Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Teaser Tuesday #9 - Tempest

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Miz B of Should Be Reading.  To play along, just post a couple of teaser phrases from whatever book you're currently reading!  Just be careful not to include any spoilers - we don't want to ruin the fun of reading the book for ourselves!  Right now, I'm reading an ARC of Tempest by Julie Cross:

"Hours later, I was right back in my spot by the tree, writing down everything I could manage.  It was a desperate attempt to stay connected, grounded to reality.  Plus, this way there'd be a written explanation of my recent adventures for Adam or the future Adam, if someone found me lying dead somewhere." (p. 36)
It was harder than I thought, to find a quote for this book that wouldn't have too much of a spoiler in it!  Tempest is set to release in January of 2012.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Guest Post at Pedantic Phooka!

Hey, everyone!  I had the honour of doing an interview for Pedantic Phooka, and she has also posted my review of Embers by Laura Bickle.  Go visit her and check out my guest post as well as her own reviews!  

Thank you, Hol, for inviting me over to your blog! :-)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Memory of Earth

The Memory of Earth by Orson Scott Card is the first book in his Homecoming Saga.  People have been settled on the planet Harmony for millions of years, and everyone is in the care of the Oversoul, a kind of machine that "watches" over them from space and that they worship as a deity.  Its mission was to protect the people on Harmony from their own destruction, as their ancestors were the few survivors of the destruction of humankind on Earth, but its influence is beginning to weaken.  The Oversoul sends a vision to Wetchik, setting in motion events that may or may not save the city of Basilica.

I thought The Memory of Earth started off a little on the slow side, and the pace never really picked up too very much, but what did build throughout the book was intrigue.  There are murder plots, mysterious rituals, prophecies, and  the great mystery of the Oversoul.  The religious theme runs strong through the entire story - people who submit to the Oversoul are rewarded, and those who go against it are inevitably punished - but I didn't think it was necessarily preachy.  I've read that the series is based in part on The Book of Mormon (which is likely, since Card is a member of the Church of Latter-Day Saints), but I never felt like that was all I was getting out of the story (though since I'm not familiar with the Book of Mormon, it's also possible I just didn't have the frame of reference to make the parallels).

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Teaser Tuesday #8 - The Memory of Earth

Time for another Teaser Tuesday, hosted by Miz B at Should Be Reading!  To play along, just post a few sentences from the book you're currently reading - but be careful to not include spoilers!  Right now, I'm reading The Memory of Earth by Orson Scott Card.  It started off a bit slow, but it's beginning to pick up now, so I hope it ends up really good!  So far, my favourite character is Luet, a seer.  So while this is not the most exciting thing in the book so far, it made me smile when I read it, and I hope there will be a lot more of her to come!

" He was alone with Luet.
 'I shouldn't have spoken to you before,' she said.  

'And you shouldn't speak to me again, either,' suggested Nafai.  
'Some people hear a lie when they're told the truth.  You're so proud of your status as the son of Rasa and Wetchik, but obviously whatever genes you got from your parents, they weren't the right ones.'   
'While I'm sure -you- got the finest your parents had to offer.'  
She looked at him with obvious contempt, and then she was gone."   (p. 43)

Post a link to your teaser in the comments!  And on another note, I've created a Formspring account for the blog; there's a link under the Connect sidebar widget.  If you have any questions about the blog, books, or about me in general, feel free ask me there if you'd like!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

In My Mailbox #6

Welcome to another In My Mailbox, a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren!  This is a chance for everyone to share what they've acquired in the past week, whether it be something they won, were gifted, or bought for themselves.  And today I have an awkward video for you all!

So, to recap...

Dark Seeker by Taryn Browning
Thanks to Tiffany at For Those About To Read for the giveaway, and thanks to Taryn for signing and sending out the book!

We All Wore Stars by Theo Coster
Thanks to Library Thing for providing this through LT Early Reviewers and to the publisher, Palgrave MacMillan for sending it to me!

And don't forget to check out my giveaway, Spreading the Gospel of Austen, to enter for a chance to win either a signed copy of Jane Austen for Dummies or two of Jane Austen's novels!  The giveaway will end on 16 December and is open internationally.  Thanks for stopping by, and let me know what's in your mailbox!

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Embers by Laura Bickle is the first in her series about Anya Kalinczyk, an arson investigator with the Detroit Fire Department.  But fighting fires and catching up to the people who start them?  That's only her day job...Anya is also a Lantern - a kind of medium who has power over the element of fire, and can not only see and speak to earthbound spirits, but can also devour them.  Nights are spent helping during exorcisms with a local ghost hunting group.  Anya has managed to keep both these aspects of her life separate, but this becomes impossible when she realizes that clues left at the scene of each fire set by a serial arsonist seem to be connected to an occult ritual of some kind.  She was ready to walk away for good from the Detroit Area Ghost Researchers - and the group's handsome technophile, Brian - but now she needs their help to put the pieces together and stop the arsonist before all of Detroit ends up burnt to the ground - or worse.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Narnia Reading Project 2012

Okay.  So I may be overdoing it a little with signing up for so many challenges, but I came across The Narnia Reading Project this morning, and thought "what the heck."  This is the series that introduced me to fantasy fiction, and having recently revisited the genre in a big way, I've fallen in love all over again.  Why not re-read the series that began it all for me?

This "challenge" is hosted by Rikki at Rikki's Teleidoscope, and it's not really a challenge in the strict sense of the word, which is why I guess it's really the Narnia Reading Project.  There's no set deadline or anything like that - just read the books, and head to the Narnia Reading Project post to discuss!

Do you want to find your way back to Narnia (or visit for the first time) in 2012?  Lucky for you, you don't need rings or a wardrobe or any kind of magic, really...just head over to the main post linked above and sign up for the Reading Project!

1.  The Magician's Nephew
2.  The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Teaser Tuesday #7 - Embers

Welcome to another Teaser Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by Miz B of Should Be Reading!  It's easy to play along, just post a few sentences from whatever book you're currently reading - but be careful not to include any spoilers!  I just started a new book last night,  Embers by Laura Bickle:

"The basement spirit was stronger than she'd thought.  She imagined the owner of the house facing this thing alone, and bristled at its arrogance.  Power like that could have crippled or killed the old woman.  As for what it had done to the pickles...blasphemy." (p. 10)

Yep, anyone who knows someone Polish/of Polish descent knows we love a good a pickle!  I'm only up to chapter three in this book, but I had to tear myself away from it to make sure I at least tried to get some sleep last night.  That is to say, I'm really enjoying it so far!  It's an added bonus that this book is set in Detroit, and the main character, Anya, lives in Hamtramck - my father's mother was from Hamtramck, so even just reading the background and description is fun for me.

What are you reading right now?  Link to your teaser in the comments!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Smuggler's Treasure

The Smuggler's Treasure by Sarah Masters Buckey is the first book in the American Girl: History Mysteries series.  When I was a kid, I really adored American Girl, and even now that I'm definitely on the "and up" side of "for ages 10 and up," I still enjoy the books for a fun, light read.  The Smuggler's Treasure is the story of a ship captain's daughter, Elisabet Holder.  It's two years into the War of 1812, and Elisabet's father has been captured by the British.  Her mother has been long dead, and her father's accountant believes her father may be dead now as well, so she makes the long trip by sea from Boston to New Orleans, to stay with an aunt and uncle she's never met - her only living relatives.

Arriving in the strange new city is, for Elisabet, like going to another country - the Louisiana Purchase has only just occurred recently, so the residents are still very much French or Spanish at heart.  On top of this, she finds out that she is expected to work in her aunt and uncle's bakery as a shop assistant; this is very different from living in Boston with her father, where she went to school and had servants to wait on her.  When she learns news of the ship that took her father prisoner, however, and is determined to rescue him from the British, she soon learns the value of friendship despite social class boundaries.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

In My Mailbox #5

Happy Sunday, everyone, and welcome to my fifth post for In My Mailbox - a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren!  This is a really fun way to connect weekly with your fellow bloggers, and if you're nosy like me, it's lots of fun to see what books and bookish things everyone's gotten their hands on in the past week!  While the meme is titled "In My Mailbox" though, you can show off items that you got in other ways as well - be it from the library, purchasing in person, maybe something you were gifted, etc.  It's show and tell for bookworms!

I kind of wanted to try doing a video post for this meme every week, but I'll just be doing a regular post today  since I've just got one thing to share with you guys, and I want to make it fairly quick.

So!  I had entered a giveaway hosted by Pixie at The Bookaholic, and won a copy of The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater!  It came in the mail this past week, and I'm so excited to have won it - I've seen tons of great things about this book and the author, so I had been wanting to read this for quite a while now.  Thanks again, Pixie!  :)

What did you all get in your mailboxes?  Let me know in the comments!

Spreading the Gospel of Austen Giveaway

That's right, I have finished reading and reviewing Jane Austen for Dummies by Dr. Joan Klingel Ray, and that means it is time to post this Jane Austen-themed giveaway:  Spreading the Gospel of Austen!  I've seen Jane Austen popping up quite a bit lately in the blogosphere, so when I went to the book signing at this year's Annual General Meeting of the Jane Austen Society of North America here in Fort Worth, I had a new copy of Jane Austen for Dummies signed by the author to give away to one lucky Janeite in the US!

That is not all, though!  While I was browsing the local vendors at the convention, there was one booth set up for a shop called Meryton Marketplace - they had a lot of really cute Austen-themed merchandise, including t-shirts, aprons, buttons, magnets, and jewelry!  I picked out some items for myself, and they also were so generous as to donate some items for this giveaway!  You should check out the rest of the products by Emily Adams on Fire as well - even if you aren't a huge Austen fan, the rest of the website's shop looks like it has a little something for everyone!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Jane Austen for Dummies

Jane Austen for Dummies by Dr. Joan Klingel Ray is, of course, a part of the ever-growing line of " --- for Dummies" books.  Dr. Ray is a former president of the Jane Austen Society of North America and teaches courses on Austen at university.  This book is full of information about everything Austen - her life, her writing, and her family.  It also provides a great deal of information about life in general during the Regency period, which (as you likely know) is the time during which Jane Austen lived.  Dr. Ray also includes something of a Jane Austen tour guide in one chapter, listing Austen-related places to visit in England (as well as directions on how to get to each place and a URL to the location's website, if one exists).  There are also Top Ten lists and some ideas for discussion for a Jane Austen reading group.  The set-up of the contents is designed so that a straight read-through is not necessary.  You can skip around if you want, to read just the information you're looking for, and anything within each section that might require more information for a better understanding is marked by giving (in parentheses) the chapter where that information can be located.

Don't let the title throw you -  if you are making the choice to read Jane Austen or to read more about her life, then obviously you have excellent taste and are no dummy!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Follow Friday #6

Follow Friday is back again!  This is a weekly meme co-hosted by Alison at Alison Can Read and Rachel at Parajunkee.  Each week, both Alison and Parajunkee feature a blog as well - this week's featured blogs are:  The Book Nympho and Mother Lode. So go check them out!  This is a great way to connect with your fellow bloggers, and get to know them a little better as well, perhaps - since a part of Follow Friday is answering the question of the week!

This week's question is:

In light of 11.11.11 and Veteran's Day, tell us about your favorite soldier and how he or she is saving the world (fictional or real life).

Thursday, November 10, 2011

50 States Reading Challenge, 2012

Okay.  So.  I totally thought I would never do any reading challenges, because I wasn't sure if I'd be able to really commit to any (schoolwork can be stressful and time-consuming, as we all know!).  But here I am, committing myself to what is now three challenges for 2012.  First I came across the Mt TBR Challenge hosted by Bev at My Reader's Block, and then yesterday I signed up to participate in the Science Fiction Reader Challenge hosted by Leslie at Working for the Mandroid.  And now I am also raring to go with the 50 States Challenge, hosted by Tasha over at Book Obsessed.  Here's hoping I can keep up!

What IS the 50 States Challenge?  It's exactly what it sounds like (maybe - it's exactly what I think it sounds like, anyway)!  Read at least one book that is set in each of the fifty states.  Re-reads are fine, and books read for other challenges can also count toward this challenge.  As with probably every year-long challenge, this one will be running from 1 January 2012 until 31 December 2012.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

2012 Science Fiction Reader Challenge!

Okay, so I never thought I would be someone who participates in more than one reading challenge at a time.  BUT.  This is a science fiction reading challenge. How could I pass that up?  Answer:  I could not.  Besides, since the Mt TBR Challenge for 2012 is not genre-specific, and I can use the same book for both challenges, it works out!  I'm really excited about this one, because I do have a lot of sci-fi I've been wanting to get lost in.

There are only a few basic rules for this Sci-Fi Challenge:  

  • Challenge runs from 1 January 2012 until 31 December 2012.
  • Books started before 1 January DO NOT count for the challenge, but re-reads CAN count.
  • A review MUST be posted for each book read for the challenge - if you don't have a blog, it's no big deal, just post a review on any site that accepts book reviews!  GoodReads, Library Thing, and any online book retailer are some places you can post, and it's free to register for any of those, so knock yourself out!
  • There are 12 categories of science fiction for this challenge:  That's essentially just one book per month. Easy!

The categories are:
  1. Young Adult/Middle Grade Science Fiction title
  2. Adult Science Fiction title
  3. Hugo Winner
  4. Pre-1950s Science Fiction Classic
  5. Modern Science Fiction Classic (1951-1992)
  6. Steampunk
  7. Robots/Cyborgs/Androids
  8. Spaceships/Aliens
  9. Time Travel/Alternate History/Parallel Universe
  10. Apocalyptic/Dystopian/Utopian
  11. Cyberpunk
  12. Mad Scientists/Genetic Testing/Environmental Disaster
If you aren't sure what one of the categories is, or if you're just drawing a blank as to what you might want to read for a category, just visit our lovely host, Leslie, at Working for the Mandroid for some inspiration!  Under each category header on the main post for this challenge, there are links to lists of titles that will work.

I am really excited for 2012 to start now, so I can start on this challenge!  Check out my progress after the cut!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Teaser Tuesday #6 - Jane Austen for Dummies

I haven't been bloggity-blogging too much lately, since I am at the point in the semester where I have a lot of papers and projects going on, but I can't pass up another Teaser Tuesday!  It's a weekly meme hosted by Miz B of Should Be Reading, and it's easy to participate:  just grab your current read and post a couple teaser sentences - be careful not to include any spoilers, though!

I know mine is going up later than I normally would have liked, but it's still Tuesday, so here it is:

 "Introduced to England from Germany in 1812, the waltz had a catchy rhythm, but it required the partners to be in close physical proximity, with the male partner's arm around the female's waist.  Four years after its introduction, the scandalous waltz was approved by England's great dancing arbiter, Thomas Wilson.  Even then, the waltz was only approved for married couples who were dancing together!" (p. 107)

Just one of many fun facts about Georgian England! So if you ever wondered why, in the books or films you never see the characters doing anything but a country dance or a reel, here is your answer! Other dances were likely too risqué.  Can't imagine what people from the Regency would think if they saw how people dance now!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

In My Mailbox #4

It's Sunday again, which means it's time yet again for another In My Mailbox, hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren!  In My Mailbox is a weekly meme where bloggers share/show off what they've gotten over the past week, whether it be something you bought, won, were gifted, or were given for review.  They didn't have to have come to you through the mail, necessarily, either - however they came to be on your shelves is fine!

Anyway, on to my mailbox!  This week, I decided to try out doing a vlog for you guys:

IMM Recap:
Sent from author
 Her Dear and Loving Husband by Meredith Allard

Other mentions
Medieval Mantles (beautiful handmade fabric bags!)

And that's all I got In My Mailbox this week.  Feel free to link to yours in the comments!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Mt TBR 2012 Reading Challenge!

When I first came across the book blogging community and I saw all the reading challenges people were doing, I never thought one of those people would be me.  But last month I participated in the Spooktacular October Paranormal Reading Challenge, hosted by Marie at Ramblings of a Daydreamer, and it was great fun!  So, when I came across the Mt TBR 2012 Reading Challenge hosted by Bev at My Reader's Block, I knew this was one I should get involved with as well.

My stacks of TBR (To Be Read, for those who didn't already know) were already massive before I got into the blogosphere, and now the list just doesn't stop growing!  This reading challenge is sure to be a fun and motivating way to get the existing list down a significant amount, so I'm looking forward to it!

I've decided to attempt the level "Mt Kilimanjaro" which means I'm committing to read at least 50 books that are already on my TBR before 2012 begins.  Re-reads don't count, and neither do ARCs nor library books.  Books read for this challenge can be used towards other challenges as well.  If I make it to 50 books, I'll be upgrading my level attempt to either "El Toro" (75 books) or "Mt Everest" which is 100+ books!  Fingers crossed, haha.

If you want to participate, you can sign up any time between now and 30 November 2012 - the challenge itself runs from 1 January 2012 until 31 December 2012.

So good luck to everyone taking part, and happy reading!  See my progress after the cut!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

What Is Your Language?

What Is Your Language? by Debra Leventhal (illustrations by Monica Wellington) is a children's book that celebrates diversity in the world's languages.  Rather than a prose story or even a story in rhyme, Leventhal has written a simple song with a melody children will love to sing along to!  Follow along as a little boy from the United States goes on a trip around the world and meets new friends in other countries.

Most of the languages represented in this book are very common, unlike Good Morning, Good Night, which is a story in Maori, an endangered language of New Zealand.  I chose to feature What Is Your Language? anyway, because I think it's really cute and it is still relevant to the topic of Endangered Languages Week.  With this book, you and your child can learn together how to say "yes" and "no" in nine other of the world's languages:  German, French, Russian, Inuktitut (an Inuit language), Japanese, Chinese (I assume Mandarin, since that appears to be the most common dialect for second-language learners), Arabic, Swahili, and Spanish.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Teaser Tuesday #5 - Jane Austen for Dummies

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.  Just pick up whatever book you're currently reading and post a couple sentences as a teaser - be careful not to use any spoilers, though!

Right now I'm reading Jane Austen for Dummies by Dr. Joan Klingel Ray.  This book will be the main feature of my upcoming giveaway, so I wanted to read it all the way through and get a review up for those of you who may be interested in entering.  Here's a little snippet in case you aren't sure this book would be interesting:

"These letters reveal an Austen who could be cynical, nasty, cruel, and sarcastic.  Here are some examples:  'Mrs. Hall, of Sherborne, was brought to bed yesterday of a dead child, some weeks before she expected, owing to a fright.  I suppose she happened unawares to look at her husband.' (October 27, 1798)"
Very harsh! This was written when Jane was 22, and of course, infant mortality rates and likely also risk of something like a miscarriage were MUCH higher back then, so it would have been more of an everyday occurrence.  Still sad, but probably easier to treat as a commonplace event (especially if it's not someone you're terribly close to).  I wonder who this Mrs. Hall of Sherborne was, and why Jane would say something like this about her or her husband - maybe she's mentioned again later in the book... 

For the record, I'm not into dead baby jokes, but I thought this was a good teaser, because a lot of people tend to shy away from novels and authors from before the 20th century, because they perhaps feel the books will be boring and dry.  But obviously, people back then were not always so polite and boring as one might feel inclined to think!  And with Austen, this cynicism and sarcastic wit is transferred to a great many of her novels' characters.

Zompocalypse Giveaway Winner

Well, October and now Halloween are both over, which means so is the Zompocalypse Trick-or-Treat Giveaway Hop, hosted by Paranormal Wastelands.  The good part of that is that it's time for a winner to be selected!  Drumroll, please...

And the winner of my stop on the hop is...

Michael / maiinwonderland!

Congratulations!  You have been notified by email; if no response is received within 48 hours, a new winner will be selected.

In other news, over the course of this giveaway, I reached just over 100 followers!  I won't be doing a giveaway for this milestone, since I've just ended this giveaway and have a new one I'll be posting shortly, but I might add an extra winner or prize to my next.  I haven't quite worked it out just yet, but soon!

Thank you all so much for participating in the giveaway, and for following!