Sunday, 29 November 2009

The first day of Winter contest!!! (guest: Michelle Moran)

The day has finally arrived!!! It's a first Sunday of Advent and the first day of Winter contest. As I've mentioned before, the goal of this contest is to share our customs regarding the winter holidays - whichever you celebrate.

Today's quest is Ms Michelle Moran and she'll share her story with us.
Here's a little bit about Ms Moran (from her web

Michelle Moran was born in the San Fernando Valley, CA. She took an interest in writing from an early age, purchasing Writer's Market and submitting her stories and novellas to publishers from the time she was twelve. When she was accepted into Pomona College she took as many classes as possible in British Literature, particularly Milton, Chaucer, and the Bard. Not surprisingly, she majored in English while she was there. Following a summer in Israel where she worked as a volunteer archaeologist, she earned an MA from the Claremont Graduate University. Michelle has travelled around the world, from Zimbabwe to India, and her experiences at archaeological sites were what inspired her to write historical fiction. In 2006, Michelle was married at the Chateau d'Esclimont in France, a 16th century location which spoke to both her and her husband's love of history. Every year, both Michelle and her husband embark on a historically-themed trip for two to three months. In 2008, they retraced the journey of Homer's Odysseus, and most recently they followed the path of the American Revolution from Boston to France to Virginia. A public high school teacher for six years, Michelle Moran is currently a full-time writer living in California with her husband. She is the author of Nefertiti, The Heretic Queen, and Cleopatra's Daughter. Her fourth novel, Madame Tussaud, will debut in March 2011.
You can find out more about her work at And you can read my review of her book Cleopatra's Daughter in my yesterday's post.

Host: Hello Ms Moran! Thanks for coming here today!!! Please, tell us how you are going to spend your Christmas holidays this year.

Michelle: This holiday season my husband and I will be going on a trip to Scandinavia. Every year we go on a different historically themed trip, usually in the summer for two to three months. We thought it would be interesting, however, to add another trip to our schedule, this time at Christmas. Neither us have wandered through the Christmas markets of Europe, listened to carols in a Danish church, or sipped hot chocolate by a Swedish fire. We're very excited about spending this Christmas abroad, and though we'll miss our families, new adventures await!!!!

Host: Ohhh, I love your plan. It sounds very exciting! Three years ago I went to Wien on a second Sunday of Advent. It was really magical experience. I visited several different Advent fairs through Europe and I think you'll love Europe in Christmas time.
Thanks for sharing your plans with us!

Ms Moran will stop by during Sunday so please leave your questions and she will be happy to answer them. Ms Moran has offered a signed copy of her book Cleopatra's Daughter - that I really recommend reading - to one lucky commenter this week!

So, to be eligible to win Cleopatra's Daughter, you have to leave a comment describing how you celebrate your favourite December holiday. Please, write a little story, don't just leave one sentence. I would really like this contest to be about sharing and learning about different customs.
The contest is open worldwide and you have to leave your comment during this week (last day is Saturday 12/5) to be entered in this week's contest. You can leave as many comments as you like but only one comment will count towards the winning. To get an extra entry, you have to put the Winter contest widget (it's on the sidebar) at your blog's sidebar and leave it there until December 20 (please state in the comments that you did so). On the forth Sunday of Advent (12/20) I'll draw the names of the winners of 3 Advent Sundays (there will be one winner for each of the three Advent Sundays). The winner will have 48 hours to contact me. If he/she doesn't show up I'll draw another name and the same procedure applies to that winner.

Good luck! And let the sharing begin!!!

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran - small review

I received this wonderful book from a very generous author Michelle Moran. I haven't read her previous works and I was very curious. At first I didn’t have time to read it because I didn't want to drag it for a long time. But as this things happen, when I started reading it I couldn't put it down. I read it in one night (448 pg hardcover) and didn't regret a minute of sleeplessness. The book is magnificent. It compels you to keep reading to find out what will happen next.

Here's a little bit about the story:
The book tells a story about the children of Marc Antony and Cleopatra. After the death of their parents, twins Alexander and Selene and younger brother Ptolemy are in a dangerous position, left to the mercy of their father's greatest rival, Octavian Caesar. However, Caesar does not kill them as expected, but takes the trio to Rome to be paraded as part of his triumphant return and to demonstrate his solidified power. As the twins adapt to life in Rome in the inner circle of Caesar's family, they grow into adulthood ensconced in a web of secrecy, intrigue and constant danger. Told from Selene's perspective, the tale draws readers into the fascinating world of ancient Rome and into the court of Rome's first and most famous emperor.

My initial fear before reading this book was that it would be too technical with too many too long descriptions of ancient times. I was pleasantly surprised from the first page. The story flowed easily and fast with enough descriptions to keep you wanting for more. Everything described was essential for the storyline. I liked the main characters. Selene was a believable narrator and I could connect with her and her angst. I loved her description of the Alexandria and Rome, her observations and judgements. Description of Greek's and Rome's customs and way of life was fascinating. I lost my self in that time period and after the story ended I wanted more. Besides of this book being a great fictional story, I think it is an educational book too; because you can learn a lot without even noticing it. Learning without effort can be provided only by a great storyteller who Ms Moran most centrally is.
I wanted to keep this review spoiler free because you will want to experience this story on your own. I recommend Ms Moran's web page, it's very interesting and full of information about the story

Book details
Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: Crown; 1st edition (September 15, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0307409120
ISBN-13: 978-0307409126

About the author
A public high school teacher for six years, Michelle Moran is currently a full-time writer living in California with her husband. She is the author of Nefertiti, The Heretic Queen, and Cleopatra's Daughter. Her fourth novel, Madame Tussaud, will debut in March 2011.
Do you want to know if Ms Moran hangs the sphinx and pyramids on her Christmas tree? Stop by this blog tomorrow when she will describe her plans for this year's Christmas holidays - on the first day of Winter contest!!!

Friday, 27 November 2009

Don't forget about Winter contest

Winter contest starts on Sunday 11/29 - please join me and one of my favourite authors. We'll share our Christmas traditions and plans :) and some gifts too.

Thank you Lea for making this great widget!!!

Thursday, 26 November 2009

New Moon - I've seen the move...

...and I loved it!!!
It has a great pace, it keeps you on the edge. Although I knew what's going to happen in the story, I could still get involved in the move and feel the rush and the heath. Yes, my Ladies, there is a lot of heath!!! I think I'm switching sides; while in the literarly world I still adore my Edward in the movie world I'm team Jacob. I think Taylor did a great job and outdone Robert in so many ways (and not just with the abs:)). Switching directors did a great thing for the Twiligh saga. I love the music, I've orederd a soundtrack already. The Volturi look great, like monsters not those idolised vampires. Special effects were very good, the volves seemed almost real.
All in all, I had a great time last night and can't wait to see Eclipse!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you folks from the USA!!!

P.S. Don't forget about Winter contest - starts 11/29

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Winter contest

Just a quick announcement: On 11/29 which is the first Sunday of Advent I'll start my first Winter contest. Please join me - there is one surprise for each of three Advent Sundays and the winner will be announced on the forth Sunday - 12/20! This will be in honour of all existing winter holidays, so please join me whatever holiday you might celebrate!

Prepare yourself; the rules will be strict and hard!!!

Just kidding, I hope that this contest will be fun and that you'll like it.

Hope to see you here!

P.S. One or two of our favourite authors will make an appearance........

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Another one I can't wait for!

And isn't that actor just tooooooo cuuuuteeeee?

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

If you need a massage

It would be nice to try this, wouldn't it be?

Friday, 13 November 2009

The Best Poem

This poem was nominated by UN as the best poem of 2008, Written by an African Kid

When I born, I black
When I grow up, I black
When I go in Sun, I black
When I scared, I black
When I sick, I black
And when I die, I still black

And you white fellow
When you born, you pink
When you grow up, you white
When you go in sun, you red
When you cold, you blue
When you scared, you yellow
When you sick, you green
And when you die, you gray

Moving, isn't it?

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Can't wait to start reading

Although I'm not sure when I'll have time for it.... :(