Tuesday, 15 November 2011

My Guest Review: Tempest Rising by Tracy Deebs

I read and reviewed Tempest Rising by Tracy Deebs. You may read the review at Becky's blog The Bookette right HERE.

SUMMARY: Tempest Maguire wants nothing more than to surf the killer waves near her California home; continue her steady relationship with her boyfriend, Mark; and take care of her brothers and surfer dad. But Tempest is half mermaid, and as her seventeenth birthday approaches, she will have to decide whether to remain on land or give herself to the ocean like her mother. The pull of the water becomes as insistent as her attraction to Kai, a gorgeous surfer whose uncanny abilities hint at an otherworldly identity as well. And when Tempest does finally give in to the water's temptation and enters a fantastical underwater world, she finds that a larger destiny awaits her-and that the entire ocean's future hangs in the balance.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Guys and Molls: Speaking in the Slang of the 1930s (Goodies Included)



Guys and Molls
Event production by
Random Magic Tour
Sasha Soren (Random Magic)

SPEAKING IN THE SLANG OF THE 1930s

Can you imagine a gangster and a lady meeting in a bar during the 1930s? I sure can. But their intriguing meeting would have been recorded with different words than we use today every day and here's a challenge for you, guys and molls. I invite you to read the text this moll wrote for you in the slang of the 1930s and do tell how much you understood and learned anew.

I invite into the world of speakeasies and jazz. Enjoy.

*****

The moment he stepped into the speakeasy, his eyes were all for the pretty canary on the stage, her form togged to the bricks. She was a sweet patootie and she blew his wig alright. A few greaseballs were trying to get her attention, but he knew her type. She was too good to be anything but a moll. He sure wouldn't mind a honey cooler from her lips. He might just ask her to sing at his big jolly up next week. She looked determined, a hard-boiled muffin, and he bet she sure wouldn't mind performing in a cave full of grifters. He didn't exactly have a tin ear, but he could listen to her all day, even if the songs were off the cob.

Her blinkers fluttered as the tune ended and she looked straight at him when he inhaled the bitter sweet smoke from his snipe. She walked off the stage and intended to go past him, but he stopped her, gently wrapping his fingers around her arm.

"That was wobby, doll."

"Kippy," she replied as if automatically. She seemed to be joed from up close. "You can take a powder now. Not interested."

"Not even in a kippy sum of suds? You'd be a perfect addition to the hop at my cave next week."

She smiled. "Keen. I'll think about it."

He returned the smile. "Abbyssinia then, kitten."

She gave him a wink before returning to the stage. A dame's peepers never lied and he knew what he'd seen in hers. Oh, it was definitely a date.

*****

To crack the slang code, refer to this website, lovelies. Did you enjoy the story?

*****

Guys and Molls - Goodies



WIN this hilarious deck of flashcards, and you'll have fun learning how to sling some lingo.

About: Get a line on this racket: flashcards feature famous one-liners and slang from 1930s gangster classics. Dish out some gangster speak and your pals and enemies will think you were made for the silver screen. 30 movie flashcards, boxed.

Preview: Check out the deck

AND



WIN this great multi-title DVD, which includes four of the best gangster movies that were ever made. Host your own 1930s mobster movie marathon!

About: There are four vintage films included on this DVD.

CLIP FROM THE PUBLIC ENEMY

The Public Enemy (1931) - A taut, realistic time capsule of the
Prohibition Era, showcasing James Cagney's powerhouse breakthrough as
a streetwise tough guy who rises high in the bootleg racket.

HOW TO PLAY: There are four steps, but they're all fun and easy to do.

1. Leave a comment on this post, giving your take on this question: In the 1930s, would you have been hanging out with flappers, cops or bootleggers? Which group do you find most intriguing and why? Feel free to sign it with your own mobster nickname or syndicate, or
Twitter name.

2. Comment on ANY other second Guys and Molls post. (Browse event schedule)

3. Comment on ANY other third Guys and Molls post.

4. Share a link to ANY Guys and Molls post on Twitter.

Note: Please remember to include email address in entry form so you can be contacted if you win.

Additional info: International. DVD is region 1/NTSC but should play on multi-region player. Winner will be selected at random using random.org.
Ends December 15, 2011, midnight, EST.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Coming Soon! Guys and Molls (November 10 - 17)



Guys and Molls
Event production by Random Magic Tour
Sasha Soren (Random Magic)
Schedule of events


November 10 – 17, 2011

November 10
vvb32reads (@vvb32reads)
Lit noir – Fictional henchmen

November 11
This Miss Loves to Read (@MissIrenne)
Concrete shoes and tommy guns – How to talk like a gangster

November 12
Double feature
vvb32reads (@vvb32reads)
Secret doors and liquid fire – Speakeasies
and
Theater of the air – Radio show: Angels with Dirty Faces

November 13
Beyond Strange New Words (@StrangeNewWords)
Sing, you sinners! – Vintage mobster music

November 14
I Love Books (vlog) (@Booklover_622)
The Book Addict (blog) (@Christina_622)
Mob rules – A mafia code of honor
and
Splash of our Worlds (@SplashOOWorlds)
Rogue's gallery – Top 15 vintage mob flicks

November 15
The True Book Addict (@truebookaddict)
Kings of the boardwalk empire – Atlantic City's real-life wise guys
and
Reviews from my First Reads Shelf (Twitter N/A)
Jimmy Blue Eyes and the Wizard of Odds – Mobster nicknames

November 16
Story Wings (@StoryWings)
The bitter end – Assassinated gangsters
and
Inky Pages - Coffee and a Good Book (vlog) (@inkypages)
Inky Pages (blog)
From ink to screen – Mob movies based on books, short stories or plays

November 17
Spellbound by Books (@Meeka_21)
Pinstripes and fedoras – Gangster fashion

And event goodies! Details available on event posts.

*****COMING SOON*****
November 10 – 17, 2011

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Top Ten Books I Wish I Could Read Again for the First Time



This great feature is hosted every Tuesday at The Broke and the Bookish.

I came up with five books.

Here is my list in no particular order, with explanations as to why I wish I could read some already read books for the first time:

1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.
Jane Eyre is one of my favourite novels of all time. I read it for the first time when I was sixteen and I have re-read it a few times since, but that first impression I got of the book cannot be repeated. I loved how surprised I was to learn the truth behind all the mystery and how thrilling that was. Now I know what to expect, so there are no surprises anymore. In my opinion, Jane Eyre contains one of the best plot twists ever written.

2. The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux.
This is my favourite novel and I think it'd be thrilling to be able to discover its beauties for the first time. The best experience I had when reading this novel for the first time was that I gradually learned to love and sympathise with the main character - the Phantom. As I re-read it now, I delve into the world already knowing his history and loving it, so I'm biased. That first journey of discoveries was quite magical.

3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
This is a little known fact, but the first time I read this famous novel, I didn't think much of it at all. I enjoyed it, but I quickly forgot it. I only began to appreciate its value when the BBC series began to air. Then I returned it, more mature and better versed in literature, and saw it in a different light. I wish I could read it for the first time now because my reading tastes have changed dramatically since I was fifteen.

4. Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz.
This has been one of the best and most spiritual reads I have ever experienced. I would like to experience this type of reading again, with this amazing book.

5. The Wyndspelle trilogy by Aola Vandergriff.
For me, these books provided me with such thrill! I have re-read the trilogy, but it's just not the same. I'd love to experience that thrill again.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult

GENRE: contemporary fiction/family drama

SUMMARY:
Delia Hopkins has led a charmed life. Raised in rural New Hampshire by her widowed father, Andrew, she now has a young daughter, a handsome fiance, and her own search-and-rescue bloodhound, which she uses to find missing persons. But as Delia plans her wedding, she is plagued by flashbacks of a life she can't recall. And then a policeman knocks on her door, revealing a secret that changes the world as she knows it. In shock and confusion, Delia must sift through the truth - even when it jeopardizes her life and the lives of those she loves. What happens when you learn you are not who you thought you were? When the people you've loved and trusted suddenly change before your eyes? When getting your deepest wish means giving up what you've always taken for granted? Vanishing Acts explores how life - as we know it - might not turn out the way we imagined; how doing the right thing could mean doing the wrong thing; how the memory we thought had vanished could return as a threat.

THIS MISS REVIEWS:
Vanishing Acts is a touching, gripping and thought-provoking novel about family and betrayal.

Delia Hopkins is a happy woman. She is engaged to a man she has known almost all her life, has a daughter with him, a supportive best friend, a job that pleases her and a father she can always turn to. Things were not always easy for Delia, but in general, she has led a good life. The only thing that mars her happiness are the memories of things she doesn’t remember experiencing herself and that fills her with much confusion. Then, one day, the police come to arrest her father for kidnapping a child more than twenty years ago and Delia learns the shocking truth: the child her father kidnapped was her and she used to be called Bethany Matthews.

Delia embarks on a difficult and heart-breaking journey of self-discovery, trying to determined if her life has been a lie and if she can still love her father after his great act of betrayal, or learn to love the woman who says is her mother.

Picoult focuses on very serious and important topics in this novel. In the foreground is the question of whether something that is labeled a crime is a really a crime when done for honourable reasons, and the reader is provoked into answering the question with a startling answer. The author also discusses alcoholism, child abuse, how far one would go to survive, as well as Indian spiritualism and its effects on someone who has been yearning for answers all their life. There is certainly no lack of themes in the book and they are all difficult issues with no easy answers. Picoult explores all sides of one issue, leaving space for several different interpretations. Life is not only black and white, and the author definitely attests to this truth.

The problem I had with this novel was, in fact, that there are perhaps too many story lines. While I must compliment the author for truly focusing on every character and on every circumstance that they come upon with skill and thoroughness, I must confess that I did not always see the point in all of them. I know the author tried to cover all possible aspects of this shocking tale, to truly make the reader see and feel sympathy for different people, but some scenes were redundant and did not really serve a purpose. As much as I am interested in Native American culture, for example, it seems that almost everything connected to the Indian character in the novel, and to this culture, was just the author’s way of expressing her vast knowledge on the topic that she has used in another novel. I appreciate the effort, but sometimes it distracted me from the actual problem.

Delia also makes drastic changes in her love life. I understood why she would feel that was necessary, but it still seemed a bit fast for my taste, if not slightly forced. She seemed to happy about it, which means something, but I can’t help but feel that her heart was not really in it.

Still, the novel was a highly enjoyable read and it was ever so thought provoking. I agreed with certain things I might have otherwise condemned, and vice versa. The novel focuses on all those gray areas in life, when something that’s wrong is actually right, and something that feels right is really terribly wrong.

In my opinion, the novel has a satisfactory conclusion which proves that justice is still appreciated in this world, that child protection is encouraged and desired, and that love can overrun all obstacles. Some may not agree with me, as it’s easy to accept the things that happen in the novel, but reality is not always easy, anyway.

This novel can be enjoyed by anyone who likes a good family drama and who is not afraid to be faced with difficult answers and situations. The novel will leave you emotionally raw, but it is a rewarding read. I am fast becoming a fan of Jodi Picoult.

THIS MISS RATES:

Monday, 3 October 2011

Bookie Brunch: Favourite Classic Novels + Chance to Win a Prize



Welcome to Bookie Brunch
Come join the discussion!
Founder: Sasha Soren (Random Magic)
* Every Sunday*

Today's host: This Miss Loves to Read
Next week’s host (October 9): Amanda-Lee at StoryWings
This week’s discussion open through: October 5

Your host this week:
Irena at This Miss Loves to Read

Her guests this week:
Yiota at Splash of Our Worlds
Pepca at Beyond Strange New Words
Jazmin at Books!!!


Welcome to the Bookie Brunch! Created by the wonderful Sasha Soren, the Bookie Brunch is a traveling event where bookish people get together to discuss bookish things. Every Sunday, readers will share their opinions on a particular topic, and you are welcome to join us!

Please join me in welcoming Yiota, Pepca and Jazmin to This Miss Loves to Read!


ON THE MENU:
Which is your favourite classic novel, and why?

LET US BEGIN!

Yiota says:
Hmmm...I will go with Hobbit, even though I'm not sure it counts. I've seen it in classic novels lists. Anyway, I love epic fantasy. It's my favorite genre.
Hobbit is not only the first epic fantasy book I got, but also probably the most magnificent and perfectly created world out there. I might find the details tiresome at some point but I love the scenery, the ideas, the elves' language, the story! It's funny and easy to read it. Also has a dragon and Gandalf in, so 'nuff said.
If Hobbit doesn't count as classic I'm going with Emma by Jane Austen. I have read almost all of her books but Emma is my fav. It's more light and funny and I was giggling all the time with the main character.

Pepca says:
My favourite classic novel is In Desert and Wilderness by Henryk Sienkiewicz. It is considered to be a children's/young adult novel, but I think it can also be viewed as a classic because it deals with universal themes which are still reflected in the present. It can certainly be enjoyed at every age, because of its dynamic story of adventure and exploration of new cultures, through which the main protagonists learn about the world and themselves as grow-up a little. This well-written story takes the reader to unknown places and it broadens one's horizons.

Jazmin says:

My favorite classic novel is The Odyssey because of its vivid imagery and engrossing (even if people find it boring), and I just love a good tale with the Greek gods.

Irena (the host) says:
There are quite a few wonderful classic novels to be considered for this question, but I am alternating between two: my favourite novel, which is The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux, and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I suppose you could say I am a great fan of Gothic literature. I love the passion this genre creates, the suspense, the mysterious and darkly beautiful scenery it brings to life, and the way it honestly, although dramatacally paints human nature in its extremes. In both the novels I chose, all of it is very evident in the stories. I especially love how the characters evolve, grow, excell and change. I love the message that redemption is possible for everyone, and that love itself is a redeeming factor. The romantic in me can't resist such a thing.

*****

What are YOUR thoughts on the matter?


*****

Brunch Goodies



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From Fragrantica: Intense, merry and unforgettable; so opulent and
floral that it seems like its composition includes every beautiful
flower that exists in the world. (MORE)

WATCH COMMERICAL

Shown above: Here's a brief video review of Amarige, by actor and beauty products broadcaster Petra Bryant.

Details: To win this lovely brunch gift, please leave email info and
thoughtful or interesting comment below. A winner will be picked at
random. If host and guests agree that a specific visitor comment is
substantial, outstanding, or in some other way has particular merit,
they can override random.org pick at their discretion. Eau de
toilette, miniature, 4mL (0.13 oz.). International. Through November
1, 2011, 12 midnight EDT.

Brought by: Sasha Soren

Thursday, 29 September 2011

International Giveaway: Love at Absolute Zero by Christopher Meeks

Hello, everyone!

I'm very happy to be able to host A GIVEAWAY for Chistoper Meeks' wonderful novel Love at Absolute Zero.



Love at Absolute Zero is about Gunnar Gunderson, a 32-year-old star physicist at the University of Wisconsin. The moment he’s given tenure at the university, he can think of only one thing: finding a wife. His research falters into what happens to matter near absolute zero (−459.67 °F), but he has an instant new plan. To meet his soul mate within three days—that’s what he wants and the time he can carve out—he will use the Scientific Method. Can Gunnar survive his quest?

You can read my review HERE.

THE RULES OF THE GIVEAWAY AND HOW TO ENTER IT:
- the giveaway is international,
- there will be two winners; the winner from the USA/Canada will be able to choose between a physical copy of the book and an e-book, the international winner will receive an e-book,
- the giveaway ends October 6, the winners will be announced October 7,
- to enter the giveaway, simply leave your e-mail address in the response box below,
- you do not have to be a follower of This Miss Loves to Read to participate.

GOOD LUCK!

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

This Miss Answers 25 Bookish Questions

There's one thing you should know about me - I love quizzes related to literature and books, and when I saw a new one at Pepca's blog Beyond Strange New Words, I immediately knew I was going to try it out myself.

In this post, I answer 25 bookish questions.

Here we go:

1. What percent of books do you get from the library and what percent do you get elsewhere?

I used to mostly borrow books from the library, so I would read around 90% of library books, and the rest of the books were mine. Now, it's the other way around. I borrow books from the library for my family, but I mostly read books I either bought, borrowed from a friend or received for review. Which means that now, I only read about 10-20% of library books. I suppose blogging changed my relationship with the library.

2. What character would you want to be and why?

This is an incredibly difficult question. I love many characters, even some of those that are just inherently bad at heart. But I think I'd most likely be Jane Eyre because I can most easily relate to her. She's learned, and both reasonable and passionate. She's a well-balanced woman.

3. What is your favourite book from your childhood?

Hans Christian Andersen's collection of fairy-tales. We have a book at home that contains thirty of his fairy-tales and I used to read that book all the time.

4. What is your favourite book?

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux.

5. Which book series do you have the most books of?

Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse novels. I own the first seven books of the series.

6. Do you buy used books or use swap.com?

No to both. If I buy a book, I do so because I really want to own it and I prefer my books to be brand new. I think I'd use swap if it actually shipped books to my country.

7. Who is your favourite/hottest guy or girl?

Currently, that would be Loki from the movie Thor, to be completely honest. Before watching the movie, I knew about Loki from the Edda poems and from the Marvel comics, and in the movie he really shines. As a character, he is currently my hottest guy, and yes, he is also very handsome. I adore characters that are complex and multi-layered. As Loki appears in literature - as I said, in the Edda poems (Norse poetry) and Marvel comic books - he counts for this questionnaire.

8. What is your favourite book cover?

I only have to choose one? I don't really have my very favourite book cover, but I have to say that I'm still quite impressed by the cover for The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart by Matthias Malzieu.



9. What is your favourite type of book cover?

I like a vintage look, scenery, with something symbolic added to the image - something that's related to the book. I don't likw covers that have too much going on in them or that are pink.

10. What was the first book you read?

I'm not 100% certain about this, but my earliest memory of my trying to read a book by myself and succeeding points to "Cinderella" by the Grimm brothers. Not a book, but still, it's a story.

11. What is your favourite book to movie adaption?


Definitely BBC's adaptation of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, starring Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens. It's not a movie, but a mini-series in four parts. I also adore the movie adaptations for The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien.

12. When did you start making videos on YouTube?

Originally, this was a questionnaire made by a vlogger. I don't have a vlog, but I have a blog and I started blogging in May 2010.

13. Where is the best place to read?

My own bed. The bathroom, too. :)

14. Have you written your own fan fiction for a book?

Several, actually. For me, fanfiction is a very fun way of releasing my creative energy, as well as great practice for a writer in making because you have readers who give you (almost) immediate feedback, pointing out your strengths and weaknesses. I recommend fanfiction.net. If a fanfic is well written, it's really intriguing to see your beloved characters in different situations.

15. If you could only read 3 books for the rest of your life what would they be?


This question is nearly impossible to answer, but from the top of my head, I'd say:
1. The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux,
2. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte,
3. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield.

16. What is the longest book you have read?

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. The version I read had a bit over 1000 pages. Impressive.

17. If you were to write a book, what would the title be and why?

Oh, my. It's hard to say. I'm working on a story, for fun. I guess the working title is Gemini. Why this title? Because it involves twins, and I like the sound of Latin for a book title. There you go.

18. How many books did you read last month?

I read seven books in August.

19. What is the last book you read?

Mad Love by Suzanne Selfors.

20. Do you imagine about yourself in the books you like?

Yes, sometimes. I'm sure every reader has done that.

21. What is your favourite bookstore?

I love two bookstores and both are in the city centre, practically staring at each other. They're not internationally known, so their names are probably irrevelant.

22. Hardback or paperback?

When I buy books, always paperbacks. I just prefer paperbacks to hardbacks because I can carry them around in my bag, and honestly, they're cheaper. In the library, there are usually only hardbacks, so I don't really have a choice there.

23. Do you have more than one copy of the same book?

Actually, yes. I have Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte in English and in Slovene, and we have three Bibles. I guess that counts.

24. Would you rather read about vampires or werewolves?


Vampires.

25. Do you own more than 150 books? If not, would you?

I do. I didn't buy them all, just... a lot of them.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Bartered Bride by Anne Avery

GENRE: historical romance

SUMMARY:
Lady Alyce Fitzmartin is forced to marry the arrogant Robert Wardell, the answer to her father's debts, and a man Alyce is certain she will never love. Yet an even more grave situation lies in wait. For Robert may not survive the impending overthrow of the King, unless he uses his new wife as a pawn. But one glance into each other's eyes sparks an unexpected yearning. And while England burns with the fire of revolt, Robert and Alyce discover a passion for which both must gamble their lives.





THIS MISS REVIEWS:
Bartered Bride is a historical romance that sets itself apart from most works of this genre, primarily because it does not only focus on the romance and the passion that this genre requires, but also on the historical, political and social aspects of its setting.

Lady Alyce Fitzmartin is the daughter of a baron who can trace his lineage back to the Conqueror. He is, therefore, old nobility, proud of his position, and he is fittingly arrogant and boorish. Alyce is a gentle, yet determined lady who had to learn to take care of the manor and its lands at a very young age, with whatever means she could find, for although she is of noble blood, her family is in desperate need of funds. For this reason, the baron arranges Alyce’s marriage to a wealthy London merchant, Robert Wardell, who is not a nobleman and Alyce feels betrayed because she is marrying below her status and for the sake of money. She feels even more betrayed when she learns that her ever pragmatic husband, who is a stranger to any kind of romance, married her for political reasons only. Under such circumstances, the newlywed couple struggles with coping with their blooming feelings for each other, hindered by pride, old wounds and politics. Eventually, the situation in England puts them into jeopardy and if they don’t tread carefully, there might be serious consequences for them both.

The story takes place in 13th-century England during the reign of Henry III and the second uprising of the barons led by Simon de Montfort in 1263-4. Avery describes the civil conflict in a clear and simple way, incorporating it into the story naturally. The historical aspects are covered well, as are the manners of that time. The setting is authentic and makes the story much richer, as the focus is not only on the developing romance between Robert and Alyce, but also on the background of the time in which these two characters live. Robert’s motives are realistically explained, as is the fact that because of their very different origins, Robert and Alyce stand on opposite sites, which threatens their love greatly. Through Robert, the rising class of merchants is presented, which, for a history enthusiast like myself, was a very welcome touch.

The romance is not neglected; it is still the most significant part of the novel and it develops gradually. Robert and Alyce are allowed to evolve over the course of the novel, and the romance evolves together with them. There is no instant attraction, so they way they tentatively discovered each either was quite delightful to observe. Robert is a proud merchant, an intelligent and brave man who makes money with his diligence. Alyce is his worthy mate, spirited, clever and willing to learn.

All in all, Bartered Bride is a delightful historical romance that should please any fan of the genre.

THIS MISS RATES:

Friday, 23 September 2011

Love at Absolute Zero by Christopher Meeks

GENRE: contemporary fiction/romance

SUMMARY:
Love at Absolute Zero is about Gunnar Gunderson, a 32-year-old star physicist at the University of Wisconsin. The moment he’s given tenure at the university, he can think of only one thing: finding a wife. His research falters into what happens to matter near absolute zero (−459.67 °F), but he has an instant new plan. To meet his soul mate within three days—that’s what he wants and the time he can carve out—he will use the Scientific Method. Can Gunnar survive his quest?

THIS MISS REVIEWS:

Love at Absolute Zero is a gem of a book, and as I rarely begin a review with such a direct declaration, you can be sure that I truly enjoyed reading this story, from the first to the last chapter.

The novel tells the story of Gunnar Gunderson, a 32-year-old brilliant physicist with a tenure at the University of Wisconsin, a passion for his research project and now, a new-found desire to find himself a wife. It seems that a wife will complete the picture. Gunnar, however, is – despite being a very intelligent and talented physicist – a man who relies on science completely. He relies on science so much that he goes about finding his one true love with a scientific approach. But even though he has a perfect plan and knows all the right scientific methods to use in order to find his soul mate in only three days, it immediately begins to show that Gunnar is, in fact, very naïve and inexperienced when it comes to love, and so his great romantic adventure begins.

Gunnar is a great hero who is very smart, intelligent and of a clearly scientific mind, but who is a bit emotionally challenged when it comes to love. He seems that every problem can be approached by way of employing scientific methods, but he has to learn that there is no such thing as an equation for love. He knows the ways of romancing, but he never truly experienced anything with his heart, which leaves him vulnerable and naïve. His quest for love is a wonderful journey spiced up with passion and humour, and it is easy to sympathise with Gunnar, sometimes even relate to him. After all, are we not, on occasion, all fools when it comes to love? Gunnar is, therefore, although a geek (a great, sweet geek!) who could step right into a scene of The Big Bang Theory, an ordinary guy who happens to be a bit unique. In short, he is very human and real, and the sort of character one remembers.

The novel approaches a very interesting subject – love from a scientific point of view; and this brings me to the science used in the novel. This book has an amazing trait – it balances science and romance with a natural ease, focusing on both subjects equally, realistically and in a quite believable way. The author clearly did a lot of research related to quantum physics and presented it well in the novel. The physics in the story really are physics and the science is completely real. The reader does not need to feel challenged by the fact that quantum physics is discussed and explained in the story; every part related to science is written in a way that can be understood by anyone, while maintaining the sense of reality, by which I mean that the author doesn’t downplay physics. Meeks makes you want to learn physics and be able to chat about it with Gunnar. Another thing I’d like to point out is that every chapter is preceded by a quote belonging to a famous scientist, be it Einstein, Bohr or Huxley. It’s a very nice touch.

Then, there is the romance, which is equally important and described in the novel in equal measure. In my experience, one of two subjects in a novel usually stands out, but Meeks balances the science and the romance with ease, making both subjects very interesting and simple to follow. The two subjects form an intriguing combination that works just perfectly.

Gunnar’s story is fun, funny and wonderful, and it shows a rational view on love, but also that, ultimately, love can get anyone, even the most rational ones. The premise is definitely original and the story well delivered. This is a book that I can easily recommend to anyone, regardless of the gender.

I received a copy of the novel for review as part of the blog tour organised by Teddy at Premier Virtual Author Book Tours.

THIS MISS RATES:

Saturday, 6 August 2011

A Walk in the Meadows at Rosings Park by Mary Lydon Simonsen

GENRE: novella/Jane Austen re-imagining

SUMMARY:
The day after the assembly at Meryton, Fitzwilliam Darcy departs Hertfordshire believing that he leaves little of interest behind him. But when Elizabeth Bennet comes to Kent, Darcy has an opportunity for a second look at the dark-haired beauty and is instantly smitten. Unfortunately for Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth has a long memory, and the gentleman from Derbyshire will have to earn her love. His efforts begin with a walk in the meadows at Rosings Park.



THIS MISS REVIEWS:

This lovely novella puts Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy in a new position. Elizabeth's sister Jane is engaged to Mr Bingley, Darcy's close friend; Charlotte Lucas is married to Mr Collins and Elizabeth is visiting with the couple. It seems there are no obstacles for Lizzie and Darcy, but such is definitely not the case. Elizabeth still remembers how Mr Darcy slighted everyone, including her, at the Meryton Assembly and although they like each other, there is also the question of rank that Lizzie cannot seem to overlook.

I truly enjoyed this new spin on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice because it puts Darcy and Lizzie into an entirely emotional – and therefore more intimate – predicament. The character of Elizabeth Bennet is delightfully and accurately outlined. Her wit and humour, as well as seriousness and independence of thought, are well observed. While Darcy is just slightly too relaxed in public situations and acts mostly on impulse, his character is essentially still the Darcy we all know from the original. He shows that, when surrounded by friends and family, he is a kind and amiable gentleman and not the arrogant grouch he was at the Meryton Assembly. The whole situation is well written and offers great and witty dialogue that truly delighted me.

This is a novella that reads smoothly and fast, and it should delight any Austen fan. You will finish the last page with a smile. It is a story that combines romance and witty humour very deftly, while staying true to the characters and the original plot.

Any fan of Jane Austen should read it.

My thanks go to the author for sending me a copy of her novella for review!

THIS MISS RATES: / (4.5 stars)

Friday, 5 August 2011

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

GENRE: war fiction/women's fiction/drama

SUMMARY:
It is 1940, and bombs fall nightly on London. In the thick of the chaos is young American radio reporter Frankie Bard. She huddles close to terrified strangers in underground shelters, and later broadcasts stories about survivors in rubble-strewn streets. But for her listeners, the war is far from home. Listening to Frankie are Iris James, a Cape Cod postmistress, and Emma Fitch, a doctor's wife. Iris hears the winds stirring and knows that soon the letters she delivers will bear messages of hope or tragedy. Emma is desperate for news of London, where her husband is working - she counts the days until his return. But one night in London the fates of all three women entwine when Frankie finds a letter - a letter she vows to deliver . . .

THIS MISS REVIEWS:
The Postmistress is a novel about ordinary people trying to cope with the tragedies of war. At the centre of the story are three women: Frankie Bard, a young American radio reporter in the Blitz in London, speaking to her listeners about every-day drama that she encounters in a war-plagued London; Iris James, a proud-to-be postmistress of Cape Cod, Massachussets, miles away from the war, yet close to it through the letters that contain it in words; and Emma Fitch, the young wife of a doctor, hurting because her husband is in the middle of danger in London, yearning to have him back home.

The novel does not focus on the WW2 in general, but on the personal drama of ordinary people suffering through it. This is a character-driven story, showing that tragedies did not happen only on the battlefields, but also in comfortable homes of women awaiting the return of their husbands, or the dreaded news that war has hit America, too. The story is slow-paced, and as such it allows the reader to savour the drama, the hurt, the expectations, the hope, the yearning. The plot begins to thicken when fate begins to draw the three women – Frankie, Iris and Emma – together and when two of the women decide to take matters into their own hands: Iris intends to keep a letter a secret to spare a friend the pain of loss, and Frankie intends quite the oppposite.

The characters are very well developed. They are rounded and appear very real, as if you could meet them on the street. They made me feel and hope for them. Especially the character of Emma Fitch is very sympathetic and, in my opinion, drives the story forward. In this respect, I think the problem of this novel is its title. It does not fit the whole frame of the story and is therefore quite inappropriate. I confess, I cannot think of a better title, but if I were to title this novel, The Postmistress would definitely not be my choice, as it is a very deceiving title, almost fooling the reader about the directions this story takes. The way the story evolved came as a surprise to me, as I had been expecting something entirely different. Fortunately, my disappointment died out soon and was replaced by satisfaction – the novel really is well written.

The sense of time and place is very vivid and clearly outlined. The reader can easily imagine London in the time of the second great war, or the peaceful Cape Cod on the other side of the Atlantic. It is also easy to picture the characters and their activities: the precise way in which Iris sorts the letters that must be deliever to their destinations; the despair that accompanies Frankie on her journey through Europe, as she witnesses death, injustice and an end to what she saw as hope; Emma's lost and worried face as she enters Cape Cod's post office every day, waiting for news of her husband.

There is nothing epic about this story, no great adventures or anything of the sort. It is all very emotional and psychological, and I personally love stories that focus on these things. The ending fits. I was only confused by Frankie's motives and decisions. I have my own theories, but I am not entirely sure. Still, the story as a whole is wonderful and ends in a suitable way. Perhaps Iris's life is hit by tragedy that I would have chosen not to happen, as with all the sorrow already present, I didn't feel it was necessary to burden Iris's life with tragedy, too.

This is a novel for those who like to read about history, war and ordinary people. I recommend it.

THIS MISS RATES:

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Guest Post: Melissa Douthit on beloved authors/books + TWO giveaways



Melissa Douthit, author of The Raie'Chaelia, which I reviewed HERE, wrote a post about the books she read as a child and the authors she admired. Thank you, Melissa, for sharing it with us!

Melissa says:

When I was young, and before I was introduced to Robert Jordan’s novels, I read a lot of Jack London and John Steinbeck. In fact, I loved the Call of the Wild so much that I named a puppy of mine Buck. We had assigned reading by these authors in school - Of Mice and Men, The Grapes of Wrath, The Call of Wild and more but I think once I was introduced to the authors, I read almost every book they wrote.

My love affair with these two authors hasn’t ceased. When I was working at the Lawrence Livermore National Lab back in 2004-2008, I took BART trip to Oakland where I visited Jack London Square. You see, there is a bar there that I wanted to visit. It is an old bar that has been around for over a hundred years. It is called Heinhold’s First and Last Chance Saloon and IMHO, it is the most important establishment at the square. Why? Because it is a bar that Jack London visited when he was kid and it is where he first began to conceive his ideas that went into his books. The bar, tables, and chairs are still made of the original wood. Even the clock on the wall, that reads 5:12 all the time since 1906, is still the original clock. It fell from the wall on the morning of Wednesday April 18, 1906 at 5:12 am (the morning of the great San Francisco earthquake) and stopped working. The owner of the bar at the time, hung it back up and just left it there never fixing it. The bar itself, and the floor, slant downwards because of the shifting of the soil during the quake and it is still that way. When you walk in, you feel like you are stepping back in time a hundred years. The feeling is unbelievable.

When Jack London frequented the location as a kid (he didn’t drink, just visited), he met interesting characters - seafarers that would come in with the tide and then leave with it when they were done drinking. One of the men he knew became the inspiration for the main character in Sea-Wolf. The owner of the bar at the time actually funded London’s first year at Berkeley, where London studied literature. The reason the bar is called the First and Last Chance Saloon is because during the prohibition, San Francisco was a dry city but Oakland wasn’t and those who would take the ferry into the city to work in the morning would stop in for their first drink and then their last drink when they came home. I love this bar! It is one of the most historical places in the Bay Area.

After I left LLNL, I went to work (luckily!) in Monterey with the Naval Postgraduate School. It was a stroke of luck as there is the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas. I went on several occasions. It is a great place. If you are ever in Monterey county, it is definitely worth the visit. I miss Monterey!

I remember during the two years I lived in Monterey, I would look out into the bay during a cloudy day and feel what Steinbeck must have felt when he wrote The Pearl. The pearlescent glow of the water is stunning. Then, I would take a walk on Cannery Row and imagine the scenery in the book that was inspired by it. It was really then that I realized how lucky I was to be able to walk in the literal footsteps of the authors whom I loved so much as a kid.

*****

This is a wonderful post and I think Melissa had a great reading childhood, don't you? Thank you again for your guest post, Melissa!

Now, I have very thrilling news to share - I (as well as number of other bloggers) am hosting not only one, but two giveaways, or rather a giveaway and a contest.

THE GIVEAWAY:
- if you enter the giveaway, you will win a copy of The Raie'Chaelia in an e-book format,
- since the winner will get his/her copy in an e-book format, this means that the giveaway is open internationally,
- the giveaway ends August 10,
- to enter the giveaway, leave a response to Melissa's guest post in the comments section below and add your e-mail address,
you do not have to be a follower of this blog to enter.

THE CONTEST:
Would you like to read The Raie'Chaelia on an e-reader, but you don't have one? Don't worry, you might win your very own e-reader!

Rules of the contest:
Enter a drawing and win a free e-reader of your choice or a $100 gift certificate to your favorite store by answering the following question:

How did Heinhold's First and Last Chance Saloon get its name?


To answer the question go to this link and fill in the information (place answer in Message field): http://melissadouthit.com/contact-me-2/

Contest ends September 10, 2011. Winner will be announced September 12th on Melissa Douthit's Blog.

*****

Thank you, Melissa, for such a generous contest!

Good luck to everyone! If you'd like a bigger chance at winning a copy of the novel or an e-reader, consult THIS link for tour dates and check out other blogs hosting giveaways and the contest.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

The Raie'Chaelia by Melissa Douthit

GENRE: fantasy/adventure

SUMMARY:
When Chalice sets off for Branbury in the middle of the night with her grandfather’s instructions, she has no idea of the dangers that await her. The King’s men have destroyed her home village of Canton and she is suddenly thrown into a Terravailian world that she does not know. Lost and alone, she is hard pressed to evade the iron grasp of the madman who rules the land. With the help of a friendly Chinuk, an old man, and a book that she discovers along the way, not only does she find true friends and true love, but she also finds her true self and what it means to be the Raie’Chaelia.

THIS MISS REVIEWS:
The Raie'Chaelia (pronounced rye-kale-ya) is an original fantasy adventure story that provides the reader with a gripping tale, a wonderful and unique setting, and interesting, not to mention engaging characters. It is also a coming-of-age story for Chalice, the novel's brave and heroic protagonist.

Chalice is a girl who was raised as a warrior, for she must be capable of fighting and surviving whatever comes her way in life. Such skills are necessary in the Terravailian world, once ruled by a good king, but which is now ruled by an evil man. Chalice experiences quite a journey when what she’s been preparing for suddenly becomes a reality. Her grandfather wanted her to go on an important quest and at the beginning of the novel, Chalice runs away from her home and from everything she ever knew to go on the quest and complete her mission.

Chalice is a great heroine who is decisive and brave. There are obstacles she must overcome, and she does so with determination. Her story shows her coming-of-age transition into a world of experience and danger, and her inner strength is a great factor during this transition as she fights the dangerous Terraivilians. I was also impressed by the character of Jeremiah, a skilled archer who helps Chalice. He is an intelligent man who values duty and honour beyond anything else. To me, Chalice and Jeremiah made a great pair.

In my opinion, the Terravailian world is at the centre of the novel. It is a beautifully inventive world that offers many novel things, like incredibly sharp obsidian knives, something I had never encountered in literature before. The fantasy setting shows the author’s creativeness. It offers detailed descriptions that give a vivid picture of the place; over the course of the novel, it begins to feel very real. Some readers might be put off by the many insightful descriptions, but I enjoyed them very much, as they created a clear picture. Something that put me off at times was how many new things were introduced over the course of the novel. I had to read carefully to remember them all. Yet I understand that, since this is the first novel in a trilogy, the author had to introduce the reader to a new world, to a new people. I am sure this information will be useful in the following novels and is necessary, as well as interesting.

I am sorry for being a bit vague, but I feel that by saying more, I’d give away information that could be labeled as spoilers. I can say, though, that this is a fantasy novel, set in a new world, which is filled with adventure on almost every page. I don’t read fantasy often, but I dare say that The Raie'Chaelia is a book to be read by fantasy enthusiasts. It's an enjoyable journey.

I received an e-book from Teddy at Premier Virtual Author Book Tours. Thank you, Teddy, and thank you Melissa, for providing the copy.

Tomorrow, Melissa will share her guest post on this post, along with a giveaway, so stay tuned!


THIS MISS RATES
: / (3.5 stars)

Monday, 25 July 2011

Bookie Brunch: Why Do We Read the Classics?



Welcome to Bookie Brunch
Come join the discussion!
Founder: Sasha Soren (Random Magic)
* Every Sunday*

Today's host: This Miss Loves to Read
Next week’s host (August 31): Beyond Strange New Words
This week’s discussion open through: July 27

Your host this week:
Irena at This Miss Loves to Read

Her guests this week:
Jennie at Jennie's Corner
Jo at The Fluidity of Time
Pepca at Beyond Strange New Words

We are one guest short this week.

Welcome to the Bookie Brunch! Created by the wonderful Sasha Soren, the Bookie Brunch is a traveling event where bookish people get together to discuss bookish things. Every Sunday, five readers will share their opinions on a particular topic, and you are welcome to join us!

Please join me in welcoming Jennie, Jo and Pepca to This Miss Loves to Read!


ON THE MENU:
Do you think people only read classics because they are classics or because they are actually enjoyable? Is there a classic that you don't think should be a classic? Why do you think that?

LET US BEGIN!

Jennie says:

Do you think people only read classics because they are classics or because they are actually enjoyable?
I think that it is a combination of both. I feel as if the majority of people read the classics because they are classics and it's just something you "should" read at some point. However classics also wouldn't be so popular if they weren't good or enjoyable. What I personally feel is a testament to the fact that classics are actually enjoyable, is the fact that they are constantly being reinterpreted or re-invisioned. The majority of books that are out now, are influenced in way or another by the classics. Take the most obvious example of Dracula by Bram Stoker. It has literally spawned a whole genre in itself. Frankly if you take the time to read the book that started it all, you'll find that it is a really great read! (Well in my opinion at least). There are lots of ways to interpret what a classic is but a quote that I like is “A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say” So much so that they tend to create their own genres! ;). They are books that have stood the test of time. A book that has stood the test of time and is never finished saying what is has to say? Well that is a book I want to read and I'm pretty sure it will be extremely enjoyable! :)

Is there a classic that you don't think should be a classic? Why do you think that?
To be honest... No.
I've sat here, for I don't know how long, trying to think of one that should not be a classic. I can't. Is it awful that I even resorted to googling "books that shouldn't be classics"? Honestly I disagreed with every suggestion that I found (I mean they said Dickens! Dickens? How is that possible? *shakes head in disbelief*) So I'm back to square one. No I don't think there is a classic that shouldn't be a classic. For the most part I think they all have there own merits. Some people argue that they are outdated. Outdated, really? If a book is set in the 1920's but written in 2011, its not outdated, why should the classics be? If anything it makes them more authentic. People need to appreciate them for what they are, not for what they want them to be.

*****

Jo says:

For most of us, it seems like we encounter classic books when we're in school (high school, for many of us). In my experience, the books are relatively varied, mostly by dead white men and including a selection or two from women, like Jane Austen or one of the Bronte sisters. Unfortunately, either way, unless you have a really wonderful teacher, classics seem to be beaten to death, over-analyzed until the enjoyable bits are few and far between, and you don't want to read another book by that particular author.

I was lucky enough to have some really great English teachers in high school, so I was able to enjoy some classics, like Wuthering Heights, and Of Mice and Men, and others. But other classics seemed to fall by the wayside, or I just never felt like I enjoyed reading them. My theory is that the state of mind you're in when you read a book, and what's going on in your life, affect how you react to a book. For some classics, I think that's what makes them pretty hard to relate to for a lot of readers. Others seem to transcend anything modern because the story is written so well, or you just enjoy the characters so much.

That being said, I think that some people really do enjoy classics, and that style of writing. For them, the experience of reading a classic is like listening to well-composed music, or gourmet food, and something enjoyable. For other readers, however, I think that classic books, read outside of the bounds of school reading, are read just because they are classics; that there is a feeling like one should read the book because it is a classic, and not for any other reason.

I don't believe in reading something just because it is a classic. While I enjoy some classic books, I don't like others. And I'm not going to read them just because they have been deemed as a classic. Case in point: Catcher in the Rye. I have read it 3 times, and I can't stand it. Twice for school (once in high school, once in grad school, and once just for "fun"). Cannot stand that book, and actually don't think it should be a classic. While I don't enjoy Jane Austen's books (I know, I'm a heretic for saying that), I can understand why they are classics --- her books are quite well-written and give us insight into a time period in history. Catcher in the Rye, on the other hand, gives the reader (in my opinion, of course), insight into a very annoying character, and the time period and setting don't really matter much. Given my druthers, if I'm going to read about a high-school aged boy in a "classic" book, give me A Separate Peace. At least I find the main character interesting, the time period relevant, and the story to be good.

Classics are the kinds of books that I think should be taught and should be studied, and should be enjoyed. However, I don't think it's cool to feel like one "should" read something one isn't interested in (unless it's assigned. There's not much to do about that except try to enjoy it). Simple reading something to brag to other, "I've read War and Peace" or "I read only the classics" --- unless it's true, and you really do love the classics, why bother? Plenty of wonderful books in the world to be read and enjoyed.

*****

Pepca says:

I think there are three kinds of people. Some people read the classics because they are classics. They read classics because they want to sound sophisticated. The second kind of people read classics because they enjoy reading them. They want to read classics because they want to learn something, get some food for thought, educate themselves, and enjoy the writing. There is also the third kind of people – the people who do not read classics at all, except when they are required to, that is in school.

I used to belong to the third group. The word classics used to lit a flashing read alarm light in my head saying classics = required reading = boring and difficult = to-be-avoided-at-all-costs. However, since I started blogging, other people’s enthusiasm about classics convinced me to give them another chance. I have read several classics lately and found them quite enjoyable. That said, I do not think myself qualified to give an opinion about whether there is any classic which should not be considered a classic. After all, classics become classics because many people find a great artistic value in them.

*****

Your host, Irena, says:

I encountered most of the classics in school, but I had the luck of reading a lot of people's beloved classics without knowing their importance – without the burden of any sort of expectation, so to say. Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, Catcher in the Rye, all of Jane Austen's novels – I read them by coincidence when I was in high school, developing my passion for reading, without being aware of the fact that they are classic novels of significance. I can say, though, that I tackled those books that I knew to be classics with an amount of reluctance, merely because they were obligatory reading material. So, I think that a lot of people avoid classics precisely because they are classics, because they see something obligatory or even posh in such literature, and it is for the same reasons that a lot of people read such books. They want to appear smart and in a way, that's a reader's version of peer pressure.

I have grown to love classic literature over the years, mostly British works. I read classic works because I like the genuine sense of the past; the old values, traditions, realistic presentations of a society now gone. I think that is why one should choose to read a classic or two; not because they would look smart because let's face it, all classics are just books. Not because they have to, but out of curiosity, to see things through different glasses.

Last year, I decided to read twenty American classics in the next few years, simply because I want to. I want to explore America through classic literature because it is classic literature that shows one the primary essence of a nation, of a culture. The world has modernized, but we still follow ancient values – respect, honesty, love, and so on. Classic literature shows one just that.

In conclusion, I can't name a book that should not be a classic. It would be me saying that a book is not worthy, that a book should not be popular. It's a completely subjective thing. And the thing is, when one book is loved and value by many people, it can't be avoided that it becomes an immediate classic.

*****

If you want to be a part of Bookie Brunch, please contact one of the people below:

Contact Bookie Brunch:
If you would like to be a host, contact: @StoryWings
If you want to bring goodies for a giveaway: @StoryWings

*****

You’re invited to join the discussion below, and you will most likely get a reply from one of your fellow bloggers. So, what do you think about classic literature?

Friday, 22 July 2011

Friday is for Fairy-Tales: Aurore and Aimée

This is a meme hosted by me every Friday.



Today's post is about: Aurore and Aimée (written by Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont, who also wrote "Beauty and the Beast")

A lady had two beautiful daughters – Aurore, her first-born, who was good, andAimée, who had a bad character. When Aurore was sixteen and Aimée twelve, the lady began to lose her looks. She moved to another city, sent Aurore to the country, and claimed that Aimée was only ten and that she herself had been only fifteen when she had given birth to her. Fearing that someone would discover the deception, she sent Aurore to another country, but Aurore’s guardian abandoned the young woman in a forest. Aurore hunted for a way out and finally found a shepherdess's cottage. She bemoaned her fate and blamed God for it.

The shepherdess, however, told her that God permitted misfortune only for the benefit of the unfortunate person, and offered to act the part of her mother. The shepherdess pointed out that age would make misfortunes less pleasant, and that she herself could teach Aurore how to live without boredom. Aurore agreed and the shepherdess set her to a life divided into prayer, work, reading, and walks. Aurore found this life very agreeable because it was not dull.

One day, a prince, Ingénu, went hunting. He was a good prince, though his brother Fourbin, the king, was an evil king. He fell in love with Aurore and began to court her. The shepherdess gave them her consent, knowing the prince would make Aurore a good husband, and he left, to return in three days. In that time, Aurore fell into a thicket while she was gathering the sheep and her face was dreadfully scratched. She was very unhappy, but the shepherdess reminded her that God doubtlessly meant it for good, and Aurore reflected that if Ingénu no longer wished to marry her because her looks were gone, he would not have made her happy.

Meanwhile, Ingénu told his brother of his bride and Fourbin, angry that he would marry without his permission, threatened to marry Aurore himself if she were as beautiful as Ingénu claimed. He came with Ingénu and when the king saw Aurore's marred face, he ordered Ingénu to marry her at once and forbade the couple to come to court. Ingénu was still willing to marry her. After Fourbin left, the shepherdess cured Aurore's injuries with a special water. Back at court, Fourbin ordered portraits of beautiful women brought to him. He was enchanted by one of Aurore's sister Aimée and married her.

After a year, Aurore had a son, Beaujour. One day, he vanished and Aurore was stricken with grief. The shepherdess reminded her that everything happened to her for her own good. The next day, Fourbin's soldiers came; they had been sent to kill the king's nephew. Not finding him, they put Ingénu, Aurore, and the shepherdess to sea in a boat. They sailed to a kingdom where its king was at war. Ingénu offered to fight for the king and killed the commander of his enemies, making the army flee. The king, who was childless, adopted Ingénu as his son.

Four years later, Fourbin died of grief because of his wife's wickedness and his people drove Aimée away and sent for Ingénu to be king. On the way there, they were shipwrecked; this time, Aurore held that it must have happened for the good, and on the land where they were shipwrecked, she found a woman with her son, Beaujour. The woman explained that she was the wife of a pirate who had kidnapped the boy, but got shipwrecked himself. Ships came looking for his body and bore back Ingénu, Aurore, and Beaujour back to their kingdom. Aurore never again complained of any misfortune, knowing misfortunes were often the cause of happiness.

*****

This was one of the first fairy-tales written for children, as at first, fairy-tales were meant to be read by adults. This is a great example of a story playing with the good vs bad motif, and goodness triumphs. It is a story that is very educational, but also entertaining to read.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Awakened by a Kiss by Lila DiPasqua

GENRE: erotic novel/historical romance

SUMMARY:
Three classic fairytales—“Sleeping Beauty,” “Puss in Boots,” and “Little Red Riding Hood”—cleverly retold with enough sensual twists to prove wickedly ever after does exist….

Sleeping Beau: Five years ago, the notorious rake, Adrien d’Aspe, Marquis de Beaulain, was awakened by a sensuous kiss—and experienced a night of raw ecstasy that was branded into his memory. Years later, he spots his mysterious seductress—and this time, he has no intention of letting her go…

Little Red Writing: Nicolas de Savignac, Comte de Lambelle, has been assigned by the King to uncover the secret identity of the author writing scandalous stories about powerful courtiers. He never expected his investigation would lead to his grandmother's house, or to a ravishing woman who would stir his deepest hunger…

Bewitching in Boots: Elisabeth de Roussel, daughter of the King, is accustomed to getting what she wants—and she wants Tristan de Tiersonnier, Comte de Saint-Marcel, an ex-commander of the King’s private Guard. A recent injury has forced Tristan to leave his distinguished position, but Elisabeth is determined to make him see he's every bit the man he once was—and more than man enough for her.

THIS MISS REVIEWS:
Awakened by a Kiss is a collection of three novellas based on three famous fairy-tales: Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Riding Hood and Puss in Boots. They all take place in 17th-century France in the time of the Sun King (Louis XIV).

I will begin with the aspect of the novel that I truly (and actually) enjoyed: the historical aspect. The author clearly researched the time period, which makes the stories enjoyable to read and the three fairy-tales are transformed into quite realistic romantic adventures. The allusions to the originial material are present, but they are not too obvious, which leaves it to the reader to detect them. That was a nice and fun venture for me.

However, although, in general, I enjoyed the three novellas and found the re-tellings quite original, I learned an important lesson: simply because you love fairy-tales, that does not mean you have to buy/read any book related to this genre. These three novellas are not merely historical romances; they are erotic historical romances, a genre that I do not read, not because I am a prude, but because I am not interested. I actually did not know what I was getting into when I started reading the book; I did not read the fine print on the front cover, so this is my fault.

While all three premises are very good and make for enjoyable stories, it has to be pointed out that 70-80% of each novella revolve around sexual intercourse. In all honesty, I wouldn't have minded this so much had there been some wooing, teasing and subtle seduction. No, these stories feature extremely detailed descriptions of copulation, which makes every sexual act sound like an anatomy lesson. Vulgar expressions are used, which, in my eyes, demeans the act of making love. I know one has to expect this from an erotic novel, but in all honesty, so much sex in one book makes it all rather boring, actually; things become repetitive, no matter how many different positions are practiced in a bed or on a table; sometimes, disgusting is the word I liked to use in my mind.

I don't think that I can fairly review/judge this collection of novellas because erotic romances are not my genre, so naturally I will find faults with it. I would like to say more, because I like to say meaningful and useful things in my reviews, but this must be an exception.

If you enjoy erotic romances, then by all means, read this book. I do like the general idea and the parts not involving sex, so I am not rating the collection as low as you might have expected. But really, you have to enjoy this genre to really enjoy the stories.


THIS MISS RATES:

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Sorry for the absence + new reviews coming!

Hello, my dear fellow book bloggers!

I want to apologise for my absence. You might have noticed I haven't posted anything in a while. The reason is simple: I've been busy. I'm really sorry for not updating this blog.

However, I'm back in gear. I'm reading books and I've finished two. You may expect my review of Awakened by a Kiss by Lila DiPasqua tomorrow, and my review of The Postmistress by Sarah Blake on Thursday.

Friday is reserved for fairy-tales - this feature is back, too. And be sure to tune in on Sunday for the Bookie Brunch - I am this week's host. We will be discussing the classics, namely why do we read them and what their importance is.

I will also catch up on all your reviews. I hope you've been having a great summer!

Sincerely,

Irena

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Coming Soon: Bookie Brunch



Coming soon: Bookie Brunch
Founder: Sasha Soren (Random Magic)
Come join the discussion!
* Every Sunday*


Is there anything better than getting together with your friends and discussing something you are all passionate about? Maybe, but not much. So, let’s get together on Sunday over Bookie Brunch and talk authors, characters, stories, genres, and everything else related to what we love – books, books, books.

What’s Bookie Brunch all about?: Bookie Brunch is a weekly
meet-up, held every Sunday, where book bloggers can have a cup of tea
and chat about a particular bookie question of interest.

The discussion is open from Sunday through Wednesday, and you’re
welcome to drop by any time to add your opinion or read what other
people have to say.

This discussion is open as well to general readers or bloggers in a
different field, authors, publishers and publicists.

Courtesy guidelines: All thoughtful comments will be considered
and probably get a response from fellow bloggers. In fact, you’re
encouraged to talk about it and share viewpoints or include links to
relevant materials. We’d like everyone to have a nice time. Differing
viewpoints are just fine, even if strongly expressed, but inflammatory
or off-topic comments will be removed.



Contact Bookie Brunch

Be a guest at an upcoming brunch: @StoryWings
Bring goodies for a giveaway: @StoryWings S
Suggest a question: @LiederMadchen
Browse Bookie Brunch discussions (after July 2011, archive): The Fluidity of Time



Find Bookie Brunch

You’re invited! Feel free to join us every Sunday for great
company, fun discussions, and occasional goodie giveaways. Some upcoming dates are listed below, it’ll be great to see you there.

Calling all bookies - grab a seat and let’s talk books.


Upcoming Bookie Brunches in July 2011:

We’ll be talking about e-readers vs. print editions, fantasy vs.
realism in books, characters vs. plot, and lots of other cool and
bookish questions.


Sunday, July 10
Host: Songs and Stories (@LiederMadchen)


Sunday, July 17
Host: Moonlight Gleam’s Bookshelf (@MoonlightGleams)


Sunday, July 24
Host: This Miss Loves To Read (@MissIrenne)


Sunday, July 31
Host: Beyond Strange New Words (@StrangeNewWords)


More Bookie Brunches: Every Sunday, July 2011 through December 2011:Upcoming dates on the schedule - coming soon.


Would you like to be a guest on an upcoming brunch, bring a giveaway,
or send a question? Feel free! Please leave your info below, and then
contact the Bookie Bruncher who can help get you set up:

Contact Bookie Brunch

Be a guest at an upcoming brunch: @StoryWings
Bring goodies for a giveaway: @StoryWings
Suggest a question: @LiederMadchen

The first Bookie Brunch is open for a delicious discussion on July 10, at Songs and Stories.

I’m going to be a host at an upcoming Bookie Brunch on July 24, feel free to drop by. See you there!

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Friday is for Fairy-Tales: The Little Girl Who Was Forgotten

This is a meme hosted by me every Friday.



Today's post is about: The Little Girl Who Was Forgotten (a video)

I want to apologise first for being late with this post. I've had some difficulties logging in my blogger account, but that is over now, or so I sincerely hope.

Now, I discovered a YouTuber recently who makes wonderful animations. His stories are dark, Gothic fairy-tales, in the style of Neil Gaiman and Tim Burton. As I am a big fan of both Gaiman and Burton, and of those stories that are a bit dark in a sympathetic way (namely, focusing on outcasts and such), I thought I'd share one such fairy-tale animation with you.

"The Little Girl Who Was Forgotten" is about a small girl, Emmeline, who went unnoticed by everyone, including her parents. One night, she wished upon a star to have a friend and her wish was granted, but loneliness and lack of love had already created a festering wound inside her heart and tragedy strikes. I think this is a lovely animation. I hope you enjoy it and check out other animations by this person.



*****

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

My Guest Review: Wood Angel by Erin Bow

I read and reviewed Wood Angel by Erin Bow and thoroughly enjoyed it!

You can read the review HERE at Becky's blog The Bookette.

SUMMARY: Plain Kate lives in a world of superstitions and curses, where a song can heal a wound and a shadow can work deep magic. As the wood-carver's daughter, Kate held a carving knife before a spoon, and her wooden talismans are so fine that some even call her "witch-blade": a dangerous nickname in a country where witches are hunted and burned in the square. For Kate and her village have fallen on hard times. Kate's father has died, leaving her alone in the world. And a mysterious fog now covers the countryside, ruining crops and spreading fear of hunger and sickness. The towns people are looking for someone to blame, and their eyes have fallen on Kate.

Enter Linay, a stranger with a proposition: In exchange for her shadow, he'll give Kate the means to escape the angry town, and what's more, he'll grant her heart's wish. It's a chance for her to start over, to find a home, a family, a place to belong. But Kate soon realizes she can't live shadowless forever --and that Linay's designs are darker than she ever dreamed.