Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Really Random Tuesday #82: Blogiversary Giveaway!


Over the past month, my reading time has been shrinking.  I haven't posted a book review (or any other type of post) for two weeks.  It's not due to too many games of Words with Friends (although I do continue to enjoy playing that game on my phone), it's mostly because of the many events that mark the end of the school year.  I don't want to fall too far behind with my reviews, though, so I plan on "hitting the books" and posting new reviews soon.

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Six-year Blogiversary!<br>

This month marks my six-year blogiversary!  It's hard to believe that I started this blog six years ago, in May of 2008.  I've enjoyed many things about book blogging, and am thankful for my all of my readers, who live in many countries around the world. 



In appreciation of my readers, I'm giving away a $25 gift card to Amazon.  This giveaway is open internationally.

  • 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.
  • For an additional entry, mention what books (or other goodies) you'd get with the gift card.

Enter by 5 PM PDT on Monday, June 9.  One winner will be selected randomly and announced on Tuesday, June 10.  Good luck, and thanks for visiting my blog!

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Appearing on random Tuesdays, Really Random Tuesday is a way to post odds and ends--announcements, musings, quotes, photos--any blogging and book-related things you can think of. I often announce my book giveaway winners in these posts. If you have miscellaneous book news to gather up and are inspired by this idea, "grab" the button for use on your own blog, and add your link to the "master" Mister Linky on the Really Random Tuesday page.

Your comments are welcomed.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Really Random Tuesday #81: Book Photos and a Book Winner


I hope all of my readers had a lovely Mother's Day.  This holiday made me think about my mother a lot, and I felt kind of pensive on Sunday.  I really miss being able to talk to her, and to joke around with her.  Her sense of humor was exceptional.  She passed away in June of 2011. 

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Do you also take photos with your phone while at bookstores (and other shops)?  I love the titles and covers and the way books (and other things) are arranged.  These photos are from a couple of bookstores I visited recently.  Having an iPhone makes it easy and fun to take pictures wherever you are.  I could have gone "hog-wild" but I only took a few photos this time.




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Please help me to congratulate the winner of  The Bali Mystery by Linda Weaver Clarke, Sharon Braswell.  Congratulations, Sharon!  I think you'll enjoy reading this cozy mystery.  The second book in the series, The Shamrock Case, will be available to the public next month.  I'm looking forward to reading that book soon.
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Appearing on random Tuesdays, Really Random Tuesday is a way to post odds and ends--announcements, musings, quotes, photos--any blogging and book-related things you can think of. I often announce my book giveaway winners in these posts. If you have miscellaneous book news to gather up and are inspired by this idea, "grab" the button for use on your own blog, and add your link to the "master" Mister Linky on the Really Random Tuesday page.

Thanks for reading!  As always, your comments are appreciated.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Brain: The Man Who Wrote the Book That Changed the World

For inspiration, I did some crazy things before attempting to write my review of this book.

- I jumped up and down on the bed like a kid.
- I put my hands into a pitcher of ice water, then splashed some of the water on my face. 
- I tried to run up the hill backwards, to activate dormant parts of my brain. 
- I put the book under my pillow, to help me "dream up" a review while I slept.


In order to get my creativity flowing, I took this book to heart.  Surely I jest!  (Yep, I devised the antics above for dramatic effect.) 

In the book Brain: The Man Who Wrote the Book That Changed the World by Dermot Davis, protagonist Daniel Waterstone is a struggling writer who lives in Los Angeles.  He cares deeply about literature and his artistic integrity as a writer.  Daniel hopes to publish part two of The Impossible Dream series, with the help of his agent, Suzanne. 

In a crazed state of consciousness, Daniel writes a book called You Have a Brain--Use It!, under a nom de plume, Charles Spectrum.  His book is a satire, but people take it seriously, as a self-help book.  Although Daniel calls the book "garbage", people love it, and it becomes a best-seller.

The success of his book becomes a dilemma to Daniel, because he wants people to know the truth, that the book is meant as a parody.  Will his ideals survive in the contemporary world of publishing?  Or will Daniel Waterstone, now known as Charles Spectrum, "sell out" in order to sell books? 

What did I think of Brain?  It's a very funny book (it's won some awards for humor), but it's also thoughtful and thought-provoking.  Published in 2013, set in the present, it's a book about books, with a special appeal for book lovers.  When Daniel visits his elderly librarian friend, Mavis, she is wise and candid, as usual.

'If all we had was a literature section, then I'd be out of a job, along with the rest of the staff.'

It's a book about writing.  There are numerous references to writers in this book, like Melville, Cervantes, Chekov, Hemingway, Hughes, Dickinson, and others.  Daniel describes his experience while writing his best-seller, which made him laugh out loud at times. 

"The entire writing experience was like one he had never experienced before and he would be at a loss in knowing how to or in trying to replicate it."

It's also a book about publishing; Daniel's book is published by BubbledayBrain pokes fun at the publishing industry, which (according to Mavis) favors mystery, thrillers, and romance, rather than literature.  It also pokes fun at overly simplistic, downright zany self-help books.  Brain is quite humorous.  But there's a serious side to Brain as well. This incisive book will make writers think about writing, and it will make readers think about reading.  Along with the ample humor there's a purpose, to make us think about the quality of our writing and reading.  Award-winning playwright Dermot Davis has written a book that illustrates and dramatizes the issues that contemporary writers and readers face.  Brain gives us much to think about. 

Thanks to the author for sending me a complimentary copy of his book, for his guest post, An Insider's Look at Indie Publishing, and for his patience with my review post.  I think Brain could be brilliant on the stage.  For another review of this book, please visit Bookfoolery.

Thanks for reading! Your comments are welcomed.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Bali Mystery: Review and Giveaway

Most of you already know what a cozy mystery or "cozy" is, but for those who require a bit of help, it's a mystery that's not too gory or violent.  According to author Linda Weaver Clarke, a cozy mystery "focuses on the plot and characters, and the main character is usually an intelligent woman".  Published in 2014, The Bali Mystery by Linda Weaver Clarke is the first book in the Amelia Moore Detective series, a new cozy mystery series by this author.

The author's explanation reinforces the idea that the protagonist in a cozy is usually an intelligent woman.  Additionally, while investigating cozy mysteries as a genre online, I read that many cozy mystery readers are intelligent women, who enjoy trying to solve the crimes in these books (a detective or any person who tries to solve a mystery does need to be sharp).  Cozies appeal to readers (female or male) who like to be actively entertained and engaged, who like to figure things out, and who, perhaps, like me, think that cozy is a rather cute term.  ;)

In The Bali Mystery, Amelia Moore is a private investigator with her own detective agency, which specializes in missing persons.  In the book, a distraught Mrs. Brody asks Amelia  to find her younger brother, William Flint, who's been missing for two months.  Amelia is eager to take the case, but uneasy about it as well, because William's cousin has told her to drop the case, and also because of two "men in black", who seem to be lurking about.  Amelia asks her handsome and flirtatious friend, Rick Bonito, for help with the case.  Before she meets with Rick, Amelia gathers as much information as she can.  She interviews William's co-worker, Bud, and learns that William had traveled to Pakistan about four months earlier, and that he's quit his job.  From a friend, she finds out that he flew to Bali, Indonesia more recently.  Amelia and Rick are perplexed. Why would William quit his job, put his home up for sale, and fly to Bali without telling anyone? They decide to take a trip together, to "the most romantic and exotic island in the world", Bali.

Over the past few years, I've enjoyed many books by Linda Weaver Clarke, and this one was no exception.  The beautiful, tropical setting of Bali in the book feels authentic, and the turquoise Bali Sea, old temples, jungle, and much more, are described with finesse.  At their hotel in Kuta, there's a desk clerk named Budi, and I had to smile, because many years ago, I met a young man named Budi from Indonesia who became a friend.  The setting was portrayed so vividly that I asked Linda if she'd actually traveled to Bali (she hadn't, but she did her research). 

Linda Weaver Clarke is a talented storyteller, and her writing brings her characters to life.  Amelia is a terrific main character.  Single and in her thirties, she's a confident, strong, and likable character.  I'm not sure if Amelia is "smart enough to work at Google", but she's certainly one smart cookie.  Rick thinks she's "beautiful and stubborn", flirts with her throughout the story, and teases her about a polka-dot bikini.  As the story progresses, there's a bit of "old-fashioned" romance in the mystery which is lovely, and which sets the stage for future books in the series.

The Bali Mystery is a quick read that's suitable for young adults and adults.  This book drew me in right away, and my attention never wavered while I was reading it.  I look forward to reading the next book in this mystery series, The Shamrock Case.

The author is generously offering an international giveaway for an ebook edition of The Bali Mystery. If this cozy sounds like your cup of tea, please take a few moments to enter the giveaway.

  • 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.
  • For one more chance, leave a comment about why you enjoy reading cozy mysteries. 

Enter by 5 PM PDT on Monday, May 12.  One winner will be selected randomly and announced on Tuesday, May 13.  Best of luck, and thanks for reading!

Special thanks to Linda Weaver Clarke for sending me her new book, and for graciously offering this giveaway to my readers.

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