Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Author Nancy Collins --- over at Dark Faerie Tales

Just giving a small shout-out to one of my favorite blogs, Dark Faerie Tales, who is featuring Nancy Collins as a guest author today.  I saw this come into my Reader today and did a small happy dance (very small, since I saw this while at work), and wanted to pass it along...

I own several books by Nancy Collins, and some of those books have been read many times.  My Sonja Blue Collection is, in fact, cracked in a few places (it's one of those thick trade paperbacks with a glued binding), so I even have a back-up fresh copy put away.   Nancy's got a new book coming out, Right-Hand Magic, which I've already ordered for the library .... and which I can't wait to get my hands on.

Her guest post is full of details about some of her inspirations for the new book -- check it out!!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Summary (courtesy of GoodReads):  Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything— including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?            

And here's what I thought: 
I had seen a lot about this book before it came out, and had been waiting for it to get to my library.  When my copy arrived, I grabbed it, completely eager to devour this book.... and then it took me forever to finish it.   This isn't a reflection of the book at all -- it was just that I happened to get the book during a crazy week where I was just worn out, and not taking much time to read.   However....  on to what I thought of the book, now that I have finally finished it.

This is a book with a smooth, fast pace, and fluid writing, and it's a new twist on what you might have come to expect from a werewolf tale.  I'm not giving any spoilers here -- the cover of the book quotes, "She can control her pack, but not her heart."  I was really impressed with how Andrea Cremer wove everything together, making this not just a story of romance, but also a story of suspense, and how difficult some choices can be.  Calla is faced with following the rules she's always known, being a pack alpha, and being joined to Ren, the alpha of another pack, or following her heart and choosing Shay, a newcomer, over everything else.  She's a smart girl, and I totally believed that she was an alpha (there were no helpless moments where she couldn't handle herself in one way or another).  She's a strong leader, but she also has her doubts about herself, and that made her a realistic character.  She can definitely hold her own in a fight, and she's not afraid to stand up to Ren when he's acting like a jerk (which I really liked about her).  I also liked that Calla never apologizes for what she is, whether it's a girl, or a wolf, or a killer.  She owns what she is.

The two main love interests, Ren and Shay, are pretty different, although I felt both were well-balanced characters.  It's easy to make assumptions about Ren, but there's more to him than meets the eye.  And Shay?  Definitely more going on with him that at first glance.   Both of them balance the story, and how Calla is affected by her feelings for each of them.   And, not surprisingly, things become complicated -- like they can in real life.  

What I really liked in this book was that there was a lot of tension, and the pace was quick.  I easily got caught up in the world that Cremer created here, and I also really enjoyed how she dealt with the whole shapeshifting thing.  You know -- each author might do it a little differently.  For one, it might be that a character sheds clothes, shifts, and then comes back for the clothes (or not).  For another author, a character might have a really painful shift, brought on by a full moon, or a temperature change.  I had been wondering how Cremer would handle it, and I really liked what she did.  Rather than try to explain it, I'll give you a quote: " 'It's complex magic,' I said, hurrying past the awkward exchange.  'Technically, I'm both the wolf and human at the same time.  I choose what form my soul inhabits and I can move freely between the two.  Whatever form I'm not in is still there, just invisible - in something like another dimension - until I occupy it again.' "  (p. 116).  Okay -- this is SO COOL.  Definitely a new twist on the whole shape-shifting, form-changing idea.

I'll sum up by saying that this book was definitely worth the wait, and was an enjoyable read.  I'm really looking forward to the next book in this series, Wolfsbane, which is due out July, 2011 (at least, that's what my source showed when I checked it today). 

If you'd like to read other reviews, here are a few I liked:  BookCrazy, Persnickety Snark, and The Reading Angel

First sentence: "I'd always welcomed war,but in battle my passion rose unbidden."

Thoughts on the cover:  Very eye-catching, between the girl's face and the blood-stained calla lilies.  Definitely gives a hint of what lies within the book.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

BBC book list ---

I saw this on several blogs today, including Patricia's Particularity, and thought I'd go through the list, myself....  Apparently, the BBC has posted a list of 100 books ----  When I looked through it, I didn't think I did too badly.....   but maybe a few of these will get read in 2011 (for my Bucket List Challenge).  Good thing I know I can get them at the library!!!   

The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here.

• Copy this list.
• Bold those books you’ve read in their entirety.
• Italicise the ones you started but didn’t finish or read only an excerpt.
• Tag other book nerds.

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
The King James Bible
Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte  
Nineteen Eighty Four (1984) – George Orwell
His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
Complete Works of Shakespeare
Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk
Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
Middlemarch – George Eliot
Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
The Great Gatsby- F. Scott Fitzgerald
War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll  
The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
Emma -Jane Austen
Persuasion – Jane Austen
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – CS Lewis
The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden  
Winnie the Pooh – A.A. Milne
Animal Farm – George Orwell
The DaVinci Code – Dan Brown
One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
Lord of the Flies – William Golding
Atonement – Ian McEwan
Life of Pi – Yann Martel
Dune – Frank Herbert
Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
The Secret History – Donna Tartt
The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
On The Road – Jack Kerouac
Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
Moby Dick – Herman Melville
Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
Dracula – Bram Stoker
The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
Ulysses – James Joyce
The Inferno – Dante
Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
Germinal – Emile Zola
Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
Possession – AS Byatt
A Christmas Carol- Charles Dickens
Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
The Color Purple – Alice Walker
The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
Charlotte's Web- E.B. White
The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
Watership Down – Richard Adams
A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
Hamlet – William Shakespeare
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

Friday, November 26, 2010

slowly hopping.......

due out May, 2011
Almost didn't hop this weekend (working today, working Saturday), but it's a nice way to end the week.   The Book Blogger Hop is generously hosted by Jennifer over at Crazy for Books, lasts Friday - Monday, and is a great way to visit other blogs, meet bloggers, and just have some fun.  Or, spend way too much time online.
due out April, 2011

Either way, each week, there's a question.  This week's comes from Sarah, and asks: What is your favorite book cover?    Ok -- simple question, difficult answer.   There are so many books where I just love the cover art!!   I'll grab anything where Dave McKean has done the art.  Or Charles Vess.   And I own lots of photography books with beautiful covers.....

So I looked through my list of upcoming books to order for the library and chose two where the cover looks nice.     Enjoy!!!   And, happy Hopping!!!


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

looking 1

It's okay .... to agree to disagree

   I don’t usually stray too much from my usual reviews and memes, but I’ve been reading something recently which has me really want to write this.    One of the blogs I follow, Jawas Read Too, recently had something happen which I found pretty thought-provoking.   Erika consistently posts what I feel are well-written reviews of books.  Sometimes, I admit that after I read one of her reviews, I might feel that a book might not sound like an interesting read (for me, personally).  This isn’t necessarily because she gives a bad review --- it’s usually because the book just doesn’t sound like my cup of tea.  However, I consistently find that her reviews are fair and balanced (which is why I read her blog).

The other day, however, something happened on her blog.   She had posted a review of a new book, The Marbury Lens by Andrew Smith.   In her post, she mentioned that “I made a list of words to describe how I felt when reading The Marbury Lens: uncomfortable, disturbed, ill, unsettled, offended. It was a difficult book to read and this has been a difficult review to write because I don’t think this book was necessarily bad. The jacket copy mentions a pair of glasses and a different world, an English girl, and war-torn Marbury. All of these are included, but there is so much that fills the spaces between that still haunt me now, days after finishing, and not in a good way.”  She went on to describe how she really didn’t care for how one of the characters chose to express himself, and found that because of her dislike, the books just wasn’t that enjoyable of a read for her.  Now this would seem like a pretty harmless thing to say, right?   Well, one of the statements Erika made about this particular character, was that he used a lot of what  seemed to be very homophobic phrases --  She didn’t say the character was homophobic, but that the phrases he used, and his attitude towards the phrases (which the character used jokingly), and thus, the way he chose to express himself, made her uncomfortable.   She mentioned in her review that because she had read an ARC of this book and that she would refrain from including direct quotes from the book to support how she felt about this character.  This isn’t unusual; many ARCs have a request for reviewers to not quote directly, as the ARC is not a finished product.  But --please note here: she stated that it was this character, and this character’s behavior that she found repugnant.   This will become more important in a moment.

She concluded her review with this statement:  “There is no question that Smith has written a book that will stand out among its contemporaries. It was just not the best fit for me.”  And then, things started to happen in the comments section.....     Some people started to accuse Erika of writing a review that implied that the author of this book was homophobic.   One person stated right out that Andrew Smith is pro-gay, and for Erika to get her facts straight.  And then it got more heated.  Another author started to post comments, challenging Erika’s assertions in her post, and saying that unless Erika had evidence that a writer is “gay-bashing,” that she should avoid the insinuation.   To which, Erika responded that she went back and re-read what she had written, and while she understood that perhaps she had not worded things clearly, she saw “a person uncomfortable with a character, not the author.”

You would think this would stop the comments.  But it didn’t.  People started to snip at each other, snip at Erika, and really took everything in a nasty direction.  It seemed like rather than read a post or comment, digest, and then comment, people were just reacting.  I had posted my own comment initially about the fact that I had ordered this book for our library, and was crossing my fingers that readers would like the book.  Someone else read my comment and reacted by saying that Erika’s review was making me question my choice in ordering the book --- which made me re-post another comment, clarifying my position that I did not regret ordering the book and rather, just hoped that people would check it out and enjoy it.     I was a little concerned that my own comment had been misinterpreted --- so imagine how Erika has felt about her entire post.

What I wanted to write about was how in this instance, it seemed like people went quickly from discussion to just attacking each other.  One person would accuse another of attacking, and then that person would react by stating that they were not attacking, but merely disagreeing.  Does that really help??  Is this just a matter of semantics?  Personally, I think it’s all in the tone.  When we speak to each other face to face (or even on the phone), we react to tone, and body language.  Communicating via written word only takes that out of the equation, making us rely on language alone --- and somehow, things can just get misunderstood.  You’d think it would be easier, almost --- but words can convey feelings, whether it’s being angry, or being hurt (or anything else).   In this particular situation, on this blog, the comments became somewhat ugly, and it seemed like the discussion veered completely off the topic of the book, and became more of an opportunity for people to needle each other.   Which was disappointing.

I suppose what I’m getting at here, after all of this, is to say this: It’s okay to agree to disagree.   We all have opinions, and I admit I am completely passionate about some of my opinions.  However, this doesn’t mean that I don’t feel that it’s okay for other people to have their own opinions, which may not be along the lines of my own opinion.   I’m no stranger to an argument (and enjoy an occasional friendly sparring)--- but what I try to remind myself (and sometimes, it can be difficult if I’m really at odds with what someone’s saying), is that it’s okay for us to disagree.   I can disagree with how my friend feels about a book, or a movie, or even an elected official, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t like that friend anymore.   I can be a big enough person to say, “You know what, it seems like we just don’t see eye to eye on this.  Let’s agree to disagree, okay?” -- and then I try to change the subject.   And I know what you’re thinking: this doesn’t always work.  No, it doesn’t.  There are some people that I disagree with on too many things, and I find I just avoid their company.  However, I try to make the effort.    I was reminded of this when I read the comments, and they just kept coming.  It seemed like people couldn’t agree to disagree and just leave it at that.  Erika did her best to respond to comments, clarifying what she had written, even to the point of going back into her original post and editing it to make her feelings very clear.   Did it help?  Not really -- because it seemed like people commenting were preferring to continue to spar with each other.   Finally, she turned off the comments completely.  Snuffed it.

Her post remains, along with the comments, if you’d like to read them.   What I’d like anyone reading, is think about this:  It’s okay to disagree with someone.  It’s okay to say that you disagree.  But it’s not really cool to disagree with someone’s opinion, and then get in their face about the fact that they have that opinion.   I mean --- I post reviews on this blog.  Sometimes, I’m not wild about a book.  However, I know that for each book that doesn’t resonate with me, that there are other readers who feel that the book is amazing.   And that’s okay.  I’ll go so far as to say that it’s more than okay -- it’s a good thing.  It’s what keeps books around, and what keeps people reading.   And I don’t mind if someone says in a comment that they love a book that I didn’t really like.  Hey, that’s cool --- maybe that person found something in the book I just didn’t find the first time around, and it might make me take a second look.   What wouldn’t be cool is if that person commented that they loved the book, and I’m an idiot (or whatever -- pick your own term here) because I didn’t like it.  Just because I don’t like zucchini doesn’t mean that I berate other people who like to eat it.   Or try to eradicate it from everyone’s gardens.  I just don’t eat it.

Just putting these thoughts out there.   Maybe it's because it's almost Thanksgiving, and I'm just happy to be here -- and would love it if we could all just get along.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Teaser Tuesday

Somehow, the week is already at Tuesday.  This always happens when I work a weekend -- the time just seems to fly......

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading and it asks us to...
  • Grab your current read    
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
This week, my teaser comes from Nightshade by Andrea Cremer.  I'm about halfway through this book, and plan to finish it soon --- I'm really enjoying it so far!

"The kiss started slowly, a sweet tentative searching.  The soft touch of his mouth mesmerized me."    p. 211  

Sunday, November 21, 2010

2011 Debut Author Challenge

got books??
   I haven't gone through my 2010 challenge list to see what I need to whip through in the next few weeks .....   but I've already found a 2011 challenge for myself!!!    The Story Siren is hosting a 2011 Debut Authors Challenge, and it just sounds too cool ....    The challenge is to read 12 novels, which I definitely think I can handle (and I just might make it 13, and a baker's dozen).   Right now, looking at her list, I'm planning on these:

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
XVI by Julia KarrThe Water Wars by Cameron Stracher
Choker by Elizabeth Woods
Angelfire by Courtney Moulton
Haven by Kristi Cook
The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney
The Demon-Trapper's Daughter by Jana Oliver
Wither by Lauren DeStefano
Falling Under by Gwen Hayes
Those that Wake by Kesse Karp
Enclave (a/k/a Razorland) by Ann Aguirre

Wish me luck!!!!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Winner of my Ravenclaw giveaway!!!

Sorry for the late posting ---- but the winner is:  VICKI!!!!   (comment #2)

I'll be emailing you shortly to get your address.  Thanks to everyone who entered!!!

The number was chosen using the generator at www.random.org  (I'm still trying to figure out how to get the widget to show correctly on this blog .... but it chose #2 from 1-17, which were the number of comments)

Friday, November 19, 2010

hoppin' at any moment now..
           We've reached another Friday, and that means it's time to HOP!!! The Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Jennifer over at Crazy for Books. As she puts it, "In the spirit of the Twitter Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word! This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs to read!"       Even though I'm working this weekend, I'm determined to do some hoppin' .....

This week's question is:  "Since Thanksgiving is coming up next week, let's use this week's Hop to share what we are most thankful for and what our holiday traditions are!"

I will admit that Thanksgiving is not my favorite holiday (Halloween is).  I tend to think of it as a "food holiday" because when I was growing up, it was all about cleaning the house the day/night before, starting food preparation the night before, spending all day cooking .... having dinner.... and then doing dishes.  My family isn't into sports, so we never watched football or anything on Thanksgiving.   However, lest you think that my saying it's a "food holiday" means a negative thing.....    it's not.   Thanksgiving meant my mom's stuffing, and cranberry-banana bread, which I love.   Even though Thanksgiving's not always at my parents' house (I'm married, so that means we alternate holidays with both families), I still make a batch of cranberry-banana bread, just because it's tradition.   And because my husband loves that bread.  I mean, I do too... but he'll eat about half a loaf in one sitting.

 So here's what I'm thankful for:  My husband - I'm thankful he puts up with me.  I'm thankful I'm still crazy in love with him after being married for 10 years.  I'm thankful for good health -- both of us, along with our families, have had a pretty decent year, health-wise (as opposed to other years, when 2 of my aunts were diagnosed with breast cancer -- they're doing great now).  I'm thankful that all of our bunnies (4) are in good health.  Even though they're naughty sometimes, I love them!  And I'm thankful just to be here.  Every day brings something new.

Happy Hopping, everyone!    And  one last thanks --- thanks to my followers!  Without you reading my blog, I'd just be out here talking to myself.....       :)  

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday


Ravenclaw House party -- Giveaway!!!

In celebration of the newest Harry Potter movie, there are some house parties goin' on!    Our main host, representing Hufflepuff, is the lovely Velvet over at vvb32 reads --- please stop over and visit her blog to learn more (and to see her cool blog!).    And she's not the only one having a party --- Kulsuma's got Gryffindor covered, and Rebecca has Slytherin covered (check out their blogs, too --- lots of good things to see!!)

I decided I'd do a little giveaway to celebrate, so here it is:  a brand-new copy of The Sorcerer's Companion: A guide to the magical world of Harry Potter (updated and complete), a brand-new copy of The Magicians by Lev Grossman (which is a bit like Harry Potter, but a little darker) and some sweets, too.   I'll most likely throw in a bookmark or two, too.....

So here are the rules:   Contest ends on Friday (11/19) at Midnight.   All you need to do is leave a comment --- and I'd prefer this giveaway to be followers, only (because I really appreciate the followers that I have).   And sorry --- giveaway is US only (sorry!)

Go Ravenclaw!!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading and it asks us to...
  • Grab your current read          
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
I meant to open this book last night, to read a few pages before bed ..... and then wound up turning it right after Castle ended.     But I found a good teaser and plan to start this book today!

"The roadhouse, a big old honkytonk barn with a huge dirt parking lot that looked full to capacity, was called The Stagger Inn.  She stood at the edge of the glare cast by the parking lot lights, frowning."

Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King

Monday, November 15, 2010

Thoughts on Muggle artifacts...

"Mr Weasley's shed of Muggle artifacts contains, among other things, two Remington Noiseless Portable Typewriters and an HP Laserjet 4"   I found this while poking around on IMDB, and it made me think about all of the things that we all have that might be considered quirky artifacts.  And things that I used to use quite commonly, that now would be thought of as artifacts.   Example: I learned to type on an electric typewriter with a manual carriage return.  I then graduated to an IBM Selectric (which had a ball - very cool at the time).  The Selectric weighed a ton and took up tons of desk space.  And had no correct tape.   Lest you think I am ancient, please keep in mind this was when I was 15 (and both of these were hand-me-downs).  I'm no teen, but I'm under 40.  I don't have either of these objects any more, but I'm sure Mr. Weasley would love them. 

Other things I have used which would now be artifacts:  5 1/4 inch floppy disks.  DOS programs like WordStar.  2400-baud modems.  I was exposed to a lot of technology (which was cutting edge at the time) when I was a pre-teen, and technology has grown in leaps and bounds.  I remember when a tape Walkman was the coolest thing and really expensive (and I remember my cousin crying at Christmas because she didn't get one. I didn't either, but didn't see the need for tears).

Things I have and love that are artifacts:  antique glass ink bottles, antique bottles (my new favorite is an embalming fluid bottle from the 1930s), wood card catalogs (I use them to store jewelry and other small things) and an antique ice chest.  I, like Mr. Weasley, find some fascination in old objects such as tins, bottles, and antique spool cabinets.  I find comfort in using or re-purposing something that has had a long life, and like imagining who had it before me.  I don't collect as much as Mr. Weasley, but I think he and I might have a good time comparing collections.

So -- anything of your own you think Mr. Weasley would like?  
Blog Design by Use Your Imagination Designs using images from the Before the First Snow kit by Lorie Davison