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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Weekend Update

Hey all. Hope everyone is having a great weekend thus far. My week has been so hectic and out of order. I dislike being disorganized so when life throws in a wrench, I have to reprogram. So here's what I did this crazy, yet blessed week.

I read three books. I haven't read that much in a short period in quite awhile. But I have some book tours coming through so I had to. Which is actually great, because otherwise I may have put it off to do a host of other things. I read Seductive Kiss and Trouble Don't Last Always by Francis Ray as well as A New Prospect by Wayne Zurl. Can't wait to tell you all about them in the coming weeks. I also have tons of blogs to catch up on this weekend, so I'll make my rounds this evening. Can't wait to see what my blogger buddies have been up to.

I will have several guest blog posts coming up in November as well. Some of the authors guest posting will be Barbara Kyle, Wayne Zurl, HP Mallory and GG Vandagriff just to name a few.

Halloween is coming and so I couldn't decide what to give out to the little kiddies, I suggested bags of popcorn to my kids like, Karen, (one of my blog followers) suggested. But my 12 year old daughter responded, "Are we going to be that house in the neighborhood that hands out lame treats?" Of course, I had to give her the side-eye. So I have decided on my old trusty favorite, bags of potato chips. 

I am also coaching my daughter's basketball team this year. Ask me if I have ever coached basketball before. Go ahead ask me. .....Nope. Never. Na-da one time. So this ought to be fun, eight spunky 12 year olds and one determined, destined to win mom who gives one hellava mean side-eye and don't make me come on the court mom stare. Amazingly, there are two other moms coaching in the same age bracket who have never coached either so I feel confident that I can atleast keep up with them. My daughter says she think we will have the best team. That really made me smile. I have been reading book after book on girls basketball, watched over 100 youtube videos and took notes like it was a midterm exam coming up. So wish us luck.

The eBook version of my book is almost complete. I can't wait to tell you about that journey, the ups and downs and the downs and the ups. I have learned a lot of lessons, so many it definitely requires it's own post in the future.

Lastly, I have been staying the course on my eating healthy and exercise regimen. I have lost 4.3 pounds this week. Yay! I'm so excited. Tired from exercising, but excited. Weight Watchers has helped. I like getting the gold stars for my booklet.

Well, that was my week, how was yours?

P.S. Don't forget to stop by and enter the Spooktacular Giveaway. The prize is a $50 gift card to or $50 in purchases at the Book Depository. Good Luck!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: The Storm

This is a photo from the Tornado Disaster that hit Alabama in May of 2011. There was a house there before. This is what was left after the tornado hit. It was next door to my cousin's house that was also completely taken away by the tornado as well. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop

Hello everyone and welcome to my blog. I'm so glad you stopped by for the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop hosted by Kathy at I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Rhiannon from The Diary of a Bookworm. 

There are over 400 Blogs participating in this hop. This hop runs from Monday, October 24th until Halloween Night, October 31st at midnight. That gives you 8 days to Hop to all the blogs and enter their giveaways. I am keeping my fingers cross that you all win something, including myself. :-) 

My giveaway is going to be simple. It's open to U.S. residents and international participants. I am giving away a $50.00 gift card to for the U.S. resident. Or up to $50.00 in purchases for an international winner. But there will be only (1) winner. 

Rules for giveaway:
  • You must be a follower of my blog through atleast GFC, RSS and/or Email.  
  • You must fill out the rafflecopter form. To use the rafflecopter form just click the instructions tab first. Then follow the directions for that task. Once you have completed the task. Click I Did This.
  • All other selections on the rafflecopter are optional.
That's it. Hope you have a fantabulous time entering all the other giveaways. For a list of all the blogs participating in the hop to visit click HERE. Have fun and good luck!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Congrats Winner of the Literary Blog Hop Giveaway

To SRy_ for winning $20 in purchases from The Book Depository!

I hope you enjoy your purchases!

I generally have terrible luck in winning giveaways. Everyone wants to be a winner, including me. What was the last item you won in a giveaway?

The last items I won were a copy of Hunger Games and a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird. I won both during the Read Banned Books giveaway from The Bookish Babes.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Halloween Treats Anyone?

Since Halloween is approaching, figured I'd post a few treats you could purchase for the lil gobblins. These are sour flush toilet candies. Available at A Candy Store for $19.99 for a 12ct.

Would you buy them for your kids?

How about this crunchy worm apple? Looks yummy right?

Well, I did enjoy these. They had several rolls of Lifesavers candies inside and it looked like a book on the outside. I guess my fondness for faux books started early. 

What treats do you normally pass out to the trick or treaters on Halloween?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Could you write over 700 Books?

I was amazed when someone said there was an author who wrote over 700 books. I thought maybe it was an exaggeration because it sounds so unbelievable. Well, it's true. Her name is Dame Mary Barbara Hamilton Cartland and she was an English writer during her long career. She wrote 723 books, making her one of the most prolific authors of the 20th century. She sold over a billion copies throughout the world, earning her a place in the Guinness Book of Records. In 1983 Cartland wrote 23 novels, and holds the Guiness World Record for the most novels written in a single year. She was also named the top-selling author in the world by the Guinness Book of World Records. In the mid-1990s, by which time she had sold over a billion books, Vogue magazine called her "the true Queen of Romance". She is widely regarded as having originated the phrase: "I'm bringing sexy back", as popularised by singer Justin Timberlake. Barbara Cartland is the sixth most translated writer Worldwide, and the third best selling, only William Shakespeare, and Agatha Christie have outsold her.

The world's most famous romantic novelist, she also wrote autobiographies, biographies, health and cookery books, and stage plays and recorded an album of love songs. She was often billed as the Queen of Romance, and became one of the United Kingdom's most popular media personalities, appearing often at public events and on television, dressed in her trademark pink and discoursing on love, health and social issues. She was a service in helping others and is often remembered for her philanthropy.

Barbara Cartland passed away on 21 May 2000 at the age of 98, with 160 still unpublished manuscripts, that are being published posthumously.

Information about Barbara Cartland taken from the Open Library and from her official site at Barbara Cartland. You can go there to read more information about this phenomenal woman and author.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Literary Giveaway Blog Hop

The Literary Giveaway Blog Hop: Is a hop hosted by Leeswammes. Between October 15th and October 19th, you can hop to over 50 different book blogs, all offering one or more giveaways of books or bookish items. Follow the links in my left side bar to find the other participating blogs.

My Giveaway: I will be having one winner: I am offering (1) $20 Amazon gift card for U.S. residents or $20 in purchases from The Book Depository for an international winner. But there will only be one winner. I figured I'd let you choose what you want to read and buy this go around.

You must be a follower of my blog, either by GFC, RSS or Email.
You must fill out the rafflecopter form to enter.
You must be atleast 13 years of age to enter. 
If you live internationally, please make sure the Book Depository delivers to your location.
You can earn more entries for a better chance at winning, but they are optional.

That's it! Good Luck and don't forget to stop by the other blogs for lots of other prizes being given away. Look in my left sidebar for a list of other blogs participating.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Book Review: Purge by Sofi Oksanen

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Grove Press, Black Cat; 1 Tra edition (April 6, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0802170773
ISBN-13: 978-0802170774

Received: by Chinoseries 
Translated from Finnish to English

Synopsis: Goodreads (Purge)

When Aliide Truu, an older woman living alone in the Estonian countryside, finds a disheveled girl huddled in her front yard, she suppresses her misgivings and offers her shelter. Zara is a young sex-trafficking victim on the run from her captors, but a photo she carries with her soon makes it clear that her arrival at Aliide's home is no coincidence. Survivors both, Aliide and Zara engage in a complex arithmetic of suspicion and revelation to distill each other's motives; gradually, their stories emerge, the culmination of a tragic family drama of rivalry, lust, and loss that played out during the worst years of Estonia's Soviet occupation.

Aliide Truu an older woman living in the country of Estonia, lives isolated from her family and spends her days farming and dwelling on the past of what could have been. In her youth, her village was rampant with communist and fascist occupation along with European soldiers that inflicted terror and unspeakable accounts of abuse, horrifying incidents of violence and anguish against them.

Zara, a young sex-trafficking victim on the run from her captors. Her life filled with sexual abuse, exploitation, prostitution and physical abuse. She lands on the "doorstep" of Aliide Truu in the middle of the night, exhausted, filthy and injured.

This is a gritty, graphic, horrifying novel that is classified as historical/ political/ crime fiction. Initially conceived as a play in 2007.

Not told in chronological order. The story is told in short chapters told in a narrative and also via notebook entries. It moves back and forth in time through flashbacks ranging from the Soviet occupation of Estonia near the 1940's (WWII) to 1990's right after the break up of the Soviet Union.

Estonia, Russia. Serbia and Germany.

What I Liked:
The chapters were short like I prefer, which made me feel as if I was making progress as I read quickly through each chapter. I generally disliked Aliide and sometimes her personality made it difficult to empathize with her. She has a hard and stiff exterior, but as the story progresses you can see the pain and delicateness that lives within her that she is obviously trying to protect. She is also yearning for a man that does not want her, combined with all that anguish and abuse surrounding her, I could understand some of her actions, but I didn't agree with them. For instance, I would never betray my sister the way Aliide did, so that left me never fully liking her character.

Zara and Aliide share some of the same experiences unbeknownst to each other, but it is through the story and the flashbacks that we learn they share many of the same experiences, especially dealing with abuse, exploitation and the affects the war had on each of them. We also learn how strong Allide and Zara are as they manage to survive their ordeals by tolerating or accepting certain cruelties. We find that Zara landing on Aliide's doorstep is not by happenstance and I love how the importance of that relationship is revealed and how Aliide and Zara "purge" certain feelings of despair and emotional enslavement. I think the novel encapsulates how some victims survive atrocities inflicted upon them through catharsis and the closing of certain chapters in life they'd like to forget but can never change. Even when they themselves commit atrocities they regret in order to survive.

I think overall, Purge is a representation of eliminating shame felt by the horrific injustices inflicted upon people in society and how by confronting the past, they are able to release that shame, gain some closure and move forward. The best part was the account of how Zara escaped from her captors before she made it to Aliide's doorstep, it provides a riveting look into her survival and it helped the story gain some momentum. I cheered for Zara the entire time. I enjoy novels where women are put into dire situations and find a way out against all odds.

What I Didn't Like:
The novel is narrated and uses at times too much lyrical prose to describe one moment or one object. I much rather prefer historical accounts to be told in first person, it gives it more immediacy. Also, historical fiction doesn't have to be sing-song to be breathtaking. Aside from that, the novel was still somewhat engaging. Although the ending left a lot of unanswered questions and ended so abruptly, it left me disappointed. I don't know what happened Zara, the unknown fate of the woman I cheered for left me annoyed and angry. I tried to re-read the ending and still didn't gain any additional insight. So I guess I'll try to re-read again or just ask someone what happened. The last chapters were simply odd, the font changed, the tone changed, if I'm not mistaken I think they are KGB reports or wire transfers. Not sure. If someone else read it please clarify? There were also questions that never got answered, like how did Linda and her mother escape the camp? Were the KGP reports a foreshadowing of the disruption in the Soviet Union?

Certain themes were more prevalent than others, but there were many. The main themes being exploitation of women, sexual enslavement, war and the effects of war on women, politics, betrayal, redemption, oppression, freedom, jealousy and resentment.

Favorite quotes/excerpts
 “The walls have ears, and the ears have beautiful earrings.” 

4 Stars ****

Would've given 5 Stars had I not been confused at the end.

Monday, October 10, 2011

In My Mailbox Monday & My Birthday!

I had a great weekend. It was my birthday! So my gift to myself was a pair of Jill Scott and Anthony Hamilton concert tickets. Everyone knows I love Jill Scott. I am more than a fan, I'm a fanatic. If I didn't have a family and stuff to do I'd be a stalker. So of course I nearly lost my mind when she sang all my favorite songs and I nearly fainted when Jill Scott shook my hand! Yes, my hand! So my right hand is now officially known as the Jill Scott hand. I am no longer right handed, I'm Jill Scott handed. My daughter bought me Jill Scott's latest cd, The Light of the Sun, and I've been playing it like crazy.

So that was my weekend. Also, I checked my mailbox and inside was a magazine called Radar Magazine. I leisurely flipped through it as I read page after page and lo and behold my photo was in the magazine under the women in business headline. Talk about surprised and elated. :-)

I also received a book for review by Wayne Zurl called A New Prospect.

Well that was my weekend. It was relaxing and enjoyable. No blogging, no kids, no writing, no nothing and I liked it! But today is Monday, so back to my regularly scheduled program. :-) It was good while it lasted.

What kind of great things did you do this weekend? Did you get any awesome books?
Feel free to enjoy one of Jill's new songs, featuring Anthony Hamilton
"So in Love"

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

This photo has been circling around Facebook and I fell in love. What say you?

Monday, October 3, 2011

In My Mailbox Monday

I didn't get much this week. It's been a crazy week and the weekend appears to have just flown by me. I feel like I missed it all together. But I did manage to buy some Kindle books earlier in the week. So here's what I got on my Kindle for iPad.

Whispers in the Night by Tananarive Due and Brandon Massey

Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler

Only His by Susan Mallery

Welp, that's all I got. :-(

What books have you recently bought, checked out or received?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Read Banned Books Week Giveaway Winners

To our Read Banned Books Week Winners
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Lena's Ramblings

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I am a writer, filmmaker, wife and a mom of five beautiful, intelligent, quirky kids. This blog is for writers, aspiring writers, filmmakers and movie lovers. Bringing you my favorite books, films and photos, as well as giveaways and updates on my journey. I'm currently in the process of producing my first short film from my collection of short stories titled, If I Had My Way. The first story to be filmed will be Tandarin Drive. My award winning book, If I Had My Way, is available now. You can purchase a copy at and You may contact me via email at:

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