Sunday, June 15, 2014

June New Release Giveaway Hop (Int)

Hosted by bo-ok nerd.

The Blog Hop runs from June 15th to June 30th.
Winners will be drawn via and notified promptly.

Here you can win a book released this month up to 25 USD from The Book Depository.
In comments tell me 3 newly released books you would like to read (I will send you one of those 3, but I won't tell you which...who doesn't love surprises?!), along with your name, email and country (I'm just curious! :P).
The only requirement is that you follow the blog.
One extra entry if you spread the word (link in comments).
Another extra entry if you follow me on twitter (@hatshepsut0011)

This giveaway is open to any country that The Book Depository ships to.

Good luck!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Babayaga by Rébecca Dautremer, Tai-Marc Le Thanh

Italian Publisher: Donzelli Editore
Babayaga has only one tooth and perhaps that is why she is so evil. Sure enough this fearful Babayaga has wickedness to spare! Ogress by natural inclination, she has only one passion: eating, preferably plump and chubby children. So how to get by on your own if you're a girl three apples tall (of those big and juicy!) and you are trapped in Babayaga's lair? (Description from IBS)

I own almost every book illustrated by the extremely talented Rebecca Dautremer, and those books are among my dearest possessions. She has the ability to give life to a dreamlike atmosphere thanks to her elegant, sophisticated lines and emotionally charged colors. 

When Babayaga was young the other kids constantly made fun of her, because she had only one tooth, because she was different. However, that doesn't justify what she became. She always harboured in her heart an evil flame and she is the one who chose to transform it into an inferno. It was Babayaga who decided to become an ogress. No excuses. 

Lastly, this is also the story of a kind and clever girl, one whose generosity will be rewarded in the most unexpected ways.  

"Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others can not keep it from themselves." (James M. Barrie)

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Suicide Shop by Jean Teulé

Publisher: Gallic Books
With the twenty-first century just a distant memory and the world in environmental chaos, many people have lost the will to live. And business is brisk at The Suicide Shop. Run by the Tuvache family for generations, the shop offers an amazing variety of ways to end it all, with something to fit every budget. The Tuvaches go mournfully about their business, taking pride in the morbid service they provide. Until the youngest member of the family threatens to destroy their contented misery by confronting them with something they've never encountered before: a love of life. (Description from BookDepository)

"Has your life been a failure? Let's make your death a success." In a world where there's nothing to live for, a world plagued by pollution, desertification, crime, the Suicide Shop helps depressed, devastated, sad, weary people put an end to their lives. Poisons? Ropes? Swords? Napalm? Guns? Deadly animals? Death kiss? They have it all and much more! Madame Tuvache prepares the poisons, Monsieur Tuvache instructs their customers on the best way to commit suicide (drowning, seppuku, poisoned apple, defenestration etc.), Marilyn (Monroe) Tuvache dispenses the Death kiss, Vincent (van Gogh) Tuvache is planning a deadly amusement park, and then there's Alan. Alan (Turing) Tuvache is the child that laughs, the little boy that brings a ray of sunshine in the shop and that with his good spirits will change the lives of those around him. 
The Suicide Shop is a story that cheers you up, showing us that life is worth living even when everything seems black, irreparable, lost. There can't be black without white, darkness without light. The book begins in darkness and, shockingly, in darkness it ends. 

Jean Teulé

Jean Teulé (born 26 February 1953, in Saint-Lô, Manche) is a French novelist, cartoonist and screenwriter. He is the partner of the actress Miou-Miou.
Jean’s book, Le magasin des suicides, has been turned into a film called, The Suicide Shop. It screened at the Newport Beach Film Festival in Newport Beach, CA, on Sunday, April 28, 2013 and Thursday, May 2, 2013. (Wikipedia)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Glaciers by Alexis M. Smith

Publisher: Tin House Books
Isabel is a single, twentysomething thrift-store shopper and collector of remnants, things cast off or left behind by others. Glaciers follows Isabel through a day in her life in which work with damaged books in the basement of a library, unrequited love for the former soldier who fixes her computer, and dreams of the perfect vintage dress move over a backdrop of deteriorating urban architecture and the imminent loss of the glaciers she knew as a young girl in Alaska. Glaciers unfolds internally, the action shaped by Isabel's sense of history, memory, and place, recalling the work of writers such as Jean Rhys, Marguerite Duras, and Virginia Woolf. For Isabel, the fleeting moments of one day can reveal an entire life. While she contemplates loss and the intricate fissures it creates in our lives, she accumulates the stories--the remnants--of those around her and she begins to tell her own story. (Description from BookDepository)

If we think about our lives passing by, every day on this earth, what remains and what disappears, isn't the natural conclusion that human beings are just a combination of memories and that only stories outlive us? And, being our stories the only survivors, aren't them the ones that really matter? 
Isabel isn't just a collector of remnants, she's a collector of stories. In Glaciers we get to step into Isabel's life for one day, watch her working on damaged books, shopping for the perfect vintage dress, aching for love, daydreaming, dancing, reminiscing, living. Glaciers is a novel that made me realize how every single moment of our lives, every little action is determined by our background, by who we are, by what we became, by the shape of our past, by the intensity of our desires. Our stories are engraved in our efforts, gems encrusted in souls. We are stories. 

Alexis M. Smith

Alexis Margaret Smith grew up in Soldotna, Alaska, and Seattle, Washington. She attended Mount Holyoke College, Portland State University, and Goddard College, where she earned an MFA in Creative Writing. Her writing has appeared in Tarpaulin Sky and on She currently lives in Portland, Oregon, with her son, two cats, and their beloved view of the St. Johns bridge. (

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Time Machine by H. G. Wells

'Great shapes like big machines rose out of the dimness, and cast grotesque black shadows, in which dim spectral Morlocks sheltered from the glare'. Chilling, prophetic and hugely influential, "The Time Machine" sees a Victorian scientist propel himself into the year 802,701 AD, where he is delighted to find that suffering has been replaced by beauty and contentment in the form of the Eloi, an elfin species descended from man. But he soon realizes that they are simply remnants of a once-great culture - now weak and living in terror of the sinister Morlocks lurking in the deep tunnels, who threaten his very return home. H. G. Wells defined much of modern science fiction with this 1895 tale of time travel, which questions humanity, society, and our place on Earth. (Description from BookDepository)

Still from the 1960 film "The Time Machine".
Ray Bradbury, one of my favorite author of all time, has been highly influenced by H.G. Wells' writing, therefore I finally decided it was time to read The Time Machine. It has been an exceptional read, as short in length as full of considerations on time, organic evolution, human nature, society and the future world. H.G.Wells in his imaginary future has not been kind on men. In 802,701 AD the human race split in two, Eloi and Morlocks. The Eloi are small, frail, elegant, kind, featherbrained, lighthearted creatures, descending from the upper class. while the Morlocks are, on the other hand, creatures of the night, relegated in the underground and free to scour the surface for food (the Eloi) only during the night, when the moon doesn't shine so bright. The Morlocks descend from the working class who has become cruel, savage, malicious, cannibal, nevertheless they retained more than a spark of intelligence, most probably thanks to the hardships they had to go through.
However impossible as this future may seem, I share Wells' opinions on the disastrous consequences that an extremely "relaxed" lifestyle may lead to. Moreover, it must never be underestimated the power of an oppressed working class that, when time is ripe, will rise again and have its vengeance. 
Moral of the story: be wise, be respectful, never rest on your laurels and always be kind. 

H.G. Wells

Herbert George “H.G.” Wells (21 September 1866 – 13 August 1946) was an English writer, now best known for his work in the science fiction genre. He was also a prolific writer in many other genres, including contemporary novels, history, politics, and social commentary, even writing textbooks and rules for war games. Wells is sometimes called The Father of Science Fiction, as are Jules Verne and Hugo Gernsback. His most notable science fiction works include The War of the Worlds, The Time Machine, The Invisible Man, and The Island of Doctor Moreau.

Wells’s earliest specialized training was in biology, and his thinking on ethical matters took place in a specifically and fundamentally Darwinian context. He was also from an early date an outspoken socialist, often (but not always, as at the beginning of the First World War) sympathising with pacifist views. His later works became increasingly political and didactic, and he sometimes indicated on official documents that his profession was that of journalist. Most of his later novels were not science fiction. Some described lower-middle class life (Kipps; The History of Mr Polly), leading him to be touted as a worthy successor to Charles Dickens, but Wells described a range of social strata and even attempted, in Tono-Bungay (1909), a diagnosis of English society as a whole. (Wikipedia)

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Crimes of Dr. Watson by John Watson, Duane Swierczynski

Publisher: Quirk Books
Quirk is unveiling the "Crimes of Dr. Watson", the first completely interactive Sherlock Holmes mystery. This illustrated hardcover book, complete with Victorian era illustrations, contains an original novella in the form of a letter from Dr. John H. Watson. As our story opens, we discover that the legendary detective Sherlock Holmes has vanished - and to make matters worse, his good friend Dr. Watson has been framed for a grisly and terrifying murder! From a damp cell in Coldbath Fields prison, Watson recounts the tragic events leading up to his arrest - and offers a number of clues that can be used to identify the true culprit. Once you've finished reading Watson's letter, it's up to you to sift through the clues and solve the mystery. And when you think you've identified the culprit, you can slice open the final signature of the book (sealed at the printer) to read the remainder of the story. (Description from BookDepository)

I didn't read any interactive books lately and The Crimes of Dr. Watson had been sitting on my unread shelf for a very long time (I won this book on vvb32 reads). After a quite tough day I needed to read something light and so I decided to finally pick it up. Such a fun ride! I love mysteries and even better the interactive ones! This wasn't a very diffucult mystery to solve, however it is created artfully and the illustrations are a beautiful addition.

And, of course, there are clues for the reader to solve the mystery (e.g. objects hidden in envelopes, a newspaper, a telegram, etc.).

The Crimes of Dr. Watson is a wonderful book to those who, like me, love mysteries and interactive stories. Thank you, Quirk Books, for publishing this little gem!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

As relevant now as when it was first published, Elizabeth Gaskell's "North and South" skilfully weaves a compelling love story into a clash between the pursuit of profit and humanitarian ideals. This "Penguin Classics" edition is edited with an introduction by Patricia Ingham. When her father leaves the Church in a crisis of conscience, Margaret Hale is uprooted from her comfortable home in Hampshire to move with her family to the North of England. Initially repulsed by the ugliness of her new surroundings in the industrial town of Milton, Margaret becomes aware of the poverty and suffering of local mill workers and develops a passionate sense of social justice. This is intensified by her tempestuous relationship with the mill-owner and self-made man John Thornton, as their fierce opposition over his treatment of his employees masks a deeper attraction. In "North and South" Gaskell skilfully fused individual feeling with social concern, and in Margaret Hale created one of the most original heroines of Victorian literature. (Description from BookDepository)

"North and South" Illustration by kakao-bean

North and South was the right book at the right time. I needed this book so desperately without even knowing it and North & South found me (it's always the book that finds the owner, never the contrary). It spoke to me intimately, urged me to go on, never give up, helped me facing deep sorrow, gave me courage and ultimately made me fall in love.  It made me fall in love with Margaret, for her love, her passion, her intelligence, her innocence and her willingness to understand more about a world so different from her own as the sun from the moon, her willingness to grow. 

"Margaret Hale" Illustration by Elizabeth Lefebvre

It made me fall in love with Mr Thornton, a man made of iron but with the most passionate and noblest heart ever seen in a human being. His immense willpower has been a great inspiration to me. John Thornton is very far from perfection as any man can be, however he strives hard every day of his life for improvement, to become the gentleman that Margaret needs. 

"John Thornton" North & South BBC adaptation

And lastly, it made me fall in love with the North and the South, because for all their differences and disagreements they still remain places made of men who have the same goal in life, survive, have a life worth living. 
As soon as I reached the last page of North and South I knew that I would pick it up again. To me this is a book that hasn't finished telling its story, the best kind of book. 

"John and Margaret" North & South BBC adaptation



North and South previously appeared in 20 weekly episodes from September 1854 to January 1855 in Household Words, edited by Charles Dickens. During the same period, Dickens dealt with the same theme in Hard Times, also a social novel, published in the same journal from April to August 1854.

Dickens' Hard Times — which shows Manchester in a negative light and satirises it (as Coketown) — challenged Elizabeth Gaskell and complicated the writing of her novel. She had to ascertain, for instance, that Dickens would not write about a strike. Gaskell found the time pressure and technical constraints of serialised fiction particularly trying. She wanted to write 22 episodes, but was "compelled to desperate compression" to limit the story to 20. North and South was not as successful as Hard Times. On 14 October 1854, after six weeks, sales dropped enough that Dickens complained of Gaskell's lack of flexibility (intractability), resisting demands for conciseness. He found the story "wearisome to the last degree". (Wikipedia)


Elizabeth Gaskell

Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell, née Stevenson (29 September 1810 – 12 November 1865), often referred to simply as Mrs Gaskell, was a British novelist and short story writer during the Victorian era. Her novels offer a detailed portrait of the lives of many strata of society, including the very poor, and are of interest to social historians as well as lovers of literature. Gaskell was also the first to write a biography of Charlotte Bronte, The Life of Charlotte Bronte, which was published in 1857. (Wikipedia)


TV Miniseries

North & South is a BBC miniseries based on the 1855 Victorian novel North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell. It was originally broadcast in four episodes on BBC One in November and December 2004. 


Daniela Denby-Ashe
Margaret Hale
Richard Armitage
John Thornton
Sinead Cusack
Hannah Thornton
Lesley Manville
Maria Hale
Tim Pigott-Smith
Richard Hale
Pauline Quirke
Brendan Coyle
Nicholas Higgins