Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays: Garden Spells

12 comments



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 and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!



My teasers:

She looked like autumn, when leaves turned and fruit ripened. She smiled at him and he immediately turned and left the room.
-Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen, pg. 156

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen

1 comments
I guess I'm stuck in a magical realism phase, because this book isn't my usual fare either, just like The Last Will of Moira Leahy. It's set in a realistic place but with some not so realistic elements thrown in. Excerpt from the book flap:
Twenty-seven-year-old Josey Cirrini is sure of three things: winter in her North Carolina hometown is her favorite season, she’s a sorry excuse for a Southern belle, and sweets are best eaten in the privacy of her hidden closet. For while Josey has settled into an uneventful life in her mother’s house, her one consolation is the stockpile of sugary treats and paperback romances she escapes to each night…. Until she finds it harboring none other than local waitress Della Lee Baker, a tough-talking, tenderhearted woman who is one part nemesis—and two parts fairy godmother...
There's a girl in this book who is "followed" by books that appear just when she needs them, whether she realizes it or not. What a problem to have. Another character cannot go back on a promise, regardless of how much he may want to.

Each chapter is titled after a favorite sweet, the first being Everlasting Gobstoppers, and the last appropriately titled Now and Later, which I thought was absolutely charming. It also made me hungry.

This book is an easy read. I finished it in an afternoon, and it took me about 4 hours. I have mentioned over and over again that I have trouble getting into books. The opening sequence often gives me trouble, and sometimes I even put a book back on the TBR pile. However, with this book, Allen jumps right into Della Lee showing up in Josey's closet.

Overall, it was very enjoyable. I picked up this book because it was recommended to me due to my interest in The Thirteenth Tale, along with one of Allen's other books, Garden Spells. They were in an online bargain bin for 5 dollars, so I figured what could I lose? Plus, the author is from Asheville, NC. It seems like I never see a southern author writing fantasy, so I was interested to see how she combined fairy tale with the southern setting. Suffice it to say one of my next book will be Garden Spells.

Bottom Line
Overall Rating: 4 / 5 
Buy or Try? Buy
More? Stand-alone
Content
Plot: 4 / 5
Setting: 4 / 5 (I would have preferred more setting description, just because I adore the NC mountains)
Characters: 4 / 5
Style
Pace: Middlin' to Fast
Descriptiveness: Prose
Fantasy factor: Magical Realism

Amazon.com link

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Emotional Involvement

0 comments
Thursday I shadowed in the NICU. I really enjoyed it. The patients are smaller, as are the messes, a nurse isn't overwhelmed with patients, and except for the beeping of machines, it's so quiet. While my patients that day were not very rewarding (they had very poor prognoses), I imagine that over time, it would be amazing to see a baby that is very sick eventually be able to go home.

At the end of the day when we were going over our how our clinicals went, one of my fellow students started crying over a full-term, healthy baby that should not have ended up in the NICU. I had heard the same story, and several more possibly worse, but none of them touched my heart like they did hers. I had no problem dealing with these tiny, sick babies. I sat there while everyone got tears in their eyes and wasn't sure whether I should fake emotion or what, because I just...didn't feel anything. It was an interesting experience, and I said as much, but my instructor did not like such a cold, clinical use of the term.

I felt like a cold hearted terrible person, but then discussed it with a few of my friends. They suspected that it may be partially due to my biology/scientific background, and didn't think anything of it. After some reflection I realized that I can't put myself in the patient's or family's position because if I do I'll be a wreck, and no good to anyone. Some people are able to do that, but I am just not strong enough to carry someone else's emotions and my own.

It's emotionally important to someone, though, and the nurse needs to avoid talking to a patient/family member like you would a fellow medical professional. I think in that sort of environment it might be an asset to be able to be cold and clinical when necessary, as long as you know what to say to the patient and family. Whimpering puddles of sadness, as I can very easily be reduced to, are unable to do their jobs.

That said, the next day, I got teary over the first ultrasound of a baby I'd ever seen right along with the new parents. I guess for me it just depends on the situation.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Almost feels like cheating...almost.

3 comments
Muahahahaha. I was looking through my calendar and checked out some of the books being released. Brandon Sanderson's The Way of Kings really caught my eye, and it occurred to me that perhaps the library might have it.

Lo and behold, 6 copies are on order. I am 6th in line for a copy.

I did the same thing with Prospero in Hell by L Jagi Lamplighter (sequel to Prospero Lost). Luckily it's just me waiting for that one.

Yes, I vowed to read all the books on my shelf before I got something from the library again. After this batch, I swear.

Meanwhile, I'm going to read either The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks or Fires of the Faithful by Naomi Kritzer. But choosing one is hard.

The Last Will of Moira Leahy by Therese Walsh

0 comments
This book is certainly outside of the genre I usually read. Granted, there are some mystical elements in The Last Will of Moira Leahy, but I don't think I would classify it as a fantasy novel. The description on the hardcover edition is long, so I'll only post part of the shorter version from Publisher's Weekly:
Walsh's satisfying novel follows Maeve Leahy, a brilliant young professor, in her pursuit for answers about her family and herself. When she impulsively bids on a keris—an ancient Javanese dagger—at an auction house, Maeve's orderly life spins out of control. Anonymous notes appear on her office door, with provocative hints about the origins of the keris, unleashing memories of Maeve's onetime musical ambitions and the loss of her twin, Moira. When a note urges Maeve to visit Rome, her best friend, Kit, persuades her to go. There she finds Noel, her rakish love interest, who is trying to solve his own family's mysteries. He helps Maeve navigate the bewildering questions and characters in Rome while making his romantic ambitions clear, much to Maeve's indignation and secret fascination. Walsh ably shifts between Maeve's current quest and flashbacks showing the twins as children, revealing little by little the story behind Maeve's grief.
One of my favorite books, and indeed one of the few I have read outside of the fantasy genre, is The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. This book was recommended to me by Amazon and LibraryThing due to my interest in The Thirteenth Tale, and so I put it on my wishlist.

I'm so glad I did. The novel started out sort of slow and confusing, but I always have trouble beginning a book. After the flashbacks of the twins' life together though, I started to get into the story a little more. About halfway through, I couldn't put it down. This book reads somewhat like a mystery, because you really have absolutely no idea what's going on or what happened between the twins probably 3/4 of the way through. The author slowly drops breadcrumbs until you're sure you know what's going on.

When the twist finally came though, and the entire history was revealed, I must admit I thought I had everything figured out. I definitely did not.

While this book is easy to read and I didn't get lost in big words and pretentious descriptions, there is an exactness to the writing. It was very obvious that I was not reading a silly or fluffy book. If more authors wrote stories like Therese Walsh (and Diane Setterfield) I might branch out into non-fantasy novels more often.

Bottom Line
Overall Rating: 4.5 / 5 
Buy or Try? Buy
More? Stand-alone
Content
Plot: 4.5 / 5
Setting: 4.5 / 5
Characters: 4.5 / 5
Style
Pace: Middlin'
Descriptiveness: Poetry
Fantasy factor: Magical Realism

Amazon.com link

Friday, August 20, 2010

Book Blog Hop

2 comments


Answer: In my feedburner I have 63 feeds. I blogged elsewhere for 4 years and collected many blogging friends. Many of them just disappeared, but I keep them on my blog feed in case they come back.

There are several active feeds though, and I have 9 book bloggers on my list so far. Always looking to add more. :)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays: The Last Will of Moira Leahy

4 comments



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 and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teasers:
I've kidnapped you, and bound your mouth and wrists! Moira thought. Can't you feet the cuts on your skin? Stop me!
-pg 138, The Last Will of Moira Leahy by Therese Walsh

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by NK Jemisin

1 comments
I've wanted to read this book for a long time. I've been trying to remember how I found it, but the truth is I really can't recall how I was introduced to The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms.

From the back cover:
Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky. There, to her shock, Yeine is named an heiress to the king. But the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is not easily won, and Yeine is thrust into a vicious power struggle.
The first thing I noticed when I began reading was the very informal tone of the novel. It's narrated by the protagonist, Yeine Darr. At first I was unsure of the writing style because of the informality of it. Despite my last book, Black Ships, being narrated in first person, I have very little experience with first person accounts. Sometimes when I read, I feel as if I'm missing a lot because of the narrow point of view.

She also goes back and fills in information and there are lots of side stories and sidenotes that don't really have much to do with the story at hand. I looked back through some of them after I finished the book, because Yeine says they will be important later, but in most cases it was extraneous information. I found that it really didn't bother me, though. I was able to follow the story easily, regardless of the tangents. This is the beginning of a trilogy, so I wonder if those side stories will be important to those books instead.

Also, I took a look at the next book in the trilogy. There's not much to go on as it's not published yet, but it is apparently about a totally different character. On the author's site, the tagline for the trilogy (called The Inheritance Trilogy...that might lead to some mix ups) is "In the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, gods dwell among mortals and one powerful, corrupt family rules the earth. Three extraordinary people may be the key to humanity’s salvation."

I'll be marking down the date for the second book, that's for sure. The story was familiar, but the world that Jemisin creates is certainly not. I'm also interested to see how the voice of the protagonist changes between two very different characters.


Bottom Line
Overall Rating: 4 / 5 
Buy or Try? Buy
More? Book 1 of 3 expected
Content
Plot: 3 / 5
Setting: 5 / 5 (I was really impressed with this world)
Characters: 3.5 / 5
Style
Pace: Fast
Descriptiveness: Prose
Fantasy factor: High


Amazon.com link

Friday, August 13, 2010

Black Ships by Jo Graham

2 comments
I've been a busy girl. I brought a stack of books with me to read while my boyfriend's at work. I finished this one in less than 48 hours.

Black Ships is barely fantasy, but there are magical and supernatural elements about it. From the back cover:
In a time of war and doubt, Gull is an oracle. Daughter of a slave taken from fallen Troy, chosen at the age of seven to be the voice of the Lady of the Dead, she is destined to counsel kings.

When nine black ships appear, captained by an exiled Trojan prince, Gull must decide between the life she was born for and a most perilous adventure - to join the remnant of her mother's people in their desperate flight. From the doomed bastions of the City of Pirates to the temples of Byblos, from the intrigues of the Egyptian court to the haunted caves beneath Mount Vesuvius, only Gull can guide Prince Aeneas on his quest, and only she can dare the gate of the Underworld to lead him to his destiny.

In the last shadowed days of the Age of Bronze, one woman dreams of the world beginning anew. This is her story.
I must admit, from the description on the back, I was hesitant to read this right now. I was in the mood for something fast-paced and exciting, and this seemed like it would be somewhat meandering and introspective. Plus, historical fiction has never really been my thing. However, it was due back to the library first of all of my books, so I felt obligated to at least give it a try.

I was very pleasantly surprised. This book has a very similar feel to Marion Zimmer Bradley's Avalon novels, as is noted on the back cover. It is definitely a female-centered book, as it is narrated by Gull throughout.

Also, if you pick this book up, I highly recommend reading the "extras" in the back. As someone who doesn't know much about the ancient world, this pulled a lot of the information together for me.

Overall though, I am heartily looking forward to picking up Jo Graham's second book The Hand of Isis.


Bottom Line
Overall Rating: 4 / 5 
Buy or Try? Buy
More? Stand-alone
Content
Plot: 3.5 / 5
Setting: 4.5 / 5
Characters: 4 / 5
Style
Pace: Middlin'
Descriptiveness: Fair
Fantasy factor: Low

Amazon.com link

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Man Rides Through: Book II Mordant's Need

0 comments
*some spoilers possible, since this is a second novel after all*

My first thought when I picked this up after Mirror of Her Dreams, and a continuing one as I slogged through this book was "Dear god, this is a long book."

I kept thinking that it had just been a long time since I'd read a series of novels (it has) or that I'm just not used to long books anymore (possible), but man. I became a slow, and rather reluctant, reader with this one.

I don't see any reason to post a description, since hopefully if you choose to read this series, you'll read the first before this book.

I found myself doing a lot of skimming with A Man Rides Through. My copy is some 600 pages long (it's a hardcover) and I was inching through it for a few weeks.

There were some moments where I was reminded why I was reading. I like the characters all right and I wanted to see what happened. The "battle royale" at the end was entertaining. I can't say it had me on pins and needles, but I read a bit faster and more thoroughly then. It seemed to take forever to get to that point though. There were some surprises, but the ending was fairly predictable and tied up neatly (not necessarily a bad thing at all). I also really liked the heroine's final confrontation, which I will spill no more beans about here.

Bottom Line
Overall Rating: 3.0 / 5 
Buy or Try? Try
More? This is book 2 of 2
Content
Plot: 2.5 / 5
Setting: 3.5 / 5
Characters: 3 / 5 (lots of redemption of characters in this book)
Style
Pace: Slow (sluggish in some places)
Descriptiveness: Fair 
Fantasy factor: Low

Amazon.com link
 
Copyright © Escapist, RN
Theme by BloggerThemes & WPThemesFree Sponsored by iBlogtoBlog
This template is brought to you by : allblogtools.com | Blogger Templates