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Showing posts from November, 2011

Why I Love...Stand Alone Novels

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It was a beautiful, sunny day here in the PNW, though I forgot to take a picture of it (I even thought to myself while I was driving home from work: "take a picture of the sky because it's an amazingly nice November day.  That doesn't often happen here").  However, that has absolutely nothing to do with today's post.  I just thought I'd share :)

Instead, it's time for "Why I Love".  This week's topic is....series or stand alone novels.  Intriguing and important!  While both have their positive and negative attributes, I have to give the honor to those novels that can stand alone.  Those that don't depend on anything else to make them complete.  Those that come full circle within the given pages.  It's so satisfying in that respect.

Don't get me wrong, I love a series just as much as the next girl (Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, The Hunger Games, and Stephanie Plum to name a few), but there's something about a stand alon…

Teaser Tuesday...Evidently Cannibals are Sexy...

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Today's teaser comes from a book lent to me by a friend, J. Maarten Troost's The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific.  It's a travelogue, and we all know how much I enjoy travel and people who write about travel.  However, I don't think that the island of Tarawa, where Troost heads, would necessarily be my destination.  But who knows, it could be intriguing! 

"But we had a few illusions and no one, certainly not Kate, a walking spout of bilious bile, was going to deprive us of what we wanted to see.  We had traveled far, uprooted our lives, moved to the end of the world, and there was no way we were going to concede that we had made a mistake." (35)

Sounds fascinating...and comical!!!

Top Ten of 2011 Event

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Yet another great thing to participate in!!!  
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The Low-Down Monday 12/26 – Top 10 Books I’ve read in 2011 Tuesday 12/27 – Top 10 Book Covers of 2011 Wednesday 12/28 – Top 10 Book Boyfriends in 2011 Thursday 12/29 – Top 10 Characters in 2011 (This can be anything you’d like to make it for characters. You can post your favorite Villains, etc. Just be sure that this post is character based.) Friday 12/30 – Top 10 Books I’m looking forward to in 2012 (Also on this day, we’ll each be adding some kind of a recap of the total number of books read, pages read, etc. This part of the post is optional. Feel free to add any stats you’d like to share with everyone. So, if you’d like to also include some end of year stats, feel free to join us!)


I came across this on a site that hosts a few meme's that I participate in and thought it sounded like a great idea, so I decided to join in.  It's hosted by a few other blogs and there's a …

An Encounter with the Jersey Devil...Among Others

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I just finished a Stephanie Plum between-the-number novel, Plum Spooky, and have to say that I enjoyed it for the quick read that it was.  I've read a few of the in between novels and have always been a little disappointed in them.  I think this stems from the fact that Morelli and Ranger are not prominently present.  Such a tragedy.  However, I did find this one entertaining, even without those two, and despite the fact that there was a certain amount of the paranormal/science fiction aspect to it.  Not too shabby.

The novel centers around Stephanie (obviously) and her rather inept attempts at capturing a high-bond skip:  Martin Munch.  There are a couple lesser skips that she runs down during this long search, Gordo Bollo is a rather comical one who enjoys throwing fruits at Stephanie to escape, but the majority of the time is spent trying to ferret out Munch.  Munch has fallen in with a scary guy, Wulf, who is busy eluding Diesel, a guy who randomly appears in Stephanie's a…

Why I Love...W.P.B.!

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Well, hello Wednesday.  It's nice to see you again!  I'm getting a little bit of a late start on my "Why I Love" post this week because it's so hard to come up with one favorite book family, which is this week's topic.  Now, because I couldn't narrow it down enough to not include these three families, I simply ranked them in order!

#1
This should be a given for anyone who knows me (and for anyone who's read some of my past posts) because I always manage to weave in a little Harry Potter reference somewhere in my discussion.  However, this one is completely applicable.  Every single Weasley family member is so fully developed, even those who don't show up often.  The dynamics between the members are beautifully portrayed and each character is lovable in their own way (even Percy at times).  The Weasley family is one that makes the most of their situation, doesn't begrudge anyone who might have more in a monetary sense, and loves each other uncon…

I'd Rather Murder this Book on the Eiffel Tower than Read It Again

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Claude Izner's Murder on the Eiffel Tower is TERRIBLE!!!  If you pass one book over during this holiday season, make sure it's this one.  Oh man.  So bad!

I borrowed this book from a friend last week and it sounded promising.  She said it was different, had an odd voice to it, and that she was waiting to make up her mind about it.  That should have been a sign.  Alas, I read the whole thing...and feel like I've lost a few braincells while doing so.

The novel follows a group of middle to high class individuals through Paris during the 1889 World Exposition Fair (the one where the Eiffel Tower was unveiled).  What follows is a case of whodunnit.  There is a murder...and then another...and another...and another...yet they are all chalked up to the work of killer bees by the police.  What?!  Unless you are a character from NBC's Grimm, this is simply not plausible.  Victor Legris, a bookseller, is present at the first murder and soon embarks on his own personal investigati…

Teaser Tuesday...Bring Me Some Coffee!

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It's a rainy, windy, out of control day here in the Pacific Northwest (seriously...I feel like the roof is going to be ripped off the top of the house right now), but I am a dedicated Teaser Tuesday poster and, fear not, I will not let you down!  Today's teaser comes from a book that I am two pages into as I started it this morning and then got distracted by shopping (whoops).  My selection is from Alexander McCall Smith's second installation in the 44 Scotland Street series and is called Espresso Tales.

"Stuart looked frantically about the room.  It would be possible to make a run for it now, he thought.  Lard would be unable to run after them, with that bulk of his, but he had heard sounds out in the hall and he had assumed that there were other men, apart from Gerry, in the house.  These gangsters rarely had just one side-kick, he remembered." (177)
And now I want some coffee...

A Shining Knight is Kind of Dim in my Opinion...(Book #18)

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Finally knocked out another book in the A-Z challenge; it's been a while since I've selected a book that will work for the challenge.  I originally had a different novel chosen for the letter "K", but I decided to choose something that I knew I could get through quickly in an effort to finish up the challenge.  Thank you Jude Deveraux for providing me with such a choice in A Knight in Shining Armor (one of my 50 centers from the Friends of the Library sale).

Reading the synopsis of this novel really presented me with not much to go on.  I thought it was going to be a historical novel, but I was mistaken...kind of.  

Knight follows Dougless along her journey to love and self-acceptance in 1988.  She is on vacation in England with her significant other (a self-centered ass) and his spoiled brat of a daughter.  Trouble ensues and she's left to fend for herself without anything to her name.  Cue the entrance of Nicholas Stafford, an earl from the sixteenth century.  …

Why I Love...Draco Malfoy

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It's hard to find a specific character in a book that you hate but love at the same time.  Most of the time you hate them with a passion, feel indifferent, or, in rare cases, love them despite their many shortcomings.  Because of that, this week's "Why I Love" is dedicated to my favorite villain; one that I love despite his MANY shortcomings.

Draco Malfoy.  The poor kid!  I know, I know.  Many people absolutely hate the white-blonde snot, but for some reason I felt sorry for him more than I hated him.  For me, Draco was a victim of circumstance.  He grew up with parents who demonstrated a hate for the "other" and didn't really know a different view of the world.  In many ways, he is like Harry.  Whoa...did I just say that?  Yes, I did!  Though Draco had parents, who loved him in their own way, he was also brought up in an environment that did not encourage outward displays of affection or acceptance.  He was stunted in his development at a young age and…

Teaser Tuesday...Traveling Back in Time (Kind Of...Sort Of)

Today's teaser is brought to you by the letter K!  I am still trying to get through my A-Z Book Challenge (I keep reading books starting with letters that I've already read), so I grabbed one that will count toward that specific challenge.  Though it wasn't the original intention for the letter, I felt like I was so far behind that I grabbed one I knew I could get through quickly.  So, because of that, this teaser comes from Jude Deveraux's A Knight in Shining Armor; it's one of my Friends of the Library purchases!

"As she hung up, Dougless realized she wasn't surprised by the coincidence.  It seemed that some kind of wish therapy was at work.  Every time she wished for something, she got it.  She wished for a Knight in Shining Armor and he had appeared (a crazy one who thought he was from the sixteenth century, but a man in armor no less); she wished for money and he had a bag of coins worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.  Now she needed reservations to …

But Who's the Wolf??????

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Just finished Sarah Blakley-Cartwright's Red Riding Hood and I am not amused!  I had, I guess unreasonably, high hopes for this adaptation of the classic fairytale.  Alas, I was let down.  The story was interesting and kept me involved, however I felt completely let down by so much of the book.

Hood follows the experience of Valerie and the village she lives in.  Every full moon a family must sacrifice one piece of their livestock to appease the werewolf who haunts their village.  One fateful harvest there is the rarely occurring blood moon.  This is where all the action starts.  There is a vicious killing of one of the villagers and, literally, all hell breaks loose.  The one killing leads to broken loyalties, paranoia, questions of faith, and more deaths.  Of course there is also a love triangle between Valerie, Henry, and Peter that plays into the action of the story, but the reader doesn't have to think hard to know who Valerie will end up with.  It's a decent storyline…

44 Scotland Street Makes Me Teary-Eyed

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That's right!  Alexander McCall Smith's 44 Scotland Street makes me teary-eyed.  Not because of the plot or characters or anything like that, but because of the fact that I can close my eyes and see exactly what the characters are seeing.  I can walk and ride along with them in every aspect.  Sad and teary-eyed because I miss it so much.  Ugh.  Now I don't even want to write this.  My dreary day (though fantastic weather-wise with it's overcast skies, slight mist, and chilly breeze) is now reflected with a dreary mood :(

Anywho...moving on to the book.  LOVED IT!  I like the fact that McCall Smith originally created this as a serial and ran it in The Scotsmanevery week and I can only image how fans reacted.  Personally, I would have found it nearly impossible to wait for the next installment to come out.  Oh the pins and needles!  However, since there are currently five books in the series, I think I'm good for the moment.

44 Scotland Street follows the inhabitants o…

Why I Love...A Multitude of Authors

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As someone who has made books and reading their profession, it is very difficult for me to choose a favorite author.  But there are several who stand out in my eyes and that's why this week's "Why I Love" is dedicated to my favorite author...or authors in my case :)

First, and foremost, I have to include Italo Calvino who is a notable Cuban-Italian writer.  I first encountered the brilliance that is Calvino's writing in an undergrad English course and have since sought out everything he's written, even going so far as to take a grad course dedicated to him.  The first book I read of his was The Baron in the Trees.  Pure magical brilliance!  He's also written a lot of literary theory and critiques on the notion of time as it's represented in literature.  I have to say that my absolute favorite novel by Calvino is If on a winter's night a traveler...which is a unique piece of work in that it doesn't follow the traditional formula of novels at al…

Books Galore!

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This past weekend was the annual Friends of the Albany Library book sale at the fairgrounds and I picked all of these lovely, wonderful, heartwarming books up for a mere 23 bucks!  I love this sale and always mark it in my calendar.  Also, I could have bought a lot more and spent even longer perusing the tables, but my Powell's tote was full :(  Next year I'm bringing two bags!  Now I just have to wait for the Friends of the Corvallis Library sale to add to my continually growing selection.

Teaser Tuesday...Beware the Big, Bad Wolf!

This week's teaser comes from one of my finds from the Dollar Tree that cost me, you guessed it, a whole dollar!  Whew...almost broke the bank there!  So, without further ado, I give you Sarah Blakley-Cartwright's Red Riding Hood (adapted from the screenplay written by David Leslie Johnson):

"Suzette was thinking she'd rather the visitors begin to leave, but hearing steps ascending the ladder, she still opened the door, moving onto the porch in anticipation and closing the door behind her against the snow.  But when she saw the dark head come into view, she wished she hadn't.  She recognized him even after all these years." (111)
I haven't yet started the book as I'm finishing up another one, trying to finish up grading for the end of the term, applying to a PhD program, and participating in National Novel Writing Month.  Needless to say my plate's kind of full, but I have every intention of starting this book by this weekend.  Yay for Veteran'…

Why I Love...A Book in my Hands

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I've been known to read anywhere and everywhere.  True statement.  There are very few places that I am unable to read; namely cars and double decker buses (found both out the hard way).  When I was little, I was able to read in cars, no problem.  However, as I've grown older, I find that I tend to get a little motion sickness if I don't watch the road the entire time.  Either that, or I have to close my eyes for the duration of the trip.  Regardless, I've discovered that I can read just about anywhere aside from those two places.  So, because of this, I dedicate this week's "Why I Love" to my favorite reading spot...THE WORLD as long as I have a book in my hands!

I'm quite comfortable hunkering down in any given spot, cracking open whatever book is in my bag, and losing myself in the world it provides.  This ability has provided me with many escapes from the everyday world and helped to pass hours and hours.  I find this incredibly true when confronte…

Portland's a Crazy Little Bitch!

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"I wonder how people think of Portland from the outside.  Is it a hippie haven where everyone reads Ken Kesey and hangs out at open mike night?  Is it the gray, grungy, junkie-riddled streets of early Gus Van Sant movies?  A cheap, trendy town full of myopic record labels and zinesters?  Sex worker paradise?  Bookstore heaven?  A place where New Yorkers come to feel important and/or relaxed?  Some wet old logging town that somehow became "one of the best cities in America"?
Yeah, it's all that and a fancy coffee spilled on your Gore-Tex jacket (the same one you soiled with microbrew last night)."  ~Kevin Sampsell
What a lovely...and TRUE...introduction to Portland Noir, a wonderful collection of seedy stories set throughout Portland, written by local authors.  The collection really does showcase the different sections of the city (Burnside, St. Johns, Mount Tabor, Powell, Oaks Bottom, etc.) and the sub-culture that is inherently threaded through its identity.  I…

Teaser Tuesday...Reminiscing about Edinburgh

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It's that time of the week where I put forth a little gem of lovely from whatever book I'm reading (at least the one closest to me at the time).  For this week's edition, I've just started Alexander McCall Smith's 44 Scotland Street, the first in the series.  Yay for Scotland (I miss you)!!  And the teaser...


"'Psychotherapy," said Bertie, gazing down at the floor.  'I set fire to Daddy's Guardian.'  He paused, and looked up at Domenica.  'While he was reading it.'" (222)



I'm really enjoying this book so far...for several reasons.