Friday, November 26, 2010
50k+ words, yo! :D
Okay, now that the stressed out student with the spamsic yelling is out of my system .... here's the link to my post on Nanowrimo on The Crooked Shelf. Take your time, I can wait.
Now that you're back - a few orders of business!
(1) Exams and essays are still ... unfortunately ... my main priority these days ... *shakes fist in the air* 18 days to go ....
(2) I am still posting contests and other content... and trying to read as much as possible.
(3) My book review order will be posted soon!
Anyways, Happy Turkey day to my Americans! Happy Black Friday, also! (And to all those Canadians like me who got DVDs for $1.99 this morning ...)
Til later, cheerio! :D
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Now, I have had this book in my possession for about a good year. And I just kept pushing it back, not really sure if I wanted to get into a Vampire series. I am picky about my Vampires, as my friend Smellie says, I'm a bit of a Vamp Snob. I prefer darker, tortured vampires ... like Lestat. Oh Lestat. I love Lestat. Siiiiigh.
*wait twenty minutes for daydreaming....*
Anyways, the point is this: I am picky about my undead. I may be the Zombie Queen, but my Vamps are close to my heart too.
I think I have posted before about Vampires - or at least the evolution of Vampire YA in my short lifespan - from things like Nightworld and The Vampire Diaries to Twilight, it's very interesting to chart the evolution (or devolution depending on your view) of Vampire fiction. Though the Vampire Chronicles are probably always going to be my number 1, I do find myself open (but critical) of new additions to the genre.
But I had the audio to the first Morganville, it was Halloween weekend and I was driving home with two girls (Princess and Smithy) who were both listening to audiobooks (Pride and Prejudice and Julia Quinn respectively, if I believe) and I thought, what the hell - I will give these vamps a try.
Boy, am I glad I did.
For one, there is no male heartthrob vampire (sort of), to steal the show. In fact, in Morganville the Vampires are real vampires - they're scary. They're also very powerful - and for me, that's enough to hook me in. Also, it opens with violence. Not half-squeamish, half-hearted party slaps, but real honestly scary stuff - where our main character gets thrown down a flight of stairs and passes out. (Was that technically a spoiler?)
Anyways, for some reason, that got me to pay attention. And like I said, I was hooked.
The story synopsis is below:
College freshman Claire Danvers has had enough of her nightmarish dorm situation. When Claire heads off-campus, the imposing old house where she finds a room may not be much better. Her new roommates don't show many signs of life, but they'll have Claire's back when the town's deepest secrets come crawling out, hungry for fresh blood. [Source]
So, like I said: it opens up with Claire being thrown down the stairs of her dorm.
And the whole thing just explodes! It’s actually quite cool! Without giving too many spoilers, I will say this: I really like the way Claire is portrayed in her relationships with others – especially those in the house. There is something so fresh in the younger, awkward girl attempting to make it in the world, especially when she is the most mature of everyone, despite not having a clue as to what is going on. I like the fact that the heroine is both completely clueless, but smart – she may not know everything going into this, but she learns, she adapts, and hell – even when she’s terrified, she takes up the challenge, thinks of her options, makes it makes sense. I really like Claire!
That being said, it is a strange book – there are highs and lows. It seems to climax a few times, before the actual smash-down! (But hey, the smash down is totally worth the ups and downs!) And I loved the tension between Shane and Claire – it was pretty palatable and yummy. Like, amazing. Like, when they finally realized what was going on with their libidos I was yelling at the iPod and scaring my passengers.
As a young adult vampire fiction book I think it scores on all the things I love, with very little of the hate, so I would highly recommend this book. Next on my list for this is the second Book, The Dead Girls’ Dance – and given the twist/hanging ending of Book 1 – I am so looking forward to #2! (Especially since I already read the back cover and am now fully on board!)
Seriously ... like Wow.
In other news, this is my favourite cover: (boo yeah, it's in my native language, too!)
The problem: I never find it here. No book shelf has it.
The solution: (Maybe) Here: http://madsteampunkery.blogspot.com/2010/11/giveaway-book-review-of-alexia-and.html
I really want to win this. But I am opening it up to all my followers, too - and if you win - (I willbe so jealous) you MUST tell me how awesome it is! :D
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Congratulations Smithy! :D
We here at la casa Book Fort are super proud of you! :D
Here for the link: http://novelnovice.com/2010/11/23/winner-mermaids-mirror-life-under-the-sea-contest/
That is all - back to exam studying I go ...
Friday, November 19, 2010
The website itself is pretty epic, not gonna lie - has loads of goodies, and content, so I am happy with it. I have been getting emailed newsletters from them for a while now, so this was just the next step for me, I guess.
I just wanted to mention one particular article on their website, found here: How to write a book review ... I think I liked this because it is honest - what you should write. I think I would have liked to condense this into a checklist for myself, but I am way too tired, and too hopped on legalese (read: sick of essays, sick of exams - no longer care what a secured transaction is)to actually do it now. Maybe at Xmas time ...
Anyways, enjoy, kiddies! :)
Thursday, November 18, 2010
"Oh, just going through my Amazon wish list."
"Oh, yeah? What's that?"
(sarcastically) "Where you can find me a present for the holidays?"
"Well, yes. That's why I am asking."
(Filed under, duh conversations with the BF)
Yay! Presents! On Amazon!
Anyways, one of the blogs I read, Debbie's World of Books had a few recent posts on giving the gift of reading this holiday season, and I read it and was like, "How did I get on this blog?" ...
But seriously, I agree with her and this mission.
Even if her list of books (so far, historicals) isn't for me, as much. (With a few exectpions - notably, Phillipa Gregory, the Book Thief, The Pillars of the Earth and The Heretic Queen and the bloody Jack series).
See, I love to read - have since I learned how to read in English (my first language, Portuguese, my second languages, Italian and Spanish, and my fifth language, French, all pale in comparison to my literacy in English ... it is sad, but true. I haven't finished a whole Italian/Spanish/French book since High school, and the Portuguese one on my nightstand right now is actually a translation from the Spanish ...) I have not really, well, stopped. And I keep building my library - my own little book fort - with my literary conquests.
And there is reason for this that goes beyond the fact that "I like it". I mean, books have been described as "homes for the soul" - and there is a reason. In books you encounter passages and characters and emotions that reflect your own self, and your own reactions and experiences - everyone is different, and that is why there are so many books out there. I think that reading allows people the luxury of being outside themselves and in someone else's head. And I think that's important to retain our own humanity.
For the most part, the days of old are gone: there is not much of the sitting around and meticulously passing down stories from generation to generation (though there still are these things - my father's father loves to tell us stories in old Portuguese, and my sister has had the foresight to tape these so we can have them in future), and in losing that, we have lost some of the closeness we've had through this activity.
Books don't replace that, but they do attempt to bridge the gap, and I think that is important.
For her birthday, Easter and Xmas, every year, I buy my Goddaughter books. So far in her library, she had the entire of A Series of Unfortunate Events, Ella Enchanted, The Hunger Games Trilogy, the L.J. Smith Nightworld Collection (the originals!), Caroline B Cooney books, etc. - all the things I loved as a child and more.
And how do they look?
Why? Because she hates reading. How we are related, I don't know. My sisters, Blondie and Button, they used to be like that. Then I introduced Blondie to Ella Enchanted in the eighth grade and Buttons the Lori Foster SBC Fighter series last year, and now they're book hoarders like me and my Mom (My father, sadly, sticks to his CNN programs and occasional self help book on tape). Over the years I have come to realize that reading is not the same for everyone, but I will still push reading on people.
BF is very good at avoiding it ... until I brought home a Jasper Fforde book. Now he waits, impatiently, for the next Thursday Next book, forgetting he bought he Shades of Grey to tide me over (he claims he bought it for me, but when I opened it last year, it was already bookmarked ... gr).
The point is this: Books are the gift that keep on giving. So give.
What's on your Xmas list?
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
1) Amanda Seyfried. (Partially because she has my name, but mostly because of Big Love, Mean Girls and Chloe.)
2) Fairy Tales
3) Awesome Kick Ass Music
4) Trailers that make me Salivate
And this has them all:
Get excited people! Only ... er ... 4 something months away?
Smithy described the trailer as "it looks like it will a more dark and sensual version of what i wanted twilight to be" - which means I will like it! :D
Monday, November 15, 2010
So we begin with: Recipes Every Man Should Know by Susan Russo and Brett Cohen
Now, I got this from Quirk directly - and may I say, I love them. LOVE. Pride, Prejudice and Zombies? Hell Yeah. Sense, Senibility and Sea Monsters? F*ck yeah! Added to this now they have practical and awesome things like recipe books!? Yes yes yes!
With that intro ...
This will not be a full review of REMSK - I just have no time right now to actually do it, unfortunately. With essays, exam prep, a Regency Christmas dinner party to help plan, and NANOWRIMO ... well, this will have be part one of a two -part post.
Part One: The Book itself.
Part Two: Recipes in the Book - by a Man (BF Post!)
And here we go:
Part One: The Book.
Oh Hell Yeah.
It's a little black book - seriously, those who market at Quirk are awesome idea makers - can you believe they thought of this? Kudos to them - it is brilliant! A little black book ...
Anyways, let's open it and dive in:
It begins with - An Introduction
"So, why should men cook?
1. Women think men who cook are sexy.
2. It involves fire, sharp instruments, and meat.
3. Women who think men who cook are sexy, and it involves fire, sharp instruments and meat. "
Oh yes. I must keep reading now, right?
Next it has a comprehensive Kitchen Tool section - with pictures! This is amazing! I mean - never again will I yell at BF "How do you not know what a microplane grater is? The thing with the holes and the sharp bits you use to grate lemon, dammnit!" Oh! Happy Day! :D
And after that - Cooking Terms! Cooking Terms! :D I mean, it has broil, and parbroil! Saute and Sear! Mince, and fry and dice and panfry! This is the awesome! Cannot wait to get home and force BF to make use of these!
And then we get into the real meat (har har) of it.
Here are the Contents:
(1) Hearty Breakfast Classics
(2) Sandwiches, Burgers & Snacks
(3) Meat & Potato Dinners
(4) Beer, Bacon & Bar Food
(5) Chocolate, Cheesecake & More
(Can you guess which one I want BF to make use of first??)
Really, it has all the essentials starting with an awesome breakfast. Now - I said I don't have time for all the recipes, but I did try out the greatness that is page 18 - that is, A Great Cup of Joe!
Yes - starting the day off with some caffeine! :D
It's only one page and more a bunch of suggestions instead of a recipe itself - but I decided to follow it last friday - and yummy of yumminess - it was good! (it might have also helped that I finally went out and bought some soy milk - the real stuff was killing me).
Alrighty - so that is Part One - CANNOT WAIT to get home in December and get started on Part Two! :D
Anyways, there may or may not be another post later today (it's a slow, I hate myself for choosing law day).
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
There are no words... Okay, there are plenty. Last week I went to Ann Arbor and (after getting lost - what is with university cities?) Smithy and I ended up sitting in the back row of Lauren Willig's book signing - and I will never be the same again.
Firstly, her new book The Mischief of the Mistletoe is out - I won my copy from Passages from the Past - and it is currently on its way to me (Squeal!) so while I didn't get it signed, I still have it! I encourage everyone to go and buy it - Smithy got three copies while there (one for her, her mom and her cousin) and there are a few goodies latched onto it: (1) an awesome recipe for Christmas pudding - which Smithy and I are totally using our first week of exams when we have our regency Christmas party; and, (2) the rejected intro that can be found here (Willig tried to include it in the published book itself, but apparently no one has a sense of humour ...).
I am eagerly awaiting my copy and am living vicariously through Smithy's raised eyebrows and chuckles ...
Anyways, onto the book signing:
By the time we got there, we were a tad frazzled and the first thing we saw was this absolutely beautiful vibrant red dress. And I thought, Aw someone dressed up! Why didn't I dress up!? Then I realized the person in the dress was Lauren Willig. Oh, giddiness!
Smithy and I scrambled for a seat, and eagerly awaited the talk - all the while quoting from the books clutched in our hands. Then I tried my camera. Bloody hell, the batteries died (rechargeable my hiney). So I spent a good half hour trying to strategize how to get the batteries from the Rite Aid in order to take pictures (this kills me, so much... btw that is a spoiler alert). Anyways, the talk was great - Lauren Willig is probably one of the most approachable, funny, interesting authors I have ever encountered! She was friendly, laughing and rambling on, putting me at ease. I had a million questions - but I hadn't the guts yet to raise my hand.
She read the intro (go to the link, read it - trust, it is worth it! I printed it out and I am going to stick it in the book when it comes), had us all laughing, then explained how the book came to be - that is, how Turnip, her almost anti hero - the best friend, funny man guy - how he got a book of his own. And she went into this interesting discourse that basically boiled down to this: Turnip wanted his own story.
Now, all the non writers out there (fan girls excluded) might not understand this, but it is a very relevant thing: characters, when they truly get to the heart of you, have their own say. They are alive in a very real way - even if it's only in your head sometimes. And to have her vocalize it - talk about Turnip as if he were real, it was an amazing thing, and I felt instantly in awe of the way she uses words.
(I am making myself so jealous of the readers of Mistletoe right now ...)
That's another reason I can appreciate her work: what she chooses to write about - be it the "bitchy prom queen" or the "sardonic regency potential bad guy" - or the bumbling best friend, she brings her characters to life more then usual, because they're more realistic - they're not perfect specimens of humanity - they can be useless, curious, cautious, and have their stupid moments. They can be mean, rough and bitchy without reason - and there is something tantalizing in that.
And it makes me want to read more.
She then read some more (yay!) out of Mischief - the first part where Turnip is introduced, delivering his sister's Christmas basket to her at boarding school - amid hordes of flighty young females that scare him witless.
May I just say that I was red with laughter? I would prove it but ...
Now here is the sad part: my camera ate the photos. No, you have no idea. I nearly cried. I think I still might. And I thought Smithy would kill me - though she was actually way gracious and nice about it.
We waited in line, getting all sorts of excited, and when we reached her, she was so nice - she recognized my name from when I posted on her blog (very stalker-ish, I told her I would see her the next day in Ann Arbor - Why do I allow myself to post things without supervision?), and we told her that Smithy and I were Jaded 3Ls and writers - and she was so fantastic about encouraging us. She truly is one in a million! :)
Again, one last word - seriously, do yourself a favour - pick these books up - it is an amazing series, and though the next one (after the Orchid Affair) only come pout in 2012 (I know, kill me right?) - it is worth the wait!
Also - another last word: The COVERS! ARE THEY NOT TO DIE FOR????
Nov 9 2010 7:00 pm
'Tis the season to get Pink! Lauren Willig's beloved Pink Carnation series gets into the holiday spirit with this irresistible Regency Christmas caper.
Arabella Dempsey's dear friend Jane Austen warned her against teaching. But Miss Climpson's Select Seminary for Young Ladies seems the perfect place for Arabella to claim her independence while keeping an eye on her younger sisters nearby. Just before Christmas, she accepts a position at the quiet girls' school in Bath, expecting to face nothing more exciting than conducting the annual Christmas recital. She hardly imagines coming face to face with French aristocrats and international spies...
Reginald "Turnip"Fitzhugh-often mistaken for the elusive spy known as the Pink Carnation- has blundered into danger before. But when he blunders into Miss Arabella Dempsey, it never occurs to him that she might be trouble. When Turnip and Arabella stumble upon a beautifully wrapped Christmas pudding with a cryptic message written in French, "Meet me at Farley Castle," the unlikely vehicle for intrigue launches the pair on a Yuletide adventure that ranges from the Austens'modest drawing room to the awe-inspiring estate of the Dukes of Dovedale, where the Dowager Duchess is hosting the most anticipated event of the year: an elaborate twelve-day Christmas celebration. Will they find poinsettias or peril, dancing or danger? Is it possible that the fate of the British Empire rests in Arabella's and Turnip's hands, in the form of a festive Christmas pudding?
About the Author
Lauren Willig is the author of six previous Pink Carnation novels. She has a graduate degree in English history from Harvard and a J.D. from Harvard Law School, though she now writes full time. Willig lives in New York City.
And then here, too!
And Romantic Crush Junkies has one here too!
And just discovered this one here!
And Bitten by Paranormal Romance has got this one! Go now! :P
Seriously good contest at Red House Books, too.
Win The Swan Thiefs here.
And Addicted 2 Books is giving away some JamesPatterson duality here.
And o f course, Floor to Cieling Books is having an AMAZING contest for Xmas!
And Sparkling Reviews has an Amazon Contest!
HUGE Zest Books Contest here.