Friday, February 27, 2009

I'm Getting Itchy

The itch. I've got the itch. I need a new book. I must have a new book! I know what book I want and I really need to go get it!

Do you ever feel that way?

It's been at least a month since I've been to a bookstore and it's getting ugly. The thing is, I did buy a book this week. I also received three from BookMooch and I borrowed one from a friend. That's a total of 4 books since Monday but it didn't satisfy my need to visit the bookstore. It's an illness. The book I want happens to start with "G" but I already have a "G" book that I'm excited about reading. That means that I wouldn't' be able to read it for several months. Doesn't mean I don't want it now. Please tell me I'm not alone!

Don't forget, I'm giving away my advanced reading copy of Whisper to the Blood by Dana Stabenow. Click here to read about the particulars. At this point nobody wants it (poor sad book) so if you want it, you've got a really good shot!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Booking Through Thursday

Today's Prompt:

  • Hardcover? Or paperback?
  • Illustrations? Or just text?
  • First editions? Or you don’t care?
  • Signed by the author? Or not?

1. Paperbacks are easier to carry around but hardcovers stay prettier. Paperbacks are better to travel with and are easier to hold, but hardcovers just feel good in my hands. I'm going to give the edge to the paperback but only because of convenience. As for collecting it's hardcover all the way.

2. I suppose it depends on the book. . . Most books I read don't need illustrations so they are really not important. I do however like the little chapter illustrations in some books, like the Harry Potter series.

3. I'm not terribly particular about the edition of a book. I don't collect rare books, I collect what I like so whatever form that takes is fine.

4. I have a few books signed by the author and it makes them a little more special than others, but it's not something I seek out. If I run across a signing or a signed copy, I might buy it but for me it's more about the book. I have some children's books that are signed by authors such as Laura Numeroff, Leo Politti, and Peggy Parrish and they are pretty special.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Book Giveaway!

I'm giving away a copy of Whisper to the Blood by Dana Stabenow. This is the advanced review copy that I received through Library Thing. It's the "Advanced Uncorrected Proof" paperback edition of the hardcover that's now in stores. There are a few typos. A few of them pretty funny ones too!

My review is here: Whisper to the Blood

Here's how to get it. . .

#1. Promise to review this, either on your blog, Amazon, Library Thing, or wherever you normally review books. As it is an advanced copy, I only think this is fair.

#2. Finish this statement: I'll read any book by this author: __________.

Answer #2 in the comments. The only purpose of this is because I'm curious as to other authors that people are devoted to. On March 1 I'll pick a random name out of a hat (maybe a bowl, I don't have any hats) and I'll contact you about getting your address. To be clear, this is a book that I've read so there are a few minor bends -it is a paperback after all!

***Due to cost of shipping, I'm going to have to restrict this to US and Canada only. Sorry.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Teaser Tuesday

Today's teaser comes from Dewey by Vicki Myron. Dewey was a library cat who after a rough start in his life found a home among the books, staff, and patrons of a small town library. So far it's a sweet story - a true story- about a cat who made a difference in many people's lives during a rough economic time (can we relate?).

From page 105:

I'd look for five minutes, then start calling his name. "Dewey! Dewey!" A dark library can feel empty when you're bending over between the stacks and looking through rows of books, but I always imagined Dewey somewhere, just a few feet away, laughing at me.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Sunflower by Richard Paul Evans

The Sunflower, by Richard Paul Evans, is a really sweet book. I've never read his books before, thinking they were all sentimental Christmas books (and most are). When a friend loaned this book to me I had few expectations and all I was hoping was that it would go quick. It ended up being a lovely story that really made me think.

The story is about Paul and Christine, two people from different places who happen to meet in Peru. Paul is a doctor who gave up medicine (for the most part) to run an orphanage in Peru, near Cuzco. After a life-changing night in the emergency room, he left everything behind to travel in South America. When he made his way to Peru, he ended up staying and running the orphanage.

Christine is a woman who was recently dumped a few days before her wedding. Her ex-fiance decided after six years that he wasn't ready to get married. Depressed and unhappy, she is convinced by her best friend Jessica to go to Peru with her to work at an orphanage and school.

I won't give away the rest of the story, but it is a love story. There is a bit of adventure, hiking through the forest, catching crocodiles, and surviving a fall in Machu Picchu and Dengue fever. The story also opened my eyes again to the global community. Through the work that Paul does with the street children of Peru, we learn about the truly horrific things that happen to children in third world countries -and here in the U.S. to a point. It's shocking and sad but yet a reality. For some people this book might be a shock to learn what goes on; to others, like me, it's a reminder.

The next question is, what can we do? The author has and orphanage in Peru and has traveled the path of the book. I admire that a lot. As for me? What can I do? Money's tight, I can't afford to take time off work to go work in an orphanage. I can send a little money here and there to charity, but does that accomplish much? I'm going to give it some serious thought. What can I do? It will be interesting to find out.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory

The Constant Princess is the story of Katherine of Aragon, who was the first of Henry VIII's wives. She was a princess of Spain, the daughter of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. She was the mother of Henry's daughter Mary (Bloody Mary).

The story began with Catalina, Infante of Spain, Princess of Wales, and future Queen of England, as a little girl living in Spain. She was beloved by her parents and brought up as a princess of both Spain and England, having been betrothed to Prince Arthur at a young age. Catalina traveled to England at the age of fifteen and married Arthur. After a trying few months, Catalina found herself in love with her husband. Not long after, he died of illness. She struggled to maintain her dignity while being tossed back and forth between her parents and King Henry VII. She fought for her place in England and eventually married Arthur's brother, King Henry VIII.

I really struggled with this book. It was well written and interesting, much like Ms. Gregory's other books on the Tudors, but I had a hard time getting into it. I suppose it was because I knew what was going to happen. There wasn't much mystery really. I enjoyed The Queen's Fool and The Other Boleyn girl more because they were about characters that I didn't know anything about. While I knew about Anne Boleyn, I knew nothing of Mary Boleyn.

I have a confession. . . I skimmed the last hundred pages or so. It was all about battles and war planning. That didn't interest me, I would have rather Katherine have some joy at the birth of Mary, but that was barely touched on. It was a bit of a disappointment over all but I still plan to continue reading her books.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Teaser Tuesday

Today's Teaser is from The Sunflower by Richard Paul Evans. I'm only 50 pages in, but I'm enjoying it so far.

From Page 240:

Anacondas raise themselves to look their prey in the eyes. It was actually taller than I am.

Frankly, I don't need to know that. I'm terrified enough of snakes without having to worry about an anaconda looking me in the eye. This book better not be about snakes. . .

Monday, February 16, 2009

Musing Mondays

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about book reviews…
Do you read any non-blogging book reviews? If so, where (newspaper, library etc)? Do you have any favourites sources you'd like to share?

I have to confess that I don't go out hunting for book reviews online unless something has peaked my interest in the book. If however, someone recommends a book to me, then I will search all over the web for reviews.

I get two weekly magazines. I get Entertainment Weekly and I get People. I always read their book reviews. I don't always agree but then again, that's the point of a review, it's one person's opinion.

I've also been known to wait until after I've read the book to look for reviews. This way I can agree or disagree with no worry of spoilers.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Interesting Facts

I've been fairly obsessed with my book collection lately. While in the past, my book obsession seemed to be about collecting and reading books, now it's about organizing (and collecting and reading). I'm blaming it on the A to Z Challenge. It made me look at books a little bit differently. I scanned the bookstores for those elusive "X" and "Z" titles. I started making lists and alphabetizing. I even made a spreadsheet of my "To Be Read" books. While adding a few books to it this morning I came up with some interesting figures.

I have 159 books in my possession that I haven't read. That is a figure based on the books that are readily accessible. I know there are more in the garage. There are also books that I didn't calculate such as devotionals, self-help books, cook books, etc. . . that aren't novels or memoirs.

Of those 159 books, 18 of them start with the letter "S", 13 with the letter "F" and 12 with the letter "L". Those are the top three letters.

There are four letters with one book each, those would be "K", "Q", "X", and "Z".

As for the authors, there seems to be an abundance of authors who's last name starts with "M" (13), "S" (9) and "H" (9). I don't have any books by author's who have a last name that begins with "I", "N", "Q", "T", "U", "V", "X", "Y", and "Z".

I think I'm officially a book nerd now.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Booking Through Thursday

Today's prompt:

Do you read any author’s blogs? If so, are you looking for information on their next project? On the author personally? Something else?

This is interesting that this topic came up today. I was just thinking this morning that I really need to re-visit the websites of some of my favorite authors. I do check Jen Lancaster's blog, Jennsylvania, every day. It's one of my favorite blogs and I'm a big fan of her writing. I check out Janet Evanovich's site every now and then to read the Q and A, which isn't quite a blog, but close.

Just recently I poked around Dana Stabenow's website because I finished one of her books and felt like I wanted to get a better handle on the back story. She's got a blog that I looked over. Maybe I'll do that in my spare time today. I'll see if some of my fave authors have blogs and look them over.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Musing Mondays

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about bookmarks…

What do you use to mark your place while reading? Do you have a definite preference? Do you use bookmarks, paper, or (gasp) turn down the pages? If you use bookmarks, do you have a favourite one?

In addition to my book obsession, I have a very mild bookmark obsession. It's been going on for years but I've never been quite so organized about it as I am now! In a corner of my To Be Read book case, I have a collection of bookmarks. Every time I finish a book I put the bookmark back and every time I grab a new book, I take a bookmark. It's been working well for me.

My preferred bookmarks at the moment are from Borders, made by the Paperchase company. They are cute and colorful. They are a hard plastic, yet flexible and have a ball chain with some sort of design on the end. They come two to a pack. I buy them anytime I see them, which isn't so often anymore.

To really answer the question, if I don't have an official bookmark on hand, I'll use a scrap of paper or even a tissue. Whatever is handy. I never dog ear the pages! That's just cruel!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Whisper to the Blood by Dana Stabenow

Whisper to the Blood, by Dana Stabenow, is set to be released on February 17th. Thanks to Library Thing, I managed to score an early reviewer copy. I did have to put my other books aside to get this read but I'm glad I did. It was a very interesting book.

Dana Stabenow was unfamiliar to me. She is evidently a prolific Alaskan writer but as I don't usually read mystery or crime novels, her books never popped up on my radar. The main character of the book is Kate Shugak. Kate is an Aleut woman living in a national park in Alaska. She lives with her wonderful dog Mutt and her foster son, Johnny. Jim, the park's police force also lives with Kate unofficially.

The story is about the people of the small town and their battles with each other and a huge gold mining company that is planning to start a mine in a portion of the park. Kate deals with murder, theft, and being a parent.

I enjoyed the book once the story really started picking up but I have to say that for me it was a slow start. I think part of the problem is that this book is 16th in a series and I jumped in blindly. I felt that there was a huge amount of back story that I was missing. I'm sure it's a fine balance for a writer in this situation. Do you create a book that reviews all the finer points, thus boring your faithful reader or do you create a book that fills in gaps now and then while advancing the storyline? She went for option two which was probably a good thing.

Next time I feel the need to buy a book (it comes along every so often) I'm going to look and see what else of hers I can find. I'm sure that followers of the series, will enjoy this new installment and if you are new to Dana Stabenow's writing, give it a shot. There is a bit of humor among the serious subject matter. I laughed out loud in a few places. That's always a good thing!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Booking Through Thursday

Today's prompt. . .

Have you ever been put off an author’s books after reading a biography of them? Or the reverse - a biography has made you love an author more?

I have to say that I rarely bother with reading an author's biography until after I've read a book -and liked the book. I always read the little blurb on the back cover or in the back of the book. It's always nice to know where the author lives, whether they are married, have kids, pets, etc. . . but there usually isn't too much info there. If I loved the book, I'll seek out the author's web page to read more about them. Usually it results in positive feelings.

I can't think of any author that I've decided I didn't care for as much because of their biography. If I liked their book enough to seek out more info, I most likely went into it with a positive attitude. I'm sure if someone said that they kicked small puppies or hated blonds I might have issues, but so far so good.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Teaser Tuesday

Today's Teaser comes from The Rumpelstiltskin Problem by Vivian Vande Velde. This is a children's book that I've been reading for um. . . let's just say about five years. I pick it up now and then but never focus on finishing it. It contains five (or maybe six) different versions of the story of Rumpelstiltskin.

From page 30:

Then, just as they had done the previous night, Rumpelstiltskin brought armloads of gold from between the particles while Della threw straw out the window. But this time Della knew the king would be pleased, so instead of worrying, she and Rumpelstiltskin talked and laughed together as though they were old friends.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Musing Monday

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about book stores…

How do you choose what do buy from your local bookstore? Do you have a list, or just browse? What is the selection in your book store like? Do you find what you're looking for? Do you feel pressured to buy the kind of books the store makes prominent? (question courtesy of MizB)

I usually have something in mind when I hit the bookstores. It's either a new book by a favorite author, a recommendation for a friend, or the next in a series that I've been reading. Sometimes I read a good review in a magazine or on a blog and I'll hunt for those books as well. I usually have a post -it note stuck in my purse with a few books or authors to look for.

I always scan the new releases and the displays though. You never know when you'll find a great book that you've never heard of. If I have time, I'll wander the aisles and see what pops out at me. Something always does. I do have a bit of a book budget though so I can't always buy everything I want. My new technique is to pull out my cell phone and take a picture of the book. This way I can see if it's available on BookMooch or add it to my list to buy the next month.

I do take my book buying seriously!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Week in Review

It has not been a good reading week. I've spent too much time tooling around with other things and not enough time reading. It doesn't help that I'm just not into my books. I'm trying, I really am. It's not for lack of want or interest, I'm just not inspired to read.

The Constant Princess is a good book. It's well written and a good story, but I know how it ends. It's making it very difficult for me to stay motivated. I will finish it and I'm sure when I'm done, I'll love it like always.

Whisper to the Blood is not a book I would normally pick up because it's a mystery and I tend to read the end of books which means that mysteries aren't that fun. It's an Early Reviewer book so I feel very compelled to finish it and write my review like I agreed to. I'm just having a hard time getting into it. I feel like there is a lot of back story that I'm missing. It's 16th in a series and this is the first book I've read. Of course I'm missing back story. I do have to say that I'm feeling very affectionate for the Aunties. I think everyone needs those four ladies running their town.

I'm off to read a chapter before seeing Paul Blart; Mall Cop this afternoon. It should be funny, and I think funny is necessary.