Archive for May, 2013

Time for a little vacation!

1 COMMENT • This post is filed under: Blog Nuts and Bolts

Hi everyone! Just a quick note to let you all know that I’m going on a short two week hiatus. Don’t worry! Nothing is wrong. But the next few weeks are going to be pretty busy between guests and a band concert and all sorts of different things. I’m also hoping I can take this time to do some serious blog planning, and really start to get myself ahead (and out of the reading slump!) I won’t be gone completely – probably you’ll still see me on Twitter – but a little R & R is definitely what the doctor ordered, so maybe not.

In the meantime, I hope all of you have a great couple of weeks!

Wanted: High Fantasy

1 COMMENT • This post is filed under: Blog Nuts and Bolts
Wanted Button

Thanks to Kristilyn for designing the button!

Have you ever wished you could find that one book that was about _____? Have you ever found yourself wondering what a book with a certain kind of theme or message would be like? That’s exactly what “Wanted” is all about. A semi-regular feature, I use “Wanted” to talk about all those books I wish I could find that nobody seems to have written yet. If you happen to know of some books that fit my criteria, I would love for you to send them my way through the comments!

You know what I used to read ALL. THE. TIME. in high school and haven’t touched now in years? High fantasy! I used to love that stuff – the epic quests, the insanely huge world-building and all that jazz. Now, I know those books still exist, and new ones are written every day. In fact, I have a majority of them on my TBR list to pick up someday. But I’ve mostly stopped reading them, because almost all of them could be used as DOORSTOPS. So, more accurately, what I want is high fantasy that isn’t a million pages long! Anywhere up to, say 500 pages is fine – usually I can get through those in a few days and still manage to get through enough in a year to fill up all my review spots. More than that, and I’m looking at a week to a week and a half per book, making it difficult for me to keep up with my two-reviews-per-week schedule unless I’m quite a bit ahead. And worse, many of these high fantasies feature not one, not two, but TEN doorstops, each topping out between 700 and 1000 pages – it’s just too much! I can’t afford the time! A few less pages, and I guarantee you’d have another reader!

Book Review: Jenny Pox

2 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
Jenny Pox Jenny Pox in 2010

Eighteen-year-old Jenny Morton has a horrific secret: her touch spreads a deadly supernatural plague, the "Jenny pox." She lives by a single rule: Never touch anyone. A lifetime of avoiding any physical contact with others has made her isolated and painfully lonely in her small rural town.

Then she meets the one boy she can touch. Jenny feels herself falling for Seth...but if she's going to be with him, Jenny must learn to use the deadly pox inside her to confront his ruthless and manipulative girlfriend Ashleigh, who secretly wields the most dangerous power of all.

My Review

I have to admit, I have a tiny bit of prejudice against self-published works. I’ve been burned a little too often, and I am rarely even prepared to accept recommendations anymore. But so many people said Jenny Pox was amazing that I finally broke down and tried it. Remind me to listen to you guys more often!

Read more »

Media Monday: Bridget Jones’s Diary

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Bridget Jones's Diary Poster

Image belongs to Miramax Films

Title: Bridget Jones’s Diary
Media Type: Feature Film
Director: Sharon Maguire
Studio: Miramax Films
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Summary: [from IMDB]

A British woman is determined to improve herself while she looks for love in a year in which she keeps a personal diary.

My Review:

I know, I’m a terrible girl. Somehow I have missed seeing most of the major “girl films” (I flat out refuse to see The Notebook mostly because I know it’ll make me cry). But, last week I needed some light-hearted fun, and when she found out I hadn’t seen this one, she wouldn’t let me go until I promised I would! And, you know, I’m glad I did, even if it is a fluffy RomCom.

There were a lot of things I didn’t realize about Bridget Jones’s Diary. For one thing, I only found out recently that it’s a remake of Pride and Prejudice. Despite only one similar name (“Darcy”) it’s very obvious that’s what is going on. While I love that type of story, in this case I’m a little disappointed in the portrayal of “Lizzie” – in the original Lizzie seems like a thinker, a woman who reads books, makes her own decisions and doesn’t really care what anyone else thinks. Bridget, on the other hand, is mainly just shown as bumbling and indecisive, and is fairly desperate to get almost any man who will have her. Lizzie is kind of a role model for me, despite her flaws, whereas the most I can say for Bridget is she makes me laugh.

I also didn’t realize A) that it was British and B) that it was quite that profane. If I’d known about A I probably would not have been quite so surprised about B, but after a while I got used to it and it didn’t spoil the movie in the least. I’d just say that maybe this isn’t the one to watch with your kids.

So, overall, I’d say it’s a good movie. It fits perfectly into its genre, despite the differences from the original Pride and Prejudice, and it definitely made me want to check out the book. If you’re one of the few people who like RomComs and have not seen this one, then what are you waiting for?

Bout of Books 7.0

7 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Community Events
Bout of Books
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 13th and runs through Sunday, May 19th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 7.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team
It’s that time again! Time to read our butts off for a whole week! If you’re interested in joining, click on the button above to be taken to the official website.

Declaration of Participation:

I do solemnly swear, blah, blah, blah etc. etc. READ! This time, however, I’m going to be doing things a little bit differently. For my own reasons, I am choosing to forgo the daily updates on the blog. I will still have goals (see below) but they will be general, low-key, and most importantly low stress! Instead, I’ll be updating through Twitter (using the hashtag #boutofbooks) and GoodReads. I may decide to do a wrap up post with a summary of my progress, but I want this to be as low pressure as possible, so we’ll see.


Keeping all of the above in mind, here are my goals for the week:

  • Get myself out of my reading slump.
  • Attend all the Twitter chats (I should be able to this time!)
  • Clear out some of the library books that have already been renewed once (or TWICE!)
  • Above all DO NOT STRESS! If it becomes stressful, I am not doing it right, and you have my permission to tell me so, okay?

And a few books that may be on the docket – I’m not good with reading off a list, especially during a reading slump, so these may be completely wrong (entries with a “*” following are books I’ve already started and should finish soon):

  • Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble by HP Mallory*
  • Serpent’s Kiss by Thea Harrison*
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling*
  • The Neverending Story by Michael Ende*
  • Incarnate by Jodi Meadows*
  • Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
  • Dodger by Terry Pratchett
  • The Runaway King by Jennifer E. Smith
  • Dr. Frankenstein’s Daughters by Suzanne Weyn
  • Shades of Earth by Beth Revis
  • The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson*

And many, many more.

Everyone have fun this week! Find me on Twitter!

Discussion Day: Reading and blogging slumps

3 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Discussion Day

Discussion Day

Ah, the dreaded slump! I feel like it’s a dirty word, just saying it. There are many ways to get into them. Sometimes that last book you read is SO AWESOME you can’t imagine reading anything else. Sometimes the indecision about what to read next weighs you down and it’s weeks before you choose your next book. And sometimes you just get so busy that suddenly you don’t have the energy or even feel like reading.

That’s where I am right now. I have a strong tendency to believe I can do, well, anything. The problem is when I think it too many times and end up with way too much on my plate. I’m sure we’ve all been there – if there’s a community of people that are almost all driven and overachievers, I’d say it’s book bloggers! So this week, the idea was and is to re-center myself, find my focus, and find the things that can go so I can get back to doing what I love and loving what I do – chiefly blogging!

I’ll probably still be a little MIA for a while. Once I overload myself it takes a little time for me to find that balance again. I am planning on participating in Bout of Books, but I’m choosing to not involve my blog beyond the goals post – often I find the updates more stressful than the actual event. After that, I’m hoping I’ve found my mojo again (I’ll go sit in a quiet room and have a good  think to figure out where I’ve left it ;))

In the meantime, everybody take five minutes to yourself sometime this weekend. If you think you don’t have 5 minutes, take half an hour. Trust me – it’s better than accidentally forcing yourself into a slump!

Book Review: Team Human

3 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
Team Human Team Human in 2012
Pages: 352

Residing in New Whitby, Maine, a town founded by vampires trying to escape persecution, Mel finds her negative attitudes challenged when her best friend falls in love with one, another friend's father runs off with one, and she herself is attracted to someone who tries to pass himself off as one.

My Review

For a long time it felt like everyone but me had read and raved about Team Human. I don’t know why I put off reading it for so long – it certainly sounded like it was right up my alley! While I wouldn’t say I loved it quite as much as some of you do, I did enjoy it, and I can see why some people would really love it.

Read more »

Bookish Bucket List: Blackwood

0 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Bookish Bucket List
Bookish Bucket List Banner

Thanks to Kristilyn from Reading in Winter for designing the banner!

Have you ever finished a book and said “Man, I wish I could ________ like that?” Bookish Bucket List is a semi-regular feature for the things I’ve put on my bucket list and the books that made me do so.

Blackwood cover
Title: Blackwood

Author: Gwenda Bond

Summary: [from GoodReads]

On Roanoke Island, the legend of the 114 people who mysteriously vanished from the Lost Colony hundreds of years ago is just an outdoor drama for the tourists, a story people tell. But when the island faces the sudden disappearance of 114 people now, an unlikely pair of 17-year-olds may be the only hope of bringing them back.

Miranda, a misfit girl from the island’s most infamous family, and Phillips, an exiled teen criminal who hears the voices of the dead, must dodge everyone from federal agents to long-dead alchemists as they work to uncover the secrets of the new Lost Colony. The one thing they can’t dodge is each other.

Bucket List Entry: Visit the Roanoke tree Read more »

Wanted: Death Myths

1 COMMENT • This post is filed under: Wanted
Wanted Button

Thanks to Kristilyn for designing the button!

Have you ever wished you could find that one book that was about _____? Have you ever found yourself wondering what a book with a certain kind of theme or message would be like? That’s exactly what “Wanted” is all about. A semi-regular feature, I use “Wanted” to talk about all those books I wish I could find that nobody seems to have written yet. If you happen to know of some books that fit my criteria, I would love for you to send them my way through the comments!

One of the nice things about paranormal books in recent years is they’ve started diversifying – there’s a YA paranormal on just about any paranormal creature out there (although not quite: I’m still looking for some Elves and some Unusual Shifters). But one kind of paranormal that I would love to see more is the death myth paranormal. Every culture and religion has its own version of what happens when we die, and many of them could be turned into some incredible paranormal novels – in fact a few already have! Take, for example, Valkyrie Rising by Ingrid Paulson, the Soul Screamers series by Rachel Vincent, or on a less culturally specific note Croak and Scorch by Gina Damico. I would love to see more paranormal novels exploring the lesser known death myths!

Book Review: Black Heart

0 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
Black Heart Black Heart in 2012
Pages: 296

In a world where Magic is illegal.

Cassel Sharpe has the most deadly ability of all. With one touch, he can transform any object - including a person - into something else entirely. And that makes him a wanted man. The Feds are willing to forgive all his past crimes if he'll only leave his con artist family behind and go straight. But why does going straight feel so crooked?

For one thing, it means being on the opposite side of the law from Lila, the girl he loves. She's the daughter of a mob boss and getting ready to join the family business herself. Though Cassel is pretty sure she can never love him back, he can't stop obsessing over her. Which would be bad enough, even if her father wasn't keeping Cassel's mother prisoner in a posh apartment and threatening not to let her leave until she returns the priceless diamond she scammed off him years ago. Too bad she can't remember where she put it.

The Feds say they need Cassel to get rid of a powerful man who is spinning dangerously out of control. But if they want Cassel to use his unique talent to hurt people, what separates the good guys from the bad ones? Or is everyone just out to con him?

Time is running out, and all Cassel's magic and cleverness might not be enough to save him. With no easy answers and no one he can trust, love might be the most dangerous gamble of all.

My Review:

Wow! What an ending for an awesome series! I have always loved the premise of the Curse Workers – mobster magicians! What’s not to like?! But what really carried the story through to the end of Black Heart for me were the interpersonal problems.<!–more–>

The really big issue that threads its way through everything is the repercussions of prejudice. Everyone in the Workers’ society is incredibly prejudiced against them. It’s to the point that most workers have no choice but to go into gangs, just so they can protect themselves. Even though the series is thoroughly fictional, the dynamics of the society are an incredibly interesting commentary on prejudice and its effects on society. Let’s face it – as interested as we are in abolishing prejudice in our country, we still deal with it on an almost daily basis. Just look at the reports of anti-Muslim hate crimes after the Boston bombings and you know it’s true.

It’s really hard to review a third book without spoiling the rest of the series, so all I’ll say is this: I think Black Heart wrapped the series up perfectly. There were still a lot of unknowns for the imagination to play with, but I don’t desperately need another book in the series. That’s not to say I wouldn’t read more if it became available – I think it’d be fascinating to read a second trilogy, set a couple of decades in the “future” perhaps with Cassel’s kids as the main characters. But I will be perfectly content without more as well.

In short, this is one of my favorite series EVER and if you haven’t read it, you should ASAP!

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