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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Bout of Books 13- Goals (and daily Updates)



WOOHOO!
B.O.B is back!  

And so am I. 
(Find all daily updates on this post)

Bout of Books

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 11th and runs through Sunday, May 17th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 13 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team



I'm a BOUT OF BOOKS EXPERT this go around. 

You'll be seeing a lot of me around on twitter and on your blogs. If you've got any questions ask away!

It's been a really rough time lately, but my brother was super proud of me and this blog so I don't plan on letting it fall to ruin anytime soon. It's super important that I honor his memory by keeping on with the things that bring me joy. B.O.B is one of those things.


 UPDATES
Day #1 Update: Ugh! I didn't get as much read as I wanted because I was too busy socializing with my B.O.B community. Not that socializing is a bad thing.  Only 147 pages in. I'm behind!  (But twitter chatting and blog perusing is SO FUN).

Day #2 Update: It took me WAY longer than I thought to get through "Ready Player One".  Not that I didn't enjoy the book. I really really did! It was just super slow in a few places. Prompting me to give it a 4.5 stars (though I gave it a 5 on Goodreads because they don't let you do half stars).  I highly recommend the book! Got home last night and was having kind of a hard evening, so I busied myself with getting things hung up on the walls in the new place so I didn't get started reading until around 8. Finished RP1 at about midnight. 347 pages down! Need to read around 250 a day for the remainder of the week to hit my goal!

Day #3 Update: Nooooot a whole lot going on today. I did do the oh so fun Book Haiku challenge and I visited some nifty blogs. I worked until 9pm so I didn't get much reading done.

Day #4 Update: 45 pages. Yesterday our little Sheltie got spayed. It was awful! She seems to be okay with it, but this cone on her neck is breaking my heart! I got her home with full intentions of letting her sleep off the anesthesia and then getting some reading in. That's not what happened. Gave her her pain pill and then Baby dog STOOD IN ONE PLACE for hours. She wouldn't lay down or sit down. She kept falling asleep on her feet and nearly falling over. We couldn't get her to rest. So I'm nearly in tears, trying to figure out ways to help her relax, and the last thing I'm thinking about is books. FINALLY around 10pm she sits down in her little pen/nest we made for her in the bedroom. Then, slowly, she lays down and goes to sleep.

By that point I was so exhausted from worrying I just went to bed too.

Day # 5 Update: Started "Matilda". I  worked later than expected then received a bit of emotional news so I ate pizza, watched Dr. Who with Man Thing, and was in bed by 9.  

Day # 6 Update: I finished Matilda. We ended up running around for HOURS yesterday chasing after connector cables and remotes for a Wii, so I lost quite a bit of reading time. But made up for it during bed-time reading. Woot.

Day # 7 Update:


B.O.B. 13 GOALS

Read 1,500 pages.

619/1500


 Participate in 3 Challenges
1. Book Survey

2. Book Haiku 
I left a comment with my Haiku which was: 

Moments of magic

Brilliant immagination
Forever alive


3. Color Cover

Join the Twitter Chats! 
Twitter Chat # 1
Monday Night's twitter chat was HILARIOUS (as usual) and so much fun getting to know all of the B.O.B readers. I JUST LOVE YOU GUYS!



Currently Reading: 
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Books Finished:

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So what's your goal for this B.O.B go'round?  Can't wait to start cheering everyone on! 

Find me screaming about #boutofbooks on twitter @Odrah. 

Until next update, 
Read on!  

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Monday, May 11, 2015

B.O.B 13 - Bookish Survey Challenge

Bout of Books

First challenge of the read-a-thon! Way-hay!
Hosted by Writing My Own Fairy Tale

1. How do you organize your shelves?


I've weeded a ton of my books because, well, moving (books are flippin' heavy!). So I'm down to two bookcases and a few bookshelves (which I haven't had a chance to hang up yet).

On the left! The books I want to read right away are on the top. The books in the middle are study/research books and other books I eventually want to get to. The books on the bottom are Children's books (for my future wee ones) and then some MISC. Mostly books I want to keep but don't know why.  

On the Right! Books/authors/series that I love with a fiery and somehwat obsessive though not yet unhealthy passion are featured together on the top shelf (Harry Potter, Diana Wynne Jones, Charlaine Harris). Neil Gaiman would be there too if I actually OWNED any of his physical books (curse you eBooks! No, I'm kidding. I love you. But seriously. ). Books that I REALLY want to read ASAP go on the 2nd shelf and then descend in priority from there with books I've already read and want to keep on the bottom. 

2. What is one of your favorite book that’s not in one of your favorite genres?

Hrm. One of my favorite books of all time is "The Good Earth" by Pearl S. Buck.
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I love historical fiction, but I'm not normally a classics reader (shame shame) so this one falls perfectly into the category of outlier.

3. What is the last 5 star book you read?

"Illusionarium" by Heather Dixon
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4. What book are you most excited to read during the read-a-thon?

Hard question! I've got a few I'm really looking forward to. But I think I'm going to try to finish "Merlin Conspiracy" by Diana Wynne Jones. Really looking forward to that one! 

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5. What book do you recommend the most?

Another hard one! I definitely recommend: 

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34282

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Was that more than one? Oops! 

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Saturday, May 9, 2015

In Memoriam





Dear Book Family


We buried my baby brother yesterday. He was taken from us by a sudden illness this past weekend. 

I want to write a memorial, I want to tell you all about how wonderful and incredible this man was. But there isn't enough space on the internet to hold everything that should be and could be said. 24 years of life was all it took for him to change the world and touch so many lives. He supported me and encouraged me, and surely told me how it was when he disagreed or had reservations because he loved me unconditionally. He was a passionate and beautiful person with a fiery spirit.

He was an intense athlete and the strongest man I ever knew. CrossFit and Cross Country were his loves... but he was a gigantic geek too. For example, we shared a passion along with our older brother for Supernatural. I wanted to share all of that with you a little bit in this small memorial post, the post that doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of who my little brother was and how much light he brought to the world.



He was a warrior in this life. 
He is a warrior in the next. 



 I love him. I will miss him. So incredibly much.





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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Waiting On Wednesday #5

Looking for updates? Hang tight!
 Auggie is finishing grad. school (finals due on May 4th!) 
and Tori is healing from surgery, but we'll be 
back in the game soon. Want more info? Here you go!

Hello bliblio friendship! 
This 2015 one of our blogging goals is to participate in more Meme's! Wooo!


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking The Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

I was finally (it felt like I waited forever) approved on Edelweiss to read this title. Not only am I stoked to read it I can't wait to own it. I want that beautiful cover shining in my bookshelf!

13455099Title:Mechanica
Author: Betsy Cornwell
Genre: Fantasy - Fairytale Retelling
Publication: August 4, 2015
Pages: 304

Summary:

Nicolette’s awful stepsisters call her “Mechanica” to demean her, but the nickname fits: she learned to be an inventor at her mother’s knee. Her mom is gone now, though, and the Steps have turned her into a servant in her own home.

But on her sixteenth birthday, Nicolette discovers a secret workshop in the cellar and begins to dare to imagine a new life for herself. Could the mysterious books and tools hidden there—and the mechanical menagerie, led by a tiny metal horse named Jules—be the key to escaping her dreary existence? With a technological exposition and royal ball on the horizon, the timing might just be perfect for Nicolette to earn her freedom at last.

Gorgeous prose and themes of social justice and family shine in this richly imagined Cinderella retelling about an indomitable inventor who finds her prince . . . but realizes she doesn't want a fairy tale happy ending after all.

What are YOU not so patiently waiting for?

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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

News!



So... I've got some news. 

I'm getting married.  :) 

And I'm floundering in term papers which are all due by April 12th. My finals are then due by May 4th so between now and then it's gonna be sparse! We can't wait to rejuvenate for the spring. Eeee!

Bear with us! Both Tori (who is healing marvelously by the way and finally got to go back to work this week) and I have been THRILLED with the support from our readers. Even though this has been a bit of a down month we've reached a record number in our visits and are very thankful for all of you. 

We're both so ready for the upcoming spring so we can get back to READING. I have a TBR list that just won't quit! (And I'm certainly not asking it to). 

Hope all of you are enjoying you first weeks of spring!

Until Next Blog, 

Read On! 


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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Uncross the Stars: Author Interview



Book & Author Details


Uncross the Stars by Janell Rhiannon
Publication date: December 15th, 2014
Genres: Romance, Young Adult

Synopsis:

Fiona Lavender is the new girl at school. She has a chip on her shoulder and a pension for poetry. Dario Martinez is the star quarterback, and the most unattainable guy on campus. Their stars cross when they are paired to study Romeo and Juliet for a senior English project. Their connection is fragile and undeniable. But, Dario is afraid of what love will do; and Fiona is waiting for love to claim her. Will they uncross the stars and find the love they both need to heal their pasts?

Purchase:

 



AUTHOR BIO:


Janell has been writing since she was in grade school. In high school, her 9th grade English teacher suggested she consider a career in writing. After a decade in college and a Master's degree in history, she settled into teaching.
 
Writing never stopped. Stories never stopped. READING fiction never stopped. Now, she writes and publishes on-line. Invisible Wings is her first YA novel, a compilation of short stories centered on teenage life triumphs and tragedies. She believes being a teenager is difficult and wrote Invisible Wings to let teens know they aren't alone. That they matter. That even though life is rough, they can still find beauty and love. 

 
Beside the YA stories close to her heart, she adores Mythology and Fairy tales. Anything magical and mystical. And dragons. And gargoyles. 

 
She currently lives in CA. 

 
Visit her at Facebook @Janell Rhiannon Author. If you want to see what projects are in the works or find out more about the her, visit

 






Interview With the Author

1. What sparked your interest in becoming an author?

I always loved telling and writing stories. And I’ve always kept journals of story fragments, napkins with ideas, and snippets of paper with doodles of characters. I think that it wasn’t so much of a spark as it was something I did naturally. I did come late to the indie author platform because I was busy doing what I was “supposed to be doing.” Then, a few years ago, I realized that my life was more than half over, if I am lucky enough to live into my 90s, and I hadn’t even tried to do the very thing I loved doing: write the damn stories. 

2. Who are the authors that have inspired you the most?

I’ve been inspired by the classic authors: Homer and Shakespeare. My love of mythology stems from studying and thinking about the Iliad and the Odyssey. My love of tragedy began with Shakespeare. I feel that tragedy mirrors life in a powerful way, a way that profoundly touches my heart.

3. Are any of your characters reflections of your own self or those you know? Give us a hint as to who!

Ah! Such a great question! The mother-daughter interaction between Fiona and her mom is based on the tension I’ve always had with my mom. I never had the easy relationship that some mother/daughters have for a variety of reasons. In the end, we all get one mom so learning to accept that moms are people too was huge for me. And honestly, the older you get and muddle through various aspects of parenting yourself, you realize that your youthful ideas about being a parent were just that...youthful.

4. Is there a book out there that changed your life?

The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell. This book completely changed the way I saw not only storytelling, but life as well. It connected myth and reality for me. I’ve never been able to see a movie, read a book, or go through my world and not think about “the Hero Journey.”

5. Was this book inspired by a particular event or happening in your life or was it just brilliant random moment?


I guess it was just a random idea I had about a boy and a girl whose stars were crossed...really I suppose I was thinking one day about fate. I was thinking about some of the traumatic things in my life and realized all those were fate as well as all the good things. Mind blown.

6. When you hit a road block in writing how do you overcome?

I walk or run on the treadmill in my office...or pick up dog poop. Really, I like to just walk and listen to music and let my mind wander. And then there’s always my sister. She always knows what to say. I’ve not written anything in about two months, because I’m percolating. I wasn’t sure what direction I was going to go in...the it hit me. I really want to return to the mythology. There’s always on line dating sites if you want to entertain yourself. Truly I could write a book on it.

7. What is your favorite writing snack/drink?


I like wine or hot lemon water. I don’t really snack when I’m writing.

8. You get an opportunity to spend the afternoon with your favorite author. Who is it and how will you spend your time together?

This is hard and I’m going to cheat on my answer. There are three authors who I talk to a lot on Facebook, but we’ve never met: Chastity Bush, Kendall Gray and Micalea Smeltzer. I’ve read their books, chatted, shared stuff...they crack me up. So, I want to meet all of them at a lunch in a beachside restaurant in Santa Monica that stretches into dinner, too much wine, food and laughing. I hope we’d talk about everything under the sun.

9. What was the biggest challenge you faced writing this work?

Trying to revise and revise. It got to the point where I didn’t want to even look at it any more.

10. What is your advice to aspiring authors who are penning their first work as we speak?

Keep writing and don’t let anyone tell you that your dream isn’t practical or doable. Do it any way. Do it for yourself. Find someone who will tell you your work sucks and why. Then, fix it. Don’t worry about negative reviews. I’ve had some. It burns. But, a reader took time to consider your work. Be grateful, because what if no one read it ever? That would be a hard burn:)

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Monday, March 9, 2015

Review: "Crimson Bound" by Rosamund Hodge



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Title: Crimson Bound

Author: Rosamund Hodge

Genre: YA Fairytale Retell/Fantasy

Publication: May 5, 2015

Pages:448



Summary: 

When Rachelle was fifteen she was good—apprenticed to her aunt and in training to protect her village from dark magic. But she was also reckless— straying from the forest path in search of a way to free her world from the threat of eternal darkness. After an illicit meeting goes dreadfully wrong, Rachelle is forced to make a terrible choice that binds her to the very evil she had hoped to defeat.

Three years later, Rachelle has given her life to serving the realm, fighting deadly creatures in an effort to atone. When the king orders her to guard his son Armand—the man she hates most—Rachelle forces Armand to help her find the legendary sword that might save their world. As the two become unexpected allies, they uncover far-reaching conspiracies, hidden magic, and a love that may be their undoing. In a palace built on unbelievable wealth and dangerous secrets, can Rachelle discover the truth and stop the fall of endless night?

Inspired by the classic fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood, Crimson Bound is an exhilarating tale of darkness, love, and redemption.

(This is a standalone novel, not part of the Cruel Beauty Universe.



Auggie's Review
      
Readable/Nothing Special

This one was disappointing for various reasons but I'm still trying to decide between a 2.5 or 3 stars because some of the dialogue was really good (read witty and funny), but the overall put-together of it just fell flat for me.

One thing specifically that bugged me was that this was supposed to be set in a Versailles-like atmosphere but I don't feel the author brought that across as strongly as I was hoping, almost as though it was added in as an afterthought. Aside from the French names and the occasional use of polite titles such as "mademoiselle", I couldn't envision Versailles.

There was some very rigid storytelling (flashbacks mostly, or almost everything in italics) and the romance/lusty moments felt too contrived and interrupted the story at what felt like inopportune moments. This book tried to be spicy but just didn't quite make it there. 


I think there was also a point where the author tried to make a very strong point about our main character's control over her own sexuality by having her sleep with a man she is strongly attracted to but not in love with. This progressive sort of "own yourself!" moment is spoiled by the fact that she was making the decision during a powerful episode of self-hate. Ruins it a bit there...

Rachelle, whom I wanted to love, was just too full of self-loathing to be fully likeable. A bit of self-hatred goes a long way and getting the reader to understand that she despises herself for the things she did to become forestborn doesn't take quite so many reminders. When your main character, whose inner voice you're hearing at every turn, has no hope for herself...ever... it becomes a rather grudging read.

Another issue, I'm not so sure we could call this one a fairytale retelling.  I can't imagine that someone who hadn't read the synopsis would be able to figure out that this was a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. Similarities? Red cloak. Check.... seductive bad-guy villain with murderous intentions? Check... Uh... I guess Rachelle's aunt was the grannie?

The sun and the moon bit were clever, and so was the "rebirth" concept. I have a feeling the author studied this Fairytale in an academic sense at some point in her life, and bravo for her (that is not sarcasm, I love when people do research!). If the author did indeed mean to include some of the anthropological theory about little red riding hood/wolf being symbols of the sun and moon and the natural solar cycles, as well as the concepts of rebirth then great, but I'm not sure how many readers would actually be aware of the author's literary theory tie-ins surrounding LRR enough for it to matter.


For me, this just wasn't a strong enough retelling. I might have enjoyed this book more had I not been trying to figure out how it related to the Perrault/ Grimm originals (in a non theoretical way) half the time. 

To be clear... this is not a crap-trash book, the ideas were pretty clever and the heroine was one tough cookie! There are things to like about this book... but my personal expectations for a great fairytell retelling weren't met and, for me, the romance felt stilted and unnatural.


Auggie is the 28 year old whirlwind owner of Auggie-Talk. A Teen Librarian and bibliobibuli by nature as well as a (potentially obsessive) lover of Diana Wynne Jones and Neil Gaiman. One can normally find Auggie neck deep in reading, writing, or daydreaming (sometimes all three at once).  She's also been known to drink too much caffeine and eat too many lemon flavored sweets.
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