Friday, July 31, 2009

Review: Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

garden_spells1 Touted as a book with magical realism, I have to agree. Garden Spells is a sweet and enchanting novel that takes the reader into a world that is real to life but it has elements that are supernatural. It is not literature. It is wonderfully fun fluff.

Mini Synopsis: The Waverleys have been residents of this small Southern town for generations. That the women of this family have special gifts is common knowledge in the community. The main character Claire is a 30 something woman with a fear of commitment who has a magical gift of being able to take the herbs from her garden and create food that influences the eater's feelings. Her aunt Evanelle is compelled to give people “things” which they will need in the near future. To her chagrin and other’s she has no idea why. Her sister, Sydney, whom has recently reappeared after a 10 year disappearance has narrowly escaped a violent relationship with her little girl in tow. All this, combined with a few romantic interests, an apple tree that wishes and acts as if it were human, and you have the magical basis for a very cute story.

Highly recommended for a quick, feel good, romantic, girly read. Read it after a long or short, difficult and/or emotional book.

I would give this book 4 stars. I loved it. Recommended for women with chic lit and paranormal book interests.Book Stats:

Book Stats:

Garden Spells - A Novel

by Sarah Addison Allen

ISBN: 978-0-553-80548-2

pages 290; hardbound

Bantam Books; September 2007

Here are the Amazon links for purchasing the book. US, UK, Canada respectively.

Garden SpellsGarden SpellsGarden Spells

This book serves for 1/2 of the #2, 25 point challenge in Goodread’s NBBC Summer 2009 Reading Challenge.

Review: The Lie - A Novel by Fredrica Wagman

412TgXfqNoL._SL160_ Mini Synopsis: Romano Smollens is a “damaged” young woman who meets her future husband on a bench in the park. She is immediately attracted to him on several levels and marries him quickly in her youthful confusion and to escape her unstable and abusive home. Her life is better in the house of her new husband but she is stuck in a pattern of self doubt that she cannot reconcile and which, causes her emotional difficulties and ultimately leading to disastrous results.

My Thoughts: I cannot say that I enjoyed this book, however books of this nature are not meant to be enjoyed. It is an important book in that it addresses many issues that women face in their lives. In her writing the author uses a “flow of consciousness” style which serves in understanding the main character Romona. She speaks to us in the first person telling us her story through convoluted thought patterns, mental confusion, and instability. As the story progresses these difficulties become apparent. She has an imbalanced self image due to comparing herself to celebrities and unrealistic iconic images; these images have a negative role on her self esteem; it is clear that her family relationships have a role in making her self image; and that her heredity affects her sanity. We the reader ultimately realize that her feelings toward her self, sexuality, fidelity, and the ability to be honest with others even at the cost of one’s safety – either emotional or physical is at the core of her imbalance. This is an intense and difficult read in its content. It begs to be discussed making it an excellent choice for a woman’s book group.

Here is a quote regarding Romona’s feelings about her sexuality:

…he probably thought I was excited too – I wasn’t … for me it was about my effect on him – that was all … For me it was about discovering an allure that I seemed to be developing…

My rating is 3 stars out of 5. Translation – I liked it. I would recommend this book to women and/or reading groups wanting to read about and/or discuss important issues for women as a whole.

For further information about Fredrica Wagman – her web site has further information regarding questions and issues for book groups. For the author’s info and for purchasing the book please see Layers of Thought’s preview of The Lie.

This book serves as #2 of the 5 point task in the Goodread’s NBBC Summer 2009 reading challenge.

Review: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451 audio Mini Synopsis: This is a classic dystopian science fiction novel written by a “Grand Master” of the genre. It tells of a future world where books are illegal. They are burned by firemen whose sole purpose in life is to rid society of their supposed evils. Where the members of this society are indoctrinated with an audio/video infused system that produces a collective numbness. The main character Montag is one of these firemen, whom after some internal conflict comes to a transitional point in his life where he questions the loss of books and their importance to humanity.

My thoughts: I listened to this book on an audio version on my iPod which was read by the author. It was my first book downloaded this way and I had some problems listening to it in order. In addition, when I first read Fahrenheit 451 when I was in high school the only thing I remember is my own teenage boredom. So naturally my thoughts are still a bit “choppy” around the book.

However, I do know that revisiting it again in middle age, I can now relate to its significance as to why it was required reading for high school in the late 70’s. I believe it was to show us, as young adults, a significant precept in the US constitution - the right of our freedom of speech – specifically the press. So it was an indirect lesson in civics.

The story reminds me that it is important to remember, and I truly believe, that information - specifically in this example books, should not be censored. Instead, labeled as we do with the movie industry’s rating system so that the individual has a choice, but never banned. It is a slippery slope if even one of our basic rights be dismissed or controlled as exemplified in this society. If I had not been so possessed with teenage apathy in my first so called reading of this book then perhaps I would have gotten half of the author's point.

Here I finish with a quote which is significant on the issue of one of the gifts books bring us:

… books are to remind us what asses and fools we are. They're Caesar's praetorian guard, whispering as the parade roars down the avenue, 'Remember, Caesar, thou art mortal.' Most of us can't rush around, talk to everyone, know all the cities of the world, we haven't time, money or that many friends. The things you're looking for, Montag, are in the world, but the only way the average chap will ever see ninety-nine per cent of them is in a book. Don't ask for guarantees. And don't look to be saved in any one thing, person, machine, or library. Do your own bit of saving, and if you drown, at least die knowing you were headed for shore.

My rating for the book is 3 out of 5 stars. Translation - I Iiked it and recommend it for anyone interested in classic Science Fiction.

Audio Book Stats:

Fahrenheit 451 – by Ray Bradbury

Unabridged – read by author

Harper Collins – Harper Audio

6 hours –29 minutes

ISBN: 9780060855062

May 3, 2005

Book purchasing information from Amazon: US/UK/Canada respectively:

Fahrenheit 451 Fahrenheit 451 Fahrenheit 451

For audio book purchase from Harper Audio in the US click here.

This serves as a count for two of my reading challenges. One for The Fill in the Gaps –100 book challenge, and another for #2 of the 25 point task for a dystopian book the Goodreads Next Best Book Club Summer 2009 reading challenge.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Yeah! - My Book was Accepted!

Here is a fun “diversion” that I found at Amanda’s The ramblings of a hopeful artist. (Click here to see her original post.) Thanks Amanda! For the original post for this meme at 100 Scope Notes and more titles of the same blogger generated YA title covers... they are incredible, click the title of this blog and post your debute there too.

If you follow the directions you too can create a random book cover, with a generated title, and fake author. I had a blast, even though my random book name was a bit odd, the pic for the title had no person associated with it, and the author’s name is a bit off. I did not cheat even though I was tempted too. I suppose it does have an English feel to it. JD (my British husband) said mollycoddle means to over indulge so as a love story its appropriate…… lol.

Here it is:



1 – Go to “Fake Name Generator” or click

The name that appears is your author name.

2 – Go to “Random Word Generator” or click

The word listed under “Random Verb” is your title.

3 – Go to “FlickrCC” or click

Type your title into the search box. The first photo that contains a person is your cover.

4 – Use Photoshop, Picnik, or similar to put it all together. Be sure to crop and/or zoom in.

5 – Post it to your site along with this text.

This was great fun and if you decide to do one yourself let me know, although I believe I am subscribed to all my readers. I would love to see yours. I totally love stuff like this!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Preview: Wait Until Twilight – A Novel by Sang Pak

51xUfKr p9L._SL160_ I was contacted by Sang Pak the author of Wait Until Twilight several months ago. He asked me to review his book. I of course jumped at the chance. After some drama with a publicist quitting I have finally received a copy of his book from Harper. Thank you Sang Pak and Gregory Henry.

The book will be released on August 8, 2009 in trade paperback as well as an E-book. The paperback is available through Amazon, and E-book through the publisher. Please see links below for Amazon purchasing information.

Book Stats:

Wait Until Twilight – A Novel

author: Sang Pak

ISBN: 9780061732959

Trade Paper back; 229 pages;

Publisher: Harper Collins; Aug. 8, 2009

genre: Southern Gothic; Coming of Age; Fairy Tale

Here is what the publisher says about the book:

A hauntingly strange and powerfully affecting debut novel that heralds the arrival of a unique and captivating literary voice, Sang Pak's Wait Until Twilight is a coming-of-age story that explores the complex darkness infecting a damaged psyche in a small Southern town.

Not long after his own mother's death, sixteen-year-old Samuel discovers a set of deformed triplets hidden behind closed doors in his sleepy Georgia community. The babies—whose shut-in mother believes they were immaculately conceived and whose menacing brother is a constant threat—take control of Samuel's every waking and sleeping thought. His only escape, he realizes, will be to save the monster children. But to do so, he must rein in his darkest impulses as he undergoes a profound transformation from motherless boy to self-defined man—because sometimes the most terrible monsters are those that live inside us all.

You can see and read inside the book here.

35182Here is an author bio:

Sang Pak is a Georgia-raised writer with English and Psychology degrees from the University of Georgia. He is currently on hiatus from New York University’s graduate program in Psychology. He divides his time between Georgia, Southern California, and Seoul.

Here is a link to an interview with the Sang at the Type M for Murder blog.

You can also connect with the author at several different locations: Goodreads; Facebook.

Here are the purchasing links to Amazon. US, UK, and Canada respectively.

Wait Until Twilight: A Novel;Wait Until Twilight;Wait Until Twilight

Review coming soon!

Gotta Love Give Aways – July 28, 2009

The miracle is this - the more we share, the more we have. -- Leonard Nimoy wrappedgift

Here is the list of contests that I have entered for the end of the month of July and the beginning of August. Thanks to the bloggers offering these books and good luck to everyone who enters these give aways and let me know if you win through this posting.

Eclectic Book Lover is offering Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink. It ends July 29. (US, Canada)
Fantasy Literature is offering The Light of Burning Shadows by Chris Evans. It ends July 30. (US)
Book Blather is offering Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. It ends August 1. (US)
The Story Siren is offering A Load of YA Books and stuff that she scored from the ALA. It ends August 1. (US)
Fantasy and Sci Fi Loving News and Reviews is offering Necroscope: Harry and The Pirates by Brian Lumley. It ends August 4. (International)
Lori’s Reading Corner is offering Drawn In Blood by Andrea Kane. It ends August 4. (US)
A Sea of Books is offering My Name is Will, A Novel of Sex, Drugs, and Shakespeare by Jess Winfield. It ends August 8. (US, Canada)
A Sea of Books is also offering Ravens by George Dawes Green. It also ends August 8. (US, Canada)
Adventures of Cecelia Bedelia is offering The Bell at Sealey Head by Patricia A. McKillip. It ends August 9. (international)
Shooting Stars Mag is offering Sideshow – Ten Original Tales of Freaks, Illusionists, and Other Matters Odd and Magical. Ed by Deborah Noyes. It end August 10. (US)
La Femme Readers is offering The Society of S by Susan Hubbard. It ends August 10. (International)
Starting Fresh is offering Year of the Cock: The Remarkable True Acoount of a Marriend Man Who Left His Wife and Paid the Price by Allan Wieder. It ends August 15. (US, Canada)
Ticket to Anywhere is offering Liar by Justine Larbalestier. It ends August 16. (International)
The Book Butterfly is offering Blue Moon by Alyson Noel. It ends August 18. (US)

The links below are for the US.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Preview: Benny & Shrimp by Katarina Mazetti

I have also been sent another interesting book. It is classified under general fiction but is romantic in nature. It was originally written is Swedish, and was made into a movie which has won the equivalent to the US Academy Awards in Sweden. Here is some additional information from the publisher on the book.
Benny & Shrimp - A Novel 51qXRD 2Z4L._SL160_
By Katarina Mazetti
Published by Penguin
July 2009; 978-0-14-311599-1
Two middle-aged misfits and a love that should not be as complicated as it seems.
It started in a cemetery, where they begrudgingly share a bench. "Shrimp," the childless young widow and librarian with a sharp intellect and a home so tidy that her jam jars are in alphabetical order, meets Benny, the gentle, overworked milk farmer who fears becoming the village's Old Bachelor. Both driven by an enormous longing and loudly ticking biological clocks, they can't escape the powerful attraction between them.
But how will she learn to accept that he falls asleep at the opera and has a house full of his mother's cross-stitch? And how could he ever feel at home in her minimalist apartment, bare as a dentist's waiting room?
An international sensation now available for the first time in the United States, this quirky, humorous, completely readable novel breathes new life into the age-old conundrum that is love.

Author Bio:
Katarina Mazetti was nominated for the Prix Cevennes in France in 2007, and has worked as a journalist, teacher, and author of books for readers of all ages. For twenty years she lived on a small farm in northern Sweden, an experience that became the basis for Benny & Shrimp, her first adult novel.

"An offbeat, down-to-earth love story . . . addictive . . . a novel that touches love's fundamentals."
--The Observer (London)
"A charming and funny Swedish love story, about two lonely people on the brink of middle age. Their obvious need for each other drives them into each other's arms, and their differences threaten to drive them apart . . . Their unconventional relationship is entirely believable."
--The Times (London)
Review coming soon. Links are US, Canada, and UK respectively.
Benny & Shrimp: A NovelBenny And ShrimpBenny & Shrimp

Preview: The Lie by Fredrica Wagman

I have just received, for review from the publisher, The Lie by Fredrica Wagman. Funny thing is that I had recently signed up to win a copy of the book several weeks ago. Very cool. I would like to preview it here.412TgXfqNoL._SL160_

The Lie - A Novel
By Fredrica Wagman
Published by Zoland Books
April 2009; 978-1-58642-157-1

The book is a fairly thin little novel and would only take a bit to read. It has a lovely cover and some promising content inside. Here is what the publisher said about the book:

Ramona Smollens has a chance meeting on a park bench with an older man, Solomon Columbus. The two became lovers, and soon Ramona is leaving the home of her mother and recently deceased father for marriage and the trappings of adult life. She takes with her a dark family secret, the sort of secret one simply did not talk about, one that would stalk her as she matured into her role as wife and mother. Coming of age in 1950s America, Ramona gets her cues about a woman's role from the world around her, and about female sexuality from the silver screen. But when experience teaches her that Hollywood's ideal is in fact "the lie," truth and desire collide with a force that is deeply moving and unforgettable.

Author Bio:
Fredrica Wagman is the author of six previous novels. She has four grown children and lives with her husband in New York City.

I get the feeling that there may be more to this book and after reading the first chapter I’m almost sure. Lets say its "strangely erotic” in a description……For more author information here is Fredrica Wagman’s website.

Review coming soon.

Links below are US, Canada, UK – respectively.

The Lie: A NovelThe Lie: A NovelLie, The

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Review: Let The Right One In - Movie and Book Combo

I am not sure where I first became aware of the book Let the Right One In and the movie of the same name. I believe it was through Goodreads. I immediately like the title, and put it on the top of my list to read books. I even purchased the paperback new when I generally only buy used books and could not get the book at the local library. They did have the movie though so I placed a hold and read the book while I was waiting. I do not like to watch the movie before reading the book. 41v6aLUB-1L._SL160_

  • Book Stats:
  • Author: John Ajavide Lindqvist
  • Paperback – 472 Pages
  • US Paper back – Oct 28, 2008 St Martin’s Griffin (first published in Sweden 2004)
  • ISBN: 031235529

Book Review:

As Americans we "love" vampires. So much that in fact what was once horrific has become almost an "icon". Specifically, there are vampire novels of every thinkable sub-genre. We have romance, erotic, mystery, young adult, and classic vampire novels to name a few. Because of this, for an author to write a truly horrifying vampire novel that is out of the ordinary he/she would have to take a look at the novels available and find an element which has not been used extensively. Which is what I believe John Ajvide Lindqvist did. He took what is commonly accepted as one of the most disgusting things we as a culture see to be happening secretly in our neighborhoods and used it to change the typical vampire story line. He did so effectively, all the while taking the reader's horror to different level. This element will be disclosed at the end of the review.
This was an enthralling read. It scared me. It disgusted me. I was shocked. Which is the point of horror. I want to be truly scared. There should be gore....not a lot, but some, which was the case in this story.
Fortunately, the story went beyond the shock to include interesting and colorful characters and day to day events which balanced out the shock and gore. It has an easy to follow format with small chapters divided into smaller sections which made it easy to pick up and put down. Which is welcome when your scared.
The translation was excellent, which if it is not, can make the story difficult and unreadable. I felt I was reading a book written by a native speaker including enough of the Swedish culture to make it feel like it took place in another country. Personally, I would have liked to have read a bit more of the Swedish customs within the story, but then I like cultural information.
The only things negative I can say about the book is that the ending was fairly predictable, I found several typos, and I am a lousy editor, and it also had some ridiculous Zombie connections which I could have done without.
As for recommendations, I think that this book may offend some people - truly horrifying things often do. So if a hint of homosexuality, more pedophilia, and appropriately placed gore bother you then this may not be a book for you. I however, enjoyed it and thought it was "fun" if one can truly call being scared and disgusted fun.

My Rating: 4 Stars

Movie Review


  • Movie Stats
  • Rated R
  • US release – March 10, 2009
  • Top Honors at Tribeca Film Festival

The Good:
The movie was good, really good as horror movies go - there are so many poor horror movies that watching one with some depth is a pleasure. The choice of actors to portray the characters was great.It did not follow the book and parts were understandably left out.The dubbing was well done, as where the subtitles. Your given several choices with both options. My suggestion is to listen to the original Swedish dialog with English subtitles. We watched it with the dubbed version and with subtitles. Although very well done, I think you miss some emotional inflection that is not present in the dubbing.
The Silly:
There was one scene which was ridiculous... I will not post it due to spoilers, but the rest of the movie was great. But I imagine when you see it you too will laugh.
They are also making and American version of the movie. Here are two links with the original version as well as the American remake of the movie which will be renamed Let Me In. Please see info with the links below:

io9 - science fiction blog has two links here posting some information on the remake of the movie as well as a link regarding the choices for actors in the main role. Eli which will be changed to Abby. Unfortunately she will not have the almost genderless appearance as the lead in the original - too bad.
Link 1 is a short posting about the American version of the remake.
Link 2 is longer and contains a link where the public can vote for their choice of actor the think will be the best choice for the role. I am not sure if the voting is still open.

My Rating: 4 Stars – highly recommended

Below are the Amazon links for the US - the Novel and then the dvd.

Let the Right One In: A Novel Let The Right One In

Below are the Amazon UK book link, movie link and then the Amazon Canadian book link and movie link, respectively.

Let the Right One in Let The Right One In [DVD] [2008] Let the Right One In: A Novel Let the Right One In

Friday, July 17, 2009

Review - A Circle of Souls by Preetham Grandhi

It was very exciting for me when I received a personally signed copy of A Circle of Souls from the author several weeks ago. It is my first review of a new release. Thanks Dr. Pret!
Mini Synopsis:
There's a serial killer on the loose, in this quiet upper middle class suburb, and he has stumbled upon a little girl. His killings are ritualized and have a psychological connection from his past and an exotic culture. The plot is further embellished by the main characters, a kind child psychiatrist with a fear of commitment, a gorgeous yet slightly damaged FBI agent, and an East Indian girl with a paranormal gift that is linked to her family and cultural background.
A special quote from the novel:
"Sometimes there are forces beyond our comprehension that we may have to accept without questioning their origins."
What I thought about the novel:
I adore thrillers with a medical/psychological flavor in the story line. This book had just enough to interest me and medical references were backed up with explanations making them accessible. It also had cultural interest, where part of this story is rooted in the ancient beliefs of the East Indian culture. I would have loved to see more.
The characters were very likable (except for the bad guy.) There is some gore, but just enough to give you a taste of the violence that has occurred. The language is clean and the writing is easy to follow and flows easily.
I truly enjoyed A Circle of Souls. It was like reading an American thriller, but with a touch of the exotic - just a hint of curry and spice - all blending smoothly into a story that I did not want to finish but couldn't put down. Very appetizing! I'm hoping for a sequel? I give this book 4 stars.

Read a preview.
Author information and book preview - very interesting!
Click on the title link of this post to the book's web site.
Connect with the author on Goodreads!

Release Date: June 5, 2009
ISBN: 9781599552354
Pages: 352
Paper back
Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc

Available in the US

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Gotta Love Give Aways - July 15, 2009

The miracle is this - the more we share, the more we have. -- Leonard Nimoy

Here is a list of contest that I have entered for the second half of the month of July. There are 11 and only a list of books I would like to read. There is so much more out there that I could spend all day doing this! I have posted the location, end dates, and have linked to each of the contest pages the rest is up to you. Good Luck to all and thanks to all the blogs offering these give aways.

Pat's Fantasy Hotlist is offering a full set of The Age of Misrule by Mark Chadbourn. The contest was posted July 11 but I could not see an end date. (International)

Fantasy Debut is offering Zadavi Red by Caleb Fox. It ends July 16. (International)

Book Reviews by Jess is offering Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev. It ends July 17.

Find Your Next Book Here is offering The Embers by Hyatt Bass. It end July 17. (International)

Hooked on YA Books and Violet Eyes are Roaming is offering Afraid by Jack Kilborn. The contest ends July 20. (US only)

Book Reviews by Jess is offering My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent. It ends July 24. (US only)

J.Kaye's Book Blog is offering The Center of the Universe by Nancy Bachrach. It ends July 25. (US/Canada)

The Adventures of Cecelia Bedelia is offering Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith. It ends July 26. (International)

The Book Butterfly is offering A Great and Terrible Beauty By Libba Bray. It ends July 28. (International)

Shooting Star Mag is offering Jasmyn by Alex Bell. It ends July 31. (International)

The Book Butterfly is offering Ghost Huntress - The Awakening by Marley Gibson. It ends August 2. (International)

The below Amazon links are only specific to the US. I am waiting on approval for Amazon Canada and UK.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Three Awards for me! and now, finally, my Nominees.

I have received three awards in the last month since I started blogging. I feel very honored. Thank you! Meanwhile I have been madly collecting wonderful blogs to read, and to nominate - which is why it has taken so long to post the first two awards. Just a bit obsessive here. :)

Each of the blogs that I have nominated are taken from my Google reader (I can't believe that I did not know what a reader was a month ago.) I have tried to make a point of nominating blogs with smaller followings. And for those of you that are more established - your next. As for you guys.... I didn't think a girly award would be for you.... so we'll have to come up with something here soon.

My first award is the Lemonade Award and was given to me by Yvette from True Crimes. Thank you Yvette. Yvette has an important and informative blog where she highlights true crime books. Check her out!

The Lemonade Award is a feel good award that shows great attitude or gratitude. Here are the rules for accepting this award:
Put the Lemonade Award logon on your blog or post.
Nominate at least 10 blogs that show great attitude or gratitude.
Link your nominees within your post.
Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
Share the love and link to the person from whom you received the award.

Here is my list of nominees:
Alexa at Hooked on YA Books
Susie Sunshine from The Geeky Bookworm
Linds at funny because its true
Crystal at ACTUALIZE
Mel at I'm Not Weird, Just Gifted
Caspette at Narrative Causality
When I read I get to Travel
Jenny at Interior Design Junky
Megan at Reading Through Life
Shona's Book Shelf

The second award that I have received is The Hearthfelt Award and was given to me by Donna from Fantasy Dreamer. Thanks Donna. Donna has a fun and sexy blog for paranormal romance and beyond. Take a look at her blog.

The Hearthfelt Award:
Do you reach for a cup of cocoa or tea when your relaxing, seeking comfort, sharing a plate of cookies with family and freinds? You know the feeling you get when you drink a yummy cup of cocoa, tea, or a hot toddy? That is what the Hearthfelt Award is all about, feeling warm inside.
Put the logo on your blog/post.
Nominate up to to 9 blogs which make you feel comfy or warm inside.
Be sure to link your nominees withing your post.
Let them know that they have been nominated by commenting on their blog.
Remember to link to the person from whom you received your award.

Here is my list of nominees.
Jessica at Book Lover's Diary
Natalie at The Book Inn
Andrea at The Little Book Worm
Veronika at True Harbour
Anna Marie at NATS
Deanna at Mom Musings
Libby's Literary Library
Linda at Left Brain Write
Janet's Book Place

My third award The Kreativ Blog Award has been given to my by Jessica from A Book Lover's Diary. Thank you Jessica! Jessica is just starting out and her blog looks great. A promising up and coming book blog. Stop by and see her postings!

This is a meme, and here are the rules:
If you accept it, you are to list seven favorite things and nominate seven bloggers for the award.

My seven favorite things:
Books - no surprise here!
Fresh pink grapefruit juice from our back yard tree
Desert hikes - when its not 113 degrees.
My ancient and toothless kitty - Honey
World of Warcraft
My mostly sweet husband - JD
Reading in bed

Here is my list of nominees:
Reading One Mile at a Time
Jennie at Biblio File
Keri at Books with Swords
Helen at A Reading Collection
Rachel at Book Wars
Book Dragon's Lair
Kerri at Book Ends

Thanks again to my nominaters and my nominees should be getting a posting in the next few days. This is such a wonderful way of connecting, sharing, and finding readers.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Book Challenge - Fill in the Gaps

A second challenge list is posted here Hosted by The Fill in the Gaps 100 Project, linked to the title of the post. There is a 25% "ditch rate" so that's 15 books per year and just over one per month. I think I can do this. Besides most of these books are sitting on my shelves calling my name.

Fill in The Gaps Reading Challenge - 100 Books in Five Years
(July 2009-2014 - Classics or those we own but have not read)
Science Fiction:
1. 1984 - George Orwell
2. Animal Farm - George Orwell
3. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
4. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
5. Children of Dune - Frank Herbert
6. Chrysalids - John Wyndham
7. Dandelion Wine - Ray Bradbury
8. Day of the Triffids - John Wyndham
9. Do Androids Dream of Sleep - Phillip K. Dick
10. Dune - Frank Herbert
11. Dune Messiah - Frank Herbert
12. Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury (read - review link)
13. Foundation - Isaac Asimov
14. Foundation Empire - Isaac Asimov
15. Herland - Charlotte Perkins Gilman
16. I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream - Harllan Ellison
17. Midwich Cuckoos - John Wyndham
18. New Eves - ed Janrae Frank
19. Rendezvous with Rama - Arthur C. Clark
20. Ringworld - Harry Niven
21. Second Foundation - Isaac Asimov
22. Slaughterhouse Five - Kurt Vonnegut
23. Something Wicked this way Comes - Ray Bradbury (complete - review link)
24. The Day After Tomorrow - Robert Heinlein
25. The Godmakers - Don Pendleton
26. The Island of Doctor Moreau - H. G Wells
27. The Left Hand of Darkness - Ursula K. Le Guin
28. The Locus Awards - ed Charles N. Brown
29. The Martian Chronicles - Ray Bradbury
30. The Road - Cormac McCarthy (complete - review link)
31. The War of the Worlds - H. G. Wells
32. The World Treasury of Science Fiction - David G. Hartwell
33. Time Machine - H. G. Wells
34. Trouble with Lichen - John Wyndham
35. Cry to Heaven - Anne Rice
36. Dragon Flight - Anne McCaffrey
37. Green Mansions - William Henry Hudson
38. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J. K. Rowling
39. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Ascaban - J. K. Rowling
40. Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone - J. K. Rowling
41. Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring - J. R. R. Tolkien
42. Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King - J. R. R. Tolkien
43. Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers - J. R. R. Tolkien
44. The Crystal Cave - Mary Stewart
45. The Hobbit - J. R. R. Tolkien
46. The Hollow Hills - Mary Stewart
47. The Last Enchantment - Mary Stewart
48. The Middle Window - Elizabeth Goudge
49. The Robber Bride - Margaret Atwood
50. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
51. Dracula - Bram Stoker
52. Frankenstein - Mary Shelley (complete - review link)
53. Great Tales of Horror - Edgar Allen Poe
54. Interview with a Vampire - Anne Rice
55. The Beach - Alex Garland
56. The Historian - Elizabeth Kostava
57. The Hunter of the Dark - H. P. Lovecraft
58. The Inferno - Dante
59. The Metamorphosis - Frank Kafka
60. The Queen of the Damned - Anne Rice
61. The Vampire Lestat - Anne Rice
Literary Classics:
62. All the Kings Men - Robert Warren Penn
63. Bless me Ultima - Rodolfo Anaya
64. Catcher in the Rye - J. D. Sallinger
65. Death Comes for the Archbishop - Willa Cather
66. Don Quixote - Cevantes
67. East of Eden - John Steinbeck
68. Hamlet - Shakespeare
69. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
70. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
71. Lucy Braveheart - Willa Cather
72. Macbeth - Shakespeare
73. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
74. O Pioneer - Willa Cather
75. On the Road - Jack Keroac
76. One of Ours - Willa Cather
77. Papillion - Henri Charriere
78. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austin
79. Romeo and Juliet - Shakespeare
80. Siddhartha - Herman Hess
81. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
82. The Delta of Venus - Anais Nin
83. The Good Earth - Pearl S. Buck
84. The House of Spirit - Isabella Allende
85. The Lord of the Flies - William Golding
86. The Moon is Down - John Steinbeck
87. The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver
88. The Rainbow - D. H. Lawrence
89. The Wide Sargasso Sea - Jean Rhys
90. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
91. Their Eyes Where Watching God - Zora Neal Hurston
92. To Have and Have Not - Ernest Hemingway
93. Tortilla Flats - John Steinbeck
94. Tropic of Cancer - Henry Miller
95. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
Non Fiction:
96. Care of the Soul - Thomas Moore
97. Feminism - the Essential Writings - ed Mirian Schneir
98. The Feminine Mystique - Betty Friedan
99. The Tribe of the Tiger - Elizabeth Marshall Thomas
100. Women of Wisdom - Tsultrim Allione

Book Challenge - GLBT Challenge 2009

GLBT Challenge - July 1, 2009 to Dec 31, 2009

Here is my book list for my first challenge joined here on layers of thought. It is hosted by Amanda from The Zen Leaf. Click on the title of this posting to link you to the challenge page on her site.

It is a 6 book challenge (I have posted 10 - for the ditch factor), where we will read books and post their reviews from authors whom are or who write on the GLBT theme. The challenge runs from July 1 2009 to December 31, 2009.

  • Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
  • Ethan of Athos By Lois McMaster Bujold
  • Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
  • Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  • Metamorphosis by Frank Kafka
  • Macbeth by William Shakespeare
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • Moby Dick Herman Melville
  • Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice
  • O Pioneer by Willa Cather
  • One of Ours by Willa Cather

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Review - The Forest of Hands and Teeth

* Spoiler Alert*
Zombies like vampires have become mainstream. We are surrounded by them in books and movies. The Forest of Hands and Teeth is one of the many. Here is the review that I posted on Goodreads last week with some interesting links, for zombie lovers or not.

The Good

The writing style was easy to read, definitely good for young adults. There are many suspenseful and scary parts which is the point for a horror, post apocalyptic, zombie novel. It has a great title. The cover is effective and aesthetically pleasing. The story line is interesting and complex, and may make a good movie. (see link below)

The Not So Good

I felt that the main character, Mary was difficult to believe. I found myself wanting to skip bits here and there as she "vented" in the text. I agree that her life was tough, in fact it can't get much worse. She is stuck in the middle of a forest surrounded by zombies (Unconsecrated); with a negative religious influence (The Sisters) - whose actions are cruel and oppressive; her mother and father have just become zombies; she's in love with a young man that she morally cannot have; is forced to go into the "sisterhood" because her brother doesn't want her in his home; and lastly she desires more than the small village life has to offer. It's the last complication that bothers me. Specifically, Mary is confused. Like most teenagers she is trying to figure out who she is and what she truly wants from life even though her choices are severely limited amidst this horror. My thoughts are how is that she is even able to contemplate her life choices. Humans when faced with life threatening events and surrounded by constant death and extreme terror, become "survivalists" where basic needs over come desires. But what Mary figures out is that she has to see the ocean. Oh dear, this would be the last thing on my mind.

I have given this book 3 stars.....actually its more like 2.5 stars. I can't say that I disliked The Forest of Hands and Teeth, because I did finished the book. I just had some trouble with it.

But don't let that stop you because it was a scary read, and maybe the movie will be good.

Sfscope film rights article

Click on the title of this post for Carie Ryan's web site for additional information on the book and movie.

Also an interesting and saturated article link to Library Journal's listing of lots of things Zombie.

Another link not as extensive but interesting non the less NPR.

For non US readers coming soon links for buying information for Canada, UK, and Europe.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Fourth of July - An Independence Day Giggle

Here's to the birth of my country - the good ole USA. Take a look at this clip it's sure to make you laugh....contrarily from my English husband - who chooses to here live in the US. Here's to freedom, the blend of many cultures, fireworks, barbecues, and celebration!

Just in case the information bug hits you, click on the title of this blog to link to all you ever want to know and more about this fun American holiday. Courtesy of Wikipedia!

And on a more solemn note a bit more patriotic trivia regarding the fate of some of our founding fathers whom signed our declaration of independence - courtesy of my friend Sherry:
Five signers were captured by the British as traitors,
and tortured before they died.
Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.
Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army;
another had two sons captured.
Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or
hardships of the Revolutionary War.
They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes,
and their sacred honor.
What kind of men were they?
Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists.
Eleven were merchants,
nine were farmers and large plantation owners;
men of means, well educated,
but they signed the Declaration of Independence
knowing full well that the penalty would be death if
they were captured.
Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and
trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the
British Navy. He sold his home and properties to
pay his debts, and died in rags.
Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British
that he was forced to move his family almost constantly.
He served in the Congress without pay, and his family
was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him,
and poverty was his reward.
Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer,
Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.
At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that
the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson
home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General
George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed,
and Nelson died bankrupt.
Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed.
The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.
John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying.
Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill
were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests
and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his
children vanished.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Gotta Love Give Aways - contests that I've entered for July 2009

The miracle is this - the more we share, the more we have. -- Leonard Nimoy

Here are some select give aways that I have chosen to enter for July and whose offers end by July 31. They all feature books (and more) that I would love to have. My posting is a way to promote other bloggers and their efforts to connect with their reader, and to help my readers find give aways. A big thanks to all those whom are making the effort and offering these books.
Here are 11 - updates to be posted when discovered.

These give aways are for the US and a few are for Canada - please check at each site for further information.

Fantasy Dreamer's Ramblings is offering Mark of the Demon by Diana Rowland. The contest end July 2.
Book Reviews by Jess is offering the book Another Faust by Daniel and Dina Nayeri. The contest ends July 4.
Shooting Star Magazine is offering My Name is Will by Jess Winfield. This contest ends July 6.
Rebecca's Book Blog is offering a signed copy of The Stolen One by Suzanne Crowley. It ends July 6.
Booksie's Blog is offering The Night Gardener by George Pelecanos. It ends July 8.
Readaholic is giving away The Offering by Anne Rivers Siddons. Her contest ends July 8.
Peeking Between the Pages is giving away The Walking People by Mary Beth Keane. It ends July 16.
Starting Fresh is giving away the audio book The Juror by George Dawes Green. Contest ends July 19.
Books and Needlepoint is offering the book Soul Survivor by Bruce and Lena Leininger. This contest ends July 20.
J. Kaye's Book Blog is offering Patrick Carman's Atherton Trilogy. I believe her give away ends July 24.
A Sea of Books is giving away a beach bag of books - 10 books. This contest end July 31.

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