Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Have you ever...(4)

It was no joke when I named my blog "My Ever Expanding Library". I still have books from when I was ten years old! But the need to 'beautify' my library has been a more recent pursuit for me. I've felt a greater need to have all hardcover books, with matching heights and so on. This has caused a bit of an issue with all of the mismatches from my earlier reading days.

I have all of David Eddings' books. I initially bought them in paperback, when I first discovered them, then as new books were released, I purchased the hardcovers. So, last year I managed to pick up an anthology of The Belgariad series in hardcover that would look better on the shelf beside the rest of the books. Why is it, then, that I can't seem to part with my original paperback copies? Which brings me to ask you, my readers:

Have you ever: Bought a book that you already owned so you could have a set in the same format? (HC/PB) (and still kept the original book!)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Return to sender? My "You've Got Mail" Critique

Last weekend, I had to chance to have a movie day with my nine year old daughter. We parked ourselves on the couch, for a serious do nothing day, and immediately found one of my favourite romcoms showing on TV: You've Got Mail. It's a weird thing, I own the movie but rarely pull it out to watch. Yet, every time it's on TV, I tune in. I love the Tom Hanks/ Meg Ryan conversations, in person and by e-mail. This time though, the movie showed me a side of Tom Hanks I hadn't really thought him capable of before: a near villain, of the bookish kind!

As a book lover with my finger on at least some of the book business (it's really amazing how much information an amateur can amass through Twitter, book blogging, and so on), watching this movie again from a newer perspective left me torn. How could Kathleen Kelly fall for the guy that made shooting noises, complete with finger guns, at the closing of another independent bookstore?!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

In My Mailbox - July 18-24, 2011

In My Mailbox, hosted by The Story Siren (click the image to go to her blog), is a great way to feature books we've received over the current week and share them with our readers. Here are the books I received this past week:

Moonlight Mile by Dennis Lehane
And an awesome mug from Harper Collins Canada :)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Review: City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

Click here to read the book description:

Available at Amazon, Book Depository

From the outset, this third installment in The Mortal Instrument series is all action. I was glad to see the faster pace return, as I thought City of Ashes had started a little slower. But coming into this book, there were so many parts of the story that needed resolution, that jumping in head first kept me distracted enough to not dwell on the things that just weren't sitting well with me (Jace & Clary, specifically).

Jace, being the stubborn guy he is, sets off almost immediately to try to protect Clary from the battle that everyone knows is on the horizon. Seriously, though, he should have known better! And while this could have been aggravating for the reader, it helped to guide parts of the tale that became vital as it reached the climax. In saying this, its Clary's equally stubborn side that makes her end up in the lake, in an effort to join her friends  in Idris. Though the significance of this accident seemed quite obvious (to me, anyway), it was the character interactions thereafter that allowed for the story to take on many other dimensions.

We meet a lot of new people in City of Glass, as the battle plans are discussed and debated in Idris and this allowed for more intrigue in the story. The different factions that had been previously just barely mentioned, were in full view here, and the in-fighting added to the mounting tensions. Truly, through the three books, you were never sure which of the Shadowhunters were still in allegiance with Valentine and which were honestly opposed to him. In this sense, Clare keeps you on your toes; it is a terrible thing for these young people not knowing exactly who to trust at any given time. Then again, despite his crazy hair and flamboyant wardrobe, I'd trust Magnus any day :)

Review: Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

Click here for the book description.

Available at Amazon, Book Depository, Chapters, Scholastic Books Canada

I was nervous going into my reading of Forever, knowing that this would be the last book in the series. First, because it was a series that had grown on me, considerably, between Shiver (book one) and Linger (book two). Secondly, because I don't like endings! But I put on a brave face and dove in.

Having spent so much time away from the books since I had read Linger (a whole year), it was nice, early in the book, to have a reminder of why I've enjoyed this series so much. It is this: Stiefvater's writing takes on the essence of what is beloved in poetry; the tone mournful yet full of observation,. It makes the reading feel surreal; slightly mystical. For example: (pg. 71 of ARC) "Overhead, thunder rumbled, seemingly in advance of the storm cloud, which was cupping around the tops of the trees like a hand hiding a secret." I think this imagery is just stunning! But more than that is when these little bits of insight are revealed. It could pop up just after one of the characters had been discussing a mundane element of life, then bam! something beautiful and intuitive shows up. It always makes me wish I had realized it myself, but happy that someone else had, and found a way to share it with me (and all of the other readers).

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Nicole Reviews: Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

Click here for the book description.

Available at Amazon, Book Depository, Chapters

Generally when I pick a novel, I like to read ones that have a light and "fluffy" plot, with easy characters.  I like to escape into their fictional world.  So naturally when Jackie asked me to review FORBIDDEN, I was more than a bit hesitant.  I read the brief overview on the back (which I almost never do), and truthfully the thought of reading this book made my stomach turn.  Then I gave myself a shake, and thought that there is nothing wrong with reading something outside of my comfort zone.  I am sure glad that I did because the minute I started reading this book I was hooked.  I have one word to describe this book, and it is ... FANTASTIC!!!

    The author did a wonderful job connecting me with these characters and their world.  She made me feel as though I was witnessing their struggles first hand. I wanted to wrap my arms around each one of these kids and tell them that everything was going to be alright. 
"... I didn't take the photo from my room.  Perhaps Maya will remember it and keep it safe.  But I can't help hoping she'll cut off the two adults at either end of the bench and just keep the five children sandwiched in the middle.  Because ultimately, that was the family that we became." (pg.417  Lochan)

Review: City of Ghosts by Stacia Kane

Click here for the book description.
Available at Amazon, Book Depository

City of Ghosts is the third installment in Stacia Kane's Downside series and despite my desire to smack the main character, Chess, upside the head in the second book (Unholy Magic), I was more than willing to give her another chance to win back my heart.

Once again, the time frame isn't much beyond the previous book, and with that, all the fallout of Chess's actions and their effects on Terrible are still fresh . This for me was the biggest part of the story that I needed cleared up coming into City of Ghosts. Things are never that simple, though, and we have to allow for Kane's delivering the tale her way, to see if we're going to get what we want.

This story contained some new characters, Lauren, the Black Squad member that Chess has been asked to assist, and the strange man with all of the kids were major parts in the storyline. But it was the kids, the descriptions of their infirmities, how this could have happened that saddened and shocked me. Kane we true to form in her no holds barred way of story telling. As ever, the grit of the Downside world is evident in every element of the tale..

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

On Location with Charlaine Harris

So, it's been a pretty busy couple of days for me, first with the signing on Saturday, when I got to meet Maggie Stiefvater. Then last night, I was giddy as I had the opportunity to meet Charlaine Harris, creator of one of my favourite fictional characters, Eric Northman. Ok, Sookie Stackhouse is pretty good too, in her own rights, but there's nothing like a tall Viking, I tell ya....but I digress.

Ms. Harris was fantastic to see live. Her Southern accent and pleasant demeanor were well displayed as she answered many questions from the audience. Standing behind some tall people, I didn't venture any questions of my own, but I can share a few of her answers here.

Have you ever...(3)

As a collector of books, though probably still within amateur ranks compared to some, I usually purchase my reading material (besides those I receive as review copies). Recently, I've been faced with the scary fact that I'm running out of room to store and display my books, which truly saddens me. In an effort to conserve space...I've asked my daughter when she'll be moving out but she says, "Mom, I only 9!", so her room won't be available for another decade....I've acquired a library card. Ok, more than one library card; I like having options.

So, I've begun, slowly, borrowing books from the library. But I am really bad at returning the items or fitting them into my reading schedule. I want to read these books, I really do, but sometimes, I just can't get it done!
Worse still are the penalties charged for my tardiness. Am I alone in this bad habit?

Have you ever: Returned a library book late (even after several extensions) without having read it? Matching poll is on the right blog bar but please feel free to comment below. Your admissions may help to quell my own guilty conscience :-)

Monday, July 18, 2011

On Location with Maggie Stiefvater

I had the great pleasure of seeing Maggie Stiefvater live on Saturday, as she stopped in at Chapters in Oshawa, Ontario for part of her Forever tour. Maggie came on stage, ready to go with stories of other live events she's been to, a tale of how she found out she't hit number one on the NYT Bestseller's list, and more. From the images below, you can see she is full of energy (yeah, let's go with that as the reason that some are blurry), but she's witty and full of charm.

Unfortunately, these events really never allow for a one on one conversation, but I did manage to squeeze in my own question. When I asked Maggie how she was able, when writing, to switch from her quirky online/in-person personality to the more mellow one that we see throughout her Wolves of Mercy Falls series, she told me that really, these were both true aspects of herself, one being the public image, the other the private one. She said that when writing, you see more of that private image in the words.

Other questions asked by the audience included one about which was her favourite character to write. She said Cole St. Clair was a lot of fun and had elements of demons she, herself, faced in College. Personally, Cole is my fave too, because of his many facets and the struggles he has had to endure. Being a rock start might not be as fun as it looks, when seen from his perspective, I guess.

Here's Maggie moving across the stage
 (see? I told you she was a bit blurry :)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

In My Mailbox

I got a few books in the mail this week and thought I would post for the IMM feature, which I haven't done for quite a long time. In My Mailbox is a weekly meme, hosted by The Story Siren (click on the image to check out her IMM post).

Here's what made its way to me:

Adrenaline by Jeff Abbott
The End of Everything by Megan Abbott
Star Island by Carl Hiaasen (it's my first Hiaasen read!)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Nicole Reviews: So Much Closer by Susane Colasanti

Click here for the book description.

"One of the most amazing things that can happen is finding someone who sees everything you are and won't let you be anything less.  They see the potential of you.  They see endless possibilities.  And through their eyes, you start to see yourself the same way.  As someone who matters.  As someone who can make a difference in this world.
If you are lucky enough to find that person, never let them go."  (pg.241)

This is what the author leaves you with at the end of this book.  It is a powerful message, that unfortunately not everyone understands when it comes to their relationships.

This novel is about a struggling teenager.  Her relationship with her parents is strained, and she has masked her potential and intelligence in order to fit in with her peers.  She thinks she is in love with this (in her eyes) popular, talented and handsome boy.  When she finds out that he is moving to New York City- she moves to her Dad's house... conveniently down the block from the boy.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

"Men in Kilts"

Ok, it's not what you're probably thinking: a follow up movie to that weird comedy from years back, "Robin Hood" Men in Tights". Indeed, this is so much better! Sourcebooks has put some of their best Highlander e-books on sale for ...are you sitting down?...$0.99! Here's what they're offering:

Awaken the Highland Warrior by Anita Clenney
A man from another time…

Faelan is from an ancient clan of Scottish Highland warriors, charged with shielding humanity from demonic forces. Betrayed and locked in a time vault, he has been sleeping for nearly two centuries when spunky historian Bree Kirkland inadvertently wakes him. She’s more fearsome than the demon trying to kill him, and if he’s not careful, she’ll uncover the secrets his clan has bled and died to protect…

Could be the treasure she’s been seeking all her life…

When Bree inherits an old treasure map, she discovers a warrior buried in her backyard. But the warrior isn’t dead. Bree shocks Faelan with her modern dress and her boldness, and he infuriates Bree every time he tries to protect her.

With demons suddenly on the move, Bree discovers that Faelan’s duty as protector is in his blood, and that her part in this fight was destined before she was born. But nothing is ever what it seems…

Review: River Marked by Patricia Briggs

Click here for the book description.

Available at Amazon, Book Depository, Penguin.ca

Per my usual method, this is the first book in The Mercy Thompson series that I have read. So, why did I want to read it? Well, I've heard great things about the series and I was completely intrigued by a female mechanic as the main character. All my life, I've been around mechanics and this seemed like something I might be able to relate to.

The story starts off with Mercy's concern for Stefan, the vampire, which I can only assume was how the last book ended. From that part of the story to her impending marriage to Adam, I did feel somewhat out of the loop. Fortunately, I think, Ms. Briggs does a good job of filling the reader in on what's happened up till now without being overwhelming (the whole how much is too much in back story has become my latest obsession.)

I enjoyed the serious versus humourous elements in the story. It appears Mercy has been through a lot in her life and this proved no exception in River Marked. It felt, initially, that it was going to be a slow go throughout, as there was more talk of the wedding than anything else. But, this changed quickly and it became full of intense action.

Have you ever...(2)

Last week's poll resulted in a middle of the road result, where most people either were willing to give books that last chance and/or give up after a certain number of books. Thanks to everyone that participated and offered their opinions!

This week's topic:
I find reading has always been a great escape for me, as you get to (vicariously) travel to distant times or lands. You get to jump into someone else's experience for a little while. This is pretty cool. But what happens when you leave the book? Do you take any of that character's life with you?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Review: Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris

Click here for the book description.

Available at Amazon, Book Depository, Penguin.ca

I was hoping by now that I would've had time to go back and read all the books in between Dead Until Dark (book 1) and Dead in the Family (book 10) to get caught up to speed. Well, it still hasn't happened but I wasn't going to let it deter me from reading the latest offering in the Sookie Stackhouse saga, Dead Reckoning. I must admit though, that things are becoming a bit blurry for me between the backstory that has been eluded to in the last two books and what I have watched over the last three seasons of True Blood. I really need to read up and get the skinny on the written version in a much more complete way.

Dead Reckoning started off with a bang, with action in the first chapter.  I was hopeful that this exciting pace would continue throughout the book. Well, it didn't, I'm sad to report. But what intrigues me, as I'm reading about Sookie, is how in my mind I conjure up a scene of sitting on porch, swinging, and drinking lemonade while hearing far out tales that would make any traditional southern woman fan herself rapidly in shock and dismay.

Sookie goes about her life as though it's normal, then has these crazy moments of paranormal mayhem. She even questions the sanity of it all and how/if she can handle anymore. I liked this reflective aspect in the story. That Sookie is made aware of how screwed up her life is, rather than just the reader seeing it and screaming into the book, "Wake up, Sookie!" , is a refreshing quality (yes, the yelling still happens but if fictional characters realized too much about their own lives there would be no story at all).

What I'm getting a bit tired of is all the fence sitting in Sookie and Eric's relationship. Maybe it's because I love the Eric character so much it makes me biased. I just want Sookie to make up her mind, but something always seems to get in the way. And there's no exception here. The story is left wide open for more books, which is good when you love the characters as I do. BUT, when most of the story is told in that languorous, porch swinging way, it starts to get a little drawn out. I haven't yet given up on Sookie, but I would've liked much more action and intrigue than what was delivered.

There were some great scenes, including a funny one with Bill, and another intense one near the end with Bubba. My heart really went out to Pam, and I'd have been feeling murderous too, if I'd had to endure what she went through. All in all, there was some great story building, some partial resolutions, but still lots of story lines that have been working through the last two book (and probably longer, though I haven't read the other books yet) that need resolving and soon! Saying all that, I still look forward to what Charlaine Harris cooks up in future offerings for Sookie and the gang.

Review: First Grave of the Right by Darynda Jones

Click here for the book description.

Available from Amazon, Book Depository

Still relatively new to the audiobook format, I listened to First Grave on the Right as a recommendation from Caroline at Secret HEA Society and Book Lovers Inc. (she's very influential on my listening these days :-) Again, Caroline was dead on the money with this book.

The concept here is quite different, that Charley is a Grim Reaper, and, what in fact the Grim Reaper has the responsibility of. But I really liked the twist. To have Charley with this major responsibility but also as a human private detective, trying to solve the wrongful deaths, is a great blend.

The story is told with lots of humour, which always keeps me engrossed and entertained. There were also times when some seriousness was needed, especially as a subject like human trafficking arose, and it was handled well, I thought. All in all, I liked the way the stories intertwined.

But then there's Reyes. As First Grave in the Right unfolds, this man that has impacted Charley's life so much from when she was a teenager, is slowly uncovered for what or who he really is and THAT promises to become way more interesting in further novels. Darynda Jones portrays this characters as full of mystery and you feel for him, as his initial story comes out. Then, as even more is revealed, there's a wariness I felt about his motives where Charley is concerned. I really want to believe he's on the up and up, I really do...

I really enjoyed all of the elements in First Grave on the Right and found the audio helped to emphasize the humour. I will be trying to get my hands on Second Grave of the Left as soon as it is released. This was a great story with a cozy mystery feel, mixed in with potential for apocalyptic disaster...how can you go wrong?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Review: The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa

Click here to read the book description.

Available at Amazon, Book Depository, Chapters, Harlequin

The Iron Daughter is my third foray into Julie Kagawa's version of the Faery world and its interactions with the human world (I am including the short story, Winter's Passage in my calculations :-) As I mentioned in my review of Winter's Passage, I had thought this book would start with the travel to the Winter Court, but it starts smack dab with Meghan in Mab's domain.

We get to really meet Ash's whole family here, and I know they're supposed to be cold and all, but that they'd make great candidates for the Jerry Springer Show was surprising to me. Ash's mother (Mab) is portrayed as a raving lunatic, at times. Granted, she's been around a long, long time and has felt the enmity against the Summer King for just as long,  it stands to reason that a raging war is always just brewing under the surface. I think this is where I really started to feel something for Ash; he's trying so hard to maintain his cool facade around his mother, while battling his growing feelings for Meghan. Poor guy!

Nicole Reviews: He's So Not Worth It by Kieran Scott

Ally Ryan, come on down to the Jersey Shore and forget your troubles!

Have you recently been humiliated in front of your friends and family at your former best friend's birthday party? Was your almost boyfriend partly responsible for that humiliation by withholding some vital information about where your estranged father is? Did you come home to find said estranged father sitting on your stoop?

If so, then it sounds like you could use a vacation! The Jersey Shore is the place to be. Your mother may be living with her boyfriend of only a few months, but at least the stunt Shannen pulled has put some of your friends back in your court. Even so, you're still angry and what better way to get over Jake than to blow off some steam with local guy, Cooper? People will hardly recognize your new attitude, but the old one wasn't getting you anywhere, so who cares!

Jake Graydon, an exciting opportunity is waiting for you in the service industry!

Are your grades so low your parents have grounded you for the summer? Did you the girl you really like unceremoniously leave you behind? Would you rather eat dirt than see your friends again? Then a job at the local coffee shop is just the ticket! Surprisingly, Ally's father is the new manager so you get to be reminded of her nearly every day. Maybe it's time to start flirting with your best friend's ex or even taking school a bit more seriously. Especially when you finally see Ally and she's hanging around with some loser and it's couldn't be more clear that she is over you.

Have a great summer!

Available at Amazon, Book Depository

A little while ago, I introduced you to my friend, Nicole (her first review is here). She enjoyed the reading/reviewing part so much I got her to agree to come on board for more! So, as I gently mould her into a book reviewer, lol, I gave her a few things to think about as she read He's So Not Worth It by Kieran Scott. Here's what she had to say:

When I was half finished the book, Jackie told  me that this was the second book in the series.  I don't feel that reading the first book is a necessity, but it may help.  At times, it felt like the author expected me to know the characters history, and how the previous plot twisted and turned. (Jackie interprets this as: First book would be a big asset in understanding this book also)  It may have helped me to connect more with the characters.  With saying that, the author left it VERY open for the third book.  I feel that it is a MUST to read this book before moving onto the third.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Have you ever... (1)

By nature, I'm a pretty curious person. I tend to go off on tangents, especially as I'm reading something that is new to me. This can sometimes cut into my reading time, as I head off to research one thing or another. I thought that maybe a better course of action would be to share my questions with you, my awesome readers, and get some opinions.

My first question came from a few books I've finished recently. Each of the books in question were part of a series that I've been loyal to in the past and continue to buy the books, to keep my "library" complete. But I seem to have lost the love I once felt for the storyline and/or the characters. What's a reader to do?

So, I put the question out here: Have you ever given up on a series?

I have a poll on the right hand side of the blog. I'd love to see what everyone else thinks. And feel free to leave a comment below, if you have anything to add (ie. series that you are loyal to or ones that have lost there lustre, etc.)

Review: Winter's Passage by Julia Kagawa

Meghan Chase used to be an ordinary girl...until she discovered that she is really a faery princess. After escaping from the clutches of the deadly Iron fey, Meghan must follow through on her promise to return to the equally dangerous Winter Court with her forbidden love, Prince Ash. But first, Meghan has one request: that they visit Puck--Meghan's best friend and servant of her father, King Oberon--who was gravely injured defending Meghan from the Iron Fey.

Yet Meghan and Ash's detour does not go unnoticed. They have caught the attention of an ancient, powerful hunter--a foe that even Ash may not be able to defeat....

An eBook exclusive story from Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey series.

Available at Harlequin, Amazon

Being a short story, I guess it's okay for me to write a short review, right?  Let's see how that works out, as I can, at times, tend to be verbose :-p

Reading this e-book right after The Iron King, I was surprised that it dealt with the voyage to the Winter Court. I thought for sure that would be an integral part of The Iron

Monday, July 4, 2011

Reading List: July 2011

It's been almost two years of blogging for me now and it still feels like a bit of a whirlwind at times. I had originally set out to have a place to keep track what books I was reading and discuss them, which then led to reviewing. Getting knee deep in book reviewing happened fairly quickly and had been (and still is) a learning experience. But I thought it was time I get back to my original thinking...at least the organizing part.

I decided to have a post dedicated to the reads planned for the month ahead. So, here is my reading material for July 2011. It seems ambitious, but I will strive to get through as many as I can! (And this post will also serve as a reminder to me of what needs to be accomplished...and when). Wish me luck!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...