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Winners of To Beguile a Beast

Bookfiend, Belinda, and Telynor, you won To Beguile a Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt!  I will be emailing you shortly; if I haven’t gotten there yet and you’re impatient, feel free to email me at meghankk at gmail dot com.  Your books will be arriving directly from the publisher.

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Announcing my next giveaway: To Beguile a Beast, Elizabeth Hoyt

tobeguileabeastDescription via the publisher:

CAN A WOUNDED BEAST . . .

Reclusive Sir Alistair Munroe has hidden in his castle ever since returning from the Colonies, scarred inside and out. But when a mysterious beauty arrives at his door, the passions he’s kept suppressed for years begin to awaken.

TRUST A BEAUTY WITH A PAST . . .

Running from past mistakes has taken legendary beauty Helen Fitzwilliam from the luxury of the ton to a crumbling Scottish castle . . . and a job as a housekeeper. Yet Helen is determined to start a new life and she won’t let dust-or a beast of a man-scare her away.

TO TAME HIS MOST SECRET DESIRES?

Beneath Helen’s beautiful façade, Alistair finds a courageous and sensual woman. A woman who doesn’t back away from his surliness-or his scars. But just as he begins to believe in true love, Helen’s secret past threatens to tear them apart. Now both Beast and Beauty must fight for the one thing neither believed they could ever find-a happy ever after.

Thanks to the absolutely wonderful people at Hachette Book Group USA, I have 3 copies of this book to give away!  I haven’t read it yet, but I do have it in my possession and think it looks fantastic, and just a little outside the stereotypes (I’m beginning to love books with scarred heroes).  Just because I’m backed up with reviewing doesn’t mean you should have to wait!

To enter:

  1. Leave me a comment on this post telling me why you read romance.  If you don’t, tell me why you might like to give it a shot!
  2. For another entry, tweet or blog or both about this giveaway.
  3. If you’re a subscriber or if you’re a new subscriber, let me know for another entry.

Please leave a separate comment for each entry!  This giveaway will be open for three weeks, so I will be closing it on June 29th.  U.S. and Canada only, no P.O. Boxes please (sorry, publisher is shipping books and I don’t make the rules).  Good luck!

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Guest Blog & A Giveaway: Eleanor Bluestein on Why Short Stories?

Please welcome Eleanor Bluestein, the author of Tea and Other Ayama Na Tales, which I reviewed yesterday.  Today she’s here to talk about why she chose to write short stories rather than a novel.  Please give Eleanor a warm welcome and don’t forget to check out the giveaway at the bottom of this post!

Meghan suggested I discuss why I chose the short story format rather than the novel for this book. I’ve been asked that before, and I realize now that I’ve given only a partial answer.

I started this book after traveling to Bangkok to attend my nephew’s wedding. On that trip, my husband and I toured Thailand and then flew to Cambodia. I hadn’t considered writing fiction set in South East Asia—I was working on a novel at the time—and didn’t even take notes. Writing a novel requires keeping many threads aligned, but soon after returning home, my father became ill, and as the person responsible for his care, I needed and wanted to spend time with him. My attention became scattered and I kept dropping one or another of the novel’s threads, so I decided to try writing short stories instead. My recent travels had been vivid, and when I started the first story, I found myself setting it in South East Asia. This is the answer I’d given to the question and it is accurate as far as it goes.

It’s clear to me now that something else was also at work. Fiction is an invention, and there is some sleight of hand involved in drawing readers into a world the author devises and into characters’ lives and holding them there. Of the ten stories in Tea and Other Ayama Na Tales, only one is written from the point of view of an American. The rest are narrated by South East Asians. I would not have thought I could create a world a reader would believe in with such an exotic setting or write from a South East Asian point of view for an entire novel. I would have believed that world and those characters too different from the one I knew, culturally and historically, for the work to feel true. But I was willing to risk that I could pull it off for a short story. I don’t mean that this was conscious—it wasn’t. But it seems obvious, looking back, that I could commit to baby steps, not the entire marathon. One at a time, though, the stories piled up, and finally, I’d run the whole course.

Could I have done this book as a novel? Perhaps. I’m not sure, but I don’t think I ever would have tried. The processing of the travel, the imaginative leap into a world and culture so different from my own, probably would never have occurred. Among the many opportunities my father made possible for me, this, it turns out, was another one.

Thank you, Meghan, for the opportunity to share these thoughts with your readers.

***

Thank you for that great post, Eleanor!

And now, the giveaway!  I have one copy of Tea and Other Ayama Na Tales to give away to a resident of the US or Canada.  To enter:

  1. Leave a comment on this post telling me either why you’d like to read this book, commenting about Eleanor’s guest post, or recommending me another short story collection, since I liked this one!  That is your first entry.
  2. For another entry, leave a comment on yesterday’s review post after you’ve entered here first.  If you already commented, please mention it in your comment here, that still counts.
  3. For a third or fourth entry, tweet or blog (or both!) about this contest.  Make sure to come back with the link in a separate comment so I can count you again.

The contest will end on Wednesday, May 13th.  I’ll announce the winner on May 14th.  Good luck!

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Quick reminder …

 the heretic queen

Last day to enter the giveaway for two signed copies of The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran!  See here for details.

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Giveaway Reminder!

Today is the LAST DAY to enter to win Paul of Dune.  I’ve only got four entrants, so your chance of winning is very high right now.  Head here to check it out.

I’m also running a contest for two signed hardcover copies of The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran.  I loved this book; you might too!  See here for details.

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Review: The Heretic Queen, Michelle Moran

the heretic queenI tried not to, but I had really high expectations of this book.  I particularly enjoyed Nefertiti and everyone who got The Heretic Queen before me reported that it was even better.  It’s very hard to tamp down excitement in that circumstance!  So I waited with anticipation and when it finally came and I had finished my previous read, I read The Heretic Queen in less than 24 hours.  It was just that good.

Nefertari has no family beyond her nurse, Merit.  She is a royal princess from a family of heretics, even though her parents never worshipped Aten like her aunt and uncle.  As such, the prejudice against her is immense, and outside of her friends Asha and Ramesses, Nefertari feels very alone.  The public hates her for being Nefertiti’s niece.  When Ramesses is crowned Pharaoh alongside his father and takes a wife, Nefertari realizes how she feels about him, and that she must contest the emerging political schemes against her in order to secure her place in the Egyptian world – by Ramesses’s side, queen of the kingdom.

I loved this book!  Nefertari was a wonderful character and it was very easy to feel for her and be on her side throughout.  She is intelligent, determined, honest, and resourceful, character traits that many of us can identify with.  The political scene was complicated in some respects, especially regarding the past, but I wasn’t confused and they served to heighten the tension throughout the story.  Nefertari’s relationships with her friends, her tutor, her nurse, and even her feelings towards the family she never knew are drawn clearly and genuinely.

Furthermore, the author’s research is clearly extensive.  She slips in so much historical detail without ever dragging down the story.  As I’m reading, I can envision the outfits, the wide expanses of desert, the ships, the court, and people’s faces, right down to their eyeliner, and I am very bad at visualizing when I’m reading.  I feel that I haven’t just read a great work of historical fiction, but that I’ve actually learned something and I’m inspired to go out and read more about ancient Egypt. Michelle Moran has really brought this culture to life for me with her splendid historical novels.

I would definitely, definitely recommend this one.  It takes two books for an author to hit my favorites list, and I can say that Michelle is without question on the list; this book surpassed my expectations and I am anxiously awaiting her third novel!

Finally, I am happy to announce that I have two signed hardcover copies to give away! To enter, leave a comment on this post first. For an additional entry, post about this giveaway on your blog and come back with a link. The contest will be open until Friday, November 7th and I’ll announce the winners the next day.  The contest is open worldwide.

If you’re too impatient to try your luck, buy this book on Amazon.

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A little promotion and a future giveaway: Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy

As you probably all know by now, I loved the first two volumes of Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy and I’m very anxiously awaiting my ARC of the third, The Hero of Ages. This is one of the few instances that I regret being in the UK, because otherwise I’d have read it a week ago!

Anyway, in lieu of my review, which will be here directly after the book I expect, here’s a new book trailer for the series featuring Brandon talking about why his fantasy series is different and what’s next for him:

Interested? You can also hear Brandon talk and have him sign your book on his book tour! Here is a list of the tour dates and locations.

Buy Mistborn: The Final Empire on Amazon.
Buy Mistborn: The Hero of Ages on Amazon.

Come back soon – I’ll be hosting a giveaway of The Hero of Ages as soon as I read and review the book!

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Giveaway: Paul of Dune

Since I’m off in the UK for now, some review books are unavailable to me thanks to publishing laws and such things that I don’t really understand but accept.  Many of you are Americans, though, so today I am offering you a giveaway of Paul of Dune, the direct sequel to Dune by Frank Herbert.  Here’s the description offered up by one of my favorite publicists:

Continuing the groundbreaking Dune series, Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson bring us more about Paul Muad’Dib and his background, as well as what happened during the lost years between Frank Herbert’s Dune, and his second Dune novel, Dune Messiah. This novel showcases the first years of the God Emperor’s reign—the most requested story in the fan letters they receive—and chronicles Paul’s childhood. It is the Tor/Sci Fi Essential pick for September 2008.

Booklist notes, “Standing well enough on its own for Dune novices, it goes without saying that it’s must reading for established fans.”

Sound interesting? Great!  I have one request – that you write me a guest review when you’ve finished!  Since I can’t review the book, I want to make sure my readers hear about it and meanwhile mix up the voices around here.  How do you enter?  Just leave me a comment here.  The contest is open until October 31st and only open to US residents.  I’m sorry about that, but since I’m not sending it out (and can’t get it myself!) I have to follow the rules!

Good luck!

Don’t want to trust your luck? Buy Paul of Dune on Amazon today.

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YA giveaways from Bookish Ruth

I meant to post about Ruth’s giveaways days ago, because you can bet I want those extra entries to win these fantastic books.  She’s got three sets:

  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians 3 book set by Rick Riordan.  I’d never actually heard of these before, but they look great!
  • The Sally Lockhart mystery series by Philip Pullman.  I’ve been wanting to read these for ages, so you can believe I’ve got my fingers crossed …
  • Lastly, the first two Harry Potter books are up for grabs.  I haven’t entered this one because I already own and adore Harry Potter, but I suggest you do!

Head on over and enter!

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Giveaways

There are a ton of great giveaways going on in the blogging world right now.  Here are a few that I’ve chosen to enter:

  • As a celebration of her 100th review, The Literature Housewife is offering a fantastic 11 books to one lucky commenter, and runner up prizes of House and Home by Kathleen McCleary.  See here for details.
  • Michele, with only one “L”, is giving away 5 copies of Shoot the Moon by Billie Letts.  Leave a comment here to enter.
  • The bookworm is giving away two copies of Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler.  The post also has a great interview with the author.  Check it out here.
  • Kathy at Bermudaonion’s Weblog is giving away a copy of The Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson here.
  • Marcia at Up for Grabs is giving away a copy of Tears of the Desert in conjunction with Natasha’s September Reading and Blogging awareness campaign for Darfur.  See here for the book – each entry will earn a fifty cent donation.
  • At 1st Books: Stories of how Writers Get Started, Meg Waite Clayton is giving away copies of Matrimony by Joshua Henkin and Tomato Girl by Jayne Pupek, and an extra copy of The Wednesday Sisters to those who blog about the contest.  I’d love to read all three of these books.  You can find out how to enter here.

I’ll be adding more to this post as I come across them, so you’re welcome to keep checking back!

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