Thursday, May 31, 2012

Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland

Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland

Louis Comfort Tiffany is a man whose name has gone down in history for his beautiful, artistic Tiffany lamps and stained glass windows.  Clara Driscoll works for Mr. Tiffany as a designer at the head of his women's department beginning in 1892.  When Clara sees the infinite beauty in the stained glass windows she creates for the World's Fair in Chicago, she envisions a lamp shade of leaded glass with the natural world shining through. Clara becomes the creator and designer behind the elegant Tiffany lamps and is never publicly acknowledged.

Clara's first design is the butterfly lamp and it is exquisite.  She makes a wage of 35 dollars a week, is praised for her artistry and yet she is excluded from the union because she is a woman.  She works amid sexism, as Mr. Tiffany refuses to hire a woman who is married and so Clara and her girls must decide between being a working woman or a married woman.  The women's department at Tiffany's Studio continues to grow but the men in the window department think they are taking their livelihood and strike, trying to force the women out of their jobs. 

Vreeland has written a beautiful, heartfelt story that shines and sparkles like colored glass.  Her characters are multifaceted and unique, just like the Tiffany lamps that Clara creates.  I own a dragonfly Tiffany lamp and I don't think I will look at it in quite the same way.  Several times, I got up and studied my lamp and read near it, thinking about Clara and her girls working in the studio and fighting for their right to earn a wage.  An illustrated edition of Clara and Mr. Tiffany would be appreciated as the reader could gain much knowledge from viewing the actual creation of the lamps.

Vreeland has a gift for capturing the details of an era and the creativity of women whom history has hidden under the shadows of men.  Vreeland is a gifted storyteller who inspires and teaches her readers to love art and value women's history and our hard fought human rights.  The right to work, the right to vote, the right to create beautiful art and the right to be remembered in history.

"We have a motto for tomorrow, and it's the same motto as Susan B. Anthony's motto." "The true republic-men, their rights and nothing more; women, their rights and nothing less.'" Pg. 319

May Author in the Spotlight Wrap-up + Giveaway

May Author in the Spotlight Wrap-up + Giveaway

Delicate Armor Giveaway Ends tonight at midnight!

It is the end of May already.  I would like to send my congratulations to the graduates of 2012.   I wish you joy, love and happiness in your life.  I will miss your presence in the hallways and in my classroom.  Go forth and be a positive force in the world.

What a beautiful month May has been and so it is time for me to wrap-up the month of May by highlighting Minnesota author, Connie Claire Szarke.

Today is the last day to enter the contest to win a copy of Delicate Armor.  The contest ends at midnight tonight.  The contest is open Internationally.  Good Luck and as always thanks for following Booksnob!
Click Here to Enter:  Delicate Armor Contest

 Please check out my book review of Delicate Armor.  Szarke has created memorable characters, a realistic family drama and a honest look at small town America in the 1950's. Delicate Armor is a wonderful story about a Midwestern family amid a family feud.  It will inspire to take your child fishing and enjoy the great outdoors.

Delicate Armor Book Review

Be sure to check out the author interview with Connie Claire Szarke as she provides insight into the back story of Delicate Armor.  Connie provides us with personal details of her life and with the authors she loves to read.  Connie is personable and absolutely charming.  You will love it.

Connie Claire Szarke Author Interview

You need to read Connie's guest post.  I absolutely loved it.  It is short and sweet and talks about her love for characters.

Connie Claire Szarke Guest Post

 As May comes to a close I would like to thank Connie for being the May Minnesota Author in the Spotlight here on Booksnob.  She is a great writer and a former teacher of 30 years and she really inspires me to get creative and to continue writing my own book.  I am seriously looking forward to reading her next book.  Please visit Connie at her website at:

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Reading Challenge Update for May

Reading Challenge Update

I am taking part in four reading challenges this year and am updating my progress monthly.  So here is how I am doing.

1.  Where Are You Reading?
I read and reviewed 6 books this month.  So far I have traveled to four continents, fifteen states and twelve countries.  I can't wait to see where my reading adventures take me next.

Check out my map on Google Maps.
View Where are you reading challenge 2012 in a larger map

Here are my books, review links and locations for May:

1. This Burns My Heart by Samuel Park.  Takes place in post war South Korea.  An excellent story that contemplates the questions of life.

2.  Impulse by Ellen Hopkins.  Takes place in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Hopkins writes fast paced novels in verse for young adults. 

3. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  Takes place in a fictional town in Alabama in the 1930's.

4.  Last Night I Dreamed of Peace by Dang Thuy Tram.  Takes place in Vietnam.  It is a diary of a doctor on the side of the Viet Cong.

5.  The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton.  Takes place in Australia and England.  I chose England because I felt most of the story took place there.

6. Delicate Armor by Connie Claire Szarke.  Takes place in Minnesota.  Since I have already read from Minnesota, this book is not included on my map.

The Pulitzer Prize Challenge.  So far I have read 3 books and my goal is to read 12.  I am currently one book behind.

January- Tinkers by Paul Harding
February- March by Geraldine Brooks
March- A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
April-To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Currently I am a month behind.  I hope to play catch up this summer.

What's in a Name 5 Challenge
I have 2 books out of the 6 required.  Each book must have something in the title which corresponds to the category.  

1.  Something you'd carry in your pocket, purse, or backpack-  Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

2.  Something you'd see in the sky- Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool.   I clearly need to start reading with this theme in mind.

World War 1 Challenge-  I am trying to read at 3 books that take place during World War 1.  So far I have read 1 book.  1 down, 2 to go.

1.  Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool

There you have it.  I love being a nerd and a book snob!  I hope you challenge yourself this year and read widely.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Delicate Armor by Connie Claire Szarke

Delicate Armor by Connie Claire Szarke

Delicate Armor is a story reminiscent of simpler times, times spent at the lake, fishing, a meandering walk down Main street where everyone knows your name.   Delicate Armor takes place in a small town in Minnesota near Lake Shetek starting in the 1950's.  Callie Lindstrom is a spunky, tom boyish girl with a tendency toward pushing the limits.  She has a very special relationship with her dad, who teaches her many things including his love of the great outdoors and how to catch and clean fish.  Delicate Armor is a story of a girl growing up amid a family feud that lasts for a generation while she struggles to take her place in the world of men.

The second half of the book revisits Callie all grown up and her dad's struggle to reunite with his brother whom he hasn't spoken to in many years.  Delicate Armor is about changes, in the world, the environment, in your hometown and in your family.  Changes are what happens every day while you are busy looking the other way and how you deal with them says a lot about your character. 

Szarke has created memorable characters, a realistic family drama and a honest look at small town America in the 1950's.  The Lindstrom family is a family who believes in integrity and respect.  The characters of Callie and Will are complex and moving.  While reading Delicate Armor, I was able to draw on my own experiences with my father and grandfather and felt in many ways, I was reading part of my own story through Callie's narration.  I, like Callie, was an excellent fisherman who cleaned her own fish (Grandpa's rules), caught a snapping turtle, went bullhead fishing and duck hunting. I even look like the girl on the cover of the book.  I guess there is a reason certain books find us and we find ourselves within their pages.  This is the experience that makes reading worthwhile and keeps me entranced within the pages of a good book.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Vote: What should I read next?

Vote:  What Pulitzer Prize Book Should I Read Next?

Hi Everyone, I am taking a survey on which Pulitzer Prize winning book I should read in the month of June.  I was hoping you could help out.  As you know I am hosting The Pulitzer Prize challenge and am hoping to read 12 books off the list, one for every month of the year.   I have a huge list of books I need to read and I thought would be fun to have some reader(audience) participation.  So here are the choices in no particular order.

1.  The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (won in 1939)

 2.  A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley (won in 1992)

 3.  Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout (won in 2009)

 4.  The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields (won in 1995)

You can vote by leaving a comment or by clicking on a book, in the survey, at the top left corner, in my sidebar.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Poem in My Post: The Young Dead Soldiers Do Not Speak

Poem in My Post:  The Young Dead Soldiers Do Not Speak by Archibald MacLeish

In honor of Memorial Day, I have chosen this poem to remember the soldiers who fought and gave their life for my freedom and happiness.  This poem is also in honor of my grandfather who fought in World War II, my stepfather who fought in Vietnam, my father who served in the National Guard for 30 years and to all those soldiers I do not know.  I want you to know that I appreciate your sacrifice and I will remember you.  Grandpa, I will be visiting you in my heart and at the cemetery and I will light a candle in your honor.

The Young Dead Soldiers Do Not Speak

The young dead soldiers do not speak.
Nevertheless, they are heard in the still houses:
who has not heard them?
They have a silence that speaks for them at night
and when the clock counts.
They say: We were young. We have died.
Remember us.
They say: We have done what we could
but until it is finished it is not done.
They say: We have given our lives but until it is finished
no one can know what our lives gave.
They say: Our deaths are not ours: they are yours,
they will mean what you make them.
They say: Whether our lives and our deaths were for
peace and a new hope or for nothing we cannot say,
it is you who must say this.
We leave you our deaths. Give them their meaning.
We were young, they say. We have died; remember us.

Archibald MacLeish

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

Nell's life has been a complete lie until now and she has no idea who she is.  On what she thinks is her 21st birthday, her father, the man who Nell thought was her father, told her the truth about her life.  He told Nell that she arrived in Australia, abandoned on a ship with a little suitcase that contained a dress and a beautifully illustrated book of fairy tales. He estimates that she was about four years old, in the year 1913.  

Telling no one about the family secret, Nell continues to live her life focused on the past and sets off on a quest to find out who she truly is.  Unfortunately, she doesn't find the answers to her life's questions but what she does find is a cottage in England with a forgotten garden on the Cornish coast.

Nell passes away in 2005 and her granddaughter Cassandra inherits her assets, including a cottage in England and a family secret she knows nothing about.  Cassandra's destiny is to search for her grandmother's history, put together the puzzle pieces of the past and unlock the family secrets.

The Forgotten Garden is a sweeping mystery with a fairy tale backdrop.  The book travels between two continents and through many generations of woman in the same family.  It is beautifully told and imaginative as the stories intertwine and unravel the past.  The Forgotten Garden is an ode to fairy tales.  The book contains a wicked woman (lets just call her a witch), a beautiful princess, secrets, foggy nights, murder, crazy carriage rides, a mysterious man, a ghost ship, pirates, a maze, a locked garden hidden behind a door and so much more. The Forgotten Garden is a place to lose yourself, smell the roses and try to solve life's mysteries.

Kate Morton wove a mysterious tale that will make readers beg for more.  Morton is able to lead the reader where she wants and thus remains an author in control of her story. I was able to figure out the mystery in The Forgotten Garden early on but Morton successfully led me off track.  Morton neatly ties up all the loose ends in the story and as you sit back and digest the book you realize, everything is connected. 

The Forgotten Garden is a perfect summer book, it has the power to take you to interesting places in your imagination.   What is your perfect summer book? 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Armchair BEA participant

Armchair BEA Participant

I am happy to report that I am participating in the Armchair BEA event.  I am sad that I never get to attend the actual BEA conference in New York city but as a teacher, the timing is inopportune.  My last day of work for the summer if June 6th and of course BEA runs from June 4th to the 7th.  I entered the Goodreads contest and never did hear who won the trip for any of the categories but whoever they are I hope they have fun.  Maybe next year BEA will be the week school is out and more teachers would be able to participate, including me.

What is Armchair BEA?
It is a book blogging event where book bloggers can participate in BEA via the web.  This is my 2nd year participating and last year was so much fun, I am back for more.  If you are interested in signing up please go to:
This is what the Armchair BEA week long event entails.

Monday, June 4th: Introductions First!

Tuesday, June 5th: Giveaways Everywhere!

Wednesday, June 6th: Networking ... In Real Life?!

Thursday, June 7th: Beyond the Blog

Friday, June 8th: The Future of Book Blogging

Monday, May 21, 2012

Connie Claire Szarke Guest Post + Giveaway

Connie Claire Szarke Guest Post + Giveaway

Hey Everyone,
May's Minnesota Author in the Spotlight, Connie Claire Szarke is here on Booksnob with a short guest post and a giveaway.  Connie is a former teacher, who taught French for 30 years in a Minnesota high school. Please welcome Connie everyone!

Thank you, Laura, for featuring Delicate Armor on your blog site for the month of May.  Booksnob is smart, attractive, well-designed, and offers much by way of literary connections.

It has been tremendously rewarding for me to see this novel take on a life of its own and venture out among readers. Response has been so very positive. At times, I feel like a parent holding her breath, then feeling proud of my characters, happy to see how well they are doing. When it was time for me to let them go, they just skipped out the door, waved big, and called out, “We’re on our way! Love you!”

Thank goodness, several of them have come back for a visit so I can include them in my second book, A Stone for Amer.

Please visit Connie’s website:

Thanks for the compliments Connie!
If you would like to win a copy of Delicate Armor by Connie Claire Szarke please click the provided link.


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Last Night I Dreamed of Peace. The Diary of Dang Thuy Tram

Last Night I Dreamed of Peace.  The Diary of Dang Thuy Tram

Dang Thuy Tram was a doctor who lived and worked in Vietnam during the war.  She left her family, became a member of the communist party and worked to heal members of the Vietcong army.  During the Vietnam war Thuy kept a diary and wrote down her thoughts, her emotions and the daily tribulations of living and working during a war.  She relates some of the history of Vietnam, the conflict with the French and her wish for peace and freedom.  Only one diary out of three survives.

Dr. Tram is shot and killed by the Americans.  All of the deceased person's effects are ordered to be destroyed but one American soldier recognizes the dairy as important and keeps it.   He takes it home after the war and keeps it safe for 35 years.  The soldier returns to the diary to Dr. Tram's mother in Vietnam and she has it published where it becomes an instant bestseller.

Throughout the memoir there is death and destruction.  Dr Tram faces death daily as people she loves are shot and captured and her patients die of incurable wounds.  Her depression is evident as she misses her family and her high school sweetheart.  Life happens during war and Thuy shows how she survives everyday when bombs are dropping around her.

I read this book aloud to my 4th hour Humanities class and most of them hated it.  I tried to persevere hoping that they would learn something about the horrors of war and that the book would improve but it did not.   Thuy constantly talkes about men and love interests and because she calls them all young brother or older brother it leaves the reader confused about who is who.  Also Dr. Tram continually refers to herself in 3rd person which left the class wondering why.  I was really disappointed in the book.  I felt it needed something more, maybe some cultural references that helped the reader understand Vietnam better.  There are tons of footnotes throughout the book that while they did explain some of the history, mostly deterred from the memoir and left the reader more confused.  I would definitely say that this is a book where the meaning and importance of the book has become lost in translation.

Friday, May 18, 2012

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel about growing up in Maycomb, Alabama in 1933.  Scout and Jem adore their father, Atticus, who is a lawyer.  Their mother has died and Calpurnia is their African American housemaid who cares for them most of the time.   They have a friend who visits each summer and the three of them have plans to get their reclusive neighbor Boo Radley out of his house.  Scout is a precocious narrator whose innocence leaps off the page.  Scout is a pants wearing, tree climbing, tough girl much to her aunt's chagrin.

Around 1934, a black man is accused of raping a white girl.  Atticus Finch agrees to defend Tom Robinson in court even though he knows he is going to lose.  This is a hard lesson for Scout and Jem.  People call them names and start fights but Atticus is firm in the belief that you must fight for truth and what you believe in, no matter what.  The trial of Tom Robinson is convincing and like the children, the reader roots for the defendant.  As Scout and Jem lose their innocence and learn the world is not a fair place for all, the reader is reminded of history and injustice.

To Kill a Mockingbird is historical fiction at its finest.  Maycomb, Alabama may be a fictional place but the reality of a southern small town, full of racist attitudes and a social class system that perpetuates a hatred of the lower class, is and was very much alive across America.  Lee has written a book about the loss of innocence children face as they grow up and discover the world is not equal.   To Kill a Mockingbird is at times, funny, poignant, and heart-breaking.  It is truly an American classic.

To Kill a Mockingbird won the Pulitzer Prize in 1961.  It is the only book written and published by Harper Lee.  The book is currently read nationwide in schools.  However, I never read it in school or college.
My son Max brought a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird home and said his English class was reading the book.  I was shocked that he was assigned this book as a 7th grader.  I read To Kill a Mockingbird about 20 years ago and decided it was the perfect time to reread it alongside my son.  Reading this book as a parent gave me a different perspective.  What age did you read To Kill a Mockingbird?  What is the right age or grade to assign To Kill a Mockingbird to students?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Connie Claire Szarke Author Interview + Giveaway

Connie Claire Szarke Author Interview

Connie is the May author in the Spotlight here on Booksnob.  She agreed to answer some questions about her book and I would like to welcome her.  Connie's book Delicate Armor has recently been selected as a finalist in two categories at the Midwest Book Awards!  Yeah!  Connie is a former high school teacher and an avid reader.  Read her interview and find out some insight into her book Delicate Armor and check out her favorite authors!

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself:

I grew up in a small prairie town in Southwestern Minnesota, with lakes, sloughs, woods, and farmland for my playground. I have a special fondness for that area, especially Lake Shetek, meaning ‘pelican’ in the Ojibway language. This region figures into my book and becomes a character in its own right. I think of Dylan Thomas’ lines from his poem, “Fern Hill,” when I recall growing up there: “Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs/About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,/The night above the dingle starry,/Time let me hail and climb/Golden in the heydays of his eyes,/And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns/And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves/Trail with daisies and barley/Down the rivers of the windfall light…green and golden…famous among the barns.” Often, on a summer’s day, we children sat under Hottie Holenbeck’s mulberry tree, eating berries and sugar cookies, wearing Hottie’s gifts of ribbons in our hair.
Now I live on a bay west of the Twin Cities, and I have two Shetland Sheepdogs who go rowing and kayaking with me. I was a career teacher of the French language and culture at Chaska Senior High School. Since my retirement, I have been writing fiction and poetry full time. Music is equally important. I’ve played classical piano since I was a girl and have incorporated songs into this novel. My mother loved poetry and sang and hummed tunes as she went about her housework. My father was a terrific story-teller.

2. What inspired you to write Delicate Armor?

Over time, several real life experiences/scenes persistently popped into my mind and wouldn’t let go. The only thing you can do when that happens is to write them down. Those became nuggets for a series of short stories, then linked stories, and finally, a novel. I’ve always read a great deal and kept journals. Beginning as a tomboy, I had such a wonderful relationship with my father. He was a charming, easy-going, likeable man who taught me how to fish, hunt, respect and get along in the natural world.
A novel also needs conflict; one of the plot points is a Cain & Abel-type situation between Callie’s father, Will, and his brother. Other family members and townsfolk make themselves known, as well, and not always for the better. Every character, though, is dear to me. But at the heart of Delicate Armor is this strong bond between Callie and her father, which greatly influences her formation as she comes of age and helps to prepare her for the inevitable losses she must face.

3. Can you tell us why or when you decided to become a writer?

I came into writing as a profession during middle age. In retrospect, it seems that my pursuits and endeavors prior to ten years ago, came together like a series of beacons converging in preparation for this challenging, yet rewarding stage in my life. While growing up, I read everything I could check out at our local library, so the writer in me likely began forming at the age of 10 or 12, when I read Treasure Island and imagined myself stowing away on a pirate ship. I kept journals, continued reading, studied great literature in college, and have always been keenly aware of my surroundings: places, individuals and their speech patterns, how and why they behave as they do. During my last year of teaching French, I signed up for evening writing classes, attended summer conferences, and joined a writers’ group. The key is uninterrupted seat time, alone at the desk. Now, writing is as important to me as eating and sleeping.

4. Usually, an author puts some of her own life experiences in the book. Did you do that?

Yes. Delicate Armor is semi-autobiographical, layered with lots of fiction, conflict, and subtext. It was liberating once I determined not to write a memoir. For me, fictionalizing my material allows me to go deeper. A friend of mine once said, “You picked through your life and had fun with it.”

5. What authors or books influence you?

I keep going back to Chekhov, Steinbeck, Truman Capote (especially his short stories), Saki, O. Henry, Kurt Vonnegut, Rick Bass, and some Irish authors, such as William Trevor. I love excellent poetry and am a fan of scores of poets, including Joyce Sutphen, Ted Kooser, Arthur Rimbaud, W. B. Yeats, Wendell Berry, Maxine Kumin, William Stafford, Dorianne Laux, Jane Kenyon, Paul Verlaine, Marge Piercy, Joe and Nancy Paddock. I love great lyrics, too, such as Johnny Mercer’s line from “This Time the Dream’s on Me,” “…to see you through, till you’re everything you want to be…”  
I’m currently reading Jonathan Franzen’s Corrections and Freedom, and am impressed with his style, exquisite word choices, and turns of phrases.

6. What is the most important lesson/idea you want readers to take away from Delicate Armor?

Callie begins her story as a young girl and ends it as an adult. I wrote with readers in mind and hope they will appreciate my carefully worked prose and be able to identify with the universal truths and experiences I was trying to set down within this family saga.

7. Are you working on another book?

Yes, I’m very excited about A Stone for Amer. Several of the characters from Delicate Armor take the lead in this next fictionalized story, some of which serves as an important thread in the novel. It is based on my father’s experience as a teenager in the early part of the twentieth century, when he and my grandfather traveled by train from Southwestern Minnesota to Eastern Montana, in order to claim the body of his uncle Amer.

8. In one sentence, tell readers why they should read Delicate Armor.

As Dave Wood wrote in his February 2, 2012 review, “Peel the layers to find the soul…[of this]…startlingly good first novel...”and as Mary Ann Grossmann wrote in her October 28, 2011 review, “Callie Lindstrom is one of the most appealing protagonists in this season’s crop of debut novels by Minnesota writers.”

Thanks Connie!!!

If you would like to win a copy of Connie's book Delicate Armor please click the link:


Friday, May 11, 2012

Impulse by Ellen Hopkins

Impulse by Ellen Hopkins

Three high school teens attempt fate and try to commit suicide.  Each of them ends up at Aspen Springs, a psychiatric facility where they meet and forge a bond.

Vanessa is a cutter and needs to feel pain to release the highs and lows of her life.  This time the knife cut too deep.  Connor sends a bullet to his heart to escape the loss of his true love, and reddens his mother's new white carpet.  He cannot bear the pressures his parents put on him.  Tony pops pills and denies who he really is because of childhood abandonment and abuse.  Will he be able to forgive himself for his crimes? 

Impulse is a novel in verse.  It is fast flowing poetry and it pulls you into the triple intertwining storyline with creative force.  Teens are inherently impulsive and this novel gets into the mind of three damaged teens who need help and most of all need each other.

 Hopkins has the gift to create sparse poetic text that speaks volumes and invokes deep meaning. Hopkins has a way with taking words and melding them into a picture of life fraught with emotion.  She is one of my favorite authors and well read by the teens in my classroom. Impulse is the fifth book I have read by Hopkins and I plan to devour them all. 

What is your favorite Hopkins book?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Delicate Armor Contest

Delicate Armor Contest

Hometown Track, Minnesota Author in the Spotlight, Connie Claire Szarke is giving away 2 copies of her book, Delicate Armor to Booksnob followers.  She has agreed to send internationally!  Yeah!

I love the cover art.  It reminds of lazy summer days fishing on my grandpa's dock.  You are going to love this novel.

Here is the synopsis of Delicate Armor from the author's website: 
Set in the Upper Midwest, 1952-1991, Delicate Armor is the coming-of-age story of Callie Lindstrom, a feisty girl who shares a special bond with her father.
Having lost his infant son, Will Lindstrom places his energy in young Callie, teaching her his love for the outdoors. Accepted into the world of men within her family and privy to their dreams, struggles, and sense of humor, she learns to navigate waves of conflict and loss while realizing her own place in the scheme of things.
This family saga is about the tenacity of the human spirit, the natural world, and our narrator’s emerging consciousness as she passes from young girl to self-possessed woman. Delicate Armor is Callie’s tribute to the land and to her microcosm of men.

Contest Rules:
Fill out the form below
Leave a comment please.  
Open Internationally.
Must be a Booksnob follower.
Ends 5/31 at midnight
Good Luck!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

This Burns My Heart by Samuel Park

This Burns My Heart by Samuel Park

On the eve of her wedding day Soo-Ja receives a marriage proposal from a passionate man who stirs her heart.   Soo-Ja denys Yul her hand and feels she must go through with her intended plans and marry Min, the man who she thinks will help her lead her life in the right direction.   She discovers on her wedding night, that her husband has deceived her.  Soo-Ja does not want to upset the traditional balance of her life thus far and feels she must remain dutiful to her husband and his family. Soo-Ja virtually becomes a slave to her in-laws.  But she never forgets Yul, the man she didn't choose.

This Burns My Heart is set in postwar South Korea.  During This Burns My Heart, Korea transforms itself into an industrial nation and becomes westernized.  Soo-Ja also transforms and while she chooses to sacrifice her happiness for her daughter's sake, she questions the restraints of society and marriage.  Yul enters her life again and Soo-Ja can't help but wonder what her life would be like if she would have made a different choice all those years ago.

This Burns My Heart is a beautiful story of love and transformation with a heroine who grabs your heart.  Through the eyes and emotions of the main characters you will understand Korea intrinsically.  Prepare to be drawn into this heart wrenching love story, bound by tradition and duty, as the characters journey through life and deny themselves passion.  This Burns My Heart is a story that each of us can understand and relate to as it confronts so many of life's emotional dramas. 

This Burns My Heart raises a lot of interesting questions.  What would our lives be like if we had chosen differently?  Am I living the life I am meant to live?  Am I being honest with myself about what I want in life?  Can we allow ourselves to be truly happy?  Is is necessary to sacrifice our happiness for our children?  Should we be confined within the constraints of society or step out of those constraints?  This Burns My Heart made me take a long look at my life and try to answer some of these questions.  I've found I do think about the choices I made 20 years ago and wonder What if?  I wonder where my life's journey would have taken me and if I would have made completely different choices.  Do you ever wonder? 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Chasing Alliecat Contest Winners!!

Chasing Alliecat Contest Winners!

I would like to congratulate the winners of Chasing Alliecat by Rebecca Fjelland Davis, April's Author in the Spotlight.  I would like to thank Rebecca for giving away two copy of her book to Booksnob followers.

The winners are:
Keitra from Tear Through Pages
Kulsuma from London, England

Congratulations Ladies!

If you didn't win you can still order a copy of Rebecca's book, from Amazon.  Chasing Alliecat is a young adult mystery and a wild bike ride through the woods of southern Minnesota.  It will have your heart pumping.

Please visit Rebecca's website at