Thursday, October 28, 2010

Giveaway: The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova (ends 11/19)

Book Giveaway!

The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova is sitting on my shelf next to the rest of my personal favorites!

To celebrate the paperback release of The Swan Thieves, Hachette Book Group has generously offered to give away THREE copies to my readers!

Fill out the form below to enter.
Contest runs through: November 19, 2010
Contest only open to US and Canada
No P.O. Boxes, please.

In the meantime check out my review:

Review:  The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova


Reading Group Guide

Listen to an Excerpt

View the Video

Become a fan on Facebook

Podcast Interview from ALOUD at Central Library

Andrew Marlow, a psychiatrist, has a perfectly ordered life--solitary, perhaps, but full of devotion to his profession and the painting hobby he loves. This order is destroyed when the renowned painter Robert Oliver attacks a canvas in the National Gallery of Art and becomes Marlow's patient.

When Oliver refuses to talk or cooperate, Marlow finds himself going beyond his own legal and ethical boundaries to understand the secret that torments this silent genius, a journey that will lead him into the lives of the women closest to Robert Oliver and toward a tragedy at the heart of French Impressionism.

Moving from American museums to the coast of Normandy, from the late nineteenth century to the late twentieth, from young love to last love, THE SWAN THIEVES is a story of obsession, the losses of history, and the power of art to preserve human hope.


If you just can't wait to win, and want to purchase a copy for yourself, click one of the links below:

The Swan Thieves: A NovelThe Historianby Elizabeth Kostova (Author)The Swan Thieves: A Novel (Hardcover)

Review: The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova

An exquisitely written novel.

After an attempted attack on a painting in the National Gallery of Art, Robert Oliver, a middle aged artist, is admitted to a psychiatric hospital under the care of Dr. Marlowe. Oliver speaks little at their first meeting, and then not at all for a full year afterward. During that year, it is up to Dr. Marlowe to investigate why Oliver is there, what provoked his attack, and how he can help Oliver overcome his suffering. What Marlowe fails to realize is that he is about uncover a century old secret that drove Oliver to madness. Will it do the same to him as well?

Elizabeth Kostova, critically acclaimed writer of debut novel, The Historian, delicately weaves a story together that spans centuries and continents, all held together by the common thread of art. Kostova's descriptions of several works of art leap off the page. I was afraid that I would miss something of this novel because I am no expert in art history. With her guidance, the author walks us through the National Gallery, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and works from small towns in France, all the while giving the reader exactly the images we need without the desire to run to the internet for actual photos. Her words are art in and of themselves.

This is not a quick read, I warn you. It may take Kostova several pages to set a scene, but she moves the plot along by switching narrators and transporting us to and from the 19th century. About half way through the novel, I knew where the story would end up, but I wasn't completely sure of how Marlowe was going to find his way there. It was somewhat predictable, which made it difficult to turn the pages at times. As long as I held onto my patience and appreciated the beautiful writing, I was engrossed.

In a word, this novel is about obsession. I may not have been flying through the pages, and at one point was disappointed by the predictability, but after I finished The Swan Thieves, I found myself thinking about the novel in the car, at the gym, while cooking dinner, and picking up toys. In the end, I think I might be the one obsessed.

Book Extras:
The Swan Thieves at Hachette Book Group for exerpts, author interview and more.
Also visit Elizabeth Kostova's official website.

About the Book:
The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova
Publish Date:1/12/2010

About the Author:
Also the author of The Historian (2005) Elizabeth Kostova graduated from Yale and holds an MFA from the University of Michigan, where she won the Hopwood Award for the Novel-in-Progress.  Become a fan on Facebook.

FTC Statement: A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Review: Dangerous Neighbors by Beth Kephart

Beth Kephart is not afraid of writing fiction for young adults that makes them think, makes them feel and makes them wonder.

Dangerous Neighbors transported me to 1876 Philadelphia during the Centennial celebration.  The place and time were as much a part of this novel as the characters. 

The main character, Katherine, was charged with responsibility for her twin sister, Anna, a girl who always took unnecessary risks.  It was Katherine's job to keep Anna out of trouble, keep her safe.  Ultimately, Katherine loses her control of Anna when the girls grow up and Anna enters into a forbidden relationship with the baker's son.  Unfortunately, Anna never stopped taking risks, and it ended her.

Katherine's character was so complex, struggling with forgiveness, hope, redemption and shame.  The one character I wanted to spend more time with, and wished there were another 100 pages to read if only just for him, was William.  I can't talk about William without ruining the book, so just read it and see if you feel the same.
This book stayed with me and even though I read it back in August, I have no trouble recalling some of the scenes, as if I were actually there.  When simply thinking about a book can bring me back to a whole other place and time, and make me feel what I was feeling while I read it, it's a book to be cherished. 

How Beth Kephart managed to fit so much emotion into a brief 192 pages is astonishing.  Unfortunately, I had the ARC, which I am not supposed to quote, but her writing!  Oh my goodness, there are so many passages I marked, underlined, starred, and dog-eared.  Why only 192?  Because she didn't need 400 pages.  She's that good.

I have had the pleasure of corresponding with Beth, albeit briefly, and I am a loyal reader of her blog.  She is kind, and witty, and truly in love with what she does.  The book blogs exploded for Beth Kephart's novel The Heart is Not a Size, which made me sit up and take notice of this author.  Now I see why.  In short, she is a breath of fresh air, and Dangerous Neighbors will not be the last of her books I read.

Different from anything I have ever read before, Beth Kephart raises the bar on Young Adult novels. She proves that you don't need vampires and werewolves to capture this audience's attention, and bring them on a journey they will not soon forget.

Synopsis: (from Egmont)
It is 1876, the year of the Centennial in Philadelphia. Katherine has lost her twin sister Anna in a tragic skating accident. One wickedly hot September day, Katherine sets out for the exhibition grounds to cut short the haunted life she no longer wants to live.

Filled with vivid detail that artfully brings the past to life, National Book Award nominee Beth Kephart's DANGEROUS NEIGHBORS is a timeless and finely crafted novel about betrayal and guilt, hope and despair, love, loss, and new beginnings.

Book Extras:
Beth Kephart Blog
Beth's Books and Awards
Beth Kephart on Facebook

About the Book:
Dangerous Neighbors by Beth Kephart
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: EgmontUSA (August 24, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1606840800
ISBN-13: 978-1606840801

About the Author:
Following the publication of five memoirs and FLOW, the autobiography of Philadelphia's Schuylkill River, I've had the great pleasure of turning my attention to young adult fiction. UNDERCOVER and HOUSE OF DANCE were both named a best of the year by Kirkus and Bank Street. NOTHING BUT GHOSTS has just been released, and A HEART IS NOT A SIZE, which takes place in Juarez, will appear in March 2010. Please visit my blog:

*Disclosure:  I received an ARC of Dangerous Neighbors from Egmont USA (what great people!!) at BEA.  To be completely honest, I would have knocked someone down to get my hands on one of her books.  Luckily, I held my decorum in check, and patiently waited my turn.  Thank you, Egmont!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Deranged Stalker's Journal - Webisode #3

There are book trailers...and then there are Webisodes.  What's the difference?  Check out the latest Webisode of Stalker's Journal and find out. 

(Ladies, prepare to laugh your asses off.)

I'm not sure how Doug Bratton, the author/artist behind The Deranged Stalkers Journal of Pop Culture Shock Therapy, is going to top this one. 

Best.  Webisode.  Ever.

To see all Pop Culture's Webisodes, go to Pop Culture Shock Therapy's YouTube page.

Click below to pre-order The Deranged Stalker's Journal of Pop Culture Shock Therapy by Doug Bratton

If you have trouble viewing the video above, or you want to go directly to Pop Culture's You Tube page follow this link:

To get an idea of the vibe of Pop Culture Shock Therapy, you can also visit: 
Pop Culture Shock Therapy Website
Pop Culture on Facebook

I have had the privilege of getting a sneak peek at this book, and all I can tell you for now is that there is a whole lot of funny going on between the pages of The Deranged Stalker's Journal. Author and Illustrator   Doug Bratton is just *this* side of wrong, and I LOVED it! 

Attention Book Bloggers: If you would like to receive a review copy of The Deranged Stalker's Journal, feel free to contact me and I can hook you up!

The Deranged Stalker's Journal to Pop Culture Shock TherapyAbout the Book:
The Deranged Stalker's Journal to Pop Culture Shock Therapy by Doug Bratton
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing; Original edition (November 2, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0740799045
ISBN-13: 978-0740799044

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Review: Potato Chip Science by Allen Kurzweil and Son

My kids loved it.  I loved it.   Science made fun.  What's better than that?

Welcome to my first pictorial review...the only way I could possibly convey how much fun was packed into this bag of goodness is to show you.  ENJOY!

Potato Chip Science Arrives in the Mail

Here it is.  Potato Chip Science in a bag. 
 Science experiments packaged in a potato chip bag, 
how's that for great marketing?

The 8 Year Old Opens the Bag

The 8 Year Old Checks Out What's Inside

What's the Tube For?  We'll find out.

Here are all the supplies that come in the bag.

Checking out the Contents page.  29 Experiments to choose from. Which experiment to do first??
Uh oh.  He needs potatoes. *doh*  I'm a rookie. 

We have potatoes!

The 8 Year Old wants to make a potato clock.
The 6 Year Old is fascinated by the whole thing too!
(I think he's also hoping for a snack)

The First Time didn't work.  He read the directions again, we talked about circuits and positive and negative charge.  He learned more by failing the first time around!

Now he's got it! 

The clock works! 

Since we received Potato Chip Science, we have completed several of the experiments, using all sorts of materials, many of which were lying around the house (scissors, paper towels, straws, tape, pencil, etc.).  We have had some great lessons on chemistry, electricity, the physics of air pressure, and earth science.  Unfortunately, I've had spud crud plaguing my kitchen for a few weeks, but it was a small sacrifice in the name of science!!!

Not only was my 8 Year Old able to do these experiments himself, but my 6 Year Old was right in there helping and learning right along with him.   The Propulsion Pipe on page 58 was his favorite! 

Propelling potato chunks across Mom's kitchen, and I won't get in trouble?!?  AWESOME!!!!

I HIGHLY recommend this kit for any kid, whether they like science or not.  When kids are manipulating objects, using their hands and their minds, and making a mess - they're not only learning, they're having fun too!

Great for your kids, other kids, GIFTS for the holidays.  Loved it!!  Huge fan!! 

*Many, many thanks to Workman for sending us a bag for review. 

Book Extras:
Workman Publishing (I am in awe of how much cool stuff they have - if you're looking for gift ideas, or something for your kids to do in the car on the way to Grandma's house this holiday season, check out their website!)

About the Book:
Potato Chip Science:  29 Incredible Experiments by Allen Kuzwell and Max Kurzwell
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 96 pages
Publisher: Workman Publishing Company (September 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0761148256
ISBN-13: 978-0761148258

Potato Chip Science: 29 Incredible ExperimentsThe Book of Totally Irresponsible Science: 64 Daring Experiments for Young ScientistsScience Experiments You Can Eat: Revised Edition

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Teen Read Week: 2010 Top Ten

The 2010 Top Ten Books have been announced by the YALSA:
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

Heist Society by Ally Carter

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Fire by Kristin Cashore

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games)City of Glass (Mortal Instruments)Heist SocietyShiver (Wolves of Mercy Falls)Hush, HushBeautiful CreaturesAlong for the RideIf I StayFire (Graceling)Wintergirls
Pin It
© copyright 2009-2013 Alison's Book Marks, a Book Marks Media, LLC production

Alison's Book Marks has an affiliate relationship with IndieBound and Amazon.
Blog Widget by LinkWithin