Tuesday, September 15, 2009

BBAW: Why I Blog

Today is interview day with BBAW and I didn't throw my name in the hat because I didn't want anyone to get stuck with me :) So I've been seeing other self-interviews so I thought I would do a quick one myself.

Why do I blog?

At first it was to keep track of books I read - a place to put a summary and a brief review so I would remember the book I read because I frequently forget whether I have read a book or not.

Then it blossomed into being a part of the community of book bloggers - people read my blog, they commented and I started participating in memes and giveaways and then the blog was fun.

Then there came review books - a way to get books, but it became even more than that. I have now virtually met several authors and have to say they are some of the nicest people.

So this is pretty much it in a nutshell - I blog to be a part of a community of people that love books like I do.

What new genres have I read since I started blogging?

Historical fiction, memoirs, more general fiction and young adult. Thank you book bloggers and authors for introducing me to these wonderful genres.

Why do I do the memes?

They are fun and there is nothing that makes me want to read more than finding new books to read and a lot of the memes show me new-to-me authors and books to add to my list.

Why do I do giveaways?

Some are publisher/author sponsored, but some are my copies. I do this because I can't keep all the books I've read or we wouldn't have room to live and also so I can share a wonderful book with someone else, who may or may not would buy the book, but will read it when they get it and hopefully love it and want to buy from the author in the future.

Did I ever want to write books?

Yes, but I quickly figured out I couldn't come up with the great ideas, so I decided to stick to reading and marvel at the great ideas that authors come up with.

Does my family read like I do?

Pretty much - my oldest son was upset the other night that he forgot to bring his book with him in the car before we went out to eat (it takes us 20 minutes to get to town) and that reminded me of when I was younger and took a book everywhere (okay I still do). My youngest loves for me to read "the pigeon" books by Mo Willems and my husband is addicted to the library just like I am, he just reads more non-fiction. My dad and mom also read all the time, so it's definitely in the family.

So that's just a quick summary of why I do what I do on this blog. I've really enjoyed reading the interviews today and hopefully next year I will be brave enough to throw my name in the hat.

Review: Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran (it's out today!)

Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran

rating: 4.5/5.0

From Amazon.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 revengeful rival, Octavian, sweep into Egypt. Their three orphaned children are taken in chains to Rome; only two– the ten-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 the times. She dines with the empire’s most illustrious poets and politicians, witnesses the creation of the Pantheon, and navigates the colorful, crowded marketplaces of the city where Roman-style justice is meted out with merciless authority.

Based on meticulous research, Cleopatra’s Daughter is a fascinating portrait of imperial Rome and of the people and events of this glorious and most tumultuous period in human history. Emerging from the shadows of the past, Selene, a young woman of irresistible charm and preternatural intelligence, will capture your heart.
My Review:

Wow, I knew I wanted to read this, but did not realize I would be so sucked into it. It's an amazing story of a time I know very little about. Not only did I learn of the history, I also learned of the cultural aspects of this time in Rome. It was very fascinating, and Ms. Moran does a wonderful job with her research and her writing.

Following the death of her parents, Cleopatra's Daughter follows Selene and her brother to Rome where they live in Octavian's palace with his sister Octavia who Selene's father Marc Anthony left for Cleopatra. It's an amazing tale of this child's life for the years between being captured and turning 15.

Selene's character is strong, yet typical of a tween/teenager. She's unsure of some things and very sure of others. She holds onto strong beliefs, never wanting to lose herself to the Roman culture and wanting to stay true to her Greek heritage. She hates slavery and will even give up something precious to help someone yet she is jealous of Julia who is to wed Marcellus. She loves her brother and loves to read. And as all of these typical teenage things are going on she still has to fear a forced marriage for her and also for her brother at the age of 15.

I can't do justice in a review to this story. I enjoyed every minute and I immediately got her backlist books from the library. Cleopatra's Daughter taught me some history while entertaining me. It also made for interesting discussion with my husband, the history buff.

Thank you to Michelle Moran and her publisher for sending me a copy of this to read and review and also for the giveaway they hosted. I cannot part with my copy of this book as I see me reading this again in the future.

Binding: Hardcover
On-sale Date: September 15, 2009
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Pages: 464