Sunday, September 30, 2012

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?




It's Monday, What Are You Reading is a weekly blog meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey where you list the books you read last week and the ones you hope to read this week.  


Read Last Week:



Ghost Story by Jim Butcher: I can't believe I waited so long to read this book! I loved it.  Review to be posted Wednesday. 



Reading This Week:




Ammie, Come Home by Barbara Michaels: I love Barbara Michaels.  I read her every year.  I haven't read this one before, so I am looking forward to it.

Deadly Gift by Heather Graham: I read the first two in this series a while ago! I decided it was time to finish this series. 
    


Coming this week:

Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday with The Broke and the Bookish
Wednesday: Review of Ghost Story
Thursday: My first post participating in R.I.P. VII - and it is going to be a television one!
Saturday: My review of The Awakening by Kate Chopin - my post as part of Shelia at Book Journey's Banned Book Week!! There will also be a giveaway, I hope you stop by!

September Book Club - Wild

Hostess: Jennifer
Book: Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Food: Salad, personal pizzas with zucchini and mushrooms, a take on Smore's for dessert
Wine of the Night:  Apothic Red
Month: September

Jennifer and I were the only ones who read the book; it was just too hard for everyone to get this month, with a huge wait at the library.  I had bought the book months ago, and I immediately loaned it to Jennifer - I knew she would really love it too.  I think everyone is planning on reading this though, when they get the chance.  My review of the book is here

When I loaned the book to Jennifer, I put a card inside, with my thoughts and questions.  I sealed it, and asked her to read and respond after she had finished the book.   I had asked her which books she would send to herself, if she were hiking for months and like Cheryl, mailing herself books.  Jennifer said she would choose books that she had never read before,  so she could sink into a new book at night and escape the hardships faced on the trail.  We also talked about how Cheryl went off the rails end when her mother died; drug use, cheating on her super nice husband, drinking. Some of these old habits were packed up with her when she hit the trail, but by the end of her walk, she found she didn't need them anymore, and left them behind as she walked.

Next month, we are taking a page from what Sheila at Book Journey did one month - a book exchange.  We are all going to pick a book that we think is awesome and we think someone should read, put a little note inside about why it is so awesome, then wrap it up.  We are going to white elephant it too.  Also, we are making it pot luck, with everyone bringing a dish.  It will be an interesting departure for a month, and I am looking forward to it.  And deciding which book I want to pick! 

What book would you bring, if you were going to a book exchange?





Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Demon Lover - Review

Title: The Demon Lover
Author: Juliet Dark (Carol Goodman)
Source: Library

Goodreads summary:

Since accepting a teaching position at remote Fairwick College in upstate New York, Callie McFay has experienced the same disturbingly erotic dream every night: A mist enters her bedroom, then takes the shape of a virile, seductive stranger who proceeds to ravish her in the most toe-curling, wholly satisfying ways possible. Perhaps these dreams are the result of her having written the bestselling book The Sex Lives of Demon Lovers. Callie’s lifelong passion is the intersection of lurid fairy tales and Gothic literature—which is why she’s found herself at Fairwick’s renowned folklore department, living in a once-stately Victorian house that, at first sight, seemed to call her name.

But Callie soon realizes that her dreams are alarmingly real. She has a demon lover—an incubus—and he will seduce her, pleasure her, and eventually suck the very life from her. Then Callie makes another startling discovery: Her incubus is not the only mythical creature in Fairwick. As the tenured witches of the college and the resident fairies in the surrounding woods prepare to cast out the demon, Callie must accomplish something infinitely more difficult—banishing this supernatural lover from her heart.


My thoughts:

Carol Goodman is one of my favorite authors.  She writes these stories that are historical, literary, and usually involve adademia and folklore/fairy tales.  I love them. I knew this book was going to be a departure from her norm and it was; The Demon Lover is the first in Goodman's paranormal romance series.   

The main character, Callie, has made a career of studying the Byronic Hero.  I had to look this up- I have a minor in literature but for some reason we never discussed what a Byronic Hero is.  I guess that it had to do with Byron, obviously, but I had to look up the details.  A Byronic Hero is a bit of a bad boy, and is not a traditional hero.  He is usually isolated from the rest of the world in some way; he is moody and passionate. A few examples are Mr. Rochester, whom I love, and Erik, the Phantom from Phantom of the Opera, whom I also love.  These qualities pretty much sum up any "hero" I have liked in a book. My friends are always like, "He is a jerk, so of course you like him!" Now I can sound smart and say that I don't call them jerks, they are Byronic heroes. Lol.

Anyway, Callie's career has been built upon studying the Demon Lover in literature - including Mr. Rochester and newer modern Byronic Heroes, such as the Vampire Lestat and Edward from Twilight. All of this was extremely interesting. 

But then there was another aspect to the book - the paranormal romance parts.  Now, I happen to like paranormal romances and all supernatural type books.  It was just hard for me to connect it with the rest of this book and Carol Goodman.  My mind warred with this; sometimes I felt I was reading two different books. By the middle of the book I let go of my expectations and read it strictly as a supernatural romance, and it was better.  

I want you all to be warned - there is a lot of sex in this book, physically real, sometimes a little mystical.  Callie falls in love (?) with an incubus. It's hard to say if it was real love - you learn that an incubus causes their victims to feel like they really love them, allowing the incubus to do its thing until the person is dead! All of this I wasn't sure about. It might have been to out there for me.  

The rest of the supernatural characters were really cool, as were the parts of the mystery that surrounded everything  - the illness, the incubus sometimes, Callie's boyfriend, how things intertwined - I really enjoyed all of that.  There were just some parts that I wasn't too sure about.  

The second book in this series is out - The Water Witch.  I know I am going to read it.  I just hope that incubus doesn't show up again, but I am sure he will!!  If you like paranormal romance and don't mind lots of sexy time scenes, then you won't mind this book.  If these two things are not your thing, don't read it.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme by The Broke and The Bookish.  

Today's Top Ten is:

The Top Ten Series You Haven't Finished


1.  The Percy Jackson Series: I started reading these for work, and I just never got around to finishing.

2.  The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare: I have read the first three, and haven't read the rest yet. And actually, I might never read the rest.

3.  The Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton: My husband first bought me the books that were out in this series about 12 years ago, when I was sick and off work for a week with pneumonia.  I read the first 6 or so, then started buying the new ones when they came out.  What started as a supernatural series with a real kick-butt heroine turned crazy! Anita Blake became a giant hooker, and the books were only about sex at that point, and it was like reading straight up porn. So I stopped reading.

4.  Game of Thrones by William R.R. Martin:  My brother got me started reading this series, and I am reading them slowly but surely.  I will be done one day! (dramatic fist shake)

5.  Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James:  It wasn't as much the subject matter but how poorly written it was! Ok, and some of it was I couldn't stand the main characters either.

6.  The Uglies by Scott Westerfield: I was really enjoying these - I think I just forgot about them.


7.  The Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger: I read two in this series, but never really got into it.

8.  The Dublin Murder Squad by Tana French: I absolutely loved the first two in this series, but didn't care for the third, so I didn't bother to read the newest one.

9.  The Shadow Children Series by Maragaret Peterson Haddix: Another series I was reading for work. I really liked the ones I read, I just haven't read the others.

10.  The House of Night series by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast: Someone at work was loaning me these; I read a few but then I started to lose interest.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?





It's Monday, What Are You Reading is a weekly blog meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey where you list the books you read last week and the ones you hope to read this week.   
Read Last Week:



The Demon Lover by Juliet Dark (Carol Goodman): Once I got past expecting a regular Carol Goodman book, I enjoyed it.  It was very interesting actually!  Review coming soon.



Reading This Week:




        
The Awakening by Kate Chopin: I am reading this as part of Sheila at Book Journey's Banned Book Week. My review will be up October 6, and I am also going to have a giveaway of this book as well!

Ghost Story by Jim Butcher:  I have neglected to read this book, and I thought this would be a good time of year to read it.

Embers by Laura Bickle:  I saw this on a blog and knew I had to read it.  Devil's Night in Detroit has always been a problem.  The past few years, an initiative to have Devil's Night Angels has kept the city safer.  



As an aside, I can't get into The Teleportation Accident!! I am just not in the right frame of mind or something. I am continuing to try to get through it though.
          


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Tiger Lily - Review

Title: Tiger Lily
Author: Jodi Lynn Anderson
Source: Saw this book on The Fairytale Nerd, I borrowed it from the library

Goodreads Summary:

Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. . . .

Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn't believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.

Peter is unlike anyone she's ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland's inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything—her family, her future—to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she's always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.

With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it's the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who's everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.

From the New York Times bestselling author of Peaches comes a magical and bewitching story of the romance between a fearless heroine and the boy who wouldn't grow up.

My thoughts:


I have always been a huge Peter Pan fan, although I have to admit I have never read the book. I did watch the Disney cartoon a million and a half times though.  All the characters were my favorites, and wow, how cool was Neverland when you were a kid? I wanted to live there too!!  I have begun reading these Peter Pan retellings, and I really must read the original. (How embarassing!)


I loved Anderson's very different take on the characters and story - Tiger Lily is a prequel actually.  But her Tiger Lily is fierce and tough, suddenly violent, confident yet not.  She is the shaman Tik Tok's adopted daughter, and therefore holds a place of honor within her tribe.  The story is told by Tinker Bell, who loves both Tiger Lily and Peter Pan.


Peter Pan is the cocky overly confident character we know and love - but he can also be anxious, doubtful, fickle, capricious. Both Tiger Lily and Peter Pan are brave and without fear, and they recognize this in the other, and it brings them together. All the versions I have known of Peter are slightly aesexual - he is looking for a mother, not a girlfriend.  I have always imagined him as an 11 or 12 year old. In Tiger Lily, he is 16, and she is 15, and the natural teenage hormones exist, even in Neverland.  When they meet, Tiger Lily's world changes, it is no longer Tiger Lily, Tik Tok, her two close friends, and the tribe.  There is now Peter ,who she has a crush on and vice versa, and the Lost Boys too.  Throw in an engagement to an older man in her tribe, the arrival of a missionary, Captain Hook, the arrival of Wendy Darling, and there is a lot going on in this story!


I thought this book really addressed gender stereotypes. Tiger Lily is strong, a good shot and a good hunter, and is looked down on by her tribe because she is not "feminine" enough; Tik Tok is a transvestite, and Tiger Lily's best friend Pine Sap is a boy who is picked on for being too girly.  Wendy is the epitome of what a girl "should" be, and poor Tiger Lily feels she can't measure up. These preconceived ideas of how boys should act and how girls should act is wrong, and this book illustrates that.  Who says a girl can't run as fast as a boy? Who says a boy can't be good with cooking or sewing? I think this gave the book more weight.  


I really enjoyed this book, although my heart broke sometimes for Tiger Lily.  I thought it was unique and a really fresh and interesting way to see this classic fairy tale.  


   



Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday - The Top Ten Bookish People You Would Want to Meet (authors, bloggers, etc)


There are quite a few authors that I would like to meet if they were still around. I wasn't sure they counted for this today, so I am just mentioning them really quickly here. They are Dorothy Parker, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jack Kerouac, The Bronte Sisters, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Dylan Thomas, and Shakespeare.  But, I am sticking to authors that maybe I have a small chance of meeting one day. :)



Stephen King 

Stephen King always addresses his fans in his books as Dear Constant  Reader.  I am definitely one of his constant readers.  I have been reading him since middle school, and I have to read every new book when it comes out. He would be a cool guy to grab a beer with at a local bar.


John Irving

I love his writing style, and the surprises that he has for his readers in his books, and how everything works together somehow.


Carol Goodman

I just love her writing and how she integrates folklore into modern day settings. She is definitely a person you would get coffee with at a coffee house, and talk about old stories and books and authors.

Gillian Flynn

This is a new author to me this summer, but I love her books! I love how she writes women characters.  And then when I read her "For Readers" section on her website, it just made me like her more, for going somewhere not very many writers do.

Pat Conroy

I could not write this without including Mr. Conroy. I say a lot about him and his work here. It would be cool to hang out with him drinking sweet tea on a porch in South Carolina.


Cheryl Strayed

Another new writer for me. I am not sure I would want to meet her for a hike, but maybe. Lol.


Kim Harrison

The Hollows is such a fun series!  Usually around this point in a series, they start to not be as good. However, I think this series just gets better!




Pam Houston

She just seems like she would have some great sitting around the fire stories. I love her short stories. And that she loves dogs as much as me.  Maybe Pam, Cheryl Strayed and I could go hiking. That would be a pretty awesome trip.

Bill Bryson

Hiking made me think of this guy. I would love to meet him, he seems like he would be so affable and friendly.  His book, A  Walk in the Woods, really got me started reading books in that genre , and sparked my own interest in trails.

Alice Hoffman

Alice Hoffman would be so cool to meet and hang out with. I feel she would be a great conversationalist and would just be kind of boho.  I really don't know why I think that, but she would be cool to hang out with drinking wine and handing out Halloween candy.


















Sunday, September 16, 2012

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?




It's Monday, What Are You Reading is a weekly blog meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey where you list the books you read last week and the ones you hope to read this week.    



Read Last Week:

I managed to fit one book in between all the wedding hoopla - but I had such a good time over the week.  And then last night (Saturday) was the wedding, and I danced until 1 in the morning.  Needless to say I am exhausted today, after getting little sleep.  It was worth it though!!


Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson: Loved it!!  Review coming soon.  



Reading This Week:


The Demon Lover by Juliet Dark (Carol Goodman): This title makes me laugh, but Carol Goodman is one of my favorite authors. I am excited to see what she does with this genre. I hope she brings her own style to it.

The Teleportation Accident by Ned Beauman: I didn't get to this last week, so I hope to read it this week. 

Have a great week!


Monday, September 10, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday


A weekly meme from The Broke and The Bookish


This weeks topic is:
Top Ten Books That Make You Think




1. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque: I read this in high school, and thought about how these men not much older than me, had to endure.









2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: I was blown away by this book as young adult.









3.  Blue Diary by Alice Hoffman: This is not on the same chart as my first two, but still it makes the list. It really made me think, do we really ever know anyone?








4. The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb:  I work in a school, and because of Columbine and other tragedies like it, this is something to think about. We have safety procedures in place, but you it is something to worry about.  







5.  The Children's Blizzard by David Laskin



6.  The Plague Dogs by Richard Adams: When I read this, I was probably in 8th or 9th grade.  It was probably one of the single most influential books on my life.  I became the vegetarian/animal rescuer/animal rights activist that I am today, because of this book.  








7.  First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung: A first hand account of the author's survival of the Khmer Rouge.  What guts and inner strength it must take to write this story down.








8.  The Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan: Amazing.







9. The Kabul Beauty School by Deborah Rodriguez:  I love to read about like in other cultures, especially for women.









 New Hampshire by John Irving: I was introduced to Irving by my uncle while I was in high school.  He fast became one of my favorite authors - he just has such a unique insight and way of writing about people and fate and life in general.

Keep passing the open windows!
             
 






Downton Abbey Reading Challenge



The Downton Abbey Reading Challenge is going to be hosted by Reading Extensively - you just have to read books set in the time period and post a review, linking up on Reading Extensively. And to make it easier, she has even provided a link to a list of book suggestions on Goodreads! I hope to at least acheive Housekeeper Status, but I am willing to accept Lady's Maid. Or Countess!


I am so excited to participate in this challenge!! I can't express how much my friends and I (particularly one friend...) love this show.  I can't wait for the American season to begin ~ we ended last season by drinking Whisky in our teacups during the show, and I think this is a tradition we will keep. ;)

My favorite characters: Tom Branson (squee! yep totally a fangirl), Sybil, and Thomas Barrow.  I know I am in the minority with liking Thomas, I just am often drawn to desperate, tortured characters.

This challenge begins in January, and it is the perfect opportunity for me to read The House at Riverton - I have been meaning to read this author for a while now, and will kick off the challenge with her!




Sunday, September 9, 2012

Its Monday, What Are You Reading?






It's Monday, What Are You Reading is a weekly blog meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey where you list the books you read last week and the ones you hope to read this week.    



Read Last Week:



   





A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick: This was my favorite this week.  I loved it, and now I want to read everything by this guy.

The White Glove War by Katie Crouch and Grady Hendrix:  A fun book about voodoo and debutantes in Savannah.

The White Forest by Adam McOmber: I thought this was beautifully written, but it didn't do much for me.  I thought it got a little weird and it made me feel a little depressed.  I know a lot of people liked it though, I just didn't connect with it.

Kept by Shawntelle Morgan:  A NetGalley book, I am almost finished!!   



Reading this week:

Another ambitious list for this week ~ I had my brother's wedding shower today, then Thursday is my husband's brother's rehearsal, and then his wedding is Saturday.  Its going to be a busy week, but I hope to carve out calm moments to read.




                                                   

       

The Birthing House by Christopher Ransom:  I saw this on another book blog last week (I need to keep track of where!!) and it looked creepy! Of course this meant I have to read it.

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson:  Just because I have a thing for Peter Pan books.

The Teleportation Accident by Ned Beauman:  This book is on the longlist for the Man Booker Prize. One of my good friends intends to read all the books on the list, and has already read quite a few! I don't want to read all of them, but there are a few that caught my eye, including this one.  I am reading this for NetGalley.








Saturday, September 8, 2012

A Reliable Wife ~ Review

Title: A Reliable Wife
Author: Robert Goolrick
Source: My stepmom

Goodreads Summary:

Rural Wisconsin, 1909. In the bitter cold, Ralph Truitt, a successful businessman, stands alone on a train platform waiting for the woman who answered his newspaper advertisement for "a reliable wife." But when Catherine Land steps off the train from Chicago, she's not the "simple, honest woman" that Ralph is expecting. She is both complex and devious, haunted by a terrible past and motivated by greed. Her plan is simple: she will win this man's devotion, and then, ever so slowly, she will poison him and leave Wisconsin a wealthy widow. What she has not counted on, though, is that Truitt a passionate man with his own dark secrets has plans of his own for his new wife. Isolated on a remote estate and imprisoned by relentless snow, the story of Ralph and Catherine unfolds in unimaginable ways. 
With echoes of "Wuthering Heights" and "Rebecca," Robert Goolrick's intoxicating debut novel delivers a classic tale of suspenseful seduction, set in a world that seems to have gone temporarily off its axis.

My thoughts:

I had no idea what to expect from this book.  It looks like a romance, sounds like an historical thriller, and is compared to Wuthering Heights and Rebecca, two books I really love.  So, I didn't really know what I was going to read.

I loved the writing in this book - it was sparse but the sentences so well constructed and the words so perfectly placed that they conveyed rich imagery.  Imagine living in Wisconsin in 1909, with its long lonely winters.  Beautiful in its starkness.  Yet there was a warmth to this book too.  

This book had a lot of sex - I was not expecting that at all.  Not really.  These characters are all very sexual, but they seemed to be using it to fill a void within themselves. As an escape. The characters were all flawed, none of them with a perfectly clean conscience. All have a past that was less than idyllic or ideal.  All have a secret agenda.   

I loved this book.  I was constantly surprised by the plot and the characters.  You thought you were getting to know them, but then you find out maybe you didn't.  Some surprises were good, some not as good.  It was my favorite book I read this week.  I very much recommend it. 

This is a book about love and sex and how they can get all twisted up. It is about loneliness and despair.  It is about revenge and redemption.  It is about guilt. It is about hope.  

Saturday Snapshot ~ September 8


Saturday Snapshot is a weekly meme hosted by At Home With Books


I took this picture at our city's summer street art fair.  This woman is a member of the Detroit Fire Guild, and she moved in a poetic explosion of color, light, movement, and fire.  I like this photo, as messy as it is, because it is like looking through a kaleidoscope. 


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

R.I.P. VII

Imbibe all things ghastly and ghostly with Stainless Steel Droppings

What is it?

The purpose of R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril VII is to enjoy books and movies/television that could be classified (by you) as:
Mystery.
Suspense.
Thriller.
Dark Fantasy.
Gothic.
Horror.
Supernatural.
Or anything sufficiently moody that shares a kinship with the above.
I love October and Halloween and all that it means ~ scary books, scary movies, haunted houses, costumes, and the creepy spooky that goes with it. I saw this on BookBelle, and had to follow suit!

I am going to start with Peril the Third or, the One Book Only option:  I am sure this will change but for now, I'm good.  Actually this is a short book, so it might count as Peril of the Short Story

The Dunwich Horror by H.P. Lovecraft

My brother is a Lovecraft superfan.  Do they call them Lovecraftians?  Anyway, he has been telling me for years to read H.P. Lovecraft.  This is the perfect opportunity to go all out and read one of his books.