your blog or in the comments. Include the title and the author so we know what you're reading. Then, if you would like, let us know what your first impressions were based on that first line, and let us know if you liked or did not like the sentence. The link-up will be at A Few More Pages every Friday and will be open for the entire week.

    Thanks to Becky at Page Turners for starting this meme and to Rose City Reader for inspiring it!

    My reading is going pretty slowly right now because I am grading homework and essays this week for my college classes, so I'll share the first lines of one of my favorite books, A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean:

    In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing. We lived at the junction of the great trout rivers in Western Montana, and our father was a Presbyterian  minister and a fly fisherman who tied his own flies and taught others. He told us about Christ's apostles being fishermen, and we were left to assume, as my brother and I did, that all first-class fishermen on the Sea of Galilee were fly fishermen and that John, the favorite, was a dry-fly fisherman.

    Maclean has such a fun sense of humor in his writing, and even though this book talks a lot about fly fishing, it is so much more than that. It is a story about family, and the writing is poignant and moving. Part of my love of this book probably stems from the fact that my father is a fly fisherman, taught by his father, and he used to take my brother and me fly fishing when we were kids. The other part of my love of this book is tied up in the relationships between the brothers and between the grown-up sons and their aging parents. It is a wonderful and beautifully-written novella, and my copy has a lot of sticky tabs in it marking all of my favorite passages.

    So, what is the first line of your current read, and how did you like it? Please leave the link to your specific post, not just to the front page of your blog.



    Review & Tour Stop: Road from the West by Rosanne E. Lortz

    Road from the West by Rosanne E. Lortz
    (The Chronicles of Tancred #1)

    Genre: Historical Fiction
    Pages: 360
    Publication Date: September 2011
    Publisher: Madison Street Publishing
    Source: I received a free Advance Reading Copy to participate in a Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour.
    Rating: 4 of 5 stars

    Book Description (from the publisher):
    You’ve heard of the Knights Templar, you’ve heard of Richard the Lionheart—now learn the story that started it all with the adventures of the First Crusade.
    Haunted by guilt from the past and nightmares of the future, a young Norman named Tancred takes the cross and vows to be the first to free Jerusalem from the infidels. As he journeys to the Holy Land, he braves vast deserts, mortal famine, and the ever-present ambushes of the enemy Turks—but the greatest danger of all is deciding which of the Crusader lords to trust. A mysterious seer prophesies that Tancred will find great love and great sorrow on his journey, but the second seems intent on claiming him before he can find the first. Intrigues and passions grow as every battle brings the Crusaders one step closer to Jerusalem. Not all are destined to survive the perilous road from the West.
    ✥✥✥✥✥✥✥✥✥

    Road from the West is a historical fiction novel that focuses on the adventures of Tancred, a young Norman knight who joins the First Crusade. He seems to have been a rather unusual crusader, motivated more by his ideals than by desire for plunder on the way. That seems unusual because most of the other Crusader lords portrayed in Tancred's travels were motivated more by politics, power, and riches. Even Tancred's uncle, Bohemond, was more interested in finding ways to gain riches and power from their actions than in the ultimate goal of freeing Jerusalem.

    I can certainly see why Ms. Lortz was drawn to these people and this time period. There are unexpectedly unique people who participated in the First Crusade, and exploring their stories through historical fiction is an enjoyable way to be introduced to them. There were times early on in the novel when I thought it read almost like non-fiction in reporting the travels of the Crusaders. Additionally, emotion is not dwelled on for very long, even when Tancred loses people very close to him. I would have liked to get into the characters' heads more, which would have helped me to feel more invested in their journey and their successes or failures.

    Tancred's story is very much a journey and the locations and geography definitely play an important part in his tale. Ms. Lortz clearly did an excellent job in researching the historical places that the Crusaders encountered, as well as the rulers who controlled those locations. I don't know a lot about the Crusades, much less about the First Crusade specifically, but I feel like I've learned a lot through this book about the main participants in the Crusade and the politics involved in Crusaders' decisions to participate.

    Despite feeling a little disconnected from the main characters at first, by the end I had started to feel more invested in them and their stories. I definitely would like to continue reading about Tancred's adventures, and since this book only takes us part-way on the Crusaders' journey to Jerusalem, I am looking forward to picking up the next book in the series. There are too many questions still left to be answered: Will Tancred make it to Jerusalem? Will Alexandra win his heart? Will Bohemond gain the riches and power he is after? I must find out what happens!

    Related Linkage:

    Reading Challenges: Historical Fiction Reading Challenge, 1st in a Series Challenge

      Tuesday, October 4, 2011

      Trailer Tuesday: A Monster Calls

      I've seen so many rave reviews for this book, and I think the trailer really lives up to the book's reputation:




      A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
      Genre: YA
      Publication Date: September 2011
      Book Description (from the publisher):
      At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting-- he’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments. The monster in his backyard is different. It’s ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth. From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd-- whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself-- Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined.
      An unflinching, darkly funny, and deeply moving story of a boy, his seriously ill mother, and an unexpected monstrous visitor.
      What do you think? Have you seen any good book trailers lately?

      Saturday, October 1, 2011

      Win an opulent Gilded Age Prize Pack from Susan May Warren!

      Susan May Warren is thrilled to announce the release of her latest historical book, Heiress!

      Find out what the reviewers are saying here!

      Heiress, a richly complex historical romance, is the first in Susan's three book Daughters of Fortune series. In honor of Heiress’ debut, Susan is hosting a FABULOUS Gilded Age Giveaway and giving away an opulent prize pack fit for an heiress!


      One grand prize winner will receive:
      • A $100 gift certificate to ModCloth.com
      • A sleek silver iPod™ Shuffle
      • A beautiful strand of Pearls
      • Titanic DVD
      • Speakeasy Compilation Music CD from Starbucks™
      • Heiress by Susan May Warren

      Click one of the icons below to enter. But do so soon - this giveaway ends 10/5/11. The winner will be announced Thursday, October 6 on Susan’s blog.

      Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter
      Prize Eligibility: Only persons residing in Australia, Canada and United States who are at least 18 years of age can enter.

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