Giveaway of The Leftovers by Tom Perotta

The LeftoversI was incredibly excited when I heard about Tom Perotta’s newest novel, The Leftovers. The premise is so very intriguing – here’s the publisher’s summary:

What if—whoosh, right now, with no explanation—a number of us simply vanished?  Would some of us collapse? Would others of us go on, one foot in front of the other, as we did before the world turned upside down?

That’s what the bewildered citizens of Mapleton, who lost many of their neighbors, friends and lovers in the event known as the Sudden Departure, have to figure out. Because nothing has been the same since it happened—not marriages, not friendships, not even the relationships between parents and children.

Kevin Garvey, Mapleton’s new mayor, wants to speed up the healing process, to bring a sense of renewed hope and purpose to his traumatized community. Kevin’s own family has fallen apart in the wake of the disaster: his wife, Laurie, has left to join the Guilty Remnant, a homegrown cult whose members take a vow of silence; his son, Tom, is gone, too, dropping out of college to follow a sketchy prophet named Holy Wayne.  Only Kevin’s teenaged daughter, Jill, remains, and she’s definitely not the sweet “A” student she used to be.  Kevin wants to help her, but he’s distracted by his growing relationship with Nora Durst, a woman who lost her entire family on October 14th and is still reeling from the tragedy, even as she struggles to move beyond it and make a new start.

With heart, intelligence and a rare ability to illuminate the struggles inherent in ordinary lives, Tom Perrotta has written a startling, thought-provoking novel about love, connection and loss.

Imagine my level of joy when I was offered the opportunity to give away one ARC of The Leftovers here on the blog! All you have to do for a chance to win is leave me a comment letting me know what about the book makes you want to read it. And since the publicist already sent me the giveaway copy, I am willing to ship internationally! So anyone and everyone is welcome to enter. 🙂 Please include a valid email address, as that is how I will contact the winner, and you have until midnight of next Saturday, August 20th to enter. I will announce the winner the following Sunday morning.

Good luck!

Giveaway of Crush edited by Andrea N. Richesin

Remember last year when I told you all about the essay collection What I Would Tell Her? I really enjoyed that collection of essays, edited by Andrea N. Richesin, written by a bunch of dads who love their daughters. Since I so loved that collection, I was thrilled when I was contacted by Ms. Richesin herself telling me she has a new book coming out, called Crush: 26 Real-life Tales of First Love. I haven’t finished reading the book yet, which is why you haven’t seen a proper review, but I’m partway through and I can already see that this is another awesome collection of essays. There are some amazing writers who share in this book about their first crushes – Jacquelyn Mitchard, Ann Hood, and David Levithan, just to name a few.

For those of you thinking, “wow, that sounds like an interesting book, I’d really love to read that” I have the perfect gift for you! A big thank you to Andrea N. Richesin for offering to give away one copy of Crush to one of my lucky readers! To make this giveaway a little bit more fun than your average contest, I’m going to ask for your crush stories. Whether it was your first crush or the crush you have right now, tell me about it! I will choose the winner with the best crush story and repost the story here when I announce the winner on Saturday, June 4th – which just so happens to be the 4-year wedding anniversary of my crush/hubby and I! I thought that was appropriate timing. 🙂

This giveaway also coincides with Armchair BEA‘s giveaway day! If you haven’t yet checked out all the happenings at Armchair BEA, please do! The coordinators of it have put together a fabulous event with tons of fun things going on. At the very least, head on over and check out what other giveaways are happening.

I can’t wait to hear all of your crush stories! Good luck!

EDIT: In order for your comment to count toward the giveaway, you must give me your crush story! I have had several readers enter without this, and you will be disqualified unless you tell me about your former/current crush! 🙂 Thanks everyone!

Giveaway: Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooks

I have to admit that I haven’t read anything by Geraldine Brooks, but she’s one of the top authors on my “authors I need to get to soon” list. (I don’t have a physical list, just one in my head, lol!) I was very excited when I received an email asking if I wanted to host a giveaway of Brooks’ latest novel, Caleb’s Crossing. Obviously I am thrilled to have the opportunity to give away TWO copies of this awesome-sounding novel!

In addition, I am happy to treat you to a Q&A with Ms. Brooks about Caleb’s Crossing.

Caleb Cheeshahteamauk is an extraordinary figure in Native American history. How did you first discover him? What was involved in learning more about his life?

The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head/Aquinnah are proud custodians of their history, and it was in materials prepared by the Tribe that I first learned of its illustrious young scholar.   To find out more about him I talked with tribal members, read translations of early documents in the Wopanaak language, then delved into the archives of Harvard and the Massachusetts Bay Colony, especially the correspondence between colonial leaders and benefactors in England who donated substantial funds for the education and conversion to Christianity of Indians in the 17th century.   There are also writings by members of the Mayhew family, who were prominent missionaries and magistrates on the island, and John Cotton, Jr., who came here as a missionary and kept a detailed journal.

There is little documentation on Caleb’s actual life. What parts of his life did you imagine? Do you feel you know him better after writing this book, or is he still a mystery?

The facts about Caleb are sadly scant.  We know he was the son of a minor sachem from the part of the Vineyard now known as West Chop, and that he left the island to attend prep school, successfully completed the rigorous course of study at Harvard and was living with Thomas Danforth, a noted jurist and colonial leader, when disease claimed his life.  Everything else about him in my novel is imagined.  The real young man—what he thought and felt—remains an enigma.

Bethia Mayfield is truly a woman ahead of her time. If she were alive today, what would she be doing? What would her life be like with no restrictions?

There were more than a few 17th century women like Bethia, who thirsted for education and for a voice in a society that demanded their silence.  You can find some of them being dragged to the meeting house to confess their “sins” or defending their unconventional views in court.   If Bethia was alive today she would probably be president of Harvard or Brown, Princeton or UPenn.

The novel is told through Bethia’s point of view. What is the advantage to telling this story through her eyes? How would the book be different if Caleb were the narrator?

I wanted the novel to be about crossings between cultures.  So as Caleb is drawn into the English world, I wanted to create an English character who would be equally drawn to and compelled by his world.   I prefer to write with a female narrator when I can, and I wanted to explore issues of marginalization in gender as well as race.

Much of the book is set on Martha’s Vineyard, which is also your home. Did you already know about the island’s early history, or did you do additional research?

I was always intrigued by what brought English settlers to the island so early in the colonial period…they settled here in the 1640s.   Living on an island is inconvenient enough even today; what prompted the Mayhews and their followers to put seven miles of treacherous ocean currents between them and the other English—to choose to live in a tiny settlement surrounded by some three thousand Wampanoags? The answer was unexpected and led me into a deeper exploration of island history

You bring Harvard College to life in vivid, often unpleasant detail. What surprised you most about this prestigious university’s beginnings?

For one thing, I hadn’t been aware Harvard was founded so early.  The English had barely landed before they started building a college. And the Indian College—a substantial building—went up not long after, signifying an attitude of mind that alas did not prevail for very long.  It was fun to learn how very different early Harvard was from the well endowed institution of today.  Life was hand to mouth, all conversation was in Latin, the boys (only boys) were often quite young when they matriculated.   But the course of study was surprisingly broad and rigorous—a true exploration of liberal arts, languages, and literature that went far beyond my stereotype of what Puritans might have considered fit subjects for scholarship.

As with your previous books, you’ve managed to capture the voice of the period. You get the idiom, dialect, and cadence of the language of the day on paper. How did you do your research?

I find the best way to get a feel for language and period is to read first person accounts—journals, letters, court transcripts.  Eventually you start to hear voices in your head: patterns of speech, a different manner of thinking.  My son once said, Mom talks to ghosts.  And in a way I do.

May 2011, Tiffany Smalley will follow in Caleb’s footsteps and become only the second Vineyard Wampanoag to graduate from Harvard. Do you know if this will be celebrated?

In May Tiffany Smalley will become the first Vineyard Wampanoag since Caleb to receive an undergrad degree from Harvard College. (Others have received advanced degrees from the university’s Kennedy school etc.)  I’m not sure what Harvard has decided to do at this year’s commencement, but I am hoping they will use the occasion to honor Caleb’s fellow Wampanoag classmate, Joel Iacoomis, who completed the work for his degree but was murdered before he could attended the 1665 commencement ceremony.

To enter to win one of two ARC editions of Caleb’s Crossing, please leave me a comment here. And I’m curious: have you read any of Geraldine Brooks’ novels in the past? Which one(s) and did you enjoy it/them?

The giveaway is international, and I will draw two winners on Saturday, March 26th. Good luck!

Giveaway of Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert

Remember early last year when I raved about Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir, Committed: A Love Story?  Well, Penguin is releasing the book in paperback today, and to celebrate I have one copy to give away to one of my readers!


Can I just say how much I love the new paperback cover?  It’s so whimsical and fun – and although the book does deal with serious matters, Gilbert has a very funny and sarcastic tone a lot of the time, which I think matches the cover very well.

Anyway, to enter please leave me a comment telling me why you’d like to read the book.  Or if you’ve already read it and would just like to own it, that’s okay too – be honest!

As the giveaway is sponsored by the publisher, it is for US/Canada readers only.

I will draw a winner Saturday, February 12 and announce the next day.

Thanks for playing and good luck!

Giveaway of Rooftops of Tehran

Remember a couple of months ago when I raved about Rooftops of Tehran by Mahbod Seraji?  Well, you are in for a treat because the author has generously offered to give away one copy of the book on MY little ole’ blog!  The book is currently in its second edition, fifth printing, and has been extremely successful.  Rooftops of Tehran has received many accolades, including San Francisco Chronicle top 50 noticeable books of the year, an Indie Next Notable, an Outstanding Debut pick by the American Booksellers Association, as well as many more.

If you’d like to win a copy of Rooftops of Tehran, simply leave me a comment on this post telling me why you’re interested in reading the book.  This giveaway is international, so anyone can enter!  You have until September 30th to enter, and I will announce the winner the following day.  Please make sure to provide an email address so I can get in contact with you if you win.

Thanks!  And good luck!

Two DNF’s up for grabs

I recently had two books sent to me for review, both of which I wasn’t able to finish for various reasons.  The books are:  The Saint and the Fasting Girl and Twilight of a Queen.

I would like to give these two books away to two of you.  The only thing is – you MUST have a blog and you must agree to attempt to read/review the book within the next, oh, six months or so.  First come, first served, so please comment asap and let me know which one you’d like.

Thanks guys!

ARC giveaway!

I have received many unsolicited ARCs in the past couple of months, and I kept telling myself I’d read them eventually…. eventually has not yet arrived.  And now when I look at my stack of committed review books, next to my MASSIVE stack of uncommitted review books, I have to realistically face the fact that I will probably never read all these books.  Sad. 😦

So, here’s the good part – YOU can win them!  I went through my stack of unsolicited review copies, pulled out the few I really want to read and actually see myself reading sometime in the next 6 months, and I’m going to give away the rest!  I think I’ll do it in a few separate posts, four at a time.  Here’s this week’s loot:

035The books are as follows:

Mother of the Believers by Kamran Pasha

Perseverance: True Voices of Cancer Survivors by Carolyn Rubenstein

Finding Grace by Donna VanLiere

Sadomasochism for Accountants by Rosy Barnes

Here’s how it’s going to work:  tell me which book(s) you are interested in.  You can enter for as many as you want, but each person will only win one book.  I’ll run this one through Thursday, Sept. 3, when I’ll pick a winner, and on Friday I’ll draw a winner and start another ARC giveaway.  Sound good?

Thanks for participating – good luck!

Giveaway of BOTH of Susan Higginbotham’s books!

Hi everyone!  Yesterday I reviewed Susan Higginbotham’s newest novel, Hugh and Bess.  Check out my review here.  Today I’m going to give away BOTH of Higginbotham’s books.  Not only will I give away my gently used ARC of Hugh and Bess, but I also have a brand new copy of Higginbotham’s first novel, The Traitor’s Wife, to go along with it.  One lucky winner will receive both books.

To be entered to win, all you need to do is leave me a comment on this post telling me why you’d be interested in reading these books.  PLEASE do not just say, “enter me”.  I’m really interested in what makes you want to win!  I will go ahead and throw in an extra entry for anyone who blogs or twitters about the contest, just please tell me if you do.  I’ll leave the contest open for two weeks, so it will close on Monday, August 24th and I will draw a winner on Tuesday or Wednesday of that week.  Thanks for playing, everybody!

Winners of Sunnyside Blues

My apologies, I had planned to draw for the winners of Sunnyside Blues on Sunday night and unfortunately it sort of slipped my mind until now.  The winners are:

Belinda and Jason!

I have emailed both winners and am expecting to forward their info onto Ms. Carter asap so that I can get the books out.  If for some reason I do not hear from either of them in a week, I will pick a replacement.