Books (Oh, and a Giveaway!)

It’s been awhile since I’ve shared any books with you guys, and it seemed about time to do so. To be honest, I haven’t been doing a huge amount of reading until I spent those 5 weeks up north, when I got back into the swing of things.

Here are a few worth noting (some of which I’ve shared before, but they bear repeating.)

Also, there’s a giveaway at the bottom, and another one over at Homestead Host! Woohoo! 

I’m trying out a new giveaway widget from RaffleCopter; this saves you the trouble of all those extra comments about “I tweeted this,” “I liked you on Facebook” and whatnot. Just click the buttons for the entries you want (some require verification.) There are only two items that want comments, and you can roll both answers into one comment if you like. Also, feel free to comment about whether you prefer the Rafflecopter way of doing giveaways, or the old one-comment-for-each-entry process. Thanks!

Here we go:

 Game of Thrones (series) – I had barely paid attention to this series until the HBO series came out. Even then, I continued to ignore it because I tend to avoid things that are utterly hyped up. That was a huge mistake. This is a completely fantastic series! George R.R. Martin seriously knows how to set a scene, and how to drive dialogue, action and plot. The HBO series was pretty true to the first book, but the book is (of course) better. From lavish feasts to bitter battles, Martin transports the reader into his expertly-crafted world. Character-driven fantasy, dragons included. (Click the book for reader reviews & so forth on Amazon)


The Hunger Games – The merits of this book are debatable on a number of levels, but I really enjoyed it. It is a violent book, full of blood and death, but it’s also a character study of a young girl in a challenging situation and her resourcefulness. I started the second book in the trilogy and haven’t yet gotten sucked in the way I did with the first. I do still recommend this one, though, if violence is not terribly off-putting for the reader. (Click the book for reader reviews & so forth on Amazon)


Room – It’s not often an author can write in a child’s voice that is not either woefully overdone, or wildly implausible. Emma Donoghue does a pretty fair job of it, taking us into the one-room world of the young narrator and his captive mother. It’s a short, quick read and very easy to get through. I have mixed feelings about the ending, but have no idea how it would have been done better. (Click the book for reader reviews & so forth on Amazon)


 The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Quite possibly the opposite of Game of Thrones, the Stieg Larsson series is still excellent on a number of levels. While it took me at least 100 pages to get sucked in, once I was hooked, I could scarcely put it down. Centering around two conflicted characters who are the most unlikely of heroes, we follow them through a decades-old murder mystery, corporate espionage and interpersonal relationships. Mystery, love story. (Click the book for reader reviews & so forth on Amazon)


Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter – A thoroughly enjoyable read, top to bottom. It’s not often I find the ending to a complicated, multi-tiered story to be deeply satisfying, but Tom Franklin managed to pull it off. He also managed to find an authentic-sounding Deep South Black Man’s Voice, despite being a white guy. I loved this book profoundly. Mystery, murders and convolutions included. (Click the book for reader reviews & so forth on Amazon)


Safe from the Sea – A quick and engrossing story of a man struggling to come to grips with his relationship with his dying father. I’m a sucker for stories about ships, wrecks and complicated relationships, and Safe from the Sea has it all in spades. (Click the book for reader reviews & so forth on Amazon)



The Help – Another fantastic story I nearly missed because of all the hype surrounding it. However, after hearing an interview with the author on NPR, I had to read it – and I’m so glad I did. The book is not without its controversy – Southern black folks turning to a young white woman to help them – it is expertly-written. Stockett finds unique, authentic voices for all of her characters (no easy feat,) and unfolds her plot carefully. (Click the book for reader reviews & so forth on Amazon)


Planned Books for the Near Future:

The Quarter-Acre Farm – “When Spring Warren told her husband and two teenage boys that she wanted to grow 75 percent of all the food they consumed for one year—and that she wanted to do it in their yard—they told her she was crazy. She did it anyway.” (Click the book for reader reviews & so forth on Amazon)

The Backyard Homestead – “Put your backyard to work! Enjoy fresher, organic, better-tasting food all the time. The solution is as close as your own backyard. Grow the vegetables and fruits your family loves; keep bees; raise chickens, goats, or even a cow. The Backyard Homestead shows you how it’s done. And when the harvest is in, you’ll learn how to cook, preserve, cure, brew, or pickle the fruits of your labor.” (Click the book for reader reviews & so forth on Amazon)

Bringing It to the Table – I love Wendell Berry’s voice; his writing voice and speaking voice both. “Only a farmer could delve so deeply into the origins of food, and only a writer of Wendell Berry’s caliber could convey it with such conviction and eloquence. Long before Whole Foods organic produce was available at your local supermarket, Berry was farming with the purity of food in mind. For the last five decades, Berry has embodied mindful eating through his land practices and his writing. In recognition of that influence, Michael Pollan here offers an introduction to this wonderful collection.” (Click the book for reader reviews & so forth on Amazon)



And now, the really good part – the giveaway!

I’m giving away a $25 gift card to Amazon. There are tons of ways to enter and win (you may sense a shameless attempt to drive traffic to my sites:)

  1. Click on one or more of the book links above, once per day.
  2. Visit Homestead Host and give an honest opinion of the website design in a comment here – feel free to make suggestions.
  3. Get entries for each of the following using the Rafflecopter widget below – you don’t need to leave comments for each item, just the ones requiring comments. Some options can be done once for each day of the giveaway for additional points.
  • Tweet the URL to this giveaway (
  • Tweet Homestead Host’s URL (
  • See the Rafflecopter widget below for more details
I really wasn’t kidding when I said there’s a ton of ways to win: Each person can earn more than 75 entries total – no kidding! Feel free to leave your thoughts about the Rafflecopter widget in your comment, too – do you find it easier or more cumbersome than leaving comments for each entry?
Homestead Host will be having a “sister” giveaway, as well, so be sure to check that out over HERE.

a Rafflecopter giveaway




Posts at least a little bit like this one:

Book Review, Giveaway, Product Recommendations , ,

16 responses to Books (Oh, and a Giveaway!)

  1. I like that they give to Non-profits but I couldn’t find anywhere a list of WHAT non-profits they give to.

    • Erin D.

      Hi Jenna! “Corgipants” still makes me grin. 🙂 Right now, there is no published list, but that’s coming soon, once all the new website tweaks and kinks are worked out. Thanks for the feedback, and for suggesting groups that are near and dear to your heart! Good job following directions. 😉

    • Erin D.

      Hi Jenna – The Charitable Giving Page is now published: — Please let us know if you have any feedback. 🙂

  2. Barry

    I like the ideas of a “quarter-acre farm” and “backyard homesteading” – the intagible rewards are the sweetest ones!

  3. Erin D.

    Absolutely, Barry! We can homestead just about anywhere, I’m learning, even in the unlikeliest of places. Jill at The Prairie Homestead is about to release a book on just this subject: — good stuff!

  4. Barry

    Oops! The die-hard compulsive spellcheck function in my noggin won’t leave well-enough alone. That’s “intaNgible” rewards, no neolgisms intended.

  5. Erin D.

    Boy howdy, Barry, I’m the same way – If I see a spelling error I’ve made, I must correct it. 🙂

  6. Ok, I’m going to be the first to go out on a limb here to critique…
    Personally, I think the layout over at Homestead Host, colors and logo is a bit generic, if you will. I realize a hosting site should be easily navigational, I am also a simple kind of gal but I guess I prefer a more personal touch to draw someone in. Although it seems you got that one figured out with your giveaways here. 😉
    There you have it…I’m workin’ for that coconut oil (former art grad, surprised? :)). I would like to make a couple batches of soap with it.

  7. Erin D.

    Hello Tribalmama! Thanks very much for the honest feedback- we’re definitely not wanting people to say it’s great because they think it might give them a better chance at winning. 🙂 I sincerely do appreciate your thoughts.

    Having a personal touch balanced with a professional image is something we really want to achieve, so if you wouldn’t mind elaborating, I’d love to hear your ideas on what would make the site more personal. Thank you!

  8. Erin D.

    PS – I’m hoping to try soap-making myself this year. 🙂

  9. June L

    I am riding the fence on the bright red banner but I love the water color looking picture of the cabin. Beautiful. I also like how easy it is to navigate.

    • Erin D.

      Hi June! Thanks so much for your thoughts on the Homestead Host site. The watercolor background scene is my favorite part of the whole site, for sure; our two guys did such a fabulous job. I’m glad you find it easy to navigate, too!

  10. I like the header and the cabin. I think the icons next to each of the levels look a little clip-arty. I’m not a web designer by any means though.

  11. Congrats Erin! I’m sure everything is going to work out great for you! 😀

Leave a Reply