August 31, 2012

Lucky Seven: Carl’s RIP

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Year the Seventh! I can’t believe Readers Imbibing Peril has been around that long. Wow! Anyhow, Carl has dropped the “challenge” from RIP and really it is more of an annual event now. I have just incorporated it into my fallish thoughts: changing leaves, sweaters, pumpkins, and scary reads.

This year it was hard to come up with a reading list. I read so many good ones last year. I feel like I read them all! But there are always more books out there. As always, I picked Peril the First. “Read four books, any length, that you feel fit (the very broad definitions) of R.I.P. literature.” Here’s my list.

rip7periltemplatethefirst

  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith (and Jane Austen)
  • Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson
  • Uncle Silas by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
  • Haunted Shores True Ghost Stories of Newfoundland and Labrador by Dale Jarvis
  • Pig Island by Mo Hayder
  • All Is Clam by Hilary MacLeod
  • An Agatha Christie

Not a complete list. Something else might catch my eye.

Also, I enjoy reading a few short stories in the fall. So Peril of the Short Story is for me.

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  • The Were-Wolf by Clemence Housman
  • Stories from M.R. James
  • Stories from Guy de Maupassant

That’s the plan anyway! Hope you join in the fall fun!

August 28, 2012

Diving Belles by Lucy Wood: Review

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diving belles

Diving Belles is a collection of short stories by Lucy Wood, each with a touch of magic.

The review I created in my head when started reading Diving Belles was completely different from the one I ended up writing. The first stories weren’t doing it for me; I just didn’t get it. I read a couple of reviews with heaps of praise for Diving Belles and wondered if I was either too practical- or too dense- to appreciate them. However, I kept on, which was a good thing, because the later stories really spoke to me. That’s the thing about short stories I suppose. There are hits and misses in any collection and not every one is for every reader. At least, not for me anyway.

Wood’s stories are beautiful but rather sad. She writes of young people watching their loved ones grow old, people struggling with regrets, women in bad relationships. There are moments of sweetness and humour too. In Blue Moon, residents of a retirement home for the magical, suddenly turn into animals or oil, causing headaches for the very human caretakers.

Because Wood is from Cornwall, I couldn’t help but think of Daphne du Maurier and her short stories. Wood doesn’t have the cynicism that du Maurier had at the same age. But Cornwall is a character itself, the sea or the moors inhabit many of the stories.

Wood experiments with point of view. One of my favorites is Notes from the House of Spirits, which is exactly what the story is, spirits of a house watching humans come and go. It’s such a poignant story, since the humans’ time in the house is so brief.

If you are looking for a collection of stories that are interesting, magical and a little different, then Diving Belles is for you.

Thanks to TLC Book Tours for the review copy.

August 26, 2012

Behold! The Fake Review-inator!

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So, if you are a book reviewer anywhere on the web, you might have come across stories about how terrible we all are. We’re too nice, or conversely, too mean. No one can seem to make up their minds about that. And then, my people, this New York Times article about fake reviews was tweeted around like a hot potato yesterday. money

Turns out, I’ve been reading and reviewing books like a sucker. I’ve been doing it for nothing when I could be making $99 a pop and I don’t even have to read the book. Why aren’t I doing this? And why aren’t you? Think of the monies we could be making! Sweet!

“But Chris,” you say, “creating fake reviews sounds like work and I don’t like to work. What can I do to make this easier and still make boatloads of money?” Don’t fret, my lazy friend. I have the solution.

Behold! The Fake Review-inator ™! Just plunk in the appropriate words in place of the capitalized prompts and Voila! a review is written. No more hurting your brain with the thinking the thinky thoughts. And remember to keep it positive. Authors want butterflies and glitter associated with their book.

BOOK TITLE by AUTHOR’S NAME is ADJECTIVE. I was VERB by HIS/HER excellent prose. The characters are ADJECTIVE and the plot was ANOTHER ADJECTIVE. I couldn’t put it down. I stayed up late into the night to finish BOOK TITLE. The ending made me A POSITIVE EMOTION. I am going to recommend it to all my friends. I will be reading more from AUTHOR’S NAME.

Example:

The Maniac by Charles Turducken is fabulous. I was hooked by his excellent prose. The characters are darling and the plot exciting. I couldn’t put it down. I stayed up late into the night to finish The Maniac. The ending made me happy. I am going to recommend it to all my friends. I will be reading more from Charles Turducken.

Bam! 99 dollars. It’s just that easy! So what you are going to do with all that sweet cash? Buy a boat, perhaps?

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

August 23, 2012

One For the Money by Janet Evanovich:Review

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One For the Money is the very first of the 80 bajillion books in the Stephanie Plum series. I really needed to read something that required as little concentration as possible and this was the ticket. I already saw the movie so it made it that much easier.

Our heroine, Stephanie, has no job, no money, no car, and no love life. Things are worse for her as the rent is due soon. Through the family grapevine, she hears that her cousin Vinnie, owner of a bond agency, has a job opening for a receptionist. Stephanie figures this is better than nothing so she checks it out. Unfortunately, that job is taken but there is an opportunity for her to try her hand at bond recovery.

And the job is a doozy: bring in a cop on the run, who just happens to be the guy who took her virginity, Joe Morelli. Stephanie’s got a bit of an axe to grind, plus the big pay out will keep her afloat for awhile. Morelli isn’t going to come along quietly and Stephanie has no idea what’s she’s doing. Will she get her man?

So okay, this was fun. I had to suspend any disbelief I had about this lady who is afraid of guns chasing after criminals, but…you know. I enjoyed Stephanie’s inner monologue and the cast of wacky characters. Since this is the first in the series, there is a feeling that Evanovich is finding her sea legs and hopefully the series will get better.

One for the Money was published in 1994 and it is all kinds of dated. That was my biggest issue with it but since I don’t have a time machine, I guess I can live with it.

Ratings:

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August 20, 2012

Where I Be

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Hey everybody! You can find me somewhere else today. I'm over at the brand spanking new Estella Society blogging about Edith Wharton and giving you a reading list. It's part of my column Reading It Old School, because I like old books. Big thanks to Andi and Heather for letting me be part of it and even providing a fancy graphic. 

August 19, 2012

Lazy Sunday Thoughts: Pins and Stuff

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Since reading is a struggle this week, I finally did a few things for the Pin It and Do It Challenge hosted by Trish. Take a look!

lemon brownies

These are Lemon Brownies found on The Girl Who Ate Everything. Easy and quite good.

coasters

A couple of crochet coasters from Lulu Loves. These were quick and easy. 

tiny lobster

This tiny lobster from Maggie Menzel was going fine until the claws. I had to wing it.

So that’s 3 Pins Did!

My husband and I watched The Hunger Games together last night. He didn’t know much about it. I remember when it was in theatres he saw an ad for it and said to me, “What the hell is that about it?” Kinda refreshing. So he enjoyed it. I thought it was well done. Katniss is not near as annoying when I’m not in her head. Jennifer Lawrence was beautiful (and not fat! What is wrong with people?!) And Rue, heartbreaking. The little girl who played her is adorable. I loved Lenny Kravitz as Cinna- come on; it’s Lenny Kravitz! I wasn’t sold on Peeta until the end. Hope the next one is just as good. Those are my very random thoughts about it.

So, other than that I’ve been listening to a lot of music. I go through spurts where I play the hell out of something until I can’t stand it anymore. This week it’s Grace Potter and the Nocturnals album The Lion The Beast The Beat and random songs from Tegan and Sara.

This is Never Go Back from Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. It’s a little weird- sort of Where the Wild Things Are- but I love the song.

Here's Northshore from Tegan and Sara, a song you can rock out to.

 

Finally, some bookish thoughts. I received Miss Buncle’s Book in the mail this past week. I requested it but it was one of those things where I didn’t know if I was going to get it or not. I was this close to buying it.

Miss Buncle's Book Cover

And have you heard! The Estella Society has begun. Go check it out.

estella society

That was this week for me. What did you do?

August 16, 2012

This About Sums It Up…

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my life
Me, right now.

So, yeah, that’s about it. No posting, barely reading, wondering what to do with myself. My concentration is 0%. The girl is doing her own thing. She starts school in a few weeks and I’m trying to come up with a plan for myself when she does. I do this every year but I swear this year it’s worse.

I did finish a book. Yay! It took me forever but I won’t be able to post a review until October. So more radio silence.

What do you do when (if) you get this way? Take up kick boxing? Get wasted? Give me a few suggestions.

August 13, 2012

Jean Valjean is Batman

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jean valjean

Okay, maybe not, but it’s strange how much Jean Valjean is like a super hero.

  • He had a bad beginning, jailed for 19 years.
  • He creates a new persona and makes piles of money.
  • He saves people’s lives, putting himself in peril.
  • He has a nemesis: Javert. Javert is a super villain because he never gives up trying to get Jean Valjean.
  • Jean Valjean can scale walls and is super strong!
  • He has two parts to his personality, the criminal and the saint, and uses them accordingly.

As you can tell, I’m completely enjoying reading Les Misérables. I’m not getting much else done though.

Can you see Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean? I’m not sure. I guess we’ll find out in December when the movie comes out!

August 6, 2012

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn: Review

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gone girlThe first rule of Gone Girl is not to talk about Gone Girl. That’s pretty much it because if you talk about it to someone who hasn’t read it, it ruins it for them. And I SO WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT!

Brief synopsis: Amy disappeared from her home on the 5th anniversary of her marriage to Nick and he’s the prime suspect. It doesn’t look good for Nick, especially when you read Amy’s diary. She does not paint a pretty picture of their marriage.

 

 

Since I can’t say much, I will copy my Goodreads notes:

Page 84 19.0% "I hate this guy. What an a-hole."

Page 162 38.0% "I'm thinking lots of bad words. The baddest words!!!"

Page 237 55.0% "Ha!"

Page 432 100.0% "That was crazy, dudes."

There is quite a gap between “Ha!” and “That was crazy, dudes” because a lot of stuff happened and I changed my mind about a lot of things. It was crazy. I do have to say that at the very last page, I shook my head like I had been slapped. It just… never mind.

I thoroughly enjoyed Gone Girl, once the first twist happened. It was a bit slow at first but then, whoa! I was giddy because it was so twisted. Nick and Amy’s voices in all their incarnations were well done.

I’m stealing this lolcat from Raych because it sums up my feelings for Gillian Flynn.

my fist bump it

Yeah, that was good!

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