Month: July 2017

Final Giveaway! It’s International Too!

This is the final giveaway that I am having to celebrate my blog’s first blogiversary! I’m hoping for many more to come. This one is INTERNATIONAL as well.

What will you win?
If you are international: You can select up to $15 in books at Book Depository.
If you are US: You can select up to $15 in books from Book Depository OR Amazon.
**Keep in mind that Book Depository is located in the UK so you must allow plenty of time for your books to arrive.

*Amazon and Book Depository are not responsible for this giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**This giveaway ends Friday the 4th at 11:59 EST.

Whether you have been a part of my page from the beginning or you are a new subscriber THANK YOU!  Have fun entering and GOOD LUCK!

Standalone Sunday: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Standalone Sunday was started by Megan over at Bookslayer Reads.

What is Standalone Sunday?

Each Sunday bloggers feature a standalone book (one that is not part of a series) that they loved or would recommend. The standalone can also be one you want to read. There is so much focus on books that are part of a series that standalone books seem to be forgotten. They can be just as great as book series!

Here is my selection for this week:

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Book Description:

Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells—taken without her knowledge—became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first “immortal” human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. If you could pile all HeLa cells ever grown onto a scale, they’d weigh more than 50 million metric tons—as much as a hundred Empire State Buildings. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb’s effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions.

Yet Henrietta Lacks remains virtually unknown, buried in an unmarked grave.

Now Rebecca Skloot takes us on an extraordinary journey, from the “colored” ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s to stark white laboratories with freezers full of HeLa cells; from Henrietta’s small, dying hometown of Clover, Virginia—a land of wooden slave quarters, faith healings, and voodoo—to East Baltimore today, where her children and grandchildren live and struggle with the legacy of her cells.

Henrietta’s family did not learn of her “immortality” until more than twenty years after her death, when scientists investigating HeLa began using her husband and children in research without informed consent. And though the cells had launched a multimillion-dollar industry that sells human biological materials, her family never saw any of the profits. As Rebecca Skloot so brilliantly shows, the story of the Lacks family—past and present—is inextricably connected to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over whether we control the stuff we are made of.

Over the decade it took to uncover this story, Rebecca became enmeshed in the lives of the Lacks family—especially Henrietta’s daughter Deborah, who was devastated to learn about her mother’s cells. She was consumed with questions: Had scientists cloned her mother? Did it hurt her when researchers infected her cells with viruses and shot them into space? What happened to her sister, Elsie, who died in a mental institution at the age of fifteen? And if her mother was so important to medicine, why couldn’t her children afford health insurance?

Intimate in feeling, astonishing in scope, and impossible to put down, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks captures the beauty and drama of scientific discovery, as well as its human consequences.

This is a story I never knew about.  I had seen the book on the shelves for a few years but never picked it up. Then I saw the trailer for the HBO movie. I saw the movie and foe me it was just ok.  You can’t really cover a nearly 400 page true story in a 90 minute movie.  My local library has this in audiobook, and I plan to get it soon.  This is such a sad story, and hard to believe that it is true. The cover of the novel is an actual picture of Henrietta Lacks.



Blog Tour: The Trouble with Words

Today I am one of the two blog stops on the first day of the blog tour for The Trouble with Words by Suzie Tullett! She is published by Bombshell Books.  Today she is sharing a Guest Spot and talking about what helps her to be inspired to write.

Book Description:

Annabel is desperate to have a baby – there’s just one problem. She’s single, and after losing her husband in a hit and run accident she’s just not ready for a relationship.

Dan is on the hunt for the perfect woman – but when his mother drops a bombshell, he starts to feel the pressure.

When Dan and Annabel’s worlds collide, both think that maybe they’ve found the solution to their problems…but things start to get messy.

Can both Dan and Annabel get what they want?

Both will soon find out that the trouble with words is finding the right thing to say.

As an author, one of the most frequent questions that I’m asked is where do I get my inspiration? Where do the ideas for my books come from? The truth is, inspiration can come from anywhere. It lies in magazine articles and news reports. It comes from events, places, and new experiences. People can inspire by what they do and say. We just have to open our eyes and ears to the world around us, and then ask ourselves What? When? Why? Where? and How? And just as importantly What if?

Take this weekend. I was on a ferry from France to the UK. Public places like these are great for people watching, and glancing around as I sat out on deck, I caught a snippet of a conversation between a young woman and a couple of other travelers. They clearly didn’t know each other, yet the young woman happily shared information the rest of us might prefer to keep to ourselves. A curious situation for any observer, but the exchange became even more interesting when I realized it included the fact that her sister suffered from amnesia. Then to make matters worse, that her sister’s boyfriend of eight years was using this medical condition to deny any knowledge of the poor girl at all.

Fascinating, isn’t it?

I wish I could tell you the rest of the story but I can’t. It was at this point that the young chatterbox noticed I’d tuned in and, looking my way, paused mid-sentence, naturally forcing me to turn my attention elsewhere. Not that this stopped me from wondering what caused her sister’s amnesia? Or why the boyfriend concerned would want to desert her like this? And it certainly didn’t stop me questioning how, in an age of social media, he could possibly get away with such a lie? So, it’s easy to see how these random bits of dialogue can act as inspiration. They sow the seeds of an idea, which is exactly how my latest book, The Trouble with Words, came about.

Listening to people’s exchanges, and I include my own conversations in this, I began to notice how easily we make promises to each other. Simple promises that we have every intention of keeping and I suppose, once made, so we should. But we all know that life doesn’t always go according to plan, that circumstances very often change – a fact that led me to think in terms of What if?

For example, what if maintaining our word suddenly meant sacrificing ourselves in some way? Do we then try to work around our promise? Or do we put ourselves first? Hence the book’s title – The Trouble with Words.

It’s an interesting dilemma and one that I enjoyed writing about. Now I’m looking forward to hearing what readers think too.

About the Author:

Suzie Tullett is an author of contemporary humorous fiction and romantic comedy. She has a Masters Degree in Television & Radio Scriptwriting and worked as a scriptwriter before becoming a full-time novelist. Her motto is to ‘live, laugh, love’ and when she’s not busy creating her own literary masterpieces, she usually has her head in someone else’s.

Suzie lives in a tiny hamlet in the middle of the French countryside, along with her husband and two Greek rescue dogs.

Contact Suzie:
Twitter @SuzieTullett
Instagram suzie_tullett