Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Cleopatra's Daughter

I tried, I really tried to win a copy of Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran from every blogger offering it up for grabs!  I entered every contest, completed all steps to increase my odds.  'Just would not happen.  Then I checked to see if Audible.com had it.  They did and I had credit! Yea, team! I got it.
This is the summary at Audible.com

The marriage of Marc Antony and Cleopatra is one of the greatest love stories of all time, a tale of unbridled passion with earth-shaking political consequences. Feared and hunted by the powers in Rome, the lovers choose to die by their own hands as the triumphant armies of Antony's vengeful rival, Octavian, sweep into Egypt. Their three orphaned children are taken in chains to Rome; only two---the 10-year-old twins Selene and Alexander---survive the journey.
Delivered to the household of Octavian's sister, the siblings cling to each other and to the hope that they will return one day to their rightful place on the throne of Egypt. As they come of age, they are buffeted by the personal ambitions of Octavian's family and court, by the ever-present threat of slave rebellion, and by the longings and desires deep within their own hearts.
The fateful tale of Selene and Alexander is brought brilliantly to life in Cleopatra's Daughter. Recounted in Selene's youthful and engaging voice, it introduces a compelling cast of historical characters: Octavia, the emperor Octavian's kind and compassionate sister, abandoned by Marc Antony for Cleopatra; Livia, Octavian's bitter and jealous wife; Marcellus, Octavian's handsome, flirtatious nephew and heir apparent; Tiberius, Livia's sardonic son and Marcellus's great rival for power; and Juba, Octavian's watchful aide, whose honored position at court has far-reaching effects on the lives of the young Egyptian royals.
Selene's narrative is animated by the concerns of a young girl in any time and place---the possibility of finding love, the pull of friendship and family, and the pursuit of her unique interests and talents. While coping with the loss of both her family and her ancestral kingdom, Selene must find a path around the dangers of a foreign land. Her accounts of life in Rome are filled with historical details that vividly capture both the glories and horrors of those times.

One of the reasons I enjoyed this story was because it gives a possible answer to the question of "what happened to the children?"  I was familiar with most of the major characters but knew very little about the children, other than Cleopatra's oldest child with Cesar did not live long after his mother.  The story pulled me in quickly and did not let go until a satisfactory ending.  It has whetted my appetite for other stories by Michelle Moran.  
I am glad it is in my listening library as I know I will want to hear it again as the narrator, Wanda McCaddon, added much to the Ms. Moran's words. 

On a 1-5 rating, it rates a 5 with me.  

Hand-me-downs are good

Especially when it come from my sister to my mother to me!  What a lovely surprise! I had no knowledge about the book, so checked it out on Goodreads.  The following what was said there:
I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers." January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she's never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb.... As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends--and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society--born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island--boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all. As Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society's members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever. Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises, and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.

Did someone say 'MURDER'?

Why yes, she did.  She is Melissa of Melissa's Bookshelf.  
And then she showed this:
Murder on the Cliffs: A Daphne du Maurier Mystery (Daphne du Maurier Mysteries)

And then she mentioned Daphine du Maurier.
And then she had a review.
And then she had a giveaway contest.
And then I entered.
And then I won!
Now just look at that cover! Can you feel the gloominess of the night; the chill wind that carries the scent of the sea as you read one of du Maurier's books or watched a movie braced on one of them?
The review...ah, think of a Nancy Drew but in this setting of time and space! Wouldn't you have to enter?  Of course you would and be joyous as I was when the book arrived on the doorstep!
You really should visit Melissa's blog if only for good reviews and check out her giveaways too...it's a fun thing!
PS:  For those of you wondering why this just showed up when it originated earlier, my computer blew away my original post leaving only the title and opening line.  So don't get made at your machine.

From Blossom Street to Hannah's List

I first became away of Debbie Macomber in a hobby story looking for yarn and patterns. I found 2 pattern books that were based on 2 of her books and encouraging knitters to knit squares for Warm Up America. 
So when in Twitter, I saw the Book Vixen posted review and giveaway of Hannah's List, I had to read the review and enter her giveaway.  Happily, I won not only the book but a $25 Visa gift card (more books!!!)! 
You can read the Vixen's review here.  Do stay around after reading her review for current reviews and/or giveaways that might interest you.

The difference between the North and the South - at last, clearly explained!

This is via one of my grand nieces:

The North has Bloomingdale'sthe South has Dollar General.
The North has Coffee Housesthe South has Waffle Houses.
The North has dating servicesthe South has family reunions.
The North has switchblade knivesthe South has Lee Press-on Nails.
The North has double last namesthe South has double first names.
The North has Indy car racesthe South has stock car races.
The North has Cream of Wheatthe South has grits.
The North has green saladsthe South has collard greens.
The North has lobstersthe South has crawfish.
The North has the rust beltthe South has the Bible Belt.
NORTHERNERS MOVING SOUTH . . .In the South: --If you run your car into a ditch, don't panic. Four men in a four-wheel drive pickup truck with a tow chain will be along shortly. Don't try to help them, just stay out of their way. This is what they live for.
Don't be surprised to find movie rentals and bait in the same store.... do not buy food at this store.
Remember, "Y'all" is singular, "all y'all" is plural, and 'all y'all's' is plural possessive.
Get used to hearing 'You ain't from round here, are ya?'
Save all manner of bacon grease. You will be instructed later on how to use it.
Don't be worried at not understanding what people are saying. They can't understand you either.
The first 
Southern statement to creep into a transplanted Northerner's vocabulary is the adjective "big ol'," as in big ol' truck or big ol' boy.  Most Northerners begin their Southern-influenced dialect this way. All of them are in denial about it.
The proper pronunciation you learned in school is no longer proper.
Be advised that "He needed killin' " is a valid defense here.
If you hear a 
Southerner exclaim, "Hey, y'all watch this," you should stay out of the way.  These are likely to be the last words he'll ever say.
If there is the prediction of the slightest chance of even the smallest accumulation of snow, your presence is required at the local grocery store. It doesn't matter whether you need anything or not. You just have to go there.
Do not be surprised to find that 10-year olds own their own shotguns, they are proficient marksmen, and their mammas taught them how to aim.
In the South, we have found that the best way to grow a lush green lawn is to pour gravel on it and call it a driveway.AND REMEMBER
If you do settle in the South and bear children,  don't  think we will accept them as Southerners. After all, jus' 'cause the cat had kittens in the oven, don't mean we're gonna call 'em biscuits.