Monthly Archives:: August 2009

And so, the letting go begins…

August 31, 2009 Miscellaneous, Photos 9

E's first day of school

E's first day of school

I just realized earlier, than my daughter wasn’t even one year old when I started blogging. So in a way, those of you that have been with me from the beginning have seen her grow up quite a bit.

Well folks, she had her first full day of Kindergarten today.  I know.  My mind is blown too.

This was taken last week, on her staggered-entry day.  Do you see the PRIDE in that girls face?  The EXCITEMENT?  I do too and boy did it bring a small measure of relief.

It was so hard to take her there this morning and leave her behind.  She looked so small and worried.  I told her it would be okay, but how do you tell someone so small and so inexperienced that they will be okay?  I can only hope her trust in me and her daddy held her up.  Thank goodness she isn’t very shy.  I know she’ll make friends.

The hardest part for me?  I have no idea what she’s doing.  Before, at any time, I could call up her Mema or her Nana and find what was she was going, how she was feeling, talk to her…now, I have to wait until she gets home.  The hardest part of letting go is the NOT KNOWING.  The best part?  That look on her face; the excitement of learning new things, making new friends, those first steps toward independence.  It’s hard, but so worth it.

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Sunday Book Coveting

August 30, 2009 Books 4

Title: Ruined: A Ghost Story
By Paula Morris
Why? Just sounds good!  And you know me, I love that cover!

Summary: Rebecca couldn’t feel more out of place in New Orleans, where she comes to spend the year while her dad is traveling. She’s staying in a creepy old house with her aunt. And at the snooty prep school, the filthy-rich girls treat Rebecca like she’s invisible. Only gorgeous, unavailable Anton Grey seems to give Rebecca the time of day, but she wonders if he’s got a hidden agenda. Then one night, in Lafayette Cemetery, Rebecca makes a friend. Sweet, mysterious Lisette is eager to talk to Rebecca, and to show her the nooks and crannies of the city. There’s just one catch: Lisette is a ghost. A ghost with a deep, dark secret, and a serious score to settle. As Rebecca learns more fro her ghost friend–and as she slowly learns to trust Anton Grey–she also uncovers startling truths about her own history. Will Rebecca be able to right the wrongs of the past, or has everything been ruined beyond repair?


Title: Crescendo
By Becca Fitzpatrick
Why? There is no cover.  No release date. There is no plot description – well, I kinda know what it’s about, but don’t want to say.  It’s kinda spoilery.  There IS a title and an author and that is enough for me to go on. I DESPERATELY want Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick. It is the sequel to Hush, Hush which is coming on in October.  I’ve already read it, LOVED IT and now I NEED THE SEQUEL.

Title: The Court of the Air
By
Stephen Hunt
Why?
It just sounds so freaking cool!

Summary: When streetwise Molly Templar witnesses a brutal murder at the brothel she has recently been apprenticed to, her first instinct is to run back to the poorhouse where she grew up. But there she finds her fellow orphans butchered, and it slowly dawns on her that she was the real target of the attack. For Molly is a special little girl, and she carries a secret that marks her out for destruction by enemies of the state.  Oliver Brooks has led a sheltered existence in the backwater home of his merchant uncle. But when he is framed for his only relative’s murder he is forced to flee for his life, accompanied by an agent of the mysterious Court of the Air. Chased across the country, Oliver finds himself in the company of thieves, outlaws and spies, and gradually learns more about the secret that has blighted his life. Soon Molly and Oliver will find themselves battling a grave threat to civilization, an ancient power thought to have been quelled millennia ago. Their enemies are ruthless and myriad, but the two orphans are also aided by indomitable friends in this endlessly inventive tale full of drama, intrigue, and adventure.

The Court of the Air is a rollicking adventure set in a fantastical Dickensian clockwork universe that will appeal to fans of Susanna Clarke and Philip Pullman.

Title: Meridian
By Amber Kizer
Why? Are angels the new vampire? Because I can totally get on that bandwagon!

Summary: Half-human, half-angel, Meridian Sozu has a dark responsibility.

Sixteen-year-old Meridian has been surrounded by death ever since she can remember. As a child, insects, mice, and salamanders would burrow into her bedclothes and die. At her elementary school, she was blamed for a classmate’s tragic accident. And on her sixteenth birthday, a car crashes in front of her family home—and Meridian’s body explodes in pain.

Before she can fully recover, Meridian is told that she’s a danger to her family and hustled off to her great-aunt’s house in Revelation, Colorado. It’s there that she learns that she is a Fenestra—the half-angel, half-human link between the living and the dead. But Meridian and her sworn protector and love, Tens, face great danger from the Aternocti, a band of dark forces who capture vulnerable souls on the brink of death and cause chaos.

So, what are you coveting this week?  Go ahead, you can tell me.

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Giveaway Winners

August 29, 2009 Books 4

giveaway

You may remember that over at my old blog I was giving away a copy of the following books; Olive Kitteridge, The Story Sisters, Fire, The Castaways, The Luxe and The Greatest Man in Cedar Hole.  Yesterday was the last day to enter, so here are the winners, thanks to that handy Random List Generator (man I love that thing!)

Olive Kitteridge goes to Rebecca at Lost in Books!

Fire by Kristin Cashore goes to Debbie D!

The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman goes to Mandy McClanahan @ MandyFish Reads!

The Castaways goes to Judy @ The International Mom!

The Luxe by Anna Godbersen goes to Lisa @ Books, Lists, Life!

The Greatest Man in Cedar Hole goes to Paula Hes!s

Congratulations everyone and I’ll be in touch.  Stay tuned, I’ve been sorting through old books, so there is no telling what I’ll giveaway next! :)

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My new home

August 27, 2009 Miscellaneous 21

Welcome!  Pull up a chair and stay a spell.  I”m still straightening up things, making it presentable, but everything should be here.  Comments are HERE, even if the posts SAY no comments.  I haven’t figured that out yet.

Let me know what you think and I know, I know, but if you could, please change your links so that they come here now. And update your feedreaders!!!

Much love!

Heather

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RIP IV

August 26, 2009 Reading Challenges 22

rip4150

Wow, it’s hard to believe it’s that time.  The time for curling up with spooky, creepy, spine-tingling stories.  The time to read the macabre, the blood-thirsty, the spell-binding.  The time for pumpkins on the front porch, for trees to be riots of color, for soups and stews, for my most favorite reading challenge of all challenges!!! It’s time for RIP IV!!!

Of course, I’m joining this challenge.  I’ve done it since the first year.  I haven’t always completed it, but I’ve always had a great time.  Go to Carl’s blog to find out more.

As usual, I have a ton of books to read that fit this category. I’ve decided to do Peril the First and the Short Story challenges.  I have lots more books I could read that fit this category, but I’ve narrowed it down to these twelve. With a whole lot of luck and help from the hubby, I hope I can finish four of them!

rip4first

1. Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (Have a gorgeous new edition I’ve been dying to read)

2. Dracula by Bram Stoker (will THIS be the year I make it through this book?)

3. My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier

4. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (I’ve been wanting to reread this one)

5. The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins

6. Ghostwalk by Rebecca Stott

7. The Ghost Writer by John Harwood

8. The Seance by John Harwood

9. Thirst by Christopher Pike (My first Pike in, like, 15 years! *fangirlscream*

10. Mr. Darcy, Vampire by Amanda Grange

11. Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin

12. The Sister by Poppy Adams

rip4short

These are the two books I plan on reading short stories from. Keeping this a little more simple :)

1. Nocturnes by John Connolly

2. The Coyote Road ed. Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling

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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

August 25, 2009 Book Reviews, Books 18

 From Heather to all of you 

Dear friends and blog readers,

I completed the most marvelous novel this past week.  Have you heard of it? It is called The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.  Isn’t that the most delicious name?  It is a story told in letters, or an epistolary novel, which is why I am writing my review in this manner.  My friends, the writing is gorgeous. Would you like a taste?

Perhaps there is some secret sort of homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.  How delightful if that were true.

Doesn’t it feel that way sometimes?  You know, the times when the right book falls into your hands at the right time?  I love those moments.  I live for them.  I read for them.

That’s one thing I love about reading: one tiny thing will interest you in a book, and that tiny thing will lead you onto another book, and another bit there will lead you onto a third book. It’s geometrically progressive – all with no end in sight and for no other reason that shear enjoyment.

Isn’t that so true?  It is definitely one thing I love about reading too.

My most favorite quote though?

Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad books.

Amen sisters.  This novel is full of tasty little morsels like that. It’s a goldmine!  You can read an excerpt here.

There is so much to gush about when it comes to this book, but I promise to try to keep the gushing to a minimum.  The main reason you should read this book is this – you haven’t met the characters.  Each and every character is delightful, will become your new best friends, and you will mourn their loss when you close the book.  Is there any higher recommendation than that? I finished this book on Saturday and I am still mourning the loss of Juliet, Elizabeth, Sidney, Dawsey, Isola (especially Isola!), Amelia, Kit, Eben, Eli…does it say something that I can remember their names when I don’t have the book here, in front on me?  

Not only are the characters delightful, the story is too.  This book takes place directly after the end of World War II.  Thousands of people have been displaced by the war, either for their own protection or thanks to the bombing of the Germans on London.  Juliet is just such a person.  The author of the hugely popular Izzy Bickerstaff Goes to War (truly, I am astounded by how much I remember when I don’t even have the book with me!) was forced to move when her flat in London was destroyed.  She has just completed her exhausting book tour when Dawsey Adams, of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, writes her a letter.  He acquired Juliet’s copy of a Charles Lamb biography and he writes for her help in finding more books about Lamb.  Juliet is, understandably, intrigued by the society name and writes back.  What follows is a remarkable correspondence that changes Juliet’s life in amazing, life-altering ways.  

authorsTruly, I can’t recommend this book enough.   I don’t know what took me so long to read it, especially since countless book buddies told me I needed to drop everything and read it, but I dug my heels in, disbelieving the hype.  What an idiot I am.  Please don’t make the same mistake.  Mary Ann Shaffer and her niece Annie Barrows have written a remarkable book.  How sad that Mary Ann passed before seeing the joy her book brought; she sounds like a remarkable person and how lucky were are to get this small piece of her.  Trust me, you will leave the book wanting to move to Guernsey to join the Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.  You may not want to eat the Potato Peel Pie though.

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for arranging for me to join the tour. 

And thanks to the publisher for allowing me to giveaway FIVE copies of the book!  Please leave me a comment and I’ll pick winners on August 31. 

USA and Canada only, please.

Please see these other reviews for more about Guernsey.

Tuesday, August 4th:  Book Club Classics
Wednesday, August 5th:  Savvy Verse and Wit
Thursday, August 6th:  Maw Books
Monday, August 10th:  A Novel Menagerie
Tuesday, August 11th:  Brimful Curiousities
Wednesday, August 12th:  A Reader’s Journal
Thursday, August 13th:  As Usual, I Need More Bookshelves
Monday, August 17th:  Books and Movies
Tuesday, August 18th:  Bending Bookshelf
Thursday, August 20th:  Books on the Brain
Monday, August 24th:  Bookworm’s Dinner
Wednesday, August 26th:  Bookish Ruth
Thursday, August 27th:  A Lifetime of Books
Friday, August 28th:  A Sea of Books
Monday, August 31st:  She is Too Fond of Books

With love,
Heather

About the book:

Title: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Written by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Published by: Dial Press (May 5, 2009)
Paperback: 304 pages
Category: Fiction – Literary
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0385341008
ISBN-13: 978-0385341004

Book clubs can check out the Reader’s Guide HERE.

AND Enter the SWEEPSTAKES by July 31st for a chance to win a trip to Guernsey with five friends from your book club!

 

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Guest Post – Annie Barrows

August 24, 2009 Miscellaneous 7

From Annie Barrows to all my blog readers

Annie Barrows
July 8, 2009

The most basic of all writing-class rules is: Write what you know.

To which I say HA!

When I began working on The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, I was in a hurry. My aunt, Mary Ann Shaffer, had written a book, set on the island of Guernsey in the English Channel, and sold it to The Dial Press, but just as the editor’s revisions came in, she fell ill, too ill to work on the book. When Mary Ann asked me to undertake the rewriting of her novel, I immediately agreed, because I wanted to help my aunt, but secretly, I fussed about adopting her voice and characters. As it turned out, I needn’t have worried. The voice, the characters, the story itself came easily. It was the island that baffled me. I was writing a novel set in a place I had never been and knew next to nothing about. Thanks to Mary Ann, the history of the Channel Islands’ Occupation by the Germans during the Second World War was more familiar to me than it probably is to most people, but the island itself was a mystery that I needed to solve—and fast. The official manuscript deadline was, bloodcurdlingly, “as soon as possible.”

So, following lifelong tradition, I turned to books and read up on Guernsey: climate, topography, population, history, language, folklore, cuisine, customs, artistic traditions, local archaeology, religion, important figures, government, relations with France and England. Okay, I thought. Got it. But I didn’t have it, not in the way I needed. In the midst of writing, I realized that the information I really needed wasn’t easily found in a book. I needed to know how far from the edge of a Guernsey cliff an apple tree was likely to grow, which beaches were accessible by trail so one of my characters could fetch saltwater when he was supposed to, if the distance between the Calais Road and the beach at La Courbière was too great for a five-year-old to walk. Most maps were uselessly vague, but I managed to find a 1932 surveyor’s map of the island at my local university, and together with a fishing map (Guernsey is a fishing destination), I pieced the answers together. I also had persnickety botanical questions, followed by even more persnickety architectural questions. By hounding the very nice people at the Guernsey Museum and the Guernsey Botanical Trust, I managed to secure the correct information.

But there was a very large missing piece, and that was the sense of what it felt like to be in Guernsey. This is close to but not precisely the same as what it looks like. The difference is this: I could read that the bushes and shrubs grew low to the cliffs and that wild morning-glory grew over them, but what’s missing from that is the sense of the relation between the two, the sense of “how it looks” that is inevitably personal and subjective. Pathetically, I logged on to the Guernsey Weather cam, hoping for scenery. It showed me the same view of the foggy harbor for days on end, which at least allowed me to understand the nature of the island’s sky. For the rest, I had to make it up.

Not surprisingly, I was terribly nervous when I finally got to visit Guernsey, long after I had turned in the manuscript, long after it was too late for me to correct errors. The ferry churned across the Channel and so did my stomach. When we arrived at St. Peter Port harbor, the first thing I did was look up to the topmost point of the city—one of the most difficult things to find out is what you can see from any given point—and heave a sigh of relief. The view from the harbor was exactly what I had hoped—and said—it was. Lucky.

The next morning, I got up early to walk to the edge of the cliffs along a twisting road that led through the very neighborhood where much of the novel is laid. I saw, now, how the road was bordered sharply by stone walls, then more lackadaisically by hedges, a fence here, and a low wall next to it. I saw blackberry bushes, and—surprise!—eucalyptus trees—and vines crawling triumphantly over everything in sight, and a field of nothing much except rabbits. Rabbits! I had never imagined rabbits. When I came to the edge of the island, the cliffs were sheared off, black and ragged, and topped with indiscriminate mixture of wildflowers, sea grasses, and cement gun emplacements left over from the war. I stood on a little point thrusting out over the Channel, took an enormous whiff of salt air and damp grass, and finally understood what Guernsey looked like.

I suppose the moral of the story is that there’s no substitute for the reality of a place, which means that the charm of travel will never cease as long as the earth endures. The other moral of the story, for me in any case, is that being in Guernsey was a lot more fun than sitting in my office doing research.

I would like to thank Annie Barrows for gracing my blog with her presence today! Come back tomorrow for my review of The Guersney Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

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Forgotten Friday – Fables: Volume 9 – Sons of Empire

August 21, 2009 Book Reviews, Books 3

 

Title: Fables: Volume 9 – Sons of Empire
Written by Bill Willingham, James Jean, Mike Allred, Joelle Jones
Paperback: 200 pages
Publisher: Vertigo (June 6, 2007)
Rating: 4/5
Bought from Amazon

It will be particularly difficult to review this book, as it is 1) Volume 9 of a series and 2) quite pivotal as well.  If you don’t know anything about the Fables graphic novels, the gist of it is that the Fables of old are real and they live in New York.  They have been forced into exile by the evil, blood-thirsty Adversary who has conquered their lands and forced them to flee into ours.  Fables like Snow White, the Big Bad Wolf, Rose Red, and Pinocchio as well as many, many, even obscure ones are among the refuges.

Through the previous volumes, we’ve come to know many of the Fables, popular and obscure, better through their memories, their actions, their alliances and their battles.  Now, the time approaches when the Fables will take up arms against the Adversary.  Also in this volume, we see Bigby and Snow, with their family; make the journey to the north to visit with Bigby’s father, the North Wind.

I can’t tell you how much I adore the Fables graphic novels.  Andi told me about them ages, upon AGES ago, and it was the first graphic novel I read.  I love fairy tales, folk tales, oral histories and the like, so these are right up my alley.  The adventure, the romance, the battles, revenge, retaliations, wars, peace, magic, mystery and more are not to be missed.  The art is gorgeous too.  Really, if you are thinking about trying a graphic novel; start with the Fables.

Also by Bill Willingham:

Oh, my gosh, are you kidding?  Too many to mention!  Just look at the Fables here.

Also reviewed by:

The Written World | Sophisticated Dorkiness | Fyrefly’s Book Blog |

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Let's Celebrate!

August 20, 2009 Books 37

giveaway

I had a great day yesterday.  I was nominated for Best General Blog!  Eeek!   To whom ever nominated me, THANK YOU!  THANK YOU! THANK YOU!  You really made my day.

I had such a great day yesterday, I am loving my new blog look, and life was so generally GOOD, that I feel like giving away something.  And so, I shall!  I am going to give away a couple of books.   Please, pick one!  I’m not sure how many winners I will have, but I know I’m going to pick several!  I like to keep it loose around here :D So, tell me which of the following books you would like to read.  USA and Canada only please.  Sorry guys!

  • The Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand – Hardback, finished copy
  • The Story Sisters  by Alice Hoffman – ARC
  • Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout – Paperback, finished copy
  • The Greatest Man in Cedar Hole by Stephanie Doyon – ARC
  • Fire by Kristin Cashore – ARC
  • The Luxe by Anna Godbersen – Hardback, has very small tear in spine of cover (it’s not horrible, very tiny)

To enter, leave your name and make SURE I have your email and tell me which of the following books you would like to have.  I’ll give you an extra entry, if you tweet about it and leave me another comment stating that you did so.  I’ll pick a winner on….August 28th.  Thanks and good luck!

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