Month: February 2014

Feb 13

Wilkie in Winter: The Woman in White Epoch 2

Classics 10

Greetings Bookworms,

It’s time to talk about The Woman in White again! MORE WILKIE. Epoch 2 was, uh, EPIC. Before I get started, I’m gonna hit you with a SPOILER ALERT. It’s basically impossible for me to talk about the midsection of a book without spoiling something or another. If you don’t want to be spoiled, stop reading RIGHT THIS MINUTE. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Now. Before we start, I have some random thoughts for you…

wilkieinwinter-1024x1024 (1)Fosco! What the deuce? Best villain ever. Though he’s never described as twirling his mustache, that’s what I see. He’s also a weird dude who likes birds and mice. Puppet master.

Mr. Fairlie! His entries made me laugh so hard. I don’t know what it is about someone so unyielding and neurotic that is so utterly amusing. Snobby, self important, insufferable… I want to show up at his house for the express purpose of annoying him. WITH TAP SHOES!

POWER OF THE DOPPELGANGERS! Laura and Anne pull the old switcheroo, classic to every sitcom starring twins ever. If I were to ever pull such a thing off, I’d have to get Danielle Fishel on board (you know, Topanga from Boy Meets World?!) I’m not even kidding, it’s kind of creepy.

Imagine me with professional hair and makeup, or her in a penguin hat.

Imagine me with professional hair and makeup, or her in a penguin hat. You can see it right? Just let me have this delusion.

1. Was the second epoch more successful for you than the first?

Yes, it was! I found this epoch moved faster. Exposition is all well and good, but I like a little meat to my story. This epoch was a veritable meat lover’s pizza. So good.

2. What do you think of ole Fosco? There were DEVELOPMENTS in this section that gave oodles more insight into his character, and things aren’t pretty.

FOSCO! I was warned that he was downright dastardly, but I underestimated him. How did he manage to make his wife into his minion? What is with the obsession with tiny animals? What is he hiding?! Secrets and scandal, no doubt!

3. What do you think of the relationship between Sir Percival and Fosco?

Oh that Fosco has some sort of dirt on Sir Percival, I just don’t know WHAT yet. If Fosco were in the now, he’d be running a ponzi scheme… But he’d somehow manage to pin it on Percival. Just as evil, less likable. Fosco would get off with probation.

4. We touched on the literary ladies in the first Epoch. How do you feel about the developments in Marian’s and Laura’s character?

I still love Marian. She’s amazing. She’s smart and brave and willing to send secret letters and spy in the dark of night. Laura is still kind of a damsel in distress… Or at least she was until the end. EEEEP!

5. Go nuts! It’s a free-for-all! Tell us what’s on your mind.

Is it weird that I’m really happy that Anne was buried exactly where she wished to be? I’ve got a soft spot for mentally disturbed characters getting their heart’s desire.

Who is excited for Epoch 3?! This girl!

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Feb 11

Top Ten Tuesday: Swoonworthy Books, and Crowdsourcing

Romance, Top Ten Tuesday 18

Hey Bookworms,

It’s coming up on Valentine’s Day, and the ladies of The Broke and the Bookish have challenged us to list our favorite swoonworthy books. Since “swooning” also can mean fainting in disgust, I’m going to go ahead and clarify that these swoons are all via rrrrromance! I’m also going to try something a little different this week. I feel like I’ve been recycling the same books on these lists over and over lately, and I’m bored with myself. I decided to call in some favors from the greatest bloggers in all the land (and thereby get out of doing my own writing. I KNOW. Very sneaky!)

TTTSwoon

1. “I pretty much enjoy anything by Jennifer Cruise for romance. She has the talent of writing characters that are likable, a little ridiculous (like me) and not Barbie doll perfect. One of my favorites, Bet Me, has a female lead with a love for donuts that rivals my own.” -Opinion via the certified awesome Joules, from Pocketful of Joules. (Side Note: I read Bet Me and was forced to go our for chicken marsala shortly thereafter. Forced, I tell you!)

2. “Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon, is a rip-roaring good time. I don’t usually go all-in for books that include romance, but this one in particular has enough adventure and intrigue for this persnickety reader.” And with that statement, Andi of Estella’s Revenge has won the internet. Because OUTLANDER.

3. “I’m a sucker for time travel romance fiction. Books like the Outlander series and The Time Traveler’s Wife are my romance jam. One time travel romance novel that I absolutely loved is Overseas by Beatriz Williams. Overseas is a sweeping romance that seamlessly takes readers between 2007-08 U.S. and 1916 France. With Kate Wilson, Williams has created a multifaceted heroine who will intrigue readers. Julian Laurence, Kate’s love interest, is handsome, smart, and Emily Post would thoroughly approve of his manners. If the other qualities I mentioned aren’t enough, he’s also a poet. I’m pretty sure Carly Simon wrote Nobody Does It Better about Julian. Maybe Julian had a brief stop over in in 1970s? Just sayin’… If you’re looking for the perfect Valentine’s Day read Overseas has it all: romance, suspense, and great characters you’ll fall in love with.” – the beautiful and talented Mandy Boles (How had I not heard of this book until now? I need to read Overseas. Like now… And rock out to some Carly Simon. Thanks a lot, MANDY!)

4. “Hi guys, Katie flattered me and asked me to chime in with one of my favorite romantic books, and I wanted to mention a great unconventional one – The Mad Scientist’s Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke. Cat grows up with Finn, her very own personal robot. As she becomes an adult and the world is changing to accept robots as individuals with their own rights, she struggles with the feelings she has for him. I know, I know – a lady in love with a robot! But somehow the author just makes it WORK, and it’s a beautiful thing. And who knows – we live in the Digital Age. It might even become relevant to us a few decades from now.”– The utterly brilliant Sarah from Sarah Says Read. (Holy CRAP, Sarah! Robot love? This sounds crazy… Crazy awesome!)

 5. And because Sarah has the best opinions… “What is on my mind right now is The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion! I just finished re-reading it (for The Fellowship of the Worms, YAY), and it’s so light-hearted and sweet and has so many funny shenanigans. It’s basically a really awesome rom-com, but a book. Just read it. You’ll fall in love with Don and Rosie.” (I know I did!)

6. “If I could have been born into another lifetime, I would take Austen’s Victorian England. Even during my jaded and angry phases, I’ve always been a hopeful romantic, so it’s no surprise to me that Pride and Prejudice remains my favorite literary love story of all time. The magic of un-judging someone and falling in love with the whole of them, quirkiness, bizarre family and all is pretty stellar.” – The Quirkiest Chrissy… Of Quirky Chrissy. Naturally.

7. “Though Helen Fielding is now dead to me, Bridget Jones’s Diary as a modernization of Pride and Prejudice left nothing to be desired. Add the klutziness and foolishness of Bridget to Elizabeth Bennet’s family dynamic and you basically have me, in search of my own Darcy.”– The girl who, as my college roommate, joined me in naming a gaggle of house plants after Bridget Jones characters: Quirky Chrissy. (The good news? She found her Darcy, and his name is Brian.)

8. Jen of The Relentless Reader has a soft spot for The Song of Achilles, and rightfully so: “It’s one of those books that brings to mind the words epic and sweeping. It’s suspenseful and romantic, with some of the most beautiful language that’s ever been put down on paper. The love story is one of the most believable that I’ve read. The Trojan War, the cranky Greek Gods and Goddesses…this is a book not to be missed.” She is right, as usual, because this book is amazing. It isn’t your conventional love story, but it is SO SO SO good. If you don’t believe me, I gushed about it in a review here.

What are some of your favorite swoonworthy love stories, Bookworms? I simply must know!

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all my blogging pals who gave me blurbs and inspiration! You all rock!

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Feb 10

Fellowship of the Worms: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Book Club, Romance 32

G’Day Bookworms!

smarty-mcwordypants-199x300It’s that time again. The Fellowship of the Worms is now in session! This month’s selection was The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. WARNING: We will be discussing the WHOLE book. This will no doubt include SPOILERS. If you did not read the book and would like to participate, pick up a copy of The Rosie Project and give it a read. This post will be here waiting for you when you finish. Now that the particulars are out of the way, I’ll remind you of the premise here. I’ll pose questions in bold and answer them in regular type.  If you don’t want your opinions influenced by my rantings, stick to the bold first. Feel free to answer them in the comments, or if you’re so inclined, on your own blog. A linky list will be provided at the end of this post for anybody who has reviewed The Rosie Project on their own blog. Don’t be shy, please link up!

1. Pop Culture question here. Did anybody else get a SERIOUS Sheldon Cooper vibe out of Don? The whole time I was reading this book, I was imagining Don’s mannerisms as those of Dr. Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory. I don’t even watch The Big Bang Theory very often, but I could not escape Don’s Sheldon-y qualities.   I tried really hard to break myself of the habit of hearing Don’s dialogue in Sheldon’s voice in my mind’s ear, because I LOVE Australian accents and it seemed a shame to deprive myself of the opportunity to “hear” one just because I’ve been bazinga-ed by pop culture.

sheldon2. Don’s social interactions are awkward at best, but his logic and adherence to routine give him some interesting habits. What’s your favorite Don-ism?

Is it just me, or did Don’s lobster salad sound crazy delicious? Maybe a weekly repeating meal plan is a bit much, but a two-week plan, I could totally get behind. It sounds less intimidating than dealing with “uuuugh what am I going to make for dinner?” on the regular. He might be onto something. I’m just saying.

3. Don’s “Wife Project” involves an elaborate questionnaire designed to weed out unsuitable matches. Have you ever made a list of qualities that are important to you in a potential partner? Do you think it’s realistic to expect any one person to live up to all of them? 

I don’t recall ever making a list of qualities I wanted in a partner… Well. Not a physical list anyway. But sometimes I think people rosieprojectdon’t know what they really NEED. I think that the whole “opposites attract” thing is a cliche and, frankly, pretty inaccurate. BUT there’s a lot to be said for not dating someone who is basically YOU. You need a balance, you know? Don needed to break out of some of his routines, and Rosie needed some structure. Complimentary weirdness can be a good thing.

4. What is it about Rosie that manages to break down Don’s defenses? Do you think that love requires a certain abandonment of logic? 

My husband came home from work the other day with a novel definition of love he’d heard during a work presentation (he works in a hospital, doctors talk about whatever the heck they want to.) He told me that love is the willingness to  support another person’s illusions. That’s not a fuzzy warm romantic definition, but I think it works. I mean, you’ve got to be willing to take the other person’s weird and roll with it. Rosie was able to get through some of Don’s quirks and appreciate his soft underbelly. Don looked beyond Rosie’s hotness and into her brain because that’s all he could think to do. Sometimes love just works, and it’s rarely a purely logical proposition.

5. What was your favorite scene in The Rosie Project?

I’ve got a tie here. The scene where Don deliberately throws his dance with Bianca thrilled me. I was able to envision the whole debacle and it was hilarious and cringe-inducing in equal measures. I ALSO simply ADORED the scene where Don and Rosie provided cocktails for the medical school reunion. I laughed so hard when Don was offering all these elaborate drinks he’d studied while the bar staff had no idea how to prepare them. A pineapple and sage margarita. Who knew, right?

Have you reviewed The Rosie Project on your blog, or tackled these discussion questions on your own? Please link up, I’m dying to know your thoughts!

[inlinkz_linkup id=368449]

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Feb 07

Literary Blog Hop: FREEEEEE STUFF!!!

Uncategorized 97

Howdy Bookworms!

I’m excited to announce that I’m participating in the Literary Blog Hop again! It’s hosted by the super impressively organized Judith of Leeswammes’ Blog. (Can we get a little applause for Judith? Bravo, madame!) I’ve decided to give away a $25 Amazon Gift Card! As much as I love telling y’all what to read, I think having a choice in the matter makes things more fun for the winner. Alright. I might ALSO be a little indecisive and lazy. (Shhh keep that on the down low.) The best part about this event is that there are a whole bunch of other bloggers giving away books and bookish items as well. Who’s excited?!

literarybloghop_february

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Don’t forget to check out all the other blogs and their bookish prizes! 

Linky List:

  1. Leeswammes
  2. Seaside Book Nook
  3. Booklover Book Reviews
  4. Biblionomad
  5. Laurie Here
  6. The Well-Read Redhead (US/CA)
  7. River City Reading
  8. GirlVsBookshelf
  9. Ciska’s Book Chest
  10. The Book Stop
  11. Ragdoll Books Blog
  12. Nishita’s Rants and Raves
  13. Lucybird’s Book Blog
  14. Reading World (N-America)
  15. Journey Through Books
  16. Readerbuzz
  17. Always With a Book (US)
  18. 52 Books or Bust (N.Am./UK)
  19. Guiltless Reading (US/CA)
  20. Book-alicious Mama (US)
  21. Wensend
  22. Books Speak Volumes
  23. Words for Worms
  24. The Relentless Reader
  25. A Lovely Bookshelf on the Wall (US)
  1. Fourth Street Review
  2. Vailia’s Page Turner
  3. The Little Reader Library
  4. Lost Generation Reader
  5. Heavenali
  6. Roof Beam Reader
  7. Mythical Books
  8. Word by Word
  9. The Misfortune of Knowing
  10. Aymaran Shadow > Behind The Scenes
  11. The Things You Can Read (US)
  12. Bay State Reader’s Advisory
  13. Curiosity Killed the Bookworm
  14. Lizzy’s Literary Life
  15. Books Can Save a Life (N. America)
  16. Words And Peace (US)
  17. The Book Club Blog

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Feb 07

I’d Like to Thank the Little People (An Idiosyncratic Lit List)

Idiosyncratic Lit List 11

Happy Friday, Bookworms!

It’s award show season, and those acceptance speeches have got me to thinking about the “little people.” Of course, celebrity types mean their entourages of non famous people, but the way my stream of consciousness rolls, I start thinking about actual little people. Once my brain train leaves the station, it usually ends up in lit-land. It’s not until you meet a character as amazing as, say, Tyrion Lannister, that you realize just how under-represented little people are in literature. (I’m talking about real medically recognized dwarfism, of course, not fantasy-type dwarfs. There are plenty of those.) I could only come up with a few characters for this list, but since they are so full of awesome, I’m going for it!

idiosyncraticlitlist

1. Trudi Montag from Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi: This book! It’s set in Germany during WWII. Trudi is a dwarf, and as such, she has always been set apart in society. It’s disturbing to watch through Trudi’s eyes the changes in society that take place as a result of the rise of the Nazi party. Luckily, there are also moments of tenderness and human redemption. Trudi may be small in stature, but not in spirit.

2. Tyrion Lannister from A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin: Oh Tyrion. The brain, the bookworm, the dwarf. If he doesn’t end up reigning on the iron throne, I might throw a tantrum. Tyrion has the best lines. His dwarfism won him the disdain of his father, but this guy. He’s too awesome to let his family drama bring him down. There are wars and whores and chaos and icicle zombies, but Tyrion takes it all in stride. He is, quite simply, the baddest of asses.

Peter Dinklage won a Golden Globe for his role as Tyrion. Meta, no? (source)

Peter Dinklage won a Golden Globe for his role as Tyrion. And we’ve come full circle. (source)

3. Henri-Christian Fraser from An Echo in the Bone (Outlander) by Diana Gabaldon: Yes. I KNOW that at this point in the series, Henri-Christian is still a kid. But he’s a feisty kid! Heck, he’s already survived plenty. His parents, Fergus of the rakish hook hand and Marsali do their best to protect their little one, but it’s not easy. Fergus has a major meltdown/breakthrough moment in coming to terms with his son’s dwarfism. If you’ve watched anything on TLC in the past 10 years, you’ll know that it can be tough enough to be small in the here and now. Imagine trying to get around and do all the things back in the day. I’m rooting for this kid!

 What say you, Bookworms? Is there a group of people you find under represented in the books you read?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site I will receive a commission.*

 

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Feb 06

Archetype by MD Waters

Dystopian, Women's Studies 14

How Goes it Bookworms?

I’m doing just fine myself. You know. Not having been bought, sold, or otherwise manhandled has made my life pretty darn sweet. I’ve always been a pretty big fan of my basic human rights not being violated. I’m not sure what it says about me as a person that I really dig dystopian fiction, because they are all up in the human rights violations. A few weeks ago I received a pitch in my email for a new novel called Archetype by MD Waters. *Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The price of my integrity is significantly higher than the purchase price of a book, my friends.*

archetypeI went into this novel with a boatload of skepticism because it was pitched to fans of The Handmaid’s Tale. I don’t think I put too many authors up on a pedestal, but Margaret Atwood? Yep, she’s on the pedestal next to the bust of Jane Austen, my Alice in Wonderland teapots, and Alfred, my penguin butler. (Alright, I don’t actually own a bust of Jane Austen, but you get my point, right?) It’s awfully bold to compare someone to the likes of Atwood, so my snarky eyebrows were fully engaged.

Emma Burke wakes up in a hospital not having any idea who she is or how she came to be there. She is slowly rehabilitated by a team of doctors and her doting husband Declan. All seems to be going swimmingly, as Emma is falling in love with her husband all over again.

Except for those pesky nightmares. Emma is having freaky specific dreams. Dreams where she’s suspended in a giant vial of fluid. Dreams where she’s having romantic interludes with a handsome stranger on a beach. Dreams where she’s imprisoned in a camp where women are being trained to become wives…

As a bonus, Emma fixatest on Indigo flowers. Apparently "true indigo" doesn't have blue flowers but "false indigo" does. I probably shouldn't be fixating on this detail. (Image Source)

Emma loves her some Indigo flowers. The book just calls it indigo, but the internet says both “true” and “false” indigo flowers exist. I don’t know which the author is talking about, though I THINK it’s this one. I probably shouldn’t be fixating on this detail but since I’m on the subject… The flowers on the cover appear to be dendrobium orchids, not indigo. I’m just saying.  #FlowerNerd (Image Source)

Something stinks in Denmark, and Emma is struggling to figure out what.

Apparently, something has gone wonky with society. Humans, as they are wont to do, have gone and screwed things up. Eeee’rybody wanted to play scientist and design themselves some baby boys, which left a whole lot of boys with no ladies to carry their children.. THEN, because I can only assume Mother Nature was PISSED, the few women remaining start to have severe restrictions in their fertile years. I think your imagination can take you to a place where women have become a rare commodity, and it isn’t pretty.

I can’t say much more without getting into serious spoiler territory, so I’m shutting my pie hole. Suffice it to say that Emma’s journey is WELL worth a read!

Alright Bookworms, let’s talk about comparisons. Do you find it off-putting when a book is described as “for fans of” or do you find it helpful? In this case I actually found it to be useful, so I’m rethinking my rage on the subject. What say you?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. I will keep every single penny of it for myself because I am SELFISH and that’s LEGAL. Even though I’ve got lady parts I can have my own money!*

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Feb 04

Top Ten Tuesday: Tearjerkers!

Top Ten Tuesday 60

Happy Tuesday, Bookworms!

Being emotional, to a rather embarrassing degree, I am of the opinion that few things are as cathartic as having a good cry. If that good cry is at the expense of a book, all the better. This week the ladies of The Broke and the Bookish have asked us to list our favorite tearjerkers. I hope you brought some tissues!

TTT Tears

1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (my review): I cried some ugly tears upon finishing this book. I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning, crying. Once I finally fell asleep I had a dream that one of my favorite people had cancer. Excellent book with high probability of emotional scarring.

2. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (my review): I love this book for so many reasons, but it tore at every last one of my heart strings. I should have KNOWN having Death as a narrator was a harbinger of the weepies!

3. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (my review): I bawled the contact lenses right out of my eyes reading this. No lie.

4. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult: I read this the year I graduated college. I was living by myself, so I have no witnesses to attest to the ugly cry that came to be at the end of this book. Curses to the movie that changed the ending. Curses, I say!

5. Still Alice by Lisa Genova (my review): Getting inside the head of someone losing her memory to early onset Alzheimer’s was heartbreaking… It hit me especially hard because of some family experiences. Dementia sucks hard.

6. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (my review): Oh man, Eleanor’s home life had me in pieces. I wanted to jump through the pages to rescue her, but that would have meant stealing her from Park!

7. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger: Being in love is tough enough, but when the love of your life can’t manage to stay in one spot in TIME? I cried with Claire, big time.

8. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (my review): Sometimes when your best friend is a spy you get put in really, really horrible circumstances. Like. Really.

9. Fall On Your Knees by Ann Marie MacDonald: This book! The tears came out on several different occasions. I loooove it, even though it broke my heart into thousands of pieces.

10.Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt (my review): I’m not sure I want to know anybody who made it through this book with dry eyes! Finn! Toby! I can’t even!

Okay Bookworms, it’s your turn. What are your favorite tearjerkers? 

*If you choose to make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. I will use it to purchase large boxes of very soft tissue, so I can continue the sob fest.*

 

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Feb 03

Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman

Coming of Age, Contemporary Fiction, Flowers, Women's Studies 21

Howdy Bookworms,

Ah, comfort fiction. For me, it typically involves gardening, women supporting one another, and more often than not, it’s set in the South. Sure, sometimes it’s a little on the sweet side, some might argue it’s downright syrupy. Luckily, I never met a dessert I didn’t like, so sweetness is absolutely my thing. I just read Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman, and I loved it!

saving cee cee HoneycutCecelia Honeycutt has had a rough go of it. As a young girl in Ohio, she plays witness to her mother’s devastating descent into mental illness. Her father is absent as he’s a travelling salesman, so when CeeCee’s mother’s antics move from the eccentric into the psychotic, she is left to handle things on her own.

CeeCee finds her refuge in the library and in the arms of her elderly neighbor. She struggles to deal with her mother making trips to the grocery store in full pageant regalia and withers under the stares of her classmates. Having an untreated mentally ill mother doesn’t make you particularly popular, as it turns out. Then one day, everything changes.

CeeCee’s father arranges to have her move in with her Great Aunt Tootie, a woman she’s never met. She’s uprooted and re-installed in Savannah, Georgia. Aunt Tootie is pretty much the sweetest woman alive, and CeeCee takes to Oletta (Aunt Tootie’s cook and housekeeper) immediately. Unfortunately, a few weeks of good home cooking and affection can’t make up for a childhood rife with neglect. CeeCee slowly learns to accept and acknowledge her past while allowing the love of her new found life to heal her tortured soul.

What can I say? I’m an absolute sucker for this kind of book. It’s the type of novel that leaves me feeling warm and fuzzy about humanity. If you liked The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd or Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven by Fannie Flagg, you will adore Saving CeeCee Honeycutt. If you haven’t read any of them, what in the sam heck are you waiting for?! Go forth and feel good!

Have you ever met a novel that makes you feel good about humankind? What are some of your favorites? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site I will receive a small commission, which I will probably use to buy more books. Honesty. It’s what I do.*

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