Giveaway: The Chance to Win Two of JoJo Moyes’ Novels

3345684bedd2ce7f30778b5cde4499c6With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, our reading tastes may be more open to checking out books involving love and romance.  And just in time to help spark this fire and desire is an opportunity for you to take home two of JoJo Moyes’ novels! JoJo writes extremely well-crafted tales of love in a fresh and wonderful way. She has easily become one of our favourite authors guaranteed to win the Literary Hoarders Approved stamp every time we finish one and we’re very excited to be able to offer you the chance to win not one, but two of her titles!

This offer is open to all those with a US mailing address and may be gifted to you simply by leaving us a comment below. No crazy questions, no skill-testing questions, no hoops or circles to fight through, no “extra entries” if you do this, this or that, just simply say something below that may tell us why you want to win this fantastic offer. Because we love you and want to share the love and awesome experience of enjoying the stories JoJo Moyes writes.

Book #1 is the newly designed cover for an earlier released title, The Last Letter from Your Lover.

12986521A Brief Encounter for our time, The Last Letter from Your Lover is a sophisticated, spellbinding double love story that spans decades and thrillingly evokes a bygone era. In 1960, Jennifer Stirling wakes in the hospital and remembers nothing—not the car accident that put her there, not her wealthy husband, not even her own name. Searching for clues, she finds an impassioned letter, signed simply “B,” from a man for whom she seemed willing to risk everything. In 2003, journalist Ellie Haworth stumbles upon the letter and becomes obsessed with learning the unknown lovers’ fate—hoping it will inspire her own happy ending. Remarkably moving, this is a novel for romantics of every age.

Book #2 is the wildly wonderful, keep your box of tissues handy, Me Before You. You will easily and very quickly fall head over heels in love with Lou and Will. We’re positive on that note.

Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick. 15507958
What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.
Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.
What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.

Hurry and Comment Below! We’ll draw the lucky winner on the big V-Day, Friday, February 14, 2014. We look forward to hearing from you! Good luck!

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Book Review: All the Broken Things

17834903Thank you to Random House Canada for sending us this delightful and tender story that makes your heart ache while reading and continues to give it a squeeze when you reflect upon it.

All the Broken Things is a coming of age story quite unlike any you’ve read before. Before you even read of Bo’s life, you are given one giant eye-opening and powerfully stated “Author’s Note”. It was one that I couldn’t stop reading over, thinking about and sharing. In it tells the wild truths about Canada’s (Ontario) manufacture of Agent Orange, bear wrestling and freak shows.

September, 1983. Fourteen-year-old Bo, a boat person from Vietnam, lives in a small house in the Junction neighbourhood of Toronto with his mother, Thao, and his four-year-old sister, who was born severely disfigured from the effects of Agent Orange. Named Orange, she is the family secret; Thao keeps her hidden away, and when Bo’s not at school or getting into fights on the street, he cares for her.
One day a carnival worker and bear trainer, Gerry, sees Bo in a streetfight, and recruits him for the bear wrestling circuit, eventually giving him his own cub to train. This opens up a new world for Bo–but then Gerry’s boss, Max, begins pursuing Thao with an eye on Orange for his travelling freak show. When Bo wakes up one night to find the house empty, he knows he and his cub, Bear, are truly alone. Together they set off on an extraordinary journey through the streets of Toronto and High Park. Awake at night, boy and bear form a unique and powerful bond. When Bo emerges from the park to search for his sister, he discovers a new way of seeing Orange, himself and the world around them.
   All the Broken Things is a spellbinding novel, at once melancholy and hopeful, about the peculiarities that divide us and bring us together, and the human capacity for love and acceptance.

This is a lovely synopsis really, and while it does clearly sum up what happens in the story, it doesn’t really seem to capture enough about it, you know? I’ve been struggling over the past many days in my attempts to write thoughts full of clarity and charm about this story after closing the pages of All the Broken Things. Then I happened across Kerry’s review over at  Pickle Me This, and found that here, here is what I think I’ve been trying to say:

I finished reading the book the other day and have not quite discovered what I think of it yet. “I think it’s a novel meant to be deeply considered rather than summed up in a sentence or two,” is what I wrote on Sunday in an email to a friend. The novel is a peculiar shape, not quite what I am used to. I found it to be a page-turner, difficult to put down. It’s a novel that moves through time and space almost as quickly as I moved through its chapters, and I have this theory that its plotted more as an epic tale than a novel.

I’ve been staring at this page for a few days on end now, wondering how best to write an appropriate review for a story that I quite enjoyed, a story that was a fast-moving, very enjoyable tale, but as Kerry says, it’s not something you can really write about in a sentence or two. All the Broken Things is written with spare prose, there are no superfluous or overly descriptive words used throughout, and yet, upon closing, its prose haunts your mind for days on end. A wonderful and delightful tale. I do recommend reading it. You won’t be able to stop thinking about it after finishing though, I’m warning you now.

Book Review: Bird in the Snow

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What Betty said wounded her. And she put it away with all the other hurtful things gathered up during a lifetime. Like a magpie, she stores things in her heart. Nurtures them and takes them out and goes over them again and again. It’s like counting spoons in a drawer.

She makes a great collection of sayings that have wounded her over the years. She can’t remember her husband’s face sometimes. But she remember the wounds. The wounds that shaped her.

Bird in the Snow is a fairly slim tale about Birdie (Bernadette) Waters. She is telling us her story on the eve of burying her son, Gussie. Her husband has passed sometime before. This is Birdie’s tale to tell, or her thoughts of Gussie, The Vet, as she has always referred to her husband, and her son’s girlfriend, Louise, as she lays in bed on the evening before laying her son to rest. She tells us her story in the way that a very elderly woman only can, remembering bits and pieces here, there and everywhere. Pulling them out from the corners of her mind when they are triggered by a smell, an object, a fleeting memory.

Overall, it’s poignant, it’s tender and it’s sad. But as it is written in that here, there and everywhere stream of consciousness of an old woman, it’s often confusing and difficult to follow along. Birdie’s son Gussie is a very odd duck, but it is difficult to fully surmise the many errors of his ways from Birdie’s almost secretive memories. Yet, there would be moments of clarity when she shares moments from her past like her reasons for disliking nuns, her feelings for her husband and his friend Hughie.

It’s a sad yet heartwarming story about Birdie and how she is now all alone in her home that used to hold her two fondest loves – Gussie and The Vet. The ending is sweet, sad and very tender and your heart tugs quite a bit for Birdie.  Bird in the Snow is the first from my Backlist Challenge, and taken from the Kobo category. It was a book I purchased long ago for my Kobo and after I read On Canaan’s Side, a story I loved dearly. I came across Bird in the Snow after reading a review for it on the Reading Matters blog. She associated this book as being in a way similar to On Canaan’s Side, so I was immediately sold. I quickly purchased after reading this review, but it languished on the Kobo shelf for quite some time. While On Canaan’s Side will always hold a better part of my heart for me over Bird in the Snow, Birdie and her story is a nice read. A 3 – 3.5 star read.

Book Review: The Girl from Station X: My Mother’s Unknown Life

Thanks to Lisa at Aurum Publishing Group for sending us not one, but two copies of The Girl From Station X: My Mother’s Unknown Life (Quayside Publishing Group and Union Books). Reading the blurb from the publisher it sounded like it would be a most interesting read and the packaging was just absolutely gorgeous:

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From the publisher:

When her needy and troubled mother began a slow descent into Alzheimer’s, Elisa Segrave faced a host of unenviable tasks– not the least of which was sorting through the chaos of her old childhood home.

Although aware of aspects of her mother’s personal history– the privileged childhood, the early losses– Elisa had no knowledge of the life she uncovered in a box of diaries, stowed carefully in the attic. On those pages she encountered a woman of strength, passion, and purpose– a woman who left behind the sheltered world she’d always known to embark on a secret life of wartime adventure, intrigue and tragedy.

Elisa Segrave’s mother, Anne, was the daughter of Gladys and Raymond Hamilton-Grace, owners of Knowle– a sprawling and beautiful property located in Sussex, England. Although not part of the aristocracy, they were a well off family and her parents were madly in love. Tragically, Raymond never returns from WWI and Anne’s disabled brother is dead soon after the war is over. Gladys eventually marries another wealthy man when Anne is 5 and she is raised as a spoiled rich, pampered and indulged only child. Life is all finishing schools and fox hunts; balls and trips abroad; manor houses and servants (like Dowton Abbey!)– Anne never has to lift a finger to get what she wants. Continue reading