Tuesday, August 31, 2010

R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril Challenge V -- Begins!


I just found out about this challenge and I am so excited about it! Carl (Stainless Steel Droppings) hosts the RIP Challenge every year. I am going to participate this year in Peril the First - read four books from the following genres Mystery.


Suspense.
Thriller.
Dark Fantasy.
Gothic.
Horror.
Supernatural

This should be fun - I love Halloween and the books and movies that fit the season. Since it is a family tradition to watch "scary" movies during the month of October, I will also participate in Peril on the Screen.

I haven't chosen the book yet, but there are so many I want to read or re-read. I'll update as I choose/read.

Updates:
Books read:
1. The Fall by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan
2.

Valley of Dry Bones









Valley of Dry Bones by Pricilla Royal
digital galley provided by NetGalley
Summary from Goodreads:
In the late summer of 1274, King Edward has finally been anointed England’s ruler, and his queen contemplates a pilgrimage in gratitude for their safe return from Outremer, a journey that will include a stay at Tyndal Priory. Envoys are sent to confirm that everything will be suitable for the king’s wife, and Prioress Eleanor nervously awaits them, knowing that regal visits bring along expense and honor. The cost is higher than expected, however, when Death arrives as the unexpected emissary. One of the courtiers is murdered near the hut where Brother Thomas now lives as a hermit. Each member of the party has reason to hate the dead man, including Crowner Ralf’s eldest brother, Sir Fulke, and the prioress’s nemesis, the man in black. Soon Eleanor is embroiled in the dangerous world of power games, both secular and religious. Indeed, England’s future under a new king may offer hope and relief, but skeletons from the past can come back to life like those in the biblical valley of dry bones. Which had cause enough to kill?

My take:
This is the seventh book in the Medieval Mystery series by the author. I wish I had know this before I requested the book from NetGalley.  I enjoyed the book, but I felt that there were many things I was missing out on even though the author did try to fill in crucial information from previous books.  While this was a mystery book, it seemed to flow at a much slower pace than what I have become used to.  I chalk this up to the fact that it takes place in 1274 and everything flowed at a slower pace than today. I really think I would have appreciated the book more if I had know the characters better. I liked the story, but I just didn't feel much of connection to any of the main characters.  I think I may have to go back and read at least the first book of this series. I would love to know if anyone has read the previous books and what you thought of them. This turns out to be not so much a review as my regrets for reading a book out of order in a mystery series. I know they should be able to stand alone, but I just felt like I missed something.





Friday, August 27, 2010

One Lovely Blog Award


A big thank you goes out to The Book Bee for awarding ABookGeek the One Lovely Blog Award!

Here are the rules for this award:

1. Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award and his or her blog link.

2. Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you’ve newly discovered.

3. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.


Here are some of the blogs that I have recently found and really enjoy - in no particular order.

Blkosiner's Book Blog
Bewitched Bookworms
The Prairie Library
Reading with Tequila
What Book Is That?
Karen's Addictions
A Little Bookish
The Introverted Reader
A Fanatics Book Blog
Books Complete Me
The Bodacious Pen
I Just Wanna Sit Here and Read
S. Krishna's Books
Addicted 2 Novels
The Allure of Books

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Shade

ShadeShade by Jeri Smith-Ready
borrowed from the library
from Goodreads:
Best. Birthday. Ever. At least, it was supposed to be. With Logan's band playing a critical gig and Aura's plans for an intimate after-party, Aura knows it will be the most memorable night of her boyfriend's life. She never thought it would be his last.

Logan's sudden death leaves Aura devastated. He's gone.

Well, sort of.

Like everyone born after the Shift, Aura can see and hear ghosts. This mysterious ability has always been annoying, and Aura had wanted nothing more than to figure out why the Shift happened so she can undo it. But not with Logan's violet-hued spirit still hanging around. Because dead Logan is almost as real as ever. Almost.

It doesn't help that Aura's new friend Zachary is so understanding--and so very alive. His support means more to Aura than she cares to admit.

As Aura's relationships with the dead and the living grow ever complicated, so do her feelings for Logan and Zachary. Each holds a piece of Aura's heart...and clues to the secret of the Shift.

My take:
I wanted to read Shade because I have really enjoyed Jeri Smith-Ready's WVMP Radio series. Shade was a very fast, easy, enjoyable read.  I thought Aura was a good heroine and Logan was a good boyfriend or ghost of a boyfriend and Zachary was just adorable. But what I enjoyed the most was the story of the Shift and that is what I am most interested to read more about in the next book entitled, appropriately, Shift. This idea and story line really intrigued me. I'm curious about this world where everyone born after the Shift can see ghosts and how the authorities have chosen to deal with the situation and why the DMP is so very interested in Aura. I want to know more about Aura and Zachary's link to the Shift - what is it? How did it happen? Why are they important? Needless to say, I am looking forward to the next book.  I think this is an interesting premise.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday





Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.



This week's pre-publication "can't wait to read" selection is:
 
The Wise Man's Fear (Kingkiller Chronicles, Day 2)The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
(The Kingkiller Chronicles #2)
from Goodreads:
There are three things all wise men fear: the sea in storm, a night with no moon, and the anger of a gentle man."


In The Wise Man's Fear Kvothe takes his first steps on the path of the hero and learns how difficult life can be when a man becomes a legend in his own time

I am so looking forward to this one!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Half the Sky

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide (Vintage)Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
borrowed from library
Summary from Goodreads:
From two of our most fiercely moral voices, a passionate call to arms against our era’s most pervasive human rights violation: the oppression of women and girls in the developing world.

With Pulitzer Prize winners Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn as our guides, we undertake an odyssey through Africa and Asia to meet the extraordinary women struggling there, among them a Cambodian teenager sold into sex slavery and an Ethiopian woman who suffered devastating injuries in childbirth. Drawing on the breadth of their combined reporting experience, Kristof and WuDunn depict our world with anger, sadness, clarity, and, ultimately, hope.

They show how a little help can transform the lives of women and girls abroad. That Cambodian girl eventually escaped from her brothel and, with assistance from an aid group, built a thriving retail business that supports her family. The Ethiopian woman had her injuries repaired and in time became a surgeon. A Zimbabwean mother of five, counseled to return to school, earned her doctorate and became an expert on AIDS.

Through these stories, Kristof and WuDunn help us see that the key to economic progress lies in unleashing women’s potential. They make clear how so many people have helped to do just that, and how we can each do our part. Throughout much of the world, the greatest unexploited economic resource is the female half of the population. Countries such as China have prospered precisely because they emancipated women and brought them into the formal economy. Unleashing that process globally is not only the right thing to do; it’s also the best strategy for fighting poverty.

Deeply felt, pragmatic, and inspirational, Half the Sky is essential reading for every global citizen.

My take:
I have to admit that if this book wasn't chosen for my book club, I probably would not have picked it up. But after reading it, I feel that  it is a very important book for women to read. I was touched by the stories as well as frustrated, angered, and saddened. But in the end, there is a feeling of hope and there are several examples of simple ways that we can each get involved if we so choose. This is a worthwhile read, but not necessarily an easy one.

Monday, August 23, 2010

It's Monday! What are you reading?


It's Monday! What are you reading?
Hosted by Book Journey.

I didn't get many reviews written or books read last week  mostly due to the fact that I was reading The Passage. 

Reviews written last week:
Incarceron by Catherine Fisher (link to review)

Books read last week:
The Passage by Justin Cronin (review to be written soon)
Pretty in Plaid by Jen Lancaster (a light, fast, fun read to break up The Passage)
Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn (review to be posted Tuesday)

Books I plan to read and/or finish this week:
The Children's Book (Vintage International)The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt

Vanishing and Other Stories (P.S.)Vanishing and Other Stories by Deborah Willis

The White Queen: A Novel (Cousins' War)The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

What are you reading?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday




"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't wait to read" selection is:

ParanormalcyParanormalcy by Kiersten White
From Goodreads:
Sixteen-year-old Evie's job is bagging and tagging paranormals. Possessing the strange ability to see through their glamours, she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency. But when someone--or something--starts taking out the vamps, werewolves, and other odd beasties she's worked hard to help become productive members of society, she's got to figure it out before they all disappear and the world becomes utterly normal.


Normal is so overrated

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Incarceron

Incarceron (Incarceron, Book 1)Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
borrowed from library
Summary from Goodreads:
Incarceron -- a futuristic prison, sealed from view, where the descendants of the original prisoners live in a dark world torn by rivalry and savagery. It is a terrifying mix of high technology -- a living building which pervades the novel as an ever-watchful, ever-vengeful character, and a typical medieval torture chamber -- chains, great halls, dungeons.

A young prisoner, Finn, has haunting visions of an earlier life, and cannot believe he was born here and has always been here. In the outer world, Claudia, daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, is trapped in her own form of prison -- a futuristic world constructed beautifully to look like a past era, an imminent marriage she dreads. She knows nothing of Incarceron, except that it exists.

But there comes a moment when Finn, inside Incarceron, and Claudia, outside, simultaneously find a device -- a crystal key, through which they can talk to each other. And so the plan for Finn's escape is born ...

My take:
The world-building in this exciting dystopian novel is pretty amazing. The reader follows the story of Finn, a prisoner in Incarceron who doesn't seem to be like the other prisoners and Claudia, the wealthy, pampered, educated daughter of the Warden of Incarceron. The world is pieced together for the reader through the alternating narratives.

The world that Claudia inhabits is beautiful and wealthy - happy and serene on the surface -- but underneath there is constant resentment and playing what Claudia refers to as The Game -- acting the part required of her. The Protocol must be enforced at all times -- this seems to have been in response to the state of the  world after excess technology, war, pollution, over population, etc. A decision was made to send the criminals and other undesirables to the new prison Incarceron which was supposed to be a perfect world where there would be no need for crime, etc. The need to stifle creativity and innovation and rebellion resulted in an artificially created and enforced historical period to become the norm for the rest of the population. It appears to be 17th or 18th century style - with all the requisite corsets, bindings, restrictions on technology in order to keep people controlled. This despite the fact that technology has obviously advanced far beyond the period.

Finn and the other prisoners of Incarceron live inside a prison that is alive and watches and controls them and their environment at its whim.  There are various gangs within the vast dimensions of Incarceron and Finn and Keiro his oath brother belong to one of the lowest and most violent of  groups. Through Finn's experiences the reader gets to see just how wrong the experiment has gone. Those on the outside believe that the prisoners are living a wonderful life in a perfect world. They couldn't be more wrong. The inside of Incarceron is vast - bigger even than the inhabitants know. The prison has devolved into various areas of conflicting and competing gangs. Life is brutal and short.

I really liked the way the two different worlds shared a type of mythology or legend  even though there were big differences in what was remembered. For example, Sapphique is a legend inside Incarceron but is little known on the outside except for a group of rebels. This was a very tense, fast-paced book.  I really enjoyed it and I am really looking forward to the next book, SapphiqueSapphique.

Monday, August 16, 2010

It's Monday! What are you reading?


It's Monday! What are you reading?
Hosted by Book Journey.

Reviews I Finished last week:
Greywalker by Kat Richardson
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Reviews I plan to finish this week:
Valley of Dry Bones
Incarceron

Books I plan to read this week:
The PassageThe Passage by Justin Cronon (finish)

Vanishing and Other Stories (P.S.)Vanishing and other stories by Deborah Willis (finish)

The White Queen: A Novel (Cousins' War)The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide (Vintage)Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kirstof, Sheryl WuDunn (for bookclub)

What are you reading?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Book Blogger Hop and Follow Friday! (2)




It's Friday, so it's time for Follow Friday hosted at Parajunkee's View . It's also time for another Book Blogger Hop hosted by Jenn at Crazy For Books!


This week's question for Book Blogger Hop is: How many books do you have on your 'to be read shelf’? On my TBR shelves I have around 25-30 books. But on my TBR LIST I have 85 or more.  The list just continues to grow.

This week's featured blogger for Follow Friday is Nymfaux so check out the Follow Friday Feature  and Nymfaux's blog.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Beautiful Creatures

Beautiful CreaturesBeautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Summary from Goodreads:
Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps, and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything

My take:
I've been procrastinating writing this review - not because I didn't like the book -- I really really loved this book. I was just afraid that I would either not write what I meant or start gushing over it. I think that Beautiful Creatures really stands out among other books in this genre.  I loved that I had just read To Kill a Mockingbird and I still had all the Southern Gothic imagery in my head. There are numerous references to TKAM throughout Beautiful Creatures -- Macon Ravenwood, the town recluse, is referred to as Gatlin's Boo Radley and later he is compared to Atticus Finch to name just two such references. And, my favorite TKAM reference, Macon names his dog Boo Radley, perhaps his way of laughing at his reputation with the citizens of Gatlin.

The atmosphere in the book is so southern -- I could almost feel the humidity while reading it. There is a Civil War storyline, of course, which ties directly into the modern story of Ethan and Lena.  There is a bit of magic in addition to the mysterious Ravenwood family and their "abilities" and the amazing house Macon and Lena live in.

The story is fast-paced and I was completely caught up in the storyline of Ethan and Lena's growing relationship, their trying to cope with Lena's powers and all the ways the towns people found to blame Lena for everything. And then there is the issue of her family - this tale certainly makes for a page turner. I am pretty certain there is much more to be learned about Ethan's mother as well as possibly the librarian. I am anxiously awaiting my chance to read Beautiful Darkness.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine , that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.


This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Tyger Tyger: A Goblin Wars BookTyger Tyger by Kersten Hamilton
From Goodreads:
Teagan Wylltson's best friend, Abby, dreams that horrifying creatures--goblins, shape-shifters, and beings of unearthly beauty but terrible cruelty--are hunting Teagan. Abby is always coming up with crazy stuff, though, so Teagan isn't worried. Her life isn't in danger. In fact, it's perfect. She's on track for a college scholarship. She has a great job. She's focused on school, work, and her future. No boys, no heartaches, no problems.


Until Finn Mac Cumhaill arrives. Finn's a bit on the unearthly beautiful side himself. He has a killer accent and a knee-weakening smile. And either he's crazy or he's been haunting Abby's dreams, because he's talking about goblins, too . . . and about being The Mac Cumhaill, born to fight all goblin-kind. Finn knows a thing or two about fighting. Which is a very good thing, because this time, Abby's right. The goblins are coming.
*****
Is it fair to list a book that I've read and reviewed? ( Thanks to NetGalley for a digital galley.)  I don't know, but I can't wait for this book to be released. I'll rush out and buy my own copy.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Greywalker

Greywalker (Greywalker, Book 1)Greywalker by Kat Richardson
purchased
Summary from Goodreads:
Harper Blaine was slogging along as a small-time P.I. when a two-bit perp's savage assault left her dead. For two minutes, to be precise.

When Harper comes to in the hospital, she begins to feel a bit ...strange. She sees things that can only be described as weird-shapes emerging from a foggy grey mist, snarling teeth, creatures roaring.

But Harper's not crazy. Her "death" has made her a Greywalker-able to move between our world and the mysterious, cross-over zone where things that go bump in the night exist. And her new gift (or curse) is about to drag her into that world of vampires and ghosts, magic and witches, necromancers and sinister artifacts. Whether she likes it or not.

My take:
 This is a fun, fast read. Harper Blaine is a gutsy, smart P.I. who dies for a couple of minutes after an encounter with the step-father of her client goes horribly wrong. After this event, she can now see the Grey --the area between worlds where  those people and creatures who are no longer alive dwell. The secondary characters in the book are fun too. Harper meets a couple who help her deal with her new reality - a practicing  (real) witch and her husband, a professor who is mostly into the theoretical side of things. There is also a love interest who works at an auction house and  Quinton, a  new friend who helps with her tech and security needs. I hope that Quinton shows up in the subsequent books because he was interesting and there are all kinds of hints that there is more to him than meets the eye. The events in the book unfold quickly and it is hard to stop reading once things get going. I plan on reading the entire series.  I have high hope for this one.

Monday, August 9, 2010

It's Monday! What are you reading?



It's Monday! What are you reading?
Hosted by Book Journey.

Reviews I finished last week:
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Reviews I plan to finish this week:
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Greywalker by Kat Richardson
Valley of Dry Bones by Priscilla Royal

Books I plan to read this week:
Incarceron (Incarceron, Book 1)Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

The White Queen: A Novel (Cousins' War)The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

The Children's Book (Vintage International)The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt



What are you reading this week?











Friday, August 6, 2010

Book Blogger Hop and Follow Friday!

 











It's Friday, so it's time for Follow Friday hosted at Parajunkee's View .  It's also time for another Book Blogger Hop hosted by Jenn at Crazy For Books!

This week's question is: Do you listen to music when you read? If so, what are your favorite reading tunes?  I listen to music while reading sometimes - especially if the noise level in the house is pretty high. I usually listen to classical since I have problems listening to music with words while reading. I tend to get distracted. But today I am trying out Sigur Ros - thanks to Jane Doe at Dead White Guys - for something diferent.