May 31, 2012

Challenge Roundup for May 2012

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Hi all! I can’t believe how this month flew by. Hate to try and rush my life away but I hope June is just as quick. The Girl needs a break from all the drama at school. With summer coming, I wonder how my reading and my challenges will fare.

I managed to get a few things read for my challenges this month.

5th Canadian Books Challenge. Two more books added to this challenge, Buffalo Hunt and The Republic of Nothing. That makes it 10/13. Just 3 more books and 1 month left. I can do it!

The Audiobook Challenge. One more book added to this one, The Black Tower. I haven’t seen much that I wanted to listen to this month. That puts me at 9/12.

My Genteel Ladies in Foreign Lands Project is now at 2, since I read In Morocco this month. I need a little break after that one.

I’m at a standstill for the rest of the challenges: Gender in SFF and Once Upon a Time Challenge. Maybe next month.


Non-Reading Challenge

So I didn't quite make it to 8 pins for Trish’s Pin It and Do It Challenge but I did do 7! You can see the other pins here, here and here. Yesterday I made this Spicy Shrimp & Green Apple Salad. I actually heated everything through and served it on rice. It was really good! It loved this challenge. Thanks, Trish!

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May 30, 2012

Pin It and Do It: Another Update

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crocheted dish towel

Another pin for Trish's Pin It and Do It Challenge. This time I crocheted a Dorothea dish towel from Lion Brand. I used Bernat Cotton in Country Red and Vanilla Bouquet. The only thing I had trouble with was the colour changes. I always have trouble with that. Not changing the colours, but making the places where the colour changes look neat. I'm fussy.

I'm reluctant to use the dish towel though! I don't want to ruin it after all my work.

May 28, 2012

The Republic of Nothing by Lesley Choyce: Review

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republicIn 1951, Everett MacQuade declares Whalebone Island, a small island off the eastern coast of Nova Scotia, a separate country. A true anarchist he calls this new nation the Republic of Nothing. Not very many people know of this new country, besides the few residents. They are a eclectic group, people with unique ideas of what freedom is. This is the Republic into which Ian MacQuade is born.

The Conservative Party of Nova Scotia is looking for new blood and having heard that Everett is a man with interesting political ideals they lure him to Halifax. He leaves his wife and two children behind with the promise he will return.

But Everett thrives on politics and becomes a Big Deal over the next decade. Ian grows into a man and falls in love with a pretty American refugee. He believes that life on Whalebone Island is perfect and why wouldn’t his father want to stay? No matter what Ian wants, change is coming. The Sixties bring a foreign war, more political refugees, a looming election, and the possibility of a uranium mine that will literally rip the island apart. Can Ian ride the tide of change or will he lose everything?

I wasn’t sure what to make of The Republic of Nothing by Lesley Choyce at first. It begins as a busy story, so much happens in just a few pages: an elephant washes ashore, a mummified Viking is found, a hurricane nearly washes them away, Ian’s sister is born, and the American refugees arrive. It was a bit much to take. Ian, the narrator, admits that all these things might not have happened exactly this way, he is five after all when these events occur. I think that admission helped me cut him some slack.

While things aren’t as frenetic for the rest of the novel, there are a lot of crazy happenings. Yes, I know some Maritimers are “characters” (so the polite say) but I don’t think I’ve ever encountered the types inhabiting Whalebone Island. They were all a little wack-a-doodle. It kept things interesting. The women especially are strong characters. I wasn’t always sure of Gwen. She was so idealized by Ian that sometimes she didn’t seem like a real girl. I’m still not sure how I feel about her.

The Republic of Nothing is a coming of age story with elements of the political and supernatural. In it a boy becomes a man. He gets his heart broken and learns that even if he knows where he belongs not everyone feels the same. It’s a bit of a tall tale too.

I’m not doing The Republic of Nothing much justice here. Just read it and you’ll know what I mean.

Ratings:

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May 27, 2012

Lazy Sunday Thoughts: Future Books

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Not very lazy this weekend, I’m afraid. It seems as if everything happens all at the same time and I have to be in two places at once. So, while I’m “here” I’m also somewhere else. Maybe you can read a few books for me today. Winking smile

And as if I don’t have enough books to read now…I made the mistake of looking for new books on Netgalley and Chapters-Indigo. Did you know Carlos Ruiz Zafon has a new book? The Prisoner of Heaven, a sequel to The Shadow of the Wind? I didn’t. And now I do and I must have it. It’s not the only future release that I want to get my hands on. Sourcebooks is publishing Miss Buncle’s Book by D.E. Stevenson. This isn’t a new book, but their version has this gorgeous cover.

I added them to my Want list but I wasn’t satisfied with just lusting after unobtainable (for now) books. I added a couple of books to my Kobo this week. I bought the novella The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan, a romance. I figured since it was short it didn’t really count as a full book. Then I fell for the reviews of a NYRB: Irretrievable by Theodor Fontane. It just sounded so good. And, with the excuse that I need to review public domain books too, I looked through Project Gutenberg and downloaded Baddeck, and That Sort of Thing by Charles Dudley Warner. It’s another travel journal but since this one is about my own backyard I might be able to understand it.

For now though, I must get a few books read. I’m reading Beneath the Shadows by Sara Foster, another Netgalley find. I finished The Republic of Nothing by Lesley Choyce and will review it soon.

I finally saw The Woman In Black. It had lots of jump-out-and-scare-the-crap-out-of-you moments but I preferred the book. Ain’t that the way? I still liked the movie and can I say Daniel Radcliffe did very well as someone not-Harry Potter. He looked like a grown man, which I suppose he is now.

Revenge!!! I’m loving this show again. I wasn’t feeling too good about it for a few episodes but that season finale made up for it. Amanda/Emily gets to beat up a bad guy after she saves Nolan. I love their relationship. She pretends that she doesn’t care but she’s there for him. I liked how she saves him and there’s no huggy moment, just “yep, you’re ok, gotta go.” He’s definitely her conscience. He is so her Jacopo. And then there was that ending. Is Victoria dead? Where is Amanda’s mom? Can’t wait for next season.

So that’s all I have to yammer on about today.

May 23, 2012

In Morocco by Edith Wharton: Review

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inmoroccoOr for me Stuck In Morocco.

In Morocco isn’t really a travel journal, since it hardly includes any personal impressions. Well, a few here and there but mostly it’s a history of the country’s numerous occupations and a run down of the architecture of the cities Wharton visits. Also, there is a lot of “isn’t it fabulous what the French did with the place?!”

After World War I, Edith Wharton & Co. travel around Morocco. In the Preface, Wharton says that she was glad to have seen Morocco before it was overrun by tourists. Ironic considering that’s what she was, right? But I understand what she means, tourists come to expect a certain dog and pony show put on by locals (everywhere, not just Morocco). She saw Morocco by car on the new “macadamized” roads, but without the hordes.

I was unsure who exactly Wharton travelled with or for what purpose. Was this just a whim or an official visit? For sure she and her party are trotted around and presented here and there. Either someone she knew was connected or there was a lot of moola exchanged. There were a couple of adventures: Wharton and her party have their car break down in the desert, come upon a festival, and visit a harem. These were enjoyable scenes in an otherwise dry read.

Wharton spends most of the book going over the history of the various wars and conquerors of the country while trying to explain the architecture to the reader. She says it’s not a guide book but it’s difficult to imagine what she is explaining when you’re not there. There were no photographs in my ebook but they are available in the Project Gutenberg version. I tried to follow along on her travels through the magic of Google but that got tedious after awhile.

In Morocco could have been something interesting. Wharton was so good at creating characters with complex emotion. Rarely does she show emotion here. She’s upset by the slavery of children and the stifling conditions of the harem. Beyond this it’s “here’s a beautiful mosque” things you could find out by picking up in any guide book. She says it beautifully, of course, but what does a modern reader want from In Morocco?

If you are an art or architectural student, you might enjoy those descriptions, they were lost on me. I’m afraid it took me ages to read it and I skimmed the last 40 pages of thisgenteel ladies 240 page book.

This was part of my Genteel Ladies in Foreign Lands project. I’m hoping for something a bit more personal from the next lady. Fingers crossed.

May 22, 2012

Check It Out: The Fortieth Door Review

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I have a review up today! Yay! But it's not here. It's over at Project Gutenberg Project where I (and others) review old timey public domain books.

I reviewed The Fortieth Door by Mary Hastings Bradley. It's a romance/adventure story from 1920 set in Egypt. It was... interesting. Please check out my review and let me know what you think!


May 20, 2012

Lazy Sunday Thoughts: Rambling

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This is going to be rambly, I suspect.

I see around the interweblogs that lots of people are making big changes: moving, having babies, getting new jobs. I feel extra lazy now because life is pretty stable here and yet I can't finish a book. I blame In Morocco. I love Edith Wharton but this book will be the death of me. 

I started The Republic of Nothing by Lesley Choyce this week for a change. It took me some time to get into it but now I'm about halfway through. I might finish it next week! Yay! I did manage to finish an audiobook (LibriVox) for Project Gutenberg Project, The Fortieth Door. My review will be up on that blog on Tuesday. I hope you'll read it. I'm also re-reading Northanger Abbey for my book club. I've forgotten how much I love this book! It's so fun. 

My other excuse for not reading is the gorgeous weather! Now this is spring! Sunny and warm all week. I love it. I hope it lasts. I managed to get my vegetable garden in this week: peas, radishes, turnips, Swiss chard, lettuce, and beets. I'm hoping the results will be better than last year's. 

Snap Pea Seedings
Peas
With the weather so nice, I just want to be out enjoying it. Yesterday my family and I went to our local park for a walk and I snapped some pics.

squirrel
Squirrel

Apple Blossom
Apple Blossoms

Wild Flowers under trees
Under the trees

That was my week. How was yours?

May 17, 2012

Buffalo Hunt by Cora Taylor: Review

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our canadian girl buffalo hunt cover Buffalo Hunt by Cora Taylor is part of the Our Canadian Girl series, featuring girls from across Canada at different points in history. The heroine of this story is Angelique, a Metis girl in 1865. Angelique is excited for the spring buffalo hunt out on the prairie because this time she is old enough to be part of the hunt. The older children get to follow the hunters to find the markers left beside the bodies that identify which hunter made the kill. Angelique will look for her father’s. The meat will be made into to pemmican for themselves and to sell for money for other goods.

The hunt is a chance for other Metis families to come together. Angelique sees her old friend Francois but because he’s a boy he has different responsibilities now. Will he still be the same old Francois with her?

The buffalo hunt is dangerous. Men have been injured or killed in the past. A good hunter has skills as well as a talented horse, like her father’s new horse Michif. Even those not directly involved in the hunt could be in danger, as Angelique finds out for herself.

The Our Canadian Girl series is written for girls but really why wouldn’t a boy like them too? There is danger and adventure in Buffalo Hunt that’s sure to please both. That said girls will be able to relate to Angelique who is ten and just starting to be affected by the differences of the gender roles in her culture. While her friend Francois gets to go off with the older boys, Angelique has to stay behind and help her mother. Still, she is young enough to enjoy some freedom from those feminine responsibilities. Angelique often feels both simultaneously annoyed with and responsible for her little brother Joesph. Then there’s the horse, Michif, that she dearly loves.

The writing is accessible for the age range of the book, 8-12. Something my daughter complains about when she starts reading a book is when she doesn’t know what is going on right away. I know this is something she’ll outgrow as she becomes a better reader, but I think she’d appreciate the short backstory provided before the plot begins. In it we learn who Angelique and her family are, why the hunt is important and how Angelique feels about it. Then the story begins. The sentences are short and straight forward while providing the necessary historical information. The facts of the buffalo hunt are given with accuracy but without gore. Times were different.

At just 85 pages, an engaged reader is sure to tear through Buffalo Hunt quickly and move onto the rest in the series. I personally want to know what other adventures Angelique and the rest of the Canadian girls will have!

Ratings:

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May 16, 2012

Wordless: Lady's Mantle

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Lady's Mantle

Something for spring. Lady's Mantle.

May 14, 2012

Pin It and Do It, An Update

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pinterest challenge

Something happened to me last week. I was suddenly inspired to do 4 Pins for Trish’s Pin It and Do It Challenge. Maybe I can make it all the way up to Pin Obsessed (8).

*Chunky Citrus Guacamole (Recipe)- I like avocados and this recipe was quite good. Unfortunately, I’m the only person in the house who eats them so I ate a lot of this by myself. Ugh. Make for parties.

*Hot Vinegar and Dawn on Bathroom Tile (Household Hint)- I was skeptical about this one at first. The hot vinegar melted my spray bottle. Sad smile However, once I sprayed it on and left it for a couple of minutes, I wiped it off and my subway tile was very shiny. A week later and my tile is still sparkly. It didn’t do much for my grout though.

*Scarf Organizer (Household Hint)- An easy one. The girl has a few scarves and never knows where they are. This simple solution works fairly well. I had the hanger (obviously) and bought a box of clear shower curtain hooks at Walmart for $2 or $3. The only problem with this one is without a full hanger of scarves, the hooks all slide toward each other.

*Nubbie Scrubbies (Crochet)- A couple of balls of Cottontots yarn from Bernat (Lemon Berry, Wonder White) and I made these washcloths. Very soft!

nubbie scrubbies

So far, so good. No duds yet. I’m not 100% sure what I’m going to do next but I have ideas. Thanks, Trish!

May 13, 2012

Lazy Sunday Thoughts: Mother Running and Reading

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Hello, peoples! Happy Sunday and Happy Mother’s Day if you happen to be one. I celebrated by starting the day participating in the Mother’s Day Run (5K). I did okay, but so many ladies are much faster than I am. It made me realize that I need to do some speedwork. But that’s enough of that. Now I’m home and going to do some reading.

The library book sale was this week. I managed to grab some good finds. I went on a Patrick O’Brian kick, well, there were a bunch there so I thought might as well get them for ‘someday.’  I also bought Maisie Dobbs because I saw it on so many blogs (blogs sell books, people!) and a few for the girl (but I plan on reading The Goose Girl myself).

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The list:

  • Our Canadian Girl: Buffalo Hunt
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
  • The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
  • Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
  • Blue at the Mizzen by Patrick O’Brian
  • The Thirteen Gun Salute by Patrick O’Brian
  • The Surgeon’s Mate by Patrick O’Brian
  • Desolation Island by Patrick O’Brian

This week I finished Frenchman’s Creek, which was quite fun, and started Northanger Abbey for book club. I think I’m going to reading something Canadian this week, not sure what.

Finally, I made 4 pins for Trish’s Pin It and Do It Challenge. I’ll post about that this week too.

That’s about it! I’ve been gardening so much of my reading time has been outdoor time. Most of that is done now so I can get back to reading.

I hope you all have a fun Sunday!

May 10, 2012

Have Ya Heard? Armchair BEA Registration Open!

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Perd Hapley
Perd Hapley from Parks and Recreation

Have Ya Heard? Armchair BEA registration is now open. Sign up soon, it will be here before you know it. 

What is an Armchair BEA? 

If you're a book blogger who can't attend Book Expo America and the Book Blogger Convention in New York this June (June 4 - 8, 2012), you don't have to miss all the fun - this virtual convention is the place to be! Watch this space for all the news about daily blogging themes, discussions, giveaways and more!
Since it's a virtual convention, there are topics! You can find out ahead of time and plan accordingly by checking out the agenda post.

Publishers and authors can get themselves some affordable publicity by becoming a sponsor.

You can be part of the behind the scenes by becoming a volunteer on the Commenting Committee.

Or you can keep it simple and be a participant. It's a lot of fun and a great way to meet other bloggers with similar interests. Join in!

May 8, 2012

Tender Is the Night by F Scott Fitzgerald: Review

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Hollywood darling, Rosemary Hoyt, meets the Divers, Dick and Nicole, and their clique on the French Riviera. Rosemary is smitten with Dick and mesmerized by the beautiful, aloof and sophisticated Nicole. She frolics on the beach with them all summer long.

Unge mennesker på stranden 

They’re rich and mean to anyone not as cool. Even Dick acts like a jerk when he plans parties for people who hate each other and knows will fight. Just because. It’s the bees-knees until there’s some drama and the Cool Kids break apart at the end of Book 1.

A point of view switch and a flashback later, brings the reader to the days when Dick meets Nicole. It’s not all gin and Charlestons. Nicole is a mental patient at an institution where Dick is a psychiatrist. Somehow or another, Dick and Nicole get married. That wouldn’t be kosher these days but no one is all that outraged. Nicole’s sister, Baby, is a bit suspicious because Nicole has $$$ but it’s okay because Nicole needs a 24 hour doctor and what a better way to get one than marry one! Dick is offended by the implication that he’s a gold digger. He’s all, “I’ll show you! I’m a genius and gonna write a book that would blow the beard off Freud.” Baby is all, skepical eyebrow raise, “Uh-huh. We’ll see.”

Dick finds that taking care of Nicole is not an easy task. She has her moments, also that book just isn’t going to write itself. Dick becomes a bigger dick as the years go by and loses his patented charm and all his old friends start to hate him.

Apparently, it took Fitzgerald forever to write Tender Is the Night. He kept changing things and adding events that were happening in his life because if you haven’t gotten it by now this is a thinly veiled Story of My Marriage: F Scott and Zelda. Dick/F Scott’s career is ruined by his wife Nicole/Zelda’s mental illness. (Although when Fitzgerald started the book Dick and Nicole were based on Gerald and Sara Murphy. They were the It Couple at the time.) I’m not totally buying it. It would be tough going but Dick can’t dump all the blame on Nicole. He had opportunities others did not and he wouldn’t take them.

I could easily put down Tender Is the Night and forget about it for days. I felt like the story was going in circles: Bad Thing, then Boring Life Stuff; Bad Thing, then Boring Life Stuff.

funny dog pictures - Bulldog Orbit 

It took me until the end to see that it wasn’t so much cyclical but what happens when you take the plug out of the sink- it all goes down the drain.

I’ve been looking up the Fitzgeralds online and finding some interesting stuff. F Scott would read Zelda’s diary and plunk bits of it into his books. She was not pleased. “Mr. Fitzgerald--I believe that is how he spells his name--seems to believe that plagiarism begins at home.”-Zelda ["The Beautiful and the Damned," Tribune (New York, April 2, 1922)]. Makes me wonder what parts were true and what was fiction. In retaliation to his writing about their life, Zelda wrote Save Me the Waltz, her fictionalized account of their marriage. It was his turn to be pissed. Tender Is the Night was still a work in progress. (That’s what you get for sneaking into people’s diaries, Fitzy.) Unfortunately, Zelda has been largely forgotten as a writer, while F Scott is considered A Great American Novelist.

And I can see why. Although I prefer The Great Gatsby, Tender Is the Night did get to me. It’s like lasagne; it’s always better the next day after the flavours have melded together. I keep thinking about it. Maybe it’s gotten to me because it is so close to the author’s life. The structure is different from Gatsby and takes getting used to as well. It’s a tragic tale of a tragic couple in fiction and in real life.

Ratings:

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May 7, 2012

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K Le Guin: Review

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left handI admit right upfront that I spent most of my time reading the first half of The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K Le Guin just trying to figure out what the hell was going on. There is quite a bit of world building.

Genly Ai has been sent as an ambassador of a sort of union of planets to the planet Gethen, aka Winter. It’s perpetually cold here. Even colder is the attitude of the people he meets. First of all, some don’t believe he’s from another planet or if he is he’s running a game. There’s not much difference physically between Genly and the Gethenians, except the people here have no gender. They change into a female or male version of themselves once a month. They think he’s a weirdo, being a man all the time. He’s a freak.

Are you still with me? Okay. Genly’s frustration mounts as he realizes he’s just a pawn in someone’s political game. Unfortunately, he can’t tell who is on his side and who is against him. He spends a large part of the novel running around trying to avoid death or prison. When he finally figures out who his only ally is, they have a very Shackleton adventure.

I’m not sure I’m doing a very good job explaining the plot here but that’s all I got.

I really felt like I had been dropped onto a unknown planet myself when I started reading The Left Hand of Darkness. Le Guin is excellent at the ‘show don’t tell’ style of writing. Always good, yes, but I could have used a glossary. I didn’t know what half the words meant and usually it took 3 or 4 uses of it in the story before I caught on. The Gethenians would go by a couple of names too, so often I thought a new character had been introduced until I realized it was just one person. Then there is the politics and let me say I’m not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree when it comes to politics on my own planet so most of that was right over my head. (I have no idea what was going on in the woods with the fortune teller dudes either).

However, I did get something out of it. No, really! The personal relationships were very interesting. Poor Genly gets so frustrated with everyone because their culture doesn’t allow them to say certain things without losing face and they assume he knows this. He doesn’t and he nearly gets himself killed because he can’t read between the lines. When he and his friend finally get time alone and talk, they have a better understanding of the differences between their cultures.

The lack of gender is a mind bender, especially since they use the pronoun ‘he’ for everyone. Why ‘he’? Why not make up a new pronoun? It was hard to remember that these people were genderless. I kept thinking of them as male. Genly could be an arse about it too. He made comments about how he didn’t trust certain people because of their “femaleness.” That kind of pissed me off. Being female makes someone less trustworthy?

I read The Left Hand of Darkness as part of the Gender in SFF Challenge and I can’t think of a more appropriate example of that than this book. The lack of gender and how Genly navigates this made me think about what a genderless society would be like. Sure, there would be no gender bias but, for all the crap females deal with, I like being a girl.

Le Guin is a clever writer and if anyone think sci-fi isn’t smart, they should read The Left Hand of Darkness. I’m not sure if I’m willing to take on anymore from her though. She might be too much for me!

Ratings:

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May 6, 2012

Lazy Sunday Thoughts: Think of the Children

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So, earlier this week I tried to listen to the audiobook The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares by Joyce Carol Oates. Can you believe I've never read any Joyce Carol Oates? I didn't know what the book was about but I thought it was time to try out the author.

The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares Cover
I did not get far.

Here's the thing. I was really digging the writing. It was so realistic. Maybe too real. The Corn Maiden, you see, is about Marissa, an eleven year old girl, who was lured into the basement of an older girl from her school for the purposes of some human sacrifice ritual. Yeah, the older girl is a nutter. Unfortunately, she's a popular and persuasive nutter. The story is told from different points of view. I did not make it past the mother. 

There is a particular feeling a parent gets when you don't know where your child is even if it's just for a moment. You expect them to be in a certain place and they're not there and you panic. Oates describes the emotions of the mother so perfectly that I couldn't listen any more. Nope. Not gonna do it.

I had a look on Goodreads and it turns out several of the stories involve kids. Children in Peril is my bookish intolerance. Well, it's a problem only if I think things aren't going to turn out okay (I'll read the end first to find out.) I guess it's a Mom Thing. My imagination is just too vivid and I always put myself and my daughter in the shoes of the characters. It's safe to say I won't be returning to The Corn Maiden. These nightmares are just too real.

What about you? Is there a line an author can't cross with you? Something that puts you off even if you're enjoying the story?

Also, can you recommend something else from Joyce Carol Oates that won't make me faint?


May 3, 2012

The Black Tower by Louis Bayard (audiobook): Review

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black tower audiobook coverWhat if Louis-Charles, son of the unfortunate monarchs Marie-Antoinette and Louis XVI, didn’t die in the tower? What if the boy somehow escaped death?

When a body is found on the streets of Paris, the brilliant detective Vidocq is on the trail of a murderer. Unfortunately, that trail leads right to medical student Hector Carpentier’s door. Hector has his own troubles, he’s heavily in debt after “investing” in a young dancer’s career. To make ends meet, he and his mother take in boarders. The household mood is a combination of quiet resentment and guilt.

Vidocq appears and whisks Hector away to identify the body of a man he’s never seen before, a man found with Hector’s name on his person. Who is this guy? What connection does he have to Hector? He has no idea but Vidocq isn’t convinced. He drags Hector along to through the seedier parts of Paris as he investigates every clue. Clues that lead to secrets so large if they became known they could change the future of France.

I’ve been fascinated with the doomed monarchs of France since I read The Queen’s Confession by Victoria Holt back when I was a teen. The part the children play is most tragic. While Marie-Therese survived, partly through her own will, Louis-Charles died of neglect and abuse. It’s no wonder there were so many men who claimed to be Louis-Charles in the days after the Revolution. Wouldn’t it be a happier ending to believe that instead of a little boy dying alone in a dark dungeon he lived a peaceful life hidden away somewhere? Of course, a new king on the throne would be rather inconvenient for some other people. Inconvenient enough to commit murder? This is the premise behind The Black Tower. It makes for a rollicking good story.

If you’re going to have someone solve this mystery, it might as well be Vidocq. I had no idea who Vidocq was until Tasha mentioned him. He’s like a shadier Sherlock Holmes in The Black Tower. It was a smart idea to have the book from  the point of view of Hector, Vidocq’s reluctant sidekick. Like Hector, the reader can only guess at how his mind works. It was fun seeing Hector react to the disguises too.

There are plenty of plot twists and peril in The Black Tower. Though many of the characters were real people, the story is fictional. It’s very Alexandre Dumas. And the ending…well, it’s sort of left to the reader to decide who was telling the truth. Being an optimist, I’m going to look through my rose coloured glasses and think the best of everyone.

About the Audio: My book bloggy peeps can’t stop singing the praises of Simon Vance. I wanted to know if he is really all that. And he is! I can’t say that my reading experience would have been as much fun as listening. He was just so expressive and became the characters in the story. I could see Vidocq and Hector when he read their lines. It was so entertaining!

Ratings:

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May 1, 2012

Challenge Roundup for April

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Not a great month for challenges. Not a great reading month, period. April was just one of those months. I think I have my reading mojo back now though!

Let’s start with the good.

Once Upon a Time Challenge: Technically, since I picked the easiest level for this one, I’ve completed it. I read Garden Spells. I would like to read a couple of other books for it though. 1/1

Audiobook Challenge: Got another one done for this challenge: Anna and the French Kiss. I’m burning up this challenge! 8/12

Gender in SFF: Although I’ve finished The Left Hand of Darkness, I don’t have a review up for it yet. Since it hasn’t been easy finding books for this challenge, I found a Anne McCaffery that wasn’t listed, Dragonflight. I don’t know if that really counts but I’m going with it. This challenge has been completely out of my comfort zone. I don’t know if it will make me a sci-fi fan but it’s been interesting. 3/6

The 5th Canadian Books Challenge: Well, this is embarrassing. Not one book for this challenge in April. Oh well, I’ll work on it this month. 8/13

Genteel Ladies in Foreign Lands Project: I put Edith Wharton on a boat to Morocco. I’m in the middle of In Morocco right now. It has its ups and downs. It’s not the easiest book to read but it’s not the worst. What a ringing endorsement that is. Hopefully I’ll have finished it by next roundup.


Non-Reading Challenge

pinterest challenge

Trish’s Pin It and Do It Challenge starts today and already I have something done. Actually, I started this Apple Jacket back in March but never got around to finishing it until today. I have a few crochet projects I need to get to, but this is a start. 1/7

crochet apple cozy

 

 

That's it for April. How was your challenge participation last month?