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Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Finds...with fangs!

A weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB, "Friday Finds" allows you to share with other bloggers about the new-to-you books found during the week — books you either want to add to your TBR (to be read) list, or that you just heard about that sounded interesting.

Post about your latest discoveries and then link back to the comment section on the most current "Friday Finds" at Should Be Reading.

After an short "vacation" (not by choice, unfortunately) from my memes/blog, here's my finds this week:

"Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs" by Molly Harper [found at Froggarita's Coffin]

as well as the second book...
"Nice Girls Don't Date Dead Men" by Molly Harper [also found at Froggarita's Coffin]


Which I have subsequently bought!


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Just for Fun... What Kind of Reader are You?

Found this at the Cupcake Witch and (unfortunately) couldn't resist having a go...

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Dedicated Reader

You are always trying to find the time to get back to your book. You are convinced that the world would be a much better place if only everyone read more.

Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm
Literate Good Citizen
Book Snob
Fad Reader
What Kind of Reader Are You?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

"You are always trying to find the time to get back to your book..." [nods head] Aren't we all? ;-)


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Review: "Cutting loose" by Susan Andersen

Title: Cutting Loose
Author: Susan Andersen
Series:Sisterhood Diaries, book 1
Publication: Don Mills, ON.: Harlequin Books, 2008
Tag Line: He's getting under her skin...in more ways than one
Summary: Jane thinks nothing can make her lose her cool.
But the princess of propriety blows a gasket the night she meets the contractor restoring the Wolcott mansion. Devlin Kavanagh's rugged sex appeal may buckle her knees, but the man is out of control! Jane had to deal with theatrics growing up - she won't tolerate them in someone hired to work on the house she and her two best friends have just inherited.
Dev could renovate the mansion in his sleep. But ever since the prissy owner spotted him jet-lagged, exhausted and hit hard by a couple of welcome-home drinks, she's been on his case. Yet there's something about her. Jane hides behind conservative clothes and a frosty manner, but her seductive blue eyes and leopard-print heels hint at a woman just dying to cut loose!
[back cover]

When I read Randi's review at "Readers of Romance Book Challenges" of Cutting Loose, it sounded interesting, and I placed a copy on hold at work. But I just "happened" (he he) to be in Chapters when they had a sale on romance titles, so I ended up purchasing a copy. I should have waited.

Jane and Dev's relationship grows over the course the the renovation of the newly-inherited (by Jane and her two best friends, Poppy and Ava - both of whom will have their own stories) Wolcott mansion. It progresses from snapping at each other, to a "guilt-free" (i.e. a no strings attached - snort) relationship, and finally to the HEA. As for the characters, Dev wasn't bad (introduced for the first time as the "...redhead with the seam-threatening shoulders" - I'm a sucker for redheads), Jane fell flat for me (which probably had to do with her constant need for control and her multiple attempts to repress of her emotions), while the most interesting character in the book (for me) was Dev's brother Finn (described as the "sexy monk brother" - woo hoo!).

It's not that I didn't like the book - it was diverting and entertaining. Unfortunately, the story just didn't click with me (when I start putting the book down multiple times by choice, I know I'm in trouble). The beginning set-up was interesting (if a little long), the middle bits dragged in places, before the story picked up near the end. The suspense was miniscule - it was not a question of who or why, but rather, when would he be caught (and I kind of liked getting the villain's pov - even if he was a scumbag).

Will I read the rest of the trilogy? Well, yes, because I hate leaving a series unfinished, and you never know - I might like the other stories...

Overall - One Read
Heat - Spicy
Language - Strong

Lists and Challenges:


Readers of Romance Seasonal Book Challenge - Fall 2008: 15. "A book with a two (2) word title"


BTT: Recent Informative...

What’s the most informative book you’ve read recently?

Just purchased, and halfway through...

Friday, September 11, 2009

Moonlight Musings (1): Character Sketch

Moonlight Musings...
          ...when the sun goes down, imaginations run wild...*

The following is a brief character sketch of Sebastian and what it means to be a vampire in Kee's world.

Sadistic. Ruthless. Cruel. She heard the whispers amongst the servants, even those hardened by years of servitude to the most pitiless of masters. "Expect no pity," her old nurse rasped, caused from years of tending to the young, "for he will offer no quarter to your pain..."

Sebastian is old: he has touched more than forty generations of life in over a thousand years of undeath. Even amongst his own kind, he is considered ancient. It is rare for a vampire to reach such an advanced age; politics, magical diseases, assassinations, blood-borne parasites...all play a part in dooming a race famed for its "immortality". Most of his kind live only for a few centuries, usually never more than three, or four, at the most. To survive in such a world, you need to be willing to do anything, without hesitation. Without regret. To survive, ultimately, you need a clade.

Sebastian rules his clade with an iron fist, brooking no opposition from anyone. Most vampires are anti-social amongst their own kind, thus the bonds formed within each "house" are unique and (usually) untouchable, especially the bonds between a younger and the clade's elder.

Around the turn of the last century, an unprecedented peace treaty was signed between a coalition of vampire clades and the witch's high council. Sebastian vehemently opposed the alliance; war had raged between the two groups for eons, and Sebastian's memory was especially long. But he was overruled, and the treaty was endorsed by representatives of both communities. A committee attempted to have him quietly assassinated. Sebastian got wind of the scheme, and none of the members were ever seen again - alive.

Except for members of his own house, Sebastian is left alone by the wider vampire community and (by unspoken agreement) he leaves them alone. A thousand-year-old vampire can do a lot of damage if left unchecked...

"A vampire has much in common with a cat. We are aloof and distainful of others, and bestow false affections upon those who would sate our hunger. We lounge carelessly during the daylight hours; our every need catered to by fawning slaves. As the sun fades from the sky, we are called to the hunt..." [Sebastian]

These are the vampires that inhabit Kee's world: dark, deadly, and definately not sparkly! ;-) Sebastian and Kee are unlikely friends, drawn together by their respective relationships with Sina: Sebastian's past lover (and previously, his only witch friend), and Kee's grandmother. Sebastian is also Kee's patron, and silent partner in her business.

So, what do you think? Too predictable?

What do you like (or dislike) about vampires? Do you think the vampire in fiction has been done to death (pun intended ;-), or is he (or she!) just peaking in popularity?

*I've thought of my best ideas at night, just before falling asleep, hence the title and sub-title (plus I liked the sound of it!)

Friday Finds: Apparently I'm on a paranormal kick...

A weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB, "Friday Finds" allows you to share with other bloggers about the new-to-you books found during the week — books you either want to add to your TBR (to be read) list, or that you just heard about that sounded interesting.

Post about your latest discoveries and then link back to the comment section on the most current "Friday Finds" at Should Be Reading.

My Finds this week:

The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber - from Escape in a Book's last week Friday Finds

Bram Hambric: The Farfield Curse by Kaleb Nation - found at PaigeTurners blog of last week's collection of Friday Finds

Soulless by Gail Carriger - found at The epic rat

So, what did you discover this week?

Filed in:
Friday Finds at Chasing the Mouse...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays: Sigh...

It's Teaser Tuesday!
A weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

Grab your current read, open to a random page and share 2 "teaser" sentences - be careful not to spoil it for others! Post your link to the current Tuesday post at the Should Be Reading blog.

"Finally, after a time-frozen moment in each other's eyes, Max cleared his throat and asked, 'Shall we dance?'"

[p. 157, Compromised by Kate Noble]

Only a one-liner today, but (I think, anyway) it's a good one! (And a good break for the tension above it... ;-)

Filed in:
Teaser Tuesdays at Chasing the Mouse...

Sunday, September 6, 2009

"...no more books, no more teacher's dirty l..." wait, no more books?!

My mouth dropped open. I sputtered, unable to speak coherently. And I read Penny's post while I was at work - in a library (you know, that thing with "outdated technology...")

What I'm ranting about (and what Penny ranted about) is the Boston Globe article concerning a New England private school that got rid of it's books. Yes, you heard me right - they got rid of their traditional library of over 20,000 books and replaced it with an e-library.

Oh, the "outdated technology" comment was made by the school's headmaster and chief architect of the whole "get rid of books" plan. His entire comment went something like this: "When I look at books, I see an outdated technology, like scrolls before books... This isn’t ‘Fahrenheit 451’... We’re not discouraging students from reading. We see this as a natural way to shape emerging trends and optimize technology."

So, in otherwords, the school is spending $500,000 to replaced "outdated technology" (sorry, I just can't get over that one) to replace their collection with 3 large flat-screen TVs, laptop-friendly study carrels, a coffee shop ($50,000) which will include a $12,000 cappuccino machine (uh huh, coffee for teenagers - which is, you know, essential to study with), and 18 electronic readers made by Amazon.com and Sony.

What happens if there's a major blackout? What about eye and wrist strain? What happens if the "technology" is improved/altered (such as the "famous" kindle)?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Friday Finds: Cover-Lovers-R-Us!

A weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB, "Friday Finds" allows you to share with other bloggers about the new-to-you books found during the week — books you either want to add to your TBR (to be read) list, or that you just heard about that sounded interesting.

Post about your latest discoveries and then link back to the comment section on the most current "Friday Finds" at Should Be Reading.

Only one "Friday Find" this week, located when I was passing the bookstore while on my way to grocery shopping. I'm very much a "cover-lover", and a good/interesting jacket cover will draw me in more than anything else...

"Another Faust" by Daniel and Dina Nayeri

So, what did you find this week...?

Filed in:
"Friday Finds" at Chasing the Mouse...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

BTT: Recent "Chunky"...

What’s the biggest book you’ve read recently?

(Feel free to think “big” as size, or as popularity, or in any other way you care to interpret.)

Hmmm...I guess my chunkiest recent read was late last year with Sherrilyn Kenyon's "Acheron". It weighed in at a hefty 728 pages - and I finished in a day (mind you, I didn't get anything else accomplished that day)! ;-)

Filed in:
BTT at Chasing the Mouse...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Teaser Tuesday: Oooooh...

It's Teaser Tuesday!
A weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

Grab your current read, open to a random page and share 2 "teaser" sentences - be careful not to spoil it for others! Post your link to the current Tuesday post at the Should Be Reading blog.

"Criminey, it was cold. More than cold. It felt like it was getting colder by the minute - I put out a hand, testing the air, waving it back and forth slowly - yes, right here. I looked up. No ceiling register blowing down on me. The floor? There was nothing that broke the tile surface that I could see. Worse yet was the feeling that crawled over my skin the longer I stood there. Strange. Uncomfortable. As though I was an intruder in the space."

[p. 118, No Rest For the Wiccan by Madelyn Alt]

Monday, August 31, 2009

Surfer Sunday : Late, late, late...edition

Title: The Book Smugglers: Smuggling Since 2007/Reviewing Romance & Speculative Fiction Since 2008

Hosts: Thea and Ana (UK and US)

Brief Description: Reviewers of romance and fantasy/science-fiction releases.

Neat Features: Lots of in-depth reviews, give-aways, teasers...

What I Like: Cool design!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Review: "Excuse Me...Are You a Witch?"

Title: Excuse Me...Are You a Witch?
Author: Emily Horn
Illustrator: Pawel Pawlak
Published: Watertown, MA.: Whispering Coyote, 2003
Genre: Children's picture book (Halloween)
Summary: A lonely black cat named Herbert searches for some witches to keep him company. [Publisher's blurb]

Originally published in the UK, this delightful picture book is recommended for ages 4-8, perfect as a read-aloud for the younger ones (I certainly intend to use it for my preschoolers!) and as a beginner reader for the older ages. Kids will especially like chanting along with Herbert's common refrain of "Excuse me, are you a witch?" as he searches for someone to love him.

The illustrations (chalk? - I don't know art, unfortunately) are fun with a touch of whimsy and a slightly comic-book feel. Each (mostly) two-page spread is large enough to be enjoyed by a group, but also intimate enough for one-on-one reading. And Herbert is absolutely adorable! (He could home with me anyday!)

Though it includes witches and black cats, "Excuse me..." is not necessary a Halloween-specific book (though my work has it classified as such), and can be enjoyed in any season. Good for themes including witches, cats, halloween (on the basis of the previous two subjects), friendship, love, and homes (specificially finding one).

Rating: Definitely a keeper!

Filed in:
Book Reviews at "Wishful Thinking"
PB & J Challenge at "Chasing the Mouse..."

World of...Weekend : First World War England

"World Of" Weekend

Hosted by: Jill at The O.W.L.

Tell us if you would like to live in the world of the book you're currently reading. Would it be fun? Would it be dangerous? Who would you most like to meet in that world? What would take some getting use to? Tell us anything! Be sure to include the author, and make sure to link back to the current "weekend" post!

The book I just set down (before turning on the computer!) is a biography of Beatrix Potter ("Beatrix Potter: the extraordinary life of a Victorian genius" by Linda Lear - published 2007). At the moment, it's 1917, and admidst the First World War furor, she's trying to get on with her farming in Sawrey (Lake District).

Would I like to be there? I certainly would love to meet Beatrix Potter (I've loved her books since I was little - and I'm currently drooling over a hardcover version of her complete works in the bookstore), but I don't know if I could do without (as whiny as it sounds) indoor plumbing! (Hey, I'm a born-and-bred city girl ;-)

Now I want to watch the "Miss Potter" movie that was released a few years ago (even though I don't like Renée Zellweger's acting).

So...were in the world are you this weekend?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Friday Finds: See Jenn find new books, See Jenn's imaginary TBR pile start to totter...

A weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB, "Friday Finds" allows you to share with other bloggers about the new-to-you books found during the week — books you either want to add to your TBR (to be read) list, or that you just heard about that sounded interesting.

Post about your latest discoveries and then link back to the comment section on the most current "Friday Finds" at Should Be Reading.

My Finds:

"The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper: by Kathleen Y'Barbo
Found this one on "Weavings", through a Teaser Tuesdays post

"Once dead, twice shy" by Kim Harrison
Found this one at "Page Turners", also through a Teaser Tuesdays post

"Sucks to be me: the all-true confessions of Mina Hamilton, teen vampire (maybe)" by Kimberley Pauley
Found on "The Book Owl" through... you guess it! a Teaser Tuesdays post [bloody things...]

"Casting spells" by Barbara Bretton
Found at "Carol's Notebook" on yet another TT post [grumble, grumble...too many tbr's! ;-)]

"Bewitching season" by Marissa Doyle
Discovered over at "Cornucopia of Review" through... [ahem, do I really have to say?]

"Fell" by David Clement-Davies
Found while browsing the teen section in Chapters

"Princess Ben" by Catherine Murdock
Found while browing the teen section in Chapters [but I was a good girl - I didn't buy anything...]

"Mr Darcy vampyre" by Amanda Grange
Found while browsing Amazon.ca [what is it w/PP and the undead lately...?]

"Jessica's guide to dating on the dark side" by Beth Fantaskey
Found while waiting for a prescription in the drug store

BTT: "Fluffy" Content

What’s the lightest, most “fluff” kind of book you’ve read recently?

Depends on you definition of fluff! ;-)

Light, entertaining, fun, easy to read... I love fluff books! (Except for chick-lit - those I can only take in small doses.) Actually, I rarely consider a book a "fluff" - a lot of so-called fluff books can have excellent characters, wonderful stories, and smart plots. Plus, since they're usually pb's, they're easy to carry around! ;-)

But as for my most recent fluffy read? It was a little while ago, but I would have to say Erin McCarthy's "High stakes", the first book in her "Vegas Vampires" series. It was a fast read, with just a hint of mystery, (vampire politicians? vampire first ladies? in Vegas, no less!) and the match between Alexis and Ethan was fun! ;-)

Title: High stakes
Author: Erin McCarthy
Series: Vegas Vampires
Published: 2006
Genre: Vampire chick-lit
Summary: He's a bloodsucking freak of nature. But, unlike other politicians, Ethan Carrick is actually a nice guy. Not to mention a very hot, wealthy, casino-owning vampire. It's an election year for vampires, which means he'll first have to escape his opponent's hit men. Then he'll have to find a suitable First Lady, preferably here in Vegas. Brittany Baldizzi fits the bill. She's smart, pretty- and sweeter than a glass of diabetic O-Negative. But her protective sister Alexis steps in with a message for Ethan: Bite me. It's then that he realizes it's the sexy, no-nonsense Alexis who raises his stake. And as much as she denies it, Alexis wouldn't mind a romp in the coffin with him. But can a mere mortal, even one who risks her life for him, make a centuries-old, womanizing vampire feel something entirely new? [Fantastic Fiction]

Filed in: Booking Through Thursday in "Chasing the Mouse..."

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Teaser Tuesday: Vampires, oh la la!

It's Teaser Tuesday!
A weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading

Grab your current read, open to a random page and share 2 "teaser" sentences - be careful not to spoil it for others!

My teasers are from A. M. Jenkins' "Night road":

Sandor's attention was sharp on Cole's face. "You're kidding, I hope."
"This guy is dressed like Count Chocula."
[p. 188]

Filed in: Teaser Tuesdays at "Chasing the Mouse..."

Monday, August 24, 2009

Challenges, Challenges...

This is a catalogue of all the challenges I've decided to participate in, listed in order from the earliest end date (Dec. 2009) to the latest (Sep. 2010), with a perpetual challenge at the very bottom. Brief particulars are given (title, running dates, one-sentence description, host(s), and aim(s)), with links to the host's site, the challenge post, and to my progress page.

Nothing like diving in feet first... ;-)

Centuries Reading Challenge - running throughout 2009, the challenge is to read books from different centuries.
Hosted by: Becky of Becky's Book Reviews
The aim:4 to 6, crossovers allowed
My progress: can be found here... I think I'm going to try for books written during various centuries (as opposed to modern books written in various centuries), if that makes any sense...

Science-Book Challenge 2009 - running the entire year, the challenge is to read works (related to science, scientists, how science opperates, etc.) upon the theme of "nature's wonders"; they can include popular non-fiction, histories, biographies, anthologies, etc.
Hosted by: Scienticity, from the people at Ars Hermeneutica
The aim: 3
My progress: can be found here... I think a browse through the 500 aisle at work is calling me!
What an Animal II - running from July 1, 2009 to February 28, 2010, the challenge is to read fiction/non-fiction books where animals are involved (in the title, on the cover, as a character, etc.).
Hosted by:Kristi at Passion For the Page
The aim: 6, crossovers allowed
My progress: can be found here... what really surprised me (and got me interested!) about this challenge was that the list of "acceptable" animals could be real or fictional (such as a dragon, mermaid, centaur, vampire, werewolf...)

Arthurian Challenge - running from April 2009 to March 2010, the challenge is to read books starring characters found in or inspired by Arthurian legends (i.e. King Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot, Merlin, Lady of the Lake, etc.)
Hosted by: Becky at Becky's Book Reviews
The aim: 1-3 books (with the possibility of expansion...)
My progress: can be found here... this is my chance to read about (Thomas Malory's "Le Morte d'Arthur" will be a definite and maybe T. H. White's "Once and future king") a period in folklore/history (depending on where you are in the spectrum of belief) that I've never really had an interest in...
Much Ado About Shakespeare Challenge - running from September 1, 2009 - April 26, 2010 (Shakespeare's birthday), the challenge is to read any of Shakespeare's works, any book inspired by a Shakespeare play, or watch any movie from or inspired by a Shakespeare play.
Hosted by: Andrea, over at The Little Bookworm
The aim: 6
My progress: can be found here... I wonder if graphic novel adaptions count?
Pre-Printing Press Challenge - running from May 1, 2009 to April 30, 2010, the challenge is to read books that pre-date the printing press (pre-1440).
Hosted by: Elena, over at All Booked Up
The aim: 1-3 (I'm aiming low ;-) , crossovers allowed
My progress: can be found here... I'd like to read the Epic of Gilgamesh (Sumerian), as well as Homer's Illiad/Odyssey and the Welsh Mabinogion (okay, maybe I'll be aiming for 4-6 books instead... ;-) Sci-Fi Reading Challenge - running from August 28, 2009 to August 8, 2010, the challenge is to expand your horizons into science fiction.
Hosted by: Mish, over at Stage and Canvas
The aim: hmmm, I think I'll go with 8 (even though I'm one of those people that tend to stay clear of sci-fi...)
My progress: can be found here... an H. G. Wells is definitely on the list, as is "The iron dragon's daughter" (which I've wanted to read for awhile, but have never really gotten around to), and Neil Gaiman's "The graveyard book", but other than that...
China Challenge - running from September 1, 2009 to September 1, 2010, with 4 various levels (w/funky names!) to choose from, this challenge is an opportunity to learn about a "forbidden" country...
Hosted by: Jennie, found at Biblio File
The aim: 5, which must include 1 translated work and 1 non-fiction
My progress: can be found here... which, at the moment, only includes possible titles (I have yet to make a decision)
PB & J Challenge - perpetual (challengee's choice), the challenge is to read more children's books, including picture, beginner's (early readers) and J (chapter) books.
Hosted by: Becky from Becky's Book Reviews
The aim: hmmm... I'm not quite sure what my personal goal is yet (host suggestions: 12 picture books a month, 12 picture books and 4 J books in 3 months, etc.)
My progress: can be found here... since I currently do Preschool Storytime at work, I read a lot of picture books - here's my excuse to actually record and comment on them!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Surfer Sunday - "My Handbound Books"

Title: "My Handbound Books"

Author: Rhonda from Nova Scotia

Description: A bookbinder/book artist's blog that showcases her skills, techniques and products.

Neat Features: Tutorials for newbies, a subscriber's newsletter (free), an etsy shop, and lots of gorgeous pictures!

Filed in: Surfer Sundays at "Chasing the Mouse..."

I couldn't resist... ;-)

Simon's Cat: "Cat-Man-Do"

BTT Challenge: Best Recent Read

What’s the best book you’ve read recently?
(Tell me you didn’t see this one coming?)

For pure personal enjoyment (which is how I'm going to define "best"), Patricia C. Wrede's "Searching for dragons" (book 2 in the Enchanted forest chronicles) was my best recent read.

[original cover]
I read the first book, "Dealing with dragons" a few years back, but then never went through the process of borrowing the remainder of the series. [Watch as I now kick myself] Not long ago, I ran across a review of Wrede's newest series (Cecelia and Kate), which pinged my memory about the dragons, and thus I decided to splurge on the box set of the "Enchanted forest chronicles", which contains books 1-4.

I must warn you: I usually have problems with second books in a series. "Harry Potter and the chamber of secrets" was my least favourite, as was Jim Butcher's "Fool moon" and, more recently, Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell's "Return of the emerald skull." I find they tend to make the trilogy, quartet, series, etc. sag, flounder, or otherwise loose the reader's attention. With half a dozen (or more!) plot threads, it's easy to see how this can happen. That said...

I loved "Searching for dragons"! Cimorene was her usually spunky self, and Mendanbar was seamlessly introduced into the world as the king-who-doesn't-want-to-be-king (he's banned all official functions, much to the dismay of his steward) of the Enchanted Forest. What I found most unique was that this book was Mendanbar's story, told from his angle (though still in third person pov). My only fault with the book was the ending wrap-up, which I found a bit rushed.

[reprinted cover]
Title: Searching for dragons
Author: Patricia C. Wrede
Series: Enchanted forest chronicles, book 2
Published: 1991
Genre: YA fantasy
Summary: Cimorene, the princess who refuses to be proper, is back - but where is Kazul the dragon? That's what Cimorene is determined to find out. Luckily - or perhaps not-so-luckily - she's got help: Mendandbar, the not-very-kingly King of the Enchanted Forest, has joined her in her quest. So with the aid of a broken-down magic carpet, a leaky magical sword, and a few buckets of soapy lemon water, they set off across the Enchanted Forest to tackle the dragon-napping and save the King of the Dragons. [back cover]

Filed in: BTT Challenge Index at Chasing the Mouse...