September 30, 2012

Lazy Sunday Thoughts: Bloggiesta and a Pin

Pin It

bloggiestafinish

My Bloggiesta weekend wasn’t as productive as the last few Bloggiestas. Maybe that’s because I’m so organized now? Yeah, let’s say that’s the reason. More likely it’s because the thought of putting a lot of time into re-vamping my blog, just seems like too much right now. Later, maybe.

I did just install Pocket for Book Vixen’s mini-challenge. I hope I’ll be able use it for my Friday Bookish Buzz posts. Right now I have stuff favorited everywhere. It would be nice to have it all in one place.


I know it’s not officially October and that Trish’s Pin It and Do It hasn’t officially started either but I couldn’t wait to whip up this pie. Doesn’t it look tasty?! Winking smile You can find the directions here. P9308054

Just to rap up this bloggy weekend, here’s a bit of book blogging fun from Bay State’s Reader Advisory.

September 28, 2012

The Starting Line: A Bloggiesta Marathon (Update #3)

Pin It

bloggiestastart

Happy Bloggiesta! I’ll be updating this page as I go along. I have a miserable cold so I don’t know how much I’m going to accomplish but I’m going to try.

  • Update my Book Review Page.
  • Fret over what to do about Feedburner.
  • Clean out my email, again.
  • Come up with some ideas for posts, since I’m falling behind on reading.
  • Write a post for The Estella Society.
  • Link my reviews to challenge posts on other blogs.
  • Change my Twitter avatar.
  • Do some mini-challenges.
  • Etc, etc, etc.
  • Back up blog (Added)
  • Maybe write some posts. (Got a start on this one.)

So let’s get started!

Saturday: I managed to get my mail cleaned out. At least that’s something.

Completed Jessica’s mini-challenge by adding Linkwithin to my blog and coming up with ideas for reusing old posts.

September 27, 2012

Impromptu Bloggiesta Sign Up

Pin It

blogiesta

I totally forgot about Bloggiesta, which is a weekend devoted to blog housekeeping if you’re wondering. I’m sure you can do this at any time on your own but during Bloggiesta you are surrounded by other people doing the same thing. You can get help from others working on the same problems or just have someone to bitch to when things get frustrating.

I have a lot of blog cleaning to do. I don’t have a detailed list yet but if I start thinking about it I’m sure to have one a mile long.

So that’s it, but since you’re here anyway enjoy some Fashionable People from Joel Plaskett. There’s a pinata in the video so it sort of ties in. Not 100% sure what’s happening here but it’s entertaining- and work safe.

September 25, 2012

A More Diverse Universe: Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson

Pin It

brown girlWhen Aarti came up with idea of A More Diverse Universe, I liked the idea but thought I’d never be able to contribute. I’m not a big fantasy fiction reader and had no idea where I would start. I had forgotten that I had Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson on my shelf. I’ve wanted to read it for awhile and even had it on my lists for other reading challenges. For whatever reason, I didn’t put the blog tour together with this book. Then, like a flash, I remembered and signed up for the tour right away. Finally, I would read it!

Ti-Jeanne lives in the abandoned city of Toronto. After a financial collapse, the inhabitants rioted. Everyone who could, left; the province cut off the city, and abandoned anyone left behind. With no one to police the remaining residents, the city divided into two camps: the thugs and everyone who feared them.

Ti-Jeanne’s grandmother, Gros-Jeanne, has special skills as a healer. Whenever someone is sick or injured, with no hospital, they turn to her. Ti-Jeanne’s mother disappeared during the riots, so she raised Ti-Jeanne herself. Later, Ti-Jeanne ran off to live with her boyfriend, Tony, but after she finds herself pregnant, she knows the only reliable soul in her life is her grandmother. She leaves Tony before he even knows she’s carrying his child. Gros-Jeanne never liked Tony or Ti-Jeanne’s “stupidness” with him, but she accepts her back nonetheless.

Now Tony turns up on their doorstep asking for help. Rudy, the leader of the gangsters, is forcing Tony, who was once a nurse, to find, kill, and take the heart of a “donor” for the province’s dying premier. There’s a lot of money at stake. Tony is a drug addict and a low-level thug but he can’t stomach murder. He asks Gros-Jeanne to use her abilities to get him out of the city. He doesn’t realize the power Rudy has and once Gros-Jeanne uses hers a battle between good and evil begins.

Once I got beyond the point of not knowing what the hell was going on (that’s just me and this kind of fiction), I flew through the book quickly. Ti-Jeane isn’t always a likable heroine. She can be a bit bratty at times, but she grows up and takes charge of things. She doesn’t have much choice in the matter when it comes right down to it. Tony is even more difficult to like. He makes such bad decisions. Every time I thought I was going to like the guy, he’d do something that made me say, “Ah no, Tony!” It was interesting to see these two struggle with their demons while struggling with a Demon.

So the fantasy part of this book not only includes this futuristic Toronto but the folklore of the Caribbean. Gros-Jeanne and Rudy can contact the gods and ask for their assistance. Though they only wish to be used for good, they can be called upon for evil purposes. Gros-Jeanne uses them to help and heal; Rudy uses them for revenge and power. It’s a dangerous game because the gods don’t appreciate being used for evil. Once the evil-doer loses their hold over them, the gods will have their revenge. Rudy’s thirst for power has made him a monster, but his days are numbered.

I’m glad I finally read Brown Girl in the Ring. It was a fun read with a fast plot. I loved the part the CN Tower played in the book and the diverse characters. This was Nalo Hopkinson’s first novel and a Canada Reads finalist for 2008.

fantasy_final01C

September 24, 2012

Brace Yourselves. Pin It and Do It is Here

Pin It

Did you know that Canadian meteorologists invented the humidex? This does not surprise me, since we tend to get weather extremes and love to talk about it. It doesn’t always snow here, you know. I mention this because it was as hot and humid here this weekend as it was in August. Where are our cool, crisp fall days? It’s just not fall until I can wear a sweater and those days don’t seem to be appearing.

However, we can think cool fall thoughts at least. Trish’s October Pin It and Do It Challenge should help. It’s pumpkin season over on Pinterest. You can’t throw a virtual rock without hitting a pumpkin muffin or loaf recipe. And yes, I will be making some for this challenge.

I also plan on making this crochet pumpkin pie- it smells like real pie!- since Real *ahem* Thanksgiving is in October. Possibly I can get a few Halloween things done before that holiday gets here too.

October PinitDoit

Just for the heck of it, I’m going with the Pin Obsessed level: +8 pins. Wish me luck!

Are you going to join the Pin It and Do It Challenge?

September 20, 2012

In Which I Tell You About a Book I Barely Remember

Pin It

This is terrible. Not the book. Me.

I read Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley over the summer. The Summer of Restlessness, as I’m coming to call it. It was so humid. I was so cranky. I couldn’t keep a thought in my head to save my life. However, I had Shadowy Horses on my ereader from Netgalley and time was running out for it. This is probably my biggest beef with Netgalley. I always feel like I need to hurry up and read something whether I’m in the mood or not. So, that was the situation with Shadowy Horses. Also, that was back in August and I’m just writing this today. My memory of things might be sketchy.

I’m fairly certain I would have enjoyed it any other time, but during this summer I would read pages without really reading them. I remember the premise of the story was interesting. The heroine is smart, although there’s not much about her that made me really connect to her. There wasn’t a whole lot of conflict, most of the conflict involved a slightly sinister smuggler. There’s an overprotective Roman ghost and a psychic boy. A bit of romance, though it wasn’t the grab you by the pants kind. All good stuff. Still, I don’t have any strong emotions when I think about the story. I must be a moody reader.

I’m just going to tell you about Shadowy Horses and you can go out and get it on October 2. October actually feels like a more appropriate time to read this, not during the hottest summer ever.

Verity* Grey is an archaeologist who gets a job on a dig in Scotland looking for a lost Roman army. The leader of the dig is an older man whose contemporaries think is nuts, not quite the “aliens built the pyramids” guy, but close. In fact, he’s carrying out this dig because of the visions of a little boy who can talk to the Sentinel, the Roman guard who still is on duty. The old guy believes the army is there even though everyone else says, “No, no, no.” Verity is charmed by him and agrees to put her reputation on the line. She also has her eye on Davy, a local archaeologist with hot Celtic looks.

So, there you go. There are about a billion 4 and 5 star reviews on Goodreads for Shadowy Horses, if that tells you anything. I promise I will put more effort into my reviews from now on. Promise.

Originally this book was published in 1997. I did not know this but it makes sense because some of the technology mentioned seems out-dated. It’s being rereleased by Sourcebooks.

*What is with this name? I’m seeing it everywhere lately. Will there be an increase in babies with that name this year?

September 19, 2012

Meanwhile on Project Gutenberg Project: The House of the Vampire

Pin It

I wrote a review! Yay! This was a quicky, a 5 hour LibriVox recording of The House of the Vampire by George Sylvester Viebeck. It was pretty good. Bonus: it counts toward RIP 7 too.

If you want to read what I thought about it, go over to the Project Gutenberg Project blog.

Man with book sitting in chair

“Do it! I command you!”

September 17, 2012

Two Short Story Reviews for RIP 7

Pin It

rip7periltemplate2shortstory

I’m trudging my way through Uncle Silas for Carl's RIP 7. Not much is happening at this point except for a lot of sneaking around. So, I squeezed a couple of short stories this weekend.

A Ghost by Guy de Maupassant.

The most lame ghost story ever written. I really hope something was lost in translation (Guy was French) because this story could have been just: “I saw a ghost once. The end.” There really isn’t much to it.

It goes like this. A guy meets a friend who says, “Hey, my wife died. I need some letters from her room but I can’t go there because of…reasons. Will you get them for me?”

“Ok, bro, and I won’t ask why you won’t go yourself which would be a reasonable thing to ask.”

The guy goes to the house where the gardener is totally rude. He gets the letters when a ghost girl enters. “Comb my hair. I’m so sad.”

“Ok.” Combs cold, cold hair.

“Thanks. Laters!” Disappears out door.

The guy writes to his friend. “Here’s your letters. There was a ghost in the room.” Friend disappears forever.

And that’s it! I hope Guy de Maupassant wrote better stories than this one.

The Stalls of Barchester Cathedral by M.R. James. (Or the Archdeacon has Magical Wood.)

This one was much better. The expectation that something weird is going to happen is established right away.

A scholar is researching the death of Dr Haynes, an archdeacon, and is given a box with his diaries. I like how anyone who dies mysteriously has a diary. It’s so convenient. This archdeacon is suspected of doing away with the last one. While he’s living in the cathedral, odd things start to happen to him. He hears voices and sees figures disappearing into the wood around the house. The stalls (or canopied church seats) have been ornately carved from the wood of a very special tree. I think you can see where this is going. I did but the ending tied everything together nicely and it all made sense. Unlike the last story.

So, one good one and one dud. Back to reading!

September 16, 2012

Lazy Sunday Thoughts: Less Thinky Thoughts

Pin It

Hellllllllllo all! How are we today? What have you been reading? I’ve been in the middle of eleventy-hundred books since forever. I can’t get anything finished. That makes me not want to talk about books. So I’m going to talk about everything else instead.

New TV is starting! Yay! This makes me happy. Revenge will be back September 30. I can’t wait to see what Emily has planned for those who’ve wronged her father this season. I watched the first couple of episodes of Go On staring Matthew Perry this week and loved them. I have a dilemma though since my favorite show Happy Endings is on at the same time. I guess I’ll be DVR’ing something. And I don’t care what anyone says, I’m looking forward to Elementary.

Speaking of TV, am I the only one who loves characters who are not the focus of the story. Like for example, Nolan on Revenge. If anything happened to Nolan, I would never watch that show again.

 

My reaction if Nolan died.

Over on Don’t Trust the B- in Apartment 23, I love Mark the coffee shop guy. He is funny and adorbs. (Also, though I know it isn’t real, I wish James and Chloe were actual IRL friends.) So, basically I want a show of all my favorite secondary characters just doing what they do when the main characters aren’t around. I would watch that. I might be the only person watching it but I really don’t care.

Moving on… a new Wuthering Heights is being released sometime soon and I’m sure I’ll have to wait until it’s out on DVD. I waited and waited for Jane Eyre to come to the theatres here. Never happened. I told my husband I want to start my own theatre for movies I want to see. He said I’d need to charge $500 per person to break even. Some of the ones I’d like to see are artsy-fartsy. Not that I’m a snob. I could watch Bridesmaids over and over.

Also, I have an urge to watch Mean Girls again. I’ll have to dig that up from somewhere. We really need to make That’s so fetch a thing.

So, what shows or movies are you looking forward to seeing? Anything I should know about?

September 13, 2012

Georges by Alexandre Dumas: Review (ALSO BBAW: Day 4)

Pin It

On Day 4 of BBAW, we’re to highlight a book that needs more love. After reading Georges I couldn’t think of a better book to talk about today. I didn’t get this review up before, so I’m using it as my post today. Yes, I know it is rather long, but I couldn’t stop talking about Georges! Just read my review. DO IT!

georgesOh Georges! He’s the man! This book must be read by more people. It’s so entertaining.

Let’s get started.

Georges’s story begins on the island of L’ile de France, aka Mauritius, where his Dad, Pierre, is a wealthy mixed-race plantation owner. Pierre has always acted inferior to the whites of the island and Georges does not like it. When he is sent away to France after a white rich dude is insulted by Georges, his brother Jacques, and Pierre, Georges vows to make everyone pay. He does this by becoming awesome. He’s brilliant, handsome, brave, well-traveled, and uber-rich. He’s sexy and he knows it.

Now that Georges is as awesome as a man can be, he returns to L’ile de France. No one recognizes him but he knows his old enemy: Henri de Malmedie. Henri is just as big of a racist ass as he ever was. He’s also engaged to the most beautiful girl on the island, his cousin Sara. Sara is not only beautiful but a free spirited island girl who runs around climbing trees, and swims in the ocean. She even wears flowers in her hair. Oh that Sara! (Imagine Zooey Deschanel here.) Sara is a smitten kitten after Georges saves her from a shark by shooting it! Still, no one knows who he is.

Then there’s a Ball. Georges enters, is introduced, and pearls are grabbed in shock. At this point I thought Sara was just a flighty piece of fluff but she is sensitive enough to be ashamed of the way people are treating Georges. In fact, when Henri tells her she can’t dance with Georges if he asks her, she tells him he’s just being a jerk because Georges isn’t white and if she can’t dance with Georges then she’s not dancing with anyone including him *hair toss, flounces away.* Georges guesses what’s gone on and secretly declares his love for her. Sara has just become a plot device.

Georges is head over heels in love with his enemy’s fiancĂ©. How convenient. Georges, humble as ever, thinks to himself that if he, a worldly handsome guy, is in love with this simple island girl then she must be a hot mess for him because, come on, he’s so awesome! Then just to top it all off, he rides through a hurricane to ask her to marry him, and wait for him no matter how long it takes. I think they’ve spoken to each other all of five minutes. Anyway. Georges is so overcome with passion for her, he jumps out a window rather than deflower his flower. I thought this was hilarious because, could you imagine Mr Darcy jumping out a window to avoid having sexytimes with Lizzy? It’s so French.

Georges goes to Sara’s uncle (another racist ass) and asks to marry her, even though she’s engaged to his son. You know how this is going to go. Insult. Insult. More insults. Georges declares REVENGE!

This Georges does but he also makes the tragic mistake of thinking of himself as more powerful than God. You know God is going to put his foot down here. So when Georges leads a slave rebellion, things don’t go as planned.

Oh yes, there’s slavery. This story suffers from 19th century issues. Georges family owns slaves, Jacques is a slave trader, but it’s all okay because they’re very nice to them. I’m like: NO IT’S NOT OKAY. I know this was done, but still…icky. Then Dumas wraps up a storyline with stereotyping and I was quite disappointed with him. Before that point I was enjoying the story very much. Dumas does get things back on track though and then I was with him through the swashbuckling ending.

So there’s revenge, romance, adventure, and a couple of bromances. Georges feels a kinship with Lord Murray, the new governor of the island, and Laiza, Lion of Anjouan, a slave. Both are reflections of Georges: brave, noble, and ready to die for their cause, whatever it might be. Georges admires them both. Brother Jacques is also brave but he has a different world view than Georges. When life is unfair, he hops on his ship and has some piratey fun. His life, his lover, his lady is the sea. He’s practical and has a devil-may-care attitude. I loved Jacques! He has the same thoughts I had when Georges tries to claim Sara, sort of like this, “Dude, did you really think they were going to hand her over to you? She’s engaged to Henri, because she’s got money.” Then he tells him to come on the ship and he’ll find him a bunch of other ladies. Ah Jacques, such a romantic.

I never did get through The Three Musketeers because it was so ridiculous but looooved Georges. Yes, the girl is nothing more than a plot device, their love is Instalove, and also slavery, but it is unique for its treatment of racial prejudice during the time period, something Dumas knew himself as a mixed-race person. Georges was never a popular book because of this (I couldn’t find an English translation on Project Gutenberg). Now, with this excellent translation by Tina A Kover, there is no excuse not to read it! Go, read! Go, I say!

Ratings:

Photobucket

Photobucket

September 12, 2012

What is the Meaning of This?! BBAW: Day 3

Pin It

On this Day 3 of BBAW, we’re asked, “What does book blogging mean to you?” Since these days I’ve been feeling like this…

my emotions

…that’s a difficult question to answer. I pretty much left it until right now to come up with something.

I can sum it up in three words:

Creativity, Passion, and Unity

  • Creativity. I’ve always been a person who needs a creative outlet or I go a little crazy. Book blogging has given me a place to express myself. This blog is me but it’s a different me than the one I usually show the world. It’s the kooky inner bookworm that no one but my husband sees. Aren’t you all lucky?! HAHAHA! Sometimes when I think about who might be reading this blog, I get a little freaked out but somehow I still manage to post every week.
  • Passion. So, I’m a big book nerd. Yeah, I said it. You heard (read) it. Who but a book nerd can get excited over a biography of Alexandre Dumas’s Dad? Chances are if you are reading this you are one too.
  • Unity. I guess I could have said Community but I like Unity better because you don’t have to be part of the book blogging community to be united by books. If you love books and want to talk about them, you are part of this book world.

This is probably not all I could say about book blogging but it’s what I’m going to leave you with today. Happy Reading!

September 11, 2012

BBAW Interview with Laura from Musings

Pin It

Day #2 of BBAW! Interview Swap Day!

I don’t know how I hadn’t found Laura from Musings before. How did this happen? I swear she is my blogging Doppelganger. (I wonder which one of us is the evil version? Probably me.) Seriously, go read my answers to her questions. We might share a brain.

Here’s a little about Laura from her blog:

I have been blogging about books and reading since 2007.  I also host The Complete Booker, a perpetual challenge to read all winners of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction.  We read short- and long-listed works, too.

I live in southeastern Pennsylvania, near both Delaware and Maryland.  I’m married with 2 daughters, and an assortment of dogs and cats. When I’m not reading, I tend my fruit & veg garden, and work to provide the best possible habitat for the wildlife living around my house and pond.  I also enjoy knitting, especially socks.

laura

We both started blogging in 2007. That’s a long time in internet years. What have you learned about blogging that you wish you knew back then?

Wow, that's a tough question!  I started my blog more as a personal reading journal and didn't have any expectation that others would read it.  So I sort of jumped in with no clear plan in mind.  There were a lot of "nuts and bolts" things I learned along the way, about blog platforms and templates and all that techie stuff.  But that's not all that important, really.  The best part about blogging -- and it was totally unexpected -- has been the community of other bloggers.  And the most important thing I've learned, and am still learning, is about how to build and sustain community.  Early on I took part in a lot of reading challenges, which fostered community with other participants.  After a while I started to feel over-programmed and I stopped taking on challenges.  But then I lost my community, and had to find other avenues, new bloggers to follow, and different reading events.  It's important to understand what you most enjoy about blogging and devote time and effort to keeping that flame alive, but be flexible and open to new ways of doing so.


Your blog focuses on books that not everyone has on their radar. Who is one author you wish everyone would read? Why should they?

I'd have to say Winifred Holtby.  I'd never heard of her until I began collecting Virago Modern Classics.  She died far too young at 37, and only published six novels.  But she was a fascinating woman.  She left university in 1918 to serve in France as a member of the Women's Auxiliary Corps.  She later became a journalist and feminist pioneer in England.  Her last novel, South Riding, is considered her masterpiece and is one of my all-time favorite books.  It was published posthumously by her lifelong friend Vera Brittain (another fine author and activist, by the way), and portrays a slice of English society and the workings of local government, through the eyes of a strong, independent female protagonist.


If you could interview one character from any book, what character would it be and what is the one question you’d have to ask?

Another difficult question!  My mind went immediately to some of the better-known characters in classic literature, like Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice.  But I think if I actually met him I'd probably be struck dumb like a schoolgirl with a crush, and it wouldn't end well.  I decided I'd better set my sights at a more reasonable level.  For some reason, the first character that came to mind was Harriet Baxter in Jane Harris' creepy novel, Gillespie and I.  This is a fictional memoir in which Harriet becomes embroiled in a family's tragedy.  She's one of the most unreliable narrators I've ever read, and to this day I couldn't tell you what really happened.  So my interview would involve locking Harriet in a room and not letting her out until we got to the bottom of it.


I see that you list Edith Wharton as one of your favorite authors. She’s one of mine too! I’m jealous that you got to visit The Mount. What is it about her writing that you like and what’s your favorite novel of hers?

My visit to The Mount was amazing, in no small part because I was there with bookish friends, some of whom I was meeting face-to-face for the first time.  Funnily enough, I hadn't read much Wharton before visiting, and it really inspired me.  I like her for having been a strong woman, ahead of her time in many ways.  And while most of her books aren't exactly uplifting, I love her portrayal of "old money New York society," and how she often shows money can't buy you happiness.  My favorite novel, The Custom of the Country, is a great example, and it has the most awful heroine-you-love-to-hate, Undine Spragg.  Reading about her rise and fall is like watching a train wreck but I couldn't tear myself away! 


I like how your rating system goes from Unforgettable to Bleah. What was an Unforgettable book did you read this year? How about a Bleah?

I've been lucky this year, with 5 "Unforgettables."  The best of these was Madeline Miller's Song of Achilles, which won the 2012 Orange Prize for Fiction.  I had a hard time moving on to my next read; nothing seemed to measure up.  And it's actually rare to encounter a "Bleah."  I'm really picky about what I read, and I get so many reliable recommendations from bloggers and LibraryThing.  But I did have a "Bleah" a while back when I read V.S. Naipaul's In a Free State.  I was on a quest to read all Booker Prize winners, and I made it, but that book did absolutely nothing for me.


When you aren’t reading or blogging, what’s something you like to do for fun?

Earlier this year I learned to knit, and I've become hooked on knitting socks.  They can be a bit challenging, but (geek alert) the mathematical logic behind sock construction appeals to me.  And handmade socks feel great on my feet too!

I totally agree with you about Undine, Laura. Custom of the Country is so underrated. I have a few more books to add to my To Be Read list now, like it isn’t big enough.

Thanks so much for answering my questions Laura! Happy Book Blogger Appreciation Week!

September 10, 2012

2012 BBAW: Bloggity-Blog Twitter-de-Tweet

Pin It

How’s that for a title? It makes perfect sense to me. Actually, I couldn’t think of anything else. Anyway… Today is Day One of BBAW (Book Blogger Appreciation Week), the week we celebrate book bloggers and the work we do. I think we really need that this year. It’s been an altogether depressing state of affairs for bloggers lately.

If you don’t know what BBAW is about, well, here you go:

Book Blogger Appreciation was started by Amy Riley of My Friend Amy in an effort to recognize the hard work and contribution of book bloggers to the promotion and preservation of a literate culture actively engaged in discussing books, authors, and a lifestyle of reading.

BBAW2012_button_300w

Today we were asked to highlight a few blogs that we visit everyday. I’ve been terrible at visiting lately and when I looked at my Google Reader, I saw that many book bloggers had either quit or moved on to other things. I decided to take another tack; I went to Twitter.

I spend too much time on Twitter but I also end up visiting people’s blogs through it more often than I do through Google Reader. Plus, I’ve had some interesting discussions this way. So, here  are some of the blogs I follow:

  • The Sleepless Reader (Alexandra)- She looking for a book to keep her awake at night. She also is a contributor (along with myself and others) to Project Gutenberg Project.
  • The Worm Hole (Charlie)- Charlie is “a reader, a writer, a history geek, an amateur photographer, a musician, and a web designer.”
  • Reading In Winter (Kristilyn)- Kristilyn is from Edmonton, Alberta, here in Canada! She’s not only a book blogger but a singer-songwriter.
  • Julie P from Girls Just Reading- Julie is a contributor to Girls Just Reading. She reads Contemporary Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mysteries/Thrillers, & Women's Fiction.

So there you go! Just a few of the great book bloggers out there. Happy BBAW!

September 9, 2012

Lazy Sunday Thoughts: That’s So Random

Pin It

It’s a wiiiiiindy Sunday here! Gotta love hurricane season.

First, you need to go over to Jill’s blog for her latest song, because…just because. Be warned: there is excessive profanity! (But it is so good!) It all connects to a video I posted a couple of weeks ago.

Second, Jamie posted some pointers for reading in the car over on Perpetual Page Turner. Luckily, I can read in the car but I know a lot of people can’t. If you’re one of them, maybe this can help you!

What else? Oh, I finished a book this week: Georges by Alexandre Dumas. I had fun reading it and reviewing it. I haven’t felt that way in a long time so look out for that. I was glad to have read Georges when I did since I have The Black Count for review. It’s non-fiction, all about Dumas’s Dad, Alex Dumas. He’s the inspiration for nearly all all Dumas’s stories, including Georges.

Book Blogger Appreciation Week starts Monday. The only post I have ready is the interview post with Laura from Musings on Tuesday. I better get on that.

The Girl started school this week and it was a low key event, unlike other years. She’s fully in the groove, knows all the kids and teachers. I guess it will be different when she starts junior high. Right now, she likes her teacher and has “almost all my friends” in her class. I’m knocking on all the wood that it stays this way.

One more thing. Look at this mug I bought yesterday! It pretty much sums up my life these days. Perhaps you can relate? If you can’t see it, it says, “I have a Life… I just prefer it online.”

Online Mug

Laters!

September 4, 2012

Miss Buncle’s Book by D.E. Stevenson

Pin It

miss buncle's bookShort on cash, Barbara Buncle decides the easiest way to make some money is by writing a book. She uses her friends and neighbours as characters in her story, Disturber of the Peace, making them behave exactly they way she would have them. A publisher loves the book and before she knows it she has a hit on her hands.

The people of Silverstream aren’t so happy about Disturber of the Peace (it disturbs their peace!). They see themselves in the characters even though the town is the fictional village of Copperfield and the author is the mysterious John Smith, an obvious nom de plume. The hot heads of the town, whose alter egos have less than flattering appearances in the book, are out for blood, determined to smoke John Smith out from among them. Not a one imagines the unassuming Barbara Buncle could be the writer. Even she can’t predict what consequences her words will have on the residents of Silverstream.

Miss Buncle’s Book by D. E. Stevenson is a light and entertaining read. It’s the cure for any heavy reading (say like Les Miserables) you might have been doing. It runs along the same lines as Cold Comfort Farm: small village of odd characters and the quirky girl who changes their lives.

The story alternates between the points of view of Barbara and the various people of the village: Mrs Walker, Mrs Featherstone-Hogg, Colonel Weatherhead, etc. Depending on how they were portrayed in Barbara’s book determines how they react. Some people take it badly and plot revenge. Stevenson could have gone all Shirley Jackson because these people are kind of bonkers and, in fact, what they do plot for the person they believe is John Smith is hair raising enough. Of course, it all turns out fine but I think it would have been a less scary situation in the 1930s than it appears now. I don’t know if an author could get away with such a thing in a light-hearted book today.

It bothered me that no one thought Barbara was very bright, including her publisher. Barbara might be naive but she’s far from stupid. She has the ability to not only see people as they are but see into their true hearts. Because of this, the villagers change their lives. What they see of their characters causes them to really look at themselves and see their honest desires. That takes insight! Also, and I hope I’m not giving too much away, but the pairing up of couples at the end annoyed me. It’s as if Stevenson knew people would want that and did it just because. One character (an important one), gets the shaft in the romance department and really just gets a man shoved at her. I wanted a little more from that storyline.

Miss Buncle’s Book is a feel good story and a cure for what ails you.

Thanks to Sourcebooks for the review copy.

Ratings:

Photobucket

Photobucket

September 2, 2012

Lazy Sunday Thoughts: Buncle and Grunt

Pin It

Holy Smokes! It’s September already. How did that happen?

It’s just as well because my August reading sucked. I just couldn’t get anywhere with it. I have a pile of books on my dresser that has been giving me the guilty eye. I will WILL do better this month. I also have to write a few reviews, etc.

I finished Miss Buncle’s Book which was a lot of fun and started Georges by Alexandre Dumas. This is a new translation of one of his lesser known books. It’s different because the hero is mixed race and there’s racial tension. I’m also promised lots of swashbuckling adventure so that should be fun. I think there might be revenge too. I like me some revenge.

The Pin It and Do It Challenge has ended and I managed 5 pins this time around. Besides my previous 3 pins, I also read Miss Buncle’s Book (I had pinned this quite awhile back). I ignored the heat and turned on the oven for Blueberry Grunt. I original recipe states “Head for Cape Breton, NS in Atlantic Canada and you're sure to find a heaping helping of this traditional blueberry dessert.” The thing is I hadn’t heard of this dessert until I saw it in a Martha Stewart magazine a few years ago, so I don’t know about that. Anyway I made it for the first time and it was only ok. I prefer my Mom’s blueberry pie.

P8197977

blueberry grunt