Monthly Archives: February 2012

Some of My Favorite Quilts

I have been quilting now for almost three years! Wow! I’ve made a ton of quilts in those three years and learned a lot. I thought you might like to see some of my favorites (click on photo to enjoy larger view and links to visit individual photos on my Flickr stream).

1. RockinRobin.Draped, 2. CollaborativeQuilt Draped, 3. FriendshipStarQuilt.DrapedFront1, 4. SpottedvOwl Baby Quilt – Draped FRONT

 

Sunday Salon – February 26, 2012

February 26, 2012

Good morning and welcome to this week’s edition of The Sunday Salon – get all the links by visiting the Facebook page.

I can’t believe it is almost March – this month has just flown by. I have two reviews to share with you today from my reading over the last week.

I blew through The Brothers by Asko Sahlberg which I completely loved (read my review). This translated work is less than 150 pages but it reads like a longer novel in that the characters are fully developed and the story feels like a saga. There are multiple narrators and the lives of the characters are slowly revealed and surprising. Peirene Press has another winner in this latest release. If you love literary fiction and family sagas, don’t miss The Brothers.

I did a 180 degree turn from literary fiction to psychological suspense-thriller with Blue Monday by Nicci French. This is the first in a planned eight book series and I really liked the main character – a psychotherapist named Frieda who is quite complex (read my review). This is the first book I’ve read by this author (actually this is a husband wife team writing under the pseudonym of Nicci French) and I enjoyed it. I will be interested to read the future books in the series as they are published.

I’m hosting a giveaway for this book which will run through March 4th (sorry, the contest is only open to US and Canada mailing addresses). You can read a terrific Q&A with the authors and enter the giveaway by visiting this post.

My current read is Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan which was short listed for the 2011 Booker Prize. The novel opens in Paris in 1940, then shifts to Berlin in 1992. The story is about the disappearance of a black jazz player. I’m about a third of the way into the book and am just now getting used to the dialect which is German American slang. One thing I am really enjoying is the ability of the author to set the reader into the scenes. Edugyan is a gifted writer. So, watch for my review early this week (I hope!).

I feel the need to apologize to all the wonderful readers who have consistently left comments on my blog. These last two months have been odd for me – and I have found myself falling very far behind in responding to comments. I have vowed to be better about that in the coming months – but, because I was so far behind, I have decide to just move forward from here. So, if you left a comment on my blog in January and early February and I did not respond to it – please accept my sincere apologies…but, know that I did read all the comments and very much appreciated them!

I also have made a decision not to attend BEA this year. This decision was difficult for me because I was looking forward to connecting to other bloggers as well as industry professionals who I have gotten to know through my blog. A combination of some personal things happening in my life and financial considerations led me to this conclusion. Despite the fact that I won’t be in New York City in June, I will be (hopefully) participating in the Armchair BEA again this year.

Those of you who regularly read my blog have probably noticed more quilting posts of late. I still consider Caribousmom a book review blog, but I also want to continue to share other parts of my life with my readers…so the quilting posts will be mixed in between reviews and discussions about books. I hope my followers will want to read along despite my expansion into other areas. Those of you with crafty leanings may also find some links in my sidebar to quilt-alongs and other sewing related sites.

So, what is on my reading agenda for the remainder of this month? I would love to get at least two more books read including Alice in Bed by Cathleen Schine and A long-Forgotten Truth by Rachel Ballard. I also need to start reading Stephen King’s massive Tome 11/22/63 for the Chunky Book Club which is debuting in March (watch for some introductory posts the first part of the month and formal discussion questions beginning the second week of the month). I have another chunkster slated for early March as well. My Yahoo Book Group is reading The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton.

What about YOU? Are there books you are looking forward to reading in the next couple of weeks? Are you reading something wonderful right now?

Giveaway and Author Q&A: Blue Monday by Nicci French

Blue Monday by Nicci French
ISBN 978-0-670-02336-3
385 pages
Pamela Dorman Books/Viking (March 5, 2012)

Thanks to the generosity of the publisher, I am happy to be able to offer a copy of Blue Monday to one lucky winner. I recently read this book, the first in a new series, and really liked the protagonist (read my review). Blue Monday will hit bookstores March 5th. Before I tell you how to enter the contest, first let me share a terrific Q&A with the authors, husband-and-wife team Nicci Gerrard and Sean French who write under the pseudonym Nicci French.

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BLUE MONDAY is your thirteenth book and the first book in a new series of psychological thrillers, introducing Frieda a psychotherapist. It’s also the first series you’ve ever written. What was the inspiration for this new series?

Frieda came along before the idea of writing a series did. We had always said we wrote stand-alone thrillers, but then we thought about a central character who is a therapist, someone who believes you can’t solve the mess in the world but you can try to address the mess in your own head, the pain and fear and anxiety inside of you. We thought of her as a different kind of detective, a detective of the mind, who is unwillingly dragged by the events that unfurl in the novel out into the real world.

Once we had imagined Frieda—solitary, insomniac, prickly, difficult, honorable, trustworthy, fiercely private—we knew she needed more than one book. She has to be discovered over time. And from that the octet gradually emerged. The books will cover a decade in Frieda’s life and the lives of the cast that she assembles around her; we want to see how time marks them, how they are changed by the experiences they live through together.

Also, we became excited by the idea of writing eight books that could stand as gripping thrillers in their own right, but which are also connected by one over-arching story. In BLUE MONDAY a fuse is lit that then will burn its way through the remaining seven books, coming to a climax in the final novel.

Where did the title BLUE MONDAY come from?

This is the first book of a planned series of dark thrillers that will be named after the days of the week. The title BLUE MONDAY seemed perfect to us because it is both about beginnings but also about the difficulty of beginning, its pains and regrets and fears. It also happens to be the title of not just one but two (very different) great songs – by Fats Domino and New Order.

Set against a backdrop of a dark, tangled London, BLUE MONDAY illustrates your power over a sense of place. As Frieda navigates its streets one can almost feel the damp chill of London’s foggy night air. What is your writing process? What are some things about the London you depict in your books that those of us in the US might not know?

As regards London, our writing process is to do what we have always done, which is to spend a lot of our time walking, cycling—and sometimes running—around the city, exploring its hidden alleys, squares, canals. We have both spent many years living in the city and every time we go out we see something completely new. Much of BLUE MONDAY came out of those walks.

A few things you need to know about London:

It’s big; really big. Greater London is about thirty-five miles across.

It’s really old. It’s been a continuously functioning (and dis-functioning) city since the Romans and it has been built on, burnt down, bombed, demolished, built on, over and over again.

London is really a collection of villages that used to be separated by fields and meadows and woodlands and orchards that gradually got filled up but they still hang on to their identity. In good ways and bad, London is a jangling mess. North Londoners don’t like South London, East Enders feel persecuted by everybody, West Kensington isn’t really in Kensington, and wherever you’re from anywhere in the world, you’ll find a community somewhere in London.

London is a landscape as much as a city, one of the oldest and most complicated landscapes in England.

And still, there’s so much that we don’t understand about London. For example, why do tourists always go to Madame Tussaud’s?

Frieda is a psychotherapist. What kind of research did you do to make her so real?

Sean: Frieda emerged from our fascination with the whole subject of doctors whose job it is to make sense of our lives just by the way we talk about them. We have friends who are therapists, we have a certain experience of therapy, we’ve talked to people who have undergone therapy and we’ve read an awful lot about it.

Nicci: And also, in a way, therapy is a bit like writing itself: you take chaos and put order onto it, a road out of the dark woods.

You are known as the internationally bestselling author Nicci French, yet really there are two of you: Nicci Gerrard and Sean French, writing partners and husband and wife and you live in England. Why did you decide to start writing fiction together?

Sean: In the first years we were married, we talked about the idea. We knew that people could collaborate in different ways but we were interested in whether two people could write a novel that had one voice, where you were really creating a new person.

Nicci: It was like an experiment. But looking back at it, all these years and fourteen books later, it seems so odd, such a strange thing to do when we were both working flat out anyway, with four tiny children racing around the house. We didn’t do it because we thought we would write a book, get it published, become Nicci French. We did it to see if we could do it, because it seemed like a shared adventure—and it has been a shared adventure, a way of exploring the world together.

How do you manage co-authorship? Do you sit down and write together or do you take it in shifts?

Nicci: When we talk about how we write together we tend to make it sound much neater and better managed than it actually is, it’s a rather chaotic and messy business. The one thing we never do is actually sit down and write together, and the thought of one of us dictating to the other is a kind of madness, it just wouldn’t work. We spend a long time talking about the shape of the novel, the story, the way the plot goes, the development of the characters and above all the voice of the narrator into whom we both have to write, and once we’re satisfied with that then we’ll start to write. The writing will quite often take us away from the plan, but that’s what we do. One of us will write, say, the first chapter and then hand it over to the other who is absolutely free to change it, edit it, erase it, add other words to it, and then they will write the next chapter and pass it back. It’s a question of moving between the two of us. We never decide in advance who’s going to write what chapter, there’s no division.

Sean: We felt that in order for it to work we both have to be responsible for everything, whether we (individually) have written it or not. If there’s any research that needs doing for a book then we both have to do it, we both have to have all of it in our heads.

Nicci: If Sean writes something and I change absolutely nothing about that whole section, but I read it and approve it, then it becomes mine as well. It becomes a kind of Nicci French thing so we both own each word of it.

Why did you choose to write crime novels?

Nicci: I’m interested in crime in the sense that I’m interested in the strange path that people’s lives can go down. I’m not so much interested in the criminal; I’m much more interested in the victim, the effects of the crime and what lies beneath the settled surface. Most people, when you meet them, present themselves as ordered and controlled; they have a self-possessed image. Underneath that everybody is a welter of doubt, grief, loss, nostalgia, love and hate; that’s what I’m interested in. The thrillers that we write are not about fiendishly clever serial killers outwitting the police, they’re about ordinary people who have extraordinary things happening in the middle of their lives, and the way that they change and have to resolve things. I think that attracts us to the thriller genre.

You chose to use a female pseudonym, and almost all your novels so far have been written from a female viewpoint. Is there a reason for this?

Sean: The first idea we had was about recovered memory, and 99% of people recovering memory in therapy are women, so it obviously had to be a woman. Once it was a woman as the main character then it just seemed obvious that if we were going to choose a name, that it should be a female name. Women have achieved a kind of independence and equality, a nominal independence, and yet so many things haven’t changed. There are so many kinds of unexpected pressures that have come along with that, and that seemed an interesting road to go down.

Nicci: It is that sense of there being a cross-current between what modern women are like now; assertive, independent, strong, ambitious, and yet still very physically vulnerable, but also vulnerable to all the things that attack us from the past, all the things we’re conditioned to feel. There’s a kind of emotional vulnerability and intelligence, a particular kind of female intelligence that seems to be a good way of looking at the world.

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HOW TO WIN A COPY OF THIS BOOK

  • Giveaway is restricted to U.S. and Canada mailing addresses.
  • Giveaway is open from February 26th through March 4th, 2012 (5:00 pm PST)
  • One entry per person please.
  • Click here to take survey to enter contest
  • ONE winner will be randomly chosen on March 4th after 5:00 pm PST – that winner’s name will be announced here on my blog on March 5th and they will also receive an email notification.
  • The publisher will mail the winner their book.

GOOD LUCK!!!

FTC Disclosure: Blue Monday giveaway copy provided by the publisher. I received NO monetary compensation for this giveaway OR for the review I provided.

Blue Monday – Book Review

She had exposed dreams and fragments of memories, or images that felt like memories, likenesses. Because that was what she did, that was her currency: the things that happened inside people’s heads, the things that made people happy or unhappy or afraid, the connections that they made for themselves between separate events that could lead them through chaos and fear. – from Blue Monday –

Frieda Klein is a reticent woman, a psychotherapist living in London who helps others work through their inner turmoils while she is reluctant to open up in her personal life. She has trouble sleeping, walking the streets of the city at night where she feels most comfortable. When a troubled and anxious man named Alan comes to her for help, Frieda at first approaches the case as any other. But when a young boy named Matthew Farraday goes missing, Frieda recognizes something disturbing: Alan’s dreamlike expressions about wanting a child are uncannily similar to Matthew’s disappearance, and Matthew looks like he could be Alan’s son with his red hair and freckles. Frieda takes her worries to chief inspector Karlsson, a surly man who reluctantly listens to her. As the case unfolds, disturbing questions arise: Who is Alan and is he capable of stealing a child? And is Matthew’s disappearance related to another child abduction from 25 years ago?

Blue Monday is the first in a new series featuring Frieda Klein, and it is a suspenseful and twisty psychological thriller. Frieda is a complex character who at first left me a bit cold with her reserved and careful demeanor. But as the novel progressed, I found myself empathizing with her character and wanting to understand her psychological underpinnings. People seem to move in and out of Frieda’s life – an immigrant who literally falls in front of her, a colleague on the verge of professional collapse, a lover who no longer wants to live in London, and her dysfunctional sister and troubled niece. Frieda is the unflinching and constant influence in all these people’s lives, and yet she seems almost untouched by them.

Perhaps the most interesting part of this novel is how the connections are revealed between characters. Nothing is really as it first appears. There is a terrific twist about half way through the book which I didn’t see coming and which adds another layer to the mystery.

If I have any complaints with the book, it was with the latter half which felt a little slow to me. Some of the plot turns at the end were a bit predictable as well. That said, I did enjoy this novel for its psychological depth and because of Frieda who, despite her short comings (and maybe because of them), is a strong enough character to carry a series.

Readers who love psychological suspense will want to read this book. Atmospheric with strong characterization, Blue Monday is the type of book that will appeal to readers who like their novels dark and mysterious. I will undoubtedly be looking for the second book in the series when it is eventually released.

  • Quality of Writing:
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Overall Rating:

Would you like to win a copy of this book? Visit THIS POST to read a Q&A by the authors and to enter to win Blue Monday (contest open to US and Canada and closes on March 4, 2012).

FTC Disclosure: A copy of this book was sent to me by the publisher for review on my blog.

Readers wishing to purchase this book from an Indie Bookstore may click on the book link below to find Indie sellers. As an Indiebound Associate, I receive a small commission if readers purchase a book through this link on my blog.


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Scrap Busting

If you are a quilter, I am sure you have a pile of scraps. I started out being pretty well organized with the bits and pieces left over from making a quilt. I separated them by color and put them in zip lock bags and begin to fill up a plastic bin which I stored under my bed.

But I quilt a lot.

And eventually, these little bags began overflowing.

And things got progressively out of hand, until today I looked at the overflow (with no organization) spilling out into my work space:

Ugh. What a mess.

Months ago I bought Scrap Therapy: Cut the Scraps by Joan Ford which is a book designed to help quilters master their scraps. Ford recommends cutting scraps into squares and organizing them by value (light, medium and dark) using small plastic tubs. I actually went out and bought the tubs and had them all set to go. So today I decided to tackle the pile in my work space.

After sorting through my pile, I thought I needed to add to Ford’s Scrap Therapy technique. Here is what I did…

Fabric pieces which were 2.5″ to 7.5″ wide and still width of fabric, I cut into 2.5″ long strips which will eventually create a bundle of strips like a jelly roll. I had some fabric which was just shy of width of fabric, and I cut those into strips too. These strips will make a fabulous quilt someday!

I used Ford’s technique of cutting smaller scraps into 2″, 3.5″ and 5″ squares:

But, I also added a fourth size of 2.5″ squares because I am hoping to make a Granny Square quilt (as part of a quilt along) and that is the size squares I need for the project. I put those in zip lock bags, sorted by light, medium and dark:

Everything else which was just too small was filed in the round bin (ie: trash!!):

I still have a lot of scrap busting to do, but I feel like now I at least have a system for controlling things. What about you? Are you a quilter who has a great idea for organizing and keeping control of the scraps?

 

Rockin’ Robin Quilt – Pure Bliss

All Photos are “clickable” to enjoy a larger view.

Last night I completed quilting, binding and putting a label on my Rockin’ Robin Quilt which I started last year as part of a fantastic quilt-along hosted by Jen at Reanna Lily Designs, Anne Marie at Gen X Quilters, Heather and Megan from Quilt Story, Melissa at Lilac Lane, and Lisa Marie at That Crazy Quilty Girl (you should check out their blogs – they are very talented quilters!). If you want to make a quilt like this, you can get the links to the tutorials by checking out the quilt along post.

In case you are wondering about the name of this quilt, here is what Jen wrote:

This concept was a Row Robin.  Do you know what a Row Robin is?  It is a quilt made in, usually, horizontal rows and each row is a different style or type.  Many times ladies would pass the quilt along to the next person in the group and add a row.  The quilt would continue to be passed around until it arrived back to the original owner- with all sorts of surprises- from fabric, to design, to technique.  It is really a neat idea.  Round Robin quilts are done this way, around a center medallion quilt.

So using this idea as the jumping off point I thought-

  1. Let’s make sure the rows are modern and hip.
  2. Let’s have the quilter be able to customize the row or quilt size.
  3. Let’s do our own sewing, so we’re certain the pieces/colors will be pleasing at the end.

Pretty cool, huh?

So let me tell you a little about my quilt.

This is a 58″ X 58″ lap quilt. I used Bonnie and Camille’s Bliss fabric as the primary fabric, although there are also some other fabric lines represented too. I wanted the quilt to be completely reversible and so I pieced the back using left over blocks from the front.

 

I decided to free motion quilt this one using a meandering stipple design.

This quilt has a really fresh feel to it with all the white and the pops of red and turquoise.

I hand embroidered the label and then decided to make it part of a house which I then stitched onto the back. I like how the label blends in with the rest of the design.

Finally I used a deep, Kona red solid for the binding.

I can’t wait for the summer weather when I can drape this quilt over the porch swing and use it when the nights are cool!

Literary Blog Hop Give-Away Winners

Thank you to all who stopped by and entered to win in the Literary Blog Hop Giveaway…58 people threw their name in the hat for Scottsboro, and 68 people entered to win a copy of Five Bells.

I wish I could give you all a book, but there can only be two winners – and Random. org has chosen them.

*Drum roll, please!!*

My gently used copy of Scottsboro by Ellen Feldman goes to:

Amanda Homce

A brand new Advance Readers Edition of Five Bells by Gail Jones goes to:

Angela B.

Congratulations to both of you! I have sent you an email confirming your addresses – please respond to that email so I can send your books out to you as soon as possible!

The Brothers – Book Review

Nowadays, a woman’s honour is neither here not there, if it ever was. When there are no men of honour, there can be no women of honour. Men charge round in a woman’s life like mad bulls, and the wisest thing to do would be to sit quietly in a dimly lit corner. But what can you do when there is blood in your veins? That blood will surge and make its demand. And then you have a thirst that is not quenched by drinking. – from The Brothers, page 23 –

The Finnish war, fought between Sweden and the Russian Empire from the winter of 1808 until the autumn of 1809, has come to its conclusion and Henrik, once a soldier fighting for Russia, has now come home to the family farm in Finland. He comes in the night, leaving footprints in the snow, and no one is happy to see him. Henrik’s brother, Erik, fought with the Swedes during the war. He also married Anna, a woman who first turned Henrik’s head. There are old grudges and family secrets. The brothers’ mother worries about what will come of things, and she harbors her own dark secret.

I sensed that motherhood was terrible, perhaps sweet at times, but above all terrible. Not because one human child would be more horrendous than another, nor is it so that offspring cannot bring joy when little and be useful when grown up, but because motherhood makes it possible for future generations to be rocked by dark tragedies. – from The Brothers, page 46 –

There are other characters, too, in this story of betrayal and family saga – the farmhand who is observant and smart, the housemaid who may be more than what she seems, and a cousin named Mauri who bides his time and waits for opportunity to turn his life around. The brothers, Henrik and Erik, have a turbulent history which informs the novella with a brittle tension as the other characters weave through the narrative like dancers on a stage.

The Brothers is a multi-layered and rich piece of literature where pieces of the characters lives come together like an intricate puzzle. As the story unfolds, there is an undercurrent of violence and a sense of apprehension begins to build. Asko Sahlberg shifts the narrative back and forth between the different and unique voices of the characters – a technique which allows the reader to gain a deeper understanding of what exactly has happened between these people who are mostly unlikeable and damaged. Many pieces of the story are introduced by one character, and then further elaborated by another. Although this might seem confusing, I found it to be highly effective in maintaining the pace of the novella.

Many historical novels need hundreds of pages to do what Sahlberg does in a novella with just over one hundred pages. With writing which is tight, taut, and artfully drawn, Sahlberg reels the reader into a family drama set against the backdrop of post-war Finland in the dead of winter.

I read this book in just over two hours, eagerly turning the pages to unravel this family’s secrets. The novella is a translation from the Finnish, and it is beautifully rendered.

This latest installment from Peirene Press is sure to delight readers who enjoy works in translation, but it will also appeal to those who love well-written literary fiction. Sahlberg is considered one of the best writers to have come out of Finland, and it is easy to see why. Based on its size The Brothers might seem like a nibble of literature, but it will surprise readers with its enormous depth and skillfully drawn characters.

Highly recommended.

  • Quality of Writing:
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Overall Rating:

FTC Disclosure: This book was sent to me by the publisher for review on my blog.

Mailbox Monday – February 20, 2012

Welcome to this week’s edition of Mailbox Monday hosted this month by Metroreader.

Visit Metroreader today to get links to other readers’ mailboxes.

Go to the dedicated blog for the meme to see the complete tour schedule in the left hand sidebar.

Two books arrived at my home this week:

Meike from Peirene Press sent me a copy of The Brothers by Asko Sahlberg (January 2012) which has been translated from the Finnish by Emily and Fleur Jeremiah. Today I devoured this novella which is set in 1809 and centers around two brothers, Henrik and Erik, who fought on opposite sides in the war between Sweden and Russia. Meike writes: “This is a historical novel in miniature form. It deals in dark passions and delivers as many twists as a 500-page epic. And if that were not enough, each character speaks in a distinct voice and expresses a unique take on reality. I’m thrilled to be publishing a book that is as Finnish as a forest in winter – but that resembles a work from the American South: William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying.” I found this slim story packed with action and an excellent read so watch for my review tomorrow.

Asko Sahlberg was born 1964 and has acquired a fame in Finland that has yet to be replicated in the English speaking world. He published his first novel in 2000 and has written steadily since then, completing his ninth work, The Brothers, in 2010.

Emily Jeremiah and Fleur Jeremiah unite as a multi-lingual mother and daughter translation team. Emily has an MA in Creative Writing and a PhD in German Studies. Fleur, her mother, is Finnish. They have co-operated on translating the poetry of Helvi Juvonen and Sirkka Turkka.

Random House sent me an unsolicited finished copy of The O’Briens by Peter Behrens (March 2012). This family saga is set during the twentieth century. Joe O’Brien, a backwoods boy and grandson of a potato-famine emigrant, meets Iseult Wilkins in Venice, California and it is their courtship which opens the novel. At the heart of the novel “is mystery and madness grounded in the history of Irish sorrow.

Peter Behrens is the author of The O’Briens and The Law of Dreams (which received Canada’s Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction and was published around the world to wide acclaim) and Night Driving, a collection of short stories. His stories and essays have appeared in many publications, including The Atlantic and Tin House. Honors he has received include a Wallace Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University’s Creative Writing Program. Learn more about Behrens and his work by visiting the author’s website.

Did any wonderful books arrive at YOUR house this week?

Sunday Salon – February 19, 2012

February 19, 2012

Good morning and welcome to The Sunday Salon, a weekly event in the blogging world where readers share their love of books. Visit the Facebook Page for links to other posts.

Last week I talked about Come In and Cover Me by Gin Phillips – a book I loved from page one (read my review). I finished that book and am still thinking of it. Since I wrote my review, I have visited other reviews of the book and it looks like not everyone loved the novel as much as I did. It seems to be one of those love ’em or hate ’em types of books…so you will have to make up your own mind. That said, I still think this is a terrific book!

I decided to pick up a suspense-thriller after reading Phillips’ fabulous literary fiction novel. No Mark Upon Her by Deborah Crombie is the fourteenth book in a series – but don’t let that discourage you. This one can most definitely stand alone (I have not read any of the previous novels in the series). I really loved this well-paced mystery which kept me guessing until the end (read my review) and will definitely keep my eyes open for future books by this talented author.

My next book is going to be a quick one. I received the latest book published by Peirene Press and it looks really great. The Brothers by Asko Sahlberg (translated from the Finnish by Emily and Fleur Jeremiah) is described as “a Shakespearean drama from icy Finland” and is set in 1809.  I expect to finish this novella later today and hope to have a review posted by tomorrow.

Next up in the queue for this week are two books which look especially good:

  • Blue Monday by Nicci French
  • Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan

I posted a wonderful guest post by Paula Friedman on Friday. Friedman is an amazing woman and has just recently published a new book – a novel – entitled The Rescuer’s Path. Although I do not typically publish guest posts of authors whose books I have not yet read, I made an exception for Friedman who was a social activist during the 1960s. Given that this is an election year in the United States, I think the idea of activism is especially topical. I hope you’ll give her guest post a look!

I also want to mention that I am giving away two books this week as part of the Literary Blog Hop (contest is open to US mailing addresses through Tuesday, February 22nd at 5:00 pm PST). The Literary Giveaway Blog Hop is an event hosted by Judith at Leswammes’ Blog and it is a great opportunity to visit other bloggers and to throw your name in the hat for giveaways. I’m giving away Five Bells by Gail Jones (Picador, February 2012) and Scottsboro by Ellen Feldman.

I hope you have something wonderful planned for today – at least, I hope you have a great book to read! At any rate, my wish for you is a terrific week ahead filled with plenty of exceptional reading!