Saturday, April 30, 2011

30 Day Challenge

Day 29 – A book everyone hated but you liked

Well, I wouldn't say everyone, but a lot of my acquaintances who attempted to pick it up hated it with a passion.

The Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hesse

Set in the 23rd century, The Glass Bead Game is the story of Joseph Knecht, who has been raised in Castalia, the remote place his society has provided for the intellectual elite to grow and flourish. Since childhood, Knecht has been consumed with mastering the Glass Bead Game, which requires a synthesis of aesthetics and scientific arts, such as mathematics, music, logic, and philosophy, which he achieves in adulthood, becoming a Magister Ludi (Master of the Game).

A Bit of Me(me)

This week's question:

This Weeks Question: If your house was on fire and you could only grab 3 things before leaving, what would they be? (Other than family or pets.)

Well, since I am an aspiring writer, all my journals and my hard drive that contains poems and the novels I'm working on. Then, I 'd grab the whole box of photos we have in our closet (it's all ready and set to go, we believe in fearing the worst at my house)and the two videos of my sister and me as babies. Then if I have time and hands, I would grab a beautiful little statue, an antique, that was passed down through the generations in my family. There are only three like it in the world and, although it would make us quite wealthy if we sold it, it is as mush a part of our family as our photos.

What about you, what would you save?

Friday, April 29, 2011

an odd boy: volume one by doc togden

Volume one of an odd boy is a memoire of an eccentric aficionado of Bach and Blues, poetry and painting. A portrait of the artist as a lad, set in the experimental cultural ferment of the late 1960s. It is a coming-of-age adventure, both surreal and innocent, humorous and poignant, depicting an era when the Arts set a generation’s imagination on fire. The author’s life is a rare roulette wheel of childhood wonder and tragic debacles; a debilitating stammer and a powerful singing voice; bad luck and fierce good fortune. At 16 he’s travelled far in human experience from the midnight expedition he made to the crossroads at the age of 12.

I received this ebook through the Librarything Giveaway program and although it started off with in an interesting fashion, it soon lost some of its shine.
There's nothing wrong with the writing itself. No huge issues, grmmatical or otherwise. It's just, well, quite dull. I hate to stick those words to its tail, but I have no other way of describing its faults. The main character shows no real spark of life, and he just glides through the reader's imagination without leaving real, lasting mark.
There are some pretty tedious descriptions of guitar names nd technicalities that add nothing to the story, actually taking away the reader's already thinning interest.
I don't want to keep harping on the same thing, so I won't. If you've got time and patience, you might enjoys this book. It didn't do much for me.

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop

"Summer is coming quickly - what 2011 summer release are you are most looking forward to?"

Oh, here are two of the many I've been waiting for.

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

11/22/63: A Novel by Stephen King

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Charlatan's Boy: A Novel by Jonathan Rogers

As far back as he can remember, the orphan Grady has tramped from village to village in the company of a huckster named Floyd. With his adolescent accomplice, Floyd perpetrates a variety of hoaxes and flimflams on the good citizens of the Corenwald frontier, such as the Ugliest Boy in the World act.

It’s a hard way to make a living, made harder by the memory of fatter times when audiences thronged to see young Grady perform as “The Wild Man of the Feechiefen Swamp.” But what can they do? Nobody believes in feechies anymore.

When Floyd stages an elaborate plot to revive Corenwalders’ belief in the mythical swamp-dwellers known as the feechiefolk, he overshoots the mark. Floyd’s Great Feechie Scare becomes widespread panic. Eager audiences become angry mobs, and in the ensuing chaos, the Charlatan’s Boy discovers the truth that has evaded him all his life—and will change his path forever.

I absolutely had a blast with this book. Just the cover is enough to put me in a good mood.

love the quirky almost Mark Twain-y style of writing, with its dialectical nuances and grammatical details. Grady, the main character is hilarious, with a self-deprecating humor that sustains the book all the way through.

The story line is solid, which is hard to do when you’re dealing with so many fantastical elements , and I never found myself bored or wishing a particular section would be over. All the characters have great flavor, with wholly distinctive voices.

Some scenes had me laughing out loud at the craziness. As you can probably tell, I loved this book and I can recommend it to everybody without worry. Go and immerse yourself in the Feechie scare.

The Kult by Shaun Jeffrey

People are predictable. That's what makes them easy to kill.

Acting out of misguided loyalty to his friends, police officer Prosper Snow is goaded into helping them perform a copycat killing, but when the real killer comes after him, it’s not only his life on the line, but his family's too. Now if he goes to his colleagues for help, he risks being arrested for murder. If he doesn't, he risks being killed.

I received this ebook from the Librarything Giveaway program a few weeks ago and I just got around to really reading it. I love serial killer stories, although I don’t read too many thrillers.

This is a good book, not the most original I’ve ever come across, but it certainly keeps you turning the pages. There are some beautiful descriptive passages that made me smile, even through a slight twitch at the gore. Sometimes you just need some guts spilling. Ok, maybe it’s just me.

The main character is what one could call the quintessential cop, middle-aged, depressed, with family problems who is leading the case against the Oracle, the serial killer who brutalizes his victims then leaves pictures with other serial killer’s names for the cops to find. What is best about this story is the relationship between Prosper (the cop) and his circle of friends. The reader gets to see some good dialogue and characterization with all of them.

I felt the ending, however, was hurried. I don’t mean the climactic scene, but the very end. Prosper was in a world of trouble, framed for murder, etc. and we turn the page and it’s six months later. To me that’s lazy writing. You have to explain the way it happened, not just tell us that he was able to convince the other cops he wasn’t the killer, blah blah blah, no, actually show us how he made it out of that mess. I hate when the author just gives up. It’s not fair for the reader who has followed the words like a crumb trail to the end.

Anyway, that was my biggest issue with the novel. I do recommend it, especially if you are less volatile than I am when it comes to endings that are a bit too perfect.

Booking Through Thursday

This week's question: If you could see one book turned into the perfect movie–one that would capture everything you love, the characters, the look, the feel, the story–what book would you choose?

I would love to see Lisey's Story by Stephen King as a movie. It's such a wonderful book, so well planned and well thought out, that I think it would make a fabulous movie.

Lisey Debusher Landon lost her husband Scott two years ago, after a twenty-five year marriage of the most profound and sometimes frightening intimacy. Scott was an award-winning, bestselling novelist and a very complicated man. Early in their relationship, before they married, Lisey had to learn from him about books and blood and bools. Later, she understood that there was a place Scott went -- a place that both terrified and healed him, could eat him alive or give him the ideas he needed in order to live. Now it's Lisey's turn to face Scott's demons, Lisey's turn to go to Boo'ya Moon. What begins as a widow's effort to sort through the papers of her celebrated husband becomes a nearly fatal journey into the darkness he inhabited. Perhaps King's most personal and powerful story ever, Lisey's Story is about the wellsprings of creativity, the temptations of madness, and the secret language of love.

Theme Thursday

Theme Thursdays

Theme Thursdays is a fun weekly event that will be open from one thursday to the next. Anyone can participate in it. The rules are simple:

•A theme will be posted each week (on Thursday’s)
•Select a conversation/snippet/sentence from the current book you are reading
•Mention the author and the title of the book along with your post
•It is important that the theme is conveyed in the sentence (you don’t necessarily need to have the word)
Ex: If the theme is KISS; your sentence can have “They kissed so gently” or “Their lips touched each other” or “The smooch was so passionate”
This will give us a wonderful opportunity to explore and understand different writing styles and descriptive approaches adopted by authors.

The randomly selected theme for this week is suggested by Bev from My Readers Block

This week's theme is: ATMOSPHERE

From The Kult by Shaun Jeffrey

"Like many neighbourhoods clinging to the hub of British cities, the area Jane
lived in was rundown, with discarded trash bags spewing their contents across the
pavement – fodder for the rats and feral cats that prowled the streets once the sun
went down. McDonald’s packaging and the remains of half eaten kebabs discarded
by late night drunks littered the gutters, and the tang of rotten produce and sour piss permeated the air. Dirt and grime coated the walls of the buildings, many of which were boarded up and covered with graffiti, the culprits marking their territory like dogs."

pg. 2

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

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 I chose Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks , which comes out in May.

In 1665, Caleb Cheeshah-teaumuck was the first Native American to graduate from Harvard College. Here, Pulitzer Prize winner Brooks imagines that Caleb was befriended by Bethia Mayfield, whose minister father wants to convert the neighboring Wampanoag and makes educating Caleb one of his goals. Bethia, herself desperate for book learning, ends up as an indentured servant in Cambridge, watching Caleb bridge two cultures.

30 Day Challenge

Day 28 – Favorite title

Oh, there's tons of good ones, but I chose Practical Demonkeeping by Christopher Moore

In Christopher Moore's ingenious debut novel, we meet one of the most memorably mismatched pairs in the annals of literature. The good-looking one is one-hundred-year-old ex-seminarian and "roads" scholar Travis O'Hearn. The green one is Catch, a demon with a nasty habit of eating most of the people he meets. Behind the fake Tudor façade of Pine Cove, California, Catch sees a four-star buffet. Travis, on the other hand, thinks he sees a way of ridding himself of his toothy traveling companion. The winos, neo-pagans, and deadbeat Lotharios of Pine Cove, meanwhile, have other ideas. And none of them is quite prepared when all hell breaks loose.

WWW Wednesdays

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently, I am reading The Kult by Shaun Jeffrey

And Green: The Beginning and the End (The Circle 0) by Ted Dekker

I just finished reading Cleansing by Fire by Y.S. Hassan
You can find my review here

Next, I'll probably be starting The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Cleansing by Fire by Y.S. Hassan

Marc Lacroix—Angibil, the name given to him by Elu—was twenty-five years old and was about to graduate from a prestigious university of Paris and become the youngest Adept Minor of the Order! He had become an expert in many disciplines, mastering not only traditional areas of study but also the most complex of arcane arts.

Angibil hastily went to the consecration chamber in the campus undergrounds. There, in an incredible show of character, he summoned forth a legendary mystical blade to the surprise of the council. He was quickly greeted to the rank of Adept Minor and rewarded by being cast away from all the institutions controlled by Elu! Rumors about Angibil being the long awaited heir to Immaru—the founder—spread among the elders.

Angibil courageously readied himself and left to accomplish his new trials, dreaming of the day he would return to Elu to claim the title of Adept Major.

Guided by an enigmatic symbiotic blade, Angibil traveled the world and the social structures, determined to unearth his enemy. The most elusive and lethal lower demon of ancient Sumer, hiding amongst the unaware and secretly enslaving their souls.

I received this book from the Goodreads Giveaway Program. I had previously read one of Mr. Hassan's books, and having found it very entertaining and different, I was glad to sit to read this one.
Unfortunately, this book is not as captivating. The story itself could have been unique, but the execution is belabored and sometimes repetitive. The main problem, which is one I see in many books that deal with characters that have magical abilities, is that the author makes them so powerful, there really is no doubt they will be fine. There is no foe they can't defeat, which makes it rather dull for the reader. There needs to be doubt and tension, weaknesses that we can relate to, otherwise we never really bond with the chracter.
I thought the book started out on a good path, I was interested in Angibil and his quest, but soon found my mind wandering a tad. There was much that could have been shortened and other parts that should have been explained further. Sometimes it stretched things bit too thin. For example, at one point ngibil learns Mandarin in the space of a couple of days. I don't know, that doesn't do it for me.

I think there is a real gem hidden in these pages, so please don't hesitate to pick it up because of my views on it. If you hve an open mind, none of the issues I mentioned might bother you at all. Read it and see.

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish.

Each week they will post a new Top Ten list that one of their bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All they ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

This week: Top Ten Mean Girls in Books

1. Catherine Earnshaw from Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. She is the one of the main characters, but she does have quite a mean side.

2. Queen Takhisis in the Dragonlance Series by Margaret Weis and Tracy hickman. Ok, not so much a girl as a goddess, but she is an evil pain.

3. Rhea from Wizard and Glass by Stephen King. Quite a nasty creature.

4. Bellatrix Lestrange in the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. She's completely, wonderfully insane.

5. Blanche Ingram in Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Come on, be honest, we all wanted to slap her a few times.

6. Lady Catherine in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. So haughty, really got on my nerves.

7. Mrs. Danvers in Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. Evil, evil woman.

Not quite ten, but I just can't seem to remember any other of those hateful females.
How about you?

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

•Grab your current read
•Open to a random page
•Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
•BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
•Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

From The Kult by Shaun Jeffrey

"Betty looked around, wide eyed as though hoping to see some way to escape.
Then he guessed she saw the bodies visible at the limits of the light, their bloodless features looking ghostly in the illumination, because she started screaming, a high pitched wail that made him wince."
pg. 24

Monday, April 25, 2011

Musing Mondays

This week’s musing asks…

Do the members of your family read? Do you think it was passed down to you? ((or, if you want you can answer this: Who do you think influenced you as a reader?))

My grandmother was an avid reader, pretty much like I am. She would read whatever she could get her hands on,something she has certainly passed on to me.
My mom reads also, but she is so busy that she is not able to read as much as she'd like. My father reads mostly thrillers and my sister has trouble finding books that keep her entertained for long.
Of the members in my family right now, I'm the one who reads the most, but I think it was passed down to me. I'm sure if you cut me up, my blood is mixed with ink.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Book Beginnings

How to participate: Share the first line (or two) of the book you are currently reading on your blog or in the comments. Include the title and the author so we know what you're reading. Then, if you would like, let us know what your first impressions were based on that first line, and let us know if you liked or did not like the sentence. The link-up will be at A Few More Pages every Friday and will be open for the entire week.

The Charlatan's Boy by Jonathan Rogers

"I don't remember much about the day I was born. It hasn't been for lack of trying either."

In My Mailbox

Look at all the goodies I got this week.

The First Day After Life: A Spiritual Adventure about Why Bad Things Happen & How to Shape Your Future (Part 1 ONLY) by Cristian YoungMiller

Dying Gasp (Chief Inspector Mario Silva #3) by Leighton Gage

Buried Strangers (Chief Inspector Mario Silva #2)

Treasure Me by Christine Nolfi

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

30 Day Challenge

Day 27 – The most surprising plot twist or ending

This one I had no problem with. For any of you who have read the Dark Tower series by Stephen King, you know exactly what the last book holds in its last pages. For those of you who don't, well, I will not spoil it, but I can tell you this is a series worth reading.

The Dark Tower (The Dark Tower #7) by Stephen King

The seventh and final installment of Stephen King's The Dark Tower saga is perhaps the most anticipated book in the author's long career. King began this epic tale about the last gunslinger in the world more than 20 years ago; now he draws its suspenseful story to a close, snapping together the last pieces of his action puzzle and drawing Roland Deschain ever closer to his ultimate goal.