Archive for August, 2013

A Little Help For a Good Cause

I don’t usually post many personal things on this blog, nor do I try to spend much time advertising my etsy site, but I’m going to do both today in order to help out my family.

Over the summer, my sister-in-law and brother-in-law hosted a teenage boy from an Eastern European country.  Due to  regulations with the country and agencies, I can’t go into more detail about which country.  However, in this particular country, during the summer, orphanages shut down.  The government pays to send them to “camps” where only their most basic of needs are met.  The organization through which my family hosted this boy tries to pair the school aged children with families around the world who will care for them and show them what it’s like to have a loving family, rather than being sent to these camps.  These are children in the system who are the least likely to ever be adopted due to their ages.  They’ll stay in the system until they come of age (at a much younger age than in the US) and then be put in whatever trade school the orphanage chooses for them.  The trade school dorms are often violent and dangerous.  After aging out of the system, these children have a pretty grim future.  According to the statistics I’ve seen, only 25% will end up with stable employment.  Roughly 2/3 of the girls will end up in prostitution.  Approximately 2/3 of the boys will end up turning to crime.  1 in 6 of all the children end up committing suicide.

Now is the part where I ask for help.  After hosting this boy, my sister-in-law and brother-in-law fell in love with him.  He became a part of the family, a real son to them.  They’re now trying to adopt him permanently.  Adoption is something very close to my heart, as I was adopted.  I was lucky enough to get a wonderful family when I was only a few weeks old.  This boy wasn’t that lucky. He’s spent most of his life in the orphanage, but he’s finally found his family. However, they have a large sum of money to raise to do this and only a few months to do it before he ages out.

To help with that cost, I’m hosting a fundraiser for them through my etsy site. I’ve created some special prints to sell. All proceeds from the sale of these prints will go towards their adoption costs. Additionally for the month of September the money from ALL items in my store will go to them. This includes custom work.

So, please, check out the items and help them bring their son home.

To view the prints, click this link or click on the etsy mini below and look at the Adoption Fundraiser section. More items are coming soon.

 

Blog Tour and Giveaway: Cobweb Bride by Vera Nazarian

Today on the blog I’m participating in my very first blog tour! This tour also has a little extra something for all of you. Check out the rafflecopter at the end of this review to enter to win a copy of the book.

Cobweb Bride Review at Quintessentially Bookish

Release Date: July 15th 2013
Publisher: Norilana Books
Series: Cobweb Bride Trilogy (#1)
Pages: 293

Cobweb Bride

From the book jacket:

Many are called…
She alone can save the world and become Death’s bride.

Cobweb Bride is a history-flavored fantasy novel with romantic elements of the Persephone myth, about Death’s ultimatum to the world.

What if you killed someone and then fell in love with them?

In an alternate Renaissance world, somewhere in an imaginary “pocket” of Europe called the Kingdom of Lethe, Death comes, in the form of a grim Spaniard, to claim his Bride. Until she is found, in a single time-stopping moment all dying stops. There is no relief for the mortally wounded and the terminally ill….

Covered in white cobwebs of a thousand snow spiders she lies in the darkness… Her skin is cold as snow… Her eyes frozen… Her gaze, fiercely alive…

While kings and emperors send expeditions to search for a suitable Bride for Death, armies of the undead wage an endless war… A black knight roams the forest at the command of his undead father … Spies and political treacheries abound at the imperial Silver Court…. Murdered lovers find themselves locked in the realm of the living…

Look closer — through the cobweb filaments of her hair and along each strand shine stars…

And one small village girl, Percy—an unwanted, ungainly middle daughter—is faced with the responsibility of granting her dying grandmother the desperate release she needs.

As a result, Percy joins the crowds of other young women of the land in a desperate quest to Death’s own mysterious holding in the deepest forests of the North…

And everyone is trying to stop her.

Plot:

Death has lost his bride and, until she is found, he is refusing to continue to allow mortals to cross over.  This means that everyone that should die isn’t – not the dying grandma, the soldiers in battle, the murder victim, even the butchers pig.  This, of course, has dire consequences for the world.  To save everyone, all the young women in the land set out to find Death in the hopes that one will be his bride and restore the natural order.

Overall Thoughts:

I liked this book, but I really wanted it to be about 100 pages shorter.  The first part of the book really dragged for me.  Death makes his announcement in the first few pages and then the next 100 are basically spent saying “This person should be dead but isn’t and we’re all confused” in as many ways as possible.  Obviously, including this information and some background on each of the main storylines and characters is important, but it could have been done in a much more succinct manner. However, once I powered through that first section of the book, the rest of it flew by.  I was so engrossed in the story, I had the last 2/3 finished in less than a day.  Nazarian did an excellent job of smoothly weaving all the different storylines together to reveal the complete plot.  She also managed to navigate the tricky area of ending the book in a satisfyingly complete way while still leaving it open for the sequels.  This wasn’t a perfect book (there are a few areas that I found difficult to suspend my disbelief and a few character motivations that were a bit nonsensical), but it was a fun read and a good start to what will hopefully be a good series.

Characters:

There are many characters in this book, but by far my favorite was Percy.  She was really likeable and had a very unique voice.  I really enjoyed watching her come into herself and gain confidence despite the way her family saw her.

Setting:

I’m a big fan of alternate history fantasy stories.  This is an interesting take on Renaissance Europe.    We get a glimpse into how the government works in this particular realm and it lends a great backdrop to the story.  I’m hoping the political intrigue plays into future stories.

Writing Style:

Nazarian’s style of writing is an excellent fit for the story; it reads like a classic fantasy.   She maintains a distinct voice for each of the characters, despite them all being wildly different.  Her prose is very beautiful at times, but it’s also very easy to read.  Though it has a classic feel, it’s still appealing for a modern reader.

Extras:

This is a much different take on the Persephone myth.

Favorite Line:

 “Since the dawn of existence, you mortals have feared dying, feared the unknown and the pain of it, and yet, pain is a part of life, not death. And I—I am the first moment after pain ceases…It is life that fights and struggles and rages; life, that tears at you in its last agonizing throes to hold on, even if but for one futile instant longer… Whereas I, I come softly when it is all done. Pain and death are an ordered sequence, not a parallel pair. So easy to confuse the correlations, not realizing that one does not bring the other.”

Read This If You Like:

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Abandon by Meg Cabot

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

Giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Fiction Addiction Book Tours

 Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a review. I did not receive any compensation for this review. All opinions here are my own.

Find Vera Nazarian online: Goodreads // Facebook // Website

8 Books Every Woman in her 20s Should Read…Maybe

I’ve seen several lists of books women should read in their 20s floating around the internet lately.  Many of these lists include some great books that I have enjoyed, though many as a teen rather than an adult.  However, despite the aim of the lists, I just didn’t find the titles as relatable as someone in her 20s is apparently supposed to.  So many of these lists seemed to be aimed at the type of women who exist in tv shows like Girls or Sophie Kinsella novels.  It’s hard to find a list for those of us who are in a different place in life.  So, I put together my own.  Give it a read and maybe this will be the list for you…or maybe you’ll end up writing one of your own.

 

The secret Eater Review at Quintessentially BookishThe Awakening by Kate Chopin

Because you need to know who you are and what you want.

This is one of the first books that could unambiguously be described as feminist because it features a woman as a person in relation to the world, with wants and needs to be explored.  It deals with her struggle with who she is, what she wants, and what it takes to make herself happy, regardless of what others or society in general think is appropriate versus selfish.  It shows the importance of having a fulfilling life in your own right. Though we’ve come a long way since Chopin wrote it, women still face these questions.

 

 

The secret Eater Review at Quintessentially BookishDivine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells

Because you need good, solid, real female friendship.

Though this book is just as much about Sidda and Vivi’s relationship than anything else, the friendship between the Ya-Yas is what really shines.  They love each other fiercely and would do anything for each other.   As an adult, female friendships can seem so complicated to navigate, but we all need a reminder that friendship is worth it because even one good friend having your back can make life so much easier and more fun.

 

 

The secret Eater Review at Quintessentially BookishThe Red Tent by Anita Diamont

Because being a woman is a powerful thing, even when others try to make you forget it.

This is the story of Dinah.  Though mentioned only briefly in the Bible, Diamant has given her a full life.  Her early years are spent primarily in the company of women, her mother and aunts, where she learns about the traditions, connections, difficulties, and triumphs of being a woman.  Her story is not only her own, but that of the women who raised her.  The ribbon running through this story is the celebration of what it means to be a woman.

 

 

The secret Eater Review at Quintessentially BookishThe Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Because you shouldn’t take your freedoms for granted or stop fighting for those you don’t yet have.

My generation, those currently in their 20s, have grown up with more freedoms and opportunities than the generations before us and we did it without really having to fight for them.  It’s easy to take that for granted or think they’ll never go away, but The Handmaids Tale asks us to think about what would happen if they did.  Offred’s story reminds us to keep fighting for true equality and rights.

 

 

The secret Eater Review at Quintessentially BookishA Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

Because you should remember and hold on to the passion of youth.

As an adult, I love YA for it’s ability to remind me of a time when everything was more intense and confusing, but more exciting and wonderful in many ways, too.  As we grow up and find ourselves, things calm down but we also tend to lose the passion for life.  I could have chosen any YA for this, but Libba Bray is such a witty writer and young women can really connect to the story of Gemma figuring out who she is and where she fits in the world.

 

 

The secret Eater Review at Quintessentially BookishDevil’s Bride by Stephanie Laurens

Because you should figure out what you like and want from a partner.

Romance novels are often decried as harmful, anti-feminist, or drivel.  I disagree.  What you like in a book can teach you a lot about what you’d want from a partner. I prefer historical romances like those by Stepanie Laurens, but substitute this with whatever type of romance you want.  Read many and varied types, whatever kind you want, just do yourself a favor and read the quality ones.

 

 

The secret Eater Review at Quintessentially BookishThe Complete Poems by Emily Dickinson

Because being different can be a wonderful thing.

Emily Dickinson was eccentric, reclusive, introverted, and any number of other things a woman of her time shouldn’t have been.  She was also one of the most prolific and talented poets of any time.  Her verses explore themes and wonders of the world that you wouldn’t think possible from someone as secluded as she.  They also managed to be both beautiful and relatable to even the most ardent hater of poetry.

 

 

The secret Eater Review at Quintessentially BookishGunn’s Golden Rules: Life’s Little Lessons for Making It Work by Tim Gunn

Because class is always in style.

Tim Gunn’s golden rules are all very sensible and obvious, but they’re also things so many of us overlook.  He reminds us of these very simple ways for living a better life in his usual hilarious, adorable, and honest way.  These are good lessons for any woman, but sometimes you just need fabulous Tim Gunn to remind you.

 

 

 

What do you think, readers?  What are your must reads?

And, lest you think I forgot the guys, my friend Robi has graciously agreed to put together a list of books for men in their 20s that will be posted in the near future.

Link Round Up: July 2013

Book Ads: Steimatzky Makes Cool Posters For Reading

These are so clever! I wish I’d thought of it.

 

Jane Austen Bank Note Earns Huzzahs and Nitpicking

Jane Austen is going to be on England’s new £10 note as only the third woman ever to do so. It’s a great day for women and literature, but of course the trolls and misogynists are popping out in droves.

 

Why I Banned A Book

This academic librarian banned a book at his library to prove a point to the community that apathy towards censorship is dangerous.

 

And here are a few lists to enjoy…

YA Summer Reading: 17 Amazing Books To Get You Through September “

19 Book Cover Clichés

‘This Did Something Powerful to Me’: Authors’ Favorite First Lines of Books