Friday, October 31, 2014

October's Month in Review: Book Talk, Reviews, and My Book Bloggers to Follow List

Here's all the cool bookish stuff I did this month. All were great but everyone LOVED the Book Blogger List! Remember to let me know if I need to add anyone to this list. I plan on doing an update at the beginning of the New Year.

Book Talk with R & T featured Ruin Falls by Jenny Milchman. Tamara and I had so much fun reading and chatting about a thriller. We were messaging each other every couple pages we read because we were on the edge of our seats. Here are my Book Talk posts, be sure to click on Tamara's name (above) and check out her accompanying posts.

I read several books in October but I only reviewed 5. The Winter Boy and The Memory Garden were my favorites.

The biggest response and success this month was my 115 Book Bloggers You Should Be Following
I posted this list on my blog and BlogHer. It made the daily email list the day after I posted it and I've been hearing about it all month. I'm so happy that it is connecting our book blogging community.

What a great month. What were your successes? What are you looking forward to in November? 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Winter Boy by Sally Wiener Grotta

Title: The Winter Boy
Author: Sally Wiener Grotta
Publisher: Pixel Hall Press 
Publication Date: November 6, 2014
ISBN: 9780988387133
Number of Pages: 508
How I Got It: contacted by publicist
Format: Kindle

NetGalley Description:
Reminiscent of Margaret Atwood, Mary Doria Russell and Ursula K. LeGuin, "The Winter Boy" explores important political and social issues within a dynamic, character-driven otherworld. The Valley of the Alleshi is the center of all civilization, the core and foundation of centuries of peace. A cloistered society of widows, the Alleshi, has forged a peace by mentoring young men who will one day become the leaders of the land. Each boy is paired with a single Allesha for a season of intimacy and learning, using time-honored methods that include storytelling, reason and sex. However, unknown to all but a hidden few, the peace is fracturing from pressures within and beyond, hacking at the very essence of their civilization. Amidst this gathering political maelstrom, Rishana, a young new idealistic Allesha, takes her First Boy, Ryl, for a winter season of training. But Ryl is a “problem boy,” who fights Rishana every step of the way. At the same time, Rishana uncovers secrets and conspiracies that could not only destroy Ryl, but threaten to tear their entire society apart. And a winter that should have been a gentle, quiet season becomes one of conflict, anger and danger.
My Review: 
What a great read! I was excited about this book as soon as I was contacted to review it. I was drawn in as soon as I started reading the story but was worried that 500+ pages would cause me to lose interest somewhere along the way. That was not the case. It is hard to describe this book because I haven't really read anything like it. This is a book that is difficult to fit into a single genre but I will try. The setting is not dystopian nor post-apocolyptic but occurs in a time after The Great Chaos. The village is modern yet rustic, (there is a library and upholstered furniture but no technology.) I got a feeling of "The Lord of the Rings" in that there are other villages, journeys, and deeper lessons in every action, but this novel contained no magic or fantasy creatures. There are sex lessons but this is not erotica. The story is a feminine retelling of warrior training stories. Where other such stories focus on physical strength, brutality, pain, and imminent battle, this story tells of young men being trained to maintain The Peace by being taught to honor other tribes, to read someone by their body language, use their intelligence, and resort to combat as a final option in defense of their villages. I'm pleased to hear that the author is currently working on another book to accompany this one that will tell the story from a handful of other characters' points of view.

Read an excerpt and get more info about The Winter Boy here

** I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review **

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris by Jenny Colgan

Title: The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris
Author: Jenny Colgan
Publisher: Sphere 
Publication Date: March 14, 2013
ISBN: 9781405514651
Number of Pages: 416
How I Got It: NetGalley
Format: Kindle

NetGalley Description:
As dawn breaks over the Pont Neuf, and the cobbled alleyways of Paris come to life, Anna Trent is already awake and at work, mixing and stirring the finest, smoothest, richest chocolate; made entirely by hand, it is sold to the grande dames of Paris.
It’s a huge shift from the chocolate factory she worked in at home in the north of England. But when an accident changed everything, Anna was thrown back in touch with her French teacher, Claire, who offered her the chance of a lifetime -- to work in Paris with Claire's former sweetheart, Thierry, a master chocolatier.
With old wounds about to be uncovered and healed, Anna is set to discover more about real chocolate -- and herself -- than she ever dreamed. 

My Review:
What a great foodie fiction read! Chocolate and Paris? Oui and Oui, please. Anna is injured on the job at her chocolate factory. While in the hospital, Anna rooms with her high school French teacher, Claire, and the two strike up a new friendship. Claire recommends an old French acquaintance to Anna, who may be able to assist Anna in working with chocolate again. But, English mass produced chocolate is worlds apart from Parisian artisinal chocolate production. The master chocolatier, Thierry, is appalled at Anna's concept of what is considered acceptable chocolate but he holds a soft spot for her because of Claire. 
The book alternates between Claire's teenage visit to Paris and Anna's current one. This is my idea of a perfect "chick-lit" meets "foodie fiction" read!

** I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review **