Banned Books Week - September 24 - 30

Monday, November 30, 2009

Mailbox Monday


Mailbox Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page.

Just a few things in my mailbox over the past week.



Won:


The Fool's Tale by Nicole Galland from Kathleen (Celticlady) at Blog O' The Irish (Thanks!!!)

Synopsis:

Wales, 1198. A time of treachery, passion, and uncertainty. King Maelgwyn ap Cadwallon, known as Noble, struggles to protect his small kingdom from foes outside and inside his borders. Pressured into a marriage of political convenience, he takes as his bride the young, headstrong Isabel Mortimer, niece of his powerful English nemesis.

Through strength of character, Isabel wins her husband's grudging respect, but finds the Welsh court backward and barbaric, and is soon engaged in a battle of wills against Gwirion, the king's oldest, oddest, and most trusted friend. Before long, however, Gwirion and Isabel's mutual animosity is abruptly transformed, and the king finds himself as threatened by loved ones as by the enemies who menace his crown.

A masterful novel by a gifted storyteller, The Fool's Tale combines vivid historical fiction, compelling political intrigue, and passionate romance to create an intimate drama of three individuals bound -- and undone -- by love and loyalty. (from Fantastic Fiction)

Bought:


Beating the Devil's Game: A History of Forensic Science and Criminal Investigation by Katherine Ramsland (purchased at Dollar Tree for one dollar!)

No synopsis.  Just a quick note about Katherine Ramsland.  I have a special love for Ms. Ramsland because she has written extensively about one of my favorite authors, Anne Rice.  Books about Anne (or referring to Anne's body of work) include: Prism of the Night: A Biography of Anne Rice, The Anne Rice Trivia Book, The Vampire Companion: The Official Guide to Anne Rice's the Vampire Chronicles, and The Witches' Companion: The Official Guide to Anne Rice's Lives of the Mayfair Witches.


Letters to Juliet: Celebrating Shakespeare's Greatest Heroine, the Magical City of Verona, and the Power of Love by Lise Friedman & Ceil Friedman (also from Dollar Tree for one dollar!)

Synopsis:

Juliet. She’s one-half of the world’s most famous couple, whose enduring legend draws millions of visitors to Verona every year. But that’s only part of the story. Since the 1930s, Juliet has received an untold number of letters from writers all over the world. Most of the missives talk of love, of course—love found and love lost, love sought and love remembered. They may be written by teenagers in the throes of a first crush or struggling with parental censure. They may be from adults celebrating a hard-won love or wrestling with commitment. They come by the truckload, in almost every imaginable language—composed on ornate stationery, scrawled on loose-leaf, or scribbled on whatever scraps were handy. Frequently addressed simply, “Juliet, Verona,” all of these letters reach their destination and, amazingly enough, all of them receive an answer.

Letters to Juliet is the story of these letters and the volunteers who have been answering them for more than 70 years—volunteers who first acted privately, and who are now sanctioned by the city of Verona to answer thousands of letters each year as part of the Juliet Club. Complete with selected letters, this romantic and poetic book also contains the history behind Shakespeare’s tale and the monuments that fuel the legend. Utterly unique and magical, Letters to Juliet is perfect for anyone who’s ever felt the pangs of love. (from Amazon)

Note:  I thought this book was the neatest concept.  It even has an envelope pasted in the back with an envelope and a pretty piece of stationery for the reader to write and send their own letter to Juliet!

So...what did you get?!

Don't forget to check out my new Christmas blog, The Christmas Spirit, here and read my interview with Frank Beddor and enter my giveaway of Arch Enemy here.

Happy Reading!

ANNOUNCEMENT!!!

This is to announce the official launch of my Christmas blog, The Christmas Spirit! Click on the title to go over and check it out.  I really hope you like it!

I also wanted to acknowledge that I noticed my followers broke 100 over the Thanksgiving holiday! Thanks so much to all my loyal followers...I appreciate you more than you know! In honor of hitting 100 followers and in light of my Christmas Reading Challenge, I will be having a giveaway.  Details will be coming up soon.  I will also be having a giveway on my Christmas blog...also, to be announced.

And don't forget to enter my giveaway for Arch Enemy (Book 3, The Looking Glass Wars) by Frank Beddor here.  It ends December 11th.

Happy (Christmas) Reading!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Interview, Review and Giveaway: Arch Enemy by Frank Beddor

Interview with Frank Beddor, author of Arch Enemy, Book 3 in The Looking Glass Wars Trilogy and the Hatter M graphic novel series.

First of all, I would like to thank Mr. Beddor for joining me today and taking the time for this interview.

FB:  THANK YOU! The pleasure is all mine.

TTBA: I read in your bio that you were inspired to write The Looking Glass Wars by an exhibit of ancient cards at the British Museum, particularly an incomplete set that had images that reminded you of Alice in Wonderland. Had you always had a keen interest in the story of Alice in Wonderland or was this a new interest?

FB:  Not so much of an interest – I would say more of an ‘emotion’. Until I discovered the cards at the British Museum I was quite ANTI- Alice. My grandmother (whose name is actually Alice) insisted on reading Alice in Wonderland to me when I was about 10. It was a hot summer day and all the other kids were at the pool. Needless to probably say, it wasn’t a treasured memory and I despised the book until much later in life when the discovery of the cards ignited this fascination in me. I think there is some good evidence for predestination in these seemingly random events. My grandmother ‘Alice’, for some reason insisting on reading me Lewis Carroll’s book when I was 10 and then my discovery of the cards years later. If I hadn’t had the powerful ‘negative’ memory of that summer afternoon with my Grandmother would I have been aware of the similarity between the cards in the museum and Alice in Wonderland? If I had been a fan of Lewis Carroll’s tale would I have been so fervent in my search for the true story? Perhaps not. This leads me to ponder the many influences that continue to come to our world from Wonderland. I like to believe that someone somewhere wanted the truth to be told.

TTBA: I also read that you took around two years mapping the world of your Wonderland. Specifically, how difficult was the world building for this series or what kind of obstacles were you up against?

FB:  Because I am someone who enjoys puzzles, clues and mysteries the world building was more of a ‘world revealing’ since the cards lead the way for my research and writing. Along with literally telling the story of Alyss, the cards ‘inspired’ in my mind’s eye images of characters and environments that I described to artists who went on to create the art that is visual the foundation of the Looking Glass Wars.

TTBA: I am a bit of a feminist so I was impressed by the dominant female hierarchy in Wonderland's ruling class. Was this something you believe strongly in...the ability of women to be the dominant figure in society or was it just a natural course given Carroll's use of female characters such as Alice, the Duchess of the House, and the Queen of Hearts?

FB:  Going back to my dear, dominate Grandmother Alice I have always had strong women in my life and I am very thankful for that. Again, this could be seen as a reason for my ‘calling’ to reveal the story of Princess Alyss. I was suited to the task of taking this seriously and willing to devote a big part of my life to it. You have to remember that the story Princess Alyss told Lewis Carroll was not totally ignored. As a writer he simply chose to put his own fantastical spin on it. If you read his books carefully there is much that is valid including the matriarchal rule of Wonderland. He definitely got that much right.

TTBA: It seems there is a "trend" lately with Alice in Wonderland themed books and movies with Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland and SyFy's mini-series Alice. And Sasha Soren has an Alice themed book coming out called Random Magic. Do you think you may have inspired this trend? What do you think is the reason for the world's fascination with Alice and her Wonderland?

FB:  Did I inspire the recent trend of Alice in Wonderland themed projects? I doubt it since most are still telling Lewis Carroll’s version! While I can’t say I inspired anybody I have been thinking a lot about the question of “why Alice why now?” There are probably as many reasons as there are fans of the books but in general maybe it’s because today’s world is upside down, chaotic and random. I think people relate to Alice and her journey and in their hearts hope to be as stoic and courageous as she was in exploring (and enjoying!) Wonderland. The popularity of Alice in Wonderland has endured for nearly 150 years and been read by generations so it captures a large part of our shared imaginative history. It’s not just books, film and television that riff on Alice and Wonderland but music, clothing lines, nightclubs, games, toys etc. etc. etc. Across the pop culture spectrum, from artists and musicians to ad agencies and internet moguls, they are all tapping into our shared imaginative history of the Alice iconography to simultaneously reflect the chaotic world we live in (fear) and marry it to the comfort and reassurance of a childhood fairy tale (escape and security) to capture their audience.

TTBA: I read that The Looking Glass Wars trilogy will be making it to the big screen. When can we expect the first installment or will the three books be combined in to one film?

FB:  I anticipate book one of the LGW trilogy to be on big screens in 3 years. I have finished the screenplay and have partnered with producer Chuck Roven who has produced many big films including ‘Dark Knight’. There is too much material to combine all three books into one film so I anticipate that with success I will go on to produce these separately. I also plan to adapt the Hatter M graphic novel series into a film and am considering the unique possibilities for unfolding his realm jumping adventures within the framework of the LGW trilogy.

TTBA: Arch Enemy is the third book and it seemed to pretty much wrap things up. Do you think you will revisit Wonderland and continue on with the series or was Arch Enemy truly the end?

FB:  The Hatter M series continues with Volume 2 MAD WITH WONDER available now.

I plan to complete a total of 5 Hatter M geo-graphic novels to document his 13 years searching our world for Alyss. I’m not sure if you are familiar with the Hatter M Institute for Paranormal Travel, but even as we speak this group of radical cartographers and astral historians are working non-stop to piece together the arc of Hatter’s travels. Through the Institute’s work and communiqués from readers around the world new evidence of Wonderland’s existence and effect on our world continues to mount so you never really know where the portals will take you.

Since the beginning of this journey I have repeatedly uncovered lost and hidden evidence of Wonderland. It seems the more I write the more I discover which naturally leads to additional material to be written. Through a series of fortunate discoveries I released Princess Alyss of Wonderland, which features the lost art and journals of Princess Alyss Heart while she was exiled here in our world. In turn, the information uncovered in these journals opened several fascinating pathways, which lead me to deduce Alyss was not the only princess to have been exiled; in fact, evidence suggests that there is actually a league of exiled princesses spread across our world right NOW.

TTBA: Are you working on any new books of a different subject matter? I'm excited to see what you do next. Can we expect to see more novels from you in the future? (fingers crossed)

FB:  Please keep those fingers crossed! I do have new books in mind that I am beginning to research and outline. When you ask if they are of a ‘different subject matter’ I must answer yes and no. The novels will not focus exclusively on Alyss but rather on a deepening of some of the other characters that readers know from LGW. I am currently investigating information that has come to me with regard to Redd possibly having an heir as well as the unexpurgated school records of Cadet Hatter Madigan from his boyhood days at Wonderland’s Millinery Academy. Both of these slender silk threads could lead to books if the inspiration and imagination continues to flow to me from Wonderland!

TTBA: I would like to thank you again for taking the time to answer my questions and to say that I'm really looking forward to your next project, whatever that may be!

FB:  Again…it was all my pleasure. Thank you for the excellent questions.

Frank



Mini-Review:  Arch Enemy, Book 3, The Looking Glass Wars

Let me just say again how much I love The Looking Glass Wars trilogy and Arch Enemy, the final book, is no exception.  Imagination, the power that Wonderland runs on, has disappeared and King Arch, the chauvinist ruler of Borderland has declared himself king of Wonderland.  In a world without imagination, war is being waged by Arch with heavy artillery.  In the fight to save Wonderland and imagination, old enemies must join forces.

What I loved about this book were the various self-discoveries of the characters.  Redd and Alyss both must confront their pasts.  And Humburg Molly must look inside herself and discover her true worth.  But perhaps the most enlightened aspect of Arch Enemy is the concept of Everqueen.  This quote sums up the genius of the message of The Looking Glass Wars:

"You and others with Imagination will have the gifts with which you were born.  For those of future generations, it will be the same.  Some shall be born with much imagination, others little.  As it is now.  But Everqueen can never be destroyed, nor the inspiration she provides lessened."

I highly recommend the entire series to anyone who loves Alice in Wonderland and really to anyone who just loves a great fantasy read.


The Looking Glass Wars trilogy consists of:
  • The Looking Glass Wars
  • Seeing Redd
  • Arch Enemy
For more information on the books and the author, visit Frank Beddor's site here.

Giveaway:  the ARC of Arch Enemy

Rules:
  • United States entries only (sorry guys...so broke right now!)
  • you must leave a comment with your email address
  • +2 for old followers
  • +1 for new followers
  • +1 for following me on Twitter (@truebookaddict)--leave your handle
  • +2 for Tweeting and/or blogging about giveway (sidebar is okay)--must leave links.  Max. 4 points
  • Can do all entries in one comment.
  • I will announce winners here and email the winner.  Winner will have 48 hours to reply with mailing information.
  • Giveaway ends Friday, December 11th @ 11:59 pm CT
Good Luck!



FTC Disclaimer:  I received this ARC from a publicist for Frank Beddor, which I'm giving away.  I did not receive any monetary compensation for this review and the opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankfully Reading Weekend


I'm going to try to participate in this as much as I can this weekend, although I will be working on my Christmas blog so I can launch it tomorrow.  Reading is definitely something to be thankful for!

Happy (Thankfully) Reading!

Book review and extras: Random Magic by Sasha Soren


Blog tour: Random Magic and Other Shelf Tours

I'm a few days late posting this review.  I've been sick and all, so it took me FOREVER to finish the book.

I was very excited when I joined the blog tour for Random Magic and couldn't wait to read the book.  However, when I started reading, I thought to myself, "Oh no!"  The beginning of the book is pretty convoluted.  The Prologue about the haunted mansion seems entirely out of place and the scenes with Henry's family, especially Winsley and Tony, are utterly intolerable.  These sections go on and on with gibberish that one can hardly make sense of. 

Once I got in to the meat of the story, it was still a little slow going.  Scenes interjected such as a "soap opera" being filmed featuring characters from Greek mythology are entirely out of place.  The only thing that kept me hanging on through the first half of the book was Winnie Flapjack, the Doodle Witch.  Her wit and cleverness really hold the book together. 

So, just when I thought all was lost on my ever truly enjoying the book, then this passage came to light and it all turned around for me.

"The sea was beautiful, blue, limitless, and blind.  She went by many names, but belonged to no one but herself--and every unwary soul that trespassed the blue depths was hers.  It was a promise forged when time was young.
She slept, dreaming, her fingertips curled against her cheek.  Her great body, they called Ocean, and her long limbs, the sea.  Her hair and fingers streamed out into harbors and rivers, but she lived an exile of her own choosing.
Here, she meted out horror, and there, unexpected succour.  Tiny harbor cities clung to her hair like a veil of pearls, their streets filled with the happy sound of rumbling wagons creaking under the weight of spice chests and bolts of silk, wickerwork baskets brimming with oysters and nets bursting with silver fish.
When she withdrew, plague followed.  The great mass of living things drew breath from the sea, and so they also drew death.
Her arms closed soundlessly around the souls who braved her rage, clinging to them in a deep embrace both tender and terrifying.  She would outlive time itself, swaddling her memories in blue-black shrouds and the salt of her veins.
Every living mortal received both her blessing and her wrath; new souls emerged, squalling, from her depths, washed in memory and mystery.
This is why the homes of men are ever built on her threshold, clinging to their defender and punisher, and why mortal tears always taste of salt.
She was the sea, She would be, until the gods themselves crumbled in ash under a dying sun.  She would have what was hers.  And she would keep her secrets."

Such beautiful writing here...it gave me what I needed to continue on and, indeed, the second half of the book was wonderful.  It is here that the true messages of the book start shining through.  Starting with this quote:

"Everything," she said, bending down to look at him, "everything in life--tells you a story.  If you have ears to hear it."

Messages of love, friendship and perserverance in the face of adversity.  Winnie and Henry never give up in spite of the myriad of obstacles that stand in their way.  Winnie teaches Henry the meaning of self-sacrifice and how to believe in himself.  Henry teaches Winnie that it is okay to show someone how you really feel, but still be strong.

My advice to a reader of Random Magic would be to look deep inside the labyrinthine goings on throughout the book...which is really the point (hence the word "random" in the title)...and search for the real message, as I did.  If you take my advice, you will not be disappointed.




Here are some themes which the author intended to come through in the reading.  I would say she succeeded!

Inside Random Magic: Reader Notes - Book Themes

Some of the themes of the book, apart from the nutty adventures and colorful imagery, would be:

• Magic is everywhere, even in daily life, just have to know where to look.
• Always believe in yourself, even if no one else does.
• Inside every woman, there is a queen
• Brains can be more useful than brawn, in a lot of cases
• Knowledge is power
• Bravery isn’t a lack of fear, but a willingness to try even when you’re afraid
• True beauty is much greater than skin deep
• Loyalty, friendship and love are more valuable than gold
• Magic is: Magic. But it’s also: The power to create art, music, and beauty.
• There is spiritual beauty in physical objects, sometimes
• Humans are mortal, but the things they create are immortal.
• It’s foolhardy to underestimate the seemingly small and weak
• Don’t believe everything you see
• One person with courage is a majority
• Never give up
• Love is the most elusive but most powerful magic of all

For more information about the book and the author, visit Sasha's website here.

Happy Reading!



FTC Disclaimer:  I received this book to read and review for a blog tour.  The opinions are my own and I did not receive monetary compensation.

Happy Thanksgiving and what I'm thankful for...

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Another Thanksgiving rolls around and it has been a difficult year so I find myself especially thankful this year for things that make my life easier to love:
  • my sons, Gabe and Reece
  • my parents and my sister who are always there for me
  • I must thank my husband because he does work hard
  • my cat, Alis
  • my books and my books...and my books!
  • the book blogging community and all the friends I have made!
  • having my health
  • my new job (even though it's extremely part-time...LOL!)
  • pumpkin pie, of course!
Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving...have a safe and restful day with your family and friends!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Tribute to Dewey



I found out from caribousmom that today is the one year anniversary of Dewey's passing.  Although I didn't know her, I like to believe that her spirit lives on...helping to maintain the wonderful community of book blogging.  So, I'm reposting a tribute that I wrote in October during the 24-hour Read-a-Thon. 

Dear  Dewey,

Unfortunately, I did not have the pleasure of knowing you.  Wherever you may be now, I hope that you can see what a wonderful legacy you have left behind.  I have yet to participate in any of your other memes, like Weekly Geeks.  However, this 24 hour Read-a-Thon you created is truly spectacular.  I am a relatively new blogger and I have so enjoyed becoming a part of this book blogging community.  Your Read-a-Thon is such a great way to spread that sense of community far and wide among book bloggers and beyond.  I hope you know how thankful we are to you and how very proud you should be of what you left behind.

From an admiring book blogger =o)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mailbox Monday


Mailbox Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page.

I received a lot in the mail this past week, but I technically didn't BUY anything...although a few of my books are from my joining the Doubleday Book Club...AGAIN!

So....

In the mail:


The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent--won from Bookin' with Bingo (Thanks again, Karen)

Martha Carrier was one of the first women to be accused, tried and hanged as a witch in Salem, Massachusetts. Like her mother, young Sarah Carrier is bright and willful, openly challenging the small, brutal world in which they live. Often at odds with one another, mother and daughter are forced to stand together against the escalating hysteria of the trials and the superstitious tyranny that led to the torture and imprisonment of more than 200 people accused of witchcraft. This is the story of Martha's courageous defiance and ultimate death, as told by the daughter who survived.

Kathleen Kent is a tenth generation descendent of Martha Carrier. She paints a haunting portrait, not just of Puritan New England, but also of one family's deep and abiding love in the face of fear and persecution.


Powers by John B. Olson--Early Review win from Library Thing

“Bury me standing. I must be buried standing.”

Powers, the follow-up to John Olson’s Shade (“a must-read for those who enjoy Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti” —Publishers Weekly), introduces a sheltered Gypsy girl named Mariutza. Her grandfather utters a mysterious last request before dying in her arms after being shot by ten cloaked men.

Those same men die before her eyes, but strange powers continue to pursue Mari through the swamps of southern Louisiana where she has always hidden from “the Badness.”

The whole world seems to join in the chase—helicopters, soldiers, government agents, and the police are all trying to kill her. Mari’s only hope of survival is to find Jaazaniah the Prophet, the mythical hero of her grandfather’s bedtime stories. But she has never been outside the swamp or known other humans besides her grandfather and one teacher. How can this lone girl survive the bewildering world of men long enough to find a prophet who might not even exist? (from Amazon)


The next three books I received from Doubleday Book Club as part of my introductory package:


Marked by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast

The House of Night series is set in a world very much like our own, except in 16-year-old Zoey Redbird's world, vampyres have always existed.In this first book in the series, Zoey enters the House of Night, a school where, after having undergone the Change, she will train to become an adult vampire--that is, if she makes it through the Change.Not all of those who are chosen do.It's tough to begin a new life, away from her parents and friends, and on top of that, Zoey finds she is no average fledgling.She has been Marked as special by the vampyre Goddess, Nyx.But she is not the only fledgling at the House of Night with special powers.When she discovers that the leader of the Dark Daughters, the school's most elite club, is misusing her Goddess-given gifts, Zoey must look deep within herself for the courage to embrace her destiny--with a little help from her new vampyre friends.


The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

The Lost Symbol will once again feature Dan Brown's unforgettable protagonist, Robert Langdon.

'The Lost Symbol is a brilliant and compelling thriller. Dan Brown's prodigious talent for storytelling, infused with history, codes and intrigue, is on full display in this new book. This is one of the most anticipated publications in recent history, and it was well worth the wait,' said Sonny Mehta, Chairman and Editor in Chief of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Brown's longtime editor, Jason Kaufman, Vice President and Executive Editor at Doubleday said, 'Nothing ever is as it first appears in a Dan Brown novel. This book's narrative takes place in a twelve-hour period, and from the first page, Dan's readers will feel the thrill of discovery as they follow Robert Langdon through a masterful and unexpected new landscape. The Lost Symbol is full of surprises.'

"This novel has been a strange and wonderful journey," said Brown. "Weaving five years of research into the story's twelve-hour timeframe was an exhilarating challenge. Robert Langdon's life clearly moves a lot faster than mine."


The Stephen King Library Desk Calendar 2010

Stephen King’s work plays a major role in entertaining, delighting, inspiring, and scaring the pants right off of us. Our exclusive Stephen King Library Desk Calendar 2010 is packed with essays, odd details, trivia, and games—365 chances to journey into Stephen King’s sinister universe. This year’s calendar is full of excerpts from The Shining, articles from the professionals he has influenced, and even information on how to make your own animal topiary. Plus, you can test your SK skills with the "Who Played the Baddie?" and "Match the Opening Line with the King Story" quizzes. Filled with information about his novels, films and comic book adaptations, this desk calendar is destined to become an instant classic. (from Doubleday Book Club)



Matchless: A Christmas Story by Gregory Maguire--from BOMC2 (monthly book club)

When it was first translated from Danish and published in England in the mid-nineteenth century, audiences likely interpreted the Little Match Girl's dying visions of lights and a grandmother in heaven as metaphors of religious salvation. Maguire's new piece, entitled "Matchless," re-illuminates Andersen's classic, using his storytelling magic to rekindle Andersen's original intentions, and to suggest transcendence, the permanence of spirit, and the continuity that links the living and the dead.


This next bunch of goodies I bought from Amazon with my gift card win from Park Avenue Princess' "Never Slow Dance with a Zombie" Twitter contest...the Grand Prize! A special thanks again to Amy and E. Van Lowe!



Never Slow Dance with a Zombie by E. Van Lowe

Principal Taft's 3 Simple Rules for Surviving a Zombie Uprising:

Rule #1: While in the halls, walk slowly and wear a vacant expression on your face. Zombies won't attack other zombies.

Rule #2: Never travel alone. Move in packs. Follow the crowd. Zombies detest blatant displays of individuality.

Rule #3: If a zombie should attack, do not run. Instead, throw raw steak at to him. Zombies love raw meat. This display of kindness will go a long way.

On the night of her middle school graduation, Margot Jean Johnson wrote a high school manifesto detailing her goals for what she was sure would be a most excellent high school career. She and her best friend, Sybil, would be popular and, most important, have boyfriends. Three years later, they haven't accomplished a thing!

Then Margot and Sybil arrive at school one day to find that most of the student body has been turned into flesh-eating zombies. When kooky Principal Taft asks the girls to coexist with the zombies until the end of the semester, they realize that this is the perfect opportunity to live out their high school dreams. All they have to do is stay alive...


Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight - she's a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king's thug. She never expects to fall in love with beautiful Prince Po. She never expects to learn the truth behind her Grace - or the terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone. With elegant, evocative prose and a cast of unforgettable characters, debut author Kristin Cashore creates a mesmerizing world, a death-defying adventure, and a heart-racing romance that will consume you, hold you captive, and leave you wanting more.


The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

My name is Chloe Saunders and my life will never be the same again.

All I wanted was to make friends, meet boys, and keep on being ordinary. I don't even know what that means anymore. It all started on the day that I saw my first ghost - and the ghost saw me.

Now there are ghosts everywhere and they won't leave me alone. To top it all off, I somehow got myself locked up in Lyle House, a "special home" for troubled teens. Yet the home isn't what it seems. Don't tell anyone, but I think there might be more to my housemates than meets the eye. The question is, whose side are they on? It's up to me to figure out the dangerous secrets behind Lyle House . . . before its skeletons come back to haunt me.


Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale by Holly Black

Welcome to
the realm of
very scary
faeries!

Sixteen-year-old Kaye is a modern nomad. Fierce and independent, she travels from city to city with her mother's rock band until an ominous attack forces the sixteen-year-old back to her childhood home. There, amid the industrial, blue-collar New Jersey backdrop, Kaye soon finds herself an unwilling pawn in an ancient power struggle between two rival faerie kingdoms -- a struggle that could very well mean her death.

Newcomer Holly Black's enormously powerful voice weaves teen angst, riveting romance, and capriciously diabolical faerie folk into an enthralling, engaging, altogether original reading experience.

AND two Christmas CDs!


The incomparable Tori Amos--Midwinter Graces (you should see the photography artwork in this CD...breathtaking!) This is a CD/DVD combo!

After nearly two decades writing and recording some of her generation's most emotionally powerful music, Tori Amos will release her first seasonal album, Midwinter Graces, on November 10 via Universal Republic Records. A follow up to Tori's critically acclaimed studio album, Abnormally Attracted to Sin, Midwinter Graces will find Tori reworking and expanding on classic carols as well as developing some of her very own seasonal tracks. Midwinter Graces is an album that has been in the making for the past 40 years. Raised in the Baltimore area under the watchful eye of her Methodist minister father, Tori grew up playing holiday carols at Sunday services and Christmas Day celebrations in her father's church. These were the songs that gave a young Tori her first taste of music, and now almost 40 years later Tori gets her own chance to reimagine classics like "What Child, Nowell" and "Star of Wonder." Tori will also add her own bittersweet bliss to the season with original tracks like "Pink and Glitter" and "Our New Year." (from Amazon)


The Sounds of Christmas 2009--from my friend Ken Kessler, who runs Sounds of Christmas internet radio and now has his own record label.  Featuring a song from Ken's wife (and my friend) author Lisa Kessler (song is Christmas Vacation!) Click here to check out Ken's site and listen to Christmas music online (FREE)!

The Sounds of Christmas 2009 is a fantastic collection of Christmas music, featuring everything from songs specifically recorded for this CD to a twenty-five year old fan club Christmas song from Huey Lewis and the News!

The CD also features Richard Marx, Dennis DeYoung and Stephen Bishop (with a special exclusive version of his original Rock Little Reindeer). And don't miss the amazing version of Winter Wonderland by Hayseed Dixie (with a Whole Lotta Led Zeppelin)!

The Sounds of Christmas also features William Shatner and his performance of Good King Wenceslas! Plus, proceeds from the purchase of this CD will go to benefit William Shatner's Hollywood Charity Horseshow, which benefits disabled, disadvantaged and special needs children. (from Amazon)


So what exciting items did you have waiting for you in your mailbox?

Happy Reading (and Listening)!


(all synopses are from Fantastic Fiction unless otherwise noted)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

My thoughts on New Moon


Although I had not finished the book, I went to see New Moon on Saturday anyway because my mom...and, okay, I...couldn't wait! Can I just say that I absolutely loved this movie?! I'm not going to go in to an extensive review or anything.  However, I will say that before this movie, I was totally Team Edward, but by the middle of the movie, I found myself playing for both teams...LOL! Of course, I ended up staunchly back on Team Edward by the end of the movie, but I still have to throw some cred at Jacob (Taylor Lautner).  He can really hold his own.  I thought the effects in New Moon were much better than Twilight (big surprise...larger budget anyone!)  The werewolves were amazing! And I also enjoyed the edition of the Volturi characters.  Michael Sheen (Aro) was spot on, as usual.  And Dakota Fanning (Jane)...genuinely creepy with the red eyes.  As the final words of the movie were spoken, I said to my mom, "Now I really can't wait to finish the book!"


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Random Magic Blog Tour


Random Magic by Sasha Soren...be watching for my review on Monday!














The Trailer







Inside Random Magic: Reader Notes - Trivia

* The name of the artist, Rasa Oddvilla, is an anagram for Salvador Dalí.

* The Floating City can be considered to be allegorical.

* Only 2000 copies of the first edition of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland were printed, then discarded as waste paper.

* “Two fathoms” refers to Mark Twain.

* Anagrammatic homage to Douglas Adams in -- Ch. 42, of course.

* Ergot-tainted rye can cause hallucinations. Historians suggest that ergot-tainted rye was the spur for the Salem Witch Trials in 1692.

* Guédé is a voodoo entity; he guards the gates of the cemetery, and is privy to all the secrets of the dead. He's also known as Baron Samedi. Although he is a much-feared entity, he has a wicked sense of humor. He is fond of children, and will sometimes intervene to spare the life of a dying child.

* The invention of the word game of "doublets" is attributed to Lewis Carroll.

* Hypatia of Alexandria was a mathematician and the victim of a political assassination -- she was torn to pieces by a mob in 415A.D.

* Professor Literati's eyes are the color of absinthe, a drink which was popular with artists, writers and poets in the 19th century. Absinthe is also referred to by the moniker "The Green Fairy."

* Gone is the feline retort to the paradox of Schrödinger's Cat. He's rumored to be related to the Cheshire Cat, but we can find no definitive proof.

* The nickname "Wiggy" refers both to Beethoven and to Ludwig II of Bavaria, a/k/a the Swan King, the Dream King, and, natch, the Mad King of Bavaria.

* Mort = la mort (death, Fr.)

* Nyx is the goddess of night.

* Charon is the ferryman of the dead. The ancient Greeks buried loved ones with a silver coin under their tongues for Charon, to ensure safe passage.

* Moirtha the cook (one of the Wyrd sisters, related to the Norns) is one of the Moirai.

* Nevermore is named for the well-known poem, "The Raven," by Edgar Allen Poe.

* The book Winnie and Henry read in the library is Der Struwwelpeter, a ghastly/funny children's book of cautionary tales published in 1845. Mark Twain translated the book into English in 1891.

* The woman in the Garden of the Nine Muses is actually a tarot card representing hidden knowledge.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Fill-In


I haven't done this in quite some time.  I really liked the sound of this one so here goes....

1. We need a little Christmas, right this very minute!


2. I thought of my boys just now and it made me smile.

3. If you want something for yourself, you have to go out and get it.

4. I am blessed because I have my sons, my health and my books.

5. Massachusetts has a proposed 5% sales tax on elective cosmetic surgery; I think that's just fine.

6. Home, family and books makes for a happy holiday.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to reading (I have two books to finish), tomorrow my plans include going to see New Moon (wooo hooo!) and Sunday, I want to (not really) work on my school work!
 
From Friday Fill-ins by Janet

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mailbox Monday



Mailbox Monday is a weekly meme from Marcia at The Printed Page.

Two new things for my Mailbox Monday this week...

First, I am using my new mailbox pic in the spirit of Christmas...I'm finally getting in to the spirit, although a little later than usual this year.  Also, those of you that are wondering about my Christmas blog...I am working on it.  I was hoping the banner I won from Bitten by Books could be created as a header, but I haven't heard anything so it looks like I'll be creating my own header.  I WILL have the blog up and running by Thanksgiving.  I promise!

Second, I am not going to be including book synopses this week as I have so many books to list.  However, each title will be a link to the synopsis if you find one particularly interesting.

Now...on with the goodies!

Won:

I won a $50 gift certificate from Lizzy Bleu, maker of exquisite vintage typewriter jewelry (Lizzy has a monthly giveaway which I found out about at Park Avenue Princess...what a great blog! If you haven't visited, you should do so and soon!)  Thanks again Lizzy and Amy!


Look at this gorgeous necklace.  I cannot include pics of all that I received, but I got this R necklace and also a G so I can wear them together on one necklace (my sons' initials).  I also got a B necklace for my mom for Christmas (her name is Bonita or Bonnie), a necklace with a vintage Santa pic AND, be still my heart, a necklace with a vintage Alice in Wonderland pic! You really must check out Lizzy's site.  Everything she creates is so beautiful...she is majorly talented!


Dawnbreaker: The Third Dark Days Novel by Jocelyn Drake







Pdf ebook sets of both Rowan of the Wood and Witch on the Water by Christine Rose & Ethan Rose.





















Thank you to Bitten by Books...also for their great month long contest and for being such an awesome site!


In the Mail:















































All three of these books I won from the BBAW's Hunt through History Scavenger Hunt (Thanks again!).


The following books I received in my introductory package for joining the Crafter's Choice book club.
























































Bought:

These were purchased from my monthly Friends of the Library sale AND it was half price this month! All of these books for $10!!!

The Prestige by Christopher Priest






























































































































































































































For the kids:





















Did you get some great goodies too?

Happy Reading =o)


Photobucket


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