Thursday, June 30, 2011

Winner! Literary Giveaway Hop!

As chosen by the winner of the Literary Giveaway is:


Congrats to Miri, and thanks to everyone for participating!  Be sure to enter my upcoming giveaways!

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Latest Read: The Dashwood Sisters Tell All

Goodreads Summary:
Ellen and Mimi Dodge have never been close, but their mother's dying wish sends them on a walking tour of Hampshire, England, that follows in the footsteps of Jane Austen. Their mother also left them something else: a diary that belonged to Jane's sister Cassandra. These pages shed light on the secrets that nearly tore the Austen sisters apart and inspired one of the greatest love stories of all time. They also bring Jane to life in a way that no one has ever seen before: through the eyes of her sister. As the Dodge sisters embark on their walking tour, they too are drawn together in ways they never expected. They also discover that Cassandra's diary holds secrets, and someone doesn't want Ellen and Mimi to discover the truth. As they stumble on their way toward love, the women learn how Jane and Cassandra Austen inspired the original Marianne and Elinor Dashwood and come to realize that despite their very different personalities, they are a vital part of each other's happy endings.

My thoughts:
This was my first Austen inspired book so I had high expectations...but my thoughts are a bit mixed.  Of course, it's fun to relive a beloved story; yet, the retelling is a bit too similar to the original for me.

Obviously, set in the modern era gives it a new edge but I knew exactly what was going to happen the entire time I was reading - no fun!  Ellen = Elinor, Mimi = Marianne, Colonel Tom = Colonel Brandon, Ethan = Willoughby, Daniel = Edward...and this is not at all a spoiler because the author blatantly models the modern characters after the originals - is this what all Austen-inspired books are like?  Also, Austen's masterful romantic tension is absent in this novel...the relationships just didn't have as much oomph.

If you don't mind basically rereading a contemporary Sense and Sensibility with a few tweaks, then I'm sure you'll really enjoy this novel.  However, if you want the author to take a bit more creative license with the original story, I'm afraid you'll be disappointed with the book.

3/5 stars

So, is this what all Austen-ish novels are like?  Am I not cut out for Austen adaptations?  Just curious...

Waiting on Wednesday: Sex on the Moon

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that showcases upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week I can't wait to get my hands on Sex on the Moon by Ben Mezrich.  You can get your grubby mitts on this sucker July 12th!

Publisher Summary:
Thad Roberts, a fellow in a prestigious NASA program had an idea—a romantic, albeit crazy, idea. He wanted to give his girlfriend the moon. Literally.

Thad convinced his girlfriend and another female accomplice, both NASA interns, to break into an impregnable laboratory at NASA—past security checkpoints, an electronically locked door with cipher security codes, and camera-lined hallways—and help him steal the most precious objects in the world: the moon rocks.

But what does one do with an item so valuable that it’s illegal even to own? And was Thad Roberts—undeniably gifted, picked for one of the most competitive scientific posts imaginable, a possible astronaut—really what he seemed?

Mezrich has pored over thousands of pages of court records, FBI transcripts, and NASA documents and has interviewed most of the participants in the crime to reconstruct this
Ocean’s Eleven–style heist, a madcap story of genius, love, and duplicity that reads like a Hollywood thrill ride.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading where you share a random snippet of your latest book.

This week my teaser is from The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente:

"She once saw an orange parrot in the pet store and had never wanted anything so much in her life.  She would have named it Halloween and fed it butterscotch.  Her mother said butterscotch would make a bird sick and, besides, the dog would certainly eat it up.  September never spoke to the dog again--on principle." -- pg. 6

Sunday, June 26, 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? & Mailbox Monday

Hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.  We share books that we've read over the past week and those we hope to read this week. 

Last Week:
I decided I was in the mood for some fluffy summer reads - all of which proved to be exceedingly fun:
This Week:
I just started The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland by Catherynne M. Valente and hope to have that finished shortly.  After that, I want to get to The Dashwood Sisters Tell All by Beth Patillo.  Then, I'd like to finally read Michael Koryta's The Cypress House - it's been on my TBR for far too long!  Also, Koryta lives in my town and on the off-chance that I actually bump into him...well, I should be prepared, right? 
And then I'll be going on vacation...which means I need to pack some books!  I'm thinking of bringing along State of Wonder by Anne Patchett and The Curfew by Jesse Ball since I didn't get to them last week.

Mailbox Monday is a touring meme where book bloggers share their bookish acquisitions from the week prior.  It is hosted this month by Bluestocking.

This week I made several purchases.  I bought:
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

and A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore

Winner! Midsummer's Eve Giveaway Hop

As chosen by, the winner is:


Congrats to Andra, and thanks to everyone for participating!  Be sure to enter my upcoming giveaways!
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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Literary Giveaway Hop!


I'm taking part in the Literary Giveaway Hop hosted by Leeswamme's Blog

To enter my giveaway the only requirement is to fill out the form with your name, address and email.  If you follow this blog another way: twitter, facebook, or via a GFC/email/RSS subscription you will get another (+1) extra entry for each way you follow.  Up to 3 extra entries!

You have from now until midnight this Wednesday (June 29th) to enter.  Now, onto the prizes...I polled my readers and of the literary choices given, the top two books chosen were the Penguin Classics Edition of Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen and A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan.  So, the winner will receive the book of their choice from these two books!  Just fill out this form.

Also, be sure to hop on over to the other giveaways!  See the list here.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Review Catch-Up: The Arrival and Mercury

Doing a little catch-up on my back-log of reviews by giving y'all my thoughts on some graphic novels goodness!

First up, the amazing book The Arrival by Shaun Tan

Goodreads Summary:
In a heartbreaking parting, a man gives his wife and daughter a last kiss and boards a steamship to cross the ocean. He's embarking on the most painful yet important journey of his life- he's leaving home to build a better future for his family. 

Shaun Tan evokes universal aspects of an immigrant's experience through a singular work of the imagination. He does so using brilliantly clear and mesmerizing images. Because the main character can't communicate in words, the book forgoes them too. But while the reader experiences the main character's isolation, he also shares his ultimate joy

My thoughts:
Amaaaazing!  Seriously, I'm so glad I bought this sucker.  The Arrival is just gorgeous...a book that I will thrust into the hands of anyone willing to take a gander!  There is no text in this book, but there is no need for it.  Tan portrays the difficulties of being a foreigner in a new country so well through his quirky illustrations.

If I continue gushing I'm going to insert all of those overused cliched reviewer words like "poignant" and "compelling" (which I'll admit to overusing many times myself).  So, instead I'll just say that he managed to tell a story that touched a place in my heart.  It transported me into the lives of his characters...making the unique immigrant experience more easily understood.

5/5 stars.

I also recently finished Mercury by Hope Larson

Goodreads Summary: 
August 31, 5:15 PM, French Hill, Nova Scotia: A girl named Tara is running. She runs through her nice neighborhood and up a road to the burned ruins of what was once a beautiful house—her family's house. 

August 31, 1859, French Hill, Nova Scotia: A girl named Josey is picking blackberries with her friend Connie. As the girls gossip, a handsome stranger knocks on the door of Josey's house. His name is Asa, and with his coming, Josey's life—and later in time, Tara's as well—is about to change forever.

Because there is treasure in the woods that belong to Josey's family. Gold—an untold fortune. Asa has a secret way of finding it, and his partnership with Josey's father could make them all rich. But there is darkness in the woods, and in Asa. And in the present day, Tara, Josey's descendent, is about to discover the truth about what really happened in the family's past.

Eisner award winner Hope Larson weaves together history, romance, and a touch of her trademark magical realism in this remarkable graphic novel of how the past haunts a teenage girl's present.

My thoughts:
The drawing is so expressive...I think that's one of the aspects I liked most about this novel.  Larson's expert illustrations really allowed me to connect with the characters and I happily rooted for Josey and Tara.  I became so attached to the characters that I was quite sad when the book ended...I wanted to know more about what happened to these two young girls.

There's an element of ghosts or spirits in the book and mystical occurrences which I always find to be lots of fun.  I also loved the interplay between the past and the present.  The author flipped back and forth between the two stories very frequently, which normally annoys me, but worked perfectly for this book.  Overall, I'd recommend this to those who like graphic novels, elements of the supernatural, and historical fiction - a quick fun read!

4/5 stars

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: The Last Werewolf

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that showcases upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week I'm looking forward to reading The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan...this one comes out July 12!

Summary via Amazon:
Meet Jake. A bit on the elderly side (he turns 201 in March), but you’d never suspect it. Nonstop sex and exercise will do that for you—and a diet with lots of animal protein. Jake is a werewolf, and after the unfortunate and violent death of his one contemporary, he is now the last of his species. Although he is physically healthy, Jake is deeply distraught and lonely.

Jake’s depression has carried him to the point where he is actually contemplating suicide—even if it means terminating a legend thousands of years old. It would seem to be easy enough for him to end everything. But for very different reasons there are two dangerous groups pursuing him who will stop at nothing to keep him alive.

Here is a powerful, definitive new version of the werewolf legend—mesmerising and incredibly sexy. In Jake, Glen Duncan has given us a werewolf for the twenty-first century—a man whose deeds can only be described as monstrous but who is in some magical way deeply human.

One of the most original, audacious, and terrifying novels in years.