Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: Burned

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

1. Grab your current read.
2. Open to a random page.
3. Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.
4. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!).
5. Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser:
Burned (House of Night Novels)
Stevie Rae tried to ignore the hollow feeling Dragon's words gave her and the horrible sense of guilt she experienced as she faced him, seeing his heartbreak and knowing that even though Rephaim has saved her life, twice, it was also a fact that he had killed Anastasia Lankford.
He's changed. He's different now, she thought, wishing she could say the words aloud and not bring her world crashing down around them.
But she couldn't tell Dragon about Rephaim. She couldn't tell anyone about the Raven Mocker, so instead she began, again, to weave lies with the truth, forming a terrible tapestry of evasion and deceit. - pg. 154, Burned (House of Night Novels) by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast

What are you reading this week?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Review: Urban Shaman by C. E. Murphy

Urban Shaman (The Walker Papers, Book 1)Book Details:
Urban Shaman (The Walker Papers, Book 1)
By C. E. Murphy
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published June 2009, Luna Books
Paperback, 410 pages
ISBN: 9780373802982


Joanne Walker has three days to learn to use her shamanic powers and save the world from the unleashed Wild Hunt.
No worries. No pressure. Never mind the lack of sleep, the perplexing new talent for healing herself from fatal wounds, or the cryptic, talking coyote who appears in her dreams.
And if all that's not bad enough, in the three years Joanne's been a cop, she's never seen a dead body—but she's just come across her second in three days.
It's been a bitch of a week.
And it isn't over yet.
I had a difficult time really getting into this book simply because I could not connect with the main character, Joanne Walker. The reader gets thrown into the fast-paced plot right from the beginning, but background information about Joanne Walker is almost non-existent. I kept asking myself why this was happening to Joanne, which is explained about half-way through the plot. Nothing is explained about the world that Joanne lives in in regards to the supernatural aspects, only what is immediately happening to her in particular. Why is she being singled out by these Celtic gods, and if there are Celtic ones what about other mythical gods from other cultures? While the plot is exciting and entertaining, the "world-building" information is lacking. From what I can gather, the only reason she is singled out as a shaman in name is because of her Cherokee background, otherwise she would only be a "healer." My question is, what's the difference, where are the details that make her so important and special? Plus, even though she is just discovering her abilities as a shaman, she wields them like a pro, as if she has known how to use them for most of her life. In my opinion, it is much more realistic to make mistakes with such abilities before mastering them, as with any new skill. I did find how Joanne behaves when she is recovering from stepping outside her body humorous as it greatly resembles a drunk, minus the cons of abusing alcohol. Ironically, that was when she was most interesting as a character. Joanne seems to be driven only by instinct and what her abilities are telling her without any real understanding of what is happening. More than once, she wanted to stop and think about what was happening to her, but that never really played out in the plot.
Also, I did pick up on certain similarities with the Patricia Briggs series of Mercy Thompson, such as the main character's interest in being a car mechanic, as well as the coyote presence. Joanne's snarkiness and attitude is also similar to Mercy's.
I give this book three roses simply because as the first book in a series, I am hoping that I get more depth to the character and world with subsequent books.

The Cover: I like the cover because it's a nice change from the generic pretty face. The details of her bracelet and her belt show the main character's Cherokee background, and the cave painting-style artwork in the background reference her new shaman abilities. These are nice, but her day job of cop and her main hobby as a mechanic are not displayed in any way on the cover, even though those are definite parts of who Joanne Walker is.

First Line: "There's nothing worse than a red-eye flight."

Favorite Quote: "Long cold note on a tenor saxophone,
                            life's brief candle, a moment in the dark
                            laid down beneath the blade of sound.
                           Let me fold a thousand paper cranes
                           longing for a wish that cannot be.
                           Loss is pure in its first hour, jaded by time."

Read For: 101 Fantasy Challenge, Pages Read Challenge, Support Your Local Library Challenge

Friday, August 27, 2010

Nudity and Censorship

The Golden Mean
I found an interesting article on Yahoo! Canada regarding a particular book being banned in Western Canada, specifically The Golden Mean by Annabel Lyon. While I normally expect books to be banned based on actual content within the text, this book was banned not for the content of the book, but for the photograph on the cover. Now, the cover I show here is the U.S. cover, in which the boy on the horse is wearing a loin cloth of sorts. On the Canadian cover, which you can take a peek at here, the boy is wearing nothing but his birthday suit while plastering himself across the horse's body. The banning itself is only on Western Canadian ferries,which are owned by the government of the province British Columbia. So this means the books are simply not stocked in the gift shops. Technically speaking, I'm sure LOTS of other books are not stocked in these gift shops, too, but this one got special attention because of the prestige the book has garnered. "Lyon's fictional account of Aristotle as tutor to Alexander the Great won Canada's prestigious 2009 Rogers Writers' Trust first prize, and was a finalist in Canada's two other largest literary awards, the Giller Prize and the Governor General's Award."
My personal opinion on this incident? I'm a bit torn as to which "side" to pick. On one side, I really don't care for book banning, period. But on the other side, I remember working in a bookstore, and the hoops we would have to jump through to make every customer happy. My guess is that someone found the book in one of those gift shops and complained, and the complaint spiraled out of control. Book covers that could be classified as "soft porn" were not an uncommon occurrence in the bookstore. If there was only one or two copies, we generally did not worry about it, since it would only be spined anyways, and the average customer's gaze would pass right over it. If a less-than-appealing book cover was supposed to be featured somewhere prominent within the store, we generally tried to put it in the least prominent location and replace it as soon as something else came up that could be classified as "more important." With some genres, such as romance, sexuality, or even adult manga, we would have to "police" the areas on busy days for underage teens. And yes, I have even had to card a few to get them away from the "adult" books - not my favorite part of the job.
I also have to wonder what the publishers were thinking with putting nudity on the cover - they had to have known that it would reduce the selling potential of the book, since obviously people do still judge a book by its cover. But the topic of how book covers are designed is a whole other can of worms that I'll save for another time.

Where do you stand on this particular case of book banning?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: Spy Glass by Maria V. Snyder

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

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Spy Glass
Spy Glass
by Maria V. Snyder
Publication Date: September 1, 2010
After siphoning her own blood magic in the showdown at Hubal, Opal Cowan has lost her powers. She can no longer create glass magic. More, she's immune to the effects of magic. Opal is now an outsider looking in, spying through the glass on those with the powers she once had, powers that make a difference in the world.
Until spying through the glass becomes her new power. Suddenly, the beautiful pieces she makes flash in the presence of magic. And then she discovers that someone has stolen some of her blood—and that finding it might let her regain her powers. Or learn if they're lost forever…

What book release are you looking forward to?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: Urban Shaman

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

1. Grab your current read.
2. Open to a random page.
3. Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.
4. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!).
5. Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser:
Urban Shaman (The Walker Papers, Book 1)
The priest let out a bitter laugh. "How do you not catch someone who's sticking knives into kids? But no, they didn't. Their teacher was knifed, too. And nobody saw anything."
"No one saw anything?" Had I done this? Was this vengeance for knifing Cernunnos yesterday? I closed my eyes. How long did it take for a god to heal? What possible purpose was there in the death of four kids? Did it give him strength? Hester said power didn't work that way. - pg. 133, Urban Shaman (The Walker Papers, Book 1) by C. E. Murphy

What are you reading this week?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Movie Cast Monday: Moon Called

Natalie at Mindful Musings has this meme in which you create fantasy casts for books of your choice. The rules are as follows:

1) Create your own cast for an upcoming book-to-movie adaptation OR pick a book you'd like to see be turned into a movie and choose a cast.
2) Post the book title, author, and summary.
3) Try to pick at least 3 of the main characters to cast.

This week's pick is...

Moon Called (Mercy Thompson)

Moon Called (Mercy Thompson) by Patricia Briggs
"Mercy Thompson's life is not exactly normal. Her next-door neighbor is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she's fixing a VW bus for a vampire. But then, Mercy isn't exactly normal herself."

I saw that this series was optioned for movies in 2008, so I thought it would be fun to pick who I think would be good choices for some of the main characters.

Jessica Alba as Mercedes Thompson
I think this could really work since she can certainly look the part, as the picture shows, with her dark skin and petite frame. Plus, she has played multiple parts in her career that demanded a more physical role, such as the Dark Angel television series.

Josh Holloway as Adam Hauptman
So I'm going through Lost withdrawals. Other than that, he clearly demonstrated his acting chops in the television series, and with a cleaner look like I found in this picture, he would be a great choice for Adam's role as both an Alpha and as Mercy's suitor.

Clint Eastwood as Zee, aka Siebold Adelbertsmiter
Except for the height issue, I think Eastwood comes very close to matching Zee's description in the books, as Mercy knows it. He could easily pull off the personality of Zee to match. Now, as for the fae side, that would obviously have to be a completely different person.

Selena Gomez as Jesse Hauptman
Even though she looks nothing like my pick for her character's father, I like this young actress for what she has shown in the new television series Pretty Little Lies. I think she could pull off Jesse's quirkiness and adaptability, and hair and makeup could take care of the rest.

There are lots of other characters that need casting, such as Samuel Cornick, Bran Cornick, and Stefan Uccello, but I think this is a good start. What do you think?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday Hop

It's Friday, which means the Book Blogger Hop at Crazy For Books. So welcome to all of my new visitors and followers, take a look around and enjoy your stay. Check out my latest book reviews of Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead and Black Magic Sanction by Kim Harrison.

Question of the Week: How many blogs do you follow?
My Google Readers says I follow 164 blogs, which is probably not nearly as much for some people, but given the amount of time I have to devote to perusing those blogs, that number can be a bit intimidating. One of these days I'm going to organize my Google Reader in a way that makes it easier for me to use, but for now I check out my subscriptions through my Blogger Dashboard's Reading List for the most current content.
These are the blogs I have discovered through the Hop:
1. A Trillian Books
2. Bookspeak
3. Media Molly
4. The Paperback Princess
5. Supernatural Snark

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Review: Black Magic Sanction by Kim Harrison

Black Magic Sanction (Rachel Morgan, Book 8)Book Details:
Black Magic Sanction (Rachel Morgan, Book 8)
By Kim Harrison
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published 2010, HarperCollins Publishers
Hardback, 487 pages
ISBN: 9780061138034


Rachel Morgan has fought and hunted vampires, werewolves, banshees, demons, and other supernatural dangers as both witch and bounty hunter—and lived to tell the tale. But she's never faced off against her own kind . . . until now. Denounced and shunned for dealing with demons and black magic, her best hope is life imprisonment—at worst, a forced lobotomy and genetic slavery. Only her enemies are strong enough to help her win her freedom, but trust comes hard when it hinges on the unscrupulous tycoon Trent Kalamack, the demon Algaliarept, and an ex-boyfriend turned thief.
It takes a witch to catch a witch, but survival bears a heavy price.
This book was like one long game of fight-or-flight, mixed in with multiple escape plans when Rachel could not avoid getting caught. Being Rachel Morgan must be quite exhausting.  Being eight books in now, I have been able to come up with many reasons why I enjoy reading this series so much. For starters, I love how Kim Harrison plays off of Clint Eastwood films for her book titles. I also love how each race of supernatural beings are so creatively developed to be both unique and intriguing, right down to the intimate biological makeup. I especially love how Rachel operates "by the seat of her pants" so to speak. Her instincts are nearly always spot on, and she's got reflexes that put a cat's to shame. Even though her deceased father inadvertedly put her in this position of power, able to change the course of history on her version of Earth, she still strives to be "normal" and refuses to be anyone's puppet.
This book was all about crossing moral lines for the right reasons and how far Rachel is willing to cross them to protect those she loves and be free herself. The plot was exciting and fast-paced almost from cover to cover, except for a sad note that had me shedding a few tears - even though the series has given the reader fair warning of what would eventually happen - as well as a hot-and-heavy interlude - because it wouldn't be a Rachel Morgan book without it. I love the mental, unvoiced quips that Rachel dreams up to convey her thoughts, which are so much more entertaining than just base cussing. Case in point: "Are frogs coming from the sun in shapeships, too?" How can a person not laugh at that? Jenks' frequent quips about Tinkerbell can be quite hilarious, too. The ending to the book holds quite a bit of promise for the next one, Pale Demon, especially in regards to Rachel's relationship with the elf, Trent. Speaking of relationships, I am rather intrigued by Al's obsession with Rachel, especially after he changed his appearance with his gargoyle Treble. While I admit my interest may be heavy on the icky, one must admit the potential for certain interludes is strong and highly possible, given what Rachel is becoming. Plus, Al makes no secret of his interest in Rachel, trying three times to convince her to move in the ever-after, though I have my suspicions that his interest is more than just physical. The close look that the reader got of the Coven of Moral and Ethical Standards shows some interesting possibilities given that Pierce is a past member of it. Oh the havoc that Rachel can cause will keep me interested in this series for as long as Kim Harrison keeps writing it!

The Cover: So the cover is showing Rachel and her gargoyle Bis, but the book describes Bis as the size of a house cat, so points off for that. Other than that, the cover is pretty sweet.

First Line: "Tucking my hair back, I squinted at the parchment, trying to form the strange angular letters as smoothly as I could."
Nothing particularly exciting is enticing me to keep reading with this line, but I am mildly curious about what Rachel is working on.

Favorite Quote: "Go to sleep, baby,Mama will sing. Of blue butterflies, and dragonfly wings. Moonlight and sunbeams, raiments so fine. Silver and gold, for baby of mine. Go to sleep, baby. Sister will tell, of wolves and of lambs, and demons who fell." -Pierce's Lullaby

Read For: Speculative Fiction Challenge, Pages Read Challenge, Celebrate the Author Challenge, Support Your Local Library Challenge

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Review: Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead

Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy, Book 5)Book Details:
Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy, Book 5)
By Richelle Mead
Genre: Young Adult
Published 2010, Razor Bill Books
Hardback, 489 pages
ISBN: 9781595142504


After a long and heartbreaking journey to Dimitri’s birthplace in Siberia, Rose Hathaway has finally returned to St. Vladimir’s—and to her best friend, Lissa. It is nearly graduation, and the girls can’t wait for their real lives beyond the Academy’s iron gates to begin. But Rose’s heart still aches for Dimitri, and she knows he’s out there, somewhere.
She failed to kill him when she had the chance. And now her worst fears are about to come true. Dimitri has tasted her blood, and now he is hunting her. And this time he won’t rest until Rose joins him . . . forever.
My first big surprise in this book was Rose actually taking Adrian's interest in her seriously, especially since I know that she is still head-over-heels in love with Dimitri, no matter his present state. This boggled my mind from cover to cover, even though I do like Adrian, but I am guessing she did it at first to honor her deal with him. Later on it became obvious that she does have real feelings for him - so the question is, what about Dimitri? I guess this becomes another Team Dimitri vs. Team Adrian. I don't think I am going to choose a side on this one, I'm just going to grab the final book in the series, Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy, Book 6), as soon as it hits the shelves!
In other matters, I found it a bit unreal how fast and easily that Dimitri was able to track Rose - I would have liked to know some of the details behind that, such as how extensive Dimitri's connections are in the Strigoi world. Lissa's connection with Dimitri is intriguing, even though it is non-magical, especially since it so strongly resembles a parental role. What I immediately started wondering after that event is why isn't anyone notifying Dimitri's family, expecially Rose? Queen Tatiana makes me think of a grown-up version of Mia, before she became Rose's friend. I wish I understood more of her motives for what she does throughout this book, since it seems like she goes back and forth between tolerating Rose and hating her. I could be completely off-base on this, but I keep getting the feeling that Lissa is/was being groomed to inherit Tatiana's title. With the way that many of the Moroi and Dhampirs view Lissa as a goddess, it would certainly fit. Also, by the end of the book, it seems that Rose has all but forgotten about the escaped convict, Victor Dashkov. Maybe she just thinks that the "authorities" would handle him?
Wow, so I had a lot of questions while reading this book, but that's only because I really enjoyed it, and I am anxious to read the last one to get them answered! I read the first five books back-to-back and ugh, I really hate waiting!

The Cover: Well this cover is so generic that I am not certain if the girl is Lissa or Rose and if the guy is Christian, Adrian, or Dimitri. Talk about confusing.

First Line: "There's a big difference between death threats and love letters - even if the person writing the death threats still claims to actually love you."
Now this is enticing writing - nothing like having a stalker Strigoi for an ex-boyfriend!

Favorite Quote: "Dreams, dreams. I walk them; I live them. I delude myself with them. It's a wonder I can spot reality anymore."

Read For: Pages Read Challenge, Speculative Fiction Challenge

*I received this book free of charge from the publisher as part of a prize package from random draw.*

CSN Gift Certificate Winner!

So for my CSN $40 Gift Certificate Giveaway, I had a total of 27 entries. I used random.org to pick the winner, and the winning number is:
#4: Angela Donner!

A representative of CSN Stores will be contacting you by email with the code for your gift certificate to CSNStores.com, so keep an eye on your inbox for the email!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Hop To a New Book Blog

It's Friday, which means the Book Blogger Hop at Crazy For Books. So welcome to all of my new visitors and followers, take a look around and enjoy your stay. Today is the last day to enter my CSN $40 Gift Certificate Giveaway, so be sure to put your name in!

Question of the Week: How many books do you have on your 'to be read shelf’?

Uhhhh, well if I just count the books that publishers have sent me for reviewing, I think the count is about ten books. But if I include all of the books that I WANT to read, but don't necessarily own, that list is so long I have a special post dedicated to it!

These are the blogs I have discovered through the Hop:
1. The Steel Bookshelf
2. Every Last Page
3. Books are my Best Friends!
4. Starmetal Oak Book Blog
5. A Life Bound by Books

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