Sunday, October 31, 2010

In My Mailbox (3)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme started by The Story Siren with inspiration from Pop Culture Junkie

From Madam Siren: "The idea behind IMM was not only to put new books on your radar but to also encourage blogger interaction. IMM explores the weekly contents of my mailbox & books bought. And sometimes other fun goodies.  Anyone can participate in IMM and you are not limited to only sharing books that arrive via your mailbox. You can also share books that you've bought or books that you've gotten at the library."

Please join us in getting to know one another and sharing great reads!  Here are the books I picked up this week: 

If I Stay
by Gayle Forman

I picked up this one since it was just announced that Dakota Fanning is in talks to play the main character in the film adaptation.  I am really excited to read this one!



by Angie Chau

I actually added this book to my requests at the library by accident, but the reviews sounded so good that I decided to keep it on there.  I just received it this week!

REVIEW: Coraline by Neil Gaiman

By Neil Gaiman
162 pages
Harper Perennial

Synopsis

In Coraline's family's new flat are twenty-one windows and fourteen doors. Thirteen of the doors open and close.

The fourteenth is locked, and on the other side is only a brick wall, until the day Coraline unlocks the door to find a passage to another flat in another house just like her own.

Only it's different.

At first, things seem marvelous in the other flat. The food is better. The toy box is filled with wind-up angels that flutter around the bedroom, books whose pictures writhe and crawl and shimmer, little dinosaur skulls that chatter their teeth. But there's another mother, and another father, and they want Coraline to stay with them and be their little girl. They want to change her and keep her with them. . . Forever.

Review: Remember that old TLC song “Waterfalls”?  Oh, poor Coraline; had she only listened. . . 

Coraline is the only child of parents probably not unlike yours and mine.  They are busy, working people who sometimes forget that a child needs to be engaged and interacted with.  Coraline has a touch of loneliness and is gobsmacked with boredom.  She is sick and tired of the grown-up people around her talking around her and not with her, of them telling her to go and occupy herself.  Like any child (and more than a few grown-ups), Coraline goes in search of an adventure, of something new in her life, and so she sneaks an old key from her mother that belongs to an old door that leads to nowhere in her new home.  Except that one day, it does.  Coraline is delighted at first, but just like Alice and Dorothy before her, realizes that there is no place like home, for that is truly where the heart is.

This was my first Gaiman, and after reading Coraline, I certainly will be back for more.  The book was a creepy tale of adventure and hard lessons learned.  The fright factor is such that it is completely appropriate for children, but I think adults will gain just as much from it.  The most wonderful thing about Gaiman’s writing style is that every word is truly used – there are no superfluous adages in his storytelling.  Consequently, the story never drags and keeps a brisk pace. 

Central to the book is the development of Coraline’s sense of family and the importance of her parents in her life, and hers in theirs.  Coraline also learns about the importance of courage, commitment to others, understanding and tolerance of others, that appearances can be deceiving, and that the grass is not always greener on the other side.  This is a simple book, but a grand adventure – it’s a perfect story to make a part of your family’s Halloween tradition. 
-
Overall: A

Favorite Quotes/Passages:

The cat yawned slowly, carefully, revealing a mouth and tongue of astounding pink.  “Cats don’t have names,” it said.
“No?” said Coraline.
“No,” said the cat.  “Now, you people have names.  That’s because you don’t know who you are.  We know who we are, so we don’t need names.”
pg. 37

For a moment she felt utterly dislocated.  She did not know where she was; she was not entirely sure who she was.  It is astonishing just how much of what we are can be tied to the beds we wake up in in the morning, and it is astonishing how fragile that can be.
pg. 67

“I don’t want whatever I want.  Nobody does.  Not really.  What kind of fun would it be if I just got everything I really wanted?  Just like that, and it didn’t mean anything.  What then?”
-Coraline, pg. 120

Friday, October 29, 2010

Book Blogger Hop and Follow Friday!! Come Cha-cha-cha with us!

It's that time of the week again!  Jennifer over at Crazy-for-Books hosts this weekly meme.  For more information, check out her blog!  It's a fantastic way to meet other bloggers and find some great blogs!

Book Blogger Hop

This week's question:

"What is the one bookish thing you would love to have, no matter the cost?"

Oh, wow, do I ever want my very own library, complete with beautifully stained shelves, a gorgeously carved desk, and all the first editions it could hold.

This would do, I suppose. . .

The other question is from Parajunkee's Follow Friday meme:



"If you have, or would have a daughter, what book would you want your daughter to read?


My all-time favorite, coming-of-age book is A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith.  It's timeless, and the emotions that Francie went through are as relevant today as they were in the early twentieth century.  I still read this book once a year myself, just to stay in touch with that part of me that connected with Francie for the first time when I was 14.  It made me feel not so alone at a very awkward age, and I would hope that my daughter would get that same sense of belonging and joy.

NEWS: Article says vampires are out, zombies are in

I found this little gem of an article just one day after posting my recent review on Carrie Ryan’s The Forest of Hands and Teeth, and I had to share.

Great little piece by Meg McConahey from the Press Democrat out of Sonoma, CA (of course the article on zombies would come out of wine country – ha!). Here’s a favorite quote:

“The vampire represents the individual at all cost,” said McFerrin, who has been into the neo-gothic since the '80s. “It's a charismatic being that lives forever and never ages and preys on the creatures around him or her. Our culture, which celebrates the individual, is very taken with them. Zombies are the opposite. They represent the masses and there's a certain comfort in a crowd and in not standing out. But there's also a danger involved that you'll lose yourself.”
    
NumNumNum!
NumNumNum!

Personally, I also think that zombies represent anarchy, while vampires have a certain civility about them. What are your thoughts? Vamps vs. zombies – differences, which do you like better and why?  Leave a comment or vote!


Thursday, October 28, 2010

REVIEW: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan


By Carrie Ryan
320 pages
Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Published March 2009

Synopsis

In Mary's world, there are simple truths.

The Sisterhood always knows best.

The Guardians will protect and serve.

The Unconsecrated will never relent.

And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village.

The fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth.

But slowly, Mary's truths are failing her. She's learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power. And, when the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness.

Now she must choose between her village and her future, between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded by so much death?

Review

If you ever thought a book couldn’t wax philosophical with a zombie infestation as background, you are so wrong.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth is an absolutely remarkable debut novel by author Carrie Ryan.  In it, Mary is a member of a community confined to space within a forest, protected by a wire fence that constantly is bombarded by the Unconsecrated; in modern day terminology, we are talking about zombies.  I pictured a much less friendly version of M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village as I read.  The members of Mary’s village occupy three distinct groups: the Sisters, who set up structure of the village, its rules and control day-to-day life of the inhabitants; the Guardians, who protect the village from the Unconsecrated and are under direct control of the Sisters; and everyone else, who all perform various functions within the village.  There is no leaving the village, both by direct order of the Sisters and because of fear of the Unconsecrated.  Mary seems to be something of a quiet maverick, as is her mother.  Both are believers that the world was a far differnt place before the Return of the Unconsecrated, a world where the ocean existed and people were free to make their own choices.  Such thinking threatens to undermine the structure and carefully planned way of life which the Sisters have implemented.  However, all this starts to crumble when a series of events give Mary the opportunity to seek the answers to the questions she has always held in her heart.
At the core of the book is the idea that personal freedom is life, and the loss of free will is death.  This idea is constant throughout the novel.  The zombies, who are literally the living dead, are mindless shells that have no reason for existing other than to consume human flesh – literally, they constantly seek to destroy life.  Mary sees her compliance in living within the confines of the village as death, and seeks a life filled with personal choice.  As Mary starts to wonder which side of the fence is better to live on, other ideas come into play:
*life without love is not a life worth living
*all choices have consequences, both good and bad
*ignorance only protects for so long, and ultimately causes death
*taking risks over playing it safe
*personal freedom vs. the greater good
*distrust of authority

You will not always like Mary as a character – desperation and desire pull cruelly practical actions from various characters in the book, and she is no exception.   I personally felt that Ryan never truly answers whether Mary’s actions were the right ones; only that Mary, and everyone living, has the right to personal freedom.  However, the right to make personal choices comes at a cost, sometimes to those whom Mary loves. 

What I primarily like about this book is that it is truly Mary’s story.  There is forbidden love, unrequited love, sibling issues, and best friend jealousies.  Despite this, this novel is about Mary and her decision on whether she lives a life filled with choices she can live with, or whether she takes a risk and lives the life of choices she will not, cannot live without.

This is a haunting novel, and if you ever had the question, “Which I is I,” you will find it an invigorating read.  Ryan is a wonderful writer of vivid imagery, sound dialogue, and she is able to give us intrusive insights into Mary’s conscience and soul.  I look forward to reading her other works and heartily recommend this book.

Overall: A

Favorite Quotes

As a child I dreamed of love and sunlight and a world beyond the Forest.  I dreamed of the ocean, of a place untouched by the Return.  And suddenly I wonder what right we have to believe our childhood dreams will come true.  My body aches with this realization.  With this truth.  It is as if I have cut something important away from myself.  The loss is overwhelming.”
Pg. 105

“Getting lost and tangled together in the late-afternoon sun as if there were nothing else in the world that mattered besides twisting along a path that led to nowhere but the middle of a field.  When finding the end of the path was not quite as important as the journey to getting there.”
Pg. 119

“’The Sisterhood had it wrong,” he says.  “It’s not about surviving.  It should be about love.... that’s what makes this life worth living.  When you live with it every day.  Wake up with it, hold on to it during the thunder and after a nightmare.”
Pg. 155

“. . . I realize that sometimes death comes before you expect it.  That while we are rarely prepared for our friends, family and loved ones to die, we are never prepared for our own deaths.  Never prepared to reconcile our own regrets.”
Pg. 184

“Suddenly, the roof of the attic is too close.  This house is not enough for me anymore.  I know that this solitude will never settle through me bones and I realize that I still long for the ocean and it’s not enough to just sit in this life and be safe.”
Pg. 211


A poem this book made me think of:

In a Dark Time
By Theodore Roethke

In a dark time, the eye begins to see,
I meet my shadow in the deepening shade;
I hear my echo in the echoing wood--
A lord of nature weeping to a tree,
I live between the heron and the wren,
Beasts of the hill and serpents of the den.
What's madness but nobility of soul
At odds with circumstance? The day's on fire!
I know the purity of pure despair,
My shadow pinned against a sweating wall,
That place among the rocks--is it a cave,
Or winding path? The edge is what I have.
A steady storm of correspondences!
A night flowing with birds, a ragged moon,
And in broad day the midnight come again!
A man goes far to find out what he is--
Death of the self in a long, tearless night,
All natural shapes blazing unnatural light.
Dark,dark my light, and darker my desire.
My soul, like some heat-maddened summer fly,
Keeps buzzing at the sill. Which I is I?
A fallen man, I climb out of my fear.
The mind enters itself, and God the mind,
And one is One, free in the tearing wind.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: In the Company of Vampires

I am trying out this meme for the first time this week - hope you will think about joining us!  It's hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine.  The 'I-can't-wait-for-it' book I have on my TBR list this week is. . . .

by Katie MacAlister
Hits the shelves this Tuesday, November 2nd!

If only a broken heart were all she had to deal with…

…but there are Viking ghosts, gods, werebeings, and one sexy as sin vampire on Francesca’s case. And her biggest trouble is Loki, the trickster god.

When Fran arrives at Goth-Faire to deal with him, things go from bad to worse, for her immortal ex, Benedikt, is there…with a new girlfriend.

Shapesifters, Vikings, and a town filled with deranged opera fans…it’s a good thing Fran’s no ordinary mortal…

Hoobahhoobah!!!  I cannot wait for Ben and Fran's paranormal adult romance debut!!  If you go to Katie's site, you can read an excerpt!  So, what are you waiting on?

Happy reading!
Linds

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

NEWS: Barnes & Noble to Establish Separate Teen Paranormal Romance and Fantasy/Adventure Sections

Now, this is putting your money where your profits are. 

Publishers Weekly recently posted an article announcing that the national chain, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, is in the midst of enacting a nationwide reorganization of their Young Adult and Teen sections. They did a test run in a New Jersey store, and based on those results, this is what's going to happen:

 * paranormal romance and fantasy and adventure will be separated from the main 'Teen Fiction' section and given their own places
* individual teen series will be organized into their respective categories
* there will now be two top ten list displays: one for bestsellers, another for top teen picks
Why this is significant: it's buying power in action.  Even though I like to think that stores like Barnes & Noble exist purely to provide readers like me with a little piece of heaven on earth, they don't.  They exist to make money.  For a major, nationwide chain to go through testing, analysis and then establish a reorganization plan to revamp the entire way it sets up its teen section, it means their employees have seen both profit and growth in those sections and recognize that there are enough profits there to warrant a move that will increase customer satisfaction and its profit margins.  For YA readers of these particular genres, it also means you don't have to go searching for your paranormal fix amongst the Gossip Girls, and you might just find your favorite series amongst ones you hadn't tried or heard of before. 

So go you, you YA readers, with your massive buying power! 

Monday, October 25, 2010

REVIEW: Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

by Becca Fitzpatrick
Simon & Schuster
391 pages

Synopsis:

For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch came along. With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment.

But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure who to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.

For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life.

My immediate reaction: I liked it, it was enjoyable, but I am not going to make it a permanent addition to my personal library.  I started reading it around 7:00p.m. one evening and I finished around 11:00p.m.  It wasn't an "Oh, I gotta see what happens," feeling; the book simply held my interest, and I had no need to stop.  I like a literary bad boy (hey, who doesn't), but Patch didn't just reek of danger; he seemed to be the kind of 'don't-go-there-girl' sort of guy who takes relish in causing havoc.  Actually, between his rude arrogance and his down right manipulative and threatening mind games, the word 'sociopath' frequently flashed in my head.  He truly seemed to get a high kick out of giving Nora the extreme heebie-jeebies, and in the process, gave them to me, as well (kudos, Becca).  In one instance, he does something towards Nora that, were I her or were she my daughter, cops would have been called.  Of course, I would have done that a few different times in this book with more than one guy, but no spoilers here!  A HUGE annoyance were Nora's frequent comments about how Patch's physical proximately made her feel and her struggles with those feelings.  At those times, I just thought, "Shut up, Bella Swan."

Overall, it was a fun book, and I likely will read its recently released sequel, Crescendo.  If  Hush, Hush had come out in the early 2000s, my personal opinion is that it might have been the book to kick the nation's love for the paranormal back into action (Patch would have needed to be a wee tad more personal).  As this is the author's first book, I look forward to seeing where her writing goes from here.  In conclusion, Hush, Hush didn't give me the squealy delights, but if you are looking for a good escape one evening, this might fit the bill. 

Grade: C+

My overall issue with YA paranormal romance:  This book brought to the surface an issue I've been thinking about lately.  It is not just with this book per se, but with many others that are like this right now.  It is too formulaic: slightly introverted, but intelligent girl meets mysterious guy who is either highly aloof or downright rude. They develop the tingles for each other.  Guy is a supe of some sort, is dangerous to the girl, but gosh darn it!  He just can't help himself!  His mere presence is a threat to her, but he is falling in love and won't leave her alone/feels compelled to protect her.  This formula is wearing thin, and I doubt that I am the only reader getting bored with it.  The next author who writes to this plot needs to be on fire with writing skills; otherwise, it is just another YA paranormal romance with a very obvious ending.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

In My Mailbox #2

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme started by The Story Siren.  The idea is to share what you are picked up to read this week and to encourage blogger interaction.  I've found a lot of great books to put on my 'to read' list through this meme!  Hope you will join us!

This week, I am catching up on some YA books that have been out for a little while, but just came to my attention via Kate at Reads, Reviews, Recommends.  I grabbed these two books from my favorite local library:

The Forest of Hands and Teeth
by Carrie Ryan

This is the first book in this series and was released in March 2009.  The third book will be released in March 2011.






by Becca Fitzpatrick

I ran out and picked this one up since the sequel, Crescendo, was just released - review coming soon!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Book Blogger Hop!! Grab your dancing shoes!


Hi all!  The Book Blogger Hop is a great way for book bloggers to get to know one another and share some information.  Every week there is a new question.  If you want to join the Hop, head over to Jennifer's Crazy-for-Books blog and find out how.

This week's questions comes from Becky at Becky's Barmy Book Blog:

"Where is your favorite place to read? Curled up on the sofa, in bed, in the garden?"
 
I can anywhere, anytime.  That includes in the car and on trains, but my favorite place to read in the world is my bed.  I have this obnoxious body pillow in a faux red bandanna pattern from my college days that I still use.  It fits just so behind my neck and makes my bed better than a recliner.  There's no place better to read!
 
If my bed is being used for sorting laundry at reading time (as it often is - yikes), then my IKEA Poang chair makes a splendid reading buddy!
 
POÄNG Chair off-white Width: 26 3/4 " Depth: 32 1/4 " Height: 39 3/8 " Seat width: 22 " Seat depth: 19 5/8 " Seat height: 16 1/2 "  Width: 68 cm Depth: 82 cm Height: 100 cm Seat width: 56 cm Seat depth: 50 cm Seat height: 42 cm

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Katie MacAlister Primer on Pre-Adult Ben and Fran

Excited for the new Dark Ones novel coming up on November 2nd?  Egads, the romance fairies know I am!  For those of you who don't know, In the Company of Vampires is actually the third book about main characters Ben and Fran.  Their back story is chronicled in two young adult novels written under Katie's YA pen name, Katie Maxwell.  To learn more and bone up for the upcoming release, check out Katie's recent blog on all you need to know about the B&F duo!

            


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

NEWS: Book Trailer for "Match" by Ally Condie and "Sweep" is going to the Big Screen!

For all of you mourning the end of the Hunger Games, the buzz around the upcoming release of Match by Ally Condie grew today with the release of the anticipated book's trailer.  Check it out here on io9's blog!

Reminds me of the Community in The Giver by Lois Lowry.  Love that book - so excited for 11.30.2010!  How about you?


Also, Variety reported today that Sweep by Cate Tiernan will be made into a film by Universal under Vince Vaughn's production company!


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

REVIEW: Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes by Elizabeth Bard

"When I spotted him at a seminar on a hypertext version of Finnegan's Wake, I knew he had to be European."  So begins Elizabeth Bard's attraction to a future lover in her 2010 offering Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes. The man in question happens not only to be European, but French to boot.  What follows is a witty and well-written chronicle of a relationship with that man, his culture, family, and, of course, the food.

I am sure many of us have been nervous about meeting a significant other's family, but I could not imagine a trial by edible fire.  Love is indeed the stuff of bloody meat and smelly cheese in France, and for an American girl looking for a love to last, she will face many obstacles on her way to sitting at that table.  The relationship is chronicled by food, but not in an overbearingly obvious manner; particular dishes make appearances in each chapter the same way a beloved cousin or grown-up sibling pops in to say hello.  Like the food itself, these eating rituals (along with family and social etiquette) add texture and culture in a way that fascinates Bard and also makes her wonder what her true role is and where her place in the world lies.  Bard struggles with her identity as an individual - the person she always planned on being has not just made a right turn, but at times, the road to that very definite vision has disappeared completely.  Mix that in with moderate discussions of U.S. vs French viewpoints on everything from grocery shopping to career planning, it is little wonder that Bard did not flee for the kindness of her homebase of New York City at times.

Particularly poignant to me on a personal level are recollections of her father and commentary on her mother.  Like Bard's, my parents are divorced, and very often, I caught myself nodding in agreement when she made certain observations.  The good thing about being an adult is that you start seeing your parents as people; the bad thing is that you start seeing them as people.  It's a catch-22 that is confounded further by painful memories.

This book is wonderfully written, although things get tied up rather quickly in the end.  I would recommend it for any woman looking for a good 'real' love story that's built on equal parts of frustration, adjustment and compassion.  Anyone who has every felt out of step, out of time or like a stranger in a place they love will connect with it.  Of course, any cook will appreciate it, too - I got my copy from the library, but I plan on purchasing my own copy for the amazing recipes alone. 

Overall: A-

Bonus!  Bard blogs about her culinary exploits and discoveries!  Check it out!

Favorite quotes:

"It's not that there's no free spirit in me.  But it's a free spirit with a five-year plan"
-Chapter 1, pg 3

"There were awkward moments like this, when the twenty-first-century woman in my head was forced to confront the consequences of my deliberately cultivated, poorly paid nineteenth-century interests.  It was like I had Charlotte Bronte sitting on one shoulder and Gloria Steinem on the other.  Gloria leaned over and whispered into my ear: Where's your [expletive] parasol?"
-Chapter 13, pg 179

"Irish pubs are better at brand management than Starbucks.  They look and smell the same all over the world: dark booths, sticky tables and smoky carpet in hunter green."
-Chapter 16, pg 218

"Implicit in the American dream is the idea of self-determination.  The result of our can-do-it attitude is that anything you don't do is your fault. . . In the end, our level of expectation -- and the accompanying fear of failure -- can be just as paralyzing as the French notion that nothing is possible in the first place."
-Chapter 19, pg 261

Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes
by Elizabeth Bard
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (February 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 031604279X
ISBN-13: 978-0316042796

New Laurie Halse Anderson Interview!

For all of you fans of Speak and the 'Seeds of America' trilogy, NPR station WRVO in New York just sat down with Laurie Halse Anderson and posted the interview online, titled, "Laurie Halse Anderson: Queen Of The Elephant In The Room."  Enjoy!
  
UK Cover

US Cover

Sunday, October 17, 2010

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a weekly blogging about what you've picked up to read this week, whether the read is from a store, library, your mailbox or from a friend.  To find out more, please visit The Story Siren, the fabulous finder of this weekly list exchange.

All my book picks for the week come from the library:

by Elizabeth Bard

by Helena Andrews

Also picked up a book on using Google more effectively, and I got the new issue of Real Simple in the mail!



Stationery Ecstasy #1

In addition to books, I am a wee bit into stationery and letter writing in general.  By 'into', I mean 'minor obsession'.  Old school letter writing and correspondence are lost art forms.  I miss the courtesy, elegance and care that used to go into written communication.  A well thought out letter on carefully chosen paper will always trump an e-card or quick phone call.
Elum Creme Brulee
How cute are these invitations from Elum?  A beautifully scripted white invitation is always a classic, but here is a lovely, modern and whimsical take on bygone charm.  I am not normally into silhouettes, but I just love the younger feeling of the ones here.  I wouldn't be able to keep from smiling if I opened my mailbox and found this waiting for me!

Friday, October 15, 2010

READING: Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Ever feel like you showed up too late to a party?  Man, I hate that.  In real life, the munchies are gone and the drinks tapped out.

I feel like that with Neil Gaiman books.  He came to my attention after I took a Facebook quiz with the result that Neil was my authorial match in heaven.  I discovered him late, though, after most of the gaga over him died down from the height of excitement.   Unfortunately, he hasn't come out with anything new since I discovered him, and I feel like I've entered the club five minutes after close.


In the spirit of better late than never and in honor of Halloween, I'm delving into my first Gaiman: Coraline.  I hear this book will scare the beejezus out of you, and holy trick-or-treat, I hope that proves true!  If you ever wanted to read it, too, then feel free to attend my Coraline Crush party with me!  I'll post my review on Sunday, October 31st (of course), and welcome any comments you have to offer.

Book Blogger Hop! Time to Boogie!


Special thanks to Jessica at Crazy-for-Books for hosting this week's Book Blogger Hop - my first ever!  Check out her blog to learn more about the Blog Hop and how it works. 

This week's question:

When you read a book that you just can't get into, do you stick it out and keep reading or move to your next title? 

No, I typically don't stick it out.  I will leaf through the remaining part and get a general idea of what happens, but I don't have a lot of extra time on my hands between work, family obligations and other things.  So, if the book fails to grab me, then it gets shelved or returned to the library.  The day is short, and I want to go to bed with a great read on my mind!

However, if the book seriously ticks me off, then that's a hook!  I will read the whole thing just to see how much more ticked off I can get, or to see if the book redeems itself.  The other exception is if the book is a part of a series that I've enjoyed.  I will stick with a book and the author then. Hey, not every book in a series is going to be an author's best, right?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Because you can't actually touch Colin Firth. . .

I love the fine folks at Rare Bird Finds.  It's because of them that I know things like the Mr. Darcy Cross Stitch Pattern exist.  Can't find a Mr. Darcy in real life?  Stitch this one on a pillow and drool on him at night!

 
The DIY version.


The man himself.


Friends Don't Let Friends Go Sans Fang

I used to have the perfect job for a book lover.  By Buddha, I worked at a LIBRARY!  Not only did I expand my personal bedside/bathtub library by about 30 books, but as an employee, I incurred NO FINES!  The unsexy thing was that this was a 'bonus' job.  By 'bonus', I mean 'second' job.  Otherwise known as a 'I gotta pay back my student loans' job.  Go me.

Thankfully, I was able to eventually find a main gig that allowed me not to need a second job, but I still love my ladies at the lib.  They let me wander into the back circulation room and dig through the returned books before they get shelved.  I ran in five minutes before closing one night and found true love.

Have you ever heard of the Night Huntress series?  If you are into paranormal stuff, there's a decent chance you have; but if you've been wanting to read about sexy, forbidden fanged creatures and the whole Twilight mania has deterred you, then, Oh my Bones, do you need to go and pick these books up!  I've read other vamp series.  Some have been flighty, others are entertaining enough to satisfy boredom, but there is no real meat, if you know what I mean.  The author, Jeaniene Frost, has given me a satisfactory literary charge with amazingly well-paced action, superb characterization and an actual narrative in every book.  The vamps are centuries old, but they and the books are completely contemporary.  Everything simply clicks in these books.  Do you know how hard that is to find that on the paranormal romance shelves in today's market? 

Ms. Frost writes descriptively, and in certain scenes, it's damn graphic.  You might cringe at that during the violent scenes, but oh wow, you will write her a personal thank you for the way she writes the love scenes.  She puts the same time and attention into each passage, and it's always just enough, never too much.  Her pacing is perfect.  Trust me, you will not be counting how many pages you have until the chapter ends.   
Wish I had her wardrobe. . .

and the motorcycle, too!

Give the first two a shot: Madam Frost has the first 20% of Halfway to the Grave and One Foot in the Grave available on her website.  If you like the hot and steamy, you will thank her for Chapter 32 of One Foot in the Grave alone - a true Chapter of Infamy amongst her fans, but in a very, very good way.

As Bones said, "Love to give it my best shot. Let me tell you just how I would do it. . . "