I have a new bloghop today just for book bloggers and it looked like fun so I am passing it on. Those of you who read me often know this month is my February I Heart Books Event and I am giving away a lot of great goodies. Today I am also giving away a $25 Chapters/Indigo gift code.
Mandatory (To Win:) Canada Only
1. Follow me – thriftymommasbrainfood -on GFC at side of blog.
2. Follow me – thriftymommastips – on GFC side of that blog here http://www.thriftymommastips.blogspot.com/
3. Tell me what you might buy with it and leave me your email address.
1. Extra two entries for following me on twitter @inkscrblr
2. Extra two entries for tweeting this or something like it: “Canadians can win a $25 gift card to Chapters/Indigo from http://www.thriftymommasbrainfood.blogspot.com/”
I will draw for this one on Feb. 22. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Jane and The Raven King is by Stephen Chambers, Sourcebooks, Jabberwocky, published last month Dec. 2010, $6.99 US and $8.99 Canadian, paperback, 256 pages.
My full written review is at New York Journal of Books.
This one gets five $$$$$ out of $$$$$. We thoroughly loved this character and her quest to save the world. Great strong plot and compelling adventure fantasy fiction for ages nine to 12.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Follow along today and make some new friends. Also for those who are new come and see my giveaway over at http://www.thriftymommastips.blogspot.com/ Stress Free Kids has offered a 3 CD set of Indigo Dreams and Indigo CDs for relaxation and anxiety, sleeplessness and a variety of other children’s issues. Happy Reading!
Hey all, this one is a giveaway too, so don’t forget to read to the end to enter. Picture Perfect is one of my fave author, Jodi Picoult’s, earlier books. As I am steadily working my way through every novel she has ever written I felt the need to read and review this one recently. It isn’t the grabbiest or most topical of all Picoult’s books, but the slight parallels to a certain A-List Hollywood celebrity couple made it relevant and interesting to me.
At the start of this novel is a mystery. A half-dead woman is found in a cemetery. Her head is wounded. She is discovered by a grave and has no inkling how she got there or why she is there, nor does she know her name. A conflicted native American police officer takes her in and tried to help her find the truth. He calls her Jane and along the way, as he helps her to find out about her history, he naturally falls for her romantically. Cassie Barrett is a world-renowned anthropologist when she meets the legendary Alex Rivers. (Think Brad Pitt with a mean-spirited side.) She has been hired by the movie he is working on to give technical advice. He sweeps her off her feet and she is easily charmed, but it is not long before his temper flares and she tries to make excuses. Soon a pattern of abuse is evident to have followed Rivers from his past and extended well into his future. It is a pattern Cassie believes she can cure. As in many Picoult novels a subtheme echoes and crosses through the main plot of the novel. The native American police officer Will pops in and out of the book weaving strong themes of nature and healing and aboriginal folklore. He is, in many ways Cassie’s saviour and a very strong character. Picture Perfect is the story of a couple who to the world and the media appear to be golden and yet, in reality, they are deeply flawed personalities that feed each other’s weaknesses. They are simply combustible together. This is a compelling story and it is, as usual really well written. Picoult is the author of many other novels, including The Tenth Circle, House Rules, Faith, Mercy and My Sister’s Keeper.
Picture Perfect is worth $$$$ out of $$$$$. It is published by Berkely, Penguin Group USA, 1995. $15 US and $18 Canadian.
I am giving away one copy of this novel. I will draw for the winner June 24th with random.org. Open to all US and Canada.
1. Leave a comment here indicating that you want to enter the giveaway. Tell me if you have read any other Jodi Picoult books and, if so, which was your favourite.
2. Follow me on twitter @inkscrblr.
3. Visit http://www.thriftymommastips.blogspot.com/ and leave a comment.
4. For an extra chance at winning follow me on GoogleFriendConnect.
If this book were a person it would be your rambling Uncle Reggie with all the skeletons in his closet, you know the relative with a genius level IQ and possibly undiagnosed schizophrenia, the guy that drank it all away and then showed up at Christmas to start a fight. Nobody really likes to be around Uncle Reggie, because he reminds them how fragile the balance of mental health and life, but in reality at the end of the day when you are quiet with just your thoughts, even you have got to admit that Uncle Reggie is far more interesting than all the rest of your relatives combined. At the start of Even The Dogs, is the death of a homeless man, Robert, a person found on a day between Christmas and New Year’s inside an abandoned apartment building. The fictional story that arises out of this sad event is more real than most. What follows is a makeshift eulogy, a strange remembrance of the pitiful man who died, as told by his friends and acquaintances. The key here is the friends and acquaintances. They are each homeless addicts living on the fringes of society, drugged and searching for drugs, drying out and then checking into rehab and then relapsing again. Their remembrances are heartfelt to be sure, but also dreamy, nebulous, frantic, rushed, interrupted, disjointed, confused, urgent, pressured and half forgotten. “Had to find someone and tell them was all he could think. Had to find Laura and let her know, had to find Mike.” We are told Robert had a daughter named Laura and her father’s friends speculate where she might have gone, until the end of the novel when she is forced to reveal, at an inquest, that she abandoned her father to score drugs.
Even The Dogs is an odd novel at first to get into and slightly off-putting with strange use of punctuation and rambling sentences and the continuous use of the pronoun “we.” And yet, if you stick with it and invest yourself fully, by the end of the book all of these stylistic devices truly make sense. In fact, not unlike a drug, when you let this novel fully wash over you, the brilliance of it hits and you are left in awe. Jon McGregor’s latest tale appeared with much advance praise and buzz about the Booker prize and yet it is a difficult read. It is one of the more deceptive reads I’ve been given lately for review here at brainfood. The style is very evocative of the Virginia Woolf school of stream-of-consciousness and this reminded me a great deal of some of the duty reads from university English literature classes of years gone by. At first it left me cold and then I realized that was partly the point. You are supposed to feel hot and cold about the topic matter at hand and the death of a homeless drunk is really not poetry to most. He will be given a pauper’s funeral and his friends wonder at the sadness and hopelessness at the end of this lifeMcGregor is a stylist of the highest calibre and a writer’s writer for sure. Here we will find sentences paused mid-thought, punctuation dropped or forgotten, mishmashed grammar and rambling odd rants about life on the street. McGregor’s characters have strong voices and his talent for dialect is nothing, if not realistic. McGregor has also written If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things and So Many Ways To Begin. He has won the Somerset Maugham Award and The Betty Trask Prize. He was born in Bermuda and now lives in England.
thriftymommastips rating $$$$ out of $$$$$
Not for everyone, but realistic, highly intelligent and brave writing.
Bloomsbury USA New York, 2010, $17.50 Canada. $14 US.
Many will recall Facts of Life star Lisa Whelchel from the truly popular hit show of the 80s. They might have even watched the cast reunion show, but lesser known to many is the fact that she is a Christian author with many publications to her credit. I was asked to review Friendship For Grownups: What I Missed and Learned Along The Way and was pleasantly surprised by the writing and the author herself . Whelchel speaks candidly of being a child star, moving from her native Texas at the age of 12 to Hollywood where she grew up fast and went on to superstardom as Blair in The Facts of Life. Her first appearance on The New Mickey Mouse Club launched her early childhood career, a career that actually began as an outlet for an overly shy bookish, introverted, child. Not so surprisingly Whelchel missed some key developmental stages in her life as a result of diving headlong into acting so early. This she examines in a calm and matter of fact way to indicate why she headed down this path that led her to write this book. It is a tone that remains constant throughout the book, never maudlin or self-pitying, just a simple fact of her life. This is an admirable quality. When Whelchel was young, she moved to Hollywood and life was essentially suspended while she acted. When The Facts of Life ended, Whelchel’s career came to a halt. Years later, as a homeschooling mother and a pastor’s wife, she realized she had few true friends as a grownup, a glossy superficial veneer preventing her from attaching too deeply to anyone. This book is a really insightful look at the process of working through that veneer allowing vulnerability and growth into your life. Whelchel smartly touches on several key issues with women’s friendships that often prevent women from being genuine in friendships. This is an enjoyable and telling portrait of life in Hollywood from a young age and how Whelchel grew up, learning from her mistakes. There are some truly delicious bits here that all women will relate to, including the gossipy nature of women’s friendships that keep us from working in a truly supportive and collaborative way with each other. She notes her longtime friendship with Nancy McKeon, who played Joe on the hit show, as one of her greatest takeaways from her time acting. She also delves into some of the darker sides of fame that she personally experienced. For instance at an age when puberty began to make the child star gain weight, she was forced daily to endure the humiliation of a weigh in prior to each day of shooting. Others might call that abuse, but Whelchel simply refers to it as something she felt at the time that she deserved. With therapy and the help of friends, she comes to realize how all of these prior experiences led her to create a wall around her that prevented her from being in a true friendship. Friendship For Grownups is a nice read and a smart look at vulnerabilities in female friendships.
Friendship For Grownups, Lisa Whelchel
Thomas Nelson publsihers, 2010, USA, $21.99 US.
Thriftymommas rating $$$$ out of a possible $$$$$$ or 4 out of 5.
Insightful and heartfelt.
Thriftymommastips does not get paid to review books, but receives a free copy of the book from the publisher.
To enter this giveaway you need to do three things:
1. Leave a comment here with your email address stating that you want to win Friendship For Grownups.
2. Follow this blog. See sidebar.
3. Follow @inkscrblr on twitter. Or let me know if you already follow me.
Good Luck. I will draw for this with the help of random.org on May 28th.
He found true love, tried out 52 different jobs and, along the way took the temperature of an entire generation, kickstarting a one-week job empire. Sean Aiken, author of The One-Week Job Project spoke with thriftymomma last week about the U.S. release of his book this coming week and a summer job project like no other. From firefighter to yoga instructor. From cowboy to fundraiser, Sean Aiken has tried it all. Aiken is author of The One-Week Job Project and a media sensation. In one year Aiken, a recent college graduate from Port Moody, B.C. tried on as many hats as possible in search of a career that sparked his passion. His idea attracted attention from around North America. “When I first started this project I thought I was alone in this search,” Aiken told thriftymomma. But Aiken quickly learned the topic hit a nerve and legions of fans understood the universal search for a career they were passionate about. This week Random House publishes his book in the United States. This month I had the pleasure of reading the story, a fun, light and, at times, philosophical look at life and the relationship we have with our career and our colleagues. The year he spent examining himself and his own passions led him to employers who were self obsessed and those who were selfless, those who tirelessly worked for non profits raising funds to help cure cancer and those who promoted films pompously self inflated and egomaniacal. There are numerous excellent glimpses into really interesting career paths. Aiken recalls some of his favourites: “My answer changes. I really enjoyed being a park ranger in Hawaii and a real estate agent.” In the book, his fondness for Steam Whistle Brewing, a microbrewery, in Toronto makes this one of the highlights. Clearly this employer has a knack for treating employees right and a reputation for knocking off work at 5:30 and rounding up the crew for a trip through downtown Toronto on the Steam Whistle party bus. Throughout the book the media attention Aiken attracted first shocked him and then became a little too familiar. He chronicles the trials of keeping up with the media requests and the dangers of falling into a trap where you begin to believe all of the hype created by the image machine. Early in his travels Aiken attracted a sponsor and was fortunate to be able to have this unique quest funded in part by NiceJob. Along the way he met a girl named Danna, from Toronto, who endures the lengthy separations and ups and downs of the bizarre year. Thriftymomma wanted to know if Danna and Sean were still together and readers will be glad to know they are happily living in B. C. Later on in the book Sean’s mother is diagnosed with cancer causing him to question whether he can finish the journey or not. But Aiken clarifies his mother is well now. “I could definitely see myself teaching at some point,” says Aiken. “For now I am really enjoying giving the talks. It has been so rewarding to have so many students come up to me afterwards and say how much the book resonated with them.”
This book, blog and web site, http://www.oneweekjob.com/ are all very entertaining.The book is excellent for anyone contemplating a job change or searching for a career. It would be a lovely graduation gift for a high school or university student. On the One-Week Job site a new project, which is a mini version of the book, has been spun off into a contest starting this summer. The winners net $3,000 to try out 8 different jobs, hopefully finding their passion in the process. Entrants must be 18 years of age. Each individual will sculpt their own path and line up their own series of jobs to try out. Interest has been very good so far, he notes.
The One-Week Job Project, Penguin Canada, 2010, 288 pages, $19.
To be released in the U.S. next week Random House.
Thriftymommastips rating $$$$$ out of $$$$$. Highly entertaining and informative. Enjoyable and insightful. Thriftymomma doesn’t receive compensation for her reviews, instead publishers send one free copy for review.
1. How did the idea for the series come about?
Jill Bobula: “Our children’s series, WE ARE POWERFUL, came about because of a number of reasons. One of the main reasons was that my son was identified with Tourette Syndrome just shy of his 7th birthday. Before that, we didn’t have a clue what he had even though we had visited a number of health professionals including a neurologist, psychologist, psychiatrist, and the list goes on and on. Our son, Spencer, not only has Tourette Syndrome, he is also affected by obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety, depression, ADHD and he has a sleeping disorder. I think the mere fact that he has so many conditions may have confused many people. The truth is that many children with Tourette Syndrome also suffer from co-morbidity disorders (ADHD and OCD the most common). In the end, through nutrition (vegetables, fruits, gluten-free, casein-free foods, fish, chicken, lamb), fish oil and supplements, we were able to control his behaviour (quite an extraordinary feat I must say). But through this experience, my sister Katherine and I realized there were very few resources available for children. And the stigma – the stigma attached to children’s mental and neurological conditions is unbelievable and heartbreaking. We want these children to know they’re not alone. There are parents who refuse to obtain treatment for their children because they don’t want to admit something is “odd” about their child’s behaviour. There are those parents who feel ashamed and do nothing. There are parents who feel it’s a big secret and don’t want to talk about “it”. It’s so very sad. 1 in 5 children in Canada and United States are affected by a mental and neurological condition. It’s time we created an environment of acceptance, tolerance and ofcourse, understanding. Not all educators are taught about these conditions, nor are they given the skill set to deal with affected children. We hope through our books to teach children, parents, educators, society in general, about these conditions and hopefully, create a paradigm shift in how we think and behave towards those who are affected.
2. How many books you now have?
Jill: “We currently have 5 of 8 out on the market. Our 6th book, Anxious Annie, The World’s Greatest Thinker, Anxiety & Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is in production right now.”
3. It’s both you and your sister who write together, correct?
Jill:”That is correct. We collaborate rather nicely for siblings. She’s my oldest sister so I have to listen to her otherwise I get in trouble… No, it’s not difficult at all. The good thing about being sisters is we can be honest with one another without fearing we’ll hurt the other’s feelings.”
4. How did you find your illustrator?
Jill: “We could easily have had an illustrator who does his work on the computer – in other words, computer generated animation. But we wanted children to know that hand-drawn art was still something we valued (children are bombarded with computer-generated everything…). An old friend of ours, Rob Hall is an engineer with 3 kids and a very busy schedule. We knew Rob liked to draw and we asked him if he would be interested in drawing for our books. He jumped at the chance.
5. Why did you choose FASD?
Jill: “Katherine does a lot of consultative work and she has come across many families affected by FASD. I believe the prevalence is 1 in 100 children (same as Tourette Syndrome). FASD is also preventative. The more people know about the condition and its consequences, the less likely women might choose to drink during pregnancy.”
6. What do you hope children get from Forgetful Frankie?
Jill: “We think Frankie can teach affected children that they’re not alone. With this train of thought, we want children who do have FASD to feel as comfortable as possible with what they have and to know that they are worthy of love, support and respect like anyone else. Forgetful Frankie will be able to teach children about the condition so that when they’re at school, in their neighbourhoods or in the park, and they see someone behave a certain way, they may realize there’s a reason and not be so quick to judge other children. We want parents and educators to know there are ways of working and living with a child who has FASD. Generally, Frankie can help spread the word about FASD. Everyone needs to know what Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is and what it represents.”
7. What is Wildberry Productions?
Jill: “Wildberry Productions is our company which sells the books. Our last name is Bobula which in Slovak means berry (raspberry, blueberry, strawberry, etc). I was the Wild one in the family hence the Wildberry Productions.”
8. Is this book widely available elsewhere – Indigo. Amazon?
Jill: “These books are available on Amazon. Some books are available at Indigo. We also sell them at our website http://www.wildberryproductions.ca/
9. Thriftymommas Q:
What would you like everyone to know about FASD?
Jill: “It’s a neurological condition that affects children in a variety of ways; cognitive, physical and emotional impairment and/or delays. There are some very positive ways of working and living with children who have FASD. There are also co-morbidities associated with FASD which may complicate things a bit as well. Overall however, I think people need to understand that FASD is a condition which affects children. We, as parents, educators and the community at large have a responsibility to provide an environment that’s conducive to understanding, tolerance, acceptance, support and plenty of love.”
16. Any other comments or thoughts?
Jill:” We love doing what we do. If we can change the lives of children and make their days that much easier, it’s all worthwhile. I hear what the books have done for children and it makes me proud. I know what I lived with for 7 very long years. I don’t think anyone should have to go through that and hopefully, the books bring a ray of light to families everywhere.”
Thanks very much.
Jill: “And thank you!”