Category Archives: Give-aways

Winner of 2 AM at the Cat’s Pajamas

2AMThanks to all who entered to win a copy of this fabulous book! I used to choose a winner.

Congratulations to:

Debbie from Houston, Texas

I’m sending you an email, Debbie, to confirm your mailing address.

For those of you who did not win, I hope you’ll consider picking up a copy of this book to read!

Winner of Tracks

Thank you to all who entered to win a copy of TRACKS by Genni Gunn.


There can only be one winner. I used to select a winner…congratulations to:

Rachel from Michigan

I’m sending you an email, Rachel!

Some Book Giveaway Winners!

Thank you to those who entered to win copies of THE GREEN SHORE and ALL RUSSIANS LOVE BIRCH TREES. This morning I used to pick the winners.


The Green Shore by Natalie Bakopoulos

The winner is:

Conni from California



All Russians Love Birch Trees by Olga Grjasnowa

The winner is:

Bev from New Hampshire

I’ll be sending you ladies an email – congratulations! For those of you who did not win a book, I hope you’ll consider picking up a copy of one of these at your local bookseller!

Tracks – Book Review and Giveaway

TracksTravel for me is a comfortable state, a detachment from the trappings of a physical place. It’s the motion I crave, the to-and-fro, taking flight and landing, going to cities or countries, towards new landscaped and emotional terrains, because when one travels, the unknown awaits to be discovered –  about one’s self, about others, about one’s relationship to time and place. – from Tracks –

Genni Gunn currently lives in Canada, but she grew up thousands of miles away in Italy – separated at a young age from her parents and sister, until at age eleven she was reunited with them in North America. She is a traveler, a seeker, a deeply introspective person. In her newest book, Tracks, Gunn takes the reader to Canada, Italy, Mexico, and the politically charged environment of Myanmar (formally Burma). This is no ordinary book of travel essays – it is a deeply personal journey into Gunn’s childhood memories and relationships – memories triggered by travel.

In the opening chapters, Gunn grounds the reader in her past and introduces her parents – two people living in an unconventional marriage, wedded to restlessness and rootlessness. It is perhaps this early dislocation which surrounded Gunn that informs her obsession to travel. In fact, by the end of the book, Gunn makes a full circle and shares her mother’s constant migration from one home to the next…a behavior which leaves nothing behind, a gathering of the detritus of a life lived, boxed and labeled and forced into a moving truck.

But it is the chapters that take the reader to Myanmar which are perhaps the most powerful. Gunn has reason to travel to this difficult country – her sister now lives and teaches there – and it is here that perhaps she discovers the most important parts of herself.

And as we progress – across the water in the black, black night, I also think about Conrad, and Heart of Darkness, and how this journey is a literal journey into darkness, but I have no foreboding, no fear. I am exhilarated by the wind, by the spray of water at our sides, by the brilliant sky and by the darkness itself, which envelops me, ushering me forward. – from Tracks –

Gunn’s writing is exquisite and beautifully rendered. She transports the reader to foreign lands by rooting her language in the senses – visual, auditory, tactile. It is this which transforms her narrative into an emotional journey through time and space.

I was first introduced to Gunn’s writing back in 2011 when I read and reviewed her Giller nominated novel, Solitaria (read my review). Although I enjoyed that book, I found myself more connected to the writing in Tracks. With her travel essays, I found myself fully immersed in the personal reflections, the beautiful descriptions of place, and the ultimate message of dislocation, searching for self, and restlessness. In Tracks, Gunn captures the essence of travel – a journey which does not just introduce new places, but exposes relationships. When Gunn’s beloved aunt lays changed from a stroke, it is this idea of travel – whether it be physical or through the pages of a favorite book – which informs their relationship.

I’ve stood at railway tracks, my toes against the ties, while trains approach. Now I sit at my aunt’s bedside, my hand in hers, and hold my breath as years lumber past, tuned to the whine of flesh and bone. Today, we journey together through Dante’s Inferno, through his Purgatory and Paradise, our eyes wet, our hearts open to each other, to the magic that is poetry – a language through which we can finally communicate. – from Tracks –

Tracks is a very personal collection of travel essays. Lovingly penned, it is a book which deserves a slow reading.

Highly recommended.


FTC Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher for review.

Want to Read TRACKS?

I am very happy to be able to offer one of my readers a copy of this wonderful book. The publisher sent me two copies, and I am giving away one of them.

  • Contest is open from January 3, 2014 – through January 10, 2014 at 5:00 pm PST
  • Contest is open INTERNATIONALLY.
  • To enter: Click here to take survey

Happy New Year – and a Book Giveaway


Can you believe it is 2014? The time just flies by these days. I love New Year’s day as it always feels like a new start. I love to purge and organize and plan. I got a head start on my purging this year and found a couple of books which were duplicates in my stacks. I thought it would be nice to have a little book giveaway here to celebrate the beginning of the new year.

Below are the two books I’m giving away. I’m sorry but this one is open only to people with US mailing addresses (I’m trying to be better on my budget this year!). You may enter both giveaways by following the links I’ve provided. Giveaway is open from January 1, 2014 through January 7, 2014 at 5:00 pm PST – I’ll draw two winners randomly and announce their names on my blog sometime on the 8th of January – I’ll also drop the winners an email to confirm their mailing addresses.

Okay, so without further ado – here is what I’m offering:


The Green Shore by Natalie Bakopoulos

Simon and Schuster; new trade paperback

Book Description from the Publisher:

Named “a must read” by Entertainment Weekly, this masterful debut takes us to the poignant and powerful heart of a family caught up in Greece’s brutal 1967 military coup d’état. As these characters struggle with their passions, both personal and political, and their stories of love and resistance play out against the backdrop of this turbulent period, their lives begin to unfold in surprising ways. A widowed doctor and her daughters, their poet uncle and his wife, must each make their own peace with when to stay silent in the face of atrocity, and when to act.

Set in Paris and Athens, The Green Shore is an ambitious, lyrical tour de force that captures the human cost of a terrifying historical moment. In flawless, gorgeous prose, award-winning novelist Natalie Bakopoulos draws us into the lives of unforgettable people who vividly illuminate not only this place and this time but, fundamentally, what it means to be human.

Learn more about this book by visiting the publisher page.

To enter to win a copy of THE GREEN SHORE: Click here to take survey


All Russians Love Birch Trees by Olga Grjasnowa

Other Press; new Advance Readers Edition

Book Description from the Publisher:

Set in Frankfurt, All Russians Love Birch Trees follows a young immigrant named Masha. Fluent in five languages and able to get by in several others, Masha lives with her boyfriend, Elias. Her best friends are Muslims struggling to obtain residence permits, and her parents rarely leave the house except to compare gas prices. Masha has nearly completed her studies to become an interpreter, when suddenly Elias is hospitalized after a serious soccer injury and dies, forcing her to question a past that has haunted her for years.

Olga Grjasnowa has a unique gift for seeing the funny side of even the most tragic situations. With cool irony, her debut novel tells the story of a headstrong young woman for whom the issue of origin and nationality is immaterial—her Jewish background has taught her she can survive anywhere. Yet Masha isn’t equipped to deal with grief, and this all-too-normal shortcoming gives a particularly bittersweet quality to her adventures.

Learn more about this book by visiting the publisher page.

To enter to win a copy of ALL RUSSIANS LOVE BIRCH TREES: Click here to take survey

Winner of Ade Announced


Thank you to all who entered to win a copy of Rebecca Walker’s debut novel, Ade. This morning I used to choose a winner.

Congratulations to:

Sand at The Piker Press

I’m sending you an email to get your mailing address, Sand!

For those of you who did not win, I hope you’ll consider picking up a copy of Walker’s novel soon – it is definitely worth the read!

Ade – Book Review and Giveaway

AdeIt was like nothing penetrated until I began making my way toward him. And then it was as if I had been dying of emptiness, so readily did the world bleed into me. – from Ade, page 10 –

Farida is an American college student when she decides to journey overseas with her friend, Miriam. Together they explore new worlds, flying to Cairo and moving south. In Africa, Farida begins to discover a part of herself which she has never known before. She notices how the local people look like her, she begins to feel bound to them in a way which is hard to express.

This new world – with its Afro-Arab-Portuguese inhabitants with whom I shared bone structure and skin color, and whose brown eyes appraised me as if they knew me better than I knew myself – had claimed me in a way I had not known. The island was becoming my home. My mother’s prophecy was becoming manifest. – from Ade, page 45 –

And then she meets Ade, a Swahili man who lives off the coast of Kenya on an island which feels safe and idyllic. Miriam and Farida part ways, and Farida immerses herself in Ade’s culture, meeting his family and planning a life with him. But Africa is not the romantic place which Farida imagines – there is violence, political upheaval, and illnesses which are not easily treated far from America. As reality begins to intrude on Farida’s dreams, she must wrestle with love and make a heart-wrenching decision.

But it was more than this. Yes, I could see it now. It wasn’t him, it was me. I had done what I swore I would not do: I had romanticized Africa. I had accepted Ade’s life before I realized what it might mean for my own. – from Ade, page 102 –

Ade is Rebecca Walker’s debut novel – really more of a novella at a slim 112 pages. Walker’s prose shimmers with a light and rhythm which pulls the reader into Farida and Ade’s dreamlike world. At first, like Farida, the reader wants to believe in this magical place and in the possibility of love overcoming darkness. But, Walker allows glimpses into the dangers and pitfalls rife within Africa – the cultural divide between the America which Farida has grown up in and the rigidity of African paternalism and governmental chaos.

From my sheltered American perch, I imagined checks and balances, the rights of the individual, and judicial protection, even though history had shown me otherwise. – from Ade, page 78 –

Walker explores the big themes of identity, romantic idealism, and the impact of civil war on the lives of individuals. The writing is luminous and beautiful, the characters captivating. Long before the end of the story, the reader sees the conflict and watches as Farida slides toward a reality she has not yet imagined. It is tense and riveting – the kind of literature which holds the reader in its thrall while it comes to its inevitable conclusion.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book which is not just a love story, but an exploration of what it means to discover oneself in a different culture. It is about idealism vs. realism, seen through the eyes of a young adult as she moves out into the world. Readers who enjoy literary fiction will want to pick up a copy of Ade and experience this very talented, new voice in fiction.

Highly recommended.


tlclogoFTC Disclosure: This book was sent to me by the publisher as part of a TLC Book Tour.

Read more reviews by visiting the TLC Book Tour page.

Rebecca-Walker_72dpi_cDavid-Fenton-242x300ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Rebecca Walker is the author of the best-selling memoirs Black, White and Jewish and Baby Love, and editor of the anthology Black Cool. She is also the editor of the anthologies To Be Real, What Makes a Man, and One Big Happy Family. Her writing has appeared in Bookforum,  Newsweek, Glamour, Marie Claire, The Washington Post, Vibe, and Interview, among many other publications, and she blogs regularly for The Root. Learn more about Walker and her work by visiting the author’s website.


  • Contest open from November 26 through December 3, 2013 at 5:00 pm PST.
  • Contest open for US and Canada mailing addresses only (no PO boxes)
  • To enter, leave a comment on this post telling me you would like to be entered.
  • I will draw ONE winner after 5:00 pm on December 3rd (PST).


Gone Reading: A Philanthropic Enterprise (and a Special Coupon Code for You!)

GoneReadingGone Reading is just the kind of company I enjoy supporting. They are a philanthropic enterprise founded in 2011, which markets a line of products for readers and book lovers. The company donates 100% of after-tax profits to provide new funding for libraries around the world. Yes, you read that correctly: 100%.

Check out their page which describes their charitable mission.

We believe that when people have open access to great reading materials, life always changes for the better.  When libraries and reading materials are made available, people and their communities thrive through increased opportunity and self-empowerment. – from the Gone Reading website  –

The bulk of charitable contributions benefit three organizations: READ Global and Ethiopia Reads, and BiblioWorks. Since its founding, Gone Reading International has been run completely by volunteers, with no salary costs incurred to date. No compensation, salary or dividends have been paid to company owners/founders Brad & Eileen Wirz. Most recently the organization underwrote a new community library in Ethiopia.

The Gebeta Community Children’s Library, as it’s known, was developed by Ethiopia Reads, an amazing non-profit that we’ve helped support since GoneReading launched in 2011.  They approached us about the project in August, and I knew we could make it work.  Ethiopia Reads already had the space lined up, conveniently located near their office in Addis Ababa.  We wrote them a check and the library was outfitted and staffed in less than a month.  Amazing! – from the Gone Reading website –

There are lots of great things over on the Gone Reading site: Why not check out the Gone Reading blog and their Resources for Readers?

When I was contacted recently about trying one of Gone Reading’s products and providing a review, I did not hesitate. First, their site is really user friendly. It was easy for me to browse their terrific reading products which include t-shirts, book accessories, calendars, home decor, games, stationary, and more…all with a bookish theme. I selected one of their Reading Woman products: a 2014 Engagement Calendar.


I am always on the lookout for engagement calendars with unique artwork which also give me plenty of space to write. This calendar is 6″ x 8 ¼” and printed using soy-based inks on FSC® certified paper, which means the paper has been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council™ and manufactured by an FSC® certified printer. (FSC® certification promotes responsible forest management by ensuring that forestry practices are environmentally responsible, socially equitable, and economically viable.) Product description:

This 2014 Engagement Calendar features 20 paintings by famous artists, including Gustave Caillebotte, Sir John Lavery, and Edward Hopper.

Also included are 57  weekly grids and 13 full-page monthly grids; double-page spreads of 2014 and 2015 yearly grids; a full 2014 calendar on the cover flaps; a list of international holidays; a world time zone map; a year planner with US, UK, and Canadian holidays; pages for notes; and a personal information page.

The result is a gorgeous, high quality calendar. Here is some of the artwork (click on each image to enjoy a larger view):

ReadingWoman.Jan0001 ReadingWoman.Deccloseup0001

ReadingWoman.Septcloseup0001 ReadingWoman.Sept0001


I really want to promote a company that gives back…and there are so many great products on Gone Reading which would make fun stocking stuffers or gifts for the readers in your life. SO, I am very happy to be able to offer my readers a special coupon code worth 25% off on the Gone Reading site.


  • Use this code at checkout: caribou25
  • Coupon code is good for the total cost of the entire shopping cart, not including shipping.
  • Coupon code is good for any/all merchandise on the  site and can be used an unlimited number of times before it expires at the end of the year.

That’s it! I hope you find something wonderful – and would love to hear your thoughts, comments and what you bought if you want to share with me!

Happy Reading!

Winners Announced: Race Across the Sky

RaceAcross the Sky

Race Across the Sky by Derek Sherman
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Plume (July 30, 2013)

Thank you to all who stopped by and left a comment to win a copy of Race Across the Sky by Derek Sherman. This morning I used to pick THREE winners. Congratulations to:

Anne Simonot (comment #3) who wrote “Both the biomedical & extreme sport aspects of this novel sound fascinating. as well as the idea of an extreme running cult! I would love to win a copy!

Rachel V. (comment #7) who wrote “I want to win this book because I have just started running…training for a 5k…and I think this would be an inspiring read!

Elisabeth (comment #8) who wrote “This sounds like a book I would want to race through it is so good!!!

I’m sending you each an email – please respond to that within five days with your snail mail so the publisher may send you your book. If I don’t hear back within 5 days, I’ll pick a new winner.

Race Across the Sky – Book Review and 3 Book Giveaway

RaceAcross the SkyOver the past decade he had successfully extracted any emotional confusion from his life. Jobs, career, family, the expectations of the world, were all like forgotten high school friends. But now, like a patient in remission who with horror senses his symptoms returning, Caleb felt a range of sharp emotions rising up; emotions he thought he had put aside forever. – from Race Across the Sky

Caleb Oberest works in a highly paid corporate position in New York City until the events of 9-11 shatter his world. On an impulse, he quits his job and moves to Colorado to join an elite group of ultra marathoners. These runners slave beneath the tutelage of a man named Mack who believes in pushing one’s body to such an extreme as to produce kinetic energy capable of sustaining the body with as little as 4 hours of sleep and very little fuel. To belong, members of the group sever ties to family and friends and vow to turn from any romantic relationships. Caleb immerses himself in this running cult, cutting all connection to his family to become a premier ultra marathoner. But then a young woman named June arrives in the mountains of Colorado with her very ill infant daughter, Lily, looking for the healing powers which Mack promises…and everything changes.

Shane, Caleb’s brother, works at a biotech firm which finds cures for fatal diseases. He and his wife, Janelle, are expecting their first baby and life has never seemed better. Then Shane gets a letter from Caleb after eleven years of silence. Caleb is desperate for a cure for Lily. Reeling from his own feelings toward becoming a father, Shane makes a decision to help in any way he can even if it means putting his career and everything he loves at risk.

Derek Sherman’s debut novel, Race Across the Sky, explores the limits of human endurance both physically and emotionally. Narrated in alternating points of view between Shane and Caleb, the story reels the reader into the obsessive world of competitive distance running and the lure of cults, as well as giving a disturbing glimpse into the powerful, financially driven realm of biotechnology firms and the development of medicines.

Sherman’s prose is character driven and compelling. From page one, I found myself intrigued and embroiled in the lives of the characters. Sensitive without being maudlin, the story is ultimately about love – that between brothers, and between parents and children, and also romantic love and how it can save us from despair. As I was reading, I found myself asking “What would you do to save someone else? What would you do for the person you love? Would you risk everything?

Race Across the Sky is dazzling in its descriptions of the Colorado and California mountains. As a runner once myself, I thought Sherman truly captured the compulsion of athletic competition and the battle that runners have within themselves to simply finish a distance race. I also loved the insight into the medical world of drug companies and the cutting edge technology of the biotech field.

I fully enjoyed this novel from beginning to end. It is compulsively readable with a strong plot, well-constructed characters, and terrific writing. Original and thought provoking, I can recommend Race Across the Sky for readers who like their novels to be provocative.


tlclogoFTC Disclosure: This novel was sent to me by the publisher for review as part of TLC Book Tours. Book giveaways are NOT paid promos. Although books for giveaway will be supplied by the publisher (in most cases), I do not accept payment to host these special events.

For more reviews, please visit the TLC Book Tour page.


Derek Sherman works in advertising as a writer and Creative Director. His work has received every major industry award, and been named among the best of the last 25 years by Archive Magazine. He is a co-founder of the Chicago Awesome Foundation, a charity dedicated to awarding micro-grants. He lives in Chicago with his wife and children. This is his first novel.

For more information about Race Across the Sky, visit the website.


  • Contest open from August 5, 2013 through August 13, 2013 at 5:00 pm PST.
  • Contest open to US and Canada mailing addresses.
  • To enter, please leave a comment on this post telling me why you want to read the book (other comments are welcome – but if you want a chance to win, please say so and tell me why you want to win the book).
  • I will choose THREE winners randomly and announce their name here on my blog on August 14th.

Good Luck!