Tuesday, May 31, 2011

And we have a winner!!!!!

Woo Hoo!!!!!!
Thank you to everyone who commented, and then came back to my re-posting and re-commented.   Ah, Blogger, ye scurvy thing, ye.... a pox on ye!!!!

Ok --- well, congratulations are in order because a winner has been selected!!!   I've contacted the person by email, so things are rolling along......

Thanks to everyone who visited this blog during the Random Magic: Pirates!!!! tour!

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Parting Glass --- Tour summaries and a pub sing

Today’s the wrap day for Random Magic Tour: Pirates! (May 10-30)

As one of the mates - ahoy, matey! - sailing with this crew of buccaneers, would like to say thank you for visiting my blog on May 12th and hope you also enjoyed some of the other great blogs on the tour.   It's been quite the adventure, hasn't it?  All of the paper dolls and pirate queens, and plenty of Rum and Plunder to be had for all.   I want to say thank you to Sasha for her invitation for this tour, and especially thank all of the other bloggers, who've put in lots of time and hard work to put up posts and participate and make everything so much fun.   Along this tour, I've heard music and learned all sorts of things that I never knew before .... and it's been great.  So, thank you!!!!

Please visit around to browse all of the other wrap day posts, especially at Rum + Plunder : Final tallies   Little Pirate Prizes: Final tallies begin and Winners announced: June 6

video – the parting glass – female voices, harmonized - live

For the wrap day of the tour, we’re just going to raise a final pint  o’ grog to say thanks for the good company. Smooth seas be ahead o’ ye. As this particular traditional toasting song goes, good night and joy be with you all!

Message in a Bottle:  visit Liana's Paper Doll Blog to see the Pirate Queen Sasha and read more about her at  Moonlight Gleam's Bookshelf.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

RMT - Sea Wolves Reading Circle

Ahoy, matey! Here be a treasure chest of great piratey reads, plucked from shelves by a scandalous crew from near and far.

Welcome to the Sea Wolves Reading Circle -- one of the last days on the Random Magic Tour: Pirates!  In case this is your first time seeing a post for this tour, and you'd like the full schedule, please visitthis link for all the info.     And please oh please don't forget all the Rum and Plunder!!!   Rum and Plunder runs through May 30, so there's still time for that, too!

Who's joining us?  
This Miss Loves To Read
 Twitter: @MissIrenne

What Book Is That?
Twitter: @heynocupcake

Cerebrate’s Contemplations

My Love Affair With Books
   Twitter: @Misha_1989

vvb32 Reads
Twitter: @vvb32reads

Willowdust Reviews - Tina’s Book Reviews
   Twitter: @BooksAtTinas

   Twitter: @LiederMadchen

The Diary of a Bookworm
Twitter: N/A

You are here: #1 of 9: Fluidity of Time -- Take me to the next port! Go to #2 of 9 This Miss Loves to Read

Bonus! Classic pirate read: Tales of Daring and Danger by G.A. Henty  
Read this book online:   or Download a copy to read later .....
     from this book, illustrated by the author

And please don't forget a bit of Random Magic -- an adventure tale full of magic and love.    Admittedly, I still love my original posts about this book, so if you're curious, and have a few moments and would like to know more about the world of Random Magic, please visit here and here.

Thank you for visiting today, and please stop by my companions on this tour!!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Probable Future by Alice Hoffman

Summary (courtesy of GoodReads):    Alice Hoffman's most magical novel to date, three generations of extraordinary women are driven to unite in crisis and discover the rewards of reconciliation and love.
Women of the Sparrow family have unusual gifts. Elinor can detect falsehood. Her daughter, Jenny, can see people's dreams when they sleep. Granddaughter Stella has a mental window on the future - a future that she might not want to see. In The Probable Future this vivid and intriguing cast of characters confronts a haunting past - and a very current murder - against the evocative backdrop of small-town New England. By turns chilling and enchanting, The Probable Future chronicles the Sparrows's legacy as young Stella struggles to cope with her disturbing clairvoyance. Her potential to ruin or redeem becomes unbearable when one of her premonitions puts her father in jail, wrongly accused of homicide. Yet this ordeal also leads Stella to the grandmother she was forbidden to meet and to a historic family home full of talismans from her ancestors.

And here's what I thought:  Alice Hoffman is one of my favorite authors.  I love the way she blends magic into her stories, and how her characters are interesting and complex.  Her stories tend to feature women, and this story was as good as I had hoped it would be.   As you can see from the above summary, the story focuses on three generations of women who have unusual gifts.  They aren't the only ones in their family -- this history of gifts goes all the way back to the beginning of their family line of women, women who have shaped not only the town that they live in, but the family house, Cake House, as well.    Cake House is as much a character as anyone in this story -- haunting and intriguing all at once.

Stella comes into her magic on her thirteenth birthday, as is traditional for the Sparrow women.  What she doesn't realize is how her gift will start a chain reaction of events, leading not only her to her grandmother and Cake House, but her mother, Jenny, as well.   The way that Stella's relationship with both women develops is at times somewhat maddening (she is, after all, 13 ... and we all know how the moods of a 13 year-old can move quickly from joy to fury in an instant), but it's interesting to see how she really grows as a person through this story.   And it's not just her story --- it's about Jenny, who is forced to confront her own truths about her relationship with not only her ex-husband, but her mother, as well.   It's about Elinor, who hasn't seen Jenny in years, and who has been so focused on her own work that she's basically excluded the rest of the world.

I love how Hoffman's writing just flows, and how her descriptions of people capture my imagination.  Take, for example, what she writes about Will (Jenny's ex-husband): "That Will was unfaithful should have been evident:  whenever he lied, white spots appeared on his fingernails, and each time he was with another woman, he developed what Jenny's mother had called "liar's cough," a constant hacking, a reminder that he'd swallowed the truth whole."  (p. 13)     I always find that I get completely caught up in her stories, just sitting and reading (and finding that an entire hour has gone by before I know it).   The edition that I read also had a great section at the end that's a Q&A with the author. 

First sentences:  Anyone born and bred in Massachusetts learns early on to recognize the end of winter.  Babies in their cribs point to the brightening of the sky before they can crawl.  Level-headed men weep at the first call of the warblers.  Upstanding women strip off their clothes and dive into inlets and ponds before the ice has fully melted, unconcerned if their fingers and toes turn blue.
Thoughts on the cover:  I actually read this as an e-book, but after seeing the cover art on GoodReads, I think it's a nice match for the story.  From the image, you can't tell necessarily which of the women this might be, which I like.  It seems like she is surrounded by light, and just lifting off her toes -- very cool.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Planning on doin' some hoppin' ......

After some frustration with Blogger and my computer this morning, I am finally Hopping!!   and if you don't know what I mean by hopping, then go visit Crazy for Books --- it's time for the Book Blogger Hop!    

This week's question comes from Britta -- "What book-to-movie adaption have you most liked?  Which have you disliked?"

I loved the Lord of the Rings trilogy, although they didn't follow the books exactly.  That was fine with me, though -- there is so much packed into those books that it would be almost impossible to do up a set of films.  I thought Peter Jackson did a wonderful job -- and seeing the first movie made me want to go back and read the books again.

The movie adaptation that I dislike the most is: Blood and Chocolate.  Love, love, love the book.  Hate the movie.  A friend and I rented it, and then threw popcorn at the screen because we were so annoyed.   We couldn't believe that the movie had turned things so completely around.... and frankly, I thought it sucked.

I'm sure there will be lots of interesting answers during this Hop, and I'm looking forward to seeing what people have to say.   Have a great weekend, everyone!!!!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Snowflake Obsidian by Hippie --- Pump Up Your Book Tour

Summary (courtesy of GoodReads):  Willow is nineteen, naive, and Mormon. She genuinely sucks at having relationships with the opposite sex, thanks to her daddy issues-as in she has a dad and wishes she didn't. Her only perfect relationship is with her best friend, Jo. But when Willow and Jo fall for the same guy, Willow finds herself friendless and falling in love with a drug addict. Feeling confused, guilty, and alone, she turns to cutting herself as a way to cope. Snowflake Obsidian presents the memoir of one girl's transformation and gradual shift from the cocoon of a protected religious culture to the wider world and a deeper understanding the many faces of love. As Willow steps into the world outside her religious ideals, she finds herself in situations she'd never imagined: getting a body piercing at a parlor full of sex toys; purchasing the morning-after pill for a friend who had been raped; and attending a support group for co-dependents. She puts all her faith in a snowflake obsidian stone when she can't cope with her depression. She lives with her boyfriend while trying to remain abstinent.
Willow's journey into the world illuminates her dark side-which in turn fully allows her to know the light. Her intelligent and humorous voice shares her story with a straightforward blend of nostalgic observance and cynical optimism in this witty memoir of life, love, and learning.

And here's what I thought:  Well, this was an interesting read, and completely different from the other books I've been reading lately.  The author's voice is quite clear in this story, and she's very descriptive (and matter-of-fact).  The pace is pretty fast, as well.   Once you start this book, you are taken through one person's journey to discover herself, through all kinds of situations.  She's not always kind to herself, but that's part of her journey.   Willow's got an interesting sense of humor at times -- which offsets some of the sadder parts of her story.   I did really love the prologue, where she talks about her imaginary friend that she had as a child, and how transformation is a necessary part of life.

That being said, I will admit that at times, this book felt a bit too personal to me.   It almost felt like reading someone's journal that they wrote completely as stream-of-consciousness, and I have to admit, if someone just sat and was telling me all of this, I'd feel overwhelmed.   At the same time, although it was intensely personal, I never felt like I quite connected to Willow.  Maybe we're just too different?  Perhaps.   I'm sure there are readers who will find this story really resonates with them, and their own experiences, and I think that's cool.  The fact that it didn't resonate with me doesn't mean it won't with another reader, so definitely give this one a try if the summary sounds good to you.

First sentences:  I was outside, buck-naked and screaming, "MO-GEN-TINE!"  I was also five.  Mogentine was the name of my imaginary friend.  He was a butterfly.

Thoughts on the cover:  Definitely fits with the way Willow describes herself, with tangled hair.  The blindfold and bound wrists also mesh with the story, and the fact that it's a drawing and not a photograph lends a nice touch. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Save Me by Lisa Scottoline

Summary (courtesy of GoodReads):    Susan Pressman volunteers as a lunch mom in her daughter Melly's school in order to keep an eye on Amanda, a mean girl who's been bullying her daughter. Her fears come true when the bullying begins, sending Melly to the bathroom in tears. Just as Susan is about to follow after her daughter, a massive explosion goes off in the kitchen, sending the room into chaos. Susan finds herself faced with the horrifying decision of whether or not to run to the bathroom to rescue her daughter or usher Amanda to safety. She believes she has accomplished both, only to discover that Amanda, for an unknown reason, ran back into the school once out of Susan's sight. In an instance, Susan goes from hero to villain as the small community blames Amanda's injuries on her. In the days that follow, Susan's life starts to fall to pieces, Amanda's mother decides to sue, her marriage is put to the test, and worse, when her daughter returns to school, the bullying only intensifies. Susan must take matters into her own hands and get down to the truth of what really happened that fateful day in order to save herself, her marriage and her family.

In the way that Look Again had readers questioning everything they thought they knew about family, Save Me will have readers wondering just how far they would go to save the ones they love. Lisa Scottoline is writing about real issues that resonate with real women, and the results are emotional, heartbreaking and honest.

And here's what I thought:   I've enjoyed other books by Lisa Scottoline, so when I received this book through LibraryThing, I was pretty happy.  As you can see from the above summary, this is a pretty gripping story.   And if you've read anything by this author, you know it's going to have a fast pace, action, and some heavy-hitting emotions.

I found the story to be interesting -- the whole "what do you do" situation that Susan finds herself in, and when she does what she thinks is the right thing, it turns out that it's not that simple.   The small town that she lives in seems to pull away from her, and just when she thinks she can find shelter in her marriage, another ugly secret from her past is brought to light.    It's a constant back-and-forth to see what's going to happen, and things really ramp up partway through the book when it begins to look like the fire in the school may have been set on purpose.   

Susan's  a sympathetic character and I found that I was holding my breath a few times when I was reading, just because I was worried for her.    She's smart, but she's not always sure of herself (I mean, who would be, in her situation?).   She's funny, but sometimes it seems like she's barely hanging on.  What I like about her is that she's determined.   She knows there's more going on with the school fire than meets the eye, and even when all odds seem to be against her, she just keeps on pushing to find out the truth.   And you know what quote from the book about her I like the most?  It's close to the end of the story, when she's in a dangerous situation --- "She was a mom, not an action hero. Then she realized something:  Every mom is an action hero."  (p. 328).   I thought that was pretty cool.

This is a story about not only one mother who is devoted to protecting her child, but also a story about a woman who finds herself in the process, and who comes to terms with the guilt she's been carrying for years over an event that happened to her when she was a teen.   Definitely a page turner.

First sentences:  Rose McKenna stood against the wall in the noisy cafeteria, having volunteered as lunch mom, which is like a security guard with eyeliner.  Two hundred children were talking, thumb-wrestling, or getting ready for recess, because lunch period was almost over.  Rose was keeping an eye on her daughter, Melly, who was at the same table as the meanest girl in third grade.  If there was any trouble, Rose was going to morph into a mother lion, in clogs."

Thoughts on the cover:  Perfect for this story. I love the way the woman has the child in her embrace, sheltering her from the wind.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Happy it's Friday!!!

I don't know about y'all, but this week seemed to slow down about halfway through... and it seemed like it was taking forever by Thursday afternoon.   But now, it's Friday!   Which means a few things: first, even though I'm working today, I'm not working this weekend (yay!) and second, it's time for the Book Blogger Hop!

yeah, yeah... we'll hop when we're good and ready

I'm always grateful to Jennifer over at Crazy for Books for hosting this, although I can easily spend way too much time online as a result of it.   This week's question is:   "If you were given the chance to spend one day in a fictional world (from a book), which book would it be from and what would that place be?"   I'm expecting to see lots of answers this Hop that say Hogwarts, or Narnia, and frankly, those came to mind (I mean, magic is cool.  And talking animals could be cool).  But, I wanted to expand my boundaries just a bit.

So, I'm choosing someplace different..... I think I would be interesting to live in Wonderland.  You know, like Alice in Wonderland Wonderland --- where the flowers might speak to you, and rabbits wear waistcoats?   I've always liked the illustrations by John Tenniel, and as a child, wondered what such a place would be like.   Scary at times, certainly, but also could be quite fun.

Happy Friday, everyone -- and have a great weekend!!!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Stormchasers by Jenna Blum

Summary (courtesy of GoodReads):   How far would you go to protect a sibling-and at what cost to yourself?

In Those Who Save Us, Jenna Blum proved herself a master storyteller with brilliant insight into the spectrum of human emotion. Now, Blum turns her sights to the most intimate and mysterious of family relationships-that between twins-in her powerful and provocative second novel.

As a teenager, Karena Jorge had always been the one to look out for her twin brother Charles, who suffers from bipolar disorder. But as Charles begins to refuse medication and his manic tendencies worsen, Karena finds herself caught between her loyalty to her brother and her fear for his life. Always obsessed with the weather-enraptured by its magical unpredictability that seemed to mirror his own impulses- Charles starts chasing storms, and his behavior grows increasingly erratic . . . until a terrifying storm chase with Karena ends with deadly consequences, tearing the twins apart and changing both of their lives forever.

Two decades later, Karena gets a call from a psychiatric ward in Wichita, Kansas, to come pick up her brother, whom she hasn't seen or spoken to for twenty years. She soon discovers that Charles has lied to the doctors, taken medication that could make him dangerously manic, and disappeared again. Having exhausted every resource to try and track him down, Karena realizes she has only one last chance of finding him: the storms. Wherever the tornadoes are, that's where he'll be. Karena joins a team of professional stormchasers-passionate adventurers who will transform her life and give her a chance at love and redemption- and embarks on an odyssey to find her brother before he reveals the violent secret from their past and does more damage to himself . . . or to someone else.

And here's what I thought:  
I find storms fascinating, and always have.  I'm one of those people who sleep best during a big rainstorm (especially now that we've had our drainage fixed and I don't have to worry about water in the basement).   When I was a kid, I relished storms, all the thunder and lightning -- the not knowing when there would be a flash and a boom.  It was a mixture of excitement and dread.   

And that very mixture saturates this story.  Karena and Charles have a different kind of relationship -- maybe because they're twins, and maybe because they share an awful occurrence from their past.  Whatever the reason, Karena chasing Charles is like Charles chasing a storm;  whatever's in front of you can change direction in a second and leave you scrambling to keep yourself covered.   It's a fascinating way to build a story - a relationship between siblings where the one is as unpredictable and potentially dangerous as a tornado.    There's an underlying feeling of dread that runs through the story --- we wonder if Karena will ever catch up with Charles, and then we wonder if it's a good thing if she finds him.

A tornado is a rotating column of air that is in simultaneous contact with both the earth, and a cloud.  This is a perfect way to see Charles, who at times wavers between his connection with the real world and the world inside his own mind.   Karena seems grounded, herself, but then it seems she is losing herself in her search for her brother.  Even the relationship she begins with a stormchaser (a character that I thought was great ... and admit that I would have fallen for him, too) is threatened by her all-consuming desire to track down her brother.  And to what end?  Once she finds him, what then?

I felt that the characters were skillfully written, and I enjoyed how the author worked in quite a bit of real information about storms, and stormchasing.  Very cool.   At times, I was a bit afraid to keep reading because I was worried for Karena ... but she's compelling, even if she's not always at her best.  Reading this book made me think about one of my favorite songs by Stevie Nicks, called Twisted (which was to be used on the Twister soundtrack).  I've included the link to it on Youtube... not big on the video, but the song's very cool -- I wound up listening to it twice while writing this post.

And here is the author's site, if you'd like to learn more about her.  

First sentences:  Karena Jorge's birthday starts as a quiet affair, but she doesn't mind.  That's the way she likes it.

Thoughts on the cover:
  The ominous-looking sky in front of the two children really ties into the story, and the underlying tension throughout the book.  Very well-matched art and book.  

Note: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a review, and I'm really glad I was contacted -- this was a great read.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Divergent by Veronica Roth

 Summary (courtesy of GoodReads):   In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

And here's what I thought:   At first, it seemed like the book might be a slow starter, but before I knew it, I was whipping along.   I found the idea of the different factions to be fascinating - that people are divided into these groups for societal reasons.  It's all explained on page 42 - "Decades ago, our ancestors realized that it is not political ideology, religious belief, race, or nationalism that is to blame for a warring world.  Rather, they determined that it was the fault of human personality - of humankind's inclination towards evil, in whatever form that is.  They divided into factions that sought to eradicate those qualities they believed responsible for the world's disarray."   Thus, the formation of the different factions to keep society at peace.    This idea drives the story, even though the focus is on Tris and her personal journey.  I suppose I can see the appeal of the factions to a society that has known nothing but strife; if you divide people into tightly focused groups, all working together, then perhaps society can find balance.   

However, nothing is really that simple.  As much as people may believe they should belong to one faction, perhaps their personality would make them more suitable to a different faction.   Some people seem to suppress their inner selves, choosing instead to follow their parents and remain members of  a faction.  And some .... follow their own hearts and minds.    Tris chooses a faction completely unlike the one she has known for her early life, and isn't quite prepared for what might happen.  However, the initiations, although tough, seem to prove to her that she may have made the right choice.   Or has she?   I'm not telling, as I try to avoid spoilers.

What I will say is that I found Tris to be a really compelling character.  She doesn't take the easy route, to be sure, but she is pretty sure of herself, trusting that she has made the right decision.  She's smart, and she's determined - and has a strong sense of self.   I liked that even though she was conflicted at times about what she was doing, she always trusted that she was where she was supposed to be, and figured out a way to succeed.   And she's not relying on being beautiful, or physically strong --- she gets stronger throughout the initiations, but what she really relies on is her mind.  Very cool.

The author does a nice job of keeping the pace quick, and there is a nicely maintained tension throughout the story.    Once I got going, I was completely hooked (and was resentful that I had to put the book down on Sunday and go to work for a few hours).    Between the well-written characters (not only Tris, but the supporting characters, as well), and the storyline of the factions, I was captivated by this book.   It's a great read!!!

First sentences: "There is one mirror in my house.  Our faction allows me to stand in front of it on  the second day of every third month, the day my mother cuts my hair.  It is behind a sliding panel in the hallway upstairs."

Thoughts on the cover:  At first, I wasn't sure what the cover had to do with the story, other than showing a skyline that looked like Chicago's.  However, as the story went on, the large image with the flames made complete sense (it has to do with a particular faction).

Note:  I received an ARC of this book courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales ARC Tours.  Thus, any page numbers and/or quotes from the book may change upon final publication.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Random Magic -- Pirates! Pirate Queen -- #1 of 10 (re-post)

And here is the second re-created post ......   thank you for bearing with me!   No attempt at the YouTube video, sorry -- it was tricky enough to get it to work the first time.

Feature: Pirate Queens: #1 of 10: The Lioness of BrittanyThe Lioness of Brittany

One of the most bloodthirsty female pirates in history. Jeanne de
Clisson, nicknamed the Lioness of Brittany, was driven to piracy by a
desire for revenge.

At the age of 12, she was married off to 19-year-old Geoffrey de Châteaubriant. The marriage ended when Geoffrey died. Four years  later, Jeanne married again - this time, for love.  Then 30 years old, she selected Olivier III de Clisson as a bridegroom and they were reportedly content together. Olivier was a nobleman,
holding a castle at Clisson and manor house in Nantes.  In 1342, he joined his friend Charles de Blois in fending off English claimants to Brittany. However, during the Breton War of Succession, Olivier was accused of failing to hold a particular region against English forces. That summer (1343), he was attending a tourney in French territory - and he was arrested and carted off to Paris for trial. Fifteen former allies, including his friend Charles de Blois, found him guilty of treason.  Olivier was beheaded by order of King Philip VI, and his head was displayed on a pole outside the castle of Bouffay, in Nantes.  His widow, Jeanne, saw what had  happened to her partner, and that's when the story really picks up.

Enraged by her husband's betrayal and his hasty execution, she swore revenge on France, itself.   She sold off all that remained of her estate to raise enough money to buy three warships. The grieving widow had all three ships painted black, and the sails dyed blood red.  Then the 'Black Fleet' was unleashed upon the waters. The Lioness of Brittany hunted down and destroyed the ships of King Philip VI, and the men who crewed them. If she found French noblemen on board, she'd personally behead them with an axe.  The only men who escaped her wrath were two or three sailors from each ship, whom she left alive so that they could bring word to the king that the Lioness was still prowling the trade waters.  Although the 'Black Fleet' was much feared, the bloodthirsty Lioness did have a particular code of honor; there was only one law, and that law was immutable. The French king was responsible for the death of her beloved Olivier, so she spared the ships and crews of every other nation met on her way -- she only attacked French ships.

The main Rum + Plunder treasure hunt is open internationally!
Here’s a fun way to win something piratey and cool: Browse prizes 
or join the hunt…

Bonus: Find even more pirate plunder with Little Pirate Prizes.
The Little Pirate Prizes are cute and cool -- but they're not marked,
so they could be ANYWHERE on the tour.

You're welcome to find some buried treasure, if you like: Follow the tour

Random Magic Pirates! -- re-creation of first post on seafaring superstitions

Well, since Blogger has not seen fit to restore my two posts, I am attempting to recreate them .....  please bear with me if they are not as nice as the originals.  However, I wanted to give anyone who commented the first time another chance.  :)

 Feature: Discussion: Seafaring culture and beliefs
Pirates need a handful of things to be successful:  a well-built ship, steady waters to sail in, and a bit of good mojo.  What do I mean by mojo?  Well, it could be luck, or a bit of superstition -- just something to make sure all's going to proceed in the right direction.  It can be something you can see, like a gold earring, or something you hide in your pocket, like a charm (or even something you whisper, like a prayer of sorts).  Historically, pirates have had their own sorts of lucky charms, so I thought it might be interesting to explore some of those.  Please bear in mind - I did find a lot of information, but it's tricky to verify all of this (considering the pirates in our time now are quite different than those of yore....)

Gold earrings were somewhat common among pirates, but whether they were worn with the belief that they would improve one's eyesight, or pay for one's burial (paying Davy Jones, to be exact) is somewhat debatable.   Earrings, themselves, could be seen as a fashion statement --- but actually, there was a sailor's superstition that wearing a silver ring in the left ear kept the devil from sitting on your shoulder.

Salt was something both sailors and pirates would encounter, and both had the superstition of throwing salt over a shoulder as a way of keeping the devil at bay

I did find this interesting tidbit:  That it was believed that one should not cut nails or hair while at sea.  Apparently, cuttings of hair and nails were offerings made to Proserpina, and it would make Neptune angry to have offerings to another god made in his domain (bringing bad luck upon the ship).   Again, I'm not sure how true this one is, but it would explain the somewhat unkempt appearance of some pirates (and also the trend of dreadlocks among some of them).

No whistling allowed, please.  One of the superstitions I kept coming across was that whistling was forbidden anywhere onboard.  Apparently, it was feared that it would raise a gail (thus the expression "whistling up a storm.")

And watch out for witches.  Apparently, some witches were wind-sellers, selling fair winds to sailors and pirates, promising the ability to call up winds at will.   This could be a good thing, if you bargained with the right witch --- but beware a wind-caller that doesn't like you (does the term "a tempest in a teacup" sound enjoyable?)

And lastly, be gladdened at the sight of the bared breast.  Why yes, you did read that correctly.  Many ships often had a figurehead adorning the bow (the front end, for all you landlubbers).  It was believed that as long as the figurehead remained attached, the ship couldn't sink.  And ... if, during a fierce storm, a woman bared her breasts, the storm would let up (or would be shamed into submission, depending on your source).  So, this is why many figureheads are bare-breasted.  And you thought it was just those dirty-minded pirates putting up a naked lady for giggles......

And lest we leave out a reference to Random Magic, don't forget that there's a magical feather and a rubber duck --- all charms with a significant amount of mojo.

Arrrgh, good work, matey - ye’ve found a secret stash of plunder.

You can play to win this Little Pirate Prize, and plenty of other
wonderful things scattered throughout Random Magic Tour:
Pirates! (May 10-30)

The Nautical Chart

Description: A novel about a modern-day treasure hunt and a ruthless
adventuress on a quest to find a legendary ship sunk by pirates. Trade
paperback, 466 pages.

Summary: A treasure hunt for a ship sunk by pirates off the coast of
Spain is the plot on which Arturo Pérez-Reverte new novel turns, but a
love story is the real heart of this adventure.

A suspended sailor happens on a maritime auction in Barcelona, where
he meets the beautiful Tánger Soto, whose winning bid buys her a
17th-century atlas that may reveal the final resting place of the
Dei Gloria.

Coy, the sailor, is totally smitten, and signs on to help Tánger track
the sunken ship to its grave in waters he's sailed since childhood.
Enlisting the aid of a diver friend, Coy and Tánger stay a few steps
ahead of the crooked salvagers who've been trying to get the atlas,
outmaneuvering efforts to keep them from the treasure and attempts on
their lives.

Perez-Reverte (The Fencing Master, The Club Dumas) is
better at plumbing the mysteries of the human heart than those of the
sea, but The Nautical Chart manages to combine history,
suspense, and obsessive love in a slow-paced but ultimately engrossing
read. (Summary via Amazon)

Ye can carry off this  Little Pirate Prize! Here’s how to win:

* Win this cute pirate prize by:
1. Adding your email address in comments section
2a. In comments, add your Twitter link to this post
2b. In comments, add link to your quick blog mention about this post, (including link to full tour schedule in mention: 

2c. In comments, add your blog post link about this post, the blog post can be brief or detailed, it’s up to you
2d. In comments, add your link to different tour post
that you’ve also enjoyed, and why it was fun to read
2e. (Double, triple or quadruple your chances!) In comments, add your email address plus each of the above in up to four separate entries, for max of four chances to win

* (Helpful info) Yes,you can enter up to four times, giving you not just one but four chances to win this prize!   NOTE: Please include each entry (your email address plus Twitter/blog/tour post link) separately, since each entry will be assigned a separate number for the drawing.

So, one entry might look like this:
Entry #1: Email address + Twitter link

A second entry might look like this:
Entry #2: Email address + blog mention link

And so on.

* (Helpful info) If you need some help to see what the separate
entries look like, please just click here: See Sample Entries
Have fun and good luck!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Random Magic Pirates -- 2 posts have been lost.....

Just a heads up to everyone --- Blogger has still not restored the posts that I put up on Thursday, and which took me about an hour to put together.   Right now, I am hoping that Blogger restores them, so I don't have to spend even more time trying to recreate them.

If the posts are not up by Monday, I will attempt to re-create and re-post them, so that anyone who commented (thus putting in entries for the giveaway) can re-comment.    And speaking of commenting, no word from Blogger as to what's happening and when (or if) things will be restored.   

why yes, I am actually kind of grumpy right now.....
Keep your fingers crossed, please!!! 

Little Pirate Extra ......

This isn't part of the Random Magic tour, but I saw this and just had to share it .......

This is from a comic strip which I love, called Rhymes with Orange.

Friday, May 13, 2011

(finally) Hopping !!!!!

Blogger wasn't cooperating this morning, so I was crossing my fingers ..... and now, I can post again!   And -- can join in the Book Blogger Hop!   Hosted by Jennifer over at Crazy for Books, the Hop is a great way to spend time over the weekend visiting blogs, meeting bloggers, and discovering new things.  I haven't Hopped for a while, and even though I'm working this weekend, I'm going to try to get around on the Hop.

This week's question is: Are you going to Book Expo America (BEA) and/or the Book Blogger Convention (BBC) this year?

Sadly, no.   I would have dearly loved to go to BEA, but the timing didn't work for me -- as I just spent a chunk of my vacation (and my savings) on a trip to Italy.   Totally worth it.   But, I would love to go to BEA next year.    And, no BBC for me, either.    I actually find going to BBC a bit intimidating, because although I've been blogging for a bit over a year now, I still feel like I'm nowhere near the level other bloggers are.   But, I like the idea of BBC, so maybe I'll try to make it.

That being said .... even though I enjoyed my Italy trip, I am completely envious of those of you who get to go to BEA!!!!     Happy Hopping, everyone!!!

Venice at 7 am

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Random Magic Tour: Pirates! (full schedule)

Random Magic Tour: Pirates!
May 10-30, 2011
About: Random Magic 


Tour organization: Lyrika Publicis
Triton Tavern proprietress and guest relations: vvb32
Contact the tour: @RandomMagicTour 
Rum + Plunder Treasure Hunt (May 11-30)
Win some marrrrrvelous plunder!
Browse prizes
Bonus: Little Pirate Prizes
Cool surprise treasures scattered throughout the tour…

May 10
Mermaid’s Cove Musical Blog Hop

Shiver me timbers! Here be a round
of jolly tunes about the sweet trade.

My Love Affair With Books
Songs for: Bold pirates

Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell
Songs for: Gloomy pirates

Elbit Blog
Songs for: Accidental pirates

vvb32 Reads
Songs for: Saucy pirates

True Book Addict
Songs for: Scary pirates

Willowdust Reviews - Tina’s Book Reviews
Songs for: Pirate queens

Diary of a Bookworm
Songs for: Poetic pirates

Songs for: Brave seafarers of every kind,
and a moment for all the lost ships.

Eating YA Books

Songs for: Jovial pirates

Vampires and Tofu
Songs for: Ominous pirates

Songs and Stories
Songs for: (Delightfully) campy pirates

May 11
Liana’s Paper Doll Blog
Twitter: @lianaleslie

Design doll: Queens of the Sea: #1 of 10
Voting: May 26-27


vvb32 Reads
Twitter: @vvb32reads

Triton’s Tavern opens: Tour updates 

Rum + Plunder tour hunt opens
Rum + Plunder: Join the hunt 
May 12
The Fluidity of Time

Feature: Discussion: Seafaring culture and beliefs
Feature: Pirate Queens: #1 of 10: The Lioness of Brittany


Liana’s Paper Doll Blog
Twitter: @lianaleslie

Design doll: Queens of the Sea: #2 of 10

May 13
Lady Violet

Twitter: @ladyviolet3

Video review,Random Magic
Feature: Video reading, Random Magic
Feature: Pirate Queens: #2 of 10: Lai Choi San

May 14
Dr. Stravagante’s Traveling Circus

Twitter: @hatshepsut0011

Review (Dual language: English, Italian)
Feature: Arrrgh! How to talk like a pirate
Plus: Random Magic and unusual grub
Bonus: Free audio book, The Pirates Own Book
(Contemporary usage: The Pirates’ Own Book)


Liana’s Paper Doll Blog

Twitter: @lianaleslie

Design doll: Queens of the Sea: #3 of 10


vvb32 Reads

Twitter: @vvb32reads

Feature: A Dandy in Distress (Part 1 of 3)

May 15
Moonlight Gleam

Twitter: @MoonlightGleams

Feature: Cinematic Swashbucklers
Bonus: Free audio book, Buccaneers and Pirates of our Coasts


vvb32 Reads

Twitter: @vvb32reads

Triton’s Tavern meet-up
Tour tidbits and pints o’ grog
Feature: A Dandy in Distress,
the preposterous piratical melodrama continues (Part 2 of 3)

May 16
The Book Swarm

Twitter: @marybrebner

Feature: Pirate Queens: #3 of 10: Jacquotte Delahaye
Bonus: Pirate puzzle


Liana’s Paper Doll Blog

Twitter: @lianaleslie

Design doll: Queens of the Sea: #4 of 10


vvb32 Reads

Twitter: @vvb32reads

Feature: A Dandy in Distress (Part 3 of 3)

May 17
The Epic Rat

Twitter: @theEPICrat

Feature: Grub and Bumbo
Feature: Pirate Queens: #4 of 10: Anne Bonny
Bonus: Free audio book,  Among Malay Pirates and Other Tales of
Peril and Adventure


Liana’s Paper Doll Blog

Twitter: @lianaleslie

Design doll: Queens of the Sea: #5 of 10

May 18
Miss Page-Turner’s City of Books

Twitter: @MPTsCityofBooks

Feature: Gallery: Sailing the Seven Seas
Feature: Pirate Queens: #5 of 10: Grace O’Malley


Songs and Stories

Twitter: @LiederMadchen
Feature: Finding Starboard
Bonus: Color-Me-Pirate

Liana’s Paper Doll Blog

Twitter: @lianaleslie

Design doll: Queens of the Sea: #6 of 10

May 19

Twitter: @vvb32reads

Feature: Music: Takes on pirate tunes
Feature: Pirate Queens: #6 of 10: Awilda


The Life (and Lies) of an Inanimate Flying Object

Twitter: @haleymathiot

Feature: Under the Black Flag


Liana’s Paper Doll Blog

Twitter: @lianaleslie

Design doll: Queens of the Sea: #7 of 10

May 20

Fiction Folio

Twitter: @TaraMQ

Video review, Random Magic
Feature: Post Like a Pirate
Feature: Pirate Queens: #7 of 10: A Salmagundi of She-Pirates


Liana’s Paper Doll Blog

Twitter: @lianaleslie

Design doll: Queens of the Sea: #8 of 10


vvb32 Reads

Twitter: @vvb32reads

Triton’s Tavern meet-up
More tour tidbits and pints o’ grog.

May 21
Bibliophilic Monologues

Twitter: @Nafizaa

Feature: Literary Brigands
Feature: Pirate Queens: #8 of 10: Anne Dieu-Le-Veut
Bonus: Free audio book, The Frozen Pirate


Snowdrop Dreams of Books

Twitter: @snowdropdreams

Feature: The Lost Ship
Bonus: Free audio book, Treasure Island

May 22
Book Lover - Book Chicks

Twitter: @LexieVamp666

Feature: Discussion: (Video) Real-life pirates
Bonus: Free audio book, Great Pirate Stories


Vampires and Tofu

Twitter: @vampiresandtofu

Feature: Casting Random Magic
Feature: Pirate Lairs: Ocracoke Inlet and the legend of Blackbeard’s ghost
Bonus: Pirate karaoke

May 23
Liana’s Paper Doll Blog

Twitter: @lianaleslie

Design doll: Queens of the Sea: #9 of 10
Bonus: Quiz: Find your Random Magic twin


vvb32 Reads

Twitter: @vvb32reads

Feature: Radio show: Captain Blood


I <3 Reading (I Love Reading)

Twitter: @iheartreads

Review (Dual language, Flemish/English)
Bonus: Video lecture about pirate queen Grace O’Malley
Bonus: Game: Blackbeard’s Gold
Blog Design by Use Your Imagination Designs using images from the Before the First Snow kit by Lorie Davison