31 December 2009

Books 2009: December Update

Total to date: 83 books (six books this month)

The 2009 Support Your Local Library Challenge total to date: 51 books (two book this month) [COMPLETED!]

A list of all the books I've read to date (from 01 January 2008) can be found at Library Thing.

Favourite book of the month?

* Shadow Magic (Jaida Jones & Danielle Bennett)

Books I 'did not finish':

* Kiss of Crimson (Lara Adrian) [For some reason, I just couldn't get past Page 133]

Currently reading: Magic Burns (Ilona Andrews)

And the books I'm most looking forward to reading next month/year/decade:

* Cormabis (Sarah Monette)

* Daughter of the Forest (Juliet Marillier)

What did you read last month?

Edited to add: Happy New Year!

Edited again to add: Books I 'did not finish'

28 December 2009

Thus Endth The First Year

And thus (well, almost *grin*) endth the first year of my Walkabout. Where to start? Firstly, and most importantly, this first year online would not have been as it was without your input and support. I am very fortunate to have meet you all!

In my first post of 2009 entitled Walkabout I made two resolutions:

1) To feel comfortable in my own skin (not just physically, but also emotionally and mentally)

2) To find out what makes me happy and what inspires me

I think there has been some progress made with regard to these resolutions, but at times it does feel like I've climbed a hill only to discover the rather large mountain lurking behind it. *shrug* Only in my wildest dreams did I think my Walkabout would be easy...or fast.

With regard to books, I am happy to say that 2009 has been a year of discovery! I have been introduced to two new-to me authors that have completely blown me away:

* Juliet Marillier - I adored Heir to Sevenwaters and am looking forward to delving into the Sevenwaters trilogy, beginning with Daughter of the Forest in the New Year

* Sarah Monette - The Doctrine of Labyrinths is now one of my (if not the) all-time favourite series (and I still haven't read the fourth and final book!)

Special mentions must also go to authors Ginn Hale, CS Harris, Jaida Jones & Danielle Bennett, Deanna Raybourn and Julia Spencer-Fleming, whose books I fell in love with this year. (I am eagerly awaiting the next book from each of them!) I was also introduced to the m/m romance subgenre in 2009, and I'm looking forward to expanding my horizons in this subgenre in 2010, starting with ('finally' I hear some of you say) Josh Lanyon's Adrian English series *grin*

This year I completed The 2009 Support Your Local Library Challenge by borrowing and reading 50 books from my local library. And yes, I'm planning to join this challenge next year (which I know is sort of cheating as I do borrow most of my books from the library) and attempt at least two other challenges (I know, I'm really stretching myself *grin*), including my very own Big Book Challenge. More on that next year!

As to what 2010 will bring I am unsure...but I am looking forward to walking it...

26 December 2009

Prude

Earlier this week I finished reading A Virgin River Christmas (Robyn Carr), the fourth book in the Virgin River series. Reading this book allowed me to discover something about myself: I'm a prude. Yup, a prude. There are just certain bodily functions I have no desire to read about (particularly when there is a whole paragraph dedicated to said bodily function)...and certain descriptive words utilized that I don't expect to read in a romance novel. For example, peeing, fanny and whizz! They just completely throw me out of the story. Panties is another one. When I was a teenager I read a book in which the word panties was used....how it was used scarred me for life and I can't read that word without flinching. (And no, I can't remember the title or the author, but the book was about a bus of hijacked school children.)

So, are their any words or actions that throw you out of a story or make your skin crawl? Or maybe it's just me...

24 December 2009

Bah! Humbug!

First and foremost, I wish you, your family and friends a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

But what's with the title I hear you ask. Yes, I know, it makes you immediately think of Ebenezer Scrooge...and you'd be right. I have a confession. I don't like Christmas. I used too...but Christmas is synonymous with family and, for me, family equates to high octane stress. As of midnight tonight I am on annual leave - from work and from the family - for 2 1/2 weeks. *bliss*
As for the day itself, my nod to Christmas will encompass reading as many of my Christmas anthologies as I can... How will you be spending your Christmas?

20 December 2009

You Say Tomato

Some of you may have noticed that I was reading Kiss of Crimson, the second book in Lara Adrian's Midnight Breed series. And yes, was is the operative word in that sentence. I reached Page 88 and just...stopped. I realized that I was...forcing myself to keep reading (never a good reason to read IMO) so I put the books aside.

As to why...the book is very well written, but, just like when I read the first book (Kiss of Midnight), I kept comparing the characters and world-building to JR Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood. Believe me, I wish I didn't. I know there are definite differences between the two series, but...I can't seem to stop the comparisons from leeching out of my brain. For example:
It was Gideon, resident computer genius and right-hand man to Lucan, the Order's venerable leader. Gideon had the compound wired tight inside and out...
And there's some part of my brain wondering if 'Gideon' has a goatee and smokes...

I've come to the conclusion that reading both series at the same time just isn't working for me, but I've heard so many good things about the Midnight Breed series that I don't want to give up on it. So, I'm putting it on hold until I finally hit the wall with the BDB or the series ends (whichever comes first :) Although...I am thinking of trying to finish Kiss of Crimson over the Christmas holiday period.

So, have you ever read a series that just merges in your mind with another? And, if so, what do you do to separate them?

18 December 2009

The 2010 Big Book Challenge

This challenge was inspired by the lovely Heidenkind from Heidenkind's Hideaway, who has recently joined the Mixology Challenge, and a discussion I had earlier this year....somewhere.

Tis the season for Book Challenges! And since it's the season I thought I would...play *grin* So, I hearby bring you:The Big Book Challenge

Oh and when I say big I mean really big. This big: *stretches hands* After all, it's The Big Book Challenge! And yes, I'm referring to size. In this challenge, size really does matter. You see, there are certain big books out 'there' that I have been avoiding...because of their size. They are so big I'm afraid they will eat my alive! *hides under bed* So, I've decided 2010 is the year to change all that. Hence The Big Book Challenge was born.The challenge rules are simple:

1) Read a big book, and by a big book I mean a book with more than 500 pages, before the end of 2010.

2) A review is not required (although I'm going to attempt a post detailing my thoughts on the book, or the reasons why I didn't finish it *grin*).

3) The big book can be from any fiction genre (e.g. fantasy, romance, science fiction). It can even be non-fiction.4) No penalties if the book isn't read by the end of 2010 (because this is meant to be fun).

5) The book can be changed at any time! (Flexibility is important IMO :)

6) You can join at any time throughout the year!

Right, confession time. I have been avoiding Kushiel's Dart (Jacqueline Carey). It's....quite big. So, that's the big book I've decided to try and read in 2010. So, what big book have you been avoiding?

The participants to date are as follows:
- orannia (Kushiel's Dart [Jacqueline Carey])
- Kerry (Ship of Destiny [Robin Hobb])
- Kristen (Kushiel's Chosen [Jacqueline Carey])
- Mariana (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows [JK Rowling])
- Heidenkind (TBC)
- Carolyn Crane (Dune [Frank Herbert])
- Hilcia (Naamah's Kiss [Jacqueline Carey])
- Kris (The Name of the Wind [Patrick Rothfuss])
- Renee (TBC)
- Christine (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows [JK Rowling])
- Leslie (Outlander [Diana Gabaldon])
- starfirenz (Drums of Autumn or The Fiery Cross [Diana Gabaldon] or Kushiel's Scion [Jacqueline Carey])
- sausconys-books (A Plague of Angels [Sheri S Tepper])
- Ag (Lord of the Rings [JRR Tolkein])

Edited to add: Rule 4 and the image. And I know the image seems...unusual, and the word 'big' makes me think of seven league boots, which makes me think of Howl's Moving Castle (Diana Wynne Jones), hence the image *grin*

Edited again to add: Rules 5 & 6 and to update the current list of participants! And maybe it's just me but I'm beginning to see a pattern in the books chosen - Ms Carey and Ms Gabaldon both appear to write quite large books *grin*

16 December 2009

Acceptance

Confession time... I have two very annoying habits: 1) I'm Little Miss Fix-It. I want to fix everything because, from where I'm sitting, content people are less likely to lash out and therefore I am far less likely to be in the firing line; and 2) I want...well, maybe it's more of a need...to be liked, to be...wanted. I crave a purpose, because with a purpose I am necessary. It's like, I have a place as long as I please others, so I do and I fix. I try to be necessary. And yes, that can be incredibly annoying for friends who can't work out why I am trying to 'fix' and 'assist' and...'be of use'.

I'm also constantly seeking approval - I need...validation. And if others approve, then I believe, somewhere, that I am less likely to be pushed away. I'm always anxious - am I getting whatever I am doing/saying wrong? So, I need boundaries/exact parameters for everything...because then I know where the line is (so that I don't step beyond it). I need to be accepted and will compromise in order to receive it rather than trusting that people will accept me for who I am. Because who I am is never enough. I know, it all sounds screwed, but from where I sit it is my reality.

All of this came up in a discussion with the unnamed expert earlier this month as I realized (which I suppose in itself is a positive) that I'm constantly seeking approval/positive reinforcement. It's my coping mechanism. When we're young, we don't know who we are, so we begin to form a sense of self by how others see us - this is known as mirroring. If the mirroring isn't positive...or accurate...then our sense of self is distorted. Thus, the need for validation.

So, where now? It's a case of building my sense of self so that instead of seeking external validation I learn to trust myself and look internally. *puts on hiking boots* This is going to be a long climb...

11 December 2009

Endings

No, not mine. Sorry, not the best title selection. Last month (at least, I think it was last month), while I was reading Grimspace (Ann Aguirre), my lovely friend Kerry informed me that Ann Aguirre had sold the last two books in the Jax series, so the story arc will be completed. And that got me to thinking..

My immediate thought (selfish I know) was 'YAH'! There will definitely be an ending!' Because, as a reader, it is...incredibly frustrating to not have an ending to a story that you have invested time and energy in. (And yes, I'm aware of the vagaries of publishing and that sometimes the author is just as frustrated as the reader when a story arc in left incomplete.) The example that springs to mind whenever I think of a incomplete story arc is The Exiles, a fantasy trilogy by Melanie Rawn. I read the first book in 1994 and the second book in 1997. As for the third book...well, I'm glad you asked *grin* The third book hasn't been released yet...I actually don't think it has been written. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not in any way, shape or form demanding the third book. It's not my place to do so. And, I'm aware that Melanie Rawn has experienced serious health issues over the past few years, and I can't imagine how hard it is to write when healthy, let alone when you are not.

I guess what I would like is some indication from the author as to whether (or not) the third book will ever be published. If it won't be, I'll accept that...it's the not knowing that drives me up the wall. And if the third book is never published, then I really hope that Melanie will make available a short plot synopsis, with answers to all those questions that I have. It's like the TV series The Pretender. All those plots never completed...it's... *deep breath*

So, how do you feel about books with incomplete story arcs?

08 December 2009

Thoughts on As Shadows Fade

Caveat: I don't mean any disrespect to either the author or her work, so I apologise in advance if I cause offence - it is not my intention to do so.

Note: There are spoilers aplenty in this post. Also, I'm not sure how well I have articulated exactly what I'm feeling, but I've given it a good shot *grin*

Last month I wrote a post entitled Alternate Endings as I had just picked up As Shadows Fade, the fifth and final book in Colleen Gleason's Gardella Vampire Chronicles, from my local library. I finished reading the book at the end of last month and I've been thinking about it ever since. Remember how I said there was a love triangle, and that I had a fair idea who the heroine (Victoria) would choose, and that Victoria's choice for Victoria was the opposite of orannia's choice for Victoria? Well I was right (unfortunately). On the plus side, the romance between Victoria and her choice of hero (Max) worked for me. I didn't think it would, but it did. I believed it, believed in them. The rather large elephant of an issue I have with the book is what happened to the alternate hero (Sebastian).
As the book progresses and Sebastian accepts that Victoria has not chosen him, he starts dreaming of his previous beloved Giulia (Max's sister), who was introduced to vampires (by Max) and subsequently turned. Sebastian was the one who staked her (I hope that makes sense).
Was it just because he'd lost Victoria that Giulia had come back to haunt him? Had his relationship - such as it had was - been simply a distraction from Giulia and her memory?
Excuse me? Sebastian considers his relationship with Victoria a distraction?

Sebastian then discovers an ancient prophecy foretelling the coming of a saviour who carries the deepest taint. So, in an effort to save Giulia and others from eternal damnation (because they drank human blood), Sebastian rescues Max from the clutches of the evil vampire queen and allows himself to be turned into a vampire.
For Giulia. For her soul. He would save her soul, and keep his own clean. And then, someday, they would be together...when his long promise was fulfilled.
I'm sorry, be together? But...what about Sebastian's feelings for Victoria?
Breathing hard, he looked at her (Victoria): the face he would never forget, the woman he loved, the eyes, sharp but pleading.
So, you do love her (Victoria)?

I'm not a huge fan of love triangles (but then I can't imagine one hero falling in love with me let alone two [although a gal can dream *grin*]) but...I trusted the author to do right by it. Unfortunately, I feel that Sebastian was cheated. And what's worse is that Max was the person who introduced Giulia to the vampire that turned her (although I will stipulate that he was ignorant of the exact consequences of his introduction) and yet Max ends up playing happy families with Victoria and Sebastian spends the rest of his life as a vampire... Does that seem in any way fair to you because it doesn't to me.

And what's more, where was Sebastian's anguish and heartache over losing Victoria? We are never shown it. It's almost like we are meant to believe that Sebastian didn't really love Victoria. Except...the author sold me on that in the first four books, and not having a resolution, any resolution, cheapens those feelings. And to make him a vampire?

I'm sure the author has her reasons and I'm missing them by such a gap you could drive a supertanker through, so if someone can explain them to me I'd be very grateful as I just don't understand...

Edited to add: I realized after posting that this post was rather anti-social unless one had actually read the book. So, in the general scheme of love triangles, what are your thoughts on how the author should handle the alternate hero's ending?

06 December 2009

Christmas Reading

I have a confession. I've been 'saving' books to read over the Christmas holiday period. These are books that I've been dying to read but that I knew would end up squeezed between work and life. I want to savour the experience of reading them. So, on Friday I visited my local library and picked up (finally):

* Corambis (Sarah Monette) [The final book in The Doctrine of Labyrinths]

* Daughter of the Forest (Juliet Marillier)

* What Remains of Heaven (CS Harris)

But I'm curious: do you save books for a holiday period or do you read them as soon as you purchase/borrow them?

Update: My new computer is now up and running! *happy dance* Shiny! My computer that is. So shiny. And so fast. I can't believe how fast. And so purple *grin* Internet here I come! And yes, you would have thought that upon connecting said new computer I would have gone berserk and been surfing for hours, but, unfortunately, chores took priority yesterday...

02 December 2009

On the Second Day of Christmas...

...my true love gave to me (*enter cynical voice stage left* well, he didn't, probably because he doesn't exist *exit cynical voice in a puff of smoke* [because exiting stage right would be so boring])

A brand new Dell computer just for me!

Yes, it has arrived....in three boxes. I'm not quite sure what is in the third box, but I guess I'll find out this weekend *grin* Yes, this weekend. How is that for restraint?

Edited to add: My current computer staged the death scene to end all death scenes on Wednesday night (and yes, some might say that is perfect timing) so I will be AWOL offline until I have the new computer connected...to itself and the Internet. *madly crossing fingers that the connecting is as easy as everyone says it is*

01 December 2009

Books 2009: November Update

Total to date: 77 books (9 books this month)

The 2009 Support Your Local Library Challenge total to date: 49 books (six books this month)

A list of all the books I've read to date (from 01 January 2008) can be found at Library Thing.

Favourite book of the month? Actually I don't have one...

Currently reading: Shadow Magic (Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett)

And the books I'm most looking forward to reading this month?

* Blaze of Memory (Nalini Singh)

* Corambis (Sarah Monette)

* Daughter of the Forest (Juliet Marillier)

* Fragile Eternity (Melissa Marr)

* What Remains of Heaven (CS Harris)

What did you read last month?

30 November 2009

In Death Challenge: Promises In Death

Earlier this month, the lovely Christine from Happily Ever After set up the In Death Challenge. The basic idea of the challenge is to read one In Death book (JD Robb) per month.

At the time the challenge was made, I was two and a half books away from being 'up to date' with the series and was just about to start reading Promises In Death. So, the creation of the In Death Challenge was perfect timing IMHO *grin*

I'm not going to review Promises In Death. It has been done before and by reviewers far superior to me *grin* But I wanted to share with you my thoughts and my favourite paragraph. A paragraph that...spoke to me. I don't think this post contains spoilers per say...but it is plot-related...to this book and previous books, so those of you who haven't read many of the In Death books may want to put a blindfold on.

I haven't read an In Death book for almost a year, so it was nice to re-immerse myself in Eve's world. One thing that struck me while reading Promises In Death was how far Eve has come compared with where she was when we first met her in Naked In Death. (And I now have a hankering to re-read Naked in Death just to remind myself of where Eve was at.) Eve was a loner...now she has Roarke....and Peabody...she has family. That really hit home for me in this book. Now, on to my favourite paragraph:

'And the mirror turns so you wonder next about your own blood. What passes from father to daughter.'

'I know I'm not like her. But it's another question.'

'Here's an answer. Three fathers - hers, mine, yours - and three products of that blood, so to speak. And all of us have done what we've done with it. Maybe because of it. You know you're not like her, you're sure of that much . I know you. I'm sure you never could have been.'

So, have you read any of the In Death books and, if so, who is your favourite secondary character? I say secondary rather than primary so I don't receive comments with the same answer - Roarke - throughout *grin* Me? I love Charles...

28 November 2009

Thoughts on New Moon (The Movie)

Earlier today I went to see New Moon with my friend Meredith Shayne. Where to start? Overall, I enjoyed the movie, with the exception of the vampire-only scenes. And Edward just...doesn't appeal, so. even after reading the first two books and seeing the movie interpretations of said books, I can't understand why Bella wants Edward over Jacob. My first comment to Meredith once the movie had finished consisted of:
 
'Bella is an utter, utter idiot.'
 
Or words to that effect *grin* And while I was chatting to Meredith I came to an interesting conclusion. The werewolves refer to the vampires as 'The Cold Ones'. The Cullens live in a modern house, with minimal decor. They are always immaculately dressed and...even when they are together they stand apart. Take Bella's birthday party for example or, at the end of the movie, the scene where Bella is asking the Cullens to vote on whether or not she should be Changed. The Cullens stand as couples, not as a family...or at least that is how it appears. They are...restrained, and although that could be a product of what they are, this restraint is visible in so many facets of their lives.
 
This is a complete contrast IMO to the werewolves. Completely aside from the fact that werewolves have a higher body temperature than humans, Bella rather interestingly refers to Jacob as 'warm' (which I completely agree with IMO *grin*). The small scene in Sam (the Alpha werewolf) & Emily's kitchen shows us a wooden interior (which I always see as warm), with bright decor and the werewolves all bantering while sitting down together to eat. They just come across as a bright, boisterous family...so unlike the sophisticated Cullens. I'm not sure if I'm explaining myself very well. *thinks* There's such a...disparity between the vampires and the werewolves...and for me, the warmth demonstrated by the werewolves is....seductive. I would far rather be with them (even if such a situation is far out of my comfort zone) than with 'The Cold Ones' (maybe because the latter reflects my family too much for my liking). And that is why I find Bella's decision so puzzling. Well, that and the fact that Jacob is way more yummy that Mr Sparkly Vampire! And yes, I know Edward is 'her mate', but... *shrugs*
 
Then again, maybe all of the above is the result of my overactive imagination. For those of you who have read the book/seen the movie - what do you think? Am I reading too much into what I saw?
 
And will I be reading the next book? Yes, and definitely before Eclipse is released on the big screen. I'd rather get to it sooner than later as I've been hearing rumours about certain happenings in tents...and am intrigued *grin*

26 November 2009

M/M Meme

The spectacular (I hope that was a good word to utilize for you Kris?) Kris from Kris 'n' Good Books created a meme based around m/m books and I was tagged by the lovely Mandi from Smexy Books to participate.

I have a confession. I have actually been dithering about posting my answers to this meme... Why? Well, the third question of the meme asks whether I am 'out' as a reader...and posting this meme pretty much answers that question in the affirmative. The dithering is because I worry about exposing something personal about myself...not literally but figuratively... However, the name of this blog is Walkabout, and the reason why I started this blog was to help me learn to express myself...and not be afraid when doing so! So *deep breath* here are my answers to the meme:
Rules:

1. Answer all the questions below in either the comments here or post it on your own site. If you post it on your own site you have to come back and give the link here so I/Kris can mosey on over and see if you have a sticky beak.

2. You have to tag two other people once your done and pester them relentlessly until they do the meme too.

3. Instead of a meme image thing you have to post a cookie, preferably a twofer. It is an m/m meme after all. ;)
Questions:

1. How long have you been reading GLBTQ fiction?
About 1 year...I think.

2. What was the first book you read in this genre?
I honestly thought I couldn't remember...and then it came to me! The first book in this genre that I read was Mind F*ck (Manna Francis). What an amazing story! I'm hoping to purchase the fifth book in this series shortly. (I guess that tells you I like this author :)

3. Are you 'out' as a reader?
Ah, I am now *grin* Actually, apart from online, I think I'm out with only *counts* five people.

4. eBooks, print or both?
I prefer print books, but that is because I currently have to read eBooks on my computer, which isn't how it should be IMO.

5. Do you buy direct from publishers or from secondary sellers?
The few books I have bought (and that number seems to be increasing :) I have mainly purchased from secondary sellers.

6. Prove you're a Book Slut. How many books would you say you buy a week?
Ahhh...none. Although I have bought two books this month - one print book and one eBook. Honestly, I very rarely buy books (I all but live at my local library), but that may change when I purchase my multi-task device (AKA the iTouch).

7. Are you a cover, blurb or excerpt buyer?
Blurb and excerpt...I'm a cautious purchaser of book, so I want to minimize the risk (of buying a dud) as much as possible by doing a lot of research. And yes, that means it takes me ages to buy anything *grin*

8. Yeah, you read reviews, but do you actually take notice of them?
It depends on who the reviewer is and how fairly their review the book. I don't want a gushy review, I want an honest review.

9. Who's your fave publisher?
I don't have one.

10. What about authors? Your top two only!!
Hmmmm. Ginn Hale - I adored Wicked Gentleman. And Manna Francis. Oh, and Sean Michael. I know, that's three...did I say I could count? And, before you all start pointing out all the amazing authors I have mentioned, I should point out that I haven't read many m/m books...yet... And yes, feel free to point me in the right direction *grin*

11. Is there a sub-genre you particularly dis/like?
No. If the characters are good, I'm there.

12. Short or long?
Long. Novellas leave me wanting...more *grin*

13. Anything turn you off about m/m or is all just glorious smut to you?
There are certain things I'm not a fan of, but I'm not spilling the beans!

14. Finish this sentence. You know it's m/m twu wuv when...
He turns gay for you. Sorry, couldn't resist :)

15. What trope or theme are you heartily sick of in m/m romance?
Nothing as yet.... It's early days!

16. If you could choose any 3 characters for a m/m/m who would they be?
Hmmm. This is hard. There are so many characters I don't know yet. Who should I be considering?

17. What new GLBTQ release are you most hanging out for right now?
Strange Fortune (Josh Lanyon). I read Mandi's review - fantasy plus m/m romance = I can't wait!

18. What GLBTQ book has completely blown you away this year?
Bent (Sean Michael). It just...resonated.

19. What do you think we'll see more of in m/m romance in 2010?
I've just started dipping my toes into this genre, so I've barely scratched the surface of what is available. So, your guess is no doubt better than mine *grin*

20. Don't you agree that author Josh Lanyon should kill off arsehole character Jake Riordan?
Jake who? *grin* I'm kidding. I've heard of the Adrian English books...now I just have to read them!

Tagging? No one....but feel free to tag yourself *grin* Oh, and a cookie. Most of my cookies I have obtained via Kris!

22 November 2009

You Told Me So

To those of you who told me what a wonderful book Grimspace was, who suggested, cajoled and/or pleaded with me to read it:

You were right, I was wrong!

So, feel free to say I told you so!

I finished reading Grimspace on the weekend and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I have to admit to not being a fan of the first person, so the jerky beginning took a little time to get used too. But a friend mentioned that Jax's...psyche was reflected in the sentence structure...and so it was. I could relate to Jax - she compartmentalizes...as do I.
...I'm so broken. Never realized how fragmented I've become until this moment. I'm a mirror where someone sunk his fist, a thousand tiny images refracted from that fissure, and none of them complete.
There were so beautiful descriptions in this book. Of the Corp:
One of them wanted to know if I could describe the smell of burning human flesh. The Corp is full of those types, who in another time would've been chopping up their neighbours and burying them beneath their porch. Now they receive specialized certifications and go to work inside our heads.
Of the relationship between a Jumper and a pilot:
Imagine for a moment - lover and brother and guardian and partner and - ...Perfect trust, perfect symbiosis; there comes a time when words aren't necessary any more.
I love the Jumper premise, and I hope that I learn more about what makes them tick as the series progresses. And yes, if that wasn't enough of a hint I'll come out and say it *grin* I'll be reading the second book!

And I just loved this paragraph:
For the first time I grasp that bending doesn't necessarily mean weakness. Defiance doesn't always equate to strength.
I wish more heroines came to this realization *grin*

Oh, and question: I can't find the page, but...are all Jumpers female?

20 November 2009

Progress

Earlier this month I (hopefully politely :) asked you to participate in a poll to determine the colour of the front bezel of my new computer. Thank you very much to those of you who voted or who informed me offline of your preferences. Well, the votes have been tallied and the winning colour is:

Plum Purple!

(Over 55% of the votes were for Plum Purple.) This morning, I finally ordered my new computer - I am beyond excited! My current computer (much as I love it) is a relic of the dark ages...and I want to be able to play online. Anyway, you will hopefully be pleased to know that the colour of my front bezel (I wonder who made up that word? It's just....weird) will be...plum purple! Hopefully (yes, I know I'm overusing that word today) the new computer will arrive in a couple of weeks and then I just have to organize broadband (I'm not sure what term is used outside NZ for fast speed internet connections). So, fingers crossed, I'll be racing through the internet by Christmas! *happy dance*

The other progress I've made is on a more personal front. The (family) stress I've been experiencing over the past several years has manifested itself gastrically. The short version is, my stomach has been trying to eat itself. I know, it's a zombie plot waiting to happen *grin* My GP (general practioner) suggested I see a nutritionist, so off I went. While my focus was stopping my GIT (gastrointestinal tract) from attempting to star in a Hollywood movie, I did mention that I would like to lose weight (as stress ---> unhealthy diet ---> GULP!). So, since the beginning of August I have been (mostly) adhering to a healthy eating plan. (I say mostly because the amazing thing about this plan, and my nutritionist is that both are flexible, so I have indulged on occasion. The hardest thing was giving up Coca Cola for 3 weeks; at least now I am allowed...hmmm..I am allowing myself...two cans per week.) And, as of the beginning of this month I have lost 8.5 kg (18.7 lb). I'm currently still on the healthy eating plan as I'm not at the goal I set myself (and before you ask, yes, the goal is realistic). I have curves (even with a slight bone structure)...and I'm working on liking them *grin* And one of these days I'll find my favourite photo of me so you can put a name to a face.

18 November 2009

Shalador's Lady (Anne Bishop): Excerpt

Earlier this year, I posted on the cover and summary for Shalador's Lady (Anne Bishop). Thanks to the lovely Kerry (for the heads up), I am happy to say that for those of us who have no willpower, the excerpt has been posted!

And the anticipated publication date is 02 March 2010...so only 3 and 1/2 months to go...

16 November 2009

Alternate Endings

Today I stopped in at my local library and picked up When Shadows Fade, the fifth and final book in Colleen Gleason's Gardella Vampire Chronicles:
Directly descended from the very first vampire hunter in the Gardella family, Victoria knows she must continue the lineage so humanity will have protectors against the undead. While Sebastian Vioget appears to be both the perfect warrior and lover to ensure the Gardella Legacy, Victoria cannot forget Max Pesaro - the former slayer still haunted by the vampire queen Lilith's obsession with him. But it is Lilith's obsession that may save all of humanity. Demons, enemies of both mortals and the undead, have found their way to Earth. To defeat them, vampires and slayers must work side by side. But Lilith wants Max in return for her cooperation - a small price for the world, but too high a price for Victoria.
Those of you who have read, or indeed heard of, this series, know that at its heart there is a love triangle between Victoria, Sebastian and Max. (Note, this post is not going anywhere near love triangles *grin*) Now, even though I haven't read this book I have a fair idea who Victoria ends up with (and no, I didn't peak). Unfortunately, I think Victoria's choice for Victoria is the opposite of orannia's choice for Victoria *grin* And that got me to thinking - even though I respect the author immensely for an amazing series and I am looking forward to reading this final installment, part of wishes that the choice Victoria makes is a different one...

So, I'm wondering, am I the only one who wants an alternate ending to a book? And...is it disrespectful to the author for me to want an alternate ending?

08 November 2009

Does (TBR) Size Matter?

I have a confession. *covers face with hands* My official TBR list (which is my library hold list) is currently sitting on 97 books. Earlier this month it was at 99 books and I was too...embarrassed...to place a hold on another book and thus hit three digits. (And yes, I know that no one but me would know the official number.) So, I have a piece of paper next to my computer that lists 'potential' TBR books! In my defense, some of the books listed on the (in)famous piece of paper aren't on the library catalogue yet, so this way I won't 'forget' about them. However, some of the books are on the catalogue but I can't place a hold on them as they would all appear at once! Hence the piece of paper *grin*

I'm not sure why I have this issue with the number 100...and so I was wondering if anyone else worried about the number of books on their TBR list/pile/tower. And, if so, do you hide books from your official TBR list/pile/tower because you are too embarrassed about how big it has become or are you proud of the number?

07 November 2009

DNS

Invariably, amongst all the books that we read, one...or two (or occasionally more *grin* because they do seem to travel in packs, or is that just me?) will not be finished. They are thus labelled 'Did Not Finish' or DNF books. But what about those books that we don't even start? And no, I'm not talking about the books that we never even pick up but those that we pick up with the intention of reading. Those books that have been languishing on our TBR list/piles/towers for what feels like forever, but when we finally get around to reading them...and pick them up to do just that...they don't appeal. I've labelled these 'Did Not Start' or DNS books.

And that leads me to something else - book guilt. Earlier this week, the lovely Stacy from Stacy's Place wrote a fascinating post entitled Living With Reading Envy. And I freely admit to reading envy. Not with regard to ARCs, because I am always in awe of the amazing reviews generated and I know I could not replicate them (quality wise and in a timely manner). More in the sheer number of books that various bloggers seem to read within a month. And while replying to Stacy's post it got me to thinking of reading guilt... A perfect example for me is Heir to Sevenwaters (Juliet Mariller). After reading the review by the incomparable Thea from The Book Smugglers in November 2008 (yes, 2008!), I added it to my TBR list. And there it languished until just recently. And I feel incredibly guilty about all the wonderful books languishing on my TBR list that I want to read...

So, do you come across DNS books and do you experience book guilt?

05 November 2009

Poll: The Colour of Technology

Earlier this week my friend and I sat down to discuss my new computer. One of the reasons for the delay is that he was (very kindly) trying to find a way to utilize various components from my grandfather's computer in the build. Unfortunately, that isn't cost-effective, so we're going with Plan B - a customized computer from Dell. And before you all ask, no, I am not buying a laptop...I don't want to check my emails in bed *grin*

One of the many things I have to decide on is the colour of the front bezel...there are eight to choose from! What happened to any colour as long as it's black? So, I thought this would be a good time for a poll. What colour should I pick for the front bezel of my computer? I look forward to your thoughts and thank you in advance for voting!

02 November 2009

Archangel's Kiss (Nalini Singh)

Archangel's Kiss is the second book in Nalini Singh's Guild Hunter series. It is also the sequel to Angels' Blood. (Note: spoilers for Angels' Blood below):
Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux wakes from a year-long coma to find herself changed—an angel with wings the colors of midnight and dawn—but her fragile body needs time to heal before she can take flight. Her lover, the stunningly dangerous archangel Raphael, is used to being in control—even when it comes to the woman he considers his own. But Elena has never done well with authority… They’ve barely begun to understand each other when Raphael receives an invitation to a ball from the archangel Lijuan. To refuse would be a sign of fatal weakness, so Raphael must ready Elena for the flight to Beijing—and to the nightmare that awaits them there. Ancient and without conscience, Lijuan holds a power that lies with the dead. And she has organized the most perfect and most vicious of welcomes for Elena…
You can read the excerpt here! The book is scheduled to be released in February 2010!

So, who else apart from me can't wait to read this?

Edited to add: Nalini has posted the unedited first chapter for Bonds of Justice (Max's story), to her blog!

01 November 2009

Books 2009: October Update

Total to date: 68 books (10 books this month)

The 2009 Support Your Local Library Challenge total to date: 43 books (4 books this month)

A list of all the books I've read to date (from 01 January 2007) can be found at Library Thing.

Favourite books of the month?

* Heir to Sevewaters (Juliet Marillier)
 
* To Ride Hell's Chasm (Janny Wurts)

Books I 'did not finish':

* Eon: Dragoneye Reborn (Alison Goodman)
Currently reading: Bloodhound (Tamora Pierce)

And the books I'm most looking forward to reading next month?

* Blaze of Memory (Nalini Singh)

* Grimspace (Ann Aguirre) [Yes, azteclady and Aymless, I will finally read Grimspace!]

What did you read last month?

27 October 2009

Juliet Marillier

Near the end of last year, the indomitable and lovely Thea from The Book Smugglers reviewed Juliet Marillier's Heir to Sevenwaters.
The chieftains of Sevenwaters have long been custodians of a vast and mysterious forest. Human and Otherworld dwellers have existed there side by side, sharing a wary trust. Until the spring when Lady Aisling of Sevenwaters finds herself expecting another child—a new heir to Sevenwaters. Then the family’s joy turns to despair when the baby is taken from his room and something…unnatural is left in his place. To reclaim her newborn brother, Clodagh must enter the shadowy Otherworld and confront the powerful prince who rules there.
The summary and Thea's amazing review of Heir to Sevenwaters had me completely hooked, and the book was promptly added to my TBR list, where, I'm embarrassed to admit, it languished until Saturday...yes, the Saturday just been. The great thing about my TBR list (which to all intents and purposes is my library hold list) is that eventually each book on it arrives at the top (or else the hold expires [the down side]). So, I picked up the book on Saturday and started reading...and kept reading...and kept reading. This book has everything - ancient Irish history and mythology, adventure, emotional introspection and romance! I found the following statement on Juliet Marillier's writing on Wikipedia that struck a chord:
[Marillier] also says that she usually bases a story on two elements: what the main character learns about herself and her world that makes this adventure personally significant; and the bigger picture, showing this character's role in something outside herself, such as saving a community or forging a peace between two warring tribes. The first idea reinforces the second, making the writing both personal and realistic.
And even better, I discovered that Juliet Marillier was born and raised in New Zealand (although I believe she is currently living in Perth, Australia), so by reading her book I've done my good deed for New Zealand Book Month (because I can't really count Blaze of Memory as it isn't being released until next week *grin*).

So, have you read any of Julliet Marillier's books and, if so, which one of her books should I read next? I was thinking of reading the first book in the Sevenwaters series - Daughter of the Forest (I know, I'm evil for reading out of order - please don't shoot me :) but, luckily, there are so many books to gloom *happy dance* Now, back to the book *grin*

26 October 2009

Crying

One of the things I didn't mention in my previous post was that the ending of To Ride Hell's Chasm (Janny Wurts) always makes me cry. It just does. So does the ending of the audio version of Oscar Wilde's The Happy Prince. And most of Lisa Kleypas' Blue-Eyed Devil.

So I was wondering...what books have you read that have made you cry? (And I mean crying in either a happy or sad way.)

22 October 2009

Dichotomy

I had this post all written in advance and stupidly assumed that I had saved it somewhere...I had, but on my work computer, which I can't access until Tuesday. So even though you don't know what I originally wrote, I apologise in advance if this post...rambles...well, rambles more than normal *grin*

Reading Kerry's review of To Ride Hell's Chasm got me to thinking...have you ever raved about a book to a friend so much that he/she decides to read it...but their response to the book is the complete opposite of yours? I should be clear, it's not that I disagree with Kerry's review - I think she has raised some very valid issues ...issues that I actually agree with. The thing is, those issues don't in any way, shape or form, influence my opinion of the book. To Ride Hell's Chasm is still a keeper for me, and one of my favourite fantasy novels ever!

So, I'm curious - has a friend's response to a book, particularly a keeper, influenced how you feel about that book?

21 October 2009

To Ride Hell's Chasm (Janny Wurts): Guest Review

As I mentioned in Is The Grass Greener?, my lovely friend Kerry (from Saving My Sanity) decided to read To Ride Hell's Chasm (Janny Wurts), one of my favourite fantasy novels ever, as part of a GoodReads Book Club!

When Princess Anja fails to appear at her betrothal banquet, the tiny, peaceful kingdom of Sessalie is plunged into intrigue. Two warriors are charged with recovering with the distraught king's beloved daughter. Taskin, Commander of the Guard, whose icy competence and impressive term as the Crown's right-hand man command the kingdom's deep-seated respect; and Mykkael, the rough-hewn newcomer who has won the Captain of the Garrison - a scarred veteran with a deadly record of field warfare, whose 'interesting' background and foreign breeding are held in contempt by court society. As the princess' trail vanishes outside the citadel's gates, anxiety and tension escalate. Mykkael's explanations lead him to a radical explanation for the mystery, but he finds himself under suspicion from the Court factions. Will Commander Taskin's famous fair-mindedness be enough to unravel the truth behind the Garrison Captain's dramatic theory: that the resourceful, high-spirited princess was not taken by force, but fled the palace to escape a demonic evil?
I was reading To Ride Hell's Chasm concurrently with Kerry and yes, I did think of reviewing it. However, you would have been reading a review consisting of three words - I loved it - repeated endlessly *grin* So, with Kerry's kind permission, here are her final thoughts on To Ride Hell's Chasm:

I've finished. I'm afraid I didn't end up loving this book and I think I have at least something of a handle on why. It's like it was three different books - or perhaps rather types of books - in one binding and for me they didn't sit well together.The first half of the book drove me insane, for the reasons I outlined as I read it. But the reason it made me so nuts is because it was really well written. The characters all had strong solid personalities and back stories. And they acted according to what the author had given them even when it made me want to grit my teeth and scream. It was gritty and uncompromising (things I admit I usually avoid) and excellent, even if it was bad for my blood pressure.

Then we moved to the action-adventure story. And compared to the power of that first half, the realism seemed to suffer. We got Energizer Bunny Mykkael who should have keeled over ages ago but conveniently only does it when rescue has arrived - but then he's going to die, but wait, no, we can fix it because we are a wonderfully powerful convenient rescue.

And now we're into the third type of book - the fantasy with an absolutely perfectly tied off ending. There's that perfectly timed rescue I just mentioned. By people who we want to avoid because we've been told they'll want to kill Mykkael except that, hey, they don't. And then there's Anja who makes all the right decisions for a classic fantasy ending, and after that gritty and uncompromising first half (remember that?) suddenly it all seems to be driving towards an ideal ending. Yeah, she had to marry the prince, but she's a princess with an imperilled kingdom. That was always going to happen. But wait, the prince is young and beautiful and even a nice guy. How convenient for Anja. Too many things were tied up conveniently. Everything had a reasonable explanation sure, but it all turned up neatly at the end to get a happy ending. Oh, let's bring in the shamans, who happen to be powerful enough to not only save Mykkael and Anja, but also to find out the demon's name, save and cleanse Sessalie, save Prince Kailen (even if he's dead) [Anja's brother], give Anja suitable visions of the future to make the right choices, heal Mykkael's physical injuries, heal Mykkael's emotional and spiritual injuries (at a distance from all the people involved, many of whom were dead) and, whoo-hoo for an encore, heal Orannia [not me, Mykkael's beloved] as well (and also at a distance) and see a vision of Mykkael and Orannia living a long life together and having lots of babies together. Oh yeah, I forgot. We also had a revelation that Mykkael wasn't really an outcast at all and we'll welcome him to the clan while we're at it.It's all too pat. I think I would find it that way anyway, but after the uncompromising nature of the first half of the book, all these convenient happenings to tie off all these loose end with ribbons and bows feels rather like a betrayal of what the characters, especially Mykkael, suffered in that first half. And then there's all those characters in the first half who are suddenly abandoned by the narrative. We leave the action in Sessalie in the middle of a battle for goodness sake. And we never go back. Sure, we get told bits and pieces of what happened through moments of witch thought or the intervening little bits of narrative but it's not enough. After all those characters went through in the first half, they deserved a proper ending that was shown and not told.

Hmm, it's becoming clear to me that I actually had major issues with this book. I think at its simplest, for me, the perfect fantasy happy ending and the contrivances required for that betrayed the stark power of the first half. The first half felt painfully real, so to shift to a more standard, over the top kind of fantasy fare in the second half was a huge disappointment. Also, as much as I like a happy ending, the second half wasn't in tune with what the first half set up and promised the reader. This was a schizophrenic book for me. Or perhaps more a case of multiple personality disorder with two distinctly differently toned books inside the one binding (I'm lumping the adventure part and ending together here). I think I would have preferred either a second half that matched the first half (hard though that would have been to read) or a first half that matched the second half, rather than the mix that I actually got.

Rating: 6/10
Thank you Kerry! And you may have noticed the name of one of the characters - Orannia - in the review. This is the book from which I found my name *grin*

15 October 2009

First Impressions

Earlier this month the lovely KMont of Lurv A La Mode was focusing the spotlight on some upcoming releases (my apologies KMont - I can't remember the exact post)...and two words (in a back cover summary) in relation to the heroine caught my eye: beautiful and fearless! And those two simple words immediately put me off the book!!! Why? It's often said (I'm not sure by whom) that first impressions are important, that people judge us almost immediately by what they see. Remember the phrase 'Don't judge a book by its cover'? Well....I try not too, mostly because I've found that books are often nothing like their covers *grin* I judge by the summary...and the review - will this storyline, will these characters interest me?

Someone once said to me (I think - I'm paraphrasing wildly) that a perfect character permits no growth....they're beautiful, they're fearless/feisty and they are talented. Hmm...top of the food chain then. What do they have to aspire too...apart from staying at the top of the food chain? I don't like such characters...I want growth, I want development...I want to see the character become...more. Why? Because it gives me hope that I can do the same. And yes, it's just a character on a page and with a few strokes of a pen/clicks of a keyboard the character can grow. And yes, an author can make that happen that quickly. But..sometimes...you'll find an author that will let the development happen slowly...at a more realistic pace...and you realise you are biting your lip, mentally crossing your fingers for said character. You want him/her to succeed. But if the character is perfect...what room is there to grow? And yes, a good author will include flaws to allow for that growth. Unfortunately, beautiful, feisty and talented is everything I'm not...and if I find such a character all I end up doing is comparing myself...and I come up wanting. And yes, that is a reflection of me...I'm a perfectionist...

I know such heroines have their place, and that many readers love them, but...I need more.

So, do you like your characters with no flaws, or do you like them with flaws? And if the latter, do the flaws have to be internal - emotional or mental - rather than external (physical)?

FYI - Dear Author recently discussed The Case of the Unlikeable Heroine.

14 October 2009

Is The Grass Greener?

As I mentioned in an earlier post (A Rose By Any Other Name), I started to read Eon: Dragoneye Reborn (Alison Goodman) early last week. However, around the same time, my lovely friend Kerry from Saving My Sanity started to read To Ride Hell's Chasm (Janny Wurts) as part of a GoodReads Book Club. Now, I simply adore To Ride Hell's Chasm; I would start waxing lyrical about it but we would all be here for a very long time, and time is precious *grin*

Anyway, Kerry has been sharing her insights on the book with me as she reads...and the book was calling. Definitely calling. And I simply had to answer...it would have been rude not too, wouldn't it? *grin* So, Eon: Dragoneye Reborn was returned to the library and I was picked up (and was swallowed whole by) To Ride Hell's Chasm. I was rather nervous to begin with; To Ride Hell's Chasm is one of my favourite fantasy novels and I was worried it wouldn't live up to my memory of it. Plus, the writing style is...a little different...and I was concerned I wouldnt' be able to follow it as well as I once had.

And was the grass greener on the other side? Well, WRT To Ride Hell's Chasm, yes, yes it was. As I mentioned, it isn't the easiest book to read - the author has an unusual way of phrasing, but the insight and the imagery that phrasing reveals is well worth it. What's more, I haven't found it a slow read, and even 400 pages in I'm not bored by any stretch of the imagination. It's slow pace works (for me).

So, while reading one book do you ever get enticed by another? And if so, do you answer the call, assume the grass is greener on the other side (in other words, with the other book) and swap? It's just that I'm wondering if I'm the only one with no willpower...

And...a side note: have you ever been worried about re-reading a keeper? Worried that it will not live up to your expectations? (Apologies - I'm
full of questions today :)

10 October 2009

New Zealand Book Month

October is New Zealand Book Month. And because it is, I thought I would introduce some New Zealand authors to you:

* Nalini Singh. Need I say more? Who isn't hanging out to read Blaze of Memory? Well...apart from those of you who have already read an ARC *grin*

* Emily Gee. Author of The Thief With No Shadow and the more recent The Laurentine Spy (which is on my TBR list).

* Maurice Gee. Yes, he has the same last name as the previous author, and that is because he is her father! Maurice Gee has written a number of books, but the one I know the most well is Under the Mountain [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Under_The_Mountain_(2009_film)], which is to be released as a motion picture in December:
When teenage twins Rachel and Theo Matheson investigate the creepy old house next door, they discover the Wilberforces - shape-shifting creatures that lurk beneath Auckland's ring of extinct volcanoes. Guided by the mysterious Mr Jones and with the help of their older cousin Ricky, the twins must rekindle the unique powers they once shared if they are to destroy this ancient evil - before it destroys them.
And New Zealand Book Month wouldn't be complete without including my favourite book: My Cat Likes To Hide In Boxes! Yes, it's a children's book, but it is still brilliant.

Happy reading!

07 October 2009

A Rose By Any Other Name

Some of you may have noticed that I was reading Eon: DragonEye Reborn (Allison Goodman) earlier this week. (I'm not now, but the reason why is an entirely different post *grin*) Anyway, when I went to add the cover of the book to my Currently Reading gadget I realised that on the FantasticFiction site it is actually called The Two Pearls of Wisdom. Hmmm.

Then, because I was a little behind with my reading and the book was due back at the library on Saturday, I trundled over to my local library's online catalogue to check whether it would be possible to renew this book with two names (or if I would need to read like a demon this week *grin*). But then I realised that the book wasn't listed as I thought it was. So, I headed to Wikipedia, and that's when I realised this book has three, yes three names:

* Eon: Dragoneye Reborn (USA)
 
* Eon: Rise of the Dragoneye (UK)

* The Two Peals of Wisdom

And weirdly, my library has all three titles! My question is - why? Why do publishers feel the need to change the name of a book? Covers...nope! *shakes head* I'm not touching that one. Do publishers not realise that it confuses us poor readers, who excitedly think that there is another book out there? I know they sometimes 're-package' books - a two for one deal and all that (which occurred with two Mercedes Lackey books), but re-naming is just [insert suitable adjective here]!

So, what do you think about the re-naming of books depending on the geographic location of the book's release? And have you discovered any examples?

04 October 2009

Thoughts On Cast In Silence

I've just finished reading Cast in Silence (Michelle Sagara), the fifth book in the Chronicles of Elantra series. Where to start? Firstly, the humour that pervades this book had me grinning in more than a few places:
Kaylin's understanding of the Dragon term hoard wasn't exact, but time had made clear that it meant 'touch any of my stuff and die horribly'.
Kaylin wilted visibly. She'd long since realised that there were whole days that did not reward getting out of bed; she thought it a bit unfair that whole weeks could also be like that.And then there were the passages that reached out from the page and touched me:
The past never truly died. anyway; you just boxed it up and put it in storage, hoping it wouldn't come back to bite you later. But it did, and sometimes you bled. 
'Stop judging your life only by the failures,' he whispered. 
'What should I do?' she whispered. 'I'm always going to fail.' 
'We all do,' he said softly, his voice closer now. 'We all fail. But none of us fail all of the time.'
However (and this isn't a 'but' in the way that you're probably thinking), sometimes I honestly feel that Michelle Sagara gives me (as a reader) too much credit...because sometimes I feel like I have absolutely no idea what is going on with the plot and I'm just grasping at straws with what I think I know. The plot in this series is so intricate and everything has meaning...and I worry that I'm missing things...important things.

So, do you ever read a book and come to the realization that you are missing the bigger picture?
Note: For those of you familiar with the series, Lord Nightshade is still my favourite character, although I definitely have a soft spot for the Dragons *grin*

01 October 2009

Books 2009: September Update

Total to date: 58 books (5 books per month)

The 2009 Support Your Local Library Challenge total to date: 39 books (3 books per month)

A list of all the books I've read to date (from 01 January 2008) can be found at Library Thing.

Favourite books of the month?

* HaveMercy (Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett)

* New Moon (Stephenie Meyer) [Shocking, huh?]

Books I 'did not finish'

* Graceling (Kristin Cashore) [I'm still not sure why this book didn't work for me.]

Current reading: Cast in Silence (Michelle Sagara)

And the book I'm most looking forward to reading next month?

* The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie (Jennifer Ashley)

What did you read last month?

28 September 2009

Dual Thoughts on Hunting Ground

Caveat: I don't mean any disrespect to either the author or her work, so I apologise in advance if I cause offence - it is not my intention to do so.

Yesterday my lovely friend Kerry (from Saving My Sanity) and I were discussing Hunting Ground (Patricia Briggs), which both of us have recently finished reading. We both came to the conclusion that it was an enjoyable read, but...something was missing...or, as Kerry put it, Hunting Ground didn't enthrall as much as Alpha & Omega or Cry Wolf. So, we tried, via email, to put our finger on what that elusive 'something' was....and this is the result. Please note that there are spoilers for Hunting Ground included in this post.

orannia: For me, Anna & Charles' relationship was at the forefront in Alpha & Omega and Cry Wolf. Yes, there was action, but it was their developing relationship that drove the story in both books IMO. However, in Hunting Ground it wasn't Anna & Charles' relationship at the forefront, it was the discussion and potential consequences surrounding the werewolves (OK, the Marrok's) decision to 'come out' (so to speak) *grin* Yes, parts of their relationship were discussed, but for me it wasn't enough. Does my 'but' (as in, 'I liked it, but...') made sense?

Kerry: I think for me it is also that the werewolves 'coming out' could have been a big story, but by making it about bat-sh*t crazy Arthur in the end instead, it turned it into a small story. It was well plotted and interesting, but it didn't feel all that important in the overall scheme of things. I was okay with the Charles and Anna relationship. What was there was very understated, but it showed that Charles knew Anna and knew how to be a good Alpha male. He's similar to Daemon and Lucivar to me in that way - he (along with Brother Wolf) understands that the way to protect is to let your mate spread her wings and be strong, not to smother and belittle in the name of "protection". I really liked that. And that they did their best to communicate when they needed to do so. That's what I absolutely adore about Jaenelle and Daemon - they TALK to each other and solve their problems. Sometimes talking is enough, sometimes it isn't, but they don't have stupid misunderstandings. I don't think Anna and Charles will have all that many misunderstanding either. So for me, the problem was that is was a 'small' story, although I can't define that in a way that necessarily explains what I mean by that.
orannia: Because I just love quotes, I had to throw this quote in to support Kerry's point, which I think is an excellent one :)
'If it would benefit you, I would kill every wolf here. But there are things that you need to do - and interfering with that is not protecting, not in my book. The best way for me to protect you is to encourage you to be able to protect yourself.'
orannia: And once Kerry made that (very good) point I saw where she was going...and realised that while little was made of the 'discussion' over 'coming out', because as was stated in the book it was just a discussion, the European wolves really didn't seem to have a problem 'coming out', and I kept expecting them too....at least one of them.

Don't get us wrong, we both loved the book and will be eagerly awaiting the sequel. It's just fun dissecting a book *grin* So, have you read Hunting Ground and, if so, what did you think? Was it missing something?

Sacrilege

There are days when I don't ever want to pick up and read another romance novel again. Days when I don't want to read about characters, who have lives that are either impossibly perfect or just so unrealistic as to not be in any way, shape or form 'normal', finding their HEA. Days when I don't want to read about people who actually have the confidence to say what they think and damn the consequences. Why? Because on such days I can't pretend that HEA exists and that good people do, occasionally, finish first. On such days I can't put on my Pollyanna hat and believe that tomorrow will be a better day (because going on experience it won't be) and that I will be a more self-assured person who will be loved just as I am. And on such days miracles seem...rather short on the ground and I have to admit that if I'm very lucky what I have now is it...because the thought of anything changing for the better seems less than remote...it seems impossible.

So, do you ever have days when you just don't want to read a romance novel?

Note: I know this post is very whiny...but I decided to keep to the spirit of Walkabout, be honest about what I am feeling and express it.

24 September 2009

The Black Hole

Earlier today, the lovely CJ (from The Thrillionth Page) was waxing lyrical (that's a good thing IMO CJ) on Doubleblind (Ann Aguirre) [which sounds very interesting]. And that got me thinking....and then I came to the rather abrupt realization that I still haven't read Grimspace (the first book in the Sirantha Jax series)..even though I was the one who 'suggested' it to my library and then raved about it to one of the librarians (who FYI read it and loved it). It's been on my TBR list for...for ages! It's like....it's like Grimspace got sucked in to the black hole of my TBR list where it has languished every since :( But I'm sure this is an isolated case...

*checks TBR list*

*almost faints at number of books in 'The Black Hole'*

There's...*GULP* ...As Shadows Fade (Colleen Gleason), Fragile Eternity (Melissa Marr), Underground (Kat Richardson) and When the Duke Returns (Eloisa James), to name but a few. How (or should that be why?) have I not read these books? Am I insane or just stupid? (Please don't answer that last question.)

So, do you have a Black Hole (and yes I think the capitals are justified *grin*) in your TBR list/pile and, if so, what books have been sucked into it?

22 September 2009

Want Or Need?

I am a library addict. Unequivocally. I borrow the majority of my books from my local library (who I *heart* BTW); those books I love beyond compare I then purchase. (A good example of this would be Sarah Monette's The Doctrine of Labyrinths, which I hunted down in hardback [because after all, the books have to be the same size, right?] earlier this year.) These books are my 'keepers'. I've always been that way - a borrower, not a buyer. I'm not sure why...maybe because the majority of my family, not being readers themselves, couldn't understand my need to read (because that's what it feels like...a need, not a want). And the one family member who did read a lot didn't understand the need to buy a book...because (so he said) he only ever read a book once.

Hmmm... I was going to ask if you were a borrower or a buyer...and whether the current economic situation has changed your habits (and I still am interested *grin*), but...I'm curious...is reading a want or a need for you? Umm, for example, if you were told that you could never read another book again could you accept that? And I'm talking about reading for pleasure, not reading for work. It's just that I was lying in bed on Sunday night reading the following paragraph from HaveMercy and it suddenly struck me how...perfectly content the action of reading made me.

On the whole I felt as if my mind had been oddly separated from my emotions; I was speaking, certainly, but at the same time not entirely sure I was in control of the words I spoke.

Because, when I read I'm not in my room, I'm in the book...elsewhere... And that made me realise how miraculous books really are. We can go anywhere, be anyone, within a story.

So, what does reading mean to you? Is it a want or a need? And could you give it up? I know I wouldn't...and that it would break my heart if I had too.

19 September 2009

It's Not You, It's Me

Dear (DNF) Book,

We need to talk. I know I picked you up, murmured sweet nothings in your ear about the one-on-one time we would spend together...but I'm sorry I have to walk away...and this is the end of the road for us. I know I led you on, promised you the world, but...this just isn't working out and, while I know this is going to sound trite, it's not you, it's me.

I love your sense of style, your dash, your verve, but you're no good for me...and I'm no good for you. It may be that this is just not the right time for us to be...together; I'm not ready for you yet. I need to work on me...and you, you deserve someone better than that.

I know you will find that elusive connection with someone...but that someone isn't me. I hope you can forgive me for leading you on. If it makes you feel any better, I feel very guilty.

orannia

So, how do you explain the reason behind your break-up to your DNF books?

17 September 2009

But I Guess That's Why They Call Them The Blues

Last week my lovely friend Kerry (from Saving My Sanity) and I were discussing the blues....more specifically, book blues. Because I truly think they exist. Remember the excitement that grips you when a book picks you up and pulls you inside? And then that flat feeling that sweeps over you when you finish said book and every subsequent book pales in comparison? The feeling of being all over the place and yet nowhere, resulting in disjointed reading and an increasing DNF pile? And then, after a certain period of time, you (to quote Kerry) climb back out of the book and realise that all is not lost. Unfortunately, that time period differs depending on the book... Me? I usually try and read a completely different genre to help snap myself out of it (which unfortunately doesn't always work).

So, have you experienced the book blues before and, if so, how do you climb back out of the book?

10 September 2009

Location, Location, Location

Warning: snark ahead! (But no, I didn't hunt the snark [LOL] - it found me!

Caveat: I don't mean any disrespect to either the author or her work, so I apologise in advance if I cause offence - it is not my intention to do so.

So, I'm reading DawnKeepers, the second in The Final Prophecy series by JR Ward Jessica Andersen. And before you ask, that faux pas was completely accidental - I honestly just starting typing the wrong name - although considering the reminder of my post it's rather ironic...my subconscious was obviously pulling strings. Anyway...8 pages in and the following phase appears:

..woman of worth...

*looks at front cover* I am reading a Jessica Andersen book, aren't I? Never mind.

*keeps reading*

Nor Cal? What is Nor Cal...or should that be where? I'm guessing Northern California, but no, I'm not putting money down on that.

*keeps reading*

OnStar? WTF is OnStar? I'm guessing something like a car alarm system, but not exactly, or else I would have read 'car alarm'.

*fires up the not-so-trusty computer*

OnStar is the in-vehicle safety and security system created to help protect you and your family on the road. OnStar's innovative three-button system* offers:

* 24-hour access to expertly trained, caring Advisors;

* A connection to emergency assistance;

* Access to OnStar Hands-Free Calling.

Note - I didn't capitalize, OnStar did.

So here's my dilemma. I don't live in North America. We don't have OnStar here nor do I know if the abbreviation for Northern California is Nor Cal. It's like a location joke - you have to be there to understand it. And while I'm not expecting authors to completely change what they write just for me, it would be nice if they realised that not all of their readers live in North America (although I will concede that the vast majority do) and thus their use of location abbreviations or brands makes absolutely no sense to those of us who live 'outside' and simply throws us (me) out of the story.

And while we're at it - wouldn't 'in-vehicle safety and security system' have sufficed? What's with the branding?

Then today, while reading, I kept stumbling over the term 'convo'. Now, the use of that term just makes my blood boil, because while I can accept slang in speech, I don't think it has a place outside of it. Am seriously hoping that the use of brands...and phrases like 'woman of worth' aren't a reflection of the influence of said author's critique partner... *bites tongue* *gets off soap box*

Ranting aside, I am enjoying DawnKeepers. I love the mythology and the snippets of information on ancient civilisations. Apart from Rabbit, who I simply adore, and Anna, who I really think deserves a HEA, the couple I'm hanging out to read about is Sven and Cara. And no, I have no idea if they will actually be a couple, I'm just hoping *grin*

09 September 2009

Thoughts on New Moon

Please see my Thoughts on Twilight for the inspirations behind this post.

Caveat: I don't mean any disrespect to either the author or her work, so I apologise in advance if I cause offence - it is not my intention to do so.

So, on Sunday I finished reading New Moon (Stephenie Meyer) and I'll just burst if I don't talk about it....so I will (talk about it that is, not burst) *grin* And yes there are spoilers in this post for anyone out there who, like me, has avoided the Twilight phenomenon to date!

Ummmm. Where to start? I definitely enjoyed this book (New Moon) far more than Twilight...mostly because there was a lot more Jacob and next to no Edward. I know, I know, according to almost everyone that is the wrong way around, but I really like Jacob *grin* and I'm really beginning to not like Edward. For me, the reason is simple: Edward and Bella's relationship isn't an equal one, which strikes way too close to home for my liking. And I'm not talking about intellect or money or even life experience (because there are obvious differences between Edward and Bella if we consider those parameters in isolation), but about control and...compromise.

For me, each partner in a relationship has to remember that their significant other is their own person. Each needs to listen to and respect the other. And for this to work there needs to be compromise. However, this seems to be all but lacking in Edward and Bella's relationship. Take, for example, Edward's (and the Cullens') decision to leave Forks (Bella). Edward is supposedly leaving for Bella and yet he won't allow her to voice an opinion on the decision. What happened to discussing the situation? There is no discussion.
'You're no good for me, Bella...I'm no good for you.'
'You promised. In Phoenix, you promised that you would stay-'
'As long as that was best for you,' he interrupted to correct me.
Edward's POV simply seems to be 'this is what I believe is right, this is what will be done', regardless of what Bella wants. And it's not like Edward tells Bella the real reasons...he simply tells her he doesn't love her and walks away.

Now, I know at the end of the book Edward explains that he only left in the way that he did because Bella wouldn't accept him leaving any other way but...it's not like she would know where he was going or how to find him. For goodness sake, he can run faster than her! So he departs, and leaves her in pieces. Enter Jacob stage left. *SIGH* Sweet, thoughtful Jacob who doesn't want anything except for Bella to be happy.
'It's just that, I know you're unhappy a lot. And, maybe it doesn't help anything, but I wanted you to know that I'm always here. I won't ever let you down - I promise that you can always count on me. Wow, that does sound corny. But you know that, right? That I would never, ever hurt you?'
It's obvious he likes Bella (I don't think I'm giving anything away by saying that), but he doesn't push...nor does he try and control her...he's simply 'there' for her. I really like that.
'Yeah, I'll always be your friend,' he said gruffly. 'No matter what you love'.
What you love...LOL! *grumble grumble* Yes, I will admit that I'm biased because I like Jacob and I just don't get why people like Edward. *looks sideways* What conflict of interest?

And when Edward comes back...heaven forbid that Bella should be allowed to have anything to do with Jacob, her best friend! Oh, no, he's a werewolf... Twilight fact: werewolves hunt vampires, not humans. And yes, young werewolves have 'control' issues, but Jacob demonstrates incredible restraint. But will Edward trust Bella's judgement, and let her see her friend? Noooooo!
'Jake...' I took a step toward him. I wanted to wrap my arms around his waist and erase the expression of misery on his face.
Edward pulled me back again, his arms restraining instead of defending.
'It's okay,' I promised him, looking up to read his face with trust in my eyes. He would understand.
His eyes were unreadable, his face expressionless. Cold. 'No, it's not'.
I do believe in Eclipse (although I haven't read it so don't quote me on this) Bella has to sneak down to the reservation to see Jacob...her best friend! And again, that struck way to close to home for my liking. IMO the word 'Edward' is fast becoming synonymous with 'obsessive, controlling stalker'. All Edward does is manipulate Bella...it's all about what he wants, and what he thinks is best. No equality.

Now, I get that Edward is obviously Bella's soul mate, but...1) you don't focus on one thing to the exclusion of everything else - it's not healthy. And 2) since it's obvious to anyone that Bella and Edward are soul mates....why put Jacob through all that heart ache? Yes, Ms Meyer, I'm looking at you. It's so...unfair!

*takes deep breath*

So, have you read New Moon? Thoughts? And yes, I will be reading Eclipse...although I need to get my TBR pile down first. Now I'm just hanging out for the New Moon movie...and the wolves *grin*

07 September 2009

Broken

Can we say 'annoyed' and 'frustrated'?

The short version: my computer is broken....again!

The long version: I logged on to the internet on Friday night in anticipation of a phone call from a Microsoft technician...except that they ended up stuck on a phone call...for 2 hours (because that is how long I was waiting). And when I went to shut my computer down it decided to install a Microsoft Update....endlessly, which is the same problem I've been having for the last month. And I tried a System Restore (like a Microsoft technician directed me to earlier in the week), but that didn't work this time. And I tried it three times!

*looks at steam coming out of ears and decides something calming is required*

*looks at movie poster of Jacob Black*

Yes, I know, he's way too young! Don't you think I've told myself that I shouldn't be going through the teenage obsession phase at my age. Honestly, I think it's because I didn't do it as a teenager...it all got bottled up *grin* And it could be worse - I could have included the photo of the Wolf Pack...

So, *SIGH* my internet access will be intermittent again until my computer has 'resumed normal programming'...whenever that is *sob sob* And in the interim I will try and draft some thoughts on New Moon (without ranting about Edward's controlling nature) and my review of The Mirador (Sarah Monette).

So, how do you deal with computer breakdowns?

02 September 2009

Books 2009: August Update

Total to date: 53 books (7 books this month)

The 2009 Support Your Local Library Challenge total to date: 36 books (2 books this month) [which is rather unusual for me because I'm a complete library junkie]

A list of all the books I've read to date (from 01 January 2008) can be found at Library Thing.

Favourite books of the month?

* The Mirador (Sarah Monette) [And a review will be forthcoming...as soon as my computer stops playing games]

Books I 'did not finish':

* Practice Makes Perfect (Julie James) [I'm still not sure why this book didn't work for me.]

Currently reading: New Moon (Stephenie Meyer)

And the books I'm most looking forward to reading next month are:

* Cast in Silence (Michelle Sagara)

* Hunting Ground (Patricia Brigs)

What did you read last month?

Updated to add: DNF book.

31 August 2009

Silver Borne (Patricia Briggs)

Silver Borne is the fifth book in Patricia Briggs's Mercy Thompson series. The anticipated publication date is 30 March 2010. Thank you to Kerry for the heads up about the cover!

28 August 2009

It's Alive....And A Cunning Plan

It's alive! *happy dance* My lovely friend has fixed my computer. He's a complete star! Thank you, thank you, a thousand times thank you lovely friend! I believe it was running v e r y s l o w l y *grin* I will be able to play on the Internet this weekend...and indulge in cookies *grin* All is good.

I also have a cunning plan...so cunning you could pin a tail on it and call it a weasel! My library hold list has now hit 94! But...I can't reduce it because I'm currently reading books that have been lent to me by friends...lovely friends I should add...and I'm beginning to panic. So, I thought of a cunning plan. Firstly, I'm going to finish reading my current book - Resurrectionist (James McGee):
For the body snatchers, death is a lucrative business but one grave robber was about to come closer to his trade than he would have wished. His violent murder brings the gruesome living of the city's band of body snatchers to the attention of one Matthew Hawkwood, a man whose past is as dark as his quarry's. A new term at London's anatomy schools has brought demand for fresh corpses, a situation that threatens to spiral into violence. For there is competition among these "resurrection men" in the graveyards of London - a new gang of criminals is in town whose brutality shocks even Hawkwood. Meanwhile, an investigation into a series of dramatic mutilations and murders in Bedlam, home of the criminally insane, leads to ever-stranger clues that suggest a connection between the two inquiries. Delving deep into the world of anatomy and the country's foremost surgeons, Hawkwood hears of bizarre experiments at the literal cutting edge of technology - and beyond. But nothing prepares him for the horrifying truth that lies at the outer reaches of science and nature.
I'm going to return Resurrectionist (which is the second in the Hawkwood series BTW - Ratcatcher is the first) to my friend and start reading New Moon (Stephenie Meyer), which has also been lent to me by a friend. I'm going to read it then return it along with the copies of Eclipse and Breaking Dawn that she lent me. There is method to my madness: I've placed a library hold on Eclipse and Breaking Dawn. This way I can read them when I chose, which means that a number of absolutely mind blowing books that have been languishing on my TBR list, including A Companion to Wolves (Sarah Monette & Elizabeth Bear), Fragile Eternity (Melissa Marr), Smooth Talking Stranger (Lisa Kleypas) and The Name of the Wind (Patrick Rothfuss), can (finally) be read. And yes, there is a third book in the Hawkwood series, but I'm planning to add that to my TBR list too *grin* I do have lots of interesting manga from cyphomandra, so I'm planning on interspersing that between the library books. And while I will have to read my library books in the order in which the holds expire (which is the case for three books in September), I am going to try and pick other books (e.g. Hunting Ground [Patricia Briggs]) up early. Otherwise the sparkle (no, not vampire sparkle) of anticipation has dimmed by the time I finally pick a much anticipated book up. I'm also going to set time frames for my online activity...and for chores...so that I can spend some quality time reading.

So, what do you think of my cunning plan...and is it at all feasible? Have you devised any cunning plans to reduce your TBR list to more manageable levels? I have also thought of perhaps culling *shock horror* my TBR list...but am wondering if that is a bit extreme...

25 August 2009

Offline

To all intents and purposes, I am still 'offline'. I have been 'lurking' during the working week, but that is not via my home computer (which is, I think, kaput *looks at computer forlornly*) and thus my access is...curtailed (for want of a better word)...until my very lovely friend (thank you lovely friend) ascertains whether or not I have broken my computer irrevocably. So, for those of you who think I am ignoring you/your blogs - I'm not! Honest! It's just that time constraints and...certain cookies *looks sideways at Kris* may not be appropriate for certain computers (if you catch up drift).

Anyway, being offline over the weekend got me to thinking...how much time do I actually spend online? Quite a bit, considering how many chores I managed to complete on the weekend *grin* However, I am still utilizing (antiquated) dial-up at home, and will be for a while longer. One hour on broadband (or whatever it is called where you live *grin*) roughly equates to five hours on dial-up IMO...and that is a HUGE chunk of one day!

So, I was wondering, do you (and if so how) balance online and offline? Or is that just a really silly question?

19 August 2009

Threes or Fours?

It is said that things come in threes (although ABC obviously doesn't hold with that theory). However, so far I count four:

1. My home computer is broken *sob sob* So, if you're wondering why I've suddenly gone AWOL from your blog, I haven't. Not deliberately anyway. Unfortunately, my computer is stuck in a time loop...trying to update itself. You'd think one Microsoft update wouldn't take that long...3 1/2 hours and counting. Personally, I think I broke it :( It just can't handle all those eBooks. My lovely friend has volunteered to look at it - he's the best! So, if you're waiting with bated breath for my review of The Mirador, please breathe as part of it is on the computer and part of it is in rough note form (and sitting on my dining room table).

2. When I arrived home last night I dropped the alarm remote (I was doing the 'let's not put anything down to unlock the door' dance). Of course, it separated into its myriad parts, and although I attempted to put it back together it (of course) doesn't work.

3. While drying a potato peeler (and I still don't know how I managed to do this) I somehow managed to slice a hole in the tea towel and in my thumb. Result: blood (lots of) and the use of various plasters. Although, on the bright side, I did get to try a waterproof plaster :)

4. And this morning I broke my mug. My favourite mug. My World of James Herriot mug (no laughing). I'm in mourning. And no, I don't drink coffee or tea - it's my milk mug. (Yes, I drink it straight - it's the only way :)

So whoever said things comes in threes was wrong...although to be fair my computer stopped working Sunday night. On a more positive (Pollyanna) note, I cleared my post box this morning (making me late for work - it's been one of those weeks) and inside was a yaoi manga book from Jenre. Thank you Jenre! And ohhhhh, it looks good! It will be my reward for surviving this week!

So, how is your week going? Ups? Downs? And do you believe that things come in threes?

Updated to add: Just realised this is my 100th post. Scary! I was hoping for a more exciting topic for such a momentous occasion but...c'est la vie *grin*

17 August 2009

(Young) Adult?


For the last month, the lovely Ana & Thea from The Book Smugglers have been hosting a Young Adult (YA) Appreciation Month, with giveaways, guest posts and interviews, along with numerous reviews. They also issued an open invitation to write a YA post.

I have to be honest - I've been rather overwhelmed with the number and quality of YA books Ana & Thea have been discussing over the past month.
When I was a young adult (I think I'm beginning to sound like my grandmother) the selection of YA books was not all that great; the range was limited, as was the content. And that got me to thinking...is the young still in young adult? Recently published YA books seem far more...explicit is too harsh a word...detailed (perhaps?) than when I was a young adult (and now I definitely sound like my grandmother *grin*). The books available today deal with various topics - drug and sexual abuse, teenage pregnancy, bullying (and not just in contemporary settings but in [urban] fantasy as well). I'm not saying it is a bad thing, I'm just curious as to why. Is it the books themselves that have changed or has society changed and YA books with it? Children grow up a lot faster now than they did then, so perhaps the YA books of today simply reflect that....

13 August 2009

Retracing Your Steps

Friends and I were chatting the other week at morning tea. Say you'd read a series, a great yet complicated series. But say the author had...'paused'...mid-series (no, I'm not getting on my soapbox about that topic, because we discussed that in Soapbox Favourites (Part II) but was finally planning to publish the next 'installment'. Would you go back and re-read the whole series to familiarize yourself with the characters and the plot to date or would you read a synopsis?

10 August 2009

Soapbox Favourites (Part II)

Last week, in Soapbox Favourites (Part I), I listed those books/series I love to jump on my soapbox about and pimp to all and sundry. Now it is time for those books that drive me to drink...well, OK, drive me to rant and rave...and generally make no sense whatsoever - a not uncommon occurrence *grin* Please note, I don't necessarily dislike these books - I just like to jump on my soapbox and rant about them. (I will try and keep the ranting to a minimum.) Somehow I don't think you'll be surprised with my choices...

* The Black Dagger Brotherhood (JR Ward). For those of you who are wondering why this series is even here, you probably missed my Lover Avenged rant (twice) earlier this year. The thing that most drives me absolutely batf*ck insane (to borrow a phrase from Mildmay [a character from Sarah Monette's The Doctrine of Labyrinths ]) is the product placement. It's not necessary! Does it add to my understanding of the characters? Is it integral to the plot? I think not! *look down and steps carefully off the soapbox* I wasn't also thrilled that one of the characters ended up noncorporeal...but I was OK with it until the rules started bending (dare I say breaking?)...

* Twilight (Stephenie Meyer). Yes, there was a rant about Twilight too. Edward....sparkles? And, while I did love the movie and while I will be reading New Moon (and yes, alright, going to see the movie in November) I reserve my right to rant!

And, weirdly, that is my list. Succinct, aren't I? *grin* So, what books do you get on your soap box and rant about?