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Monthly Archives: August 2009

August Wrap-up

j043481017 books read this month! Woo-hoo!

7 of those were audiobooks, 10 were paper.   That puts me at 87 books for the year, 35 of those audiobooks.  I’m a little behind on reviews, but if I have a review posted, it is linked to the book’s name.

Audio:

Paper:

My favorites were The Gift of an Ordinary Day, Olive Kitteridge, and Looking for Alaska (probably in that order).

Challenges:

everythingausten3First is the Everything Austen challenge at Stephanie’s Written Word.  I’m caught up!  I checked off 2 out of 6 items for it:  My reviews of the audiobook of An Assembly Such as This by Pamela Aidan and the 1972 BBC production of Emma. Unfortunately, neither was a rousing success for me, but I’m still enthusiastic about continuing with the challenge.  (End date 1/1/10)

Sookie StackhouseThe next challenge was the  Sookie Stackhouse challenge at Beth Fish Reads.  I’m now done with 3 of the 9 books that I need to read to complete it.  I added Club Dead this month.  I would have added one more, but I discovered that Netlibrary has books 1-3 and 5-9, but not #4.  I went ahead and bought a paper copy, and started reading Dead to the World today.  (Ends July 2010)

Giveaways:

I currently have a giveaway up for The Gift of an Ordinary Day by Katrina Kenison, which ends on September 10.  I’ll be posting a giveaway for How to Tame a Modern Rogue by Diana Holquist on Tuesday, and it should run until September 22.  I’ve got a couple of others in the works, so keep your eyes on my sidebar!

Upcoming:

This month, I am committed to reading:

  • Babydoll by Allyson Roy (TLC Book tours,  September 10)
  • 31 Hours by Masha Hamilton (Unbridled Books, week of September 14)
  • A Note From an Old Acquaintance by Bill Walker (Pump Up Your Book blog Tour, September 22)
  • Second Honeymoon by Joanna Trollope (Book Club L, late September)
  • The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (Book Club M, October 5)

I’ve got a backlog of review books that I’m trying to work my way through.  Counting the first 4 Betsy-Tacy books as one, my count stands at 18 books that I  have received for review and haven’t read yet.  4 of those have specific dates (tours), the rest I just want to get to in a timely manner (that may be too late for some of them).

I plan on working down my review book backlog (I want to emphasize that everything there is something I want to read), and maybe get to a few other books on my shelf.  I’ll make progress on both challenges. I’ll be downloading Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins and starting to listen as soon as it is available.

I strongly suspect my reading total will plummet as the fall TV season starts.  I usually like to check out all the shows I used to watch, even occasionally, as well as try any new show that seems to have promise.  We have multiple DVRs hard at work, so I can record a LOT of shows.

I hope you had a good August, and have a better September.

 
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Posted by on August 31, 2009 in books, summary

 

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Mailbox Monday

I’m participating in Mailbox Monday from Marcia at The Printed Page.

With mixed feelings, I can say I’ve been successful in cutting back on the flow of incoming books, giving myself a chance to catch up.

In my mailbox this week, I had

godmotherGodmother: The Secret Cinderella Story by Carolyn Turgeon arrived from Read it Forward. I need some better record keeping– I don’t remember requesting it, although I do remember putting it on my list of books I’d like to read– it’s been there since April. That makes this the best kind of surprise.

What was in your mailbox?

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2009 in books, meme

 

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Review: Only Milo by Barry Smith

OnlyMiloMy rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a VERY fast, highly entertaining read.
From Goodreads.com:

From the Depths of a Closet
Full of Dusty Manuscripts…

…comes Milo, author and murderer extraordinaire.

Educated at the School of Dexter, with a major in CSI, Milo emerges from his quiet, SPAM-laced retirement to become an unseen force in the literary world, covertly publishing his novels in another author’s name.

But when Milo’s illicit ghostwriting is nearly exposed on national television, he’s left with only one option: murder. In a world of egotistical, no-talent authors and duplicitous, back-stabbing publishers, he becomes determined to get what he deserves.

Even if it means they all must die.

Only Milo is funny in a very twisted way.  I like twisted.

Milo finds himself in situations which, although not fair, are of his own making. He decides to make his own solutions as well.

The writing had an interesting rhythm to it, with short sentences, repeated phrases. In some ways, the book read like poetry, although it wasn’t what I’d normally name poetic.

I picked this book off of my shelf because I was looking for a quick read. I read it in well under an hour, so it was quicker than I’d planned.

Thank you to publicist Nicole Krueger from Inkwater Press.  We met on Twitter, and she sent me a copy of this book for review.

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2009 in books, reviews

 

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Review: Looking for Alaska by John Green

Looking for Alaska My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I had very little idea what this book was about when I started to read it for my book club.

From Goodreads.com:

Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter is done with his safe life at home. His whole life has been one big non-event, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave “the Great Perhaps” even more (François Rabelais, poet). He heads off to the sometimes crazy and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young. She is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. Then. . . . After. Nothing is ever the same.

On the one hand, this was a book about quirky kids at a boarding school, who have Something Very Bad happen, and they try to Deal With It. Even on that level, it is a good book. There are fun (and scary) pranks, there are boring classes where they learn more than they realize. There is smoking, drinking, and sex (or at least talk of it).

However, there is much more to Looking for Alaska.

Every time I try to write about it, I fail.

Just know this is a book with many levels, from full out fun, to explorations of consequences of our actions, to the power of guilt (short and long term), to examination of questions about the meaning of life. The language ranged from crude to beautiful. The structure was unusual, and really worked for me.

This was a really good book.

I read this book for my Book Club L.  Everyone liked it, and we had a good discussion.  Interestingly, even after we seemed to have wrapped up the book portion of our meeting, we kept coming back to some idea the book had left us with, or another aspect of the book that we wanted to explore.

I brought the Penguin Book Club Reading Guide, which was helpful– the author interview had answers to several questions that arose during the discussion.

Another book club member brought this great blog post from a very articulate young woman. She’s got a warning around the major spoilers that make up the majority of her post, but if you’ve read the book (or don’t care about spoilers) I’d suggest checking it out.

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2009 in Book Club, books, L, reviews

 

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The Friday 56

From Storytime With Tonya and Friends:

Rules:
* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
* Post a link along with your post back to this blog.
* Don’t dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

Sacred HeartsI’m finally reading Sacred Hearts by Sarah Dunant, and it is sitting next to me. Page 56 gives us:

“There are so many of them!” The girl is staring at the shelves. “How long did it take you to collect them all?”
“Perhaps it is better you don’t know,” Zuana says lightly. But she likes the fact that she is interested.

And so we have the beginning of a relationship between the established nun and the reluctant new resident of the convent.

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2009 in meme

 

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Book Club Selections

Here is the upcoming book schedule for my Book Club L:

Thank you to those that commented on my nominations post— I’m told they did influence several people’s votes!

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2009 in Book Club, books, L

 

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Review: Laced With Magic by Barbara Bretton

Laced with Magic My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this book without reading the first book in the series, and now I regret it–not because I had any trouble with this book.  I didn’t. The author did a very good job of filling the reader in on everything that happened before.

Now I’m torn! On the one hand, I enjoyed this book so much that I’d like to read everything related to it. On the other hand, I feel like I already know about most of the events in the previous book.

From Barbara Bretton’s website:

Knit shop owner and sorcerer’s daughter Chloe Hobbs felt the Fates finally got it right when she met Luke MacKenzie. And no one could have convinced her otherwise—including the trolls, selkies, or spirits who also call Sugar Maple, Vermont, home. But then out of nowhere Luke’s ex-wife suddenly shows up, claiming to see the spirit of their daughter, Steffie—a daughter Chloe knows nothing about.

Steffie’s spirit is being held hostage by a certain Fae leader. And if Chloe weaves a spell to free her spirit, her nemesis will also be free—free to destroy her yarn shop and all of Sugar Maple. But if she doesn’t, Steffie won’t be the only one spending eternity in hell. Chloe’ll be joining her, cursed with a broken heart.

This was a really fun read. I don’t have a lot of experience with paranormal romances– the only ones that I’ve read before are by Nora Roberts, who has written a little of every sort of romance, I think.   (Well, and then I’ve read Twilight…)

I think Laced With Magic is on the less edgy side of the paranormal genre, in some ways it is as much a supernatural cozy mystery as a romance. Only the fact that we know very early on who is the troublemaker keeps me from wanting to cast it that way. Yes, the book focuses on the relationship between Chloe and Luke, but their relationship feeds the plot, rather than the other way around.

I think a strength of this book is in the world it sets up– I enjoyed the details, from the yarn store to the vampires that have given up the old ways.

I enjoyed the characters (including the cat!). The plot was interesting. I liked how the chapters skipped back and forth between Chloe (lead character, sorceress), Luke (love interest, human) and Karen (Luke’s ex-wife, human, drawn into the story by a series of phone calls from their dead daughter).

I’ll be checking out more of Barbara Bretton’s books.   Since there are quite a few that sound interesting, I’ll probably try something other than the first book of this series, which I now wish I’d read before reading this one.

Barbara Bretton has the other tour stops on her website. I’ll particularly point out Booking with Bingo since she’s hosting  giveaway of the book and a tote bag with a surprise in it!

Thank you to Barbara Bretton and Pump Up Your Book Promotion for sending me this book and allowing me to participate in this blog tour.

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2009 in books, reviews, tour

 

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