June 30, 2010

A-Z Wednesday (Jun 30)

A-Z Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Reading at the Beach.
A-Z Wednesday
To join all you have to do is go to your stack of books and find one whose title starts with the letter of the week.
This week's letter is: "U".

From goodreads: Undead and Unwed (Queen Betsy, Book 1)
First Betsy Taylor loses her job, then she's killed in a car accident. But what really bites is that she can't seem to stay dead. And now her new friends have the ridiculous idea that Betsy is the prophesied vampire queen, and they want her help in overthrowing the most obnoxious power-hungry vampire in five centuries.
Undead and Unwed by Mary Janice Davidson

June 29, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays (Jun 29)

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted at Should Be Reading.
Teaser Tuesdays
Share 2 teaser sentences from your current read. Be careful not to include spoilers

From Amazon: A Summer Secret (The Mysteries of Middlefield Series)
In the Mysteries of Middlefield series, readers will be immersed into exciting mysteries and authentic Amish culture.
With a twin brother and five younger brothers, Mary Beth Mullet's house is in constant chaos. Her parents don't seem to mind the noise, but she needs a break from all the pestering and babysitting.
It's the summer before eighth grade, and Mary Beth plans to escape to her secret place as much as possible. The old barn in the neighboring field is dangerous, and her parents have forbidden her to go there, but she escapes to it as often as she can.
Mary Beth soon discovers she is not alone in the barn. Someone is living there; someone who needs help. Can Mary Beth help the stranger without losing her secret place? And what if the barn is as dangerous as her parents say it is?
Readers will identify with Mary Beth's struggles for peace and independence and be engrossed in the excitement and danger of A Summer Secret.
Mary Beth picked up the empty laundry basket. There wouldn't be time to sneak out and get it tonight.

June 27, 2010

In My Mailbox and Mailbox Monday (Jun 27)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted at The Story Siren.
Anyone can participate in IMM and you are not limited to only sharing books that arrive via your mailbox. You can also share books that you've bought or borrowed.

Mailbox Monday is a weekly meme hosted at The Printed Page.
Mailbox Monday
Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week.

From Amazon: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: A Novel (P.S.)
Born mute, speaking only in sign, Edgar Sawtelle leads an idyllic life with his parents on their farm in remote northern Wisconsin. For generations, the Sawtelles have raised and trained a fictional breed of dog whose thoughtful companionship is epitomized by Almondine, Edgar's lifelong friend and ally. But with the unexpected return of Claude, Edgar's paternal uncle, turmoil consumes the Sawtelles' once peaceful home. When Edgar's father dies suddenly, Claude insinuates himself into the life of the farm--and into Edgar's mother's affections.
Grief-stricken and bewildered, Edgar tries to prove Claude played a role in his father's death, but his plan backfires--spectacularly. Forced to flee into the vast wilderness lying beyond the farm, Edgar comes of age in the wild, fighting for his survival and that of the three yearling dogs who follow him. But his need to face his father's murderer and his devotion to the Sawtelle dogs turn Edgar ever homeward.
David Wroblewski is a master storyteller, and his breathtaking scenes--the elemental north woods, the sweep of seasons, an iconic American barn, a fateful vision rendered in the falling rain--create a riveting family saga, a brilliant exploration of the limits of language, and a compulsively readable modern classic.

From Amazon: A Summer Secret (The Mysteries of Middlefield Series)
In the Mysteries of Middlefield series, readers will be immersed into exciting mysteries and authentic Amish culture.
With a twin brother and five younger brothers, Mary Beth Mullet's house is in constant chaos. Her parents don't seem to mind the noise, but she needs a break from all the pestering and babysitting.
It's the summer before eighth grade, and Mary Beth plans to escape to her secret place as much as possible. The old barn in the neighboring field is dangerous, and her parents have forbidden her to go there, but she escapes to it as often as she can.
Mary Beth soon discovers she is not alone in the barn. Someone is living there; someone who needs help. Can Mary Beth help the stranger without losing her secret place? And what if the barn is as dangerous as her parents say it is?
Readers will identify with Mary Beth's struggles for peace and independence and be engrossed in the excitement and danger of A Summer Secret.

June 26, 2010

Storywings Paranormal Reading Challenge 2010

Storywings is hosting the Paranormal Reading Challenge 2010. Guidelines are as below :

Timeline : 1st Jan 2010 - 31st Dec 2010. Only books started on January 1st count towards this challenge.

1. The Paranormal Reading Challenge is for anyone who loves reading ANYTHING paranormal!!! Vampires, Werewolves, Witches, Ghosts, Angels etc...so the scope is pretty big!!! The books can be any sub genre under Paranormal - romance, YA, mystery, etc.

2. Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate. If you are a blogger please post a link back to the challenge on your page to let others join in the fun. Non-bloggers can keep track of your progress yourselves and post a comment on the wrap-up page, or send comments to the Paranormal Reading Challenge page to keep track of your progress.

3. There are 6 levels :
  • Human - 5 Books
  • Witch - 10 Books
  • Oracle - 20 Books
  • Were - 30 Books
  • Vampire - 40 Books
  • Angel - 50 Books

4. The book has to be a book. No free short stories, or writing sites.

5. Cross-overs from other challenges are accepted. As are re-reads.

6. If you decide to participate in this challenge please sign up HERE.

I'm going to be ambitious here and aim for the highest level, Angel. Follow my progress below :

  1. Song of Susannah by Stephen King
  2. The Dark Tower by Stephen King
  3. Fantasy Lover by Sherrilyn Kenyon
  4. Night Pleasures by Sherrilyn Kenyon
  5. Night Embrace by Sherrilyn Kenyon
  6. Dance with the Devil by Sherrilyn Kenyon
  7. Kiss of the Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon
  8. Night Play by Sherrilyn Kenyon
  9. Sins of the Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon
  10. Unleash the Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon
  11. Dark Side of the Moon by Sherrilyn Kenyon
  12. The Dream-Hunter by Sherrilyn Kenyon
  13. Upon the Midnight Clear by Sherrilyn Kenyon
  14. Devil May Cry by Sherrilyn Kenyon
  15. Dream Chaser by Sherrilyn Kenyon
  16. Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon
  17. One Silent Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon
  18. Dream Warrior by Sherrilyn Kenyon
  19. Dead After Dark by Susan Squires, Dianna Love, Sherrilyn Kenyon and J. R. Ward
  20. Bad Moon Rising by Sherrilyn Kenyon
  21. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
  22. This Magic Moment by Patricia Rice
  23. Much Ado About Magic by Patricia Rice
  24. Undead and Unwed by MaryJanice Davidson
  25. A Quick Bite by Lynsay Sands
  26. Dark Prince by Christine Feehan
  27. Dark Desire by Christine Feehan
  28. Night Lost by Lynn Viehl
  29. Dark Lover by J. R. Ward
  30. Lover Eternal by J. R. Ward
  31. Lover Awakened by J. R. Ward
  32. Lover Revealed by J. R. Ward
  33. Lover Unbound by J. R. Ward
  34. Lover Enshrined by J. R. Ward
  35. Lover Avenged by J. R. Ward
  36. The Legend MacKinnon by Donna Kauffman
  37. Dream Man by Linda Howard
  38. The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole
  39. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  40. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  41. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  42. Dracula by Bram Stoker
  43. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
  44. The Hunter by L.J. Smith
  45. The Chase by L.J. Smith
  46. The Kill by L.J. Smith
  47. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
  48. A Dry Spell by Susie Moloney
  49. Seven Sorcerers by Caro King
  50. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

On My Wishlist (Jun 26)

On My Wishlist is a weekly meme hosted at Book Chick City.
On My Wishlist
Do you have any books that you desperately want but haven't bought yet? The books can be old, new or forthcoming.

Since I read The Riddle-Master's Game trilogy (The Riddle-Master of Hed, Heir of Sea and Fire and Harpist in the Wind) by Patricia A. McKillip, I've loved her writing and wanted to read more of her books. Below are the books from her Cygnet duology.

From Amazon:

In the realm of fantasy, one name stands out from the crowd. For many years, Patricia A. McKillip has charmed readers with her "unique brand of prose magic" (Locus). Now, for the first time in one volume, she offers two of her classic tales-The Sorceress and the Cygnet and The Cygnet and the Firebird-which delve into the fate of the Ro family and an otherworld rich in myth and mayhem, magic and adventure.

From goodreads:
The Sorceress and the CygnetCorleu was different from the typical dark-haired Wayfolk. His blond hair and his fascination with the legends and children's rhymes about the Cygnets, Gold King, Blind Lady, Dancer, and Warlock set him apart.

When Corleu and a band of Wayfolk become trapped in an endless swamp, he crosses a threshold (an unthinkable act for Wayfolk) seeking a means of escape. This impetuous act puts him on a collision course with the legends of his childhood. This is not a simple novel. The intricately woven plot laced with surrealist qualities will appeal to mature fantasy lovers.

From goodreads:
The Cygnet and the Firebird
When a pair of mysterious firebirds appear in their world, the first transforming random objects and the second altering time in order to steal, the sorceress Nyx and her cousin Meguet are forced to investigate a dark mystery.

June 25, 2010

The Book Blogger Hop, Follow My Book Blog Friday and Weekly Wrap-Up (Jun 25)

The Book Blogger Hop is hosted at Crazy For Books.
Book Blogger Hop
The Book Blogger Hop is a place for book bloggers and readers to connect and find new book-related blogs. Grab the button, post about the Hop and start Hopping.

Follow My Book Blog Friday is hosted at Parajunkee's View.
Follow My Book Blog Friday
Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday host and as many book blogs as you like.

Here's a short recap of my activities this week.

1. Read and posted book reviews on:
2. Joined these exciting events :
3. Currently reading :
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
4. Interesting blogs I found and am following :
5. My progress so far for these challenges :
What about you ? What did you do ?

Book Beginnings (Jun 25)

Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted at Page Turners.
Book Beginnings on Friday
Anyone can participate; just share the opening sentence of your current read, making sure that you include the title and author so others know what you're reading. If you like, share with everyone why you do, or do not, like the sentence.


From goodreads:
The epic battle between man and monster reaches its greatest pitch in the famous story of Frankenstein. In trying to create life, the young student Victor Frankenstein unleashes forces beyond his control, setting into motion a long and tragic chain of events that brings Victor himself to the very brink. How he tries to destroy his creation, as it destroys everything Victor loves, is a powerful story of love, friendship …and horror.
You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings.

Did you know that the seeds for Frankenstein had its start in the summer of 1816 when Mary Shelley and 3 others (Lord Byron, John Polidori and Percy Bysshe Shelley) amused each other by making up ghost stories ? I didn't. Anyway, you can read or download Frankenstein by Mary Shelley for free online.

The Friday 56 (Jun 25)

The Friday 56 is hosted at Storytime With Tonya and Friends.
The Friday 56

Share the fifth sentence (plus one or two others) from page 56 of the book nearest to you.

The Secret Garden: Centennial EditionThe Secret Garden
From Amazon :
Mistress Mary is quite contrary until she helps her garden grow. Along the way, she manages to cure her sickly cousin Colin, who is every bit as imperious as she. These two are sullen little peas in a pod, closed up in a gloomy old manor on the Yorkshire moors of England, until a locked-up garden captures their imaginations and puts the blush of a wild rose in their cheeks; "It was the sweetest, most mysterious-looking place any one could imagine. The high walls which shut it in were covered with the leafless stems of roses which were so thick, that they matted together.... 'No wonder it is still,' Mary whispered. 'I am the first person who has spoken here for ten years.'" As new life sprouts from the earth, Mary and Colin's sour natures begin to sweeten. For anyone who has ever felt afraid to live and love, The Secret Garden's portrayal of reawakening spirits will thrill and rejuvenate. Frances Hodgson Burnett creates characters so strong and distinct, young readers continue to identify with them even 85 years after they were conceived.

"Remembers thee!" said Weatherstaff indignantly. "He knows every cabbage stump in th' gardens, let alone th' people. He's never seen a little wench here before, an' he's bent on findin' out all about thee. Tha's no need to try to hide anything from him."

You can also read The Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett for free online.

June 24, 2010

Sins of the Night

Sins of the Night (Dark-Hunter, Book 8)Title : Sins of the Night
Author : Sherrilyn Kenyon
Reading Dates : 22 Jun 2010 - 24 Jun 2010
The Dark-Hunter Series.
Sins of the Night is the 8th book in Sherrilyn Kenyon's paranormal romance Dark-Hunter series. Check out the link below for a listing of the books in the series according to reading order.

Book Summary of Sins of the Night.
Alexion is Acheron's executioner. The one the Dark-Hunter leader sends in whenever any of the Dark-Hunters are about to cross the line and harm the humans they're supposed to protect. He is also their last chance at salvation. As long as the Dark-Hunters agree to go back to their normal duties. And after thousands of years, one more attempt at rebellion is nothing new. Except this time around, the would-be leader of the rebels is Alexion's old friend, Kyros.

In order to convince Kyros and the other Dark-Hunters that they've been misled, Alexion will need the help of the French Dark-Huntress, Danger. What neither of them expects is to fall in love or that the enemy they face is more than a vampire hunter turn bad. Kyros is collaborating with Stryker, the leader of the Daimons. As a demi-god allied to the Atlantean destroyer, Stryker has knowledge of Acheron that he'd rather keep secret and access to the Charonte demons whom not even the Greek gods can control.

Book Review of Sins of the Night.
I changed my mind on the book. I'm not sure why but I remember I used to dislike Alexion and Danger's story. But this time around, I enjoyed it immensely. And wonder of wonders its not because of old favorites reappearing. Acheron and Simi do put in an appearance and I loved meeting them again but Sins of the Night would have been fine without them. They just made it a little better.

I liked that Alexion and Danger are both not only strong characters who respect each other but share a sense of humor which allows them to make fun of each other. Both of them understand what it is to be betrayed by the one they loved, yet have the courage to share themselves again despite their fears. They both wanted to fight for what they had. Still when they realized the futility of it, they both did their best enjoy what time they had left together and to make it easier on each other after their parting. This behaviour, as opposed to Artemis's, is what shows that they genuinely care for each other.

The only negative I see is that readers who are not familiar with the Dark-Hunter world will be left a little lost. There will already be enough questions unanswered without having to puzzle over references to characters from previous books.

Read this only if you'd consider investing your time and money on the books in the series.

June 22, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays (Jun 22)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week's teaser comes from Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto. Wikipedia tells me that this 1764 novel is generally regarded as the first gothic novel. Having never read or heard of it, I just hope I haven't bitten off more than I can chew.

The Castle of Otranto: A Gothic Story (Oxford World's Classics)
The lower part of the castle was hollowed into several intricate cloisters; and it was not easy for one, under so much anxiety, to find the door that opened into the cavern. An awful silence reigned throughout those subterraneous regions, except, now and then, some blasts of wind that shook the doors she had passed, and which, grating on the rusty hinges, were re-echoed through that long labyrinth of darkness.
You can also read or download it for free HERE.

June 21, 2010

The Castle of Otranto

Title : The Castle of Otranto
Author : Horace Walpole
Reading Dates : 19 Jun - 21 Jun 2010
The Castle of Otranto: A Gothic Story (Oxford World's Classics)

Book Summary of The Castle of Otranto.
Fearing that his son's death is a portend of the end of his rule over Otranto due to an old prophecy, Prince Manfred decides to divorce his own wife and marry his late son's affianced. Upon learning of the Prince of Otranto's intentions, the Lady Isabella flees from him and seeks sanctuary in St. Nicholas's church.

While attempting to capture Isabella, Manfred apprehends instead Theodore, who at first appears to be a lowly peasant. Once he learns Theodore is Jerome's long-lost son, he uses Theodore as a hostage to force Jerome to hand over Isabella. Luckily, Theodore escapes with the assistance of Manfred's daughter, Matilda.

In due time, Theodore is revealed to be the rightful ruler of Otranto. And Manfred himself repents of his actions after he mistakenly kills his own daughter.

Book Review of The Castle of Otranto.
At 5 chapters, The Castle of Otranto is a relatively short tale. But adjusting to the style of writing of the 18th century and the values it espouses takes some getting use to. If this were a work of our time, I would probably hate it. As it is, I'm not sure what to think.

It may have been the author's intention to portray Princess Hippolita as being a dutiful wife, but to me her blind obedience smacks more of stupidity. Imagine agreeing to a divorce simply because her husband wished it. Even yielding to her husband's wishes to let him marry his recently deceased son's fiance. This despite the fiance's objections to said proposal.

And the portrayal of the servants is rather unflattering. All of them appear to be an easily excitable lot with little courage or sense. I suppose the idea here is for them to provide the elements of comedy but their actions appear more irritating than humorous to me.

To think that the paranormal romances I'm now reading had its start with gothic fiction like The Castle of Otranto is mind boggling. There seems very little similarities in my mind but what do I know.

Take a peek at it. Read it for free if you like but my advise is not to buy the book.

June 20, 2010

A Year in Blogging (Part 2)

Continuing from my earlier post, 20 June 2010 marks the 1 year anniversary of this blog.

The earlier part of the year started slowly. I finished a few of the series I'd been reading.
Sojourn: The Dark Elf Trilogy, Part 3 (Forgotten Realms: The Legend of Drizzt, Book III)The Dark Tower (The Dark Tower, Book 7)The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson & the Olympians, Book 5)
Following on the theme of young heroes and fantasy, I picked up Garth Nix's The Seventh Tower series next.
The Fall (Seventh Tower #1)Into Battle (The Seventh Tower, Book 5)
And then a few of the books I'd been waiting for finally reached our local bookstores. It also provided a timely break from too much fantasy.
Promises in Death (In Death, No. 28)Lover Avenged (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 7)
After that I went back to my usual programming. About this same time, I first discovered there was a thing called weekly book memes and reading challenges. Participating in them made me decide to vary the usual fantasy I read with more romances. I've also included a few horror and classics in my future reading. So look forward to it.
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