Monday, May 31, 2010

Technical Difficulties

Please ignore the verification pop up and the lack of images. This has to do with issues with my domain server for my personal website, which happens to host my code embedded image files. Hence the total crappiness of the site currently. I'm working on fixing it as I type, love 24/7 chat... but really, truly wish, deep in my heart of hearts that I would never ever need this. Or that I could just fix things with the power of my mind! Oh look, they put me on hold... AGAIN!

And five minutes later, the lovely Sol Fuller has fixed everything. Yeah Sol! This has to be the best and quickest response yet. Let's hope it stays that way!

Tuesday Tomorrow

Passing Strange by Daniel Waters
Published by: Hyperion
Publication Date: June 1st, 2010
Format: Hardcover, 320 Pages
To Buy
The official patter:
"Karen DeSonne always passed as a normal teenager; with her friends, with her family, and at school. Passing cost her the love of her life. And now that Karen’s dead, she’s still passing—this time, as alive . Meanwhile, Karen’s dead friends have been fingered in a high-profile murder, causing a new round of antizombie regulations that have forced them into hiding. Karen soon learns that the “murder” was a hoax, staged by Pete Martinsburg and his bioist zealots. Obtaining enough evidence to expose the fraud and prove her friends’ innocence means doing the unthinkable: becoming Pete’s girlfriend. Karen’s only hope is that the enemy never realizes who she really is—because the consequences would be worse than death."

New Generation Dead book, can't wait, just dug out books one and two yesterday.

In actuality, I have a feeling people are more looking forward to Saturday's Stephenie Meyer's release than any other book coming out this week... Well, maybe Laurell K. Hamilton, but I just don't go there....

To Buy

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Time Has Come

To do some mega fist pumping! 200 followers folks! I said 200! That means, time to add a little something something to my giveaway... I think I'll throw Kelley Armstrong's newest book in her Darkest Powers Series, The Reckoning, on the horde. But remember, the more people, the more chances to win, so get those entries in, sign up to be a member. Recruit family and friends in your fervant desire to win some book swag! And as always, I couldn't have done this without all of you, my loyal readers, hence the prezzies.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Gail Carriger's Changeless Redux

Changeless, The Parasol Protectorate Book 2 by Gail Carriger
Published by: Orbit
Publication Date: March 30th, 2010
Format: Paperback, 336 Pages
Rating: ★★★★★
To Buy
Marital bliss can't last long when a surly regiment of werewolves shows up on your doorstep, your husband disappears to the wilds of Scotland and a bizarre plague of humanization strikes London, making werewolves and vampires alike mortal, and shuffling off the ghosties. But Alexia would not be Alexia if she didn't set right to figuring out what's up. After stopping off at a milliner's, always a trying experience with Ivy in tow, Alexia makes the acquaintance of Madame Lefoux, a dashing haberdasher prone to wearing male attire who happens to be a great inventor on the side. In fact, she's invented the parasol to beat all other parasols, making this umbrella indispensable to Alexia. After an explosive attack while leaving Madame Lefoux's establishment, and rumors that the humanization proceeded her husband to Scotland, Alexia decides that the safety of the supernaturals as well as her husband are at stake and to Scotland she must go. Of course, if she must go by dirigible, her long held wish, well then she must. She didn't count on the entourage of a love sick claviger, an engaged Ivy, one of her sisters and Madame Lefoux.

Attempted poisonings and dangerous dirigible daring do lead to a welcome return to Terra Firma. But if Alexia thought the troubles before where anything to the troubles to come she was mistaken. Her husbands old pack are not all that welcoming, and they seem to have collected a lot of Egyptian antiquities on their way home for being stationed in India. But if it's the last thing she does Alexia will get to the bottom of everything, little knowing of the shock in store.

Gail Carriger has outdone herself in creating a rollicking good read, with a tighter more thrilling mystery and even more memorable characters than in her first book, Soulless. From creating a proto telegraph telephone to dirigibles riding on aether, she has not bogged down her book with too much unintelligible speculative steampunk gadgetry. She has made an accessible world that you never want to leave and makes the wait for Blameless excruciating. Plus, delving deeper into the mysteries of what exactly a preternatural is, and unearthing Egyptian myths, sheer perfection. There's nothing I love more than Egypt, and while, throwing Egypt in delights me, I find it truly satisfying when it works so well with the plot and advances the narrative. Egypt for Egypt is all well and good, Egypt for a purpose, all the better. If there was one complaint I could make, aside from the cliffhanger, it is not enough Lord Akeldama. But I can't in good conscious make this complaint with the arrival of Madame Lefoux. She is so mysterious and kind of glamorous, and her openly defining the stereotypes of the day is just wonderful. I hope she continues to play in important part in the story. Also, am I the only one who instantly saw Emma Fielding as Miss Galindo from Cranford as Madame Lefoux? Maybe it's the hat thing, maybe it's the cravat thing, but I think she would be perfect. When this was first posted Gail agreed with Emma Fielding, only with a slight character shift to that of Sidheag, which I can totally see as well. I love casting things in my head.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Book Review - Alan Bennett's The Clothes They Stood Up In

The Clothes They Stood Up In by Alan Bennett
Published by: Random House
Publication Date: 2001
Format: Hardcover, 161 Pages
Challenge: Typically British
Rating: ★★★
To Buy(different edition than one reviewed)

Mr. and Mrs. Ransome have been robbed, no burgled, robbed happens to a person, burgled to a premise. Of course this couldn't have been normal thieves, because they took everything. Stove with dinner in it, to toilet paper. Nothing is left and the Ransome's do not know what to do. They spent their life accumulating stuff that never was really enjoyed or served much purpose, except for Mr. Ransome's music equipment that he used to listen to Mozart, which his wife wasn't privy to due to the large headphones he was known to sport. But while the abrupt change in their life seems to serve no purpose for Mr. Ransome, Mrs. Ransome acquires a new sense of control. Being allowed to make buying decisions, going to stores she never would have thought to enter in Notting Hill, watching day time television. Things are slowly shifting due to the cataclysmic event and then one day everything changes again and everything is as it was, but only now it doesn't seem the same.

In this brief yet odd little novella by Alan Bennett I was hoping to achieve the same sense of joy and elation I had when reading The Uncommon Reader. I did not. Such wonderful books are rare and far between and I should not have expected so much of his first book. I found the characters unlikable and unrelatable for the most part. Mrs. Ransome had some humanity, but Mr. Ransome was a bully and his new found porn obsession quite unsettling. At one point, when they located their furniture, I was hopeful. The roguish Martin, who would totally be played by Dean Lennox Kelly in the tv adaptation, brought a life and interest to the story. But his departure took the life away. I thought perhaps this brief contact would bring some life into Mrs. Ransome, but sadly it did not. It only brought about wistful remembrances of Martin on Mrs. Ransome's part, as well as my own. I would like to have read Martin's story. Instead we are left with two hollow people who have an abrupt and surprising end which, while I didn't see it coming, left me liking the novella even less. If you're looking for mild British entertainment with not much depth, try this. If you want extreme British entertainment with loads of depth, pick up Alan Bennett's The Uncommon Reader.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Tuesday Tomorrow

The Girl Who Kicked a Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson
Published by: Knopf
Publication Date: May 25th, 2010
Format: Hardcover, 576 Pages
To Buy
The official patter:
"Lisbeth Salander—the heart of Larsson’s two previous novels—is under close supervision in the intensive care unit of a Swedish city hospital. She’s fighting for her life in more ways than one: when she’s well enough, she’ll stand trial for three murders. With the help of her friend, journalist Mikael Blomkvist, she will have to prove her innocence, and to identify the corrupt politicians who have allowed the vulnerable, like herself, to suffer abuse. And, on her own, she will plot her revenge—against the man who tried to kill her and the government institutions that very nearly destroyed her life.

Once upon a time, she was a victim. Now Lisbeth Salander is ready to fight back."

Finally available stateside, the last volume completed by Stieg Larsson is released today. I of course have had the British version for awhile, so now comes the fun part, comparing and contrasting! Cause the British versions have been getting a lot of flake for editing out cussing and other graphic bits.

Early to Death, Early to Rise by Kim Harrison
Published by: Dutton
Publication Date: May 25th, 2010
Format: Hardcover, 240 Pages
To Buy
The official patter:
"Seventeen, dead, and in charge of heaven's dark angels—all itching to kill someone.

Madison Avery's dreams of ever fitting in at her new school died when she did. Especially since she was able to maintain the illusion of a body, deal with a pesky guardian angel, and oh yeah, bring the reaper who killed her to his untimely end. Not exactly in-crowd material. It's amazing that her crush, Josh, doesn't think she's totally nuts.

Now Madison has learned that she's the dark timekeeper, in charge of angels who follow the murky guidelines of fate. Never one to abide by the rules, she decides it's time for a major change to the system. With the help of some unlikely allies, Madison forms a rogue group of reapers who definitely don't adhere to the rules of the heavens.

But as she grapples with the terrifying new skills that come with being a timekeeper, Madison realizes she may not be prepared for what lies ahead—unless she gets some seriously divine intervention."

Second book in the Madison Avery series and I just can't wait. Plus I'm hoping to be able to go see her talk in a few weeks in Naperville! Here's hoping!

Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews
Published by: Ace
Publication Date: May 25th, 2010
Format: Paperback, 432 Pages
To Buy
The official patter:
"Atlanta would be a nice place to live, if it weren’t for the magic. When the magic is up, rogue mages cast their spells and monsters appear, while guns refuse to fire and cars fail to start. But then technology returns, and the magic recedes as unpredictably as it rose.

Kate Daniels works for the Order of the Knights of Merciful Aid, officially as a liaison with the mercenary guild. Unofficially, she cleans up the paranormal problems no one else wants to handle—especially if they involve Atlanta’s shapeshifting community.

When she’s called in to investigate a fight at the Steel Horse, a bar midway between the territories of the shapeshifters and the necromancers, Kate quickly discovers there’s a new player in town. One who’s been around for thousands of years—and rode to war at the side of Kate’s father.

This foe may be too much even for Kate and Curran, the Lord of the Beasts, to handle. Because this time, Kate will be taking on family…"

Yeah for more cool magic books. It's really shaping up to be magical book fun! Guess the publishing industry is really trying to cash in on that must need summer read... clever, clever!

The Necromancer by Michael Scott
Published by: Delacorte
Publication Date: May 25th, 2010
Format: Hardcover, Pages
To Buy
The official patter:
"San Francisco: After fleeing to Ojai, then Paris, and escaping to London, Josh and Sophie Newman are finally home. And after everything they've seen and learned in the past week, they're both more confused than ever about their future. Neither of them has mastered the magics they'll need to protect themselves from the Dark Elders, they've lost Scatty, and they're still being pursued by Dr. John Dee. Most disturbing of all, however, is that now they must ask themselves, can they trust Nicholas Flamel? Can they trust anyone?

Alcatraz: Dr. Dee underestimated Perenelle Flamel's power. Alcatraz could not hold her, Nereus was no match for her, and she was able to align herself with the most unlikely of allies. But she wasn't the only one being held on the island. Behind the prison's bars and protective sigils were a menagerie of monsters-an army for Dee to use in the final battle. And now Machiavelli has come to Alcatraz to loose those monsters on San Francisco.
Perenelle might be powerful, but each day she weakens, and even with Nicholas back at her side, a battle of this size could be too much for her. Nicholas and Perenelle must fight to protect the city, but the effort will probably kill them both.

London: Having been unable to regain the two final pages of the Codex, Dee has failed his Elder and is now an outlaw-and the new prey of all the creatures formerly sent to hunt down Flamel. But Dee has a plan. With the Codex and the creatures on Alcatraz, he can control the world. All he needs is the help of the Archons. But for his plan to work, he must raise the Mother of the Gods from the dead. For that, he'll have to train a necromancer. And the twins of legend will make the perfect pupils. . . ."

It is too funny that this book is coming out this week because the wedding I'm attending, this just happens to be one of the grooms favorite series!

Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George
Published by: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: May 25th, 2010
Format: Hardcover, 288 Pages
To Buy
The official patter:
"The engrossing companion novel to Princess of the Midnight Ball, with a wicked twist on Cinderella

Hoping to escape the troubles in her kingdom, Princess Poppy reluctantly agrees to take part in a royal exchange program, whereby young princes and princesses travel to each other’s countries in the name of better political alliances—and potential marriages. It’s got the makings of a fairy tale—until a hapless servant named Eleanor is tricked by a vengeful fairy godmother into competing with Poppy for the eligible prince. Ballgowns, cinders, and enchanted glass slippers fly in this romantic and action-packed happily-ever-after quest from an author with a flair for embroidering tales in her own delightful way."
More fairy tales retold, I just can't get enough. Though I'd like to know how she chooses which will be retold. Because as Shannon Hale says, she personally retells only the ones that annoy here... so does Cinderella annoy Jessica?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Vampires of Venice

Can I just say how much I'm in love with Toby Whithouse. Not only did he give us the wonderful Being Human, but now "Vampires of Venice!" He is likly to become the British Joss Whedon, he is the vampire man. But enough gushing about Toby, there's also the on location filming and the outfits and the guest stars. I think this might just be my favorite episode this season. It had an amazing filmic quality and the adding of Rory did not bog down the storyline, but added a humorous companion and allowed The Doctor to jump out of a cake instead of a stripper, who is diabetic. As is usually the case, nothing is as it appears. We have yet another race of stranded aliens who appear to be vampires, who only want to survive. What's interesting is this new Doctor is far less accommodating than Tennant's Doctor, and also a little more blase about the death's in his wake. Not that The Doctor has become callus, but that he has shielded himself more.... Also the performances of Helen McCrory as the leader and Alex Price, who was seen in Whithouse's Being Human, are so diabolically perfect. And the image of the Vampire Girls... I just am rambling, but this episode was wonderful. What did you think?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Sunday Bloody Sunday

You can't believe the news today. I'm in Arkansas and haven't seen Ashes to Ashes. You don't know how this is killing me. My loyalties to Gene Hunt are split with my loyalties to my friends. Of course my friends win... but if Gene showed up in the Quatro... I'm just saying, I'll be all gussied up after all! So to hold back the tears and crying and recriminations that I have because this shows mysteries have me in a bind, I will review the previous two episodes, one watched late because of finals (yes, that is cursing under my breath you hear) the other not reviewed on time for sheer laziness (it's vacation! Lay off!)

Episode six showed that they really are willing to kill cast... if somewhat incidental cast at that. But the whole hostage situation/prison riot that isn't all that it seems is nothing in my mind to the few little things that are dropped... the hint of immortality being achievable, I don't think that guy was a psycho, so how does that fit in? Because the more and more I think the only logical conclusion is purgatory... so immortality? Possible. But this then leads me to totally suspect Keats as the devil. The creepy whistling, and now, while I'm not saying he killed anyone... he did just watch. How can Alex trust him at all! Sure Gene hides stuff from her, but not for stupid reasons. Gene is protecting Alex, while Jim, he's just exploiting Alex and her sway over Gene. Alex's outfits did not strike me as good or bad this week, so I'm giving her a 7. Gene... Gene hasn't really been Gene so much these season, but walking into a prison unarmed and ready to kick some ass... a solid 9.

So Alex trusts what Gene tells her and then five seconds later goes back on it!!! This episode was one of the best yet most frustrating of the season! Gene tells Alex what he knows about Sam and a faked disappearance he helped arrange and with a slip of a picture from Jim, pictures that I'm sure Jim concocted, and she leave Gene in her bedroom. That's right!!! We almost had some Gene/Alex action and it all goes to hell! Plus Shaz, Ray and Chris trying to work out what's with the weird noises and stars... I want to know what's what now!!! Plus, the biggest thing in my mind? Nelson. I ALWAYS suspected him on Life on Mars. ALWAYS! Now he is somehow tied up in this. I don't care about these South Africans, who, granted, had a great plot and a great mysterious ending and gave Chris the "power" to be on a level plane with Ray and Shaz... but I want to know. Also those videos? Right, now my theory is that their previous lives are on them, what they were and when they were before they got wherever here is. This is going to be a long wait for me... somebody better get it up on YouTube and not spoil it for me. As for Alex, bitch gets a 1, you don't ditch the Gene Genie! Gene, a solid 9, just for his fixing the curtains at the funeral parlor, funny, yet, poignant.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Book Review - Harriet Evans' A Hopeless Romantic

A Hopeless Romantic by Harriet Evans
Published by: Downtown Press
Publication Date: 2006
Format: Paperback, 531 Pages
Challenge: Typically British
Rating: ★★★★
To Buy

Laura is a desperate, hopeless romantic. She believes in the dream of a white knight on a gallant steed. From Jane Austen to Georgette Heyer, she has spent her life looking for "the one" who will match her romantic ideal. Of course this leads her to nothing but trouble. She has the worst taste when it comes to men, but she always bends the facts of the situation to fit her romantic daydreams. Take Dan. Sure he has a girlfriend, sure it's technically an affair, but that doesn't stop Laura and her daydreams that he will leave Amy and that they will be together on their summer holiday to Florida. When it all comes crashing down she realizes that she has jeopardized her friends, family and job for a man who would never, could never be hers. She decides it's time to leave the clouds and wake up to reality. Eschewing all that she once held dear, gone are the novels and the movies, save one. She keeps behind Rebecca, no longer viewing the sweet new Mrs. de Winter as the reason for reading it, but Mrs. Danvers. Now there's a lady who is no nonsense, stiff backbone and who would never fall for this romantic waffle.

The new Laura throws herself into getting her life sorted out, starting with a family holiday in Yorkshire. While yes, it is extremely boring looking at heritage sites and historic windmills, Chartley Hall has it's allure... and no, not the paintings or the grounds, but Nick, who Laura takes to be the groundskeeper. But now that Laura is new and "improved" will she be able to snap back to the hopeless romantic she was before Dan to see that she has landed herself in her dream story and she might just have found her prince charming?

This book was pretty excruciating to get into. Laura and Dan together were an unbearable time bomb waiting to happen. Hundreds of pages of slow self implosion. I get that we needed this exposition to lead to Laura's hardening and throwing off the rose tinted glasses, I just don't think we needed as much as was there. But once she was in Yorkshire, it literally became a book I did not want to put down. The dull, flat, two dimensional characters were gone and in their place was funny people who I could get along with, after all they watch Arrested Development and Curb Your Enthusiasm! Of course there were cliches of the genre, the ending was both expected, sad and then a bit of a Bridget Jones clone in the extreme, which almost knocked it down a star. But it was good escapist and romantic fun. Also, is it just me or did anyone else think the "butler" Charles was really the ideal man? Cause, he's up there with fictional characters who I'd give my number to.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Year Ago Today...

I lost my little kitty cat. He was twenty two and I miss him every single day, even though I know I was blessed to be with him as long as I was. Right now I'm in Arkansas celebrating my friend Sarah's wedding and meeting my other friends little daughter for the first time. So there's new life and new hope everyday. I'm thinking about getting a new kitty... maybe... but there are still many days I cry and so many days I hurt. Now at least I'm remembering the wonderful things about Spot versus just the emptiness I feel. The whirring sounds he made and how if you hugged him just right he sounded like a squeezey toy. I'm also starting to dream of him watching over me, which is nice, except in all he wants is for me to feed him. I'm glad that on such a hard day I am surrounded by all those I love. Maybe I'll tell them why I might be a little withdrawn... maybe I'll just try to carry on like any other day... or maybe they'll just be there for me like they always are. My friend Sarah had me typesetting some quotes for her wedding, and this one I felt was perfect, for today and always:

"I think we dream so we don't have to be apart so long. If we're in each other’s dreams, we can be together all the time."

- Hobbes (of Calvin and Hobbes)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

(O)Mega Giveaway! The Mega Horde! THIS GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED

One year ago to the minute (thanks to handy dandy scheduling) I posted my first post, my alpha if you would.... But a year, now that's a long time to stick with something. I'm not doubting my own staying power but yours! For a year you've all been listening to me ramble and rant from books to the BBC, lately a lot about Gene Hunt and The Doctor, but through it all you've been here. To that I saw huzzah! Followed by, would you like some prizes? It's been such a wonderful time meeting and talking to you all that I feel a reward is in order. So, as the year mark denotes... this is going to be big! It will also be ever expanding... well, I'm sure there's some point I'll prolly cut it off, time will run out, but till that time, oh yes!

The Prizes (ever expanding):There is one guaranteed prize, that of a $25 gift card to But once I officially hit 200 (I know, I'm technically there with networked blogs, but seeing 195 is so close) I add in a book. I get another 25, I add in another book, and so on and so forth. So this could be one really big prize that could potentially have many winners. Possible books are Beautiful Creatures, The Reckoning, The Princess Bride, the hoard list goes on and on. Cause this is basically a Mega Horde giveaway. And if you'll look below, there is already an added prize! So let's keep those numbers shooting skyward!


Prize 1: $25 gift card to
Prize 2: The Reckoning, Darkest Powers Book 3 by Kelley Armstrong
Prize 3: Shiver ARC by Maggie Stiefvater
Prize 4: Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

The Rules:
1. Open to EVERYONE, just because you haven't been following me all along doesn't mean you don't matter, you just get more entries if you prove you love me by following.
2. Please make sure I have a way to contact you if your name is drawn, either your blogger profile or a link to your website/blog or you could even include your email address with your comment(s).
3. Contest ends Wednesday, June 30th at 11:59PM CST
4. How to enter:

Answer me this: What are you looking forward to most in the coming year with regards to publishing? From Mockingjay's release to further developments in e-publishing. What are you on the edge of your proverbial seat for?

5. And for those addicted to getting extra entries:
  • +1 for answering the question above
  • +2 for becoming a follower
  • +10 if you are already a follower
  • +10 for each time you advertise this contest - blog post, sidebar, twitter (please @MzLizard), etc. (but you only get credit for the first post, so tweet all you like, and I thank you for it, but you'll only get the +10 once). Also please leave a link!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Tuesday Tomorrow

Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead
Published by: Razorbill
Publication Date: May 18th, 2010
Format: Hardcover, 528 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Dimitri gave Rose the ultimate choice. But she chose wrong...

After a long and heartbreaking journey to Dimitri's birthplace in Siberia, Rose Hathaway has finally returned to St. Vladimir's-and to her best friend, Lissa. It is nearly graduation, and the girls can't wait for their real lives beyond the Academy's iron gates to begin. But Rose's heart still aches for Dimitri, and she knows he's out there, somewhere.

She failed to kill him when she had the chance. And now her worst fears are about to come true. Dimitri has tasted her blood, and now he is hunting her. And this time he won't rest until Rose joins him... forever."

I'm sure there are other books some people like coming out today... but for the Vampirically inclined, this is THE book people have been waiting for... aside from that Twilight novella, but who's counting that?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Flesh and Stone

So, where we last left off in this two parter... Amy was turning to stone and the angels were surrounding them. Of course, despite time being able to be re-written, they survive, but obviously not all of them. Iain Glen, that fabulous actor, had a nice big target on him since day one that said, really big actor here, I will die or be the bad guy, and I was right, he died, cause I don't think the angels have sidekicks. Though in fact everyone but River, The Doctor and Amy died, so again, very similar to River's previous story. All in all the second half of this story made me just feel that this could have been an amazing and tight one shot episode that they dragged out to two parts so that they could make full use of the angels return and Alex Kingston. But the truth is, by bringing them back and giving them a voice the angels weren't as scary. And when we finally learned that the big crack is a giant time eraser, if you fall in, it will be like you never were... well, that's not too creepy and having the angels scared of that... eh. Giving something that is so terrifying fear, it makes them less terrifying. Of course, this should logically make me more scared of the crack, because we should fear things that scary creatures fear... but it's a crack! I'll have to see how it plays out, but the crack, while intriguing, doesn't have me all fussed.

What does have me fussed? Well River! We now know she is/was a criminal for killing the greatest man she's ever known. Now, her being a criminal does not come as a surprise at all, criminal genius her, like Moriarty to The Doctor's Holmes. But now of course, my mind is whirring, like out of control. The Doctor fears River because she knows his future, as it turns out he knows hers, and not just her future, but her death. So what if it's vice versa as well? What if the entire time River has known the Doctor she knows how her dies? Not only that, what if she killed him? Now I'm not saying evil, I kill you in the name of... I'm saying she had to kill him for some reason, and perhaps his 13th regeneration... so she's his final death. She did seem very sad about it. At least we have her reappearance when the Pandoricum opens to look forward to!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Book Review - Helene Hanff's Letter from New York: BBC Woman's Hour Broadcasts

Letter from New York: BBC Woman's Hour Broadcasts by Helene Hanff
Published by: Moyer Bell
Publication Date: 1992
Format: Hardcover, 140 Pages
Rating: ★★★★★
Out of Print

For six years Helene Hanff appeared on the BBC Woman's Hour in England. Once a month she recorded a five minute piece on her life in New York for the radio show for a country in her thrall ever since 84, Charing Cross Road. Written in a very conversational style to emulate the stories she'd tell her friends, the spot, which was to last six months, lasted far longer. This delightful collection compiles all extant copies she had and presents them in one wonderful book. Helene Hanff and I are polar opposites, in fact, I have a feeling that, were I to know her, I wouldn't much like her. But there's something about her writing style and her frank and humorous observances that I find totally compelling and a compulsive read. From the detailed lives of the dogs living in her building to her complicated cooking routines for the holidays, a rare feat for those living in studio apartments who need to rely on their neighbors counter tops as well as their own. I couldn't get enough and was saddened when it came to an end, of course I'm going to be even more dejected when I have to return this book to the library. Helene Hanff is the quintessential New Yorker, she loves everything her town has to offer, from the Park to the parades and she is able to convey this to her readers with such an easy air you feel like you're reading about a dear friend. If you ever see this book pick it up (I would then say, pass it along to me, but I have a feeling you will not want to part with it.)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Book Review - Jasper Fforde's The Well of Lost Plots

The Well of Lost Plots: Thursday Next Novel the 3rd by Jasper Fforde
Published by: Viking
Publication Date: February 23rd, 2004 US, 2003 UK
Format: Hardcover, 375 Pages
Rating: ★★★★
To Buy (different edition than one reviewed)

Thursday, finding the real world a bit much at present, what with SpecOps, Aronis Hades and Goliath, has decided to take a bit of a sabbatical thanks to Jurisfiction's generous character exchange program. Thursday's husband Landen my still be missing from the collective conscious, but at least she's got a nice book to live in while she awaits the birth of their child and schemes how to get him re-actualized. Taking over for a character by the name of Mary in the book Caversham Heights, Thursday thinks that it will be a nice relaxing time, occasionally doing her narrative duty with Inspector Jack Spratt while living in a fictionalized version of Reading. Little does she know that things are never as they seem in The Library, especially when you are in the well of lost plots. Besides having two generic characters living with her, they may one day end up being someones, maybe even someones of note in literature, she also has her Gran, who never really explains how she's able to just pop round. Luckily for Thursday she has such a resourceful Gran, because who else will keep reminding her to remember Landen and defeat the mind worm that Aronis has planted in Thursday's brain to destroy Thursday and the love of her life. But worst of all Caversham Heights may be heading for the great text sea... it's time may be at an end, but what will happen to Thursday's new home and all the friends she's met?

But Thursday's living situation, while accomplished by her job in Jurisfiction, doesn't even match her job for all out weirdness. There's a missing Minotaur, which may be responsible for not only the death of a colleague, but also an outbreak of the misspelling virus. There's counseling sessions that need to be held within Wuthering Heights to keep the characters in line. Heathcliff hatred being at an all time high, with danger from within and danger from without, with the Pro Caths. Thursday's ongoing court case for her changing the ending of Jane Eyre. Havisham's need for speed is at an all time high and she's determined to beat Toad, from The Wind in the Willows... no matter what it takes! Also that rogue, Vernham Deane, might be behind the rash of disappearances and murders happening among the ranks of Jursifiction... he is after all missing in action. With the unveiling of the new book operating system, UltraWord, just days away at the annual book awards, things need to be resolved, and resolved fast, so that the new OS can be embraced and a new day will dawn for books the world over. But what's that you said about a thrice read rule?

You can't really sum up a Jasper Fforde book. Jasper himself has never found a satisfactory way to do so. The Nextian logic is so random and nonsensical you just have to read it and enjoy it, while at the same time trying not to over-analyze it. The problem I face at the beginning of each of his books is that with it's fragmented nature it's hard to get into it. You can't quite grasp what's going on for awhile, until suddenly something happens that is so wonderful and so funny you can't help but fall in love with it from that moment on. For me that happened at the Wuthering Heights counseling session. Having Havisham being forced to counsel a group of misfits who are rightfully angry at Heathcliff, who saunters in late all brooding sexiness, until his life is threatened and he is cowering like a dog begging Havisham to save him was too perfect. Plus to have an avowed man hater standing up for Heathcliff and trying to aid in the discussion is just dripping with irony. But aside from that scene, which has to be in my top Fforde scenes, I found this my least favorite of his books.

I took issue with the whole construction of the well of lost plots. It's kind of a weird Dickensian back alley or market place where trading is going on in a distinctly black-market way. I viewed the well more shadowy threats and cold barren hallways, not in your face hawkers and bars with back room dealings. The well, with it's trades and auctions and generics seemed to demystify the writing process and make it more of an industry or business. A stripping away of the mystery of inspiration and making it more slot a into tab b, but with a slutty girl being slot a and tab b being a plot contrivance. I found it a little odd that an author would kind of openly, not slam, but take writers down a peg. It's not that Jasper is saying anyone can do it, more that he's saying that, everything is here and bits and pieces in the right amounts assembled by the right person a novel do make. And I'm not sure I agree, but I am sure that I will read his next book... which happens to be a Next book. On a quick final note, I didn't like what happened to Havisham...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Tuesday Tomorrow

Will sadly have to wait a week, because I have finals today. I'm sure there are good books coming out... there has to be right? Anyways... Tuesday Tomorrow will return next week once I'm rested and bright eyed and bushy tailed, one can dream right? Or here's an idea. You tell me what books are out this week that you're excited for!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Time of Angels

Hello sweeties, there's only one way to sum up this episode: Best opening EVER! River Song could easily hold her own with James Bond, perhaps even beat him... I want to float to a TARDIS backwards while blowing a kiss after sending a message in a dead language thousands of years into the future! But let's get to the episode itself, because, truthfully, River Song would just adore taking over this post. So River discovers a Weeping Angel and with the help of The Doctor and a bevy of troops, plan to take it out. Seeing as this is a two part, most of it is a build up to a cliffhanger of everyone in peril and the Doctor thinking of a way to save the day, of course a catch phrase thrown in, this is a Steven Moffat episode after all ("Are You My Mummy?" "Donna Noble Has Left The Library, Donna Noble Has Been Saved"). So in all fairness, this review can only be a partial review, because I won't know till the resolution how I feel about how this plays out. Because in the abstract, bringing back the angels, expanding on their mythology is really cool and scary. But at the same time, their one appearance in the scariest episode ever made them unique and interesting, and the idea of any statue could really be one, like the Vashta Nerada, is cool. But right there we're hitting on the problem I had with the episode. This really seemed like a refashioning of River Song's other arc. We have people, trapped in a place where the darkness is lethal and then the baddies start using the walkie talkies to communicate. Angel Bob, you're too much like other Dave... I'm sorry. But still, Moffat is able to get some amazing humor and horror working side by side. Amy being trapped with the image of an Angel... were it turns out the image is really the same thing, and then when her eye starts leaking sand... creepy. I also love the play River and The Doctor have of a married old couple, and I love that River is as enigmatic as ever and that this ship crash was mentioned in their previous adventure, even if it was River's last. Also I'm sorry, but Matt Smith doing the sound of the TARDIS, I forgive him for not being David Tennant just for that, as well as biting Amy to prove she wasn't stone, you're officially a Doctor, I shouldn't have doubted. But as for final judgement.... turn in next week...

As a funny aside, if you watched this in England, this episode caused controversy because of a Graham Norton cartoon promoting "Over the Rainbow" interrupting the big cliffhanger. Over 3000 calls and countless emails, really countless, I couldn't be bothered to find out. But Graham had a great comeback on his show, a sort of apology, as only Graham can do!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Book Review- Charlaine Harris' From Dead to Worse

From Dead to Worse (Sookie Stackhouse Book 8) by Charlaine Harris
Published by: Ace Trade
Publication Date: May 6th, 2008
Format: Paperback, 321 Pages
Challenge: Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★★
To Buy

Louisiana is in danger. Hurricane Katrina left a weekend state, and the attack at Rhodes left the vampires physically damaged. The queen is hidden, fearing attack daily, but over in Bon Temps, Sookie is hoping things can go back to normal. Well, as normal as things can be with a witch under her roof and a cat that's not really supposed to be a cat. But things start to go rapidly downhill when Alcide's new girlfriend, Maria Star, is viciously murder. With the help of her roommate Amelia, and Amelia's mentor Octavia, they realize it was some of the Shreveport weres who committed this heinous crime. Could the new pack leader be lashing out at Alcide? Or is there a war brewing. Of course, it's a war. But the weres aren't the only ones at danger. The vampires are being attacked too. So the supernatural community is in danger from all sides, and Sookie happens to be right in the middle. But when a fairy shows up claiming to be her great grandfather and he helps her find the child Hadley had before she became a vamp, at least she has more family, especially seeing as Jason has put Sookie in an untenable situation, being the jerk he always proves himself to be.

The Sookie books have definitely reached the point where only those who've read all the books, usually multiple times, will be able to follow what's happening. I even feel lost sometimes and I'm a big fan who will admit to the multiple re-readings. This book is one of those books were you feel the overall plot arc is in a holding pattern while Charlaine ties up a whole lot of loose ends before something big happens. But at the same time I really enjoy seeing my favorite characters, who feel kind of like a family who I can visit and when I leave, feel happy and look forward to the next time we see each other. I also like the little developments with Crystal, Jason's wife, turning out to be a total bitch. Eric getting back his memory about his time with Sookie, and Pam with Amelia, all without the overly romantically cliched sex scenes. All these little things add up to a fun read and makes me even more impatient for the new book to be out and devoured, cause let's face it, that is totally what I'll be doing. If only it didn't fall during finals...

Monday, May 3, 2010

Tuesday Tomorrow

Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris
Published by: Ace Hardcover
Publication Date: May 4th, 2010
Format: Hardcover, 320 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Sookie Stackhouse has finally settled into a relationship with the Viking vampire Eric, and her errant brother Jason seems to have his life in order, too. But all the other people in Sookie’s life – Eric himself, her former lover Bill, her friend and boss Sam – are having family problems. Eric’s maker shows up with Eric’s ‘brother’ in tow, the ailing Bill can only be healed by a blood sibling, and Sam’s brother’s marriage is about to take place... or will it? The furor raised by the coming out of the two-natured has yet to settle; some people are just not ready to sit down to dinner with a man who turns into a dog. And Sookie herself is still recovering from her last ordeal. She’s definitely improving, physically and mentally, but she’s always going to have some dark moments now. The werewolves tell her that there have been strange and ominous passers-by in the Stackhouse woods; now Sookie is about to come face-to-face with one of her more distant relatives..."

The year long wait for a new Sookie book is FINALLY at an end. Addicts to these books, and now even to the series can testify to how long time seems to slow down in the wait. I can't help but think things are going to go horribly wrong... this cover is too happy and life affirming...

White Cat, Curse Workers Book 1 by Holly Black
Published by: Margaret K. McElderry
Publication Date: May 4th, 2010
Format: Hardcover, 320 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Cassel comes from a family of curse workers -- people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, by the slightest touch of their hands. And since curse work is illegal, they're all mobsters, or con artists. Except for Cassel. He hasn't got the magic touch, so he's an outsider, the straight kid in a crooked family. You just have to ignore one small detail -- he killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago.

Ever since, Cassel has carefully built up a façade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his façade starts crumbling when he starts sleepwalking, propelled into the night by terrifying dreams about a white cat that wants to tell him something. He's noticing other disturbing things, too, including the strange behavior of his two brothers. They are keeping secrets from him, caught up in a mysterious plot. As Cassel begins to suspect he's part of a huge con game, he also wonders what really happened to Lila. Could she still be alive? To find that out, Cassel will have to out-con the conmen.

Holly Black has created a gripping tale of mobsters and dark magic where a single touch can bring love -- or death -- and your dreams might be more real than your memories."

Ohhhh... new series by Holly Black. And there's a cat! I'm in!

The Red Pyramid, The Kane Chronicles Book 1 by Rick Riordan
Published by: Hyperion
Publication Date: May 4th, 2010
Format: Hardcover, 520 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Since their mother’s death, Carter and Sadie have become near strangers. While Sadie has lived with her grandparents in London, her brother has traveled the world with their father, the brilliant Egyptologist, Dr. Julius Kane.

One night, Dr. Kane brings the siblings together for a "research experiment" at the British Museum, where he hopes to set things right for his family. Instead, he unleashes the Egyptian god Set, who banishes him to oblivion and forces the children to flee for their lives.

Soon, Sadie and Carter discover that the gods of Egypt are waking, and the worst of them--Set--has his sights on the Kanes. To stop him, the siblings embark on a dangerous journey across the globe--a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family, and their links to a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs."

Rick "Greek Mythology" Riordan is switching to my favorite type of mythology! Egyptian! Yeah for another book to add to my "Egypt Shelf." And yes, there is a shelf, don't judge me!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Victory of the Daleks

Fuck the Daleks! I'm so damn sick of them, sure this time Mark Gatiss got to write about them, and sure, we've got Winston Churchill and the war, but, not another freakin' Dalek episode! Plus, did anyone else keep thinking that they basically just wanted to do a World War II version of Star Wars while watching this? I love Mark Gatiss' enthusiasm, but still, this is the first meh episode for me, in fact Mark Gatiss and Confidential were far better than the episode itself. Bill Paterson and his amazing acting saved this for me, but that's about it. So of course, it makes sense to have the Daleks show up in World War II, they have so much in common with the Nazis that the Nazis were probably their inspiration. And Mark Gatiss has an amazing grasp at capturing other time periods, even if the "wishes were kisses" line was a little too hackneyed for me. I liked that the Doctor is called in by Winston, who is not only an old friend, but openly covets the TARDIS and will do anything to win the war, anything... even if it's the new "ironsides" aka, Daleks in disguise to trick the Doctor into helping them re-jump start the new Dalek evolution. Servile Daleks are funny, but then we're all back to colored Daleks and they escape, I'm sure to return again and again and again and again... at least Mark Gatiss didn't give me any false hope that they were gone forever... so that's one plus. But overall this episode felt too contained, too small in scope. Here we have the greatest war the world has ever faced combined with the Daleks and the Doctor who together had the greatest war time has ever faced and we get these small, confined sets that were claustrophobic and lacking in the scope of these great historical events. I did like the rage the Doctor displayed and the way Amy totally embodies all that is good in humanity. But could we do all this with a new villain? Or a less used old villain? All I kept thinking was, damn, they should just go get Captain Jack and end this in five minutes. One sweet twist, Amy's never seen the Daleks... which is impossible right? And the crack... is time fracturing? Is the Doctor in the correct timeline? Very interesting! Personally I can't wait for next week though... River Song AND the Weeping Angels! Heaven! Or hell... if you think about the nightmares it will probably induce...

Also I bet you can guess my opinion of the game trailer they showed seeing as I've made my opinion of the Daleks so well known. Looks clunky, looks like way too many Daleks, looks like a pass. And I'm usually the one defending my movies and tv shows being turned into video games! Shocker!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

And I am Dead, as Dead I Well May Be

They better not be in outer space! That's all I'm saying about the whole seeing stars thing. I'm hoping it's more a breaking down of their reality, like The Nothing in The Neverending Story versus some lame ass copying of the American version shit. Overall this was a great episode. We saw that Gene might know a lot more than anyone else about what is going on and that the people in this world are getting scared. Two of "Manchester's Finest" came down to London searching for a comedian who they're obviously stitching up for some crime. But that plot is beside the point because it's the highlighting of what Gene was to what Gene has become and also the fact that these cops might know a thing or two about Sam. But as with this show, it's not always the plot that drives it as the characters. Ray and Shazz singing "Oh Danny Boy" was heart wrenching perfection and the beat on "and I am dead, as dead I well may be" leads to a whole slew of interpretations and speculations... Also Alex, her clothes were pretty decent, almost a ten, but the cummerbund takes it down a few, even if it seemed to be a cummerbund episode... but then the dress turtleneck combo brought her down to a seven. Gene... ah perfect ten yet again! This time just for when he leans over and whispers the truth to the evil doer... the fear that gripes that man. Gene knows something about this world. About Sam. And probably about Alex. The next few weeks I will be on the edge of my seat seeing how this plays out! Also, I want a Sam Tyler coat too!

Winners Announced!

So, I have randomed and generated it up, and we have winners! Lots and lots of winners! There were lots and lots of prizes afterall! 8 prizes I have, and 8 winners there are. So, this will be a little unconventional for the first 4 winners, because they get to pick what they want, but I will update this post with what they choose. I know, you're thinking enough about me, did I win!?! So to the winners...

1st place: Sara from YA Vampire Books who chose The Spellman Files, Signed 1st Edition
2nd place: Beleth who chose Curse of the Spellmans, Signed 1st Edition, which was her first choice!
3rd place: Spav who chose The Spellmans Strike Again, Signed 1st Edition with Free Schmidt T, her first choice as well!
4th place: Liz wins Revenge of the Spellmans, Signed 1st Edition!

For 5th-8th, you'll all be getting copies of the newest Spellmans book, The Spellmans Strike Again!
5th place: Jennifer G.
6th place: throuthehaze
7th place: ninefly
8th place: Misty

I hope you all love your winnings and that maybe you'll drop a line and say how you like the Spellmans once you've read them. As for detectives that already hold our hearts? Holmes, hands down, but that little Belgian came in second with the spunky Nancy Drew following quickly behind!

Newer Posts Older Posts Home