Monday, August 31, 2009

It's Monday and it's time for...Borrowed Words

I think I have mentioned a few times that I am not a fan of poetry. It simply does not appeal to me as strongly as prose does. There are however a few poets and a few poems that I understand, enjoy and consider packed with meaning. The poem I am quoting today is one that speaks of Africa that suffered oppression for hundred of years but that is still standing strong, tasting however how bitter the liberty may be. I like this poem because it is really very universal and Africa can be replaced with names of other countries, other nations all over the world that suffered or are still suffering from oppression. Today I give you words borrowed from David Diop:

Africa tell me Africa

Is this your back that is bent

This back that breaks under the weight of


This back trembling with red scars

And saying yes to the whip under the midday sun

But a grave voice answers me

Impetuous son, that tree young and strong

That tree there

In splendid loneliness amidst white and faded


That is Africa your Africa

That grows again patiently obstinately

And its fruit gradually acquire

The bitter taste of liberty

Threshold by Bonnie Kozek

Honey McGuinness is the main character in Threshold. She is young, but the life her deceased mother served her and how Honey decided to live in the aftermath of her mother’s suicide were nightmarish and left her feeling emotionally drained. Now, all Honey wants to do is disappear, become anonymous and blend in with the crowd of hundred other anonymous, invisible people. She now lives alone, works for the pastor and his family, serving food to homeless people. All is well until the area becomes infested with drug dealers and addicts, and Honey’s friend, Billy gets murdered. Seeing that the police won’t do anything and there is no one she can turn for help to, Honey takes it up herself to find the killer and get her revenge. She enters the world she tried to escape for so long, the world of depravity, drugs and hopelessness. And maybe she’ll get more than she bargained for.

I should have known that this was no walk in the park when I read that Threshold was a hard-boiled thriller. I had never read one before and honestly just thought that a thriller’s a thriller and I’d have fun reading it. I did enjoy Ms. Kozek’s book but it was just so unexpected in its violent nature that I still catch myself thinking, ‘Did I read what I think I did?!’. Honey is a very sad character. Sad and tragic. She had a horrendous childhood, being abused by her mother and constantly prepared to commit suicide with her. When only Honey’s mother dies, Honey goes through life self-inflicting the abuse and perpetuating the violence as if in punishment for abandoning her own mother at the last minute. When she enters the world of drug lords to find the killer of her friend, things only get worse and Ms. Kozek spares the reader no details. The language and descriptions of what Honey subjects herself to are crude, brutal and shocking. If you are looking for a true roller-coaster ride, you’ll definitely find it in Threshold.

I said I enjoyed this novel despite the fact that it was so violent. The fact is that the author definitely knows what she’s doing. The writing flows smoothly, there are no real glitches anywhere and certainly no clichés. You probably won’t find much of character development as far as secondary ones go but you’ll get a pretty clear picture of Honey and how she comes through the horrid experiences in the end. All I can say is don’t let the 118 pages of this book fool you. They deliver enough punch to last quite a while and are not for the faint-hearted.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Weekly Geeks: One Title/ Author Collection

Weekly Geeksters, tell us, do you have a collection, (or are you starting a collection,) of one particular book title? If so, what's your story? Why that book, and how many do you have, and what editions are they? Share pictures and give us all the details.

Or perhaps you dream about starting such a collection. What title would it be and what would it take for you to get mo
tivated to start collecting?

Or maybe it's the works of a particular author you collect (or want to collect) instead a certain book title?

I am crazy about books, no question about it. However, I think my madness still has more levels to reach since I do not have a collection of one title. I have actually never given it a second thought. My bookshelves are already double stacked (horizont
ally and vertically sometimes) and there is really no space in my tiny house to put more. However, now that I read this Weekly Geeks question, I gave it more thought just to see what this one book would be, had I a big enough house with a beautiful, spacious library to show off my collection.

And yes, there is that one special book: Les Misérables by Victor Hugo. I had fallen 'head over heels' for this book back in high school and fifteen years later it is still my 'take to a deserted island' book. I absolutely love, love the story of Cosette and Jean Valjean. I have read it several times now and it gets me everytime: I don't cry...I weep and weep and then weep some more, and worst part is, I somehow always end up finishing it at night, staying up until 3 or 4 in the morning crying my eyes out. When I get up the next day, I look like I am suffering from a hangover of a lifetime.

Anyway, having a blessing of speaking two languages, I read Les Misérables in both Polish and English translations. Both were fantastic. My dream is to one day learn French so I could finally read this work of art in the mother tongue of Hugo's. I cannot even imagine how beautiful this novel really is, as there is always something lost in translation.

Polish Version

Well, there it is: one day I will master French, I will own a big house with a library the size of my entire cottage I live in now and the central spot will belong to all different copies, originals and translations of
Les Misérables (Polish title, by the way, is Nędznicy).

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Book Blogger Appreciation Week Meme

I am very excited to take part in this year's BBAW event. Last year this time I didn't even know there was such a thing as book blogging community and now to be a part of this living, breathing organism is quite wonderful to me. Being an introvert and a person who prefers to be alone, it is rather a strange and new feeling to know that I can actually get to virtually meet so many fabulous people from all over the world without ever leaving my desk.
I think that a huge thank you and a bear hug sent towards all the wonderful girls, who are making BBAW happen for a second year, are in order.

Also the same goes to a kind soul that has nominated me for Best Review Blog. I am flabbergasted and very very appreciative of this nomination.

And now, let's move on to the actual meme.

1) What has been one of the highlights of blogging for you?

I think the realization that there are people out there who actually want to read what I have to say. It is something completely new to me and as such it comes as a surprise every time I see there is a comment on my post. Another one, no less important, is that there are so many extremely kind bloggers who are very understanding, very supportive and have helped me tremendously through my different trials and emotional hardships. Now I only wonder how much money I would have saved on therapists, had I started blogging earlier.

2) What blogger has helped you out with your blog by answering questions, linking to you, or inspiring you?

Being that my blog is still fairly new, not even a toddler, I am still learning, still being helped and I don't think I'll ever stop being inspired by other bloggers.
There are five bloggers however, who first visited my blog and who still do so. They were linking to me, sending the word out about my blog, leaving comments when no one else knew my blog even existed and everything I learned about blogging in the first months (including layout, what to put out there, how to create a coherent post) I learned from them and by visiting their blogs and reading their posts. Here they are:

Beth Fish Reads
Great Books and Fresh Coffee
J. Kaye's Book Blog
Kittling: Books
My Friend Amy

3) What one question do you have about BBAW that someone who participated last year could answer?

How much growth have you noticed both in the blogging community and in your own blog's readership since the last BBAW?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wondrous Words Wednesday

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme, started by Bermudaonion where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our reading. Feel free to join in the fun.

Oooh, I have a whole bunch of new words. They all come from The Case Has Altered by Martha Grimes, of which by the way I will be posting a review pretty soon.

escritoire - a writing table or desk

While Bannen was speaking to someone at headquarters in Lincoln, Jury looked at the bronze busts set into alcoves, a Sheraton escritoire, and a large semicircular sideboard with mahogany veneer.

sanguine- 1. bloodred 2. a. consisting of or relating to blood b. of the complexion: ruddy 3. having blood blood as the predominating bodily humor; also: having the bodily conformation and temperament held characteristic of such predominance and marked by sturdiness, high color and cheerfulness 4. confident, optimistic

If there was anything Jury didn't feel, it was "sanguine".

parsimonious - frugal to the point of stinginess

Although he still had no clear picture of Max Owen, he had decided nonetheless that a man who would be parsimonious with light, when he had such a woman to stand in its rays, would probably cheat at cards.

Monday, August 24, 2009

It's Monday and it's time for...Borrowed Words

I have been recently thinking why it is exactly that I am so drawn to quotations and words of others. Is it because my creativity lacks greatly in this department? Well, I admit, I am not the most creative person in the world but I like words of great personalities and artists, and generally wise people because a lot of times they express what I believe so much better and so much more adequately than I could. So, today I give you words borrowed from others on why we quote:

When I quote others I do so in order to express my own ideas more clearly. - Michel de Montaigne

It is delightful to transport one's self into the spirit of the past, to see how a wise man has thought before us. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Stealing someone else's words frequently spares the embarrassment of eating your own. - Peter Anderson (this one's funny, but true nonetheless)

A collection of rare thoughts is nothing less than a cabinet of intellectual gems.- William B. Sprague

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Weekly Geeks: Why haven't I read this yet?

Here's what Weekly Geeks serves us this week:

I think just about every reader has a least one book that they've been meaning to read for awhile (months or even years) but, for one reason or another, they just haven't gotten around to it. Maybe it's a book a friend recommended last year, or a title you've flirted with in a bookstore on more than one occasion, or maybe it's a book that's sitting right there on your bookshelf, patiently waiting for you to pick it up -- but the thought is always there, in the back of your mind: Why haven't I read this yet? This week, tell us about a book (or books) you have been meaning to read. What is it? How long have you wanted to read it? And, why haven't you read it yet?

I have so many books that I haven't read yet but really, really want to or know that I should read. Heck, I already own most of them in preparation to start reading but somehow, some other titles always get in the way and the books that were meant to be read first, take a back seat.
Because there are tons of books I have been planning on reading for at least a year (most of the time longer than that), I am just limiting myself to the authors, series and only a few individual titles that are burning a hole of guilt in my heart for neglecting them.

1. Authors:

Jean P
laidy - I know she is a fantastic historical writer and I love historical fiction. Every time I see one of her books reviewed somewhere, I look at the stack I own and promise myself that right after the current reading project I am concentrating on her. Well, since Plaidy earned a spot in this post, it hasn't come to fruition yet.

ddin Farrah - this is a Somalian author I have wanted to read since I fell in love with books by another African writer, Chinua Achebe. I own Farrah's Variations on African Dictatorship trilogy as well as Knots. From what I understand he is a very accomplished writer and the themes in his books are close to his heart and deal with serious issues of politics and regular people's hardships in Somalia. I prefer such African literature to the kinds of McCall-Smith's mysteries (not to take anything away from them) because in my opinion the literary voices of Africa have to be heard and we know how 'the pen is mightier than a sword'. If you're interested in Farrah's accomplishments and life, here's the link to his biography.

2. Series:

Terry Goodkind's The Sword of Truth - because I am a fan of classic, hard-core fantasy sagas.

Terry Br
ooks's The Sword of Shannara - see above. I also own almost complete series of both authors.

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's The Cycle of Saint-Germain - because I am a sucker for history, romance and vampires combined and this is what I can find in her books.

3. Bo

er for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

I sometimes feel that both of these books were read and loved by all but me. And it causes me moments of great embarrassment when I say I am a book lover and I'm asked about these two titles when I have to admit that indeed, I have not read either yet.

'Salem's Lot by Stephen King - King is one of my most favorite authors, evil vampires are my most favorite kind of vampires and I really don't know what I'm waiting for.

ots by Alex Haley - it's a classic, it's a real chunkster (the longer a book, the better for me) and it's a saga spanning generations that's simply asking to be read.

All these books represent just a tiny percentage of all that I haven't read yet but really want to. They have been on my mind for simply the longest time and I know I will not be able to ignore their call for much longer.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Blood on His Hands by Mark P. Sadler

As some of you know, I have performed very poorly as far as reading goes in the past couple of months (*gasp* is it really months?! Yes, I guess it is!!!). I started to reevaluate my reading choices and finally decided to switch to a genre that I really favor and that usually delivers fast paced, easy to read books. I reached for Blood on His Hands by Mark P. Sadler and it did turn out to be just the remedy for my faltering reading.

On the pages of this book we meet Michael Renton, his wife Bonnie and Bonnie’s family. Michael’s marriage is failing because in order to support his growing family he works away from home all week long and doesn’t give his wife as much time and attention as she would have liked. So what’s Bonnie’s solution to the problems? She goes off and finds herself a lover, Ian Walker and slowly (also in a very calculated and methodical way) removes herself and their children from Michael’s life without his knowledge. Her parents, who happen to consider themselves good, church going people, have no problem with accepting Ian as their daughter’s true love and a better father to their grandsons, while their son-in-law busts his butt as a blue collar worker so his wife can have a better life. One can imagine Michael’s shock when he accidentally discovers his wife in bed with a stranger. The shock was so huge that it ended “with a bang”. In a split second Michael decides to shoot Bonnie and Ian, and so end his own life as he knew it. He now has to run, run from authorities, family and from himself. The escape takes him to the Appalachian trail where he plans to die. Unbeknownst to him, Michael is being hunted by someone who wants revenge and won’t stop until it’s executed.

I think that for a debut novel, Mark did a darn good job. Blood on His Hands is a solid, engaging read for thriller fans. The action was flowing smoothly and the story did pull me in quite quickly, I must say. I started reading the book in the morning and finished it in the evening the same day. It obviously wasn’t boring in the least. The thing I liked the most was the way Mark introduces the reader into the whole broken family situation and gave me a new perspective on the killer, with whom one usually does not sympathize. Not in this case. Maybe I’m just evil, but I couldn’t help but feel for Michael and understand the reasons behind what he did. I also found myself despising Bonnie’s parents who instead of advising her that maybe cheating on her husband wasn’t the best way to go about the whole ‘unhappy and stuck in a hopeless marriage’ situation, supported her lying, her unfaithfulness, and her misleading tactics. I am leaning towards Mark Sadler’s writing skills, rather than my evil self :).

Another really nice and really unexpected thing for a thriller, was Michael’s internal dialogue and struggle with what he’s done and where that one tragic decision left him and his sons. It wasn’t over the top, I never once thought, ‘Enough of the whining already’, and instead I wanted to find out how he’ll end up. I rooted for Michael because it was clear that he wasn’t a cold blooded psychotic killer. He simply made a very, very bad decision that changed him and people around him forever. And don’t think that it’s all seriousness all the time either. The author skillfully managed to insert humor into Michael’s life on the Appalachian Trail and I was smirking quite a few times.

Of course for a debut novel, there were a few plot glitches here and there. I think that the book could actually be longer. I was looking for more insight into how the two little boys dealt with their mother’s death and their father’s abandonment and instead it seemed like the sons were just necessary props but nothing more. There were a few editorial errors but that’s nothing that can’t be fixed next time around. Overall, I think that if you’re a fan of mystery/thriller books that are a fun and quick read, you should definitely give Blood on His Hands a try.


Special thanks to the author, Mark P. Sadler for sending me his book for review.

If you want to find out more about him and Blood on His Hands, please visit Mark's website

Thursday, August 20, 2009

2 in 1: Morrigan's Cross and The Age of Innocence

Because I am slightly lazy nowadays and my brain refuses to do more than is absolutely necessary, I decided to just write two quick reviews in one post instead of separate posts with elaborate opinions of each book. The two books were both very different but almost equally enjoyable.

Morrigan’s Cross by Nora Roberts is a first book in the Circle trilogy. It was my first experience with Nora’s writing and from what I understand the fantasy genre this book was written in is also her first foray into paranormal. The gist of the book is that six people with different skills (a magician, a witch, a vampire among them) get together to train and prepare for the battle against Lilith, the queen of vampires. Whether they win or lose will decide the fate of the whole world. It’s pretty much in everybody’s interest that they win. Otherwise, humanity will be taken over by evil, bloodthirsty vampires.

I actually found myself weirdly interested in the story and the fates of main characters, especially Cian and Hoyt. Twin brothers whose lives were brutally changed when Lilith turned Cian into a vampire. Now, centuries later they are part of the Circle fighting the evil forces. Considering that the writing isn’t very profound and the whole premise is in truth rather simplistic, the longer I stuck with it the more I liked it. I could tell that fantasy was probably not the strongest forte of Roberts’ but reading was quick and entertaining. If you are looking for something easy to read during these lazy summer evenings and don’t really want to get emotionally invested in the book, you’ll probably like Morrigan’s Cross. I would especially if you’re like me and from time to time need to relax your brain and delve into a pleasurable fantasy with a hint of history and a nice romance plot without the over the top sex scenes.

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton is obviously completely different. It is a classic in American literature and yet I have just recently gotten to read it. And what a shame that I waited so long. I think that partly to blame is the movie made in the ‘90s that against my better judgment I watched before reading the book. I didn’t like the movie and therefore when I finally decided to read Ms. Wharton’s book I was very surprised at how good it was. The book is a satirical portrayal of the New York’s upper society of the late 19th century. At the forefront is Newland Archer, a product of the society who considers himself well versed and in favor of all that his family and all others around him hold dear. That is until his cousin, Ellen Olenska, comes back from Europe after a failed marriage and with a baggage of experiences that all welcoming her back would rather not know about. All of a sudden, Newland finds himself dealing with feelings towards Ellen that should have been directed instead towards his fiancée May Welland.

The Age of Innocence is a real treat. It’s very funny if one happens to like the sarcastic humor which always has a deeper purpose than simply providing entertainment. The book’s timelessness is the fact that the shallow values and superficiality of 1870 New York still is alive and well today. In reality, Ms. Wharton had probably no idea that what she criticized over a hundred years ago would be thriving in upper social classes so many generations later. The people then preferred to live in blissful ignorance of others’ emotions and feelings. Opinions mattered only if they were one and the same and in accordance with what was acceptable. The word ‘individuality’ probably did not have a spot in their dictionary and denial was at the top of the game. Only the right clothes mattered, the right dinner invitations, the right occupations and the right entertainment. Anything outside of the generally accepted cannon was scorned upon and if one didn’t follow the rules, they were shunned from the society. It actually reminded me greatly of The Real Housewives of New York and NY Prep kids. Granted, the times and the generally accepted mores are different but the core of it remains the same.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The White Queen giveaway (two copies up for grabs)

I am so happy and excited to be working with Katrina from Wiredset. She always has awesome giveaways to offer my blog visitors. And it's no exception today either. Thanks to Katrina, I have two copies of The White Queen by Philippa Gregory to give away.

Here's a book descripiton:
Philippa Gregory, "the queen of royal fiction" (USA Today) Presents the first of a new series set amid the deadly feuds of England known as the Wars of the Roses.

Brother turns on brother to win the ultimate prize, the throne of England, in this dazzling account of the wars of the Plantagenets. They are the claimants and kings who ruled England before the Tudors, and now Philippa Gregory brings them to life through the dramatic and intimate stories of the secret players: the indomitable women, starting with Elizabeth Woodville, the White Queen.

The White Queen tells the story of a woman of extraordinary beauty and ambition who, catching the eye of the newly crowned boy king, marries him in secret and ascends to royalty. While Elizabeth rises to the demands of her exalted position and fights for the success of her family, her two sons become central figures in a mystery that has confounded historians for centuries: the missing princes in the Tower of London whose fate is still unknown. From her uniquely qualified perspective, Philippa Gregory explores this most famous unsolved mystery of English history, informed by impeccable research and framed by her inimitable storytelling skills.

With The White Queen, Philippa Gregory brings the artistry and intellect of a master writer and storyteller to a new era in history and begins what is sure to be another bestselling classic series from this beloved author.

I know that Ms. Gregory has tons of fans and with this new book concentrating on another period of British history, she'll get even more fans. If you are still not sure whether you want to enter the giveaway, here's some more links and info about the book to convince you:

Book trailer:

Preview excerpt:

Giveaway details:

1. There will be two (2) winners(each for one copy).

2. The giveaway runs through September 2nd (two weeks).

3. The giveaway is open to all (thanks to the generosity of Katrina from Wiredset, all countries included).

4. All that is required is for you to leave me a comment with a valid email address so in case you win, I have a way of contacting you.

Good luck to you all!

In case the luck is not on your side this time, you can always purchase The White Queen here.

In honor of the book's release here's a cool widget with exclusive vidoes and more book content:

Interesting links:

Become a fan of The White Queen on Facebook.

Follow The White Queen on Twitter.

Dying for Mercy giveaway winners

This giveaway ended last week and I am finally posting the results. There were two winners and with the help of they are:

Rowan Rose




Congratulations to the winners and a big thank you to all of you who participated. I have another giveaway going on until August 31 and if you stick around I will be having yet one more giveaway, this time of White Queen by Philippa Gregory quite soon.

Note: Mary Jane Clark, the author of Dying for Mercy was a guest on Good Morning America. I am providing you a link to the piece of article where you may get another chance of winning an autographed copy of Dying for Mercy.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

July Reads

Goodness gracious! What a measly month in reading! I am telling you, I wasn't kidding when I kept saying that I was in a reading rut. And do you know what is worse than a reading rut? A reviewing rut! I felt all 'reviewed up' and honestly could not bring myself up to review even the total of five books. Fortunately, this bad month has come to an end (long time ago, might I say. I completely forgot about posting the summary.) and I can concentrate on moving forward and maybe reading a little more in August.

1. Lucky by Alice Sebold - a very harsh and at times painful memoir about the rape and the life after by the author of Lucky Bones (which I have yet to read).

2. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein - a really beautiful novel which I didn't review simply because so many other people did and all the reviews were brilliant, and I didn't really have anything new to say.

3. House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III - I actually wasn't crazy about this one at all, it was very slow at times especially the first half. It did make up for the slowness towards the end and the ending was very tragic.

4. Labyrinth by Kate Mosse - the only book that was honored with a review.

5. Annette Vallon by James Tipton - a very good historical fiction about French Revolution. It did make me want to read more about this period in history and the prose is beautiful. I may yet write a review.


1. Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan - I didn't like it.

2. Dark Prince by Christine Feehan - I didn't like it even more.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Weekly Geeks: Second Chances

Here's Weekly Geeks for this week:

There have been times in my life where I reread a book (or author) I hated--or thought I hated--but the second time around ended up loving. Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever changed your mind about a book or author the second time around? Have you ever given a book or author a second chance?
If you have, I'd love to hear your stories. Blog about your experience(s) in giving second chances.

If you haven't, I'd like you to consider giving a book or an author a second chance. You can blog about your intentions to do so--or if you're a quick reader, maybe you can even squeeze something in!

Can't think of a single book or author? Don't worry, you can stretch this one to include movies or music if you prefer.

I love to give second chances. Unfortunately it has not happened with my favorite thing, books. I now realize that I am very unforgiving when it comes to reading bad (in my opinion) books. So, to cut it short, I do not have a book that I gave a second chance. However, I am glad that there is part two to this question. It made me rethink my harsh judgement as to the books I didn't like and I indeed have come up with two titles that I am willing to give a second chance.

1. Moby Dick by Herman Melville

I cannot tell you often enough how much I sweated and how many tears of frustration I poured over this book in college. Because it gave me such a hard time, and because I did not finish it, and as a consequence I believe I failed a quiz test, you can imagine the resentment I felt towards Moby Dick. But now, it is 10 years later and I think I have grown up mentally a little bit (at least I hope I have, who knows, maybe I've regressed and am being a tad bit optimistic here). Anyway, I am fully prepared to take my chances and give this classic another shot.

2. The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant

I disliked this book so much that when I wrote a review of it right after having finished it, I believe I might have been too harsh. It's been a few months since, so my guilty memory is still quite fresh. I know that this author is loved by many and there just must have been something I missed while reading the book. I own two other books by this author, including the ARC of Sacred Hearts, and I will definitely give this author a second chance because the guilty feelings will not stop until I do.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

BTT: Recently Worst

Booking Through Thursday's question for this week is:

What’s the worst book you’ve read recently?
(I figure it’s easier than asking your all-time worst, because, well, it’s recent!)

Well, if I thought last week's question was difficult to answer, I certainly did not see this one coming. The one thing I always try to stay away from is putting books in the "worst" category. Even when I dislike the book, even when I write a negative review, I still find it awfully uneasy to point to a book and say, 'Here's the one, it is the worst book I've read'. I think that it's just such a final step and I have a tremendous respect for a written word that I just say that I dislike a book the most.
Without further ado, I'll now talk about that recent book I disliked the most.

It's Dark Prince by Christine Feehan, the first in the series featuring Carpathians, a race of vampires who are not quite vampires as long as they find their life mates. In Dark Prince, Mikhail is the prince of Carpathians, who after centuries of living alone is on the verge of giving up hope for finding his mate. If this indeed doesn't happen, he will face either turning into a full-fledged evil beast, a vampire seeking only to inflict pain and suffering on the human race or ending his life instead. And suddenly things change when a psychic American girl, visiting the Carpathian mountains, connects with Mikhail via her psychic powers. Before Raven, the mysterious girl, realizes what hit her, she is claimed by Mikhail as his life mate and there is no turning back.

I actually found the premise of this book and the whole series quite interesting, if a little silly. But silly doesn't mean bad and we all need all kinds of books to feed our souls and intellects.
The reason why I would not call it the worst book is because I know that there are readers/bloggers who enjoyed it thoroughly and I have too much respect for their other reading choices to discard this one so drastically.

I still however disliked Dark Prince and was quite frankly annoyed with it. The main reason for it wasn't the plot but the writing. First of all, I am not a prude but there really was a sex scenes' overload. Every thirty pages or so, I felt I was experiencing deja vu, reading pretty much the same description of Mikhail and Raven copulating, as if they just never stopped the first time they had sex and everything else happening in between was just a form of daydreaming (or nightdreaming in this case). The repetition trend Ms. Feehan displayed was unfortunately not only in regards to sex. There was an awful lot of 'retribution', 'retaliation' and 'lethal' in there. So much so, that I still get a nervous tick when I see these words mentioned anywhere else. I'm sure there are plenty of words that could replace the three used if only either the editor or the author had a thesaurus handy. Another example was the phrase 'white, hot heat'. When I saw it for the first time I figured it's bad editing, everyone can make a blunder like that and I forgot about it. But then, there it was mentioned for the second time and by the third time I was certain that Ms. Feehan particularly liked this horrid phrase and saw nothing wrong with it. Add to it not a sprinkle but a shower of how Mikhail's hair was coffee colored and how Raven's eyes were violet blue and you feel like you're attending a brainwashing session.

Okay, enough about the bad writing, because I am actually going for part two now, Dark Desire, because I am willing to give it another chance. I realize that the first tries are not always the best and it takes practice to get better, and because the idea of Carpathian males is compelling to me, I am hoping that the series gets better with each book.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wondrous Words Wednesday

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme, started by Bermudaonion where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our reading. Feel free to join in the fun.

Today's words are from The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton.

sacerdotal - of or relating to priests or a priesthood: priestly

She said "reading the newspaper" in the tone in which a Minister's wife might have said: "Presiding at a Cabinet meeting" - not from any arrogance of mind, but because the habit of a lifetime, and the attitude of her friends and relations, had led her to consider Mr. van der Luyden's least gesture as having an almost sacerdotal importance.

viceregal - of or relating to to a viceroy or viceroyalty

Archer contemplated with awe the two slender faded figures, seated side by side in a kind of viceregal rigidity, mouthpieces of some remote ancestral authority which fate compelled them to wield, when they would so much rather have lived in simplicity and seclusion, digging invisible weeds out of the perfect lawns of Skuytercliff, and playing Patience together in the evenings.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Myst Reader by Rand and Robyn Miller + Giveaway

Synopsis from the publisher:

The ages of Myst are worlds of adventure and awe; of mystery and beauty; of intrigue and betrayal. Come take a step into the full fictional legend and origins of Myst. Now, for the first time the three volumes that make up the Myst canon are available as one. You will travel to wonderful new ages; you will watch as the unimaginable comes to pass; and you will read a story that until recently had been kept secret for thousand of years.
The award-winning Myst series is one of the most successful interactive CD-ROM computer games in history with sales of more than 12 million copies worldwide. Myst captivated the world when it was first conceived and created by brothers Rand and Robyn Miller. Its extraordinary success has gone on to spawn Riven, Myst III Exile, and most recently, Uru: The Ages Beyond Myst. Devoted fans of these surreal adventure games gather yearly at "Mysterium" (whose event sites are spreading to other countries) to exchange game strategies, share stories, and meet up with old friends.
The Myst Reader is a literary companion to the CD-ROM games and a compendium of the bestselling official Myst trilogy: The Book of Atrus, The Book of Ti'ana, and The Book of D'ni. Devoted fans and new players alike will be delighted to have three books in this mythic saga together for the first time in one value-priced volume.

A thing to remember for the next time: I should stay away from books written on the basis of something entirely different, especially something I have no clue about. Why? Because that's exactly what happened with The Myst Reader and I ended up wasting my time and eventually abandoning the book.
The Myst Reader is actually three books in one: The Book of Atrus, The Book of Ti'ana and The Book of D'ni and they are all based on an apparently very popular game of Myst. I am not a person who plays a lot of computer games, I pretty much don't do it all, therefore I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I bought the book. I ended up only reading The Book of Atrus and giving up in the middle of The Book of Ti'ana. The books are not badly written and it's one of the genres I enjoy, Sci-Fi but the plot itself just held no interest for me and I strongly suspect it was because you'd have to be familiar with the world of Myst and the main characters before you actually get to read the books. While reading, I found myself daydreaming and drifting away from the story quite often. I simply couldn't connect with the story and characters.

Just to let you know, this is obviously not a full review. I am writing this whole thing as a way of explanation why I want to give the book away: not because it's so bad that it'll be good riddance and I don't care who gets it. Rather because I know that there are huge fans of Myst game out there who would love to read this book and would appreciate it better than I did. And maybe there are people not familiar with the game but are intrigued by the story nonetheless.

Now, let's get to the giveaway details:

1. The Myst Reader is my own copy and therefore slightly used, at least the first 300 pages (approximately where I stopped reading).

2. All you have to do is leave a comment with you email address expressing the interest in this book.

3. The giveaway ends on August 31st so you have more than two weeks to enter.

4. The giveaway is open to all, meaning people from all over the world are welcome.

It's Monday and it's time for...Borrowed Words

I have recently read a comment where it was said that our experience of a book is secondary to the book itself (meaning, I suppose, the technicalities, the good style, 'what the author wanted to say' - oh, I really stay away from this phrase). I think that experiencing the book is the only thing that matters and everything else is what helps create that experience. Writing is a form of art, at least I have always considered it to be so and as any other form of art, the finished product is given to us so we can experience it. Anyway, this little thing inspired me to look for quotes from superb writers/artists on what it is really to write and what I found confirmed my own opinion and made me think that all the anguish and hope and work and sleepless nights, and passion cold not have possibly be invested into the final product merely for us, readers to concentrate on technicalities but to instead feel, experience our own emotions while reading. Today I give you words borrowed from a few artists:

Through joy and through sorrow, I wrote. Through hunger and through thirst, I wrote. Through good report and through ill report, I wrote. Through sunshine and through moonshine, I wrote. What I wrote it is unnecessary to say.
Edgar A. Poe

What is so wonderful about great literature is that it transforms the man who reads it towards the condition of the man who wrote, and brings to birth in us also the creative impulse.
E M Forster

To me the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it's about, but the music the words make.
Truman Capote

'The only important thing in a book is the meaning it has for you.'
Somerset Maugham

Thursday, August 6, 2009

BTT: Recently Serious

Today's Booking Through Thursday asks this:

What’s the most serious book you’ve read recently?
(I figure it’s easier than asking your most serious book ever, because, well, it’s recent!)

Phew, that's a serious question, isn't it?

I actually had to spend some time thinking about the books I'd read recently because I couldn't remember any that were serious enough to be mentioned here. I almost gave up until I remembered about Lucky by Alice Sebold.
It's her memoir of how she got raped as a freshman in college and her quest to find the criminal responsible for changing her life and to bring him to justice. Alice Sebold is mostly known for her Lovely Bones book which, by the way, I have yet to read. Lucky had been written and published before Lovely Bones and in my opinion that's the order the books should be read. Her novel was influenced by her real life experiences and I have a feeling that having now known these awful events and how Ms. Sebold dealt with it all and moved on, I will look at Lovely Bones in a different, more meaningful light.
Lucky is very real, the rape scene described in vivid details down to the whole dialogue. One may wonder how can a person remember anything so well but in this case that memory was what helped Ms. Sebold get the justice she was seeking. The whole book however is not even so much about the rape itself, as about Alice's life afterward. It's a beautiful memoir, one written by a very brave woman and a very skilled writer. It's a story of great loss, of strong and unwavering purpose, and most importantly a story that really happened.
If you're up for some serious reading one of these days, I'd definitely recommend Lucky. Especially because it's a perfect example of when serious doesn't equal boring or difficult to get through. I read it in one sitting and finished it feeling like I was holding one long breath all the time and was allowed to exhale only after it was done.