Monthly Archives: April 2009

B as in Beauty GIVEAWAY!

*** CONTEST CLOSED *** WINNERS SELECTED ***

Our five random winners are:

Shauna
Wanda
Vivian
Ashley
Ruth

Congratulations! Each of you will be receiving a copy of “B as in Beauty” by Alberto Ferreras, courtesy of Hachette Book Group.

Thanks to all who entered. Stay tuned for more giveaways!

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beauty Good news! Hachette Book Group is allowing me to host a giveaway. Five lucky winners will get a copy of B as in Beauty by Alberto Ferreras!

Rules

1. One entry per household. You may enter even if you have won a giveaway on Curious Villager before.

2. U.S. and Canada residents only. No P.O. Boxes will be accepted for prize shipment.

3. Just leave a comment about something that has helped boost your self esteem on this post and make sure to give an accurate E-mail address in the E-mail address field so that if you win, I will be able to contact you.

4. Contest closes at 11:59 pm EST on May 10th, 2009. Five winners will be announced on this blog post and contacted via E-mail on May 11th, 2009. Your shipping information will be given to Hachette Book Group so they can send your prize directly.

5. Good luck! :)

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B as in Beauty

beauty B as in Beauty by Alberto Ferreras is about a young woman named Beauty, (yes, that’s her name, but she goes by “B”), who, despite her name, has never felt very confident about her looks.

When I first picked up this book I worried that it was another Chick-Lit book about a fat girl who discovers she’s beautiful, and while it is that, it manages to be a lot more. The character, B is Cuban American so this is aimed at a Latina audience, but anyone can enjoy it. The story is told by B herself and it is hard to believe the book was written by a male. The voice is so authentic you’ll feel that you’re being told this whole tale by your new BFF from the office over lunch break at a hip coffee shop. The character is likable and relatable, and the book itself is engaging. (I read it in about 3 sittings.) The author also did a fantastic job of making the reader squirm during awkward moments. I could really feel how uncomfortable B was in her own skin and in certain situations. (I’m sure it didn’t hurt that I have been there myself.)

If you’re very conservative this book may not be for you. B does not mince words so there’s some colorful language, not to mention that besides B’s day job at an advertising agency, part of her transformation involves meeting Madame Natasha Sokolov who introduces her to a new side job in the evenings as an escort. (As the book mentions though, escorts are not paid for sex but for their time.) It’s kind of like Ugly Betty meets Pretty Woman. (Who would have ever expected that combo?)

What I liked best about this book is that when I finished I found that along with B, I too had picked up some self esteem from the lessons she had learned about loving herself. (Thank you Mr. Ferreras for being my Madame Natasha Sokolov.)

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The Shadow of the Wind

theshadowofthewind I stayed up until 2 am for the second night in a row, finishing The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. The book was originally written in Spanish, (La Sombra del Viento), as Zafón is originally from Barcelona.

***The English translation is by Lucia Graves. I wanted to give her a shout out. Those who translate literature don’t get enough credit. I can’t imagine what a labor of love it is to find exactly the right words to translate not just the writing itself, but the feeling. Thanks to people like Lucia Graves, we can enjoy brilliant writing we may otherwise never have known.***

The book is a worldwide bestseller, and with good reason. This is one of the most engaging and beautifully written books I have ever read – it is essentially an ode to all who love books and reading.

The story is from the perspective of Daniel, a young motherless Spanish boy and the son of a bookshop owner. At 10 years old, Daniel is taken by his father to a secret and almost magical place called The Cemetery of Forgotten Books. Daniel tells us, “a labyrinth of passageways and crammed bookshelves rose from base to pinnacle like a beehive woven with tunnels, steps, platforms, and bridges that presaged an immense library of seemingly impossible geometry.”

Daniel’s father tells him, “according to tradition, the first time someone visits this place, he must choose a book, whichever he wants, and adopt it, making sure that it will never disappear, that it will always stay alive.” Daniel chooses “The Shadow of the Wind,” by Julián Carax. Little does young Daniel know how much he will grow to love this book. When he tries to seek out other books by Julián Carax he discovers that the book he owns is rare and valuable – that an unknown person has been going around and burning every Julián Carax book in existence. When Daniel decides to unravel the mystery, he could never anticipate how it would change his life.

I borrowed this book from the library but would love to purchase my own copy. It is one of those rare books worth re-reading with a highlighter in hand. The writing is sumptuous, with amazing imagery and fantastic dialogue. This is a book for readers, writers and lovers of language.

I believe I discovered this book in the Mystery section of my library but even with its ever twisting plots and infinite subplots, it’s so much more than that. It’s also a period novel (1920’s-1930’s), a thriller (some parts of this book rival Stephen King’s ability to keep the plot suspenseful and even scary. There were a few times my heart was pounding so hard in my chest that I almost closed the book for need of a break from the adrenaline!), and most surprising of all are the beautiful, sometimes tragic romances.

One of the most magical things about The Shadow of the Wind is that while you’ve never read a book quite like it, it somehow reminds you of every book you’ve loved. There is something vaguely familiar in its pages. The character Daniel is obviously a reflection of the author himself –  Ruiz Zafón must be a bibliophile who has learned from the very best, honing his craft to perfection.

I can’t wait to read The Angel’s Game, Zafón’s prequel to The Shadow of the Wind. The English translation is due out June 2009.

“Every book, every volume you see here has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it.”

“…few things leave a deeper mark on a reader than the first book that finds its way into his heart. Those first images, the echo of words we think have left behind, accompany us throughout our lives and sculpt a palace in our memory …”

-Shadow of the Wind/Carlos Ruiz Zafón

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National Poetry Month Giveaway

***CONTEST CLOSED***WINNERS SELECTED***

Using Random.org’s List Randomizer, our 5 lucky winners have been chosen. Congratulations to:

Mandy
Jana
Indigo
Aisha
Ruth

They will be receiving the Poetry Giveaway gift pack courtesy of Hachette Book Group! Thanks to all who entered. Stay tuned for other giveaways!

poetrymonthbanner April is National Poetry Month and to celebrate, Hachette Book Group is allowing me to host a giveaway.

Five winners will receive a gift pack of all 6 books shown here. Here’s how to enter:

Rules:

1. One entry per household. You may enter even if you have won a giveaway on Curious Villager before.

2. U.S. and Canada residents only. No P.O. Boxes will be accepted for prize shipment.

3. Just leave a comment about one of your favorite poems on this post and make sure to give an accurate E-mail address in the E-mail address field so that if you win, I will be able to contact you.

4. Contest closes at 11:59 pm EST on April 30th, 2009. Five winners will be announced on this blog post and contacted via E-mail on May 1st, 2009. Your shipping information will be given to Hachette Book Group so they can send your prize (the 6 books shown), directly.

5. Good luck! :)

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Filed under books, contest, poetry