Sunday, July 31, 2011

July Author in the Spotlight Wrap-Up and Giveaway

July Author in the Spotlight Wrap-Up and Giveaway

Ghellow Road Giveaway Ends Today at Midnight!

July - Author in the Spotlight Wrap-Up.
July is coming to an end.  I would like to highlight Hometown Track Minnesota Author in the Spotlight, T.H. Waters.
Today is the last day to enter the contest to win a personalized copy of Ghellow Road.  The contest ends at midnight tonight.  The contest is open to people living in the U.S. that are current Booksnob followers.  Good Luck and as always thanks for following Booksnob!

Click here to enter:  Ghellow Road Contest

Please check out my book review of Ghellow Road.  This memoir is amazing and reads like a novel.  I read it at the beach and never even went in the water as I was glued to the book.

Ghellow Road Book Review

Check out the Author Interview with T.H. Waters.  She lived through a hard childhood and emerged a strong and admirable women.  I am so glad I was able to interview her.  The interview provides much needed insight to the her book Ghellow Road.

T.H. Waters Author Interview

T.H. Waters wrote an interesting and informative guest post about her childhood, growing up with two mentally ill parents. 

T.H. Waters Guest Post

I would like to personally thank T.H. Waters for her uplifting e-mails and her positive outlook.  She is truly an inspiration and I am so glad we got to meet over the web and I would like to encourage you to read and support this great author.  She will not disappoint you.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Girl in the Garden Contest

The Girl in the Garden Contest.

The publisher is giving away one copy of The Girl in the Garden by Kamala Nair to one lucky Booksnob follower who lives in the U.S. or Canada.

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

The redemptive journey of a young woman unsure of her engagement, who revisits in memory the events of one scorching childhood summer when her beautiful yet troubled mother spirits her away from her home to an Indian village untouched by time, where she discovers in the jungle behind her ancestral house a spellbinding garden that harbors a terrifying secret.

Here is my review:  The Girl in the Garden Review 

Fill out the form below.
Must be a resident of U.S./Canada
Contest ends 8/12
I would love it if you left a comment.

Good luck!!!

The Girl in the Garden by Kamala Nair

The Girl in the Garden by Kamala Nair

The Girl in the Garden is a unique story that is narrated by a 11 year old girl named Rakhee.   Rakhee's parents are from India but met, married and are raising Rakhee in Minnesota.   Mysteriously, a letter arrives in the mail from India and thus begins a life changing journey for Rakhee and her family.

Rakhee and her Amma (mom) make a trip for the summer to India where her mother grew up.  They arrive at the ancestral house called Ashoka named after the Ashoka tree whose beautiful red flowers grace the cover of the book. The Ashoka flower is a symbol of love to the Hindu and it is believed that Buddha was born under a Ashoka tree, so these trees are worshiped by Buddhists.    There Rakhee meets her extended family and spends her summer unraveling family secrets.

This book is a trip through Indian culture.  The famous poet Mirabai is quoted and remembered in this novel frequently.  In fact Rakhee throws a special volume of her poems down the well near the Ashoka tree.  Look up some of her poems, they are beautiful.  Mirabai is pictured below.

There are many Hindu deity references and visits to the temple.  As well as the epic of Ramayana which includes the timeless story Sita and Rama.  This is a beautiful tragic love story that parallels the story in The Girl in the Garden.  In fact Rakhee and her cousins act out this play for her 11th birthday and it as if they are reincarnating the famous story.

This book is full of secrets, witches and ghosts and as Rahkee figures out the truth for herself, she changes the course of everyone's life in the Ashoka ancestral home. 

Nair is an intelligent, emerging author that deserves your full attention.

Winner of High Summer Readathon Challenge

Winner of High Summer Readathon Challenge

The winner of the Travel challenge for the High Summer Readathon sponsored by the True Book Addict is ......

Melissa from Must Read Faster!!

Congrats Melissa, I hope you enjoyed your visit to New Orleans in your book and will enjoy your $10 amazon gift card.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sugar Changed the World by Aronson and Budhos

Sugar Changed the World.  A Story of Magic, Spice, Slavery, Freedom and Science by Marc Aronson and Marina Budhos

Singing....Sugar, Sugar, Honey, Honey, you are my candy and you got me wanting you.  Who doesn't love sugar?  Sugar Cane changed the world.  Before Sugar can we had Honey as a sweetener and it was hard and dangerous to find.  Sugar changed the way the world's food tasted, drove the Atlantic slave trade and it created a need for sweetness that lasts until this day. 

Sugar Cane can be traced to the island of New Guinea to about 8000 B.C.  It then made its way, through cultural diffusion, to Asia, where it is found years later, by Alexander the Great (I knew there was a reason I loved him) in modern day Pakistan.  Sugar Cane then spread throughout the Mediterranean Muslim world ending The Age of Honey.

Sugar Plantations dominated The Americas after Columbus and for the plantations to be successful they needed labor, lots of "FREE" labor.  Brazil became the center of the sugar market and where the majority of African slaves were imported until 1888.  Sugar, known as White Gold was a killer and those slaves forced to work the plantations toiled from morning till night and died young.  96% of slaves were brought from Africa to work in South America and the Caribbean to work on Sugar Plantations not tobacco or cotton plantations as originally thought.

This book is so valuable to me as a history teacher.  I am currently reading Roots by Alex Haley and War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy and this book, Sugar Changed the World, connected to both of these books.  That is because sugar was the major force in the market at the time these literary tomes intersect.  An absolutely powerful, informative and usable book in the classroom or for anyone who wants to learn about the World's important history and how it affect us today.   Sugar Changed the World has excellent pictures, maps, songs and resources to help teachers and readers make connections. 

I have never tasted sugar straight from the cane so now I am going to add this goal to my bucket list.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

T.H. Waters Author Interview with a contest

Hey Everyone,
I would like to introduce you to the author of Ghellow Road, T.H. Waters.  She is July's hometown track Minnesota author in the spotlight.  This is a very insightful interview with a very strong woman.  Read On!

1.  Please tell us a little bit about yourself?

I was born and raised in Minnesota.  I love it here.  Whenever I travel, I get homesick.  I live in Minneapolis with my significant other and two fur-balls – love all three of them to pieces.  Which one is my favorite?  Depends on the day.  Though far from perfect, I try to make the world a better place in my own way.  I volunteer with many animal rescue organizations and have also been a Girl Scout leader.  I am addicted to all forms of art… music, movies, books, architecture, paintings & drawings, and or course, nature itself, which I consider to be art at its purest.  I love being active and often immerse myself in running, biking and yoga several times a week.  My idols (so far) are: Leonardo da Vinci, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King Jr., Jane Goodall, Doris Day, Jimi Hendrix, Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson, Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter, Dr. Neal Barnard, Wayne Pacelle and all the everyday saints who give to causes greater than themselves.  I believe a hero lives within us all.

2.  What is the inspiration behind your book, Ghellow Road? 

I wanted to challenge myself to step beyond the boundaries of my own skin in an attempt to do something profound.

3.  What does the title "Ghellow Road" mean?

“Ghellow” is my personal twist on the word gelatin, a substance, if transformed into a road, would create one that was unsteady and difficult to travel.

4.  Why did you decide to share your personal story with the public?  Have you run into any family objections or were they very supportive and helpful?

When I first decided to write “Ghellow Road”, I was struggling to come up with a topic & plot.  My significant other encouraged me to write about my own personal experiences… “Write what you know”.  That really resonated with me.

All members of my immediate family have passed away as well as many from my extended family.  Those who remain don’t know that I’ve published “Ghellow Road”.  To be honest, I’m not sure if they would object to my book or not.  Because they haven’t remained in contact with me for many years, inviting them to become part of this chapter in my life felt unnatural to me.

5.  Do you plan to write a second book to continue your story?  I sure want to read what happens next in case you are wondering.
Your encouragement to continue my story is a huge compliment – thank you so much, Laura!  I’m considering writing a sequel but must admit that I’m on a much-needed break. I loved writing my book more than anything else I’ve ever done, but it was emotionally draining.  I’m currently letting my thoughts “brew” in the old think-tank.  Am hoping to have a sequel within the next few years. 

6.  Are you a reader?  What books and authors influence you?

Oh yes… I adore reading.  Some of my favorite books are:  Flowers for Algernon, Catcher in the Rye, Memoirs of a Geisha, Girlfriend in a Coma and Ender’s Game.  I admire any author, or any artist for that matter, who pushes and surpasses boundaries – that is the essence of true art.  To be honest, although there are many brilliant storytellers, none have specifically influenced my writing.  I believe inspiration should come from many sources.  When writing “Ghellow Road”, I strove to be as unique as possible and wouldn’t allow myself to read any books at all, except for mind candy such as Dan Brown’s thrillers, biographies and non-fiction science books (I love science!).  I didn’t want anyone else’s thoughts or style to inadvertently seep into my writing.

7. How were you able to gather the information required for writing your book?  Did you find that your memory plays tricks on you or that other people remember the same event differently?

I filled two writing journals full of memories – hand wrote them all before I ever touched my computer.  I also re-visited many of the places I wrote about and tried to open my mind to nothing but my senses, allowing the past to flood back.  Did my memory play tricks?  Hmmmm…. Really good question.  I haven’t yet compared notes with anyone.  Not a single person in my book knows it exists, not even my childhood best friend.  Perhaps a reader’s poll is in order to see if I should give her a copy of my book or not.

8.  Can you describe what Schizophrenia is?

Oh my goodness, this is such a fascinating question, Laura, and one that I’ve never before put into words.  I believe it to be a state of existence when a person’s mind is held hostage against one’s will, preventing full birth into this world.  In the case of my own mother, she was earthly, to be sure, yet her feet were far from firmly planted.  She belonged to something else, somewhere else.

9.  Do you have any advice for people who have grown up under the stigma of mental illness?

Ahhhh.  Another great question.  For those of us who share this fate, it is difficult to shine at times.  When I was growing up, I was so ashamed of my circumstances.  Now I look back and ask why?.  I know now that what happened wasn’t my fault.  It was never anyone’s fault.  But, the truth of the matter is that a stigma will always be associated with mental illness, whether you’re the person who has been dealt such a devastating blow or just an unfortunate bystander who has to watch your loved one suffer.  In my experience, there will always be those who will hold your past against you, no question, but there will also be plenty of kind & good people who will cheer for your every accomplishment.  The key is in knowing who deserves your allegiance.   

Do you encourage others to write their stories down? Do you have any great suggestions for people who want to do this?

Oh yes – absolutely!  I firmly believe each and every person has words of value to share with us all.  Often times, those among us who seem the most ordinary are the ones who have the most extraordinary insight.

First, honor your inner voice.  You are unique and deserve to be heard.  If you let your writing be influenced by all forms of art and not just that of other authors who’ve come before you, a beautiful butterfly that is yours, and yours alone, will emerge.

Secondly, observation is your greatest ally.  Strive to be the best observer you can be, not only of others and all that surrounds you, but also of yourself. 

11.  In one sentence, tell us why we should read Ghellow Road?

My book is an earnest attempt to make a positive impact on another person’s life.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you, Laura, from the bottom of my heart for all of your amazing support.  I truly don’t know where I’d be as an author if it weren’t for people like you & I am extremely grateful.  Big Hugs to you !!  Tera aka T.H. Waters

Thanks Tera!!!!

If you would like to win a copy of Water,s book Ghellow Road please click the link:
Ghellow Road Contest

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Ghellow Road by T.H. Waters Review and Contest

Ghellow Road.  A Literary Diary of a Young Girl's Journey by T.H. Waters

Mental illness affects everyone in comes in contact with.  Ghellow Road is a literary diary of a young girl affected by mental illness.  She grows up in a household with parents who are battling illnesses beyond their control.  Theresa and her brother wade through their childhood and cross their fingers that they will come through unscathed.

Theresa and her brother were loved.  Their father was an amazing man, a teacher who loved to share his knowledge with his kids.  Their mother was beautiful and vibrant.  Something changed and in the 1970's you didn't talk about it.  Invisible forces, unforeseen by the children take hold and slowly change their world into chaos.

Ghellow Road is a page turner.  I read it in two days and I couldn't wait to find out what happened.  I was silently weeping for this young girl.  I am sincerely hoping Waters, pens a second book to continue her amazing journey through the tangled web of life.  Ghellow Road reminded me of The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls, only different and better. 

I really related to Theresa's story as my childhood wasn't ideal and normal either.  I suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of my experiences.  I think many of us have gone through negative experiences that make us stronger and wiser and yet we don't talk about them.  Waters doesn't sugar coat her story about mental illness and how it almost destroyed her life.  I think it is time to talk and air our experiences good and bad.  They are who we are and we are great, unique, amazing individuals.  So shout it out loud and take a walk down Ghellow Road!

If you would like to win a copy of this book click the link here:  Ghellow Road Contest

Monday, July 25, 2011

High Summer Read-A-Thon Challenge

High Summer Read-A-Thon Challenge!

Here is your challenge:  Time Travel / World Travel

Since it is summer and we all like to take vacations and travel, at least in our minds, I thought you could share where you are traveling with one of your books in this challenge.  This could be an actual place located somewhere in the world or a place in time (the past or future).

Task:  Find pictures of actual places/locations in your book or find images that relate to the time period or theme you are reading about and put in your blog post.   Then describe the significance of the images you are using so we can understand it and include a picture of your book cover, in case we might want to read it later. Make sure to include the blog post URL in Mr. Linky below.  I can't wait to see where you all are traveling this summer in your books!

The prize for the winner:  Ten dollar Amazon Electronic Gift Card.  (international can choose a 10.00 book from The Book Depository)
Rules:  This challenge ends Thursday night at midnight. 
Only people participating in True Book Addicts High Summer Read-A-Thon can participate.
Be sure to put your URL in the Mr. Linky to qualify.
I will notify the winner in a comment on their challenge post and put it on my blog.

Roots by Alex Haley. Week #6 of the summer Read-A-Long

Roots by Alex Haley.
Read-A-Long Week #6

Pages Read:  501 - 601
Chapters Read: 78 - 89

Note:  I am reading ROOTS in honor of my former student Quincy Blue who was recently found murdered, his body burned beyond recognition, in Saint Paul, Minnesota. 

This one hundred pages marks a major turning point in the book.  First Kunta gets really sick with a fever and they are very worried he is going to die.  Missy Anne reads to him from the Bible and with great doctoring he luckily recovers.  Kizzy and Noah start falling for each other and Kunta was praying for them, hoping they would make a great match.  But Noah decides he wants to run North and be free and then try and earn enough money to buy Kizzy.  It was a great dream that failed when Noah got caught on the run.  Kizzy wrote his forged traveling pass and she is pulled out of her parents arms and taken away by the Sheriff to be sold.  Kunta and Bell suffer a fate worse than death as their daughter is dragged off never to be seen again.  Kizzy is 16 years old and Kunta is 55.

Kizzy gets sold to a po'white cracker master that cockfights to win his money.  There is only 5 slaves on the land and on the first night Kizzy is raped by Massa Lea and impregnated.  She gives birth to Kunta's grandson and the Master names him George.  Kizzy teaches George all about his African grandfather, Kunta.  George grows up and begins to be apprenticed to Uncle Mingo, a slave that cares for the Massa's fighting roosters. He moves away from his mammy Kizzy and learns the Massa is his pappy.   The chapter ends with George attending his first cockfight with Massa Lea and Uncle Mingo.  It is an eye opening experience for George.

The year is about 1818
Kunta is 68
Kizzy is 29
George is about 12, maybe 13.
Location:  Kizzy and George are in North Carolina
Kunta and Bell are probably still in Virginia.

When Kizzy was taken from Kunta the story continues to follow Kizzy and the reader is left grieving for Kunta as it appears we will never be reading about him again.  I really miss Kunta and Bell.  Since George has left home the story appears to be following him and we only learn a little bit about Kizzy from time to time when George visits.  It is interesting how Haley moves from one generation to the next, leaving us to wonder what happens to those we left behind. 

These are the bloggers/readers participating in the Read-A-Long.  Please visit them and comment.  Also if you are participating and want to be included on this list, please comment and I will add a link to your blog.
Thanks everyone for participating.

1.  Bre from Booksnob Wannabe
2.  Sherrie from Just Books
3.  Laurie from Whatsheread

Saturday, July 23, 2011

War and Peace Summer Readalong Week #3

War and Peace Summer Readalong Week #3

War and Peace By Leo Tolstoy
Summer Read-A-Long sponsored by Laurie at What She Read blog.

 Week #3
Pages read:  201-294
Chapters read:  1-19
Volume 1, Part Three read.

Last week's reading was really hard for me to get into, with tons of battle tactics that were hard to understand, this week I found the reading much more enjoyable as Tolstoy ties together, St. Petersberg society with the soldiers in the war.

In Volume One, Part One we are introduced to a multitude of characters in Russian society, which include Counts, Princes and Princesses and many more rich society folk.

In Volume One, Part Two, Tolstoy takes some of the male characters from Part One and sends them to war in a campaign against Napoleon and the French in Austria.

In Volume One, Part Three,  I felt a turning point in my reading as I couldn't wait to find out what happens next.  Pierre inherited a title and a fortune when his father died and now everyone is vying for Pierre's money and attention.  He was basically tricked into marrying Helene, Prince Vassily's daughter.  Vaguely reminds me of the story of the Greeks Paris and Helen and the war they started.  Could this be a hint from Tolstoy of a tragedy in Russia, that is to come?

Then Prince Vassily, sly dog that he is, tries to marry off his last son, Anatole, to Prince Bolkonsky's daughter Marya (who is very ugly and plain).  She is very religious and wants to leave her demanding father, but she finds Anatole in the arms of her lady servant and declines his marriage proposal.  Her father is overjoyed.  Marya vows to help Mlle Bourienne, her lady friend, marry Anatole.  This should prove to be interesting.  Prince Andrei, Marya's brother is in the war at this time and he left his pregnant wife in the care of his father and sister.

Nicolas Rostov is injured in Part two but sends a letter to his family in Part Three causing great stress and excitement back home with his secret love Sonya and his sister Natasha.  Natasha has a secret love for Pierre.  The Rostov's write a letter back sending money for his promotion.  The letter leads the reader back into the war.

Nicolas Rostov receives his letter and money and then meets Prince Andrei Bolkonsky.  The Council of War is planning a major battle offensive against the French.  The Emperor of France is there, The Grand Duke of Austria is there and The Sovereign of Russia is there.  The Battle of Austerlitz becomes known as The Battle of the Three Emperors and is fought on December 2nd, 1805.  I loved learning about this battle.  It is hailed a tactical masterpiece and one of Napoleon's greatest victories.  During this battle, Prince Andrei is wounded and discovered by Napoleon when he observes the grounds of his victory.  Andrei receives medical care, but is not expected to live.   Rostov is riding on his horse observing with great sadness, the loss of life and the depressed state of his Sovereign leader, Alexander. 

I also discovered that Tolstoy has included a character in his book named Titus.  Titus is an old house serf and the soldier men joke, Titus, Don't bite us!  This is quite funny to me, because my dog is named Titus!  Here is his picture.  He is so darn cute!

Next week I am reading Volume Two, Part One! 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Girl Named Mister by Nikki Grimes

A Girl Named Mister by Nikki Grimes

A novel in verse
about a girl named Mister
who has made promises
to God
to wait.

She meets a guy
who takes her breath away
and pressures her
to do the wrong thing.

She regrets her decision
and tries to talk to him.
He dismisses her
as a tease
and walks away.
She tries not to cry.

Mary, mother of all,
is pregnant with Jesus
she is a teenager
and she is scared.

Mister reads Mary's story
relates to her,
hugs her belly
as it grows.

Mister is
feels quilty, and
comforted by Mary.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Zlata's Diary by Zlata Filipovic

Zlata's Diary.  A Child's Life in Sarajevo by Zlata Filipovic

Zlata is a 10 year old girl when the war in Yugoslavia breaks out.  She starts her diary on the first day of 5th grade in 1991when war is just a topic on the news that is nowhere near her home.  In March, 1992, the ethnic conflict starts making headlines and Zlata records it from her child like perspective. 

In 1992, the city of Sarajevo is under siege and Zlata is stuck in the middle.  All of her friends escape to other safer locales and Zlata is left alone with her parents unable to escape for two years.  Her pets are out of food, there is no school, indefinitely, and she can't play outside because of snipers and the war is ruining Zlata's childhood. 

The unique aspect of this book is that it is written by a child in the middle of a war.  It is an true and honest perspective from a young girl who is unsure why these people can't get along and why would they want to hurt her friends and family.  She talks a lot about birthday parties because it was a reason to be happy and celebrate when so much of their time was meant for survival.

Zlata's Diary contains some of her artwork, pictures of her family and of Sarajevo.  It details how her diary named Mimmy came to be published and how she was able to exit her country to safety.

Yugoslavia no longer exists today and has been broken into much smaller ethnic countries.  I had a pen pal from Yugoslavia in the late 1980's and we wrote up to the year of 1992.  When the war started I never got another letter from her again.  I tried looking for her on the internet after the war ended and it appears my pen pal friend disappeared from this world.  I hope where ever she is, she is happy.

Zlata's Diary made me realize how fragile our perfect world is and that one day, war could be in our homeland.  Then I think about all the countries at war today, places like Libya and Yemen and I wonder how their children are doing.  Zlata's Diary is as relevant today as it was when it was written in 1992.  God bless the children.

BlogFest 2011 Winner!

BlogFest 2011 Winner!

Welcome to all my New Followers and  Recent Visitors.  Thanks for stopping by and entering the BlogFest contest.  I hope you stick around awhile, read something you like on my blog and come back often.

The BlogFest contest had 376 entries and the winner is.... Uniflame!
Uniflame gets to pick a book for under 15.00 at The Book Depository.

She has been e-mailed and I am waiting to hear back from her.  If I don't hear back, I will pick a new winner.

Thanks again everyone and have a great summer!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Roots by Alex Haley. Week #5 of the summer Read-A-Long

Roots by Alex Haley.
Read-A-Long Week #5

Pages Read:  402-500
Chapters Read: 64-77

Note:  I am reading ROOTS in honor of my former student Quincy Blue who was recently found murdered, his body burned beyond recognition, in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

OMG, where has the summer gone?  I am already halfway through this 900 page edition of Roots and am loving this book.  It is very hard for me to stop reading every week.   For me, the book is highly readable and entertaining and I can't wait to see what happens to Kunta Kinte. 

This week Kunta gets married to Bell.  It is the first time he has ever held or been with a woman and he is almost 40 years old.  Kunta and Bell are from two different worlds, his African and hers Slavery.  Many times they don't understand each other's differences and argue or worse, quit talking to each other.  Their love is unique as they discover and learn about each other.  Bell can read and write and Kunta can write Arabic and speak Mandinka.  Bell has reminded Kunta that he cannot be African anymore and must forget those days but he cannot.

Kunta and Bell have a baby girl.  Kunta names her in the traditional way by whispering her name in her ear and they call her Kizzy.  Kizzy is the apple of Kunte's eye yet it frustrates him that he has no control over her destiny.  He doesn't want her to become a white child's play thing but that is just what she becomes.  Missy Anne is the Massa's niece and she adores Kizzy and as they grow up, much to Kunta's chagrin, they become inseparable. Both parents worry about the fate of their daughter as she grows up in a hostile world.

As Bell reads the newspaper she learns that in Haiti, the sugar cane slaves are treated to horrible atrocities and revolt against there white owners and overseers.  Toussaint L'Ouverture rises up and leads the slaves to fight against the English, declares their Independence and wins it and then he has to fight the French who are vying for control of the sugar market.  The book hasn't talked about this yet but Toussaint will defeat Napoleon in 1804 and become known as the black Napoleon.  Toussaint is Kunta's hero and he eagerly awaits news of Haiti. 

Slaves are revolting in Virginia as well and the whites are scared. 
The year is 1800
Kunta is now 50 years old and his daughter Kizzy is 9 (I think)
Location:  Virginia

These are the bloggers/readers participating in the Read-A-Long.  Please visit them and comment.  Also if you are participating and want to be included on this list, please comment and I will add a link to your blog.
Thanks everyone for participating.

1.  Bre from Booksnob Wannabe
2.  Sherrie from Just Books
3.  Michelle from Truebookaddict
4.  Laurie from Whatsheread

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

I just finished reading the fourth installment of Harry Potter's battles with Voldemort and his adventures at Hogwarts aloud to my children.  We started this book in late October and finished 9 months later in June.  I have to say this is the longest book I have ever read aloud.

Out out all the Potter books, the Goblet of Fire is my favorite so far.  I was unable to figure out the plot as I had done in previous books and so this book was a welcome surprise. 

Reading aloud Potter books and other fun young adult novels to your kids is a great way to spend quality time together.  I give my characters different voices and my kids love it!!  I read Hagrid's character with a southern accent.  I don't have a English accent that is very good so I totally improvise and it is entertaining and my confidence as a reader has soared. 

Our family tradition is to read the book first and then see the movie.  My kids both have dyslexia and if I didn't read aloud some long books, like Harry Potter, they would never read them, ever!  So I read, they listen and we all watch the films as a family and have done so for the past four years.  I am so glad we are sharing this Harry Potter adventure together as they grow up and I hope they will remember it always.

Next up, Harry Potter #5.  We will start in October again and since it is one of longest books in the series we will probably finish in July. 

Until then, I will see you at Hogwarts by the whomping willow.  Don't forget your scarf and a warm glass of butterbeer.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

War and Peace Summer Read-A-Long Week #2

War and Peace By Leo Tolstoy
Summer Read-A-Long sponsored by Laurie at What She Read blog.

 Week #2
Pages read:  112-200
Chapters read:  1-21
Volume 1, Part Two read.

So this hefty 3 pound tome is slowly getting lighter as my hands must be developing new muscles to hold the book up longer.  Although, I must admit reading in the bathtub, my reading spot of choice, is challenging at times.  I am worried it will slip out of my hands and do a back flip with a nose dive into the depths of the tub. So far I am holding on tight but this may become a table/deck only book.

Volume One, Part Two finds us in a embroiled in a tough military campaign in Austria.  The Russians are there to back up the Austrians, who are failing miserably.  The Russians and Austrians are fighting Napoleon's French army, who is actually winning and yet the Russians are able to survive one decisive battle.  Alexander I is conferring with the Prussians and hoping they will reinforce their side against the French.  The year is 1805 and it is October.  Most of the armies are bedraggled and ill kept, with shoes in ill repute and winter is coming.  Many foot soldiers walk hundreds of miles and in all weather conditions.  It amazes me.  I cannot imagine myself walking so far and preparing mentally and physically for battle.  They must also prepare for their demise, in case it occurs. 

The two main characters in Part Two are Andrei and Rostov.  Rostov is left wounded, his arm crushed in pain, while he contemplates why he left his loving family to join a war.  Andrei left his pregnant wife and overall seems to be doing well, even though he is shocked by many circumstances of the war, he overall is fairing better than most. 

Volume One, Part Two was a little slow for me.  It took me a really long time to read these pages and my mind and eyes kept drifting away.  I was confused by what was happening on the different sides of the war sometimes and found rereading didn't really help me figure it out.  I did like reading about Rostov and Andrei stories and reading about the war through their eyes. 

Next week Volume One, Part Three.
Until then, parting is such sweet sorrow.

Once Upon a Read-a-Thon Wrap Up

Once Upon a Read-a-Thon Wrap Up

This was a family event and while I don't think any of us accomplished all of our read-a-thon goals, we did enjoy our time reading on the deck together with the dog.  I love reading on the patio swing in the summer!

So here is what we accomplished.

Georgia (10):

Read one book called Gruffin, from The Dragons of Wayward Crescent series by Chris D'Lacey.  She also read about 75 pages of Icefire by Chris D'Lacey.  D'Lacey is Georgia's favorite author.

Max (13):

Fell short of his goal of reading an hour a day.  Due to many outside distractions (friends) he read about 40 minutes a day and is now on page 104 in Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life by Wendy Mass.

Me (Booksnob):

The goal was to finish 3 books but I only finished two books.  I read and finished Sugar Changed the World and The Latte Rebellion.  I also read about 20 pages of Volume One, Part Two in War and Peace.  I participated in one reading challenge and also wrote a read-a-thon update and did a few twitter updates as well. 

All in all it was fun and I can't wait to do it again next summer.

Friday, July 15, 2011

BLOGFEST 2011 !!!!!!!!

BLOGFEST 2011 has begun!!!!!

Welcome to Booksnob.  Please look around and feel free to enter the other two contests in my sidebar. 

I am giving away a 15.00 dollar gift card to Amazon or a book of your choice totaling less than 15.00 sent to you from The Book Depository.

Please fill out the form below.
Must be a Booksnob follower.
I would love it if you left a comment.
Contest ends on midnight July 17th.
Good luck and have fun.

After you have filled out the form continue on to the next five blogs on the list:
Braintasia Books
Budget Savvy Diva
Cate Masters
Chasing Dreams

To find the master list of blogs participating please visit Cinnamon at A Journey of Books
There is also a tracking site where you can track what blogs you visited and the contests you've entered and it earns you an entry to a huge giveaway from a journey of books.  Visit this link to track your blogs:
Good Luck Everyone and have fun hopping from blog to blog this weekend!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

T.H. Waters Guest Post

T.H.Waters Guest Post

I would like to welcome T. H. Waters, as the Hometown Track Minnesota Author in the Spotlight.  Ms. Waters has graciously written a heartfelt guest post that spotlights mental illness.  Read on.

A kid like me…

I was born a long time ago, eons actually, or so it seems.  My upbringing was unusual, odd at best, and I longed for the conventional lifestyle that all my friends enjoyed.  Unlike many other writers, I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up.  All I knew was that I wanted something different, far different, polar opposite different from the murky life I’d lived until the day I turned 18 and got ready to shove off for college.
I loved my parents… dearly.  They both were young, smart and full of freshness when they married, poised to capture the American dream.  Two people who were worthy of admiration for their unwavering determination.  But as one life entwined itself around the other and the children came, bills mounted, jobs became harder to find, they were consumed by an obstacle that was simply insurmountable, and we eventually imploded, all four of us, Mom, Daddy, my brother and I, failing to land firmly on our feet.  After Daddy died when I was ten years old, we moved to a small town in northern Minnesota.  I swear that’s what saved my life.  I was lucky that we knew so many gentle & caring people there who overlooked the untidiness of my wilting family and showed us the true meaning of “community”.

My mother, broken from years of mental illness and loads of prescription medications, died five years ago.  It was only then that I stopped viewing her as a woman who could never provide the only thing I’d ever wanted from her… an unyielding bond between the two of us.  It was only then that I started to wonder what her young dreams had been as a girl and all that she had lost, this extremely bright, delicate creature who was robbed by an inexplicable foe of all that life could have offered her, should have offered her.  I wish I could have known the soothing of her voice as she read me to sleep or felt the strength of her support during my many failed attempts to properly examine my world.  But my mother was never capable of such pivotal parental duties.  She was far too consumed with treading the tumultuous waters of her own existence.  It was never anyone’s fault; it was simply something that just happened.  I know that now. 

My book, Ghellow Road, was an extremely ambitious project for me.  I had never put as much effort into anything else as I did with this endeavor, my blood, sweat, tears… you name it.  Why did I ever write it?  One reason -- I had so much I wanted to say.  I hope that each and every person who reads it will be touched in one way or another.  But if you glean only one tidbit, one shining morsel, I would ask it to be this:  My tale is larger than just one child.  It belongs to the thousands of kids out there who are just like me, past, present… and future.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Laura from the bottom of my heart.  You’ve been so gracious & I’m truly grateful for all of your support.

Tera aka T.H. Waters

 I agree Tera, that millions of people are affected by mental illness.  Thanks Tera for such a touching guest post!!!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Once Upon a Read-a-Thon Update

Once Upon a Read-a-Thon Update

I thought Monday went really well.  I read and finished Sugar Changed the World by Marc Aronson and Marina Budhos.  I will review this book next week.

I participated in one challenge at IB Book Blogging.

I began reading The Latte Rebellion by Sarah Jamila Stevenson

Tuesday was a busy day for me.  I spent several hours reading The Latte Rebellion but did not finish.

No challenges today.

I scheduled a hip hop workout with a friend in the evening and had big plans to finish the book when I got home however, I got a massive migraine and so I wasn't able to read because I was so sick.  Ugh, my head hurt so bad that I was extremely dizzy, pale, shaky and nauseous.

The plans for today include finishing The Latte Rebellion.  I have about 80 pages left.
Then I plan to check out the challenges to see if I like any and maybe participate in one.
I plan to read Volume One, Part Two of War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy today and skip the last book I had wanted to read, They Call Themselves the K.K.K. by Bartoletti and save it for another day.