Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 197
Series : Canongate Myth Series
Format : Mythology Re-telling Novel
Reason for Reading : 999 Challenge, to continue with the series

Sally Vickers joins the Canongate Myth series taking the tale of Oedipus. She matches him up with Psychologist Sigmund Freud who came up with his famous theory of mother loving and father hating Oedipus complex and his theory of Psychoanalysis. Sally comes up with the genius idea of having the Oracle who fortold that Oedipus would kill his father and that he would sleep with his mother appearing to Freud in his later life and telling his side of events.

Freud is ill. He has a painful cancer growing in his mouth which led to much of his jaw being removed and many painful operations. He was given his oral prothesis he nicknamed "the monster" to aid his speaking and it is during this illness that the Oracle first begins to appear. We learn of his life growing up in Delphi being dedicated to Apollo but also working with Athena who causes his blindness and Dionysis. There are some great moments of dialogue between him and Freud who cannot help trying to analyse him at intervals.

This was such a fun and interesting novel. I didn't know much about Freud's life and was interested to read about his crippling illness and his time fleeing the Nazi's against his will (his sisters were killed in concentration camps). It so ironic that Freud who needed his powers of speech so much lost them in later life. A great addition to an excellent and thought provoking series.

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 418
Series : #8 Anita Black Vampire Huntress
Format : Urban Fantasy Novel
Reason for Reading : 999 Challenge, to continue with the series

Anita Blake is back with an ever increasing number of men around her! Richard (her werewolf ex-fiance) has been away studying and has been acused of raping a woman there. Anita runs to his rescue pissing off Jean Claude, but agreeing to take a collection of vampires, werewolves and wereleapords for protection. Going into the territory of a Master Vampire to free Richard from jail is going to cause problems as Colin is interpreting this as an act of aggression and looking to take over his territory.

When they get to the jail they are able to post bail for Richard who has been dating a variety of human and were women. It seems he won't have full sex with the human women in case he changes or is too violent, but he is working through his sexual hang ups with the were animals where he doesn't have to hide who or what he is. The sexual tension is still major between him and Anita who never slept together when they were in a relationship. Somehow they find time to get down and dirty between rotting vampires, magic human servants, saving trolls and corrupt policemen. Unfortunately Richard's family get caught up in the action when his brother and mother are kidnapped by the evil Mr Niley and his henchman.

Another great and gripping read. Lots of unpleasantness and I cannot stress enough this series is not for the screamish or sensitive! Some rather nasty things happen to Richard's family that don't even bear thinking about, but luckily they make it out ok. Anita's life is so complicated with her many many men, but it looks like she has finally found a mentor who can help her regain some control. I'm looking forward to the next in the series, although popular opinion is they go a bit downhill from here for a while.

Monday, April 27, 2009

This challenge was hosted with it's own blog here which kept track of all the reviews. The challenge was to read 10 award winning books that won between them at least 5 different genres of awards between 1/10/08 - 1/6/08. I picked a list of 10 possibles and some alternatives. The final list of books I read with links to their reviews are below:

1. Stardust - Neil Gaiman (Mythopoeic Award)
2. Sunshine - Robin McKinley (Mythopoeic Award)
3. The Inheritance of Loss - Kiran Desai (Man Booker)
4. The Complete Maus - Art Spiegelman (Pulitzar)
5. Gilead - Marilnne Robinson (Pulitzer)
6. The Tale of Despereaux - Kate DiCamillo (Newbery)
7. A Wrinkle in Time - Madeleine L'Engle (Newbery)
8. Journey to the River Sea - Eva Ibbotson (Nestle Gold Medal)
9. The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman (Newberry)
10. The Gathering - Anne Enright (Man Booker)

I really must read all the Mythopoeic winners and nominations at some point. I haven't yet read one I haven't enjoyed. I read some great books for this challenge and loved most of them. Rather than picking a favourite which is really difficult, I am going to say the the only book I didn;t really enjoy at all was The Gathering by Anne Enright. It was just pretty grim and dull to be honest.

Rating : 3.0/5
Number of Pages : 192
Series : #2 Vassalord
Format : Manga
Reason for Reading : 999 Challenge, alternative for the Manga Challenge

The continuing saga of Charley, catholic Priest turned homosexual vampire! He is sent on the Vatican's dirty work once more with maker and vampire playboy Johnny Rayflo. The two take an airplane ride anddiscover a surprise. There is a young woman on board and the three of them end up jumping out of the plane at high altitude. Johnny shares his blood with the mystery woman which makes Charley very jealous! As the plot begins to unfold, it turns out the girl is an actress who has recently been turned into a vampire. It looks like someone is selling people the secrets of vampirism and it is connected to a mysterious "Vassalord".

We also learn more about Arnold Paole, the ancestor of Cheryl. He was taken by a vampire but refused to become his slave. Later he was killed but the story says he did end up becomming a vampire himself. We also follow the side story of young crippled boy Harold Wayne. It seems like his family have tried to kidnap him and the boys want to find out why.

The action is thick and fast and it is slightly less confusing than the first installment. I am interested to read more and am finding I have a soft spot for Charley and Johnny and their devious ways!

Rating : 3.0/5
Number of Pages : 192
Series : Princess Ai
Format : Manga
Reason for Reading : 999 Challenge, alternative for the Manga Challenge

An interesting collection of stories about Princess Ai (a character based on Courtney Love). Each story is written by a different author and artist and some include characters from other TokyoPop series. For example there is a story "Missing" by Sang-Sun Park which includes characters from her Tarot Cafe.

The stories weren't that great, but it was a great way to showcase other TokyoPop talent. It was a good read for completions sake for the series and there was a preview of the new Princess Ai series "Prism of the Midnight Dawn" which I am looking forward to reading. Of the 10 authors and artists there are definitely some I will be checking out further so I suppose the collection served its purpose.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Rating : 4.5/5
Number of Pages : 173
Series : Canongate Myth Series
Format : Mythology Retelling Novel
Reason for Reading : 999 Challenge

A re-telling of Angus, a Celtic figure who was the son of the Dagda and a water spirit Boann. Angus comes in the night and bestows dreams and this tale is a mixture of the original myth and stories of people set in our current time. Boann is married to another man when Dagda sees her and desires her. After she becomes pregnant he leaves her but returns to take Angus when he is born against her wishes. When he grows into manhood he tricks his father out of his Kingdom and later falls in love with a woman he sees in a dream. She is someon unattainable who turns in to a swan for alternate years. The ending of Angus' story is beautiful and has the two finding happiness together.

The tale is interspersed with fragments and dreams of more modern people. The final story was my favourite and is of a woman whose husband has been having an affair. She leaves him and enters therapy. One night she dreams that she stands up to her husband who then reaches out to her saying he had long hoped she would come but was too afraid to ask her. Soon after she drives past their old house and he comes over to her and reaches for her through the car window. It was a beautiful tale and a lovely way to finish this enchanting short novel.

This is one of my favourites so far in the series and I am definitely interested in reading more of McCall Smith's writing. Recommended for anyone with a passion for mythology or a damn good story.

Rating : 3.5/5
Number of Pages : 213
Format : Teenage Fiction, Fantasy
Reason for Reading : 999 Challenge, because I love Charles de Lint!

Firstly how can you not fall in love with the cover? I have searched for who the artist is but can't find a reference anywhere. I did find that the girl is his niece Kmoré as the model who seems extremely beautiful. The tale follows Miguel who is in high school. He falls hard and fast for new girl in town Lainey. She has just moved from Australia with her step father and dog Em to just outside Newford (a regular setting well known to Charles de Lint fans). Miguel finds her hard to fathom at first as one day there is a major connection between them, but the next she is blank and seems like a different person entirely.

School bully Johnny is also hanging around her, always following at a distance. When both boys start to have dreams about being in the Autralian outback talking to a man trapped in a tree they have to talk to each other and try to figure out just what is going on. Everything seems centered around the dog who is in fact a dingo and it turns out that Lainey and Em are more than your average girl and her dog. Animal archetypes and ancestors soon make their appearance and it is up to the boys to help. There is always a price though and will it be too much for Miguel and Johnny.

I have tried not to give too much away. I very quickly guessed the truth about Lainey and Em but that did not spoil my enjoyment of the tale. A beautiful mixture of myth and fantasy that de Lint is famous for. Honestly though it is not my favourite of his novels so far. I think looking back that it is because the narrator is male. Funnily enough he seems to write his female characters more realistic and understandable than his male ones. A short read, it is a stand alone novel and recommended for young teenagers upwards.

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 457
Series : #1 Castle Waiting
Format : Graphic Novel, Fairy Tale
Reason for Reading : Once Upon a Time Challenge III

Castle Waiting is the first collection of fairy tales and mythology from Linda Medley. They continue fairy tales from the "hasppily ever after" centering around the Castle where Sleeping Beauty lived. After she left with her Prince it becomes something of a haven and safe place for people looking to escape and move on with their lives without interruption. There are some of the original inhabitants from the castle who help out when new people arrive.

The story mostly follows pregnant Lady Jain Solander. She left her husband after the father of her child (not her husband in case you were wondering) dies. She is quickly accepted by most of the castles inhabitants (Rackham a bird man, Iron Henry a handy man, Simon and his mother, Dr Fell and Sister Peace of the Order Solicitine to name a few). Through her we learn the stories of the castles inhabitants as she gets to know them and they are loosly based on many different fairy tales and myths.

This was a lovely collection and a must for all fairy tale lovers. It had simple yet lovely artwork and is a real labour of love. My favourite story was that of Sister Peace who is from an Order of Bearded Nuns. She spent some time in a circus where she tended bar before finding her calling which is helping others. Volume two is due for release I believe and I am very much looking forward to catching up with my favourite characters and hopefully meeting some new ones.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Rating : 4.5/5
Number of Pages : 375
Series : #3 Imaginarium Geographica
Format : Teenage Fiction, Fantasy
Reason for Reading : Once Upon a Time Challenge III, to carry on with the series

John and Jack are back with their friend Hugo Dyson. They have recieved a manuscript from Charles and have decided to begin training Hugo has a backup Caretaker. The manuscript is from the sixth centuary and has a message written in what looks like blood signed by Hugo himself. He confirms the writing is his and it concerns the Holy Grail and they go outside for a walk. In the grounds around Oxford University they find a door with a carving of the Grail appears from midair and Hugo walks through it. The other two try to call him back but he disappears.

A search and rescue party of badgers appears sent specially to appear on this day, place and at this time. Thus begins the journey of Jack and John into a world where things are vastly different. They meet up with Chaz (who Charles turned out to be in the different world) and Bert who is missing a few limbs. They need to travel through time using clues left by Jules Verne to find out the true identity of the Cartographer and Mordred and stop him from changing the world.

This was somehow quite different to the feel of the first two books in the series. It was more focused, slightly less action packed with more of a linear plot despite all the time travel. It brought in ideas of divinty, christianity and the Grail mysteries. I love that it was based on a real evening between the three characters and led to one discovering his true faith. I am so excited to read the fourth book The Shadow Dragon, although it would be good to have a new villian.

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 342
Format : Fantasy, Fairy Tale Novel
Reason for Reading : Challenge with Nymeth 2, Once Upon a Time III Challenge

Morag and Heather are two Scottish fairies who have become severely lost and have ended up in New York seperated from their friends. They meet Dinnie who is a lowlife human and try to convince him that drunken fairy vomit surely smells sweet to humans! Heather and Morag have a complicated history that involves them arguing a lot over who is the best fiddle player. Morag storms out and finds another human, Kerry, who is suffering from Crohns Disease (a painful disease that doesn't have a cure or a real understanding of the cause that affects the digestive system and intestines).

All Kerry wants is to beat her evil ex boyfriend Cal in a local community competition. He was supposed to teach her all the guitar solos to The New York Dolls but he bailed on her when he found out about her disease. In retalliation she is making a Celtic flower alphabet that will kick his version of A Midsummer Night's Dream to the curb. She has a very rare triple bloomed poppy, but what with one thing and another it keeps getting lost and stolen by tramps, fairies and Cal. Mostly it is taken by Magenta who believes she is an ancient Greek General who is surprisingly spry and quick witted.

Meanwhile Petal and Tulip are living in Central Park with a couple of other lost fairies. They have scaped their tyranical father who is opressing all the British fairies and looking to take over Scotland. The two sets of fairies come up against different races of fairies, Chinese, Black and Itallian as they accidentally step into their territories. It looks like a full scale fairy war is beginning and the Fairy King of England has found a way to bring his army over to New York.

This was very readable and I really enjoyed it. The only critisism I have is that one of the threads of the story didn't go anywhere and I was really hoping it would. It concerned the dying tramps on one particular street and was never really resolved. Other than that minor issue it was a great blend of fantasy, fairy tale, folklore, sadness and humour. Definitely recommended and I will definitely be checking out more books by Millar.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Rating : 3.5/5
Number of Pages : 123
Format : Literary Fiction Novel
Reason for Reading : Guardian 100 Greatest Books Challenge

Written in French this is the first novel of Albert Camus (L'etranger). It begins with the main character finding out his mother had died and going to her funeral. He is a very reserved man and rarely seems to show any emotion. At the time his lack of emotion at his mother's funeral is not a problem, but it comes back to haunt him later on. He meets a woman (Marie) who falls in love with him and wants to marry. He is not really bothered either way, but agrees to her request. He befriends several people in his building of unsavory character and ends up going away with Raymond (he beat up his girlfriend after he suspected she was cheating on him) and Marie. There there is a confrontation with some men who are following Raymond as one is the brother of the lady he beat up. Afterwards the protagonist ends up going back and killing the brother

The second part of the story is very different. He has been arrested and the prosecuter is trying to make it look like it was a pre-meditated murder. His behaviour at his mother's funeral is taken into account and seen as being unfeeling and inappropriate. He had written a letter for Raymond to his girlfriend essentially inviting her over so Raymond could beat her up. Again this is taken as him instigating violence and he had not called the police when the fight was going on. He seems to antagonise the judge and his lawyer as he won't lie and he again seems to have little or no emotion. Only after he explodes at a priest while waiting for his death (he is sentenced to death by guillotine) does he find peace internally.

A very interesting novel. The translation was very readable and seemed to preserve the original intent of the tale. It's interesting how the evidence mounts up against him and makes him look like the whole thing was planned when in fact it wasn't. The style is supposed to be very American with short sentences and it was a good way to tell the story making it very powerful despite its short length.

Rating : 3.0/5
Number of Pages : 280
Format : Literary Fiction Novel
Reason for Reading : Guardian 100 Greatest Books and What's in a Name 2 Challenge

This book was sadly never finished by Kafka before he died in 1924. He began writing it in 1922 and it was first published after his death in 1926. It tells the story of K who is a surveyor. He is summoned to the castle, but when he arrives he is not granted admittance and it seems he was summoned by accident. He stays though and keeps trying to find ways around his exclusion and tries petitioning various people and officials.

He meets Freida at one of the bars and after a tumble under one of the tables they end up engaged and living together. They are thrown out of the bar after the landlady falls out with K who generally seems to misunderstand and rub everyone up the wrong way. They end up living in a school room which is less than ideal with K's two unwanted assistants who keep getting him in more and more trouble!

It's a strange novel and I never quite understood why K didn't just leave. There seemed no point in staying and I am sure he said he had a family (which I assumed meant wife) at the start. I liked the Barnabas character and his two sisters who unforatunely didn't get on with Freida at all. It's a shame it was never finished, it ends in the middle of a sentence in fact. I would love to have seen how it all played out and what became of K.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

So the read-a-thon is now over. I dozed off a few times by accidet, but made it on through to the end woo! Here are my final stats:

Books read : 7
Pages Read : 214, Total 1843
Time Spent Reading : 40 mins, Total 1085 mins

End of Event Meme

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?
There were four that I found really difficult, hours 16-19. During this time I fell asleep for about 2 hours on and off accidentally and found it very difficult to focus on what I was reading.

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
Castle Waiting and The Good Fairies of New York were both great and highly entertaining.

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
Nope it was a lot of fun! Oh hopefully next year I will get my husband to join in with me.

4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
The cheerleaders were great this time around and there were some fun mini challenges. I really enjoyed the colour challenge ordering blocks of colour according to their hue.

5. How many books did you read?
7 in total in the end with a little time to spare to update some bits of my blog afterwards.

6. What were the names of the books you read?
- The Good Fairies of New York : Martin Millar
- The Indigo King : James A Owen
- Castle Waiting : Linda Medley
- Dingo : Charles de Lint
- Dream Angus - Alexander McCall Smith
- Princess Ai Encoutners : Various
- Vassalord v2 : Nanae Chrono

7. Which book did you enjoy most?
Hmm possibly The Indigo King as I adore the series but The Good Fairies was also a lot of fun. Honestly there was nothing I read though that I didn't like a lot.

8. Which did you enjoy least?
I loved them all, but as always Vassalord is the most random!

9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?
I wasn't but keep up the great work guys :)

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
Yes I would love to participate again as a reader.

Books read : 5
Pages Read : 188, Total 1629
Time Spent Reading : 50 mins, Total 1045 mins
Currently Reading : Princess Ai Encounters - Various

I enjoyed Draem Angus a lot. The final story was really moving with his hand coming through the window at the end saying he had wanted to call her but didn't think he should *sniff*. I am now most of the way through Princess Ai Encounters which is a manga where Princess Ai meets different characters from other Tokyopop series drawn by different artists. It's a great way to discover new series and cool artwork.

Books read : 4
Pages Read : 150, Total 1441
Time Spent Reading : 100 mins, Total 995 mins
Currently Reading : Dream Angus - Alexander McCall Smith

Alex has got up and gone to work. Morgaine also spent some time being extra friendly and demanding I stroke her bless. She is such a lovely cat. I have nearly finished Dream Angus and will probably read some manga to finish off the read-a-thon for the last 2 hours. Possibly some Princess Ai and the second Vassalord unless something else takes my fancy at the last minute. I made it through my tired slump and am just about holding it together. I am debating whether to go straight to bed afterwards as it will be 1pm here in the afternoon, but I have a very long week next week so could do with some sleep. Hmm decisions decisions...

Books read : 4
Pages Read : 60, Total 1291
Time Spent Reading : 45 mins, Total 895 mins
Currently Reading : Dream Angus - Alexander McCall Smith

I finished Dingo which I did enjoy, but was not my favourite Charles de Lint novel. I think it is the first of his I have read where the narrator is male. Next I have just picked up Dream Angus which is a retelling of Angus, a figure from Scottish and Irish Celtic Mythology. It isn't a tale I know so it will be interesting to give it a try. It is part of the Canon Gate Myth Series which I have really enjoyed so far.

Read-a-Thon Mini-Challenge: Honouring Dewey

I was so shocked and saddened to hear Dewey had passed away. I had had an email from her not long before the news came out to set up my secret santa. This is my second read-a-thon and I thoroughly enjoyed the first one I did. I loved her site and her posts, she did wonders for the community often instigating great projects and I am so happy to see them continuing. My favourite challenge she ran was The Graphic Novel Challenge which inspired my current Manga Challenge. It's about pushing the boundaries and trying new things, something she was great at promoting. I hope her legacy to all book bloggers (and knitters!) long continues.

Books read : 3
Pages Read : 80, Total 1231
Time Spent Reading : 60 mins, Total 850 mins
Currently Reading : Dingo - Charles de Lint

The last 4 hours have been really difficult. Twice I have drifted off for about an hour each time, but when I wake up I have been reading again and carrying on. I think I need to pace for a little bit to wake myself up properly and seriosuly change my reading position, no more lying down! The sun has come up here, it's now 8:0am and hopefully the tieedness will pass now I feel like it isn't the middle of the night anymore. I will hopefully finish Dingo in the next hour or two and then start something new.

Books read : 3
Pages Read : 78, Total 1151
Time Spent Reading : 60 mins, Total 790 mins
Currently Reading : Dingo - Charles de Lint

I decided to pick up Dingo by Charles de Lint. I was hoping to read something by him during the 24 hours and noticed this had won the World Fantasy Award. This means it can count as my final Book Awards Challenge novel meaning I have now completed the challenge. Next week I will make sure all my reviews are up to date and do a wrap up post.

Mini Challenge - Rereading

Here’s the challenge:
1. Go back to your blog, and tell us about the books you’re rereading during the mini-challenge. Maybe post a picture of each book and describe why you love it enough to reread it.
2. Go back to your blog, and give us a list of your top favorite rereads of all time. You know, those books that you can go to time and time again for comfort and escape. Again, pictures are good. :)

Well I am not rereading any books for this challenge, I have so many new ones to read before going back to old favourites. I do have a few books though that I can go back to enternally (sorry to sleepy to find pictures):
- The Faraway Tree Books : Enid Blyton
- Redwall : Brian Jacques
- Interview with the Vampire and all things Anne Rice
- His Dark Materials : Philip Pullman

Books read : 3
Pages Read : 193, Total 1073
Time Spent Reading : 110 mins, Total 730 mins
Currently Reading : Not sure yet!

I just finished Castle Waiting which was a lot of fun ( I loved the bearded nuns best). This is the last of the books I definitely wanted to finish for the read-a-thon and I am on to my bonus pile now. I haven't decided what to read next, will see what takes my fancy. I have now made a decent start to the OUAT III Challenge as well as finishing my first book for my challenge with Nymeth woot.

Books read : 2
Pages Read : 285, Total 881
Time Spent Reading : 110 mins, Total 620 mins
Currently Reading : Castle Waiting - Linda Medley

I finished The Indigo King and adored it. Now I am reading a graphic novel, Castle Waiting by Linda Medley and finding it hard to put down...

Mid-Event Survey:
1. What are you reading right now?
Castle Waiting - Linda Medley

2. How many books have you read so far?
2 and am half way through my third

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?
I don't know as I haven't decided yet what to read after this one, it depends how tired I am to be honest as here it's now 2:05am

4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day?
Yes I cancelled dinner today with my mother-in-law and told my best friend Mariel I would speak to her on Monday instead of today. I also told my mum not to call me over the weekend!

5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?
Mariel called and I asked her to call back Monday. She was very understanding and didn't take it personally luckily as she is a blogger as well :)

6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?
How tired I have been in the last 2 hours, I feel like such a light weight.

7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
Hmm not really although I am hoping to get my husband to participate along with me so we can cheer each other on.

8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year?
Nothing so far, but ask me again at the end!

9. Are you getting tired yet?
Yes, I was fine until about 2 hours ago. I think it was having dinner that did it...

10. Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is working well for you that others may not have discovered?
If you get tired read a graphic novel or manga :)

Books read : 1
Pages Read : 34, Total 596
Time Spent Reading : 25 mins, Total 510 mins
Currently Reading : The Indigo King - James A Owen

Dinner was good but gave half to my husband to finish for me as was over ambitious. Back to my book and should finish it in the next hour woo. It's very different from the first two in the series (Here, There Be Dragons & Search for the Read Dragon), but definitely very enjoyable.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Books read : 1
Pages Read : 54, Total 562
Time Spent Reading : 40 mins, Total 485 mins
Currently Reading : The Indigo King - James A Owen

I want to keep reading as I have about 50 pages left of The Indigo Dragon and it is drawing to a dramatic conclusion, but it is now 11:08om here in the UK and I feel a need to finally eat my dinner so am having a short break to make food and eat before continuing with my book. I will hopefully get some reading done in the next hour and hopefully start a new book soon.

Books read : 1
Pages Read : 62, Total 508
Time Spent Reading : 50 mins, Total 445 mins
Currently Reading : The Indigo King - James A Owen

Mini Challenge: Books to TV Cross Over

Search your memory for books and book series that might also work as a TV series. Which are they, and do you already have some actors in mind for them? (If so, you might even post links to a photo of the actor!)
- I would like to see Darren Shan's Vampire series made into a television series. I don't have any actors in mind though at the moment.
- Also The Goose Girl books by Shannon Hale, but again I have no actors in mind.
- The Imaginarium Geographica Series by James A Owen (I know the first has been signed up to be made into a film but a series might work better).
- Slam by Nick Hornby with Tony Hawkes playing himself of course and maybe Toni Colette as the main characters mother

Now think about the movies or TV series you've watched. Which of them would you read as a book as well? What are they about and what genre would they be?
- Pushing Daisies would make a great Fantasy Detective series.
- Pi would be an interesting read if it were a Sci Fi book.
- Extras (a UK comedy) would make a good Comedy series of books
- Ugly Bettey would be a great Chic Lit series too
- The Goonies, I would so read that book!

And finally, think about the books that have already been made into a movie or a TV series. And what about those movies and TV series that were made into a book?
- There are so many great adaptations of books to movies like LOTR, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, The Secret of Moonacre, Inkheart, Bridge to Terabithia.
- TV series that I enjoyed were The Dresden Files (why oh why did they stop making this), True Blood (I have only seen the first 3 as I am in the UK but I adored it) and Sex and the City (very different from the novel though)

Books read : 1
Pages Read : 50, Total 446
Time Spent Reading : 45 mins, Total 395 mins
Currently Reading : The Indigo King - James A Owen

Still really enjoying The Indigo King. Just ate a bowl of lettuce as my husband made too much fun. Still curled up on the sofa with Morgaine for company while hubby watches Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow on the TV with his headphones on bless.

Books read : 1
Pages Read : 134, Total 396
Time Spent Reading : 110 mins, Total 350 mins
Currently Reading : The Indigo King - James A Owen

Sorry I didn't update at the last hour, I got really into my book. It's great so far. A mixture of Greek mythology and Arthurian mythology like the previous two in the series as we learn more about The Winter King and the Cartographer.

Library Mini Challenge

We are to answer the following questions for this mini challenge:

What is the name of your local library? What city is it located in?
Mine is at Croydon Clocktower in Croydon which is in South London/Surrey.

How often do you go to the library?
I go once a month usually unless there is a book sale.

If you're a regular, do the staff know you?
They recognise me on the second floor now just about! I know the two ladies Kate and Fiona who run the reading group each second Saturday too.

Do you browse while you're there or just pick up items you have placed on reserve? I am usually there for the reading group so always come away with the next months book. I usually get there a bit early as well though to browse.

What is your favorite thing about your local library?
Definitely the reading group. The children's section on the ground floor is a lot of fun too though. The library is in the Clocktower which also has various free exhibitions going on which I sometimes look in on. It makes it a good way to spend an afternoon for cheap!

Books read : 1
Pages Read : 42, Total 262
Time Spent Reading : 40 mins, Total 240 mins
Currently Reading : The Indigo King - James A Owen

I finished my first book and it was great, there was only one section of the plot that sadly didn't go anywhere. I will put up a full review after the read-a-thon has finished. Back to The Indigo King which is the third book by James A Owen in The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica series which I love.

Books read : 0
Pages Read : 62, Total 220
Time Spent Reading : 50 mins, Total 200 mins
Currently Reading : The Good Fairies of New York - Martin Miller and nearly finished it

Mini Challenge - Funniest YouTube Video

I am not sure how to put in the video here, but please click the link below to see some LARPers

Talking about YouTube - Lightning Bolt!

Books read : 0 still but over halfway through my first one
Pages Read : 42, Total 158
Time Spent Reading : 45 mins, Total 150 mins
Currently Reading : The Good Fairies of New York - Martin Miller

The read-a-thon is going well so far but I am getting less and less time for reading each hour somehow. I gained Merlin as well as Morgaine, but both fled when I got to up to make this post. The Good Fairies is an awesom book and I am really enjoying it so far. Highly recommended. Sad, funny and entertaining all at once. I hope everyone else is having as much fun as I am :)

So I am doing the mini challenge over at Book Grazing.

"Look through the pile and take a picture of the cover you like the best, for whatever reason. It can be the prettiest, the oddest, the brightest..." - I choose Castle Waiting which has a lovely cover below.

"Flip the book over and look at the blurb (or look on the inside of the jacket). Now here's the fun, little kid part - recreate the blurb anyway you want."

As it is a book of fairy tales I look a picture of a fairy house that Mariel gave me that is currently living on my mantlepiece with a picture of a flower fairy behind it.

I think it matches the cover quite nicely with the fairy house/castle and the flowers.

Books read : 0
Pages Read : 56, Total 116
Time Spent Reading : 50 mins, Total 105 mins
Currently Reading : The Good Fairies of New York - Martin Miller and still loving it!

Books read : 0
Pages Read : 60, Total 60
Time Spent Reading : 55 mins
Currently Reading : The Good Fairies of New York - Martin Miller and loving it

Introduction Meme:

Where are you reading from today?
Mostly my sofa in my pjs with a bright pink blanket and currently Morgaine my cat

3 facts about me …
1. I try and stay in my PJs when home as much as possible rather than bother getting dressed
2. I love cheese and will happily eat a big block of cheddar with a packet of wotsits or walkers cheese and onion crisps
3. This September I turn 29 and 12 months old and it is a little freaky...

How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours?
I have 3 that I really want to read and then a pile of possibles to pick form depending on my mood

Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)?
Just my 3 minimum books

If you’re a veteran read-a-thoner, Any advice for people doing this for the first time?
I did the read-a-thon lat time for the first time and found that in the middle in the early hours of the morning it helped a lot reading graphic novels. The pictures and smaller amount of text really helped me refocus and keep reading.

3... 2... 1... Read!!!!

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 392
Series : #7 Anita Blake Vampire Huntress
Format : Horror, Urban Fantasy Novel
Reason for Reading : 999 Reading Challenge, to carry on with the series

Anita Blake is back having chosen vampire Jean-Claude over alpha werewolf Richard Zeeman. She is Richard's lupa (like werewolf Queen) despite not being his girlfriend or a werewolf herself (she is a necromancer who shares marks of power with both Jean-Claude and Richard). Richard hasn't taken the rejection well, but must live with her choice. They live in a world where vampires, werewolves etc are recognised as legal citizens although there are factions still massively against this.

Life is never dull or easy for Anita. First she has to deal with fires being started across the city that are targeted at the monsters (mostly vampires) only. Then she has to contend with the werelepords. She killed their sadistic leader in the previous book without realising it would leave them powerless and at the mercy of all the other supernatural creatures out there. If that wasn't enough the vampire council are in town trying to get answers from Jean-Claude and Anita as to how they killed one of their most powerful members and why Jean-Claude hasn't taken the spare seat for himself.

Tonnes of violence and interesting language, not too much explicit sex (I think that comes in later books), but much is hinted at and implied. This series isn't for everyone and I wasn't too taken with it myself at first. Coming back to it after a couple of years break, I am really appreciating it much more. Either this book was a lot better than the first 6, or I am just enjoying it more. I like Anita, she doesn't take any crap (although she does have an obsession of listing her guns and knives repeatedly). I like that it is violent and sexual and there is no holding back on the language. If I was being attacked b supernatural creatures with super strength who wanted to tear my throat out, I don't think I would care who heard me swearing! Definitely a happy homecoming and I am looking forward to the next in the series, Blue Moon.

So the read-a-thon draws near. It begins in just over 12 hours at 2pm in the UK (I think anyway as we are in daylight savings time so GMT+1 - if I am wrong please let me know!) EDIT - The read-a-thon blog says start time is 1pm London time which isn't GMT but will start at 1pm just in case. The full details and sign ups for readers and cheerleaders etc are here. I have been really looking forward to this as I really enjoyed the last one which was my first. I was supposed to see my mother-in-law for dinner tomorrow but have rearranged it without telling her why and I have told my husband not to disturb me if possible. Ihave also told my mum not to call me during this time either!

I have a list of three books I definitely want to read during the 24 hours and a pile of possibles for after I finish. My three definites are:

  • The Indigo King - James A Owen (OUAT III Challenge)
  • The Good Fairies of New York - Martin Miller (Challenge with Nymeth & OUAT III Challenge)
  • Castle Waiting - Linda Medley (OUAT III Challenge)

After those we shall see. I haven't started my challenge with Nymeth yet or the OUAT III Challenge so this will be a great start.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Rating : 3.5/5
Number of Pages : 269
Series : #5 Daughers of the Moon
Format : Teenage Fiction
Reason for Reading : 999 Reading Challenge, to carry on with the series

It is the turn of Immortal Stanton to lead the story. He is in love with Serena, but has distanced himself from her to save her from further danger from the Atrox and the Regulators. Secretly he knows that the real danger is himself as he knows the Atrox must have taken him for a reason. Maybe he saw the future and saw him giving over Serena to the ultimate evil.

Stanton senses danger on the night of Halloween and is visited by famous Regulator Malcolm who is disintegrating. He has a message for Stanton, but doesn't manage to give it all before passing over. He was an immortal so Stanton is baffled by his death. Stanton is then visited by Cassandra who is now outcast, neither a Follower or a true human. She is still in love with him and will do anything to win him back even telling the Regulators of his secret love for a Daughter. A face from his past has returned and they are trying to overthrown the Atrox and become the ultimate evil. Stanton is torn between Serena and defending himself.

This was an excellent addition to the series. I loved the ending, very sad and sinister, it really left things on the edge of a cliff plot wise and I can't wait to find out what happened to the lost Daughter and if they manage to get her back.

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 371
Series : #2 Imaginarium Geographica
Format : Teenage Fiction, Fantasy
Reason for Reading : 999 Reading Challenge, to carry on with the series

John, Charles and Jack are back and recalled to the Archipelago of Dreams. They are the Caretakers of a book called the Imaginarium Geographica which is essentially a book of annotated maps about the Dream world. It seems that all of the dragon ships have been stolen and all of the children have been taken apart from Laura Glue who appears one day in Jack's garden with a set of wings.

They begin their adventure by visiting one of the previous caretakers Jamie (J M Barrie). He helps them contact Bert who takes them back to the Archipelago and they meet up with Aven. On visiting the sisters they learn that an event many years in the past has been changed by them and it has casued the future to unfold differently. They need to figure out what they accidentally changed and how to fix things.

There are lots of mythological references focusing on Greek with Jason and Orpheus taking precedance. There are also lots of fairy tale references especially Peter Pan and the Pied Piper. The action is pretty much constant and relentless as the plot keeps driving forwards. Lots of characters return from the first book as well as some new faces. Lots of twists and turns, I love the way Owen's mind works connecting different tales and myths. Again I adored this book and cannot wait to read the third installment and have heard there is a fourth due later in the year as well yay!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Rating : 3.0/5
Number of Pages : 192
Series : #1 Vassalord
Format : Manga
Reason for Reading : Manga Challenge

Where to begin even describing this manga! The main character Charley is a Catholic Priest who is also a cyborg vampire. Yes you read right. He is depatched by the Vatican to destroy rogue vampires along with his creator vampire playboy Johnny Rayflo. Charley will only take blood from Johnny to stop further sinning. There are three main stories in the first installment. The first is entitled The Confined Elagabalus where the two come up against a vampire princess who has a history with Johnny.

The second chapter is Hierocles' Delusion where Charley is called in to look at a suspicious Priest who is only conducting services at night. In the middle of a service a cross falls down with a dead girl tied to the back of it, knocking out the Priest. Charley and Johnny are caught round the back exchanging blood which doesn't look good, but they pass it off as embracing (not much better in a church). There they meet a cute young boy who is more than he seems. The third story is Fleeting Dark Abba which is a short tale about Charley when he was a young human boy and how he met Johnny.

There is a lot of violence and it is not for the easily offended! There are lots of homosexual overtones and it can be quite sacreligious at times (something I actually enjoyed randomly). The stories are a little crazy, but I did quite like it. I will continue with the series and see if it starts to make any more sense...

Rating : 3.0/5
Number of Pages : 274
Series : #2 Bath and Body Series
Format : Mystery
Reason for Reading : Cozy Mystery Challenge

India Ink the penname of Yasmine Galenorn is back with the second in the Bath and Body series. Persia is back as a sensory expert working in her Aunt's shop Venus Envy where she makes custom perfurm and aromatherapy blends for their customers. A rival firm has set in in the same town (Gull Harbour) led by Bebe Wilcox and she won't stop until she has put all of the competition out of business.

There are possible corporate espiange goings on as Venus Envy's roses are destroyed, their computer files are hacked and Persia's personal scent journal is stolen. Unfortunatley until there is proof there is nothing the police can do. To help Persia reluctantly agrees to go undercover and work for Bebe to look for dirt on the inside. Life becomes more compplicated when one of Bebe's sales girls (one of the cloned Belles) is murdered. Persia is on the list of suspects along with sexy and charming Killian who also has a score to settle with Bebe and her gang. As usual Persia is in too deep and puts herself in danger trying to save Venus Envy.

I enjoyed taking a trip back to Gull Harbour, but not as much as the first installment (Scent to Her Grave). I felt that a lot of time was spent building up the characters and that it took the plot a bit too long to really get going. It was well over half way when the murder occurred and that seemed quite late in the story to me. I will read the next in the series though as I do really like Persia and her Aunt and am interested to see how things develop with Killian.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Iceland Day Two

OK so I am finally getting around to putting up our photos from day wo of our trip to Iceland. It was the most packed day as we did the Golden Circle Tour as well as have a look around the town of Reykjavik in more depth when we returned.

The first stop on the tour randomly was Nesjavellir, a high-temperature geothermal area with a powerstation. I actually enjoyed it a lot more than I was expecting to. It was interesting to learn how in Iceland they use natual sources to get hot water and electricity. This is a picture of some of the equipment in the powerstation.

This was a small statue in the powerstation that caught my eye.

This was a typical view out of the windows of the bus as we drove to our next destination. The land is very bare but very beautiful, especially when overed with snow.

We went past a few herds of Icelandic horses, this is just one shot of a larger group. They brave the elements and freezing temperatures so well!

The next stop was an impressive waterfall, Gullfoss (The Golden Waterfall). It was a bit of a walk from the bus and it was around -7oC and snowing as well as veing very slippery. On the way to the top of the waterfall we passed some grass that had frozen very quickly and I thought it looked really pretty.

This is near the top of the waterfall. It sort of had two parts to it and this was the smaller drop. In the summertime a rainbow goes across it which I am sure is stunning. Another reason to come back! The dots are the snow that was coming down quite fast.

Another shot of the top of the waterfall from a different angle. It was a bit scary as it was very slippery and there was just this one rope to stop you going over the side. I took a lot of care beleive me taking my photos!

This is me looking freezing with the bottom part of the waterfall behind me. You can see how cold I am from my very pink face and the falling snow is clear which I like. I loved the patterns on the walls around the waterfall where the water had frozen to ice.

I was finally able to get a shot ith some trees in it. There are not many and they are all imported. I loved this little bridge over water that had frozen patches in it.

The next stop was the steam fields which are another geothermal area around the incredible spouting hot springs of Geysir and Strokkur. This is the geyser just erupting (I took a video of it as well). It had a very sulphur smell, but was such an amazing sight. This is one of the most well known in Iceland and the whole field had steam coming from different holes across it. Geysir is now inactive, but Strokker still spouts every 5 to 15 minutes and we watched it srout a few times and nearly missed our bus.

The shop had some interesting viking helmets I just had to try on!

I had a lot of fun taking pictures from inside the bus as the snow came down and stuck to the window.

After our tour we spent some more time looking around Reykjavik ultimately with the goal of finding somewhere to have dinner. We saw lots more graffiti and I liked this a lot on the side of a cafe advertsing their menu. If we go back I think I will try and track it down and try their food.

Pne last shot of our wanderings in Reykjavik. I found this in someones front garden and really liked it. I metal remaking of a paper boat.