Monday, October 15, 2012

Do our blog writing skills improve? And some KingKiller Chronicles segues

There's a long winded built-up to this question, so bear with me.
I was describing to my colleague at work how I spent most of this weekend sleepless due to a) Baby and b) Reading Patrick Rothfuss.

Now, I've read both of Patrick Rothfuss' books before (The Name of the Wind & The Wise Man's Fear). I've written about The Wise Man's Fear 
If you are new to these names, they are books 1 and 2 of the KingKiller Chronicles. These books cover Day One and Day Two of the narrative, and Day three (or Book 3: The Doors of Stone) ought to be released in the next couple of years.*

(Aside) This wait for the third book is quite exciting, actually! There is quite an enthusiastic set of  Tor readers over at Jo Walton's re-read on Lots of theories being discussed!

* We dare not name a date, for Rothfuss is infamous for missing publishing deadlines. Current Goodreads site for Day Three in the Chronicles shows nothing, and it was reporting 2020 at one point to throw cold water on us eager readers.
P.S. Mr. Rothfuss' hilarious take on the goodreads readers who like to "review" books before they are out -

Yet I really can't do the book justice. Trying to make a summary of the plot or storyline is an exercise in futility, as I realized when explaining to my colleague why he should read Rothfuss. It also seems like I've had this problem before - When I last wrote about The Wise Man's Fear , I actually didn't do a full review! Just trying to goad people into reading does count though, right?

This brings me to my point - do our blogging skills improve over the months and years we blog? I know we all HOPE they do, but without critical assessments, does pure practice result in improved writing skills?

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Teaser Tuesdays 52# :Phillippa Gregory's The Lady of the Rivers

It's been a YEAR of Teaser Tuesdays! Well, actually, it's been longer than that, since I missed out on many weeks. Still, I've now posted FIFTY TWO weeks of Teasers and mini-reviews!

*does a happy dance at chair*

The book I'm reading on my commute is a Philippa Gregory novel from my library. A friend recommended a long time ago. Quoted from Page 56, Chapter Castle of St. Pol, Artois, Spring 1433.
"He lets it come and then he pulls back the covers of the bed, ignoring me as I tuck my bare feet out of sight, and he holds out his hand and drips a few drops of red blood onto the sheets.I stare at them as the stain spreads, feeling utterly ashamed, thinking that this is my marriage, that starts with my husband's blood, with a lie."

Really Mini Summary:
I'm wondering why I never read her earlier! I like women-centric books (yes); I like historical novels (yes) and courageous heroines (so far, yes!). The beginning chapters has Joan of Arc post her crowning of the King of France, when she is being derided as a heretic and witch. Our heroine, a young Duchess, must navigate some extremely political shoals to survive as a potentially powerful woman in a strongly male-centric world.

First time visit? Check out photos of most beautiful US public librariesJohn Updike's rules for reviews, and a question of whether hardbacks are dying.
My current, slightly weird reading list

Let me know if you follow this blog, I'll follow back! 

To join into the TT fun, visit the link below!
Teaser Tuesdays
Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along!
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Monday, September 3, 2012

Book Blogger Confessions #1: Un-Following a blog

The lovely bloggers at are hosting a meme: Book Blogger Confessions.
This week's question - 
How do you follow blogs?  Do you use Google Reader?  Are you on an e-mail list?  Are you more apt to follow people who have less followers?  Would you follow a blog to enter a contest?  What makes you unfollow a blog?

I decided to reply to this meme only because it coincided with what I was doing this very morning - pruning my Google Reader list. I don't do this often, but every 6 months or so, I go through blogs that haven't updated in the last 6 months to a year, and delete them.
You'd be surprised by how many blogs enter this dry, arid update-less zone.
I follow blogs only on GFC (Google Friend Connect), which pulls all the feeds into my Google Reader. These, along with some authors’ blogs and webcomics, make up my early morning reading.
I am not on any email list for blog updates. That seems like an unnecessarily cumbersome way to read. I do get Goodreads updates via email, and some reviews there link to blog posts.
I don’t have a preference around following people who have less followers, but I have a reciprocity policy:
“Follow me, and I follow back”. This does mean that a lot of blogs I follow are in the 200 to 500 follower range.
I used to follow blogs to enter contests, but now I just enter contests hosted by blogs I follow! *grins*
The only reason I would ever unfollow a blog if they haven’t updated in 6+ months.

A great question, thanks to the hosts FWIW and Midnyte Reader for inspiring this post!
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Friday, August 31, 2012

Summer Releases I'm into currently

A friend recently asked me what I'm reading next, and I was stumped! I couldn't articulate (without sounding REALLY weird) the many books I'm currently in the middle of/anticipating starting:

  • The Monkeewrench books by Mother-Daughter duo P.J. Tracy has a new one out: Off the Grid. I usually find these books chilling and gripping but this time it hasn't grabbed me and made me see killers around the corners.
  • I'm re-reading Brandon Sanderson's Stormlight Archive #1: The Way of Kings. The first time I read it, I was just speed reading bits to get back to my one favorite character (Kaladin) and I don't really remember a good half of the book
  • I will probably read one or two of the Wheel of Time books again, to set me up for the Jan 2013 release of WOT #14 (the final book)
  • Going through Terry Pratchett's The World of Poo in bits, and imagining reading that aloud to  my son when he is 3
  • A friend passed on the Phillippa Gregory books a long time ago, PLUS I just borrowed one from the library, so I really ought to read that next

What you reading now? And what is next?
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Monday, August 6, 2012

Book Review: It's a Mom! by Shefali Tsabary

Grade: B+/A in parts
The latest book I've read is not the one I'm about to review. However, this book I'm reviewing is one that I've found myself quoting and reading aloud to all my new-mom friends. 

Why I picked it up: Yes, I'm a new mom and a book lover, so I've discovered the Parenting section in my library.

Why I finished it:
The book "It's a Mom!" dwelt on the sometimes conflicting emotions a new parent has - you have this awesomely cuddly bundle of joy, but you also need a break from being with a baby 24x7. Most of the advice is for a new or expecting parent, right up to the toddler age-group.

Plus: I related with the thought that you completely lose your "self" identity when you become a parent. I also laughed out loud when browsing through it in the library - because the examples/stories are so true! People DO give you unwanted advice, everyone guilt-trips you if try new parenting ideologies, and you will guilt-trip yourself.
I've tried to unsuccessfully discuss babies learning independence, not wanting to feed my baby Cerelac (or store-bought baby food) (this one I won), and more.

Minus: The author doesn't quote from any studies of parenting methodologies, or scientific research, all the "How To" advice is solely from her experience. I wished there had been more substantial citing. 

I'd Recommend this to: New Moms and Dads only - not expecting parents.

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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Ebooks and Sheldon Comics!

The brilliant Sheldon comic creater, Dave Kellett, writes an interesting post on whether libraries lending ebooks is the beginning of the end of publishing.
It certainly is the end of publishing as we know it...
Read it here!

And if you aren't up to reading, here is a comic version that conveys the idea!
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Friday, July 20, 2012

Book Blogger Hop - July 20th to 26th

Welcome to my stop on the Book Blogger Hop!

Q: What’s the ONE super-hyped book you’ll NEVER read?
The most polarizing question I've seen here yet! I haven't done the hop in a while (thanks to being busy with my new born baby) but this question just pulled me right back in!

I'd have to say the Twilight series is my "never gonna read" point. I haven't the slightest bit of interest in reading them, though I LOVE paranormal/fantasy/space fantasy books (Ilona Andrews, Brandon Sanderson, Patricia Briggs, Bujold, ..tell me when to stop!). You name it, I've probably read it or started the series.
Still, Twilight just rubs me the wrong way. Apologies to the Twihards out there! 

Leave a comment and let me know if you follow as I like to follow back.
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Monday, July 16, 2012

Review: Blood, Bones and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton

The Book: Blood, Bones and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton
Grade: A (or maybe A+?)
A Must Read Chef/Writer
Why I picked it Up: 
A good friend of mine, and a fellow book-lover, suggested I read 'Blood, Bones & Butter', and then made certain I would by pressing her copy into my hands.

Why I finished it:
The rarest of books - one that makes you get off the page and into the online world so you can find out more about the author. One that makes you want to read more words by her, so  you look for a blog or an interview or anything Gabrielle has written beyond those on this NYT Bestseller of a book.

The Story:
Gabrielle's unplanned journey into the world of being a professional Chef and Author, starting with her family's annual large-scale sheep-roast dinner parties while growing up. She marries, has kids, sojourns in Italy every year, yet remains lonely and disaffected in turn. Somehow, we can all identify, I think.

It's hard to cook for kids, and when something doesn't appeal to them, instead of saying a polite 'no thank you', they instead break into a giant yuk face and shriek "ewww" right in front of you, as if you had no feelings at all. There wer moments that summer when I felt more distressed by a nine-year-old's disgust with a fleck of basil in his tomato sauce than I had in the entire previous decade when ostensibly more serious failures had occurred. 
Gabrielle's restaurant Prune 
Book and Author Website
A very detailed and accurate review at The Age - The reluctant chef stars
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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Teaser Tuesday #51 - Odd Thomas - Odd Interlude

The book I'm reading is the first part of Dean Koontz's new Odd Thomas novella, Odd Interlude. His next Odd Thomas novel is releasing this Aug. As part of the buzz, a three part novella is being released in stages. This is from Page 2 of Part 1:

"Annamaria insists that mere hours earlier, I saved entire cities, sparing many hundreds of thousands from nuclear terrorism. Even if that is most likely true, I feel as though, in the process, I have forfeited a piece of my soul."

Really Mini Summary:
I find Odd Thomas books weirdly interesting and Odd's endearing quirkiness just draws me in.

Let me know if you follow this blog, I'll follow back! 

To join into the TT fun, visit the link below!
Teaser Tuesdays
Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along!
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Saturday, June 9, 2012

New Harry Potter material released in a video game!

The latest news - J.K. Rowling has written bits and pieces of stories from the Harry Potter universe, into a new format of "augmented-reality reading" that is supposed to make reading a richer, more interactive experience.

Released as Wonderbook, Book of Spells: 

What's interesting is that the gaming industry is in a bit of a limbo right now; with everyone in a waiting mode to see what the next new innovation in gaming tech will be - could this "reading++" experience(I'm coining words, now) be it?

More details:
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Friday, June 8, 2012

Armchair BEA - The Last Day and one more post

The last day of BEA has an intriguing question for us armchair BEA followers: "Ask the Experts"
Ask The Experts. In your post, ask the visitors to your blog for blogging advice.
My questions:
1. How do you avoid any blogging "slumps", where you stay away from your blog for a week or two on end?
2. Do you find, like I do, that weekends are slow for views/people reading your posts?

My tip:
Get Cross-blog audiences! Guest post, or interview on other blogs to help promote yours.
I feature a blogger interview every month here. 
Would you like to be featured here?
Read my first Armchair BEA post here 
Read sample author interviews or blogger spotlights here.
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Read my interview to find out my secret publishing industry hopes!

The lovely Vix from the blog Ttoria is interviewing me today!
It's got pictures of me and my newborn son, the answer to my favorite book (I bet even my husband gets this one wrong, I had to cudgel my brain to come up with just one favorite) and something that made me laugh out loud this week:
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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

An Armchair, BEA and You

BEA, for most non-American readers, would be an unknown. The Book Expo America is a massive 4 day event in NYC, starting 4th June, with over 1300 stalls, and 500 authors (FIVE HUNDRED!!)
Not only does it feature authors and publishers, but plenty of bloggers and other folks in the publishing industry.

Official BEA website with schedules (Don't read this, you will only want to be there, I promise): 
To experience BEA madness without actually being there: 

Finally, the most awesome guide to BEA yet - use this to find titles on NetGalley that you'd enjoy reading:
Galleycat quick guide to BEA
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Friday, May 18, 2012

What did world-famous authors read?

The awesome people at Flavorwire & Legacy Libraries have looked at titles on the bookshelves of author's - so here's how you and I get a glimpse into the books read by some Greats.

Well, here's a peek at the books on the bookshelves of Sylvia Plath, Herman Melville (of Moby-Dick fame, to all teens out there), Mark Twain, Fitzgerald and others!

Legacy Libraries is one of the perks of being a LibraryThing member - I personally haven't signed up (YET!) but perhaps if you are a member, you can tell me why its good to join? Goodreads keeps me happy, and I dont want to have yet another time consuming profile/thing-to-monitor.
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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Review: Artemis Fowl - The Lost Colony and The Time Paradox

Grade B+ Review of Artemis Fowl Books 5 & 6
Published by Disney-Hyperion

Why I read them: The 8th and final Artemis Fowl book is coming out July 2012, this seemed a good time to catch up!
The Lost Colony refers to a colony of Demons that have been out of sync with our universe for a thousand years. Artemis is on a race against time to prevent the humans from discovering their existence and hence exterminating them.
Quote from The Lost Colony:
"Sool was the king of red tape. As the dwarfs said, he couldn't make a decision if he was holding a jug of water and his bum-flap was on fire. "  
Plus: Artemis meets his nemesis, the young genius Minerva.  Plenty of witty comments and shenanigans occur - very fast paced. The God-names are obvious references to their intellect,
Minus: Her role wasn't wasn't as pivotal as I expected. Seemed like Minerva's story line ran out of steam about halfway through and it all became about Artemis per usual . The book overall wasn't memorable, but ended on a cliffhanger. Recommend that you borrow this novel AND have the next one ready to read!

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Teaser Tuesday #50 - Wolf's Head, Wolf's Heart

The book I'm about halfway through is Jane Lindskold's Wolf's Head, Wolf's Head (Firekeeper #2):
Out of fairness to Firekeeper, he spoke not one word to protect himself from accusations of being too credulous, but spoke as if he believed—as he realized that he did—both that she could understand the wolf and that the wolf could read the winds as humans read print.
When he finished his report, the king said mildly, "Well, that's interesting indeed. I wonder..."

Really Mini Summary:
Reading this for the second time in a row, as I didn't get through it first time. Picks up interest after the first few chapters - when the characters are visiting a foreign country, exploring new customs that involve weird face-painting!

First time visit? Check out photos of most beautiful US public libraries, John Updike's rules for reviews, and a question of whether hardbacks are dying.
Let me know if you follow this blog, I'll follow back! 

To join into the TT fun, visit the link below!
Teaser Tuesdays
Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along!
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Monday, May 14, 2012

Extremely Silly Photos of Serious writers!

The two I want to show here are of Ernest Hemingway kicking a beer can & Neil Gaiman with Chuthulu on his head. Click through for Colette, Proust, Mark Twain and others *grins* 

Here are pics via Flavorwire
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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Review: Freaks of the Heartland by Steve Niles

Grade A review of Freaks of the heartland by Steve Niles & Greg Ruth
Publication Date: July 11, 2012 (of the hardcover edition that collects all 5 stories. You can still elect to buy each part separately if you want to read right away)

Blurb from Goodreads: Under the weathered skies of America's heartland, and in the wounded hearts of every family in one tiny rural town, a terrible secret has been kept for too many years. Now, a young boy named Trevor must try to keep his younger brother Will from falling victim to the worst fears of a troubled town that can't begin to understand the tragic secret that binds its families together.
Pros: Exceptionally moving - Greg Ruth's images are so clear, each brush stroke stands out. These dark stories are best illustrated by the stark lines of each panel. A pervading sense of horror keeps you turning the pages, waiting to see what happens next!

I had to go back and read again from cover to cover the next day once the story sank in. The looming house in a grassy plain, the lone kid dreading his home - each picture just pulls you in.

Cons: None that I could find! If I had to nitpick, I'd say that categorizing this as horror might mislead some of us - this is a genre-transcending story.

I'd recommend this to: Especially for those who think horror is gory.

You can preview it here and buy it on amazon here.
Thanks to Darkhorse comics & NetGalley for the review copy
"I'm a writer. I write comics, novels and films. I like reading, writing and watching Horror
I'm credited among other contemporary writers as bringing horror comics back to prominence, authoring such works as 30 Days of Night, its sequel, Dark Days, and Criminal Macabre."
What official websites think:
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Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Happiness Blog Tour and Giveaway

Guest Post today!!
Bryan Cohen here, guest poster and author, promoting my new book The Post-College Guide to Happiness for The Happiness Blog Tour. I'm giving away free digital review copies of the book and doing a giveaway for paperback copies, audio copies and even a Kindle Fire! Read on and check out the info below the post.

The Happiest Place on Earth

My girlfriend and I just visited Boulder, Colorado for a Bar Mitzvah over the weekend. It was beautiful and hip and it brought up the discussion of where we might want to settle when we’re older. We both have the possibility of working remotely in the future, which cuts down on a lot of restrictions some people have to deal with when selecting a location. The conversation made me realize that no matter where I’ve lived, I’ve learned to be happy there and I could probably do the same in any place. This is because the happiness I had wasn’t the result of a geographical region or a great music scene. It was the joy I brought and cultivated with me wherever I went.

I’ve heard many people complain about their location and they might cite it as one of the top reasons for their unhappiness. In most cases, however, it’s nothing but an excuse. Complaining about the traffic, weather and local government of a place can blind you to all the positive aspects the area has to offer. If you only talk about what’s wrong with it, of course you’re going to hate it. And guess what? If you move somewhere else hoping to get rid of your troubles, the negativity inside you is likely to move immediately to your next location.

You can’t control many aspects of a city or town. It’s best to concentrate on what you can change. You can affect how clean you keep your apartment and what friends you have over. You choose where in the city to go for fun and how often you want to explore the nooks and crannies for diamonds in the rough. Lastly, you get to control your attitude of how you react to the good and bad aspects of your location. If you can work on keeping your attitude bright no matter how cloudy it gets, you’re bound to have a much better time in the place you call home.


Bryan Cohen is giving away 61 paperback and audio copies of The Post-College Guide to Happiness and a Kindle Fire between now and May 7th, 2012 on The Happiness Blog Tour. All entrants receive a free digital review copy of The Post-College Guide to Happiness. Bryan hopes to give away at least 1,000 copies during the blog tour. To enter, post a comment with your e-mail address or send an e-mail to postcollegehappiness (at) Bryan will draw the names at the end of the tour. Entries will be counted through Sunday, May 6th.

Bryan Cohen is a writer, actor and comedian from Dresher, Pennsylvania. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2005 with degrees in English and Dramatic Art and a minor in Creative Writing. He has written nine books including 1,000 Creative Writing Prompts: Ideas for Blogs, Scripts, Stories and More, 500 Writing Prompts for Kids: First Grade through Fifth Grade, Writer on the Side: How to Write Your Book Around Your 9 to 5 Job and his new book, 1,000 Character Writing Prompts: Villains, Heroes and Hams for Scripts, Stories and More. His website Build Creative Writing Ideas helps over 25,000 visitors a month to push past writer's block and stay motivated.

Feel free to follow along with the tour at The Happiness Blog Tour Hub Page or on the book's Facebook Page
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Friday, April 27, 2012

Review: Mike Norton's Battlepug

Grade: B (3 Stars) for Mike's graphic novel, releasing July 17th, 2012
The epic tale of blood and drool begins here! Join Molly and her dogs Mingo and Colfax, as she recounts the legend of "The Warrior and the Battlepug" - a tale of a fearless barbarian, his trusty and freakishly large pug, and evil baby harp seals. This volume collects the first year of Mike Norton's Battlepug - the perfect opportunity to get in on the ground floor of the fan-favorite webcomic by Mike Norton, Allen Passalaqua, and Crank
The Story is told to two dogs, Colfax and Mingo, by their owner Molly.

Love the interaction between the dogs - super snarky and just like two siblings quarreling.
Also - Happy Killer Baby Seals (tm) are so funny!
What fantastic colours! Highlights are the humour, and terrific artwork. The conan-the-barbarian body and fighting style of our hero on the pug is great to look at!


The fable our narrator tells is an over-used plotline. The gathering of a band, the omens and prophecy, were a little too obvious. Perhaps the artwork and design took precedence over plot and storyline? Why did Molly have to narrate while naked? No explanation, aside from the obvious appeal to a male reader.

Overall/Recommended to:
This is MUST read for all pug-owners, naturally. I'm not myself going to read the rest of the comic (available at the website below) right now, the storyline didn't leave me wanting more.
Thanks to NetGalley and Dark Horse comics for the copy to review.

Where to find Battlepug:

On Goodreads
Mike's online ongoing Battlepug comic
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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Review: Intangible by J. Meyers

Rated: B+
Author and Title: J.Meyers' Intangible. Here's a teaser:
"It was quiet times like this that she wished she could tell them that she knew what they could do. Knew who they were. But it wasn't entirely hers to tell.
Not yet."
Blurb from Goodreads
Twins Sera and Luke Raine have a well-kept secret—she heals with a touch of her hand, he sees the future. All their lives they’ve helped those in need on the sly. They’ve always thought of their abilities as being a gift. Then Luke has a vision that Sera is killed. That gift they’ve always cherished begins to feel an awful lot like a curse. Because the thing about Luke’s ability? He’s always right. And he can’t do anything about it.

Plus: A pretty gripping read, fast-paced with enough action and story. The twins, Sera and Luke, were interesting, though Sera's character gets more prime-time in the book. Intangible's world is one where vampires, fairies and more are on the fringes of society, and at the moment unknown the world at large. I'd be interested in reading a sequel (there were hints at a next book) that dealt with how these paranormal creatures are revealed to the larger audience.

Just a little predictable in the sense that all the characters were who they traditionally are, in paranormal literature. Lilith - Mother of all vampires, a fey called Fey, so on. 
If I had some mad skills at healing or lighting a candle or anything, you can bet that I'd have been checking for limits, starting and stopping at will, minor heals using non-hands, whatever! Sera and Luke don't experiment enough for me.

Also, I kept wishing YA books would involve teens talking to their parents a little more. *le sigh*

Quotable paragraph from the book:
"Fey glanced up the street. The siren was getting louder, the ambulance closer. They needed to get out of there before it arrived. Luke was still gazing at the corner where Meghan had disappeared, along with everyone else on the street. Sera, however, was staring at someone farther down the block. Fey turned.
Fey gasped and her eyes widened in alarm. He'd seen it. She was sure of it. Meghan was one of his, and he was staring intently at Sera.
He knew she could heal."
I'd recommend this to: Younger readers or folks new to paranormal stories!
I received an ebook from the author for review
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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Read-A-Thon Updates and Mini-challenges

Hour 2 & 7 PM: The second minichallenge - Reading in Translation 

I've read a few translated books (Haruki Murakami, Steig Larsson, Paulo Coelho, Flaubert, etc)
For a book that I'd like to read in the original, I pick the Mahabharata. This is a superlong Indian epic, written in Sanskrit, a language that formed the basis of all Indian languages. It's still taught in schools (rather like Latin).
The Mahabharata and the Ramayana have been translated many times but all translations must necessarily be flavored by both the translator and the times he/she lives in.

8:00 PM/Hour 3: 
Completed the short story Intuition by J.Meyers - I started late and spent the first hour cheerleading other Readathon-ers.
Also, Twitter is pretty distracting!
For my next book, I'm going offline, though still on my laptop. Remember, I'm only reading ebooks this Read-a-thon!

9:30 PM Hour 4: Turn to Page 32 Minichallenge
For this challenge, you must turn to page 32 of the book you are currently reading (or the nearest page with text on it) and find the most entertaining phrase to complete the following sentence:
"I would rather read than ________ any day!"

"I would rather read than seen you promenading through town all covered with the stuff."
--- Page 32 of Emily and the Dark Angel by Jo Bev.

10:30 PM/Hour 5: I've just finished my first book - the fun historical romance "Emily and the Dark Angel" by Jo Beverly
Pages read = 17+191 
Currently Reading = BattlePug by Mike Norton

11:20 PM/Hour 6: Minichallenge Bon Appetit
I'm reading Mike Norton's Battlepug, the graphic novel. Our party would include pets! So the food would be Pedigree dog food, kibbles, chewable toys AND oh yes, adult food - dog-shaped biscuits, and chicken kebabs with cucumber dip from turkey (one of the locations)
Pages read = 17+191 
Currently Reading = BattlePug by Mike Norton & The Tough Guide to Fantasyland by DWJ
Both are incredibly funny!

12:50 PM/Hour 7:
Pages read = 17+191+66
Book Finished = Mike Norton's Battlepug
Thanks to NetGalley for the graphic novel

I'm going to read and then sleep for several hours now, no updates till morning!
Will probably get more done without twitter and other distractions...that is one huge drawback to doing the entire readathon on my laptop only via ebooks and egalleys.

12:20 AM/Hour 18:

I'm amazed at just how much I read in the 12 offline hours - I finished both The Gathering and The Calling by Kelley Armstrong. These are fantastic YA stories written by an author at the top of her game.

A Full Read-a-thon update: 
Reading:The Tough Guide to Fantasyland by Diane Wynne Jones
Munching: Watermelon juice
Listening: To the grunts and baby noises my two-month old is making as he stretches 

Books finished: Mike Norton's Battlepugs, Kelley Armstrong's The Gathering & The Calling, J. Meyer's Intuitive (short story), Jo Beverly's Emily and the Dark Angel
Total pages read: 17+191+66+326+368
Total reading time: 12hrs approx
Total cheer comments: 25-ish

Check out #readathon and @deepratap on twitter for more updates 

2 PM/ Hour 21: Acrostic Minichallenge  
BattlePugs = Bizarre Animal Tales Told in exciting Punny Ultra Good Story!

I'm re-reading Kelley Armstrong's Frostbitten while spending most of time visiting other blogs.

4 PM/Hour 23: MadLib Minichallenge

Taken from Kelley Armstrong's Frostbitten, are a bunch of nouns, verbs etc arranged into the sentence below - 

This ____snow____ is ____icey____! ____Elena____ has never ____paced___ so much. The ____Kelley____ I'm currently ____rumbling____ is ____canine____ and ____freshly___. When this is over, I will ____sniff____ for ____weeks____.
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Read-a-thon 2012 - Ebooks only!

Potential reading titles for the Readathon: 
  1. Kelley Armstrong's The Gathering 
  2. KA's The Calling
  3. Jo Beverly's Emily and the Dark Angel
  4. Diana Wynne Jones - The Tough guide to Fantasyland
  5. Intuition, the short-story prequel to Intangible by J. Meyers (its Free) 
  6. Mike Norton's Battlepug Graphic Novel
BookBox: embed book widget, share book list
 I'm trying to mix it up - Short story, a comic, romance, the inimitable DWJ...though they are ALL ebooks! What other genres could I add to provide some light relief? 

Introductory Hour 1 Challenge
1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? 
Manipal, a small town in India

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? 
Probably the Diana Wynne Jones one, but I'm starting off with Jo Beverly's historical romance

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? 
Just went out for ice-cream to kick-start the Readathon!

4) Tell us a little something about yourself! 
I have a newborn son to look after, so this Readathon might involve a lot of breaks

5) If you participated in the last Read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? 
My last Read-a-Thon back in Oct'10, when I read 4.5 books and 1,553 pages in 10 hours 
I'm a cheerleader - Go Team Puck! See you on the read-a-thon
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Friday, April 20, 2012

Blogger Spotlight #9: Vix the "pads-brat"

Give us an idea of who you are: 
Hmm, i never really know what to say with these things but i’ll try giving it in a nutshell... My name is Viktoria. In the real world i go by ‘Vix’, online it’s either TToria or Vix. 
I’m a twenty-four year old ‘pads-brat’ (army kid) I come from a long line of soldiers and so i’ve moved around a lot! The country closest to my heart is Scotland. I left home at sixteen, travelled around a bit etc then i bumped into my high-school sweetheart. He went to the same armed forces school as me in Germany. We got married and seven years later we’re travelling around (he’s in the army now too) and raising our five year old son :) I’m extremely close to my two sisters, though we all live in separate countries: England, Scotland an Germany. Moving around is a bit of a nightmare when it comes to working and studying. Thank goodness for the internet and the opportunities it brings! Right now my husband, son and I are in England but the two-year posting is finished in June and so we’ll be moving back up to Scotland. 
As most of us book bloggers would say “I’m an avid reader”, and i’ll say the same. It’s an addiction! I tend to steer clear of horrors though, eek. I hope to write my own novel one day, but i think i still have a lot to learn. It’s something that shouldn’t be rushed. 

Describe a typical day:
 My days are pretty unpredictable at the moment. With us moving soon i’m trying to get the house organised and packed while my son is at school. And obviously reading and blogging fits in with that boring stuff too. 

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Blogger Tip #2: Checking Blog for dead links

Did you know your blog might have a bunch of dead links that you are still linking to?
The recent Bloggiesta weekend revealed that I hadn't checked for this ever.

To check for dead links, you can go to

This will check for dead links in your blog, website or any webpage and give you a complete list. When I tried it, I got about 85 links that the site said I had to manually check - most of those were "Tag searches" and worked fine on clicking.
Blogger Tips Series: 
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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Teaser Tuesday #48: Intangible

The past few weeks I've been starting and stopping my way through J.Meyers' Intangible. Here's a teaser:
"It was quiet times like this that she wished she could tell them that she knew what they could do. Knew who they were. But it wasn't entirely hers to tell.
Not yet."
If you have a minute, I'm interested in what you think about the DRM battle going on with all publishers.

Really Mini Summary: 
Just a little predictable so far. Wishing YA books would involve teens talking to their parents a little more. *le sigh*
Let me know if you follow this blog, I'll follow back! 
To join into the TT fun, visit the link below!
Teaser Tuesdays
Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along!
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Monday, April 16, 2012

Fictional Birthdays and Lessons learned from fictional romances

The awesome people at Flavorwire have come up with a picture that depicts a fictional character's birthday for each day of the year! You can check who your birthday twin is - is it Sherlock Holmes (Jan6th) Or Severus Snape or James Bond? 

Refinery29 has a neat article on love lessons learned from four fictional men (think Rhett Butler style) -
Who doesn't have a crush on a fictional character? If not the classic Mr. Darcy, it was probably a dark and stormy Heathcliff, or perhaps a sparkly Edward ? I loved Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing! This article uses TV characters..
Happy Weekend reading!

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Friday, April 13, 2012

The DRM battle is on - what's your take?

DRM is like a keyless pad lock
DRM is like a key-less padlock from Flickr (CC)
The story behind Digital RM is this - DRM is a way for publishers to digitally control how, where and in what format you read a purchased book. For example, if you buy an ebook on the Kindle, and later if you want to read it on your new Nook, it is illegal to convert and read that book, if it is DRM-protected. In actual fact, it is easy enough to transfer it to your computer, convert using calibre and read on any format - pdf, mobi, doc etc.
However, it is illegal to do so for all DRM protected books. 

What does this mean for you?

Publishers use third party software to handle the DRM-locks on your books. If that software or server goes " dark" (shuts down) then the ebooks are gone too, like with Fictionwise ebooks protected by Overdrive software. You keep paper books for years, don't you expect ebooks to do the same?

Interestingly, O'Reilly publishing discovered that sales of their textbooks more than doubled since they dropped DRM books 18+ months ago

Cory Doctorow's view: A Whip to beat us with 
Ebook DRM provider goes dark, the books you paid for disappear
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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Pinterest now the Third most popular Social site!

Follow Me on PinterestLaunched in March 2010, Pinterest is a now familiar online sight - but far more so now than even 6 months ago.
For myself, I only heard about it a couple of months ago, and then waited for an invite before logging in via twitter. But in those two months (Jan-Feb '12), Pinterest grew by 50%!
Clearly, this image sharing site is a Phenomenon.

Why is it so popular?
Nothing like facebook, it focuses purely on interests
Hobbies, Crafts, Fashion, Home are the widest categories, and what's better than getting to connect with friends on mutual interests? The average pinterest user spends 20 min a day on the site, which is much more than the average time on twitter or facebook.
Why do you use Pinterest? What's your best board? Have you linked your IRL friends on it, via facebook?
For more book-related pinning, go here.

More reading:

Pinterest Is Now the Third Most Popular Social Network in the U.S. (Social times)

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