Behind… My September Wrap-Up

October 1, 2008 at 11:30 am | Posted in Books, Historical Fiction, LIfe, My Life with Books, Philippa Gregory, Reading | 12 Comments
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My grandfather worked in tool and die.  When he retired, he had his machines in his shed.  One of the things he loved to make the most were cribbage and euchre boards.  He gave this lovely euchre board to me quite some time ago.  Although I’m not sure how to take that on a personal level ;), it really does represent the state of my blog as the month of September has drawn to a close and October is finally underway.  Grandpa will be 91 on the 15th, so happy early birthday from your favorite granddaughter in Virginia!

September really was quite a month.  I participated in two wonderful book tours, I read 11 books (!!!!), the Literate Housewives Book Club officially started (thanks to everyone who has signed up on the forum!), we all celebrated Book Blogger Appreciation Week, and I took a road trip to see one of my favorite authors, Philippa Gregory.  While this will be a month to remember, it has left me behind on my reviews and my comments.  Hopefully October will be a good catch up month.  With my birthday, the girls’ birthdays (Ally – 22nd, Emma – 23rd), our 11th anniversary, a visit from my parents and Uncle Ryan, and a business trip to Boston, it’s sure to be eventful if nothing else.

I read 11 books this month, but I only wrote 7 reviews (including The Seamstress that I owed from August).  That leaves me 5 reviews in the hole.  I’m hoping to have those all written and published by Monday.  Here’s how my reading broke down by category:

General Fiction

House and Home by Kathleen McCleary
Will I Ever Know by Charles Henry
First Daughter by Eric Van Lustbader
The Torn Skirt by Rebecca Godfrey – review forthcoming

Historical Fiction

The Last Queen by C.W. Gortner
Immortal by Traci Slatton – review forthcoming

Young Adult Fiction

Sisters of Misery by Megan Kelly Hall – review forthcoming

Short Fiction

Months and Seasons by Christopher Meeks

Non-Fiction

One Can Make a Difference edited by Ingrid E. Newkirk
Good Person Guidebook by Richard Bayer, PhD – review forthcoming
Shrink Rap by Robin A. Altman – review forthcoming

Best Read of the Month:

Honorable Mentions:

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I hope that you all had a happy and prosperous September and will be enjoying the changing of this colors in October.

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Drumroll, Please…

September 11, 2008 at 12:00 pm | Posted in LIfe | 6 Comments
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The Grand Prize winner in The Literate Housewife Review’s 100th Book Review Contest is…

Carey at The Tome Traveller’s Weblog!

Carey wins all of the following books…

and a phone call with Kathleen McCleary!

Carey, please send me an email with your mailing information.  I’ll get your prize in the mail by Monday.  I would love to hear all about your conversation with Kathleen.  She seems so nice via email, I can only imagine her being even more welcoming over the phone.  If you think about it, please report back to us on how everything went.  I hope that you enjoy each and every one of your books.  Congratulations!!!!!

But she’s not the only winner!

The following lucky entrants each win a signed copy of House and Home from Kathleen!

Bonnie at Red Lady’s Reading Room & Tracy W!

Congratulations!!!!  Please send me your mailing information in an email and I’ll get that information to Kathleen.  I hope that you love this book!  Drop back by when you’ve finished it and let me know what you think.

Congratulations to all the winners!  I also want to thank each and every one of you who helped make this occassion special for me!

Kathleen, it was an honor to share all of this with you.  I wish you all the success in the world with House and Home.  A special thanks also to Lisa at TLC Book Tours for thinking about me when this opportunity came up.  It was a wonderful experience for me.

There were 108 total entries, making this my most successful contest ever.  In order to keep everything straight, I used a number or a letter after common first names in case there were duplicates.  In the case of Tracy, there were actually two, so I’m glad I did that.  I like it when I’m unintentionally wise. 🙂  I tried to include a  here so that you could see them, but it’s too large.  If you would like to see, please send me an email. Thanks again, everyone!

#100 ~ House and Home & My 100th Review Contest

September 8, 2008 at 12:00 am | Posted in Books, Family, LIfe, My Life with Books, Reading, Secrets and Lies | 50 Comments
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Today I have the great pleasure of hosting Kathleen McCleary on her House and Home book tour sponsored by TLC Book Tours.  I very much appreciate the invitation to participate in this tour as well as the opportunity to read Kathleen’s novel.  Please click on Kathleen’s name below to visit her website.  Click on the TLC Book Tours graphic for more information on this wonderful new book tour program.

House and Home by Kathleen McCleary

By outside appearances, Ellen Flanagan had it all: a loving husband, two beautiful daughters, a house she decorated and maintained with love and dedication, and Coffe@Home, a business that merged her passion for antiques with her interest in coffee and fine tea.  All was not what it seemed.  Sam, her adventurous and creative husband, had a passion for inventing.  When he created a baby beeper he thought would make it big, the couple put a second mortgage on their home.  When the baby beeper didn’t pay off, that second mortgage cost them the home Ellen so dearly loved and her 18 year marriage.  As time got near to vacate the house they sold, Ellen found she couldn’t part with it.  She decided that she’s rather see it burn than to allow another family to call it home.

The opening paragraph to this novel, after explaining Ellen’s attachment to the home, ends by saying that she would burn it down.  I was instantly curious, especially since this seemed pretty hard core for a novel with such a beautiful and inviting cover.  That paragraph brought to mind the song “Sunny Came Home” by Shawn Colvin.  I was eager to find out what it was about Ellen or the house that drove her to even think about arson.  When at first I couldn’t find any logical explanation for her planning something so destructive, it was frustrating.  Ellen wasn’t mentally ill, she and Sam were on amicable terms despite the fact that they were divorcing, her business was thriving, and she had the most thoughtful and supportive best friend in the world.  Why?  Then it occurred to me.  As much as she loved that house, her fixation was a protective cover. She believes that burning down her house will keep others out.  Truthfully, if not subconsciously, what she’s doing is making all that she has lost and all that she is losing tangible and visible, especially to Sam.

This is really a novel about relationships, both the good and the bad.  Sometimes there is a cost to starting them.  Sometimes there is a cost to losing them.  There are times when the cost may be too high; but in the end, you can’t live your life fully without them.  Be they with your best friend, your lover, your family, business associates, or even mere acquaintances, your interactions with other people teach you how to play, work, love, hurt, forgive, learn, laugh, cry, hold on, and to let go.  Ellen spent the first 44 years fighting to control her life. House and Home is the story of how she learns that what makes life worth living requires you to constantly take leaps of faith.

Kathleen McCleary is a clear and concise writer and she brought some wonderful characters to life.  You can feel Ellen’s pain and the anxiety brought about by her need to be in control from the start, even if you don’t completely understand it at first.  You can see how it blinds her to what she has.  House and Home is a reminder that when life feels like one crisis after another, the only way not to get lost in it all is to focus on your friends and loved ones.  It is a celebration of friendships, relationships, and family.  If you’re like me, you’ll find this novel every bit as heartwarming as the cover suggests.

Literate Housewife’s 100th Book Review Contest

I am so excited about today because it marks the day I am posting my 100th book review online.  My blog started on Blogspot and it was called “52 Books or Bust.”  I started it in January, 2007 to give me a way to be accountable to my personal goal of reading 52 books that year and to also provide me with a way to remember what I read.  It was from those meager beginnings that The Literate Housewife Review started.  I had no idea that 21months later I would be celebrating today.

In order to mark this day, I wanted to hold a contest to thank you, my readers.  Without your comments and support I can’t say that I would still be doing this today.  In honor of reaching the 100 book mark, I’m going to give one of my lucky readers a copy of House and Home and ten other books I’ve read to date.  Here is a picture of the book and the links to those reviews:

The Last Wife of Henry VIII by Carolly Erickson ~ #24
Portrait on an Unknown Woman by Vanora Bennett ~ #37
Gilding Lily by Tatiana Boncompagni ~ #66
The Lady Elizabeth By Alison Weir ~ #70
Songs for the Missing by Stewart O’Nan ~ #78
Mrs. Lieutenant by Phyllis Zimbler Miller ~ #81
Regina’s Closet by Diana M. Raab ~ #84
The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson ~ #88
37 by Maria Beaumont ~ #89
Castaway Kid by R.B. Mitchell ~ #94

When Kathleen McCleary read that this was my 100th review and would be holding a contest in its honor, she wanted to get in on the fun, too.  So, to sweeten this contest even further, the winner will also get the opportunity to talk with the author personally!  What a fun and wonderful opportunity!  And that’s not all! The second and third place winners in this contest will also get their own autographed copies of House and Home!

Have I peaked your interest enough?  Are you wondering what you need do to enter?  Here goes:

1. Leave a comment to this post by 11:59 EST on September 9 and you will receive two entries.  Comments left beginning on September 11 at midnight receive one entry.  If you comment includes a question about House and Home, for Kathleen McCleary, or about any of the other books in the contest, you will receive an additional entry (three entries possible).

2. If you have a blog, write a post about this contest by 11:59 EST on September 9 and leave me a message with the link to earn two entries.  If you do not have a blog, you can send an email telling 3 or more friends about this contest (copy me) by 11:59 EST on September 9 for those two entries.

Selecting the winners: I will be out of town starting Friday, so this is going to be a quick contest.  I will be using the List Randomizer on random.org to enter the names and will it will determine the winner at noon on Thursday, September 11 EST.  [I have wised up since my last contest. No more writing names down on sheets of paper, cutting them out, folding them, and putting them in a box and asking my beloved husband or bewildered co-workers to pick them out.]

Posting the results: I will be posting the names of the winners at 1pm EST.  The name of the person in lucky number 1 spot wins the copy of House and Home, the selection of 10 books I’ve previously reviewed, and a phone conversation with Kathleen McCleary!  The names of the people in lucky spots number 2 and 3 (assuming that there aren’t any repeating names – if there are, the second and third unique names) will also receive an autographed copy of House and Home.

Good luck to everyone who enters and a special thanks to Kathleen McCleary for making this contest that much more special!

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To buy this novel, click here.

The Sunday Salon 9.7.08 & 100th Review Contest

September 7, 2008 at 2:15 pm | Posted in Books, LIfe, Reading | 12 Comments
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The Sunday Salon.comThis has been a productive week in Literate Housewife Review land. I read three and a half books, hosted a book tour, got nominated for a BBAW award, and published two reviews, which brought me just one review away from my 100th review!  I remember back in January of 2007 that I never in my wildest dreams saw this day coming.  I was hoping to make it to 52.  I had no idea what this would become.  Now, I’m looking forward to my next 100 reviews.  The sky’s the limit when you keep and open mind and follow your heart.

I hosted C.W. Gortner on his blog tour on Tuesday and published my review of his delightful novel, The Last Queen.  Please feel free to keep leaving comments and questions for him.  He’ll be coming back periodically to check out what’s going on.  He seems very nice and you can also find him on the new and improved site of the Historical Fiction board.  If you enjoy historical fiction and haven’t checked out this board, you really should.  You’ll find some familiar book blogging faces and other interesting people.

Adam at Letters on Pages wrote a wonderful review of The Blue Death.  He graciously agreed to read and review it for me.  Thank you, Adam!

On Friday, I found out that I was nominated for a Book Blogger Appreciation Week award and I’m so thrilled.  I was nominated in the Best Book Club Blog category and I’m thrilled.  Please take the time to vote for me (if you choose) and all of the other wonderful nominees at My Friend Amy.

Last night I finally published my review of The Seamstress by Frances De Pontes Peebles.  I can’t tell you how excited I was when I typed in the “#99” in the header for that post.  This leads me to my 100th Review Contest…

Tonight at midnight I will be publish my 100th review.  I am tomorrow’s host for Kathleen McCleary’s blog tour for House and Home, which is being sponsored by TLC Book Tours.  I don’t want to give away too many details here.  You’ll have to come back after midnight to find out all the details, but I’ll leave you with this clue:

I missed The Sunday Salon last week, so I want to take this opportunity to thank four of my book blogging friends:

I was one of the lucky winners in Chartroose’s 101 post contest at Bloody Hell, It’s a Book Barrage and last week my treasured Jane Austen action figure arrived in the mail.  She now uses her super writing powers to guard and protect my collection of her books.

Shana at Literarily nominated me for the SuperCommenter award and I’m so delighted!  I will be making my own nominations next week.  Thanks, Shana!

Don at Don’s Stuff also awarded me for my comments on his blog.  I have say that I am tickled by this graphic and may have to use it in another post if I’m so lucky as to win any other awards.  Thanks, Don!

Finally, my friend Marcia at The Printed Page sent me a copy of The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff.  I have been wanting to read this novel since I first read Devourer of Books’s reviewMarcia’s review made me even more excited to read it.  I’ll be participating in the author’s book tour in November, so I only have a little while longer to wait.  Thanks so much, Marcia!

So, that’s my week.  It was nice feel good about what I’ve accomplished again.  I seem to have mostly recovered from the start of the school year.  How’s your week been?  I’m wishing everyone a great week ahead!  I’m hoping to keep up the reading and post four reviews.  Let’s see if I can meet my own personal challenge on that.

Save the Date ~ September 8

August 18, 2008 at 8:00 am | Posted in Books, LIfe, Reading | 2 Comments
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It is a great honor and privilege to be offered a slot in TLC Book Tour‘s first tour featuring Kathleen McCleary’s novel House and Home. TLC Book Tours was started by two the nicest bloggers out there, Lisa from Books on the Brain and Trish from Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’? My copy of the novel arrived last week and I was so excited. It looks and feels so refreshing and relaxing. It’s my next book and I can’t wait get started.

My date on the tour is September 8, so bookmark this site and come back for my review and other fun tour-related stuff. You never know when you might find a chocolate on your pillow when you come to visit Literate Housewife. But don’t just stop on my date. I’m sure that there will be a lot of happening to make you feel at home at each stop along the way. Here is the full schedule:

Wednesday, September 3rd: Hooked on Houses
Friday, September 5th: It’s All About Books
Monday, September 8th: The Literate Housewife
Wednesday, September 10th: Books and Cooks
Friday, September 12th: Breaking the Spine
Monday, September 15th: She Is Too Fond Of Books
Wednesday, September 17th: Caribousmom
Thursday, September 18th: Age 30 – A Year of Books
Monday, September 22nd: Booking Mama
Wednesday, September 24th: The Inside Cover
Friday, September 26th: In the Shadow of Mt. TBR
Monday, September 29th: Displaced Beach Bums

I look forward to seeing you here. I’ll even be dusting and cleaning the bathrooms just for you.

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