Sam Asks: What Does It Mean to “become” a Reader?

rnfk“In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since ‘Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,’ he told me, ‘just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.’ He didn’t say any more, but we’ve always been unusually communicative in a reserved way, and I understood that he meant a great deal more than that.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

I have read that opening a thousand times and thought long about that second part, the no judgement part. Less frequently I think about the first part, the idea of someone older and wiser giving you a tidbit of information that is lasting and meaningful. I have had this experience a few times, mostly from my parents and other mentors.

A few weeks ago someone said something to me that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. He certainly didn’t mean to give me so much to consider; he was merely stating a fact. Yet what he said to me has left me to think even more deeply about a topic that I already think deeply about: reading.

The statement was made by a student of mine. I was getting ready for the day and so were my students. From above the usual morning chaos of unpacking backpacks and hurried conversations between friends I heard him say, “Oh good you’re here.” I didn’t know whether he was talking to me or not, but I took a shot and looked up. Sure enough I was being addressed, “I just wanted to tell you that I’m tied up in a book series now,” he said excitedly, “I’m a reader now.”

Call me over-emotional, but I almost dissolved into tears right there in homeroom. Because that’s the goal right? Get kids to identify as a reader? To give them a lifelong love of books?

I mean, yea, it is…and two years ago I would have thought he was “done.” He loves books. He’s a reader. Mission accomplished.

But just being a reader…that’s only the beginning. I was so overcome with emotion not because this student had come to the end of his journey to become a reader, but because for him this was the beginning. Saying out loud, “I’m a reader now,” is in many ways the first step to someone’s entire educational and intellectual life. To be a reader is to question, explore, challenge, seek, wonder, and change. To be a reader is to say yes to the world, to accept the failures and successes of others as your own, to take others, both real and imagined, in and make them part of your life.

From that first admission of “I’m a reader now,” comes a lifetime of putting yourself in another’s shoes and thinking more deeply about lives unlike your own. “I’m a reader now,” means that soon your bookshelves will fill up and overflow. “I’m a reader now,” means spending hours in the bookstore narrowing down your pile from 100 books to the one you can’t leave the store without.

When does it happen? How does it happen? Is there a certain type of experience you need to have, like crying when you try on the perfect wedding dress? How do you know that you are now a reader?

I have personally gone through phases in my life where my reading volume is heavier than other times. For example, during college my reading volume was low, except for the required text. I was definitely not a reader. I actually thought that my reading days might actually be over.

That is, until I met Maximum Ride. And Katniss Everdeen. And Thomas…just Thomas. These are the main characters of Maximum Ride by James Patterson, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and The Maze Runner by James Dashner. In my post grad year I read every single science fiction/dystopic thriller I could get my hands on. I couldn’t keep myself in books, which was bad because I was living with my parents and pursuing a degree in education full-time! But…I was definitely a reader. I read over 100 books that year, a feat I have not been able to match since starting my teaching career.

While I was in this high reading volume phase of my life I started thinking even more deeply about the themes and messages within the text. I began to see patterns across authors, series, and genres. I began to make theories about an author’s purpose and revise those theories as I collected evidence from the text to make my thinking more exact. It wasn’t until later that I realized these were all of the same skills I was training my students to utilize. This is what it means to be a reader, a thinker.

The best part? I was not the only person to make this discovery. All of the research on childhood literacy suggests that the more students read, the more they think about reading, and the more their little brains grow to understand, question, and comment on the world around them. We want students to identify themselves as readers so that they can read huge amounts of text and do huge amounts of thinking.

What he told me was “I’m a reader now.” What it really meant was, “I’m a reader now. I’m a thinker now. I’m going places.” I for one am happy to be along for that ride.

New Year; New Challenges, Episode V

So here we are near the end of January and I’m only just now getting around to posting my annual “New Year; New Challenges” post. I received a promotion at work right around Thanksgiving and have been trying to deal with the change to my schedule. Having a job with irregular hours can sometimes throw off my schedule outside of work. I’m trying to find my balance between work, life, and blogging, and I appreciate you all sticking with the blog as I figure it out.

With all of that being said, here is my goal for 2015: 140 books. Since I successfully completed reading 100 books in 2014, 10 more books gets added to my goal. (2011 = 100 books, 2012 = 110 books, 2013 = 120 books, 2014 = 130 books, etc) As per years past, you can keep track of my reading progress and what books I’ve read here.

In no particular order, here are some of the books releasing in 2015 that I’m looking forward to reading!

  1. Fairest by Marissa Meyer
  2. Bound by Flames by Jeaniene Frost
  3. Picnic in Provence by Elizabeth Bard
  4. And I Love Her by Marie Force
  5. The Heir by Kiera Cass
  6. Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes by Rick Riordan
  7. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (This is an exclusive collector’s edition!)
  8. The Seven  Sisters by Lucinda Riley
  9. When A Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare
  10. Murder at Beechwood by Alyssa Maxwell
  11. Dearest Rogue by Elizabeth Hoyt
  12. Tiny Little Things by Beatriz Williams
  13. One Night with a Billionaire by Jessica Clare
  14. Lady Maybe by Julie Klassen
  15. A Worthy Pursuit by Karen Witemeyer

Well readers, what are your reading goals for 2015? What titles are you excited to read?

Winners Announced in the 12 Days of Giveaways!

Kim at the bookstore

First, I have to apologize for the lack of giveaways on days 11 and 12. I had some computer issues that didn’t get fixed until the last eligible days for entering the contest. It didn’t make sense to put up the giveaway post and have them open for less than 24 hours. I promise I’ll make it up to you all with a Valentine’s Day giveaway!

Without further ado, here are the winners!

  • Sustenance (Saint-Germain #27) by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro – Congratulations to melissar22 who left a comment on December 14th
  • The Thieves of Legend (Michael St. Pierre #4) by Richard Doetsch – Congratulations to TrendSavant who left a comment on December 15th
  • The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins – Congratulations to Kristen Cooper who left a comment on December 16th
  • Digital Photography by Michael Wright – Congratulations to ShellWolf who left a comment on December 17th
  • Historical Fiction Bundle – Congratulations to CamCLO who left a comment on December 21st
  • Three Princes by Ramona Wheeler – Congratulations to elizabeth5713 who left a comment on December 19th
  • Irish America by Maureen Dezell – Congratulations to AK Rambler who left a comment on December 21st
  • Science Fiction Bundle – Congratulations to Maddie who left a comment on December 22nd
  • KOP Killer by Warren Hammond – Congratulations to aliciainchimerical who left a comment on December 28th
  • Touch of Evil by C.T. Adams & Cathy Clamp – Congratulations to silverscotch who left a comment on December 23rd

Please contact me with your mailing address by Friday, January 9, 2014 to claim your prize.  Shipment is to the US only.

Thank you to all who participated and left comments.  The staff and I wish you a very happy and healthy new year!!

2014 – A Year in Review

fireworksHere we are again, at the end of another year! As today is the last day of 2014, it’s time for my annual “Year in Review” post.

As of the writing of this post I’ve finished reading 182 books. 13 of those books were ones I read with my 7 month-old niece, so for argument’s sake let’s say 169. My starting goal was to read 130 books, so I’m counting 2014’s reading challenge as a completed success! That means adding another ten books to next year’s challenge for a total of 140 books! (Here’s to hoping I make it!)

And now the difficult part…picking my top ten reads of 2014!

  1. Landline by Rainbow Rowell
  2. Lizzy and Jane by Katherine Reay
  3. Laugh by Mary Ann Rivers
  4. Romancing the Duke/Say Yes to the Marquess by Tessa Dare
  5. Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid (Really, the entire Knitting in the City series)
  6. The Chocolate Touch by Laura Florand
  7. Cinder/Scarlet/Cress by Marissa Meyer
  8. The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway
  9. Before I Go by Colleen Oakley
  10. Murder at the Breakers by Alyssa Maxwell

With the amount of books I read in a year, choosing a top 10 seems stupid. With that said, here are all my runners-up (in no particular order)!

Ok readers, I’m passing the torch to you. What did you read this year? Any books or authors that stand out? Share them below! Enjoy the rest of your New Year’s Eve! See you in 2015!

12 Days of Giveaways – Day 10 – Touch of Evil by C.T. Adams & Cathy Clamp

tofctaccFor today’s 12 Days of Giveaways post we have a paranormal giveaway! And not just any paranormal book, but one that deals with the dark and brooding world of vampires, specifically The Trall, or vampire parasites. In the first installment of The Thrall series, our heroine, Kate Reily, has been attacked by Monica Micah, the Vampire Queen of Denver, and she must fight to keep her status as “Not Prey” amongst the Thrall. Can she do it? Instructions on how you can win a copy follow the book and author blurbs below. Good luck!

From Goodreads:

Six years ago, the love of her life turned her over to the vampire parasites who call themselves the Thrall. Katie survives the powerful bite of the master parasite only to discover that the Thrall’s venom, coupled with her own natural psychic ability, has transformed her. Now she is next in line to be the Thrall Queen–and each day might be her last as a human.

Tom, a handsome firefighter, arouses all of Katie’s dormant senses, but her heart shies away. After Dylan’s betrayal, how can she trust any man–even a seemingly perfect and terribly sexy werewolf?

Tom’s sincerity–and sex appeal–begins to wear down Katie’s defenses. But his increasingly insistent charm hides a potentially deadly secret: his werewolf pack is hiding the one person who can stop the Thrall from completing Katie’s transformation into Queen–and they won’t give her up.

About the Authors

C.T. Adams: She spent seventeen years in the Denver metro area and now resides in Texas with a large dog and pet cats. Office work provided a living while she pursued the goal of becoming a novelist. Forming the partnership with Cathy Clamp was the catalyst that led to publication and the two have enjoyed a long and fruitful collaboration, with two series published within the Tor Paranormal Romance line: The Sazi, and the Kate Reilly/Thrall books. In addition they have authored stand-alone novels and participated in several anthologies. Working both as a team with Cathy and individually, Cie plans to be involved in writing novels for years to come.

Cathy Clamp: Cathy Clamp was 35 when the fiction writing bug bit her. Although always a competent legal and technical writer, the idea muse ignored her completely. It wasn’t until she met future friend and partner Cie Adams that things began to click. Her friend’s brain was the idea muse’s nesting site! Cie was blessed (or some would say cursed) with one or more full book plots a day! Cathy quickly realized where her bread was buttered. She did learn she possessed a skill in writing romance and action scenes, while her partner concocted storylines and richly diverse characters. Within 18 months of the start of their partnership, they had written five books, and now have two accepted for publication! Cathy lives outside of Brady, TX, with her husband, Don, (also a brilliantly gifted idea man for suspense and espionage) and their four dogs.

Giveaway

One lucky winner will have the opportunity to win a hardcover copy of Touch of Evil by C.T. Adams & Cathy Clamp!  For your chance to win simply leave a comment below.  Comments will be accepted through midnight on Wednesday, December 31, 2014.  Winner will be picked at random and announced on Thursday, January 1, 2015.  Open to US residents only.  Good luck!

12 Days of Giveaways – Day 9 – KOP Killer by Warren Hammond

kkwhNext up for our 12 Days of Giveaways….an apocalyptic dystopic thriller novel! If you’ve ever read my reviews of other dystopic novels on the blog, you’ll know that it’s probably my favorite genre. I love the fight to overthrow the oppressive governments and regimes that exist in these stories. KOP Killer by Warren Hammond is one such novel, and you won’t be bored with this one! Instructions on how you can win a copy follow the book and author blurbs below. Good luck!

From Goodreads:

Juno Mozambe once had a life. That was when he was a dirty cop, married to a woman who suffered such profound abuse that she murdered her vile, drug kingpin father. Juno loved his wife and did his best to help her survive her guilt, her drug habit, and her desire to end her life on the dead-end planet of Lagarto.

When she died, however, Juno’s life went downhill. And then his first partner, the corrupt chief of the Koba Office of Police, was murdered. The man responsible, Emil Mota, is using the KOP for his personal gain. Juno has been laying low, but now he’s ready to do whatever it takes to take down the bastard.
Rather than working from inside the system, he’s decided that the only way to take down the KOP is to create an independent base of power. So he gets involved with a team of dirty cops and starts working as a rent-a-thug for a whorehouse that needs protection.

Juno’s last partner knows that his risky plan has a purpose, but she’s that rarest of creatures on the hothouse planet of Lagarto: an honest cop. She can’t help him.

When Juno discovers a series of profoundly twisted murders, he faces a bleak possibility: in his desperate quest for vengeance against the man who targeted him for death, Juno may have placed himself beyond any hope of redemption….

whAbout the Author:

Warren grew up in the Hudson River Valley of New York State. Upon obtaining his teaching degree from the University at Albany, he moved to Colorado, married his wife Kathy, and settled in the Platt Park neighborhood of Denver where he can usually be found typing away at the local coffee shop or browsing the selection at the Tattered Cover.

Splitting his time between devouring science fiction and classic crime noir, he lists among his important influences Arthur C. Clarke, Orson Scott Card, Jim Thompson and James Ellroy. Warren is a serious music listener, specializing in blues, reggae and surf.

Always eager to see new places, Warren and Kathy have traveled extensively. Whether it’s wildlife viewing in exotic locales like Botswana and the Galapagos Islands, or trekking in the Himalayas, they’re always up for a new adventure.

Giveaway

One lucky winner will have the opportunity to win a hardcover copy of KOP Killer by Warren Hammond!  For your chance to win simply leave a comment below.  Comments will be accepted through midnight on Wednesday, December 31, 2014.  Winner will be picked at random and announced on Thursday, January 1, 2015.  Open to US residents only.  Good luck!

12 Days of Giveaways – Day 8 – A Science Fiction Bundle!

Surprise! Another bundle! This time it’s for you science fiction lovers. We’re offering up Katherine Addison’s The Goblin Emperor and Marie Brennan’s The Tropic of Serpents. (If you love dragons, The Tropic of Serpents is going to make you really happy!) Addison creates a rich and immersive world that will draw you in immediately, and you’ll quickly want to move on to Serpents once The Goblin Emperor is finished. Instructions on how you can win a copy follow the book and author blurbs below. Good luck!

tgekaAbout The Goblin Emperor

From Goodreads:

The youngest, half-goblin son of the Emperor has lived his entire life in exile, distant from the Imperial Court and the deadly intrigue that suffuses it. But when his father and three sons in line for the throne are killed in an “accident,” he has no choice but to take his place as the only surviving rightful heir.

Entirely unschooled in the art of court politics, he has no friends, no advisors, and the sure knowledge that whoever assassinated his father and brothers could make an attempt on his life at any moment.

Surrounded by sycophants eager to curry favor with the naïve new emperor, and overwhelmed by the burdens of his new life, he can trust nobody. Amid the swirl of plots to depose him, offers of arranged marriages, and the specter of the unknown conspirators who lurk in the shadows, he must quickly adjust to life as the Goblin Emperor. All the while, he is alone, and trying to find even a single friend… and hoping for the possibility of romance, yet also vigilant against the unseen enemies that threaten him, lest he lose his throne – or his life.

This exciting fantasy novel, set against the pageantry and color of a fascinating, unique world, is a memorable debut for a great new talent.

About the Author

Katherine Addison’s short fiction has been selected by The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror and The Year’s Best Science Fiction. She lives near Madison, Wisconsin. You can visit her online at her website or find her on Twitter.

ttosmbAbout The Tropic of Serpents

From Goodreads:

The thrilling adventure of Lady Trent continues in Marie Brennan’s The Tropic of Serpents . . .

Attentive readers of Lady Trent’s earlier memoir, A Natural History of Dragons, are already familiar with how a bookish and determined young woman named Isabella first set out on the historic course that would one day lead her to becoming the world’s premier dragon naturalist. Now, in this remarkably candid second volume, Lady Trent looks back at the next stage of her illustrious (and occasionally scandalous) career.

Three years after her fateful journeys through the forbidding mountains of Vystrana, Mrs. Camherst defies family and convention to embark on an expedition to the war-torn continent of Eriga, home of such exotic draconian species as the grass-dwelling snakes of the Savannah, arboreal tree snakes, and, most elusive of all, the legendary swamp-wyrms of the tropics.

The expedition is not an easy one. Accompanied by both an old associate and a runaway heiress, Isabella must brave oppressive heat, merciless fevers, palace intrigues, gossip, and other hazards in order to satisfy her boundless fascination with all things draconian, even if it means venturing deep into the forbidden jungle known as the Green Hell . . . where her courage, resourcefulness, and scientific curiosity will be tested as never before.

About the Author

Marie Brennan habitually pillages her background in anthropology, archaeology, and folklore for fictional purposes. She is the author of the Onyx Court series and the doppelganger duology of Warrior and Witch, as well as more than thirty short stories. Find her online at her website.

Giveaway

One lucky winner will have the opportunity to win a hardcover copy of both The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison and The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan!  For your chance to win simply leave a comment below.  Comments will be accepted through midnight on Wednesday, December 31, 2014.  Winner will be picked at random and announced on Thursday, January 1, 2015.  Open to US residents only.  Good luck!

12 Days of Giveaways – Day 7 – Irish America by Maureen Dezell

iamdFor the nonfiction lover we have Maureen Dezell’s Irish America: Coming into Clover. If you’ve ever wondered about the history of one of the earliest immigrant groups to the US, or perhaps your own ancestry if you are Irish-American, this is a great place to start. It traces Irish-American history and beliefs from the early days of immigration to today’s most famous Irish-Americans. Instructions on how you can win a copy follow the book blurb below. Good luck!

From Goodreads:

A dazzling and bracingly honest look at a great people in a great land.

For many people in this country, Irish American culture conjures up thoughts of raucous pubs, St. Patrick’s Day parades, memoirs peopled with an array of saints and sinners, and such quasi-Celtic extravaganzas as Riverdance. But there is much more to this rich and influential culture, as Maureen Dezell proves in this insightful, unsentimental reexamination of Irish American identity.

Skillfully weaving history and reporting, observation and opinion, Dezell traces the changing makeup of the Irish population in this country, from the early immigrants to today’s affluent, educated Irish Americans. With sensitivity and humor, she pinpoints what unites them: the traditions (if not the practices) of the Catholic Church; a sense of social duty; humor, often self-directed; and the deep-seated, apparently unshakable belief that any achievement is accidental and could easily be taken away tomorrow.

From her exploration of the Church in Irish American life to her rediscovery of strong, culture-building women, to her historical and sociological look at the role alcohol plays in the Irish identity (here and abroad), to her discussion on the “New Irish,” Dezell does not shy away from the central, uniting myths and methods of this proud heritage. Irish America is more than an enlightening look at a group of Americans masked by their own stereotypes. It is a long-overdue tribute to one of the building blocks of America itself.

Giveaway

One lucky winner will have the opportunity to win a hardcover copy of Irish America by Maureen Dezell!  For your chance to win simply leave a comment below.  Comments will be accepted through midnight on Wednesday, December 31, 2014.  Winner will be picked at random and announced on Thursday, January 1, 2015.  Open to US residents only.  Good luck!

 

12 Days of Giveaways – Day 6 – Three Princes by Ramona Wheeler

The 12 Days of Giveaways continues today with a fantasy/steampunk giveaway of Ramona Wheeler’s Three Princes. In an interview Wheeler was asked to describe her novel in 140 characters or less. Here’s her answer: “A spy story in an alternate world based on ancient Egypt. The Incans are secretly preparing to go to the Moon. Egypt wants in on the tech.” How cool is that? Instructions on how you can win a copy follow the book and author blurbs below. Good luck!

tprwFrom Goodreads:

Lord Scott Oken, a prince of Albion, and Professor-Prince Mikel Mabruke live in a world where the sun never set on the Egyptian Empire. In the year 1877 of Our Lord Julius Caesar, Pharaoh Djoser-George governs a sprawling realm that spans Europe, Africa, and much of Asia. When the European terrorist Otto von Bismarck touches off an international conspiracy, Scott and Mik are charged with exposing the plot against the Empire.

Their adventure takes them from the sands of Memphis to a lush New World, home of the Incan Tawantinsuyu, a rival empire across the glittering Atlantic Ocean. Encompassing Quetzal airships, operas, blood sacrifice and high diplomacy, Three Princes is a richly imagined, cinematic vision of a modern Egyptian Empire.

About the Author:

Ramona Wheeler grew up an Army Brat, shuffling from library to library with every move. She has written extensively on ancient Egypt and comparative mythology and her “Ray and Rokey” stories appeared in Analog magazine from 1998 to 2004. She now resides in Massachusetts. Visit her online at her website.

Giveaway

One lucky winner will have the opportunity to win a hardcover copy of Three Princes by Ramona Wheeler!  For your chance to win simply leave a comment below.  Comments will be accepted through midnight on Wednesday, December 31, 2014.  Winner will be picked at random and announced on Thursday, January 1, 2015.  Open to US residents only.  Good luck!

12 Days of Giveaways – Day 5 – A Historical Fiction Bundle!

Today’s giveaway is for 2 historical fiction books! Surprise! The first book, Wideacre, is by my favorite historical fiction author, Philippa Gregory. The second is titled Daughter of the Sky by another of my top historical fiction authors, Michelle Diener. Wideacre takes place during the Georgian Period in England (1714-1830/1837) and is a fascinating tale about a woman who is willing to do any and everything to protect her family’s name and land. Daughter of the Sky is about a girl who, after a shipwreck, is raised by the Zulus, a South African ethnic group. When the British Victorian Empire tries to take fight the Zulus for their land she must choose between her past or her future. Instructions on how to win these books is at the bottom of the post. Good luck!

wpgAbout Wideacre:

From Goodreads:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory comes the stunning first novel of a thrilling trilogy about the Lacey family, and the captivating woman at the heart of a power-hungry estate willing to go to any means to protect her family name.

Beatrice Lacey, as strong-minded as she is beautiful, refuses to conform to the social customs of her time. Destined to lose her heritage and beloved Wideacre estate once she is wed, Beatrice will use any means necessary to protect her ancestral name. Seduction, betrayal, even murder; Beatrice’s passion is without apology or conscience. “She is a Lacey of Wideacre,” her father warns, “and whatever she does, however she behaves, will always be fitting.” Yet even as Beatrice’s scheming seems about to yield her dream, she is haunted by the one living person who knows the extent of her plans…and her capacity for evil.

Sumptuously set in Georgian England from the “queen of royal fiction”(USA TODAY), Wideacre is intensely gripping, rich in texture, and full of color and authenticity. It is a saga as irresistible in its singular magic as its heroine.

About the Author:

Philippa Gregory was an established historian and writer when she discovered her interest in the Tudor period and wrote the novel The Other Boleyn Girl, which was made into a TV drama and a major film. Published in 2009, the bestselling The White Queen, the story of Elizabeth Woodville, ushered in a new series involving The Cousins’ War (now known as The War of the Roses) and a new era for the acclaimed author.

Gregory lives with her family on a small farm in Yorkshire, where she keeps horses, hens and ducks. Visitors to her site, www.PhilippaGregory.com become addicted to the updates of historical research, as well as the progress of her ducklings.

Her other great interest is the charity she founded nearly twenty years ago; Gardens for The Gambia. She has raised funds and paid for 140 wells in the primary schools of the dry, poverty-stricken African country. Thousands of school children have learned market gardening, and drunk the fresh water in the school gardens around the wells.

A former student of Sussex University, and a PhD and Alumna of the Year 2009 of Edinburgh University, her love for history and her commitment to historical accuracy are the hallmarks of her writing. She also reviews for US and UK newspapers, and is a regular broadcaster on television, radio, and webcasts from her website.

dotsmdAbout Daughter of the Sky:

From Goodreads:

The Victorian Empire has declared war on the Zulus if they don’t accede to their outrageous demands. The clock is ticking down to the appointed hour. With no idea why the British are marching three massive columns of men and guns towards them, one Zulu general is prepared to take an impossible risk. But the life he’s gambling with isn’t his own . . .

The sole survivor of a shipwreck off the Zululand coast, 15 year-old Elizabeth Jones is taken in by the Zulus, the people of the sky. Six years later, her white skin becomes useful to the Zulu army as they try to work out why the Victorian Empire has pointed their war-machine at the Zulu nation. Elizabeth is suddenly Zululand’s most important spy.

While infiltrating the British camp, Elizabeth’s disguise as a young soldier is uncovered almost immediately by Captain Jack Burdell. However, he believes the tale she spins of searching for a missing brother and shields her from discovery, allowing her to bunk in his tent and giving her a job as his batman. Burdell is war-weary and disillusioned – no longer willing to follow regulations at all costs.

But as Elizabeth and Jack explore their growing attraction to each other, the two armies move towards their inevitable clash. Elizabeth is torn between the guilt of betrayal and her fierce loyalty to her Zulu family, and when Zulu and British meet on the battlefield, both she and Jack find their hearts and their lives caught in the crossfire.

Copyright Veronika Kahrmadji (Source: http://www.michellediener.com/about/)

Copyright Veronika Kahrmadji (Source: http://www.michellediener.com/about/)

About the Author

Michelle Diener writes historical fiction and fantasy. Having worked in publishing and IT, she’s now very happy crafting new worlds and interesting characters and wondering which part of the world she can travel to next.

Michelle was born in London, grew up in South Africa and currently lives in Australia with her husband and two children.

When she’s not writing, or driving her kids from activity to activity, you can find her blogging at Magical Musings, or online at Twitter, at Google+ and Facebook.

Giveaway

One lucky winner will have the opportunity to win 2 books; a paperback copy of Wideacre by Philippa Gregory and Daughter of the Sky by Michelle Diener!  For your chance to win simply leave a comment below.  Comments will be accepted through midnight on Wednesday, December 31, 2014.  Winner will be picked at random and announced on Thursday, January 1, 2015.  Open to US residents only.  Good luck!