Monday, October 31, 2011

Musing Mondays

Would you say that you read about the same amount now as when you were younger? More? Less? Why?

I read about the same. I've always been an obsessive reader, having at least two books going at once, so it hasn't really changed much. I read an average of 150 books a year, so a good, crazy number.

I'm dressing up as a snake today, how about you?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Quote It Saturday

“A word after a word after a word is power.”
― Margaret Atwood

“Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.”
― Margaret Atwood

“But some people can't tell where it hurts. They can't calm down. They can't ever stop howling.”
― Margaret Atwood

Destined by Gail Cleare

Follow Emily's journey to self discovery, community, spirit and love. A contemporary magic-realism romance with engaging multi-cultural characters and lyrical descriptions. IS YOUR LIFE DESTINED? This is the year Emily learns how to deliberately shape the future. She finally gets the courage to walk away from her safe routine and takes a job at the fabulous curio shop owned by Henry Paradis, an occult scholar. Recognizing her psychic talents as the valuable gifts they are, Henry teaches Emily to accept her magical nature and “look forward.” She chooses the path to light and happiness, opening her heart to brave its inevitable obstacles. She finds lifelong friends, falls in love with an incredibly sexy man, learns the power of desire and intention, faces her worst fears and is swept toward awakening. The mystical images of the Tarot’s archetypal trump cards chart the way, 22 sequential steps along the path to success known as “The Fool’s Journey.” Illustrated by images from the Payen Tarot of Marseilles (1713), which is the oldest surviving Tarot deck.

What caught my attention with this book was the idea of using the Tarot’s Major Arcana to tell a story. As a Tarot reader myself, this really called to me as an inventive way of incorporating a bit of mystical atmosphere into a book.

The beginning was really well done. From the first page, the story and the narrator immediately grab on to the reader, making us want to read on. There is a good balance of internal and external action which lets us connect well to the narrator.

This lasts until about half way through the book. Then, the narrative seems to lose steam. The incorporation of the Tarot cards becomes a bit forced, with some preachy paragraphs which are not really necessary to keep the story going, and there’s not any true tension in the plot. Everything seems to work out for the main character, so we lose interest. For example, she thinks at one point that her boyfriend might be cheating on her, which would have made for a good number of tense chapters, but instead it’s resolved too quickly and too easily.

The writing itself is comfortable, allowing the story to flow. It is a simple, yet pleasing story. I would recommend this to all of you who like some mysticism with your fiction.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Follow Friday

Q: If you could have dinner with your favorite book character, who would you eat with and what would you serve?

Well, I'd really like to have a nice conversation with Raistlin Majere from the Dragonlance books. I'd probably have to include his twin brother, Caramon, since the two of them are pretty much inseparable, for better or worse. Raistlin doesn't eat much, so something light, lots of fruit, that kind of thing. But for Caramon, it'd have to be a huge, multi-course meal. I doubt a little bit of fruit would satisfy him.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Booking Through Thursday

What’s the hardest/most challenging book you’ve ever read? Was it worth the effort? Did you read it by choice or was it an assignment/obligation?

For some reason I really struggled with Middlemarch by George Eliot. I've read many of her books and had no problems, but that particular one posed more than one challene. I think the biggest problem is that i found myself bored throughout most of it, so I'd lose focus, therefore losing the plot. I started it twice, with equally unsatisfying results. Since I read it for pleasure, not for school, I didn't obsess too much about it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me Again by Brian Rowe

Cameron Martin has a huge problem: he’s aging a whole year of his life with each passing day… again. And this time... he's going backward!

When Cameron proposes to his beloved witch of a girlfriend Liesel, he thinks life can’t get any better. But when he reluctantly breaks off the engagement just days before the wedding, Liesel angrily unleashes another curse on the unlucky guy, this time making him age backward, from eighteen, all the way to zero.

Making matters worse, Liesel mysteriously disappears, leaving Cameron with no options, except watching himself rapidly shrink into a helpless child. Will Liesel be able to save his life again? Or will Cameron ultimately fall prey to his girlfriend's wicked spell?

With the same dose of comedy and witty dialogues that the first book in the trilogy had, this sequel doesn’t disappoint.

I read the first book and enjoyed it tremendously, but I was a bit hesitant with this one since it didn’t seem like there was any room for a sequel. I’m so glad I was wrong. This book is just as entertaining as the first one, in a whole different way. We get to see Cameron, the protagonist, in a new light. A bit more mature, a bit more responsible, but still finding himself in the midst of a spell, which this time makes him age backwards.

The characters are wonderful. Cameron is cheeky yet lovable, while Hannah, a new witch who comes into his life, is delightfully evil. She is one of my favorites in the book. There are many small characters that fill the pages, though, making the story come to life: Cameron’s grandfather, the librarian, Wes, all these characters that really add to the story as a whole.

The ending, a cliffhanger which I’ll not reveal, was wonderful. It really sets us up for the next book, which I for one am anxiously waiting for. I can recommend this book to pretty much everyone who wants to read something unique and very entertaining.

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'm reading Destined by Gail Cleare

And Vengeance by A. J. Scudiere

I just finished A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron You can read my review here.

Next, I'll probably read by Parisian by Heart by Mari Mann.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

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 Vengeance by A. J. Scudiere
"She waited a moment longer and thankfully the car didn't blow up. No strange noises or odors came from the engine."
pg. 88

Monday, October 24, 2011

Musing Mondays

This week’s musing asks…

Do you listen to audiobooks? Why, or why not?

I have a really hard time listening to audio books, actually. I lose concentration in the story and I find my mind drifting all over the place instead of where it's supposed to be. I prefer much more to hold the book in my hands and do the reading myself.

Halloween Special: God's Eye by A. J. Scudiere

Everyone, gather 'round the fire, I have news! There's a great deal today through the 31st on God's Eye by A. J. Scudiere. If you recall, I recently reviewed it (and if you don't, the link to said review is here) and so I wanted to make sure that all of you know you can now get the ebook for a $2.99 on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
So if you're interested in reading this one, take advantage of the Halloween special.
You can buy the book on Amazon or B&N

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Dog's Purpose by Bruce Cameron

This is the remarkable story of one endearing dog’s search for his purpose over the course of several lives. More than just another charming dog story, A Dog’s Purpose touches on the universal quest for an answer to life's most basic question: Why are we here?
Surprised to find himself reborn as a rambunctious golden-haired puppy after a tragically short life as a stray mutt.
This is the remarkable story of one endearing dog’s search for his purpose over the course of several lives. More than just another charming dog story, A Dog’s Purpose touches on the universal quest for an answer to life's most basic question: Why are we here?
Surprised to find himself reborn as a rambunctious golden-haired puppy after a tragically short life as a stray mutt, Bailey’s search for his new life’s meaning leads him into the loving arms of 8-year-old Ethan. During their countless adventures Bailey joyously discovers how to be a good dog.
But this life as a beloved family pet is not the end of Bailey’s journey. Reborn as a puppy yet again, Bailey wonders—will he ever find his purpose?
Heartwarming, insightful, and often laugh-out-loud funny, A Dog's Purpose is not only the emotional and hilarious story of a dog's many lives, but also a dog's-eye commentary on human relationships and the unbreakable bonds between man and man's best friend. This moving and beautifully crafted story teaches us that love never dies, that our true friends are always with us, and that every creature on earth is born with a purpose.

For any dog lover out there, this book is a must-read. Not only does it provide a wonderful view into the life and mind of a dog, but it is a touching tribute to man’s best friend.

We follow one dog through many lifetimes as he learns what his purpose is. Throughout his lifetimes, he, and in turn we, encounter human kindness and cruelty, and how they can affect the creatures around us. The narrator, I will call him Bailey, since that is his name through his most important lifetime, is an endearing canine who makes us laugh many times through this narrative. There’s a delightful sense of wonder in his voice as he discovers new things, and as he tries to understand the creatures who rule his life. We can all recognize Bailey in at least one dog we’ve had.

The storyline is unique, as we are not used to thinking of our pets as having more than one lifetime. Even less of them attempting to comprehend their purpose in life. But that’s the magic of this book, it leaves us with a feeling that maybe the wonderful creatures who surround us every day are as confused as we are, and just as anxious to find the reason for their existence.

Itruly enjoyed this book, although many scenes tugged at my heart to the point where I wanted to put the book down, or in classic “Friends” fashion, stick it in the freezer. This is a rewarding book that will leave you wondering, and I can promise that you will never look at your canine companions in the same way again.

I highly recommend it.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Follow Friday

Q: What superhero is your alter-ego?

I would have to say Zatanna, who first appeared in Hawkman. She is not extremely well known, but she is a stage magician AND a real magician! Awesome, I think. And she also reads Tarot. Great stuff.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain

At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who invent and create but prefer not to pitch their own ideas; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled “quiet,” it is to introverts we owe many of the great contributions to society—from Van Gogh’s sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer.

Passionately argued, impressively researched, and filled with the indelible stories of real people, Quiet shows how dramatically we undervalue introverts, and how much we lose in doing so. Susan Cain charts the rise of “the extrovert ideal” over the twentieth century and explores its far-reaching effects—how it helps to determine everything from how parishioners worship to who excels at Harvard Business School. And she draws on cutting-edge research on the biology and psychology of temperament to reveal how introverts can modulate their personalities according to circumstance, how to empower an introverted child, and how companies can harness the natural talents of introverts. This extraordinary book has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how they see themselves.

As an introvert myself, this book drew me in just from the title, and I can truly say this is a fascinating study of what being an introvert means.

With a mixture of anecdotes and scientific research, Cain explores how introverts function, what makes us act the way we do, and why in this day and age it is such a difficult thing to be respected as someone who is different. Most of us have faced all of the things she mentions, from teachers who think that there is something wrong with children who prefer to read than play, to the minutia like making small talk that can drain some of us of all energy. She does a fantastic job of explaining why we function in this manner, and she manages to show us that we are not wrong in the way we act; we are just different.

The narrative is always interesting, keeping the reader engaged all the way through the book. Although this is a serious research book, it never bores, on the contrary, it is hard to put down. There is a wonderful section on how to take care and nurture an introverted child, which can be a challenge since most of society is geared towards extroverts.

Introverts need different things, and modern life refuses to provide those things, with its constant rewards for those who speak the loudest, whether they have the right answer or not. If you are an introvert, or if you know an introvert, this is a great read. I highly, highly recommend it.

Booking Through Thursday

Do your reading habits change when you’re on vacation? Do you read more? Do you indulge in lighter, fluffier books than you usually read? Do you save up special books so you’ll be able to spend real vacation time with them? Or do you just read the same old stuff, vacation or not?

It depends. When I go camping, for example, I love to take a really nice, big, Stephen King book or something like that to scare myself while I'm in my tent at night. There's nothing more fun than that. Otherwise, I do pretty much read the same type of books when I travel or vacation anywhere. I read about the same amount of books, since I read a lot no matter what, but I do take more pleasure in indulging for hours on a book.

How about you?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

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'm reading A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

And Not Before Bed by Craig Hallam

I just finished Hammer of Thor by S. Evan Townsend. You can read my review here.

Next, I'll probably read Bloodspell by by Amalie Howard