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Archive for the ‘Books in General’ Category

TAKING A “BREAK” FROM BLOGGING: School comes first, unfortunately, and I cannot dedicate the time I would like to towards both–especially while taking grad classes and working full time. 

 

Current giveaway: “Flight of the Goose” by Lesley Thomas

 

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I hope everyone enjoyed (or is enjoying) their holidays! I got a bunch of books from my wishlist that I’m very excited about.  Some of these I’ve seen recommended, others I’ve seen mentioned in Shelf Awareness, and some I’ve just stumbled upon on Amazon.  I hope they’re good!

The Tory Widow by Christine Blevins– historical fiction

We Two: Victoria and Albert: Rulers, Partners, Rivals by Gilligan Gill– nonfiction

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – historical fiction

Willoughby’s Return: A tale of almost irresistible temptation by Jane Odiwe – fiction, chick lit, Jane Austen inspired fiction

The Importance of Being Emma by Juliet Archer– fiction, chick lit, Jane Austen inspired fiction

Time of Grace by Gabriella West – historical fiction

Blue Diablo: A Corine Solomon Novel by Ann Aguirre – supernatural fiction

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As if that wasn’t enough, I also got a $100 gift card to Amazon which I’m super excited about.  So far I’ve bought:

The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson  This was on sale so I grabbed it while I could.  I have the first book but sadly have not had a chance to read it! But, I know it will be awesome- I’ve heard so many good things, so I figured I’d pick up the rest of the series too.

Mortal Sins (World of the Lupi, Book 5) by Eileen Wilks I really enjoyed the first two books in the series, but after that Wilks traveled in a different direction- away from the main characters I enjoyed so much (see how much in my review for book one).  It looks like she returns to them (Lily and Rule) in this book, so I’m giving Wilks another chance!

Blood Magic (World of the Lupi, Book 6) by Eileen Wilks I preordered this one, not out until February, because like book 5 it looks like it will be about Lily and Rule again. Hopefully books 5 and 6 will recapture my love for this series.

Inked by Wilks, Chance, etc I’m very much a fan of these supernatural anothologies.  I’ve only read Wilks and Chance but these short stories are usually winners.

Kitty’s House of Horrors (Kitty Norville, Book 7) by Carrie Vaughn For the most part, my experience with Vaughn’s Kitty Norville series has been overwhelmingly positive. (My review for book 3 is here).  I wasn’t crazy about book 5, but book 6 made me keep buying.  Hope book 7 is great!

Silver Borne (Mercy Thompson, Book 5) by Patricia Briggs I love Patricia Briggs’ Mercy series, (and her new Alpha and Omega series in the same universe) so I preordered this even though it isn’t out until March.  (You really can’t go wrong with Briggs- unless you count the new Mercy Thompson: Homecoming.  But it’s important to note that that book is a graphic novel, so it’s really hard to compare it to her other work.)

Lover Mine: A Novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward This was my final preorder (it’s not out until April), but I really do love this series.  It’s different from what I usually read, a little more sex and romance, but it still has the strong urban fantasy vibe which is what keeps me interested (and makes the romance readers mad about lol). This is book 8, but I have reviewed book 4 here and book 6 here, if you want to see my thoughts.

Missed my last post? It was: REVIEW: “SOMEDAY MY PRINCE WILL COME: TRUE ADVENTURES OF A WANNABE PRINCESS” BY JERRAMY FINE

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  Current giveaway: “Flight of the Goose” by Lesley Thomas

So it’s that time of year again. In a perfect world I would give books to everyone as gifts. I like reading, most of them like reading, books are amazing…. everyone wins. That being said, I’m always amazed at how difficult it is to buy books for other people. I know what I like, but that’s not necessarily what they like. And for some of them, I know what they like, but I still can’t seem to direct that towards the book that would be perfect for them. Now if everyone only had Librarything like I did then it would make book buying a lot easier! But as it is, I’m forced to either do my best at guessing what they would like, or not buying them books at all and settling on stupid gift cards. I like gift cards as much as the next person, but I wish I didn’t end up giving out so many!  Anybody have tips on giving books as presents??

 

Missed my last post? It was: REVIEW: “MISTRESS OF MELLYN” BY VICTORIA HOLT

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Books in your Car

Current giveaway: “Flight of the Goose” by Lesley Thomas

So anyone who has been in my car knows that it is super messy. In my defense, usually I’m the only one in it. If I have to drive someone somewhere I just throw whatever is in the front seat into the back seat. So it makes sense that the stuff back there would pile up…. Okay it really needs to be cleaned out lol. That brings me to the subject of this post. I started to clean out the back seat and as I did it, I realized that I had quite a lot of books back there. They just kept piling up! When I had them altogether I counted them. Guess how many? 17. That’s not an exaggeration! I had 17 books in the back seat of my car.

Some were fiction, some nonfiction, some biographies, some textbooks. Basically tons of different kinds of books. All of which I had started at one point or another. Since I read so many and I’m constantly buying new ones, it is very easy for me to move onto another book (or two or three) if the first one doesn’t immediately capture me or leave a lasting impression.

So my question is: how many books should you have in your car? For all you book readers out there, I’m sure you understand the necessity of having a book in your car.  But how many is too many? Clearly in my case, my 17 are not necessary.  But how many should the average reader have?

Missed my last post?  It was: REVIEW: “THE AGENCY” BY ALLY O’BRIEN

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Many of the searches that lead people to my blog have to do with Charlaine Harris and Sookie Stackhouse (Not to be confused with Sookie from Gilmore Girls!) . I can understand this, as I’ve mentioned her and her books quite a few times on here.  It’s picked up recently, I suppose, is due to the buzz about True Blood (link takes you to IMDB.com).  More and more people have starting watching this show (including me!), and while the reactions are mixed, people often want to know what the inspiration for the show was.  So, here is a post that will tell you (I hope) everything you need to know.

What are the books (in order) of Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampire/Sookie Stackhouse Series?  Here’s the complete list of Sookie books:

Dead Until Dark (Southern Vampire Mysteries, Book 1)

Living Dead in Dallas (Southern Vampire Mysteries, Book 2)

Club Dead (Southern Vampire Mysteries, Book 3)

Dead to the World (Southern Vampire Mysteries, Book 4)

Dead as a Doornail (Southern Vampire Mysteries, Book 5)

Definitely Dead (Southern Vampire Mysteries, Book 6)

All Together Dead (Southern Vampire Mysteries, Book 7) My Review: here

From Dead to Worse (Southern Vampire Mysteries, Book 8 )  My Review: here

Dead and Gone (Sookie Stackhouse, Book 9)  My Review: here

Dead in the Family (Sookie Stackhouse, Book 10)

Dead Reckoning (Sookie Stackhouse, Book 11) NOT YET RELEASED

Okay, so those are the main books of the series, but if you start reading and think that maybe you’re missing some details- you’re right.  Charlaine Harris has collaborated with other authors and published short stories featuring her vampire universe in certain anthologies.  Some of these stories feature Sookie, while others are simply stories in the world Charlaine Harris has created

Where can I find these stories?  When should I read them? Is there a chronological order?

Powers of Detection: Stories of Mystery & Fantasy

by Dana Stabenow, this book features the short story “Fairy Dust”.  It fits  features Sookie along with Claudine and Claude, and you should read it between books 4 and 5.

Night’s Edge: Dancers in the Dark\Her Best Enemy\Someone Else’s Shadow

by Charlaine Harris/Maggie Shayne, has the short story “Dancers in the Dark” by Harris.  It is not about Sookie, although the characters (Sean and Layla)  have a cameo in a later Sookie book.  It should probably be read between books 4 and 5.

Bite

by Laurell K. Hamilton, has the short story “One Word Answer.”  This story focuses on Sookie and her cousin Hadley (who was recently seen in an episode of “True Blood”) and is takes place between books 5 and 6.

My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding

by Sherrilyn Kenyon, the story “Tacky” is not about Sookie but is in the general universe.  One of the main characters in this story, Dahlia, shows up in a later short story.  Consider reading it around book 6.

Many Bloody Returns

by Charlaine Harris/ Toni Kelner, again features Sookie in Harris’ short story “Dracula Night”.  Eric and Pam are also involved.  I don’t think it matters when you read it, but some suggest between books 4 and 5.

Wolfsbane and Mistletoe

by Charlaine Harris/ Toni Kelner, features Sookie in the story “Gift Wrap”.  (Niall also makes an appearance.) Only read this after book 8.

Unusual Suspects: Stories of Mystery & Fantasy

by Dana Stabenow, has another story featuring Sookie as well as her friend Amelia.  “Lucky” should be read between books 7 and 8.

Blood Lite: An Anthology of Humorous Horror Stories Presented by the Horror Writers Association

by Jim Butcher, the story “An Evening With Al Gore” is in the Sookie universe but does not feature her.  It doesn’t matter when it is read.

Strange Brew

by P. N. Elrod, again the story “Bacon” is in the same universe, but does not focus on Sookie.  Dahlia (mentioned above) shows up again.  Read after book 9.

Must Love Hellhounds

by Ilona Andrews, the short story “The Britlingens Go To Hell” by Harris does not feature Sookie, but is in the same universe.  (The Britlingens are seen in a book 7.)  Read after book 9.

Death’s Excellent Vacation

by Charlaine Harris, includes the short story”Two Blondes” featuring Sookie and Pam.  Read after book 10.

A Touch of Dead (Sookie Stackhouse: The Complete Stories)

Recently released, this is an anthology that contains only stories by Charlaine Harris (unlike the anthologies listed above).  It ONLY contains the stories “Fairy Dust,” “Dracula Night,” “One Word Answer,” “Lucky,” and “Gift Wrap.” All of these were previously released in different anthologies. They are not new stories.

What about True Blood ? Is the show following the books?

True Blood” is not exactly following the books.  Some things are the same, and for the most part, seasons one and two followed the plots of books one and two.  Season three has jumped all over. 

Season one was about the telepathic (meaning she can hear the thoughts of others) barmaid Sookie Stackhouse meeting a vampire (Bill Compton), and dealing with a string of murders that happened around them.  This season, and in particular the first couple of episodes had a LOT of SEX in it.  This is not a show you should watch with your parents!  I admit to being slightly turned off my the amount of sex, but once I was able to get in touch with the characters I started to enjoy the series.  My brother had this to say: “It’s about fighting and killing and sex.  What’s not to like?”  Characters in the books like Sam, Jason, Lafayette, Bill, Eric, Pam, Tara, and Arlene all star.

 Season two dealt with murders again; this time Sookie went to Dallas to help find a missing vampire and deal with an over-enthusiastic church.  Harris has and is helping out HBO with the show, but again they are not following the books to the letter. 

Season three started involving vampire royalty, and heavily followed an invented plotline revolving around the distribution of “v” or vampire blood as a drug.

Who plays Sookie, Bill, Eric, Sam, etc on the show?

Sookie Stackhouse- Anna Paquin

Jason Stackhouse- Ryan Kwanten

Tara Thornton- Rutina Wesley

Sam Merlotte- Sam Trammell

Bill Compton- Stephen Moyer

Eric Northman- Alexander Skarsgård

A full list of characters and the actors who play them can be found on the show’s IMDB page.

Is Anna Paquin dating Stephen Moyer?  Is she pregnant?

At this time, they’re engaged.  And though there have been rumors, I’m pretty sure that Anna is not preggers.

Where can I watch “True Blood” online?

Not anywhere legally, that I know of.  The show is on 9:00 EST Sunday nights on HBO, and the season generally runs around 13 episodes.  Season one was on from June until November, with season two being on from June through September.  Some episodes may be available on HBO on Demand if you have it, or you can buy True Blood: The Complete First Season (HBO Series) on DVD now, and you can also buy True Blood: The Complete Second Season (HBO Series) though I’m not sure when the third season will be released.  The show will continue with a fourth season in the summer of 2011.

True Blood: The Complete First Season (HBO Series)True Blood: The Complete Second Season (HBO Series)

 Has Charlaine Harris written other stuff?

Yes! Charlaine Harris has written many other books.  I love her series about Aurora Teagarden. There are eight books, starting with Real Murders (Aurora Teagarden Mysteries, Book 1).  She also wrote a series about Lily Bard, which has five books and starts with Shakespeare’s Landlord (Lily Bard Mysteries, Book 1).  Neither of those deal with the supernatural world (vampires, witches, werewolves). Harris’ newest series is about Harper Connelly, a woman who was struck by lightning and can now find bodies. It starts with Grave Sight (Harper Connelly Mysteries, Book 1) and the fourth book was out at the end of October 2009.

Real Murders (Aurora Teagarden Mysteries, Book 1)Shakespeare's Landlord (Lily Bard Mysteries, Book 1)Grave Sight (Harper Connelly Mysteries, Book 1)

Hope some of this helps! If you have any questions, feel free to ask!

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Anybody remember the American Girl books?  When I was younger I remember reading them over and over.  I was constantly rereading the stories about Felicity, Addy, and Samantha.  I also remember wishing I owned the ones about Kirsten and Molly.  All of these girls were American, and each lived during a different time in history.  Besides the books, you could buy the dolls themselves, with matching clothing and furniture.  My cousin had Felicity’s tea-table (she grew up during the American revolution) and it came with an actual tea set.

These books were a great way to teach young children about the diversity of America.  Not only did they introduce topics like slavery (Addy grew up during the Civil War, and was a former slave) and immigration (Kirsten was originally from Sweden), but they also made readers aware of things like racism, poverty, and discrimination.  I don’t want to just emphasize the negative topics however; these books also told stories of the importance of family, the necessity of overcoming obstacles, and the beauty of true friendship.

The girl I tutor gets the American Girl catalogue and when I flipped through it, I was shocked.  What I remember fondly as wonderful stories with matching dolls, has now become so commercialized that its appalling.  The books don’t even seem to be featured in the catalogue.  Instead of the dolls in their original time period clothing, what’s pushed is modern ski clothes, or party dresses.  Want your doll to go horseback riding? There’s gear for that!  Perhaps you want your doll to keep her schoolbooks in a locker.  You can buy that. 

Rebecca, Julie, Ivy, Emily, Kit, Ruthie, Nellie, Elizabeth, Josephina, and Kaya are all new characters that I don’t remember from my childhood.  Of them, perhaps Josephina and Kaya look like they have potential to be as influential as the original five girls.  Josephina is living in New Mexico around 1824, while Kaya is a Native American in 1764.  There are also “contemporary” American Girls: Chrissa, Mia, Nicki, Jess, Marisol, Kailey, and Lindsey.  Are any of these as good as the originals? I don’t know.  What saddens me is that some of the wonderful original dolls have been “archived” or “retired”.  Obviously this all revolves around money and sales, but I wish it didn’t.  The most recent American Girl?  Gwen Thompson- her claim to fame? She’s homeless.  Critics are quick to point out that no money from Gwen’s sales is going/will go to the truly homeless.

Is there anyone out there who has read, or has children who read, these newer American Girl books?  Are they still as good as they used to be, or has the American Girl series lost its magic?

Have no idea what I’m talking about?  Check out: Samantha (New York, 1904), Felicity (Virginia, 1774), Addy (Pennsylvania, 1864 ), Molly (England, 1944), or Kirsten (Minnesota Territory, 1854), along with the rest of the “American Girls“.

 

Missed my last post?  It was: REVIEW: “THE LEAP” BY ANNA ENQUIST

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Giveaways: “First Daughter” by Eric Van Lustbaderends 10/10/08

                   “Violet in Private” by Melissa Walker- ends 10/31/08

 

Well I’m sure you’re all dying to hear what I got at the Collingswood Book Festival.  First of all, I have to say that I love going there.  It’s the second year I’ve gone, although it’s apparently been running for six years.  There’s food, fun, games…. and books.  The books of course are my favorite part.  There are tons of used books everywhere- it’s essentially heaven.  Last year I bought so many! There were numerous trips to the car, if you know what I mean.  This year I was more prepared, with tote bags, although we did make one trip to the car to unload.  Besides used books, there are tons of author tents promoting their work.  It was at one of these that I met Melissa Walker (see my last post) who was amazingly nice.

So aside from “Violet on the Runway”, “Violet by Design”, and “Violet in Private” (don’t forget, I’m giving away an autographed copy of this one) by Melissa Walker, I picked up:

(Sorry these links don’t go anywhere- I didn’t have time to add them)

“The Last Princess of Manchuria” by Lillian Lee

The Last Princess of Manchuria by Lilian Lee

“Caesar’s Women” by Colleen McCullough

Caesar's Women by Colleen McCullough

“Amazon” by Barbara G. Walker

A Novel by Barbara G. Walker

“Whores on the Hill” by Colleen Curran (lol just for the title, to give to my sister- additionally this is an ARC)

A Novel by Colleen Curran

“A Treasury of Sherlock Holmes” intro by Adrian Conan Doyle (very nice 1960 edition)- and I wish I could find a picture of this because it’s a beautiful leatherbound book with what’s called a ‘tree of life binding’.

“Prodigal Summer” and “The Poisonwood Bible” by Barbara Kingslover

Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver  The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

“1921” by Morgan Llywelyn

The Great Novel of the Irish Civil War (Irish Century) by Morgan Llywelyn

“The Historian” by Elizabeth Kostova

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

“The Birth of Venus” and “In the Company of the Courtesan” by Sarah Dunant

A Novel by Sarah Dunant  A Novel by Sarah Dunant

“Summer” by Edith Wharton

Summer (Signet Classic) by Edith Wharton

“The Golden Ocean” by Patrick O’Brian

The Golden Ocean by Patrick O'Brian

Icefields” by Thomas Wharton (accidentally- I thought it was by Edith Wharton!)

 Icefields by Thomas Wharton

So not toooooooo many books- trust me it could have been a lot worse! Last year was.  In any case, you may be curious to my criteria as to what I pick up. 

-I go for authors I’ve heard of, or ones that have been recommended, or ones that are controversial- like Melissa Walker, Barbara Kingslover, Elizabeth Kostova, Sarah Dunant…

-Or if I’ve read/own a certain author, I’ll pick up other books by that author- like Patrick O’Brian, Edith Wharton, Morgan Llywelyn, Colleen McCullough… 

-A lot of times though certain book stands have deals, like get two hardcovers and the third is free.  So I’ll browse through and if I find something that looks vaguely interesting, I’ll pick it up- which is why I have the Barbara G. Walker and Lillian Lee books.

-Not to mention that I’m a sucker for old/leather bound books that I can get cheap- the Sherlock Holmes volume is an example of this.

-Finally, cover art draws me in.  You know the saying, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” ??? Well, I do.  Frankly I think most of us do.  Now there weren’t any here that I specifically picked up because of the cover art, but I have in the past.

 

So I’m not really picky.  I’ll try almost anything and have to restrain myself from buying everything.  I’m a poor college student after all.  What I’m really trying to ask though, is for those of you who go to used book sales or book fairs/festivals, what are your criteria?  What makes you buy certain books?

 

Missed my last post?  It was I’M BACK- WITH A NEW GIVEAWAY 🙂

Missed my last review?  It was REVIEW: “SWORD” BY DA CHEN

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