Black Friday Book Bonanza Giveaway

Click on the Rafflecopter Link Below to enter to win these three YA books.  All are signed by the authors. Vengeance Road is a signed book plate. They are hardbacks. Iron Trial and Vengeance Road are in excellent shape and would make great Christmas gifts.  Girl Against the Universe is in used condition.

Contest runs from Friday November 25th through November 28th. US ONLY!

The hosts for this event are Marlene @ Reading Reality and Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

Black Friday Hop

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CLICK HERE FOR RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY!!!

Good Luck!

Be sure to check out the other GIVEAWAYS.  Happy Blog Hopping.

Tell Me Tuesday

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Tell me Tuesday is a weekly feature put on by La La in the Library where we talk about what we have been reading, what we are reading and what we will be reading and why. So check out our blogs and let us know!

Currently Reading

I am a huge fan of HGTV’s show, Rehab Addict, starring Nicole Curtis who has recently written a memoir.  She is doing a book tour and unfortunately not stopping near my home town.  However, she was stopping very close to where my aunt Mary Beth lives so she went for me. My aunt said the event had 800 people but Nicole Curtis talked to everyone of them who got a book signed.  I loved the inscription Ms. Curtis wrote in the book because my aunt IS fabulous!

Last Week’s Reads

GOODREADS REVIEW

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I got this book from First to Read.

This book took me by surprise! I was immediately drawn in by the story; hundreds of babies found abandoned in the Arctic, rescued by American scientists, and adopted by families.  These babies, called Icelings,  grow up but they are not like normal children.  They can not talk and have weird eating and sleeping habits.   Then one day all of the kids, now teenagers, build a model of their homeland and convince their adoptive siblings to take them back to the Arctic.  Lorna is the sister of an Iceling, Callie, is caught up in this mass exodus to the Arctic. She meets up with several others as well and discovers there may be more to why the Icelings were taken from the Arctic than she realized.  I found this book very suspenseful.  The author does a great job pushing the story forward and keeps you wondering who these Icelings are and why do they need to go back to the Arctic and all at the same time.  This was a great Sci-Fi read for someone who isn’t a big fan of that genre.

 

Review: The Thousandth Floor

This post is linked up with, The Sunday PostStacking the Shelves, and Saturday Situation. Please check out these other great blogs to see some amazing books.

Back in October I went to the Twin Cities Book Festival in St. Paul, Minnesota.  While there, I met a wonderful author, Katharine McGee.  She was there promoting her debut novel, The Thousandth Floor.  I thought the book sounded interesting and bought it.  I talked with Ms. McGee and she was such a lovely person.

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The beginning of this book definitely grabs you right away.  The year is 2118 and the prologue is describing a girl’s thoughts as she falls off the thousandth floor of a tower.  This tower is no ordinary tower, however, it is a bustling and thriving city in a tower.  There are apartments as well as stores, malls, bars, dance clubs, parks, and schools.  The lower levels of the tower are where the lower class lives, and the higher up you go, the more luxurious and richer the occupants of the tower.   

The thing I liked about this dystopian book is that it didn’t show the world in peril and destruction like most books of this genre .  It just showed what life might be like for teenagers in a hundred years.  The author was very creative in her ideas of what  future teenagers will have access to.  For example, instead of tablets and smart phones, they wear contacts that send and receive text messages and information from the internet.  My favorite was the machine that does your hair and makeup in about five minutes.  

There are multiple points of view through out the book.  I found myself trying to figure out which one of them was going to be the one that ends up falling off the tower.  I was definitely surprised when I found out.

List and Description of Characters from Goodreads

LEDA COLE’s flawless exterior belies a secret addiction—to a drug she never should have tried and a boy she never should have touched.

ERIS DODD-RADSON’s beautiful, carefree life falls to pieces when a heartbreaking betrayal tears her family apart.

RYLIN MYERS’s job on one of the highest floors sweeps her into a world—and a romance—she never imagined…but will this new life cost Rylin her old one?

WATT BAKRADI is a tech genius with a secret: he knows everything about everyone. But when he’s hired to spy for an upper-floor girl, he finds himself caught up in a complicated web of lies.

And living above everyone else on the thousandth floor is AVERY FULLER, the girl genetically designed to be perfect. The girl who seems to have it all—yet is tormented by the one thing she can never have.

I highly recommend this book. It was well written, fun, and suspenseful at times.  I look forward to the second book and more stories from Katharine McGee.

Tell Me Tuesday

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This blog post is linked with The Caffeinated Book Reviewer‘s The Sunday Post and Tell Me Tuesday hosted by La La in the Library  It is a weekly recap of what we have been reading this week. So tell us what you have been reading and why.

<<<<CONGRATULATIONS>>>>

Valerie from He Said Books or Me won my Amazing Dog Blog giveaway!

Last Week’s Reads

These books are set in the 1950s in a world where Hitler is still alive and ruling the world.  The main character, Yael, was a Jewish concentration camp prisoner at the age of six.  She was experimented on.  The goal was to change her hair, eye, and skin color.  The Nazis wanted to develop a serum that could change any race to look like the Aryan race.  Yael, discovers that the experiment is not only working, she can skin shift to look like anyone she chooses.  Yael is able to escape and years later, makes a plan win a motorcycle race across Europe for a chance to meet Hitler so she can assassinate him.

<<<<<Giveaway Alert!>>>>>

I really enjoyed this duology and I think you will too! So to help get you started I am having a giveaway on Twitter for the second book.  It is an ARC so click HERE to enter to win.  Contest ends November 20th.

Currently Reading

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Goodreads Summary

Ten years ago, a chance meeting on a plane brought two people together who could not deny the instant connection. A whirlwind romance whispered promises of forever. However, when one of them is forced to make a choice between responsibility and love, the choice made drives them apart.

Next

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Goodreads Summary

A hundred years in the future, New York is a city of innovation and dreams. Everyone there wants something…and everyone has something to lose.  Amid breathtaking advancement and high-tech luxury, five teenagers struggle to find their place at the top of the world. But when you’re this high up, there’s nowhere to go but down….

Slowly but surely…

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I am still trying to read the Outlander series.  I have been stuck on book 5 for a few weeks.

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Have a great week reading what makes you happy!

Wolf by Wolf & Blood for Blood

This post is linked up with Stacking the Shelves and Saturday Situation . Please check out their blogs.

<<<GIVEAWAY>>>

Don’t forget to enter my GIVEAWAY for a copy of Top Dog by Maria Goodavage.  Click HERE for details.  Hurry, contest ends on Nov. 13th

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WHAT I READ THIS WEEK

I read an amazing duology this week.  Last year, there was a lot of buzz for Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin. I wasn’t interested until I received an ARC of the sequel Blood for Blood at BEA in Chicago.  Shortly after, there was an Amazon deal for the first one so I snatched it up for $1.99.

These books are set in the 1950s in a world where Hitler is still alive and ruling the world.  The main character, Yael, was a Jewish concentration camp prisoner at the age of six.  She was experimented on.  The goal was to change her hair, eye, and skin color.  The Nazis wanted to develop a serum that could change any race to look like the Aryan race.  Yael, discovers that the experiment is not only working, she can skin shift to look like anyone she chooses.  Yael is able to escape and years later, makes a plan win a motorcycle race across Europe for a chance to meet Hitler so she can assassinate him.

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This is available for $2.99 on Kindle.  Click HERE to purchase.

Goodreads Summary

The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule the world. To commemorate their Great Victory over Britain and Russia, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor’s ball.

Yael, who escaped from a death camp, has one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year’s only female victor, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin’s brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael’s every move. But as Yael begins to get closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?

>>>>>Twitter Giveaway<<<<<

I am giving away my ARC copy of Blood for Blood on Twitter.  Click HERE for details and to enter.  Contest ends November 20th.

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Goodreads Summary

For the resistance in 1950s Germany, the war may be over, but the fight has just begun.

Death camp survivor Yael, who has the power to skinshift, is on the run: the world has just seen her shoot and kill Hitler. But the truth of what happened is far more complicated, and its consequences are deadly. Yael and her unlikely comrades dive into enemy territory to try to turn the tide against the New Order, and there is no alternative but to see their mission through to the end, whatever the cost.

But dark secrets reveal dark truths, and one question hangs over them all: how far can you go for the ones you love?

Tell Me Tuesday and a Giveaway

Tell Me Tuesday is put on by the lovely La La in the Library. It is a weekly feature where we discuss what we read last, what we are reading now and what we will read next and WHY. So please tell us.

Before I tell you what my latest and current reads are, I want to tell you about my first ever

>>>>>>GIVEAWAY<<<<<<

All you need to do is go to my latest blog post HERE, and comment. (Please comment on the original post and not this one to enter.)  The prize is this amazing book on Military Working Dogs.

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Last Week

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I had won this book from Read it Forward and quickly read it before going to an author event with Margaret Atwood herself! She was so  funny and intelligent.  To read more about this check out my blog post about meeting Ms. Atwood  HERE.

 

CURRENT READ

I have heard great things about this book and author.  A few months back this was $1.99 for Kindle so I grabbed it because I already had an ARC of the second and final book in the series.

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Her story begins on a train.

The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule. To commemorate their Great Victory, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor’s Ball in Tokyo.

Yael, a former death camp prisoner, has witnessed too much suffering, and the five wolves tattooed on her arm are a constant reminder of the loved ones she lost. The resistance has given Yael one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year’s only female racer, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin’s brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael’s every move.

But as Yael grows closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?

NEXT

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Amazing Dog Blog and Giveaway!!!

This post is linked up with The Sunday Post. Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer Click here. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead

I first “met” Maria Goodavage when I read her first book on military working dogs, Soldier Dogs-The Untold Story of America’s Canine Heroes. This opened up a whole new world to me.  Of course I knew there were dogs in the military and on police forces.  I have traveled enough to see dogs in airports and as border control.  But I had no idea the IMPACT these dogs have in the military especially over in the Middle East and how smart and hard working these dogs are.  Ms. Goodavage’s second book, Top Dog-The Story of Marine Hero Lucca, cemented my love and respect for military working dogs and Maria Goodavage.

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Her third book, Secret Service Dogs-The Heroes Who Protect the President of the United States, was just as informative and fascinating as her first two books. These Secret Service dogs travel the world, where the President, First Lady, or Vice President goes, a dog goes too.  They are used to sniff out convention centers, hotels, restaurants, etc. for bombs and explosives.  Every single visitor to the White House is screened by a dog, but never realize it.  Vehicles that enter the White House complex are searched over by these dogs’ noses.  There are even dogs called Friendly Dogs.  These are the dogs that don’t look like German Shepherds and the Belgian Malinois (the usual dogs of choice by the military and police). The Friendly Dogs look like normal house hold pets and are walked by the Secret Service through crowds around the White House.  These dogs don’t look as threatening to tourists but they are still busy sniffing out bombs, guns, and explosives.

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These dogs are even used to chase down people who jump the White House fence.  The book talks about Hurricane and Jardan and how they chased down a fence jumper even after they were being kicked and punched.  Check out a video of that moment below.

VIDEO:  White House Jumper Getting Taken Down

Like her other two books, Ms. Goodavage talks about the extensive training these dogs go through and their relationship with their handlers. This is always my favorite part of the book.

“These animals will gladly run into a hail of gunfire giving their life to do their job.  All they ask in return is for you to throw the ball with them, pet them, and talk to them in an embarrassing high voice like they’re the best toddler in the world.”

Below are some of the amazing dogs mentioned the the book.

 

>>>>>>GIVEAWAY DETAILS<<<<<<

I am giving away a copy of Maria’s second book, Top Dog.  All you need to do is comment on this blog.  Yep, it is that easy.  Comment about this post along with your email address so I can contact you if you win and you are automatically entered.  Contest is open to EVERYONE and ends midnight November 13th. 

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Maria Goodavage was kind enough to do an interview with me on her latest book. Check it out below.

This is your third book on working dogs. Where did you get the idea to do a book on Service Dogs?

Many military dog handlers have spoken to me with great pride about their work supporting the Secret Service at large-scale, high-security events like the UN General Assembly. I realized I’d never heard anything about the Secret Service having dogs, so I decided to find out more!

Do you have dogs? If so, how many, what kind, and what are their names?

Yes, I have a wonderful, loving, hilarious, gentle giant of a yellow Lab. He’s 10 months old. He has a very special story. Gus is a Kory Wiens and Cooper memorial puppy—a living memorial to a fallen soldier and his dog. He was born on New Year’s Eve last year, and given to me nine weeks later by the father of Army dog handler Kory Wiens, who was killed by an IED along with his yellow lab, Cooper, in Iraq in 2007. I didn’t have the fortune of knowing Kory, but he was an important part of my book Top Dog. His father and I kept in touch after our interviews. I was very moved when he offered me a pup from the memorial litter. Our dear adopted yellow Lab, Jake, had passed away in January of 2015, and I was finally thinking about adopting another Lab, so the timing was excellent—except for getting a lively puppy a month before the deadline for this book!

Where do you write? Are there snacks and beverages involved? If so, what are they?

I have a small, delightful writing cottage in my backyard in San Francisco. It’s only 6×8, but it has been my HQ for Soldier Dogs, Top Dog, and Secret Service Dogs!

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My dear husband, realizing that I can spend up to 20 hours a day in there when I’m up against a tight deadline, bought me a little fridge and a microwave as I got underway with the writing for Secret Service Dogs. I made caffeinated tea nonstop (I also have a tea kettle), and kept the fridge stocked with half and half for it, and with fresh fruit salads, delicious cheese, and leftovers! The freezer had some surprisingly tasty microwavable meals on deadline. (We don’t have a microwave in the house, so it was a treat!) And of course there’s chocolate. Reporters in the old days were known for keeping a bottle of something hard in their file cabinet. That’s where I hide my stash — of chocolate!

If only I had a Port-a-Potty and a tent, I’d never have to go inside the house on deadline! 😀 It’s very distracting for me in there, and easy to get off track.

What is the hardest part of writing for you?

Starting. Sitting down to write those first several hundred words is always really hard. It’s extremely helpful to have a well-honed outline, but I find it daunting to start writing a new book. I’ll usually procrastinate for a few days, but every day counts because I’ve had very tight deadlines for my books on working dogs. Eventually the pressure gets big enough that I have no choice but to sit down and start. Once I’m over the “blank page phenomenon,” it gets substantially easier.

What is the best thing about being an author?

Doing the in-person research! I’m so lucky that I write about a topic I love. Getting to hang out with military and Secret Service dogs and handlers and learn their stories and watch them work and train is pretty amazing.

 What do you want most for readers to get from this book?

I’m happy to have shed light on the incredible world of Secret Service canine teams. They work so hard, and until now they’ve pretty much worked in the shadows. Most of these handlers would like the world to know about their dogs. They’re very proud of them, as they would be their own kids.

I hope the book will help people to become aware of the importance of keeping the Secret Service canine program well funded and robust, especially in this age of increased global terrorism. There’s nothing like a highly skilled dog team to help thwart danger in its tracks.

 What is one trip you have never taken but would really like to someday?

I feature a Secret Service dog handler from Cambodia in this book. After seeing photos and reading a great deal about the country, I would like to go there. I was on a live Facebook feed on VOA Cambodia the day the book came out, and heard from several Cambodians who sent me more photos of their beautiful country. Maybe I’ll combine it with a trip to Vietnam and Thailand. If I didn’t have my Gus here missing me, I might have to include Australia and New Zealand in that trip, but that will have to wait for another time.

Who is the most famous person you have ever met?

I actually sort of directed Ed Asner in a short children’s video I wrote and co-produced. What a great guy! The show he starred in, The Lou Grant Show, was the reason I became a journalist! Meeting him was like a dream come true. He played the voice of “Joe the Dog” in our video, Here’s Looking at You, Kid! It won a top kids’ video award, and is still for sale, in DVD form: http://amzn.to/2e2nz6g

Probably the most famous celeb I’ve actually had a conversation with fairly recently has been Jon Stewart back when I was a guest on The Daily Show for my book Soldier Dogs. And the most famous, iconic person in “history” would be Clint Hill, the revered Secret Service agent. I am very honored that he wrote the Foreword to Secret Service Dogs.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received in your life?

My dad, also a book writer, always said that if you can do what you love, it doesn’t really feel like work. He was so right! I can work seven days a week, long, long hours, and it’s hard, but because I love what I do, it’s never onerous. I always feel lucky to be doing what I do.

About the Author

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Veteran journalist Maria Goodavage is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Soldier Dogs: The Untold Story of America’s Canine Heroes, and Top Dog: The Story of Marine Hero Lucca. She lives in San Francisco with her family and yellow Lab, Gus.

Connect Online

http://www.mariagoodavage.com/

https://www.facebook.com/SoldierDogs/

https://www.instagram.com/mariagoodavage/

https://twitter.com/mariagoodavage

Meeting World Famous, Margaret Atwood

Meeting Margaret Atwood

To be honest, I have only heard of Margaret Atwood in the last few years and I had not read any of her books.  So when I heard she was coming to my home town, I decided I need to read something by Ms. Atwood. As luck or fate would have it, I won an ARC of her latest book, Hag-Seed, a retelling of Shakespeare’s, The Tempest.

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This book was so clever! It is about Felix who is an artistic director for a Theater Company.  His wife has died tragically and three years later his daughter, Miranda, dies.  After being fired by his enemy, Tony, Felix has decided to shut himself away from society.  He changes his name and lives by himself in the country.  This is when Felix hatches his grand plan for revenge.  Felix decides to take a job at a prison teaching inmates  Shakespeare.  The inmates are going to put on a production of The Tempest.  Now, I was not very familiar with this play but the book does a great job explaining the premise without boring you.  The clever part was that the story Ms. Atwood wrote was a retelling of The Tempest so basically this book is a play within a play.  The story was engaging and I was captivated by my curiosity of what Felix’s revenge was going to be.  Twelve years is a long time to plan revenge.  The characters and prisoners were well developed. Felix’s plight for redemption is heartbreaking at times especially when he believes his daughter, Miranda, is still with him and talks to her daily.

 

Ms. Atwood was hilarious! Her opening words were “I am honored to be here, my relatives made me do it.”  She did impressions and had such a dry and sarcastic humor that kept the over 800 people at the event laughing.  Ms. Atwood talked about climate change issues and the importance of the humanities over technology in the future generations’ lives. She said the humanities help us be more creative, more empathetic, and better problem solvers which are all attributes we will need to help get us out of the predicament society is in with climate change. Ms. Atwood also talked about her dystopian books, Oryx and Crake which HBO has picked up.  If these books are as insightful and amazing as the author, I will definitely be tuning in.

About the author

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Margaret Atwood is a Canadian author, poet, and environmental activist whose work is widely known for its commentary on the human condition and female experience.  Her more than forty books include The Handmaid’s Tale, The Blind Assassin, and The Heart Goes Last.  Her Oryx and Crake books are being adapted into an HBO series.

 

An added bonus was I ran into a favorite local author at the event. Debra Marquart is the coordinator of the Creative  Writing Program at Iowa State University.  She has written poetry and a few books.  I had read her memoir, The Horizontal World: Growing up Wild in the Middle of Nowhere. I found it fascinating and familiar and couldn’t put it down.  Ms. Marquart had invited me on Facebook to the Margaret Atwood event so I took her book in case I ran into her and I did!  She was so lovely and humbled that I asked her to sign her book for me.

Goodreads summary:   An evocative memoir of growing up on a family farm in rural North Dakota, on land her family had worked for generations, reflects on her desire to escape the difficult life, her relationship with and admiration for her father, and the influence of place on personal identity.