Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sometimes You've Just Got To Read A Romance

Some people scoff at reading romances.  I don't.  Did you know that the majority of women who buy romances have college degrees?  Yep.  And romances account for a large chunk of book purchases.  I can attest to this.  I regularly stock our Romance section at our store, and sometimes women are swarming the aisles, grabbing not just one book, but multiple books.  Sometimes I will put a new release out, and ten minutes later, standing at our cashwrap, a woman will come up and buy that book.  Romance readers pay attention to favorite authors, what they've got coming out, and when.  They are very loyal to an author, and are always open to trying another author that is new to them.  

In saying that, I do like to read romances.  I don't read nearly as many as I did in my teens and twenties.  I guess finding a lovely man and being happy in my relationship has slowed down my need to know that even fictional characters fall in love and have a happy ending!    I have my own romance, thank you.

I did read a fun little romance recently.  It appears to be a holiday romance, but it really isn't.  It's called
Dating Mr. December by Phillipa Ashley.  It's about Emma and Will.  Emma has fled London after being fired from her job, and losing her boyfriend to her boss.  She ends up working in a small town in the Lake District of England.  She organizes a "nude" calendar of the local rescue team to help them raise funds for a new building.  Enter Will.  He's not only on the rescue team, but is a local businessman who has a chain of outdoor gear stores.  He's also heart stoppingly gorgeous and is not happy he's attracted to Emma.  He's Mr. December in the calendar.  Can they find love together?  

This was a fun romance.  There are some fairly  hot sections, so if you like your romances with a chaste kiss, this isn't for you.  The naughty bits are typical romance reads, and not super explicit.  Both Emma and Will are characters that are fully developed, and likeable.  I read on the back cover that this has been filmed as a movie for Lifetime Television called Twelve Men of Christmas.  I'm looking forward to watching the movie, to see how closely it follows the book.  My beef with the cover is that Emma has dark hair, not blonde.  Oh, that really irritates me!  Get the look of the heroine right, will you?!

If you want to start off the holiday season with something light, yet entertaining, pick this book up.  The author has another book out in June 2011 entitled Wish You Were Here.  

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Book Quilt--Sheer Brilliance!

The crazy ass winds we've had the past few days not only blew all of the leaves off the trees, but ushered in a freezing dip in temperatures.  So much so that I have been cold since I got up early this morning.  I'm heading to bed just to get warm.

This lead me to think about quilts.  More specifically a book quilt.  Now, I'm not talking about being a hoarder, and having a towering pile of books fall on me, trapping me under a "quilt" of books.  Although, really, as long as there were no major paper cuts, and it happened quickly, it wouldn't be a bad way to go.  

But I digress.  I have come up with the idea, now I need someone to implement it for me.  Cause, as I know, I'm not a crafty person at all--see Wanna-Be Crafter on my other blog to fully understand my ineptness as a woman of craft.  What would keep me warm on such a chilly night?  A book quilt, that's what.  A quilt made up of all the covers of books I have loved throughout the years.  How super cool neat-o mosquito that would be!  Somehow I would transfer the cover images onto quilt squares, then create a one of a kind quilt, just for me.  Hopefully this wouldn't violate any kind of copyright laws.  I will have to consult with a lawyer.  And then, maybe write, cry, and beg the illustrators to let me make my quilt.  I think this is something that would go to the grave with me.  Or urn.  You get the picture.  

So, um, anyone want to make this for me?  :) I'll be your BFF!  As long as you're not a stalker.  Then I'd just take my quilt and run.  

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Teen Reads for The Librarians

Next month we are having a Librarian Tea at our bookstore for local librarians.  We've had this the last few years, and it's been very successful.   Our Children's Department Leads and I talk about some of the new teen titles that are popular with our customers--and also, what we love.  It's really hard to just talk about 3 or 4 titles, since the teen section really is offering up some quality writing and great stories.  Paranormal is still the most popular, but historical teen novels are making a comeback.  I love historical fiction, so I've been very pleased to see more appearing on the shelves.

Two books that I'm reading for not only my pleasure, but for the Librarian Tea are both novels I've been waiting rather impatiently to arrive.  Now that they're in my hands, I'm willing to forgo sleep and TV shows to gobble them up!  They are:

Cate of the Lost Colony by Lisa Klein
Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

I'm reading Cate now and should finish her tonight, after work.  Then right into the next one!  Sometimes it's hard to decide what to read next, but I will definitely read these this week.  Then, perhaps tackling the rest of my list?  This week ends with Halloween, so I think I will continue reading my spooky stuff, with maybe a romance tossed in to balance out the dark side!  Happy reading!  Reviews on both of these books to follow.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Petty Magic by Camille DeAngelis

Perusing the New Release table at the bookstore, the red of this cover caught my eye.  Oh, thank you, whomever designed this cover!  Petty Magic by Camille DeAngelis is the perfect Halloween read.  Evelyn Harbinger is a 150 year old witch, living in the small town of Blackabbey with her sisters, nieces, and extended family.  Her sister, Helena, runs the family home as a B&B, complete with ghost.  Evelyn loves to use "petty magic" to turn herself back into her younger form, go out to bars, and pick up men for sex.  

One day, she sees Justin, who's Uncle owns a very curious and odd antiques shop, Fawkes and Ibis.  He looks just like Jonah, an American spy that Evelyn worked with, and fell in love with, during World War 2.  Can it be Jonah has been reincarnated?  

This story is very entertaining.  It's told in two parts; what's going on now, with Evelyn and Justin, and her crazy family, and Evelyn's story about working as a spy in World War 2.  Justin has no idea about Evelyn's true nature.  Can Evelyn keep up her disguise?  Will they find love together?

The characters are funny and quirky, and the world of white witchcraft is full of interesting customs, rules, and conventions.  This book worked it's magic on me--I couldn't put it down!

If you like the literary world of magical realism, this is perfect for you.  Like Alice Hoffman?  Like Sarah Addison?  You will love Camille DeAngelis.  I am eager to read whatever else she has written.  

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Full Steam Ahead

Now that I've finished with the Tudors until another interesting book comes along, I am in a bit of a pickle over what the heck I should tackle next.  I have so many books to read, I don't know if I should finish the few I have started, or begin a new one.  By my rough estimates, I have around 50 books at home I've purchased and haven't read yet.  I just can't believe I have so many!  Plus a few on my NOOK, too.  I don't count those, since they're not taking up any space at home.  Going on Goodreads  has given me even more books to find that are coming out in the next few months.  So I don't forget them, I just add them to my "To Be Read" Bookshelf on the website.  I have so many listed, it only shows four pages out of--gosh--I just don't know-- on my widget.  

I think that my countdown to 100 books for 2010 is going pretty well, considering the books I am reading are an average of 250-450 pages.  I am finding myself planning my day around reading.  I am still getting up a bit earlier in the morning to read before work, too.  I used to put the TV on, and catch the news, but I'm turning it on less and less and turning to my books even more.  On the bright side, I've had a few inquiries by customers at work about me having a book talk.  This year is out of the question--too much to do, and I don't need the pressure of getting prepared for it.  So, I'm thinking of maybe mid to late January.  That would be a good time for some new book goodies for everyone to relax after the holidays.  

It will be a challenge to get in my usual amount of reading in December--work will be overwhelming, and not much time off the last two weeks of December.  Plus, of course, getting ready for Christmas. 

 So, November is going to be a really busy reading month!  Stay tuned for lots of reviews.  I don't always review every book I read, just what I think others will like and what I want to share.  And who knows?  If I hit my 100th book before December 31st, I may have to have a giveaway...

Monday, October 18, 2010

Wolf Hall--Yes, Professor, I've Completed My Final Essay Question

Well, I swore by all that was holy on my other blog Aeracura--A Blossoming Life that I would finish Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel.  And I have.  Please, no applause.  It was a journey full of falling asleep after reading two pages, wistfully staring at other books I desperately wanted to read, and  trying not to succumb to the cloud of gloom that looms over the Tudor period in history.  Good God, these people probably all would have taken anti-depressants and anti-anxiety pills along with being raging alcoholics if they had the technology in 1530.  Instead, it was hair shirts and torture in the Tower.  Not only did they have to be afraid of Henry the 8th, but watch their step with each other.  It was very much, "today you are the favorite."  Woe to the man who becomes too close to the King; the others will find a way to take you down, chop your head off, and take all your toys--ahem--I meant estates and stuff.  

And Anne Boleyn?  Well, I've always been fascinated by her.  Hilary Mantel does a great job looking at Anne through Thomas Cromwell's eyes.  First, he's wondering, "what's the big deal with her?  I just don't see it."  (I am not directly quoting; just an FYI).  But, as he draws closer into Henry's world, and with it, Anne's fascination, he begins to understand just what it is about Anne that makes her irresistible.  Oh, I would so love to meet Anne today!  I bet she would be a--word rhymes with witch--on wheels.  

This book is hard to follow if you have no clue about all the craziness that Henry's 7 year infatuation with Anne caused in England, and the world.  Religion was in an uproar, Queen Katharine and Princess Mary were shoved aside and treated horribly, and all because Henry wanted a son.  He had no clue what he created when Anne gave birth to Elizabeth.  I think he would have been very proud of her.  

So read Wolf Hall if you really really enjoy historical fiction that is accurate to the nth degree.  Stop and surf the internet for tidbits about characters in the book.  But by all means, make sure you read it with other people, so you can discuss.  I'm looking forward to discussing it in my book club tomorrow night.  I just hope I'm not the lone wolf--he he.  

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I Am Number Four--A Surprise Favorite Teen Read

Ok, so this book has been in our Teen section at work for a looong time.  I had heard from a few people that it was slow moving, so I felt no compelling reason to read it.  

Until two weeks ago.  I took a giant step and got a library card.  I have never had a library card in my life.  I sound like a snob, but I like to own my books, and also to support my workplace ( a bookstore, lucky me!) I buy my books.  But in order to understand the wonderfulness of our local metro library system's ebook program, I had to get a library card.  With that, I downloaded the library program to my NOOK and looked for something to check out.  I Am Number Four popped up, and it was available for check out, so I did.  For 14 days, it was free for me to read on my NOOK.  Tomorrow it disappears off my NOOK and back to the library, for another patron to enjoy.  Today was a massive reading session, to finish this book.  And I am so glad I did!  

The novel starts out kinda slow, and I think this can give people the wrong impression.  But stick with it, cause it  may start off walking, but it ends up galloping to the exciting end.  John Smith and Henri are two people who never stay very long in one place.  John  and Henri have been on the run since they landed on Earth from another planet.  John and 8 other children are the last hope for their planet to defeat their mortal enemies.  John is number four--and the first three kids have all been killed.  John is next.  Can he stay hidden from the Mogadarians who are relentlessly hunting down these kids and killing them before their powers develop?  Oh, and John meets a lovely young woman, Sarah, who captures his heart and makes him long for a normal "human" life.  

This was a great science-fiction teen read for both teens and adults.  The movie comes out in February, 2010 and I will certainly see it!  I watched the trailer and it looks pretty darn good--I just hope they follow the book.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

More Books! Oh Geez, More Books

Fab Poster
I can't resist a bargain book at the store when it's under $3.00 and it's a trade paperback.  So, I ended up buying 4 more books on top of a few new teen paperbacks that just came out this week.  And the new Ken Follett.  Oh lordy, I'm back in my overwhelming state of bookiness.  

I also found a few new hardcovers that I really want to read, so this week, in between assigned readings of Wolf Hall, I will attempt to get them read, too.  A few days off is just not enough!  I have managed to keep the TV off, and that keeps me reading.  I'm waking up earlier than I need to so I can read before I start my day.  When Bud's not over, I'm reading.  I think that's what I do for most of my day, when I'm not working.  

I've signed up with Good Reads so I can see pretty pictures of my books.  I've added two lists to my blog:  one of books I'm currently reading, another of books I have lined up to read next.  Of course, I will try my best to keep adding everything, but I can't promise I'll be on track.  It's a lot of work to write about all the books I read!  Reviews, ratings, blogs; it's working itself into my time to get other stuff done--like housework and exercise.  

Ah well.  You can click on my Good Reads widgets and go to my lists on their site.  I'm working on getting my lists more complete, and adding some reviews.  It's constantly under construction, so keep checking.

Happy Reading!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Point Well Made

October Print

I think this poster says it all, yes?  Cool nights, gentle breezes, and the rustling of leaves usher in a wonderful time to relax and enjoy a spooky tale or two.  October is a crazy busy month for most of us, so take a small piece of your day to escape in a good book.  

Friday, October 8, 2010

More Ladybug Farm! Yeah!

This trio of books is just wonderful.  Really.  Three friends in their 50's: Bridget, Lindsey, and Cici, decide to sell their houses and buy a farm in Virginia to retire and do what they each love best:  cook, paint, and create.  Unfortunately, the house, while beautiful and 100 years old, needs a lot of work, and the ladies find they have taken on a huge task which will take all their resources, talents, and time.  No lounging about for them!  Toss in a crochety old housekeeper named Ida Mae, a young teenager who sleeps in the woods near their house, and an eclectic group of townspeople, and you have a wonderful start to a story that I have loved from the first page.

Start with A Year on Ladybug Farm, then quickly start on At Home on Ladybug Farm, which weaves the continuing adventures of the ladies with stories of the home's previous history and owners.  I loved this one!

Now, Love Letters from Ladybug Farm is the latest.  The ladies find themselves in the wedding business, and chaos ensues!  Can romance be far behind?

Donna Ball has created a wonderful setting for three enjoyable characters.  Reading these novels gives me a nudge to take a moment to enjoy the beauty that surrounds me when I step out the door, or when I'm riding my bike or taking a walk.  They remind me that life is always full, and we never know what we are capable of until we try.  Plus, they're just great fun.  I handsell these at the bookstore whenever I can, and have had customers return to tell me how much they enjoyed the novels.

So run to your nearest bookstore, grab all three, and sit down on your porch, or patio, and tuck into these gems.  And let me know how you like them!

Monday, October 4, 2010

New Additions To The List

It's been two days and I've already added more books to my reading list--I've got a full month ahead of me, and if I read all that I have picked out, I'll be ahead of my goal to reach  100 books read by December 31st.  In between working in the yard and doing my everyday house stuff, I'm rotating 4 different books, with Wolf Hall hogging the most time.  Anne Boleyn is making her presence known!  She's looming!  

Here's what I currently have on my list--yes, I really am reading all of this stuff this month:

I've ordered 2 teen books; they'll be here sometime late next week:  Bright Young Things by Ana Godbersen, and Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly. Also coming out next week is Cate of the Lost Colony by Lisa Klein.

This is the stuff I have at home:

Isn't this cover just scrumptious?

Must have humor--love this man!

Saw it on the Bio table at work--I really like it!
And, I got my first ever library card, and set up the library e-read on my Nook, so I checked out a book from the library--I've only got one week left to read it, so I'd better hurry: 
Shooting the movie, we'll see how it is!
So you can see what I'll be doing for the next few weeks.  I've got some extra time off coming up, and this is how I'll be spending it!   Oh!  my copy of Love Letters from Ladybug Farm came early, so that's in the mix, too.   Ciao!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Running A Race of Another Kind: Wolf Hall

Arrgh!!!  I'm 113 pages into Wolf Hall and holy moses this is gonna be a challenge.  I have to assign myself a certain number of pages every time I pick it up.  My Manager is also trying to read it, and she said "I hear after 200 pages it kicks in."  Oh thank the lord.  (Insert sarcasm here)   I thought I would have to read 400 pages before the action kicked in!

So far here's what I've gleaned:  Thomas Cromwell had a total tool for a Dad.  Henry the 8th is on his way to being a total tool, and Wolsey is slowly sinking into a deep depression, and likes to twist his heavily jeweled rings.

I know, I know, I'm going to read the whole thing.  And I'll be glad I did.  I feel like I'm in college again!  This is definitely a mini-classroom in a book.

More later--have to read more tonight before I turn in.  Since I can't run my half-marathon in a few weeks, I'm considering this my ode to perseverance, hard work, and just plain old slogging it out to the finish.  My medal?  A bigger brain, and a super deluxe knowledge of Cromwell.  Snort :)  yeah, right.