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Bad Karma by Tamara Sheward - Review & Giveaway

If you’re looking to escape the daily grind and relax on an exotic getaway, then you may not want to travel with Tamara Sheward. Her travelogue Bad Karma (Confessions of a Reckless Traveller in Southeast Asia) recounts her adventures with her best friend El. These two cocky anti-Birkenstockers manage to plant themselves into a variety of bizarre situations in every village and city they enter. Little to no traveling plans, shoddy tour guide books, and edgy attitudes may not provide for a relaxing vacation, but it sure makes for one heck of a fun read.

As Tamara and El ramble through Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia, readers will cringe as they foresee problems the travelers didn’t. Customs are accidentally stepped on (never leave your chopsticks standing straight up in your rice bowl) throughout the book. Tamara and El are well-seasoned backpackers, and while they’ve left their homeland of Australia on journeys many times before, they’ve never been to the foreign lands of Southeast Asia, and they find it’s a whole different world than what they’ve ever experienced before.

I love to travel, but I’m a serious researcher. I’ll read up on every little thing I can get my hands on (surprised?) before setting foot outside my country. That’s probably what made reading Bad Karma such an entertaining toe-curler. If I ever get the chance to travel to Southeast Asia, I’ll take this book along as a guide on how to avoid botched travel plans. It can double as an entertaining read when my Fodor’s just won’t do.

So if you’re ready to hop on a rickshaw and careen through the streets of Cambodia with Tamara and her friend El, I have an extra copy of Bad Karma to give away. You have until midnight May 12, 2008. Happy Trails!

3 Ways to Enter:

1.) Leave a comment telling me what interests you about the book. (Something more than “sounds good” is kindly suggested.) Or tell me YOUR travel horror story!

2.) Subscribers are automatically entered into this and all future giveaways. Just enter your email address in the little white box on the upper part of the right hand column. (Please make sure to verify your Feedburner subscription by responding to the email they send you. If you don’t receive it, check your junk mail.)

3.) Blog about this giveaway on your blog with a link back.

Do all three, and you’ve got three entries to win!

80 comments to Bad Karma by Tamara Sheward - Review & Giveaway

  1. louiseb130
    May 8th, 2008 at 9:22 am

    We were in Cambodia and Laos last year and fell in love with the people! I’d love to recapture that feeling with this book!

  2. Sheree Warner
    May 8th, 2008 at 9:29 am

    Ohh Man, the memories! I was in Mexico when I around 15-16, with my parents. They had left me behind sitting in the car while they went into a store. A guy came up to the window and started talking to me, in spanish. I just kept nodding my head and saying yea, yea. For some foolish reason I gave this guy my address and told him we could be penpals. (Remember this was the early 70’s) After I returned home a few months later I got a letter. He wrote better english than he could talk. He said he was glad I agreed to marry him and he was looking forward to coming to America! OMG! I about died! I could not believe it!
    Thank God he never showed up but I was scared for a long long time!

  3. ruth
    May 8th, 2008 at 10:52 am

    Delightful and lovely book which would make entertaining and fascinating reading. Learning about their travels and escapades interests me.

  4. Tonya Keener
    May 8th, 2008 at 11:35 am

    I need this something awful

  5. margaret herrin
    May 8th, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    Interesting title.

  6. Laureen
    May 8th, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    I love to travel, but I cannot anymore, so I live vicariously. This book sure looks like a lot of fun to be had secondhand!

  7. Desmond
    May 8th, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    The title certainly grabs the attention-and I love travel books!

  8. Kim
    May 8th, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    I traveled to Japan a number of years ago on business for the Coast Guard. My travel partner was previously in the Coast Guard so I let him handle figuring out exactly where we need to go. Bad idea. He assumed that since Coasties deal with water, then we obviously had to go to the Naval base at Yokosuka. Actually, the Coast Guard station we were headed for provided air support to small stations in the pacific rim, so we need to go to Yakota Air Base. Which happens to be completely on the other side of Tokyo. Since we had left the US with about 1 day’s notice we didn’t have time to ship our materials so we schlepped our suitcases and boxes of materials across Tokyo. Did you know that (at the time) Tokyo rail stations don’t have escalators, just lots and lots of stairs? And that none of the signs were in English? We had instructions from the Naval base and we were literally holding the instructions up next to the signs to compare the Kanji to make sure we were getting on the right trains. It ended up being a fun trip overall, but that first day of trekking across Tokyo was not the best way to start a trip.

  9. kathy Scott
    May 8th, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    I really believe that you make your own karma. I would love to read this book.

  10. susan varney
    May 8th, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    i will be expecting it

  11. Tara
    May 8th, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    When I was 15 I went on a Teen Missions trip to Kathmandu, Nepal and there were many times of chaos… this book sounds like it would remind me of that time!

  12. Kim
    May 8th, 2008 at 8:04 pm

    These are places that I have wanted to travel to and with this book I could sort of do that through them.

    I subscribe to your feed too.

  13. mark
    May 8th, 2008 at 8:17 pm

    count me in

  14. Patricia Schraier
    May 8th, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    It’s the way I like to travel - experience the culture and the people and make mistakes. I’d love to read th book.

  15. Shilo Beedy
    May 8th, 2008 at 9:38 pm

    I never really got to travel very much. I think the furthest I have traveled was from New York to Florida. I would love to travel to Japan or England some day.

  16. Trooper
    May 8th, 2008 at 9:53 pm

    Been stuck in Malaysia, I want to see how the author got through her ruff travels.

  17. bunny
    May 8th, 2008 at 9:59 pm

    Ooo! I love travel books. I would love to read about her travels in Cambodia and Vietnam. Thanks!

  18. christopher h
    May 8th, 2008 at 10:13 pm

    rambled through thailand myself

  19. bunny
    May 8th, 2008 at 10:14 pm

    Hi. Linked my blog entry. :) Thanks!

  20. Melissa Reeder
    May 8th, 2008 at 10:40 pm

    I was coming home from college for the first time and taking the bus. It was my first time taking the bus so I was a little nervous. I was slightly sick on top of that. The bus ride was supposed to take five hours, and I had to change buses once. At the bus station where I’m supposed to change buses I find out that the bus I was supposed to be on had just left. The next bus scheduled to leave for my hometown wouldn’t leave for five hours. It’s after 7 p.m. on a Friday night, I’m stuck in a bus terminal for five hours, everything is closed, and I’m sick. It was horrible.

  21. dh
    May 8th, 2008 at 11:11 pm

    I like to plan everything for vacations reading ahead to find out what and where and how to get from place to place. Still I’ve never been to a foreign country(except Canada when I was a kid). So, I think this would be a fun read. I like to plan, but I have fun reading about the escapades of those who don’t. Planning doesn’t always work either, but it makes me feel more secure to do it.

  22. Tracy
    May 9th, 2008 at 12:11 am

    My friend and I have a plan to travel to Asia together on a big adventure trip, and reading this book would be a great way to get an idea of what we’re in for! Plus I love travelogues of any kind. Someday I’d like to write my own.

  23. Deborah
    May 9th, 2008 at 12:11 am

    Wow! What fun! I love to travel. I haven’t been to Asia…yet! I’d really enjoy reading this book! I hope I win!


  24. Cindi
    May 9th, 2008 at 2:32 am

    Hi, When I was a senior in high school many moons ago, I was lucky to go with our French/German class to 5 European countries. While we were in Paris, a couple of friends and I ventured out. Before we knew it, we were in the
    Red Light District! Boy, did we get some dirty looks from those women!!!!! “LOST”! That’s what we were. Of course, I couldn’t speak a word of French when I really needed to. Finally, we found a police dept. and went in for help. The policeman that helped us was gorgeous. Anyway, we eventually returned to our hotel. Thanks,Cindi

  25. Sharon Jones
    May 9th, 2008 at 5:16 am

    this is an area of the world that I have never been to but have heard so much about…and want to go to so badly…this book would be so interesting and fun to read for that reason…to learn more about this part of the world. THANKS

  26. Carla Cui
    May 9th, 2008 at 7:05 am

    I love books about traveling, especially set in Asia.

  27. Sara Alvaro
    May 9th, 2008 at 7:56 am

    I could tell you about misadventures in Turkey- but maybe I shouldn’t. Anyhow, it WAS the 60’s.

  28. Elizabeth
    May 9th, 2008 at 7:56 am

    I travelled across country by bus for 60 hrs non stop. I met some really interesting people and had a great time. To travel like that you need to be prepared and I was glad I did my homework. Good contest!

  29. Cindy S.
    May 9th, 2008 at 8:02 am

    I am “a seat of my pants” travellor. I wing it as I go. It is good to see I am not the only one.

  30. ariane
    May 9th, 2008 at 8:50 am

    it’s obviously the title that really attracts me most! i can’t wait to read it! hope i’ll win it! please count me in! thanks!

  31. Bebemiqui
    May 9th, 2008 at 9:37 am

    As a world traveler I love reading about other people’s experiences in countries where I’ve been.

  32. sarah
    May 9th, 2008 at 9:51 am

    I’ve gotta read this book, I’m definitely travelling to Southeast Asia at some point and I’d like to be prepared.

  33. Elaine
    May 9th, 2008 at 10:26 am

    Love to travel and love to do research on the country before I go - would love to have the book!

  34. littlelatina
    May 9th, 2008 at 10:27 am

    this sounds like a great read

  35. leanne c
    May 9th, 2008 at 10:34 am

    It’s summer - I need a good book t o laze my days away in the sun. This would be perfect.

  36. Ilissa H.
    May 9th, 2008 at 10:46 am

    I love travelling as well so this book definately looks like a fun read. I am also the type of person that researches almost every detail BEFORE I leave for a trip. I can’t imagine it any other way. I guess I’d have to read the book to find out how it all works! lol Thanks for the chance! Looks great!

  37. Bad Karma by Tamara Sheward - Book Giveaway | CarolBEE
    May 9th, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    [...] Contest Website:  Carp(e) Libris Reviews [...]

  38. CarolBEE
    May 9th, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    I have blogged about the contest on my site at:

  39. CarolBEE
    May 9th, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    I am now a Subscriber!! :D

  40. Shelly
    May 9th, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    I love to travel and love south east Asia, so this sounds great. Thanks!

  41. Crystal Gleason
    May 9th, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    Looks like a good read!

  42. Leslie Sil
    May 9th, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    sounds very interesting

  43. Rebecca Peters
    May 9th, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    I would love to read this
    [email protected]

  44. anna pacheco
    May 9th, 2008 at 9:04 pm

    I live to travel, and if I’m not traveling, I’m reading about it! This book looks amazing, and if I don’t win it, I’m going to buy it anyway.

  45. S
    May 9th, 2008 at 9:42 pm

    I’ll be travelling soon, and I could use this book to calm me down during unexpected disasters!

  46. Caroline Morin
    May 9th, 2008 at 11:17 pm

    Having been to Japan, I certainly look forward to visiting more of Asia. There are few resources out there that tell you about the nitty gritty, so this sounds like it would be useful.

  47. Liz
    May 10th, 2008 at 12:49 am

    Karma and the Eastern world….I am interested in both!

  48. judy folk
    May 10th, 2008 at 2:50 am

    i have backpacked thru southeast asia twice; once from thailand thru malyasia and to singapore and indonesia on java where i stayed at an orangutan rehab facility at bukatlouan and second time from thailand down the maycon river on a rice boat thru laos overland by bus from laos to hue in vietnam south to ho chi minh city and then into the macon delta and then overland thru cambodia back to thailand; this book sounds great; i could probably write a few books myself but i always love to read others experiences

  49. Theresa N
    May 10th, 2008 at 8:33 am

    I’d like to read it for the travel, I know it’s got to be fun because the places they’re going the customs are so different.

  50. Angela & Connor
    May 10th, 2008 at 10:49 am

    We’d love to have a copy of course :)

    I blogged your contest on Prize-A-Tron

  51. Elizabeth M.
    May 10th, 2008 at 3:16 pm

    I think this sounds like the perfect summer read and the perfect trip accompaniment. The best part is that no matter where they go they get into some bizarre predicament-that sounds like a hoot to read about.

  52. Kari Follett
    May 10th, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    Ha! I always use the phrase “bad kharma!” like when my kids talk sass then go and stub their toe ;) The book would be a great read, thanks!

  53. Carol Ezovski
    May 10th, 2008 at 4:16 pm

    I love books about different cultures. I’ve been to Japan, and my husband has been all over the Far East when he was in the Military. I’d like to win this.

  54. Denise
    May 10th, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    I love reading!

  55. Kristi Blackstone
    May 11th, 2008 at 1:36 am

    this book looks awesome

  56. Tisha
    May 11th, 2008 at 10:19 am

    The book looks interesting and could teach me something… I like that it talks about different countries and cultures!


  57. Doreen
    May 11th, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    Well, I haven’t been to Asia so I’m interested in reading about the culture there and whatever else the book has to say about travelling there! I subs to your feeds! :)

  58. Ed Nemmers
    May 11th, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    My friend Chris took an extended trip to this part of our world; I would love to compare stories.

  59. william sims
    May 11th, 2008 at 6:55 pm

    I want to win

  60. tonya froemel
    May 11th, 2008 at 9:59 pm

    like to win this

  61. stevie
    May 12th, 2008 at 1:12 am

    I love traveling but haven’t done much lately and never to SE Asia so it’s great to hear about someone’s misadventures out there! I miss traveling! Wish I had done more when I was younger, of course didn’t how things in this world would change!

  62. Dustin
    May 12th, 2008 at 1:22 am

    This would be really cool to win.. please let me win it!

  63. Kayce
    May 12th, 2008 at 2:56 am

    I love bizarre.

  64. Samantha Pruitt
    May 12th, 2008 at 4:37 am

    i love reading stories that have to do with horrible situations that don’t involve me, haha!

  65. Amanda Titus
    May 12th, 2008 at 7:29 am

    Sounds like a fun read. My husband doesn’t believe in karma. I’m on the fence…

  66. Timothy Sternberg
    May 12th, 2008 at 8:38 am

    Delightful and lovely book which would make entertaining and fascinating reading.

  67. Brooke
    May 12th, 2008 at 8:58 am

    This is a life I wish I led. SInce I didn’t, I’ll have to settle for reading about it!

  68. Bree
    May 12th, 2008 at 9:45 am

    I love the thrill of traveling and like to imagine myself in those places when I’m reading a book set in another country/state. Reading about travel misadventures are just hilarious. I always then hope they don’t happen to me. I read about your contests at Library Thing. I just started my blog and dont know how to do a linkback. Sorry

  69. Buddy Garrett
    May 12th, 2008 at 10:06 am

    The authors’ misadventures on vacation in Southeast Asia intrigues me. I am interested in customs in other cultures. I know this must be a fun read.

  70. Janice Wright
    May 12th, 2008 at 11:27 am

    I would love to hear about the travel adventures of other people since I have not had the oportunity to travel very much. This would be great.

  71. pat martinez
    May 12th, 2008 at 11:34 am

    There is never anything better than a book to win. so many people get value from a book prize in our family

  72. Betty C
    May 12th, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    I’ve experienced a little bad karma myself when I did some seat-of-the-pants traveling. This sounds like my kind of book.

  73. CarolBEE
    May 12th, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    Bad Karma sounds like a very interesting read! One thing most people don’t think about is the little things can mean something different in an unfamilar culture.
    I was at dinner with some friends the other night and they had their relatives from England in town. We were talking about the differences of the two English Languages. They had mentioned that the English calls a fanny pack a bum pack. I didn’t thing anything about it until I started looking over a list of words/phrases I got off the interent.
    Much to my surprise, I discover the word “fanny” means a woman’s private part in England. Boy, I am glad I wasn’t in England using that word. :D
    I would love to read a book highlighting the cultural differnces. What FUN!!

  74. Sylvia Porter
    May 12th, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    i’m going to be traveling pretty soon, this would keep from saying and doing some stupid stuff

  75. Phyllis Lamken
    May 12th, 2008 at 3:18 pm

    Love the title. Love to travel. Travel is about experiencing the unknown. Love to read about the daring travels of two innocents abroad.

  76. Ivan Girl
    May 12th, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    yay, i love to read this book.

    love reading all travel stories.

  77. kathy pease
    May 12th, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    please enter me :)

  78. H. Singh
    May 12th, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    What an interesting title. All the places that are on my places to see wish list!

  79. Frances Watson
    May 12th, 2008 at 10:34 pm

    looks like a good read

  80. Charlene Kuser
    May 12th, 2008 at 11:48 pm

    This sounds like an exciting
    journey,to see what kind of
    trouble they get into.i love
    books about different cultures
    and lands.Since I have never
    been there it gives me insight
    on how they live and survive

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