Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Wondrous Words Wednesday: Wild Words (from Wild Women)

I've wanted to do this for the longest time.  In addition to my 365 New Words-a-Year calendar, I have a Wild Words from Wild Women calendar, which I keep on my antique desk in the den.  This calendar features quotations (often called "quotes", as language has become more casual) from the "world's most famous and infamous women".  I decided to highlight their words this week for Wondrous Words Wednesday, as Kathy, this meme's lovely and intelligent host, says in her brief directions, "feel free to get creative!".

1. October 30:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure."
~ Marianne Williamson, creator of A Course in Miracles


You've probably read this before.  I know I have, numerous times.  But I had forgotten who said this, although when I was first married, I read some of Marianne Willamson's inspirational books.

2. October 31, Halloween:

"A lot of parents are strange; they say, 'Ration the candy.'  I say, "Let them eat as much as they want--they throw up, the rest is mine.'  That's how I handle Halloween."
~ Cory Kahaney, joke jock
Let them eat candy.  A fun quotation for Halloween!

3. November 1:

"Be an arrogant idiot.  You know those guys around the office who share their opinions without thinking, who rally everyone around their big (often unformed) ideas?  Be more like them.  You can afford to move a few inches in that direction."
~Tara Sophia Mohr, leadership coach
I agree that many women hold themselves back, for various reasons.  These words encourage us to have more confidence in our ideas, and to be more outspoken.  Good advice, I think.


Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme, created and hosted by Kathy from BermudaOnion's Weblog, where you can share your love of words--and exercise your creativity!  What new words have you discovered recently?

Friday, October 25, 2013

'Tis the Season for Gone Reading

It's time to think outside of the book.  While the frenzied nature of the holiday season ahead may curtail reading time, we can incorporate our love for books and reading in a different manner.

I'm a huge fan of GoneReading, a wonderful website that features gifts for readers.  On a philanthropic mission, GoneReading donates 100% of their after-tax profits to reading-related charities, and they recently funded a children’s library in Ethiopia, the Gebeta Community Children’s Library.

Thinking about starting my holiday shopping, I browsed through the newly expanded GoneReading site, and found some very cool items for readers. They have book shaped plates and platters that would be perfect for snacks served at book club meetings--or book blogger conventions--or simply as gifts for a favorite reader or two.


GoneReading's floating book shelf caught my eye.  Stacked books  appear to float in space, striking and surreal.


GoneReading also has a best-selling board game for readers called, “It was a Dark & Stormy Night".  To play this game of "first lines", participants listen to the opening line or two of a book, then try to identify its title or author.  (Do you know the origin of "It was a dark and stormy night"?  I had to visit Wikipedia to refresh my memory.)  This game would be a lot of fun to play at gatherings with other book lovers.  GoneReading also has a terrific trivia game for the legion of "P. & P." fans.


When you shop at GoneReading, you can save 20% by using the discount code SUKOS20 at the check-out (good until the end of the year).  All purchases from GoneReading contribute to their philanthropic work, which helps to increase literacy around the world!

Thanks for reading! Comments welcomed.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Fiesta of Smoke: Review and Giveaway

Broad in scope yet richly detailed, Fiesta of Smoke is a historical novel by Suzan Still, published in 2013.  The book is about Calypso Searcy, a successful American novelist, and Javier Carteña, a commander of insurgent Mexican forces, who meet in Berkeley and fall in love.  Many years later, in Paris, an investigative reporter, Hill, becomes involved in and absorbed by Calypso's disappearance, and her story.

As the story unfolds, the book takes us to many places, goes backward and forward in time, and the author depicts fifty years of the history of Mexico.  Although the first chapter of the book takes place in Paris in 1992, the story transports us to various parts of Mexico and other places--back and forth numerous times--and includes the present (2012) and the Conquest of the 1500s, and many years in between.  As a reader, this was, to my relief, quite easy to follow, because the place and time (and main character) is provided as a guide in each section, which helped a great deal.

The author spent thirty years working on this book (although she set it aside at times)--and it shows.  Suzan Still's writing is beautiful, powerful, and lyrical, and the descriptions of places in Mexico are particularly striking.

"On one trip to Mexico's Sierra Madre, they had managed an entire week of complete felicity.  They rode the train, the Chihuahua al Pacifico, to the rim of the Barrancas de Cobre, then hiked into the village, still innocent of roads, where he was born.  They stayed at his cousin's old adobe house with its wide plank floors and patio bordered in flower gardens and lived an idyll of sweet wood smoke, tortillas hot from the comal and the flat clang of the cracked church bell in its listing adobe tower."
~ Fiesta of Smoke, Suzan Still 

Completely captivating, this story comes to life and is believable, although it does feature a few events which could be called magical realism; the author believes these instances are "expressions of dimensions of experience that are available to anyone under the proper circumstances" (from the author interview in the back of the book).  Primarily, Fiesta of Smoke is a unique love story between two enchanting characters who draw you into their world fully, Calypso and Javier, who also share a love for social justice.  I think the characters make this book so outstanding, Calypso, Javier, and other significant characters, like Hill, Farabundo, Estrella, and Carmelita.  Calypso is an especially strong and interesting protagonist, and other women in this book are also important, along with the concept of the Divine Feminine.  As you can tell, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, and I want to read more by this talented author.


Buenas nuevas! In conjunction with TLC book tours, The Story Plant is generously offering a copy of Commune of Women, the author's earlier book, as a giveaway (U.S./Canada only).  I'm not sure if I can enter this giveaway as I'm the host, but I'd sure like to read this book!







  • To enter this giveaway, simply leave a comment.
  • For another chance at winning, become a follower of this blog, or let me know that you're already a follower.
  • For an additional chance, post about this contest on your blog, Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter.

Enter by 5 PM PST on Monday, November 4.  A winner will be selected randomly and announced on Tuesday, November 5.  Good luck! 


Special thanks to Trish from TLC for sending me a complimentary copy of this novel.  For more reviews of this book, please visit the other stops on TLC's blog tour for Fiesta of Smoke.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Mailbox Monday: New Books and a Sweater for Daisy


Last week, I received two books in the mail, House of Miracles by Ulrica Hume, and The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom, which arrived for an upcoming tour with TLC.  I also got an adorable, handmade, crocheted sweater from Naida, the bookworm, for Daisy, my feisty little Chihuahua blend puppy.  As you can see, the color and fit are perfect for her.  Thank you very much, Naida!

Created by Marcia from To Be Continued, Mailbox Monday is a meme that gives book lovers a reason to relish Mondays.  This month, Gina from Book Dragon's Lair is hosting Mailbox Monday.

What new books did you add to your shelves recently?

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Friday 56: Coulrophobia, and the Monk Book Winner

Are you afraid of clowns?  Do you believe that their garish faces and outlandish costumes hide evil interiors?  It's difficult to say exactly how common this phobia is, or if it's prevalence is exaggerated.  But it's no mystery that Adrian Monk's list of one hundred major phobias includes coulrophobia.



" 'Hazard pay?'  Stottlemeyer snorted.  'For one thing, you're a homicide consultant, so it's always hazardous.  That's the job.
And . . . it's a clown, for God's sake.  A clown!'
'Don't say that!'  Monk shuddered and sank away."
 ~ Mr. Monk Helps Himself, Hy Conrad



The Friday 56 is a meme hosted by Freda's Voice.  If you want to play along, the rules are simple:
  • Grab a book, any book.
  • Turn to page 56.
  • Find a sentence, or a few, to share in a post. 
  • Add your post's link to the linky.

I'm also ready to announce the winner of the giveaway for Mr. Monk Helps Himself by Hy Conrad, a book I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing recently for Premier Virtual Author Book Tours.  Please help me to congratulate the lucky winner, Carol M.  Congratulations, Carol!  I think you'll enjoy reading this marvelous mystery.  If you didn't win this novel, why not take a look at the other giveaways listed in my blog's right sidebar?  You might discover another book that you'd like to win.

Thanks for reading!  Your comments are welcomed, as always.
Joseph Grimaldi clown picture courtesy of Wikipedia. 

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