Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wednesday Contest Report - March 31st

Even though I'm writing this on Thursday, I'm going to call this my weekly Wednesday Contest Report! Every Wednesday I begin a new post, detailing contests that I'm entering around the blogosphere for that week.  Some of these might appeal to you as well.  Take a look!

  • Today's Adventure is celebrating one year!  The accompanying giveaway is really nice! Lots of books, and even a Harry Potter blu-ray DVD!  Deadline is April 30th.  Here's the link:

  • Book Love Affair is celebrating 250 followers with a giveaway! The winner will be able to choose one of 10 book options, which are all books that have been found to be amongst the most creative in BLA's review history.  There's also a Book Depository choice option.  Deadline is May 8th.  Here's the link:

  • Tynga's Reviews is celebrating 600 followers with a free book under $10 from The Book Depository, and a really cute necklace to the winner!  Deadline is 4/24.  Here's the link:

      • Caitlin at the Written Word Review is hosting a Heist Society giveaway.  1st prize is a signed copy of Ally Carter's Heist Society.  2nd & 3rd place winners win signed 8x10 photos of Heist Society.  The deadline is April 12th.  Here's the link:

      Tuesday, March 30, 2010

      Book Review: Brigid of Kildare by Heather Terrell

      *          *          *

      I was initially drawn to Brigid of Kildare because of the amazing cover art.  I’m a lover of all things Celtic, and the design of this one was just amazing.  However, we should never judge a book by it’s cover, should we?  Upon reading the plot description, I was hooked.  As a Christian with Irish heritage, this was right up my alley.

      Brigid of Kildare combines truth from documented history, mysterious speculative fiction as seen in The Da Vinci Code and just a hint of romance.  Those interested in early Christian history would find this story fascinating.  I know very little of 5th Century Christendom, but reading this has shown me how much has evolved and remained the same over the centuries. 

      Changing perspective every chapter or so, the story is told in three motifs:

      • Brigid: the Life is told from the narrator’s point of view, in 3rd person present tense.  These chapters witness Brigid’s time as a child, her baptism by the beloved Saint Patrick and her decision to live a life in service to God.  Eventually her story line merges into the same timeline as:
      • The Letters of Decius, Roman priest and artistic illuminator of scripture.  His encounter is detailed in his personal writings over the course of a couple of years, beginning in 470 A.D.  These pages are later discovered and are a part of the research found in:
      • Present Day:  Told from the narrator’s point of view, in 3rd person past tense.  Alex Patterson, while appraising relics for the Catholic Church, becomes intrigued with the story of Brigid and goes on a quest to determine if a particular relic is the mysterious Book of Kildare, predating the famous Book of Kells.
      While this novel was not a thriller a la The Da Vinci Code, I found it to be very compelling.  Terrell’s writing enabled me to feel like I’d stepped back in time 1,500 years.  The struggles, beliefs and perspectives of each main character moved the story along, causing me to want to learn more and to see where the plot would lead. Each motif was told in a different voice and style, and I found myself constantly changing my preference for one over the other. 

      Kildare moves along and winds up the tale in less than 300 pages.  The plot and characters were well developed and I enjoyed my time with them.  There were some (but not all) elements of spirituality with which I could relate, drama in the plot that kept the pages turning, and a very small sprinkling of romance as well.  And while I may not agree with some of the more heretical beliefs of this abbess, I enjoyed meeting her and discovering the world she inhabited.  If what this book postulates is true, the Christian Church (Catholicism in particular) would have been very different today if Brigid of Kildare had not factored into its history.


      This book was provided by as a part of their Vine reviewers program. No other compensation for this review was given. Per Amazon's rules, I am not permitted to offer this book in a giveaway.  :(

      Sunday, March 28, 2010

      Contest Announcement - Winner of The Wives of Henry Oades

      Well, my contest instructions did say that only one entry could still make you a winner!  Congratulations to Karen K, who is our Wives of Henry Oades winner!  At right:  The draw with Sarah's #18 at the top of the list.  You can also view it on Twitpic.  Thanks to everyone for their support, especially Sarah who tweeted like crazy!  Stay tuned for my next giveaway, where I"ll be giving away $20 to spend at Barnes & Noble!

      Friday, March 26, 2010

      Wednesday Contest Report Continued

      *          *          *
      The last post was pretty long because of the NLT contest, so I thought I'd start another so the posts didn't get too long.  Here are some more contests going on around the blogosphere:

      • Reggie at The Undercover Book Lover is hosting a multi-publisher book giveaway.  She's got 7 sets of 3 books-- the winner gets their choice of prize pack.  Tentative deadline date is April 22nd unless she decides to extend it.  Here's the link:

      • Jess at Book Reviews by Jess is having a 400 Followers giveaway, and you get to pick your book prize! Deadline is 3/28 at Noon EST.  Here's the link:

      Wednesday, March 24, 2010

      Wednesday Contest Report - March 24th

      *          *          *

      Every Wednesday I begin a new post, detailing contests that I'm entering around the blogosphere for that week.  Some of these might appeal to you as well.  Check them out - this first one's pretty sweet!


      Click on the tab that says “Sweepstakes.”

      Fill out a simple form, take a quick Bible clarity survey, invite your friends to join and you’ll be entered to win one of our exciting prizes.  With each fan number milestone a new prize will be given away.

      Grand Prize
      Apple iPad 64G and a Life Application Study Bible
      Awarded when the NLT Fan Page hits the fifth milestone
      Retail Value: $829.00

      2nd Prize  - Already awarded
      32G iPod Touch and a Life Application Study Bible
      Awarded when the NLT Fan Page hits the fourth milestone
      Retail Value: $300.00

      3rd Prize – Will be awarded when fan count hits: 3500
      Kindle DX and a Life Application Study Bible
      Awarded when the NLT Fan Page hits the third milestone
      Retail Value: $489.00

      4th Prize Will be awarded when fan count hits: TBD
      Apple iPad 16G and a Life Application Study Bible
      Awarded when the New Living Translation Fan Page hits the second milestone
      Retail Value: $499.00

      5th Prize Will be awarded when fan count hits: TBD
      Apple iPad 32G and a Life Application Study Bible
      Awarded when the NLT Fan Page hits the first milestone
      Retail Value: $599.00

      Prize Eligibility
      Sweepstakes participants and winner(s) can be U.S. residents of the 50 United States, or residents of any country that is NOT embargoed by the United States, but cannot be residents of Belgium, Norway, Sweden, or India.  In addition, participants and winner(s) must be at least 18 years old, as determined by the Company. 

      Sweepstakes Starts
      March 17, 2010 @ 10:24 am (PDT)

      Sweepstakes Ends
      April 30, 2010 @ 10:24 am (PDT)


      Wait, there’s more!

      Visit for a chance to win a trip for two to Hawaii!

      Here are the details - Choose one of six passages of Scripture from the New Living Translation and consider:
      • How do these verses encourage you to know God better? 
      • What is God teaching you in this passage? 
      • How does this passage apply to your life?
      Submit your answer and you’ll be entered to win.

      Just for signing up: Everybody Wins! Win a Free .mp3 download from the NLT’s new Red Letters Project. It’s the dynamic, new presentation of the sung and narrated words of the Gospel of Matthew. You win the download just for entering! Or choose to download the NLT Philippians Bible Study, complete with the Book of Philippians in the NLT.

      Every day, one person will win the best-selling Life Application Study Bible!

      The grand prize: One person will win a fantastic trip for two to the crystal clear waters of the Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu’s North Shore in beautiful Hawaii.

      Visit for your chance to win!

      Good luck!

      Monday, March 22, 2010

      DVD Review: A History of Christianity

      *          *          *
      Sent to me for review by TBB Media, A History of Christianity is a 6-part DVD series produced by the BBC.  The program's host is Diarmid MacCulloch, Oxford scholar and lifelong student of Christian history.  I watched Disc 1, which details the earliest years of Christianity, beginning with Paul's taking the Gospel from Jerusalem to Rome.

      Diarmid is certainly well-educated, and his knowledge of Christian history seems to be quite vast.  And while he has his book knowledge, he seems to be genuinely excited about the subject he's discussing.  He presents the first years of Christianity in a factual way, in a manner that's enthusiastic but doesn't belie his own personal beliefs.  For all we know Diarmid could be a Buddhist, such is his presentation of the facts.  He seems excited, but not showing a certain bias either way.

      As a Christian, I found this production to be very interesting.  It really gives a glimpse at the breadth and scope of my faith's evolution and constancy over time.  This faith is shown in all it's glory and with it's warts as well.  Despite all the challenges we've had over the centuries, Christians have survived and flourished, even in the most unlikely places.

      This program would be excellent for academics, but I think it would also be helpful to many laypersons to see that Christianity is not a "Western" or "American religion".  True, western society and America have added their flavor to many beliefs and traditions, but at it's core, it all goes back to Jesus and the disciples.  And they weren't from Chicago, Illinois.  They were from the Middle East.

      As the BBC frequently does, the program has high production values and excellent cinematography.  In the disc that I viewed, there were no extra graphics, dramatizations or the like.  Only shots of things you would see today were shown.  Facts, simply facts.  No speculation, just showing the viewer what is out there for anyone to discover today.

      The next 5 discs have the following themes:
      • Program 2: Catholicism: The Unpredictable Rise of Rome
      • Program 3: Orthodoxy: From Empire to Empire
      • Program 4: Reformation: The Individual Before God
      • Program 5: Protestantism: The Evangelical Explosion
      • Program 6: God in Dock
      I think my only quibble with the production is for the lack of more than one set of subtitles.  Spanish is available, but I enjoy my English subtitles and find that I usually learn more by having them on.  They would also prove to be useful for the hearing impaired.  And those of other languages would probably appreciate their texts as well-- maybe add French?

      Overall, a big thumbs up to the BBC, and I hope to have the opportunity to view the remaining programs in this series.

      Thursday, March 18, 2010

      Book Review: Angel and Apostle by Deborah Noyes

      *           *           *
       Over the last few years I've become enamored with and entertained by the many Jane Austen sequels, spinoffs and retellings that have flooded the market.  When a pseudo-sequel of Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter came my way in the form of Deborah Noyes' Angel and Apostle, I was eager to discover where this story would lead.  No, Nathaniel Hawthorne is not Jane Austen, but like Jane he's a beloved 19th Century author who wrote multiple classic works.  An expansion on his vision was an intriguing concept to me.

      My initial reaction to Deborah's writing was that of enjoyment and admiration.  She adeptly captures the flavor of Nathaniel Hawthorne's style, yet without trying to totally mimic it or copy it.  Her writing is rich, poetic and is sometimes worth a pause to read again for savoring.  This is no Chick-Lit spinoff novel.  This is written in the style of literature.

      As many spoilers could be given in the summarization of this novel, I'll take care in what details I reveal. Suffice it to say, the entire tale is told from the perspective of Hester Prynne's illegitimate child, Pearl.  The story begins near the time period that ends The Scarlet Letter, 1649.  At it's conclusion, Pearl is a grown woman with an impish child of her own.

      I felt that Noyes' vision of what may have transpired in Pearl's life both during and after the conclusion of Letter was believable.  Characters and plot devices continue on paths that are either well-worn or are reasonable to assume.  Hester wallows in her shame and self-condemnation, transferring much disdain to Pearl.  Men are frequently callous, cruel and self-serving.  Hardship and death seem to be around every corner.

      While I admire Noyes' writing style and agree with the decisions she made in crafting the story, the book was hard to complete.  The plot was frequently dour, and there are few moments of mirth or levity to be found.  This may be true to Hawthorne's original work, but I didn't find it enjoyable or enticing.  In general I give Noyes high marks, but in the end I was glad to be done with this title and ready for something moderately optimistic.

      In the near future I'll be reading another book of this type, Hester by Paula Reed.  Both it and A & A will be offered in a Scarlet Letter prize pack giveaway after I post my review.  I hope Hester is a more enjoyable experience.  Regardless, in the meantime, my next read will be decidedly more lighthearted than Angel & Apostle.


      Wednesday, March 17, 2010

      Wednesday Contest Report - March 17th

      *                    *                    *
      Every Wednesday I begin a new post, detailing contests that I'm entering around the blogosphere for that week.  Some of these might appeal to you as well.  Check them out!

      • Catie at Book Bound is giving away a Princess for Hire prize pack:  The book, candy necklace and bookmark.  Deadline is April 21st.  Here's the link:
      • Lisa Desrochers is hosting a March Debut giveaway of debut YAs on her blog. The deadline is March 26th.  The books in the giveaway include: 

        Personal Demons
        by Lisa Desrochers
        Before I Fall
        by Lauren Oliver
        Forget Her Nots by Amy Brecount White
        The Line by Teri Hall
        The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
      Here's the link:

      • The Bookologist is holding a Mega International & Fantastic YA Box Contest.  A dozen YA books are up for giveaway.  Choose 1 set of 4 books out of 3 groups.  Deadline is April 26th.  Here's the link:
      • Beth at Maybe Tomorrow? is hosting a March giveaway.  The winner gets to choose a title from The Book Depository, worth up to $10 Canadian (~$9.89 US).  Deadline is March 31st.  Here's the link:

      Monday, March 15, 2010

      TLC Book Tour Stop & Giveaway - The Wives of Henry Oades by Johanna Moran

      *          *          *

      Welcome to the next stop on the TLC Book Tour for Johanna Moran's The Wives of Henry Oades.   Recently Johanna made an appearance at an independent retailer in my area, The Vero Beach Book Center.  Approximately 40 people were in attendance for the event, and we had a wonderful time getting to know Johanna.   Her lovely sister Karyn introduced her, describing Johanna when she was a child and her transition from flight attendant to published author.   Before taking questions, Johanna spoke for a few minutes, sharing with us her thoughts behind Oades, yet without offering any spoiler material.

      For the better part of an hour we peppered her with questions about her life, career, Oades and her next novel.  Among other details, she shared that she has a wonderful husband who brings her breakfast in bed every day, they exercise together in the morning, and then she spends much of her time doing research and writing.  Unlike some writers, she really enjoys the research process.  For her latest work, she is currently researching the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

      While she doesn’t usually have a Words Per Day goal as she’s writing (usually in bed, on the laptop), Johanna tends to finish a scene before taking a break from her manuscript.  For example, if a family in her novel is having dinner, her goal might be to get the meal finished and the characters ready for the next scene.  Sometimes she writes quite a bit in one day, and on other occasions she might only get one page written.  She doesn’t consider herself to be a prolific writer and likes to take her time with her craft.

      There are no current plans for a movie adaptation of Oades, but Johanna hopes that one day this might happen.  “From your lips to God’s ears,” she said in response to an attendant’s hope for a film.  I asked her who would have the lead role of Margaret, and she felt that Nicole Kidman would make a good casting choice.  If I remember correctly, Colin Firth would be her choice for Mr. Oades.

      After the Q&A time Johanna stayed for a little while, signing books and discussing things further with individuals.  She was very welcoming and kind, and I was pleased to meet her and accept her generous compliments regarding The Calico Critic.

      **CONTEST CLOSED - Winner: Karen K!!**

      While I was there I had her sign my ARC of The Wives of Henry Oades.  If after reading my review you’d like to have this copy, here are the instructions to enter my giveaway contest.  Be sure to read them carefully!

      • Leave a comment below; this counts as your entry.
      • Entries accepted until 11:59pm on Saturday, March 27th
      • Open to U.S. addresses only.
      • Make sure your posted comment includes your email address
      • I will compile the entries and the winner will be chosen by, so even one entry can make you a winner!
      • Should you win, I will contact you on Sunday the 28th.  Please take measures to ensure that my email will make it past your spam filters, lest you miss my message! ( You'll have 72 hours to respond before I pick another winner.
      • More information on the giveaway policies can be found on the Contact / Policies page.

      Bonus Entries (Please make note of your bonus entries in your comment(s)):

      • Follow the blog by clicking on the Google "Follow" button on my sidebar (old or new followers both get the bonus entry, just let me know you're following).
      • Follow me (@LHartness) on Twitter (Please tell me your @UserName).
      • Tweet about this giveaway on; be sure to use an URL to this contest in your tweet. You may do this as frequently as every 8 hours between now and March 27th.  For each tweet, please come back and post the direct URL link to that specific tweet, not just your @Username.

      For more information on The Wives of Henry Oades, visit Johanna's website for more historical details, a reader's guide and more!

      Thanks for stopping by, and good luck to the contestants!

      Sunday, March 14, 2010

      In My Mailbox - March 14th, Plus Contest Announcement!

      *      *      *

      Announcing the winner of the Double Trouble Giveaway:  Our follower Bhumi!   We've chatted in email, so their package will be mailed out soon.  Thanks to all the participants, and also to litFuse, which provided the complimentary copies of the books.

      If the Mailbox Monday post is not visible below, Click on Read more » to see this post in full-length form...

      Wednesday, March 10, 2010

      Wednesday Contest Report - March 10th

      *                    *                    *
      Every Wednesday I begin a new post, detailing contests that I'm entering around the blogosphere for that week.  Some of these might appeal to you as well.  Check them out!

      • La Femme Readers is having a huge YA Giveaway.  The deadline is April 15th.  Here's the link:
      • Kate at I Just Wanna Sit Here & Read is hosting a 25 Followers Giveaway, although she's up over 100 now!  One winner gets to pick a Book Depository title, another winner gets to pick from her book pile.  Deadline is March 26th at 12pm EST. Here's the link:
      • Stephanie at Curling Up by the Fire is celebrating her 50 followers (now over 70!) and is giving away any Book Depository title worth $20 or less.  Deadline is March 31st.  Here's the link:

      • Amelia at Imagination in Focus  is celebrating her 75+ followers and is giving away any Book Depository title worth $20 or less.  Deadline is March 16th.  Here's the link:

      • Khy at Frenetic Reader is giving away a copy of Incareron by Catherine Fisher.  I'm not sure what the deadline date is, but here's the link:

      Monday, March 8, 2010

      In My Mailbox - March 7th

      Welcome to In My Mailbox on The Calico Critic!  This weekly post reports the books and related materials that have found their way into my collection this week.  This meme is sponsored by The Story Siren and The Printed Page ("In My Mailbox"/"Mailbox Monday").  Thanks to any fellow participants who stop by The Calico Critic!  I'll do my best to get around to as many of your sites as I can this week-- leave a link!

      Here's what has arrived since February 28th:

      Sunday, February 28th - This came in the mail the day before, but as I'd been out of town, I received it today.  From The B&B Media Group came Good Game: Christianity and the Culture of Sports by Shirl J. Hoffman.  While I wouldn't consider myself to be a sports fanatic, I am a Christian who enjoys watching them from time to time.  It'll be interesting to see how many of Hoffman's conclusions I agree with.  My college hoops-fan husband is going to take a look, too!

      Tuesday, March 2nd - Thanks to the folks at Jane Austen Today, I won Marsha Altman's Pride and Prejudice Continues series, a three-book set. When they arrived, I was surprised at how substantial they were.  These are not slim titles that I could finish in one sitting.  I can't wait to dive in!

      Wednesday, March 3rd
      - Portal and matching bookmark, sent to me by author Imogen Rose.  I'm a sucker for time shift/alternate dimension stories.  This one is going to be fun!

      Brigid of Kildare
      by Heather Terrell for the Amazon Vine reviewers program, in a plain-Jane galley, sans this gorgeous cover art.

      The Devil and Sherlock Holmes - Galley from Random House/Doubleday

      Thursday, March 4th
      - Angelology by Danielle Trussoni for the Amazon Vine reviewers program.  I'm SO glad this one is in the "must read" pile, because I really want to get to it!  I have to review it for Amazon, otherwise it would just be in the "want to read" pile!

      Friday, March 5th
        -Thanks to the folks at, I won a copy of the BBC's  Emma on DVD.  When it aired recently, I taped it on my scratchy old VCR and I was going to watch it soon.  I'm so glad to have the superior DVD instead!

       An Altar in the World
      by Barbara Brown Taylor is a book I requested through my daily Shelf Awareness email.  I'd actually forgotten about it, so it was a treat when it came in.  The binding of the book was really nice for a paperback, which included a lovely card stock cover sleeve to slide over it, just like alot of DVD covers have these days.  So nice!

      Saturday, March 6th
      - I found a copy of The Haunted Bookshop by Christopher Morley in The Vero Beach Book Center's used book section.  Jane Greensmith turned me on to this title last year after she kept tweeting quotes from it.  After checking it out from the library several times, I decided that it was time to have my own copy.  Now, to finish it!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Wednesday, March 3, 2010

      Wednesday Contest Report - March 3rd

      Every Wednesday I begin a new post, detailing contests that I'm entering around the blogosphere for that week.  Some of these might appeal to you as well.  Check them out!

      • Laura at Laura's Reviews is giving away Helen Hollick's trilogy, The Kingmaking, Pendragon’s Banner and Shadow of the King.  The deadline is March 26th.  Here's the link:

      • Lions & Men is giving away a copy of Gregory Maguire's Son of a Witch.  The deadline is March 19th.  Here's the link:

      •  Tiger at All Consuming Books has a weekly giveaway, and this week she's giving away Heist Society and Battle Royale.  Winners will be drawn on March 9th.  Here's the link:

      • Lucy at Enchanted by Josephine is hosting a giveaway for Shadow of the King.  Deadline is March 13th.  Here's the link:

      Tuesday, March 2, 2010

      My First Guest Blogging Gig

      Well folks, no big posting for today.  I'm in the throes of getting all the products for this website posted, and it's taking a while.  I haven't read my books in days!

      However, I did manage to get a posting written this weekend, and it's up on Peace Love & Pat.  My first guest post!  If you're a geeky bookaholic like me, you might like this one.  If not, you'll think I'm just a geek/dork/odd bird.

      Since the post is technically a review (of 3 bookstores), I'm going to link it up with Cym Lowell's weekly meme.  So, Cym Lowell visitors, stop by Peace Love & Pat!


      While you're here, take a sec to enter the double-book giveaway we're running right now!

      Have a great week...



      Related Posts with Thumbnails