28 May 2009

I've Been CJ'd!


I am truly very honoured to announce that I've been CJ'd (or should that be Little CJ'd?) by the lovely Kati from Katidom! Thank you Kati! (((Kati)))

And since I must award it to two people (or Little CJ will make a voodoo doll of me and stick pins in it *shivers*) I hear by award the Little CJ Blog Award to:

- Kristen of Fantasy Cafe

Why? Because both of you are currently playing absolute HAVOC with my TBR list (which is both good AND bad, according to my previous post).
Congratulations!

27 May 2009

It's Alive...

I was attempting to picture my TBR list this morning...and all I could think of was a cross between a boxing match and a game of Quidditch (for those of you who have read Harry Potter this will make sense) with all the books attempting to beat each other into submission in a complete free-for-all before attempting to escape through a book-sized escape hatch (shades of Alien?) into my brain. (Yes, sometimes my imagination really does scare me!)

I usually attempt to follow some sort of reading schedule (usually whichever library book is at the top of my hold list), but occasionally some books queue jump (or perhaps that should read 'I let them queue jump') and that I can handle. But panic sets in when a number of interesting books are published at once and someone posts of an amazing book that just HAS to read like NOW (e.g. Scandal *looking specifically at Renee and CJ) and the book you've just finished reading (When Gods Die [CS Harris]) was so good you want the sequel (Why Mermaids Sing) in your hot little hands ASAP and you have books that have been patiently waiting for what feels like ages for you to get too (*small voice* Broken Wing) that you've promised to read! How does it not feel like a boxing (or should that be wrestling) match? Except that you're not the umpire but the one on the ground being pummelled by the large number of books sitting on your chest?

Does anyone else occasionally feel completely out of control when it comes to their TBR list/pile? And does it sometimes grow faster than you can keep up with (like a triffid)? Maybe it is alive? *squeezes eyes shut* Do NOT think of anything...particularly not marshmallows!

And mass apologies for mentioning boxing, Harry Potter, Alien, triffids and the Ghostbusters all in the same post! What WAS I thinking?

25 May 2009

J'ai Fini

I have finished the book! FINALLY! *happy dance* I finished on Saturday afternoon and promptly dived into When Gods Die (CS Harris), which I am happy to say is a nice, relaxing, easy read (and very good to boot). And my overwhelming emotion upon finishing the book? Relief...

As for the book...I've been thinking about whether I want to read the next one, or whether I want to attempt the spin-off series. Is anyone else who has read the book (and yes I know I'm still not naming it...if I don't name it then it has no power over me *grin*) planning on continuing with the series or picking up the spin-off? I'm fence sitting at the moment...I really don't know if I can face another two-week marathon (yes, it took me almost 14 days to read)...

22 May 2009

Does Size Matter?

We're always told size doesn't matter. But it does! No *stern look* ...get your mind out of the gutter! This is not about what you think it is about. It is, in fact, about book size! As in hardback (HB) versus trade paperback (TP) versus mass market paperback (MMP) and the age old question: should you mix-and-match within a series? (Notice I said 'should'...as it's kind of obvious that you 'could' indeed do so if that was your inclination *grin*)

I'm firmly OFF the fence on this one: books within a series should be the same size. I get the collywobbles just thinking about a hardback mixed in with a paperback! Why? Because it's just.... *splutters* wrong! This 'wrongness' was one of the reasons why I didn't purchase Lover Avenged when it was released - I have all of the earlier books in MMP format and a HB would stick out like a sore thumb! The other reason? Cost. Saying that, I have purchased books in HB format before (e.g. the Harry Potter books) - so I'm not against the format per say. (And before you ask, yes I bought ALL seven book in HB format...and with the same covers...) I will freely admit that for some people size doesn't matter and I have no problem with that. Honest I don't. My size policy applies only to me *grin* But what happens when it's all but impossible to keep the size rule... What do you do? *cue scary music*

After reading/devouring the first two books in Sarah Monette's Doctrine of Labyrinth series (Mélusine and The Virtu) I have been determined to purchase the series. The problem is that the first and third books are available in MMP format, the third and fourth books are available in HB format (the fourth book - Corambis has just been published)...but the second book is to all intents and purposes out of print! Oh the horror! (And no, I'm not joking.) There are a few HB copies of The Virtu floating around, and I think *crossing fingers madly* I may have been able to source a copy, but the MMP copies are like hens' teeth! If I do end up with an HB copy of The Virtu, then I will just need to ensure I find the others in HB format, particularly Mélusine...because the thought of having a book missing or a book in a different size....I don't know which is worse!

So, does size matter to you and if so, how far do you take it? What about covers and/or editions? Do they need to be the same? And if you don't think size matters, do you think those of us that do think so are completely mad?

20 May 2009

Rant

Caveat: I don't mean any disrespect to either the author or her work. I'm just frustrated with pretty much everything at present and, unfortunately, a certain book has become the focus of my frustration. So I apologise in advance if I cause offence - it is not my intention to do so.

I am currently reading a book (no points for guessing which one) that is engendering...dare I say it...I hate to say it...apathy! *lowers head* I've been reading this particular book for 10 days and I have only read 315 pages. Reading it feels like wading through treacle. I am no doubt going to be hung, drawn and quartered (or perhaps that might be too optimistic of me) for saying this but....I'm beginning to wonder if I've reached my breaking point. What is so shocking is that is it THIS book and THIS author...who'd have thought? I've been devouring this author's books since the moment I picked the first one up. I haven't been as enthralled with the latter books, but I still enjoyed them. Honestly, I never expected to feel like this.

Where to start? There's the product placement - I mean, seriously people, do we need to have a brand name for the oats that one of the characters is eating? Can't he just be eating oats? Is your reading experience adversely affected if you don't know that the brand of oats said character is eating is Quaker? Because mine sure isn't! I honestly feel like I'm whirring around in the washing machine of advertising...I'm dreading the dryer! And then there are the products, some of which I've never even heard off...I understand that the author is based in North America, but it would be nice if there was some (any) consideration made to those of us who reside outside of North America and thus won't know the products or names referred too. Particularly when it reflects on a character's state of mind. And I'm not even going to get started on how said products date the book. Nor am I going to get on my soap box *looks down* (OOPS! Already on it!) about the scene I read this morning in which one character was bemoaning the fact that she was wearing clothes from GAP (which I have heard of BTW). I say nothing!

And then there's the slang, which is driving me nuts...'I'm outtie'? How about 'fiddiot' or 'gen pop'? Maybe it's just me, but the slang de-fangs all the supposedly bad-a*s characters. I can't take anyone seriously if they say outtie! Then again, I could handle (JUST!) the slang if it was confined to the dialogue, but it's not! Do we really need slang in the non-dialogue text as well? What did I read the other day (in the main text BTW, not the dialogue)? 'Bisniz'! For goodness sake - it's business! What has happened to the English language? Is it unfashionable? What will the next book include? Text lingo? And what about the abbreviations? Anyone else feel like they missed the lecture notes?

And then there are all the plot strings. I feel like I'm on a yo yo, whizzing around from plot to plot. Or, sticking with the washing machine metaphor, on the spin cycle! And currently, there's only one plot that's keeping my interest going, and it's not the one I thought it would be either. Because the plot I thought would hook me is so saccharine I almost can't take any more!

Oh, and consistency....or lack thereof, particularly with the characters. Don't worry, I'm only dancing around this one, not heading in guns blazing! One character, who has been, to all intents and purposes, a dominant in the initial books is suddenly acting submissive...is that normal? (And yes that is a genuine question.) And then there is the 'evil' character. Could he be any more of a slapstick evil character? He seems to have a cunningly evil plan, but all his lackeys are idiots! But then, at least he has a plan. His opposing number - no clue! For goodness sake, you have a fully trained police officer in your midst - USE HIM! The plan you're currently using (one that you've been using for centuries I might add) obviously isn't working!

*SIGH* In the book's defence, I think perhaps I am reading it at the wrong time... I'm sure if I was in a better (read different) frame of mind all of the above 'issues', if I can call them that, wouldn't be annoying and I would just enjoy the book as I have its predecessors. And I'm sure at this point you're all yelling at me, asking me why I'm bothering with the book if I have this many issues with it. I've already had someone ask me why I am persevering with it. Because...because I don't want to let go....because I keep hoping it will get better...or I will get with the programme and fall madly back in
love...

So, has there ever been a series that has driven you almost to the point of no return but rescued itself at the last moment? Hope....please *begging* ...I need hope!

19 May 2009

I Did What?

When you lose a family member, one of the many things you lose is an opportunity to delve your childhood...or so I thought...

My father's best friend stopped in to see me on Sunday to pick up an item that my father has had for....years! I'm currently living in the family home, and my father's friend was reminiscing over the various memories he had as we wandered around. When he came out of the bathroom he was grinning like a Cheshire cat. He said that seeing the bathroom reminded him of renovating it...and the reason why he and my father had to renovate it in the first place. You see, the original shower had a steel base with relatively high sides. Supposedly, when I was small I liked to sit (I can't believe I'm admitting this) on the plug hole and let the water level rise...and rise....and rise...until water overflowed onto the bathroom floor. (Obviously I liked water *grin*) I did this so many times that the bathroom floor rotted and the whole floor had to be replaced!

So, what is the last childhood escapade that someone reminded you of?

16 May 2009

Affection

I was asked recently from where I receive affection. My response: *blank look* When discussing this later with someone who I shall call The Unnamed Expert, I expressed my abject confusion over the question. The Unnamed Expert asked me to describe, in my own words, what affection means to me. So what did I think of first? Chimpanzees! (Please put on your Sir David Attenborough hat and walk this way.) The way they touch and the sense of belonging and acceptance within the group. But when The Unnamed Expert asked me to extrapolate the question to humans....I couldn't! What seems completely natural in chimpanzees seems alien in humans...alien to me anyway...

Affection is a basic human need, which is not the same as a requirement for life (like food & water, shelter and warmth); it is not a want. Humans require attachments with each other for their emotional and psychological development; nature and the quality of early development permit a child to develop various templates (e.g. for affection). And these templates govern our unconscious reactions; they fit together, kind of like a jigsaw puzzle, to make up the sum of who we are.

And what does all of this mean? *deep breath* I have come to the realization that my template for affection is....warped, for want of a better word. The affection that is second nature to so many is completely alien to me...but more than that, it feels wrong. I don't like to touch others...not do I like to be touched...and yes, that means everyone. (So yes, that impacts on oh so many areas.) I no doubt come across as awkward, standoffish and cold at times because that innate affection is absent... And why am I like this? The current theory is that I have suppressed my need for affection. If affection is a necessity, when you don't receive it as your template is developing then you have to adapt...suppress the need and learn to live without it...and after a while you become conditioned...and affection becomes alien, and you avoid it.

So where does that leave me? On a very long road. But....I'm walking, even if it often feels like two steps forward and one step back. I just hope that, if I'm ever lucky enough to find the other half of me, I'll have walked far enough to have made a difference.

13 May 2009

The Broken Wing Challenge

Your mission, should you chose to accept it (and that's just a figure of speech BTW *grin* This challenge is like the mob....), is to read the much lauded Broken Wing (Judith James) before the end of July 2009 (I thought I should add the year just in case people were planning to use the next 14 months to read Broken Wing *grin*). To up the stakes, review the book on your blog or forward your review to me and I will post it here for you. Reviews should be posted between 01 July and 30 July, with a planned group discussion (to which all current and previous readers of Broken Wing will be welcome) here on Friday 31 July! Re-visit the path to this momentous challenge here!
*whispers under breath* What have I got myself in for?

The 'participants' to date are as follows: *clears throat*
- orannia
- Aymless
- azteclady
- Renee
- Christine
- Marg
- SarahT
- Kris
- Lisa Marie Wilkinson
- ShellBell
- Maria Lokken
- Mad
- LeeAnn
- Mariana

If I have missed anyone, please let me know. I will also update the list if/when more 'volunteers' come out of the woodwork...and you can 'volunteer' at any time *grin*
GOOD LUCK! This message will self-destruct in 30 seconds....
...

Kidding *grin* I meant 29 seconds...

Edited (again) to add another name to the challenge list - we're up to 14 (YES, 13!) participants ! *happy dance*

12 May 2009

Plot Till You Drop

Yes, I know, the title is quite weird but...work with me please *grin* I was talking about this on Saturday with my best friend (Starfire) and thinking about it this morning in the shower (and no, I don't know why things pop into my head when I am in the shower...maybe it's because I'm a little more relaxed?) *shakes head* Anyway, when I read Aymless' post on Shannon K Butcher's Burning Alive I thought I had to ask: are there some plots that you would be happy never to read again? Plots that are re-hashed in various formats (but still identifiable) that drive you insane with their predictability?

My personal non-favourite is the stalker plot. Starfire and I were talking about the stalker plot on the weekend, and she commented that with one particular author (who shall remain nameless) it was scarily predictable. My exact words were: Page 50: 'Entrance stalker, stage right'. There are others that drive me insane - the BIG MISUNDERSTANDING (note capitals), for one - but it is the stalker plot that has me wanting to stand on a soapbox and rant.

So, what plots drive you to stand on a soapbox and rant about their inanity? And...what would you like to see more of?

11 May 2009

To Brand Or Not To Brand?

I am currently reading a book (no prizes for guessing which one) that has IMO a startling amount of product placement (versus earlier books in the series and versus other books in the subgenre [whether you place it in Paranormal Romance or Urban Fantasy). For example:

Inside there were eighteen small bottles of Ocean Spray CranRaspberry in three rows of six.

And what about? (This one completely threw me!)

Her door was open and she sized up the detective from behind. He wasn't too tall, but he had a thick build she approved of. His sports coat was Men's Wearhouse, his shoes were Florsheim. Watch peeking out of his cuff was Seiko.

I will admit to only being approximately 25 pages into what is over a 500-page book but still...do I really need to know the brand of cranberry juice someone is drinking? Or the make of their watch? And I have to be honest, not living in North America (and not being 'in' to shopping in any way, shape or form) the majority of these brands just don't resonate with me.

I guess what I'm really asking is: is the branding necessary? And do you feel it adds to or detracts from the story? Or does it have no impact whatsoever? (I'm currently sitting on the fence at the moment until I read further.)

Caveat: I'm not really sure how I feel about this book...and this worries me! I used to drool (figuratively, not literally) at the the thought of getting my hands on the earlier books but this one....*shrug* I suppose you could say I'm ambivalent. I'm not desperate to pick it up. And I'm not really sure what that means...for this book or the next. Or for me....

OT: And don't forget the Broken Wing Challenge!

08 May 2009

And the Gauntlet is Down

Hear ye, hear ye. It has come to my attention that a surprising number of people - you know who you are - haven't read the much lauded Broken Wing (Judith James) [I thought I was the only perpetrator..]. We should be ashamed! Kristie (J) has been championing this book and we have left it languishing on our TBR piles for too long! 'No more' I say, 'no more'. To that end, and because this might be the only thing that saves us...ur...me (since I somehow seem to be at the front of the queue facing the wrath *turns around and looks at everyone hiding behind*), I think we need to show genuine remorse for our heinous crime (of not yet reading Broken Wing)...and demonstrate a willingness to change (in other word: READ IT!).

*throws down gauntlet*

I challenge YOU (and you know who you are) and anyone else who has not yet done so to read Broken Wing by the end of June (although perhaps July might be permissible...*looks anxiously over shoulder for signs of storm clouds*). And perhaps we *looking specifically at Aymless, azteclady & Renee* could act on Kerry's suggestion and combine our thoughts on the book?

Will you accept the challenge?
Edited for the THIRD time! Note to self - stop 'fixing' the post!

07 May 2009

Traffic Jam! (Part II)

As you may have noticed, I am currently reading Blue Diablo (and yes I am enjoying it!). After considerable thought, I have decided to try and play 'pick & mix' with a complete TBR list to ensure that I read not only the books on my library hold list, but also those that I have won/borrowed and those that I have bought over the past year, which are currently languishing in boxes (since I am unable to unpack them). Therefore, this weekend I will attempt to draft a revised TBR list to include those books not on my library hold list that I want to read. I will then peruse BOTH lists before selecting a book, although I will try and ensure that I continue my 'first on, first off' policy *grin*

I am also planning to allow some new releases to 'queue jump' *shock horror* (otherwise they will suffer the fate of Broken Wing [which I STILL haven't read (I'm sorry Kristie (J)...I know I am a bad person *hangs head*)] and languish on my library hold list for what feels like eternity!) To that end, I unfroze my hold on Lover Avenged...and it is now 'In Transit' *jumps about with glee* (Don't you just love library terminology?) As it has numerous holds (over 50) placed on it by other patrons, I will enact yet another rule and read it ahead of When Gods Die (CS Harris), which I currently have issued out to me. (Unfortunately, this means I won't be able to discuss it with my friend for a while). Hmmm. Traffic Jam [Part II] is a rather apt title for this post...

Obviously the rigid control I exert over my life extends to the pleasurable pursuit of reading... Does anyone else think I have too many rules...or that I am over thinking this?

Edited: To correctly add Kristie (J)'s name *slaps hand against head* DUH!

04 May 2009

Traffic Jam!

If I may be so bold as to borrow a phrase from the lovely Kati (Katidom), I have a TBR traffic jam! Do I read the next book on my TBR list (I follow a 'first on, first off' policy) or should I read a new release (my library has received its copies of both Fragile Eternity [Melissa Marr] and Lover Avenged [JR Ward])? (Because, honestly, how long does everyone think I can keep my head buried in the sand to avoid spoilers?) And what about those books that I have won (Blue Diablo)? Where do they fit? And what about books that are only half-way up my TBR list but a friend has started reading? If I read the same book, then we can discuss it...because is there anything more frustrating than reading a book and realising that no one else has read it within recent memory and you can't discuss it?

WARNING! MELTDOWN IMMINENT!

Have you ever experiences a TBR traffic jam and, if so, how do you sort out the snarl? Perhaps I should have a list of every book I am going to read, regardless of where it is from? (I currently use my library hold list, which by definition is limiting...) And should reading really be this stressful?

01 May 2009

Books 2009: April Update

Total to date: 27 books (4 books this month) [Yes, it was a VERY slow month]

The 2009 Support Your Local Library Challenge total to date: 23 books (4 books this month)

A list of all the books I've read to date (from 01 January 2008) can be found at Library Thing.

Favourite books of the month?

* The Virtu (Sarah Monette)

* Silent on the Moor (Deanna Raybourn)

Currently reading: The Dangers of Deceiving a Viscount (Julia London)

And the books I'm most looking forward too next month are:

* Fragile Eternity (Melissa Marr)

* Lover Avenged (JR Ward)