Fairy tale, comedy, drama, mystery. The Little Giant of Aberdeen County is all that and more. Truly Plaice is the giant, the fairy princess, and the witch of the story all at once. Born unbelievably large, she continues to grow even larger than her beautiful sister, two years older than her. Truly’s life is riddled with bad luck and heartbreak, and she sticks out like a sore thumb in small Aberdeen County. The question throughout the book seems to be “Will she find revenge or forgiveness in her giant heart?”

Baker’s style although compared to greats like John Irving and the Brothers Grimm, is no doubt all her own. Although one can certainly draw parallels with other novel-writing greats such as Irving, Baker’s voice feels unique and one of a kind to me. She has the ability to really let loose while still maintaining control of her pen, as in The Little Giant she subtly adds occasional tastes of fairy tales we all know – just to remind you that indeed this is a story of magic like those we loved as children – yet darker and deeper.

I loved the depth of The Little Giant of Aberdeen County from its characters to its setting, but especially the tone. Dark comedy is a longtime favorite of mine, and anyone who can weave a story that keeps me simultaneously smirking and spooked has my rapt attention. And if Tim Burton doesn’t pick this one up for the silver screen I’ll eat my pointy black hat.

Some familial relationships seem easy. Others take every ounce of strength we have to endure them. Whether our relationships with our family members are smooth or jagged, they both require time, energy, and commitment. Anne Koroda Duppstadt of The Love Ceiling knew that all too well. At 64 years old, one might assume time would be opening up for  her, now that her family had grown. But with an adult daughter moving back home, her husband going through a retirement crisis, and her father, a famed artist, giving her as much difficulty as ever, she’s beginning to wonder if she’ll ever get the chance to pursue her own artistic dreams.

Author Jean Davies Okimoto’s writing is clean and bright, and she has the ability to relate to her audience and make them feel at home. Her characters will most likely be recognizable in some form as people in anyone’s own family unit. One thing that really struck me with this novel was the recurring sensation that I was joining in on the family conversations and the talk amongst friends over a  cup of coffee. Not the frivolous gossippy sort, but the sharing of heartache or the confiding in one another that most women find vital in the navigation through life. I’ve often read books where this sort of writing almost comes across as forced, or an “as the author I can relate to your normal life” tone that stays on the surface and doesn’t ring true. But Okimoto, through realistic and well-written dialogue (she is a playwrite, after all) exhibits the beauty that is part of tight family relationships, and the pain of it too.

Author Jean Davies Okimoto

Another important part of this book that can’t be overlooked is the theme of women and creativity. As caretakers of our families, we often shelve our creative endeavors, put the dreams on the back burner because we’re raising children, building a family, etc. Great and noble things, to be certain! But sometimes it gets too easy to leave things on the shelf when they really need to be dusted off and put to use – for ourselves as well as for those we love. Because our families benefit from seeing us thrive and finding fulfillment too.

The Love Ceiling is an inspiring story of a woman who doesn’t say “it’s too late to start now”. Based on Okimoto’s play “Uncle Hideki and the Empty Nest”, The Love Ceiling is the perfect novel to read when it’s time to remind yourself that it’s never too late to chase your dreams.

For most of us, the wilderness of Alaska is shrouded in a beautiful mystery. We picture pristine forests, clear rivers and all manner of wildlife.  Its culture is diverse and unique from much of the lower 48, and it is these two elements – the land and the culture – that give Garth Stein’s novel Raven Stole the Moon the perfect soil in which to plant a story.

Raven Stole the Moon begins in Seattle where a husband and wife struggle to survive the two-year anniversary of their son’s death.  In an effort to make sense fo it all, wife Jenna suddenly flees her life and finds herself in a remote town in Alaska, reconnecting with her heritage and trying to find closure by returning to the land of her son’s death.

But no sooner has she found herself in Alaska than strange and otherworldly things start to occur.  Her Tlingit ancestry resurfaces, bringing with it all the myths and legends she’d assumed were nothing more than fairy tales.  But it seems there may be more to the town’s stories of Tlingit folklore.  Jenna begins to question the events surrounding her son’s death.  What really happened?

Stein, author of bestselling work The Art of Racing in the Rain, has a writing style that is fully engaging, a mixing of mystery and suspense with a bit of romance, and he weaves a tale filled with the supernatural without losing the realism.  His voice is fresh and unique, and anyone searching for a book that holds them tight right to the end will find such an experience in Raven Stole the Moon.

Want to win your own copy of Raven Stole the Moon?  We’re giving one away!

Multiple Options for Multiple Entries:

1.) Just tell me about a supernatural occurrence.  It can be something that happened to you, or you can get creative! Or maybe you think it’s all bunk – tell me! (***You may enter once a day, but please list a new item you like each time.) Remember, leave an interesting comment. If I cannot contact the winner, you might be chosen instead based on your comment.

2.) Blog about, Twitter, and/or Subscribe! Get an extra entry for each of these activities.  This time just leave a separate comment for each (only one time for each extra activity completed), giving me a link to your blog post, your Twitter name, and/or a note saying you’re a subscriber. (Subscribe in the upper right !  

(Psst!  My Twitter name is dkMommy.)

Feel free to do all five to gather multiple entries to win! You have until midnight EST on Monday, March 15, 2010, to enter.

Click Here for More Giveaways

He’s a rather thin man, hates it when they call him skinny.  But he’s a runner and likes how he is – he finds himself gracile, his own word for his graceful, slender appearance.  We don’t know much about him, really.  His story may be this book but he keeps himself at a comfortable distance, which for him is a little further than most.  We can see him interact with his partner (Wife? Girlfriend?), even hear them speak but it is as if we’re peering through their apartment windows, following him as he runs, spying on him in his office.  I doubt he realizes he’s so distant.  And it appears that, perhaps due to his distance, he is shrinking still.

Long Slow Distance by Thomas Phillips is what one might call a minimalist story.  A mere 115 pages and a character whose name we don’t even know, it’s a very talented Thomas Phillips who pulls off writing in such a manner while still connecting to his audience.  “Distance” seems to be the key word to this story, as the main character certainly keeps his.  Yet even though we don’t get to know him that well, our desire to do so keeps us reading, piecing together what we can.  Perhaps it’s because we’ve all known such people, and as any reader knows, it’s the mysteries of human nature and a bit of a voyeuristic spirit that keeps most of us up to our eyeballs in books.  Long Slow Distance gives the voyeur-by-book a good fix, and gives it brilliantly.  As our runner all but disappears, leaving little more than fleeting shadows as the book progresses, Phillips’ ability to hold his readers’ rapt attention is nothing short of extraordinary.  A fascinating main character and an even more riveting writing style makes Long Slow Distance a worthy piece of literature.

Published by Object Press.