Showing posts from 2010

Books Read in 2010


Fay Weldon, She May Not Leave (5/5)




Gail Carriger, Soulless (5/5)


A.E. Moorat, Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter (5/5)
Steig Larsson, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (4/5)
Maggie Stiefvater, Shiver (5/5)


Ada Leverson, Birds of Paradise (4/5)
Melissa Marr, Wicked Lovely (5/5)
Katharine McMahon, The Rose of Sebastopol (5/5)


Richard Canning, Brief Lives: E.M. Forster (5/5)
Elspeth Marr; Christopher Rush (editor), Aunt Epp's Guide for Life: Miscellaneous Musings of a Victorian Lady (5/5)
S.J. Parris, Heresy (unfinished)


Julia Cameron, The Writing Diet: Write Yourself Right-Size (2/5)
Gail Carriger, Changeless (3/5)
Arnaldur Indridason, Hypothermia (5/5)
Mary Robinette Kowal, First Flight (5/5)
Rachel Swirsky, Eros, Philia, Agape (5/5)
Various, Apex Magazine: March 2010 (5/5)
Various, Apex Magazine: May 2010 (4/5)


Jane Austen, Persuasion (5/5)
Catherine Delors, For the King (5/5)
Karen Essex, Dracula In Love (3.5/5)
Leanna Renee Hieber, The St…

On Vacation!

Beginning 12/24 through 1/8, I'm going to be abroad with my in-laws.  Very generously, they invited me along on their family vacation, and I'll be touring Italy, Greece, Turkey, Israel, and Egypt via a Mediterranean cruise!  (I know, I'm jealous of myself!)  I suspect I won't be able to get online, even to share photos with friends, so alas, the blog will briefly be on hiatus.  But I'll be back with a bang as I'm part of the TLC Book Tours blog tour of The Metropolis Case -- my review will be posted on the 11th. 

A safe and happy New Year's to all -- I look forward to seeing what your holiday hauls brought and sharing more book-ish love in 2011!

Criminal Plots Reading Challenge

As I'm already committed to the Femme Fatale reading challenge, I figured why not take this one on as well?  It's not exactly the same -- and there are a few sub-challenges to keep things interesting! Plus, the sub-challenges so intrigued my wife, she's going to do the challenge along with me!

Criminal Plots Reading Challenge.

Here are the rules:

Read six books throughout 2011. One book should be read that fits into each of the following categories:
A book by a new to you author who's blurbed a book you enjoyed. So check out the cover of a crime fiction book you've enjoyed and see who blurbed that book and is also an author you've never read before. READ: L.A. Noire, edited by Jonathan Santlofer A book that has been made into a movie. It doesn't have to be a movie you've seen but it can be. The book, however, should be one you haven't read before. A book with a protagonist opposite your own gender. So if you're female, the protagonist sho…

Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge

On the surface, the Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge seems very simple and easy to achieve, but this year I read pretty voraciously, given work and family obligations.  It'll take some effort to beat my 2010 total (which was 37) but I'm happy to try!

I'm still going to play it safe, though; I'm aiming for Getting my heart rate up – Read 1–5 more books.  I'd love to break 40 books next year.

Anyone else trying to beat their reading for next year?

Teaser Tuesday, Dec 21

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

- Grab your current read
- Open to a random page
- Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

I really ought to just clip out the two sentence requirement because I can't ever, ever, ever share two sentences.

Anyway, this week's teaser is from The Metropolis Case by Matthew Gallaway.  The cover is really quite striking and being an opera fan, the premise very much excites me.  Also, as it's threatening snow in Boston, this opening scene resonated -- so here's your teaser!  Edited to add: HA, snowing now! 

 It had been snowing for days, but a sallow, expectant glow emanating from the crenellated perimeter of the park told her the storm was nearing an end.  While she did …

Fearless Poetry Reading Challenge

I like poetry a lot but don't read nearly as much as I want.  Savvy Verse & Wit is hosting the Fearless Poetry Reading Challenge and as the challenge is to literally read just one volume of poetry, I couldn't say no.

I might even try for more than one volume of poetry.  Go big or go home, right?

Here are a few possibilities -- mostly volumes I already one or planned on getting.  Give me your recommendations if you have them!

Money Shot by Rae Armantrout
The Book of Repulsive Women by Djuna Barnes (or her Collected Poems, I'm undecided)
Helen in Egypt by H.D.
The Lost Lunar Baedeker by Mina Loy
Medea the Sorceress (The Archaeology of Movies and Books, Vol. 1) by Diane Wakoski


Seth Steinzor, To Join the Lost

In My Mailbox Monday, Dec 20

Seen both at The Printed Page (hosted in Dec at Let Them Read Books) and The Story Siren, my Mailbox Monday/In My Mailbox for December-ish... Another great few weeks -- plenty of reading for my holiday!  Have you ready any of these?  What did you get?


In Dreams Begin by Skyler White, thanks to Candace's Book Blog

Mr Darcy, Vampyre by Amanda Grange, thanks to Feed Your Reading Habit

The Half-Made World by Felix Gilman, and The Phantom of Pemberley: A Pride and Prejudice Murder Mystery by Regina Jeffers; both thanks to VVB32 Reads


The City and The City by China Miéville
Blackout(All Clear #1) by Connie Willis

For Review!

Original Sins: A Novel of Slavery and Freedom by Peg Kingman

British Books Reading Challenge

I had to sign up for the British Books Challenge by The Bookette because it overlapped so nicely with many of my other reading challenges.  The Georgette Heyer and Victorian ones could help me finish it alone!  (Yes, I'm getting cocky.)

I'm feeling so good about this one, I'm going big: The Royal Family - Read 12 books by British authors in 2011.

 But I still want your recommendations!  Any British authors I should especially look out for?  I'd love to include some British authors of color if you have any favorites I should pick up!


Roomby Emma Donoghue
Ordinary Angels by India Drummond
The Doll by Daphne du Maurier
Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness by Alexandra Fuller
The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin
Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
Small Wars by Sadie Jones
The Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson
A Man of Parts by David Lodge
A Train in Winter by Caroline Moorehead
Mr Bishop and the Actress by Janet Mullany
The Girl in the Garden by Kamala Nair
Jane Au…

E-book Reading Challenge

I think I read about half my books on my Sony Reader -- so why not get a little chuffed about it?  Thus, it was a no-brainer signing up for the E-book Reading Challenge by The Ladybug Reads. 

I'm going to aim for 'Addicted' -- which is reading 12 e-books.  Between NetGalley, my library, and the few e-books I buy, I should easily hit this goal -- maybe even surpass it!

I especially love my e-reader when it comes to big, hefty tomes, so I might add on a few 'chunksters'.  Any recommendations?


A.S. Byatt, Ragnarok
Sara Blædel, Call Me Princess
India Drummond, Ordinary Angels
Susanna Fraser, The Sergeant's Lady
Kersten Hamilton, In the Forests of the Night
Thomas Hardy, Far From the Madding Crowd
Tara L. Masih, Where The Dog Star Never Glows
M.J. Rose, The Hypnotist
Jonathan Santlofer, ed., L.A. Noire
Mirella Sichirollo Patzer, The Blighted Troth
Jennie Shortridge, ed., Hotel Angeline
Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins, Kiss Her Goodbye

India Black by Carol K. Carr

Title:India Black
Author: Carole K. Carr

Genre: Fiction (Historical / Victoriana)

Rating: LOVE. Love it so much I wanna marry it.
Did I finish?: You couldn't get me to stop even if you threatened me!

One-sentence summary: London madam is wrangled into spying on Russians on behalf of the Empire, with help from street urchin and government agent.

Why did I get this book?: Historical, sex worker, Victorian. Yum!
Source: The author.

Do I like the cover?: Yes. That dress, please.  And the jewelry.  Plus her come-hither/I-kill-you stare.

First line: My name is India Black.

Did... I fall in love with India Black after the first page?: YES. The first ten sentences had me hooked.

Did... I develop a bit of a crush on the heroine and the hero?: YES. This isn't a romance in the slightest but both leads killed me with their hot.

Am... I going to die waiting for the second book?: YES.  This one is coming out Jan 4th, FYI.

Review:  There's nothing like being hooked by a book on the first page.  I…

Top 10 of 2010

This was a good book reading year -- I more than doubled my pace from last year.  I disliked a few reads -- mostly non-fiction -- and found myself challenged by much of what I read (lots of unlikable characters!).

My top ten is a mixed bag of some new releases and old ones, historical novels, lit fic, and genre.  Eight of the ten are set in the past (historical or alternate, but the past nonetheless), while two are set in the present.  Two of the ten are young adult novels.  Three are paranormal: two with werewolves and one with goblins.  One self-published!  All ten were written by women (unsurprising since only seven of the books I read this year were written by men!).

Creating this list has reminded me that I'm thinking about changing my rating system.  I used to rate things out of 10, but that seemed rather huge, so I dropped it to out of five, but as a result, I rate things high.  I find that when I dislike a book, it usually says something about me.  Rarely can I discern so…

Random Magic Blog Tour - Elf Yourself!

There are no elves in Random Magic. Let's just get that out of the way right now. However, there is a great deal of drollery, hilarity and fun.

So only imagine the joy unconfined that rang out when someone came up with a winter widget where you can stick your face onto a dancing elf and then show it to everybody who puts up with you, saying, 'Look at me! I'm an elf!'

So, in the spirit of spending a few minutes doing something genial, funny, wintry and not at all serious, quite welcome to fire up the maniacal glee and Elf Yourself.

Because why?

Well, because why not?

Video clip above: Sample Elf Yourself video. The good news: This could be you!  The bad news: This could be you! Or worse -- it could be me! (In this case, my wife, in triplicate!!)

Dancing in pajamas is optional, but if you do, can all pretend not to notice...

On the other hand, for anyone who gets a kick out of having an appreciative audience -- sure, let’s have your Elf Yourself! Feel free to leave a …

Georgette Heyer Reading Challenge

Shocking confession: I've never read any Georgette Heyer!  I've been a historical fiction nut for forever and a day, but somehow I never hit upon any Heyer.  Until now, thanks to the Georgette Heyer Reading Challenge by All Things Historical.  I'm considering the following three, but of course, welcome opinions, advice, and suggestions!

April Lady
The Spanish Bride

Also recommended: Black Sheep and Arabella

Random Magic Book Tour begins with Musical Blog Hop!

The Random Magic book blog tour -- Winterlong -- begins today!  See the blogs below for holiday music relating to Random Magic.

Random Magic Tour: Winterlong
Dec. 10-23, 2010

About: Random Magic

Win something wonderful: Tour prizes
Random Magic (Gift-wrapped, first edition)
Fairy tale mini-dolls (Madame Alexander series, complete set)

Magical Covers art event: Prize pack
Beautiful art journal
This Book Belongs To bookplates set
2011 ARC (pre-pub.) YA winter-themed novel

Dec. 10
Winterlong: Musical Blog Hop
Come sit by the fire and enjoy some lovely winter tunes…

#1 of 10: Spellbound by Books
Themes (song and book): Buoyancy - Good Cheer

#2 of 10: Geeky Blogger
Themes (song and book): Reflection - Spirituality

#3 of 10: Ecstatic Reviews
Themes (song and book): Fortitude - Quirkiness

#4 of 10: Elbit Blog
Themes (song and book): Tenderness - Devotion

#5 of 10: The Reading Lassie
Themes (song and book): Magic - Mystery

#6 of 10: A Reader’s Adventure
Theme (song and book): Celebration - Humor

Book Podcasts

Those who are savvier than I might already be familiar with all of these podcasts, but with my new (longer) commute, I've started experimenting with bookish and literary podcasts.  Here are a few that I'm enjoying; I'd love to hear your thoughts about these and any favorites I haven't discovered yet!

What's Old is New is a newer podcast, but they already have the oomph of a great format -- revisiting classics -- with engaging hosts -- Jen of Devourer of Books and Nicole of Linus's Blanket -- and amazing guests.  Their debut podcast looked at Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and featured the engaging Joanne Rendell.  The feel of this podcast is a better-than-most book discussion group, which only makes me wish it were a real-life book discussion group so I could join and bask in the awesomeness.  I'm really excited about future podcasts with these two!

The Moth podcast comes from some of the performances that happen on the Moth Mainstage.  Essentially, they'…

Valley of Dry Bones by Priscilla Royal

Title: Valley of Dry Bones (Medieval Mystery #7)
Author: Priscilla Royal

Genre: Fiction (Historical / Mystery)

Love/Hate?: Like-ish.
Rating: 3/5
Did I finish?: I didn't.  In the end I just couldn't fully get into the story.
One-sentence summary: Medieval murder-mystery set at country convent.

Why did I get this book?: Medieval! Mystery! Prioress!

Do I like the cover?: Yes, although finding a good-sized image of it online was remarkably difficult!  It wasn't posted on the author's website nor the publisher's!

First line from the book:The late afternoon heat settled heavily on Prioress Eleanor.

Review: On Royal, Sharon Kay Penman says: "Anyone who hasn't read Priscilla Royal's mysteries yet is in for a treat."  I like treats and I hadn't read any of her books, so I decided to dig in one rainy afternoon.  I had no problem getting into the novel at first even though I hadn't read the previous six books.  The pace was slow but…

Interview with Dee DeTarsio

I'm thrilled to offer an interview with Dee DeTarsio, author of The Scent of Jade, which I just reviewed (hint: loved it!).  Ms. DeTarsio is as funny in her novels as she is here so get yourself a copy of The Scent of Jade stat!

Where did the idea for The Scent of Jade come from?

My husband, who has earned his title of beditor, once complained that ‘women sure do think a lot.’ That’s right, we do. Live and learn, hombres. The Scent of Jade grew out of his observation and into a hybrid chick-lit action/adventure novel.

If you were stranded in a jungle, would you have a purse with you? If so, what would be in it?

If I was stranded in a jungle, I’m pretty sure I’d have my “Praha” bag I bought off a street vendor in Venice. (Please don’t judge--I now carry it only as penance. You’d have wanted to see me sweat it out through customs. If it is any consolation, the handle is ready to fall off, bless its crooked little seams.)

In that bag, I would have Bear Grylls’ cell phone number.

Femme Fatale Reading Challenge

The Femme Fatale Reading Challenge by Whitney at She Is Too Fond of Books had me, basically, at hello.

My goal is to be a Dragon Lady -- 12 femme fatale items.  Since films count as well as books, I'm pretty sure I'll blow this challenge away.  (Look at me, talking big!)

Some ideas so far...

Megan Abbott, Bury Me Deep
Richard Aleas, Little Girl Lost
Raymond Chandler, The Lady in the Lake
Stephanie Dray, Lily of the Nile
Christa Faust, Money Shot
F. Scott Fitzgerald, Babylon Revisited and Other Stories
D.H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley's Lover
Neil Miller, Banned in Boston: The Watch and Ward Society's Crusade against Books, Burlesque, and the Social Evil 
Charlotte Mosley, The Mitfords: Letters Between Six Sisters
Douglas Perry, The Girls of Murder City: Fame, Lust, and the Beautiful Killers who Inspired Chicago
Liane de Pougy, My Blue Notebooks: The Intimate Journal of Paris's Most Beautiful and Notorious Courtesan
Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins, Kiss Her Goo…

The Scent of Jade by Dee DeTarsio

Title: The Scent of Jade
Author: Dee DeTarsio

Genre: Fiction (Chick-Lit / Thriller)

Rating: Enthusiastic like!
Did I finish?: Couldn't stop myself!
One-sentence summary: American gets lost in Costa Rican jungle with sacred artifact and broken heart.

Why did I get this book?: The tagline: Romancing the Stone meets Survivor. I couldn't resist!
Source: The author.

Do I like the cover?: Yes, especially since it resembles what I suspect the locale looked like.

First line: If I could swap my moral compass out for a real one, instead of trying to rely on guidance from the stars, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

Did... I look forward to reading this book?: YES.  This last week was super grim, work-wise, and I couldn't wait for my commute home to hide out with our heroine.

Did... I embarrass myself on the subway?: YES.  Laugh, chortle, chuckle, snicker, giggle - I did it all and I couldn't stop myself, even if I garnered a few bemused looks from other passengers.

Did... I thoroughly love th…

Victorian Literature Reading Challenge

Even though I initially thought books set in the Victorian-era would count (they don't), I'm still going to take a stab at the Victorian Literature Reading Challenge. I haven't figured out what books I'm going to read (yet) but in the meantime, I'm taking recommendations!

My goal is 4 books -- Sense and Sensibility.

Edited to add...


Wilkie Collins - The Moonstone (I think I might have to read this one as it has a vague South Asian connection; I wouldn't count it toward that reading challenge, but it's nice when reading sort of all touches upon the same themes...)George Eliot - Middlemarch (confession: have never read it, ever!)Anna Katharine GreenThomas Hardy - maybe Far From the Maddening Crowd or The Mayor of Casterbridge?George Meredith - Diana of the Crossways

Thomas Hardy, Far From the Madding Crowd

Random Magic Book Tour Schedule

I'm thrilled to be a part of the Random Magic book blog tour!  See below for schedule featuring book reviews and many chances to win great prizes!

Random Magic Tour: Winterlong
Dec. 10-23, 2010

About: Random Magic

Win something wonderful: Tour prizes
Random Magic (Gift-wrapped, first edition)
Fairy tale mini-dolls (Madame Alexander series, complete set)

Magical Covers art event: Prize pack
Beautiful art journal
This Book Belongs To bookplates set
2011 ARC (pre-pub.) YA winter-themed novel

Tour organization: Lyrika Publicis Tour prize coordinator: @LaFemmeReaders Contact the tour: @RandomMagicTour

Dec. 10
Winterlong: Musical Blog Hop
Come sit by the fire and enjoy some lovely winter tunes…

#1 of 10: Spellbound by Books
Themes (song and book): Buoyancy - Good Cheer

#2 of 10: Geeky Blogger
Themes (song and book): Reflection - Spirituality

#3 of 10: Ecstatic Reviews
Themes (song and book): Fortitude - Quirkiness

#4 of 10: Elbit Blog

South Asian Reading Challenge

I'm really excited for the South Asian Reading Challenge -- one of my goals  is to read more authors of color in 2011 and this is a great opportunity to do so!

My goal is: South Asian Wanderer - 3 booksUPDATE: South Asian Explorer - 5 books! Some books that immediately came to mind (mostly because I own them already) are below; if you've any opinions on them or recommendations, let me know!

Miss New India by Bharati Mukherjee
Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson
The Lost Flamingoes of Bombay by Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi
The Marriage Bureau For Rich People by Farahad Zama


A Different Sky by Meira Chand
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson
The Lost Flamingoes of Bombay by Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi
The Beauty of Humanity Movement by Camilla Gibb
The Girl in the Garden by Kamala Nair
The Luminist by David Rocklin

The Heroines Bookshelf Reading Challenge

The Heroine's Bookshelf Reading Challenge is inspired by the book of the same name; the challenge is to read some of the books referenced in The Heroine's Bookshelf.  As rereads aren't allowed, I have to be a little more creative!  ('Sister' books are allowed -- presumably, other books by the featured authors.)  I'm hoping to do three for this challenge!

So far, I think I might try...
Claudine in Parisby ColetteThe Temple of My Familiar by Alice WalkerThe Long Winter by Laura Ingalls WilderParticipating?  Read The Heroine's Bookshelf and have some thoughts you'd like to share?  Any recommendations?

Prelude to a Scandal by Delilah Marvelle

Title:Prelude to a Scandal
Author: Delilah Marvelle

Genre: Fiction (Historical/Romance)

Love/Hate?: Like -- a strong like.
Rating: 4/5
Did I finish?: Yes!

One-sentence summary: Naturalist's daughter marries for love but finds husband is more of a handful than anticipated.

Why did I get this book?: The set-up intrigued me!

Do I like the cover?: Yes -- has a romance novel-y feel without being overly lurid.

First line from book:Lady Justine Fedora Palmer knew all too well that her dear, dear father, the sixth Earl of Marwood, had always been an intelligent and upstanding, moral citizen.

Did... I laugh a lot?: YES.  In a good way.  A great way.  This book is snappy and funny, perfect weekend reading.

Am... I totally over the predatory lesbian preying on married straight women?: YES.  It seemed especially out of left field in this book.

Did... I find the sex sexy?: YES, although there wasn't a ton but what occurred was in character and actually rather plot-necessary!


Gratitude Giveaway Winners

Thank you, everyone, who stopped by and commented, followed, and entered my giveaway.  This was my first of this size and wow!  It was crazy!  (But fun!)

I'm thrilled to announce the winners of my giveaway!  Everyone has been contacted and confirmed!

Deadly Fear by Cynthia Eden goes to .......... mary kirkland!
The Drowning City by Amanda Downum goes to .......... blodeuedd!
Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin goes to .......... PinkStuff28!
The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer by Stephen King goes to .......... .Ambur.!
Kiss Me Deadly by Trisha Telep goes to ..........Lisa McGeen!
Sea by Heidi R. Kling goes to .......... Carol (jessy.wicked)!

Thanks again for all your interest -- more giveaways to come after the New Year!

Nautical Fiction Reading Challenge Selections

As it gets closer to 2011, I'm starting to get my reading challenges in order!  For my Nautical Fiction Reading Challenge, I'm going to aim for Dinghy -- five books -- but my list is a little longer because there are so many I want to read -- I just don't know if I'll get to all of them!  Any thoughts or opinions or suggestions about my list?  Tell me!

Frans Gunnar Bengtsson - The Long Ships (this was discussed on an email list of mine and cited as a favorite by many)Kate Brailler - The Boundless Deep (whaling and reincarnation!  Who can resist?)J.D. Davies - Gentleman Captain (I've had this ARC for forever and a day) Amanda Grange - Captain Wentworth's Diary (can never have enough Wentworth)Cecilia Holland - The Soul Thief (Vikings!)Kirsten McKenzie - Captain's Wife (I don't know how this ended up on my TBR, but there ya go!)China Miéville - Kraken (I have to double check on this one, as I'm not sure it's actually nautical.  Sea monster-y, yes, …

Teaser Tuesday, Nov 30

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

- Grab your current read
- Open to a random page
- Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This weeks' teaser is from Prelude to a Scandal by Delilah Marvelle.  It's not my usual fare, but the premise really intrigued me and so far, it's not wholly disappointing.  But it's a romance novel first so I'm a little stymied by the characters and their unusual rationalization for things.  Still, the story started off with a bang and I rather like our heroine, Justine. My teaser, long as usual, is from the opening of the book.  We learn on the first page that Justine's father is an African naturalist who wrote extensively on mating behaviors - and was imprisoned for …

Mailbox Monday, Nov 29

Seen both at The Printed Page and The Story Siren, my Mailbox Monday/In My Mailbox for the end of November...

I'm ridiculously behind on my mailbox bragging, which is why I've so many books -- these are my new acquisitions for the last four weeks.  All titles link to GoodReads should you want to read more about them.  Tell me what you've gotten recently and/or your thoughts on any of the books I've just received!


From Maiden's Court, a copy of O, Julietby Robin Maxwell. 

From My Jane Austen Book Club, a copy of Bespelling Jane Austen -- signed by all the authors with a note from Janet Mullany.  And a bookmark, pen, and magnets. 

From Read All Over Reviews, a Lydia Dare four-pack!  All four books featuring the Westfield Brothers.  Have I mentioned I've recently become a little hot for werewolves?!  So this is some serious fun. 

For Review

The King's Daughter by Christie Dickason
The Metropolis Case by Matthew Gallaway
Bound Darkly (Volume 2) …