Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dead Until Dark

So as a graduation treat last year I bought a load of books, one of which was Charlaine Harris' omnibus edition of her Sookie Stackhouse series. I opened the page of 'dead until dark' one morning and read the first book in a few hours!

Brilliant and such a fun read. Definitely a guilty pleasure. And definitely not to be taken 'seriously'.

As a reader, you come across books that are 'heavy', others that are 'light/fluff'. I love both types, as both are equally hard to write (and IMO lighter books are harder).

Charlaine Harris' books are definitely and meant to be part of the 'light' group. If you want to relax, switch off and have a bit of fun - these are for you!

Although I imagine everyone in the entire universe has read these books already - I highly recommend them to all, especially vampire fans.

My only thing is the back of this edition said 'move over bella. sookie stackhouse is here' - Now, its really really important to remember (especially twilight fans who believe this series is a twilight knockoff and have been quite harsh, especially in regards to Sookie's gift) that these books were published in 2001 and have won awards etc. so my recommendation to twilight fans is don't go in judging the book - sit back, relax and enjoy the ride because these books are such a yummy guilty pleasure!

So I'm giving them 4 moons!



Wednesday, October 27, 2010

So you think you're a vampire Eh?


So anyone who reads YA (or has YAs) will have no doubt recognising the following:

Girl meets boy. Girl fancies boy. Boy fancies girl. . . for lunch. Girl finds out Boy is vampire (or other supernatural thing). Girl is even more attracted. Girl almost dies as result of boy being in life. Boy saves the day. Boy and girl live happily ever after.


Hmmmm. . . so Mr. Boy, let's call you Edward for easiness sake, shall we?

You think you're a vampire?

Well I'd like to introduce you to a little thing called Renfield's syndrome aka 'clinical vampirism'.

The term was coined by Richard Noll, author and clinical psychologist, and comes from Dracula's insect eating assistant (now if he called it 'Dracula's syndrome' we'd have all heard of it). Of course Renfield had the lovely habit of eating bugs believing the had essential life force.

This condition is a mental disorder but is not categorised in DSM IV (mental health bible) but is seen as part of schizophrenia (So, Edward you say you hear voices?) or paraphilia (no comment on this one *cough*comparing smell of blood to heroin*cough*).

Symptoms include:
  • The craving for blood as you believe it gives you life enhancing powers (So Edward you believe you sparkle in the sun, are immortal, could take Buffy in a fight and still have a fabulous mop of hair at 108?)
  • Primarily males suffer this.
  • Usually an event occurs where ingestion of blood occurs in childhood, and then as puberty hits it becomes exciting/sexual arousing. (Now, what did that Doctor do when you were half dying and your friends and family died from spanish flu?)
  • Often starts with autovampirism (no thanks i don't want to know) before moving on to the blood of other creatures (Is this what you mean when you refer to being a 'vegetarian'?). Before moving onto final stage. . . humans (aka Bella, right?)
  • Often not seen as influenced by fiction or mythical creatures, but by being sexual aroused by blood (So the first girl you have ever been attracted has blood that is irresistible to you?)
Hmmmm. . .

So what is my advice?

Run. Bella. Run.

Mwaahahahahahahahahaha


Monday, October 25, 2010

And all that Corkonian Jazz. Part Deux


Twas the first anniversary of me and 'Aisling's first visit to cork.

Twas also the Cork Jazz Festival.

Fun was had. Drink was had.

Heads and feet now sore.

Aw Cork, you never disappoint :)

Covorting with some Covers (III): USA vs. UK/IRE

Thanks to some suggestions by the wonderful Shellie and my own wanderings around amazon -I've decided to do another US vs. UK book covers. However with a little more of a twist.



Bareback (UK) vs. Benighted (US) by Kit Whitfield.

Thoughts: Definitely handsdown, UK cover and title seems much more appropriate and powerful. The image on the left (uk) is haunting and almost painful to look at, but just makes you want to read. The US cover is a bit meeh. The red is lost against the blue/green cover. There seems to be a lot going on as well, which makes the impact weak.




The Naming (US) vs The Gift (UK):
Book 1 of the Book of Pellinor By Alison Croggon.


Thoughts: I'm biased. I absolutely LOVE this series so much! And I own the UK covers. I absolutely love the UK covers but equally I like the look of the US ones. Coverwise for me it's almost a draw because they work in very different ways but still both are beautiful and eyecatching. Title wise, it's disappointing that the name had to change but the title is still quite relevant and appropriate for the story. So I think for me, this is a draw.



Magic Under Glass by Jacyln Dolamore.



Of course most controversial for last. This Bookcover got ALOT of grief because the original US bookcover (left) was seen as ignoring the fact that MC of the book was described as more middle eastern looking.




The next US version (right) is more faithful to the book's character but lacks any sort of humpf IMO. I just feel sorry for the poor author that her book got caught up in so much controversy.

The UK version (below left) by far seems more faithful to the story of the book and is really cute. I am totally drawn to it because it's clean, simple and colourful. Presumable safer PR wise to have a drawn cover after what happened with the original US cover (although the girl in picture does look fair and blonde to me). . .



Well, Please let me know your thoughts/comments and any bookcovers you recommend :)





Friday, October 22, 2010

Jazz Hot Baby!

As a huge fan of Victor/Victoria I squeeled like a little eejit when I saw Kurt's rendition. Absolutely Amazing. He did Julie Andrews proud!!!

SO here is Kurts & orginal (at the end, when she pulls off her wig like that = man)








Follow Friday (III)



Welcome to follow friday, a weekly meme started by the wonderful Parajunkee

Here are the rules:

1. Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Host { Parajunkee.com } and any one else you want to follow on the list
2. Follow our Featured Bloggers - What Book is That?
3. Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing.
4. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say hi in your comments
5. Follow Follow Follow as many as you can
6. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love...and the followers
7. If you want to show the link list, just follow the link below the entries and copy and paste it within your post!
8. If your new to the follow friday hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!


Todays Question:

What are you currently reading? And what do you think? Anything to add to my TBR pile?

Currently I'm reading Hilary Mantel's Beyond Black. The jury is still out. It's been a slow read, but still good. Although Hilary Mantel is an award winning author I find her writing style difficult to interpet and read. . . review will come eventually :)

Anyway, WELCOME to any new followers, it's great to have yeh.

Drop me a comment so I can return the favour :)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Gargoyle



I absolutely love the opening line of this Novel,

"Accidents ambush the unsuspecting, often violently, just like love"

The Gargoyle is the story of a young man fighting for his life, after a horrific accident, which has ended his pornographic cocaine driven lifestyle and made him into a monster. Enter - Marianne Engel, a schizophrenic, who believes they have meet in a previous life and are destined to be together.

Through her naration, we travel from Norway to Japan, and through the middle ages charting the tragic ending of their previous love affair. Anderson expertly allows these shifts from past to present, without losing the reader and sucking us deeper into the world of Marianne.

Combining mystery and mysticism, events unfold which are left unquestioned, which gives this book an air of magic realism. The concept and development of the characters and their stories is done very well, with this story remaining with you for days after being read.

Definitely one of my favourite books, i give it 4 moons. Although i thought this book was exceptionally, I felt that there was something lacking - a 'je n'ai sais quoi' which i never put my finger on.



Monday, October 18, 2010

Covorting with some Covers (II): USA vs. UK/IRE

To spice up my weekly 'covorting with some covers' meme, I'm going from time to time (see how unpredictable and wild i am. . . ) I'm going to include some US vs. UK/IRE comparisons.



Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater.

Thoughts: Definitely think that in both 'Shiver' and UK book cover version (left) rules the day. It looks darker, more of a contrast and more eye catching if sitting on bookshelf (unless beside twilight lol).








The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

Thoughts: US (left) without a doubt a winner here. The UK cover looks so generic YA PR that it wouldn't catch my eye at all, while US cover just makes you want to read it!







Morganville Vampire Series by Rachel Caine
(e.g. Book 1: Glass houses)
Thoughts: Neither of these covers do anything amazing for me. But I do think that UK cover (right) appeals to me more. It definitely knows its market. I think the later covers on the UK side do improve, and are very pretty. The US cover (left) is edgy but just doesn't leap out at me.




Any thoughts?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A little thing called voice. . .

Voice. When you're a "person who writes"
(I feel strange saying 'writer' like I'm an impostor so bear with me), it's all you hear about.

You have to have Voice. It's all about the Voice. You're grammar can suck but once you have Voice you're ok. You're plot is useless, I hate your characters but you've great Voice. Voice is learned. Voice is innate. Voice. Voice. Voice. Voice. Voice.

ARGH!!?!?!?!

What the HELL is VOICE? (and where can I get some s'il vous plait?)

Well, I but this terminology up there with having an 'EAR' for languages or music. It seems to be this intangible mysterious thing that is the holy grail of writing.

So why am I having this rant? Well this 'voice' thing has been on my mind for a while, as it seems to be this fundamental ingredient to writing, that everyone talks about yet no one really can pin a definition on and like the 'talent vs. ability' debate - do you just have 'voice' or can you get it? (i.e. work?) This has come to the fore because recently I've been thinking of entering a competition hosted by the wonderful Inkwell for Irish writers, where you're first 3,000 words is reviewed by a Penguin editor and a literary agent for a prize.

I haven't written the first chapter yet (I'm writing rough draft in reverse) so I played around with it and posted the first 300 words or so on AW to get some feedback. Repeatedly I was told to cut the thing except for last two paragraphs. I was told these had voice. That these made people want to turn the page. Now, I keep staring at the page. Looking at the paragraphs with no voice and the ones that supposedly do. I completely agree with the feedback but I'm left pondering about this voice thing.

How do you know you have voice?

If I'm entirely honest with myself. I don't think I have 'it' - that voice, which makes people keep reading. Sometimes I might write the odd line and see maybe a glimpse of something, but then it goes. Is this voice? Something which is there, but needs to be worked at to be found? Or do you either have it or you don't? Am I fooling myself? Deluding myself? I know DarkShines will probably never see the light of day - mostly down to my lack of skill and experience. I'm ok with this. I believe in 'practice makes perfect' but I also believe that sometimes you need to have an innate ability to build on in the first place - is this what voice is?

I don't know. I feel I should know. I feel I should know that I have it, but I really don't. Does any writer do? Or is it something only an outsider can see and determine?

Amazing readers who are writers, do you know what voice is? And do you know if you have it?

(And can you get me some?)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

You are so beautiful to me. . .


Need I say more. . .

Busy Busy

Thanks to the wonderful White Rabbit, I've discovered scheduled posting on blogger!! So I shall be posting (reviews/covers) in the coming days in spirit but not in body.

WHY?

Well it's not because of my usually laziness, but because I've been mad busy lately between PhD work, being sick (really) and having apartmate dramas. If I wasn't so cautious about what I posted on the internet I'd have a mighty rant specifically about the last part but I won't. . .

I am going to take some steps though, which I shall just sum up with this wonderful quote by one of my friends (who was mugged last week).

"Jesus really knew what he was doing when he made that water into wine"

Personally I'm going to replace wine with vodka and have myself a merry auld time :)

See yeh all in few days

Cheers!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Something Wicked this way comes. . .

Something Wicked this way comes is a gothic novel by Ray Bradbury and was read for the Basics Challenge.

Writing a proper summary for this book is very difficult. Simply its a story of a strange carnival coming to town and two boys, Jim and Wills discovery of its horrific secret and purpose. This sentence summary doesn't do this story justice, as it touches on many themes such as the sins and follies of human kind, whether its the wish for youth (or age) or for immortality, on family, friendship or the soul.

To be perfectly honest i found this book to be a slow read, not because i found the story to be boring etc. or because i was 'making myself' read it but mostly due to the complexity and layers of the book which is reflected in Ray Bradbury's unusual (but amazing) writing.

Definitely a book i think that needs to be read several times, as I can imagine that each sentence and word of this novel was chosen for a specific reason. The style of the writing is so unusual and often confusing but reminds me of poetry/lyrics in the way it pulls you into the story.

I'm giving this book 4moons, because i'm still unsure of what to make of it? A book that needs time and a ponder, me thinks.



Monday, October 11, 2010

Covorting with some Covers (II)

Some other yummy covers!


Torment - Lauren Kate

Thoughts: I love this image, the bleakness ties really well with the title but also with the previous book 'Fallen'. I'm glad it's grayscale because I could image a colour like 'red' would over power the overall image.

Shiver (UK) - Maggie Stiefvater

Thoughts: Love the colour scheme of this, especially as usually you would expect the branches to be black. I like the inversion and the splash of red. Really love this.

The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde

Thoughts: Simple but so powerful, the colour scheme is amazing but the artwork is well. Does the work complete justice. Very sophisticated. Love it.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Foot-in-mouth disease AKA authors go BOOM!!!


Alice Hoffman, Anne Rice & lots and lots of others.

Hmmmm. . . what do the following authors have in common?

Well, first they're human.

Second, they're Authors.

Third, they forgot the golden rule - Never ever send emails/tweets or anything else when you're angry.

I've been thinking about this alot lately, especially when I'm reading others' tweets/blogs, or reading stories of authors who've reply back to critiques. Now, let's be honest, I don't have a clue what it's like to be a published author and I certainly don't know what it's like to have work reviewed in public for all the world to read, but there's one thing that just keeps popping into my head when I hear of these stories:
Never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrell, you'll never win!
For writers (unpublished/published) I think this is really something to bear in mind. The world of publishing, like any creative career is full of criticism and rejection. At no point in your career will you ever be able to please everyone - your work will be accepted, rejected and criticised -constructively or destructively. We as writers have to reconcile ourselves to this point and remember that even when/if we're pulitzer prize winners or millionnaires, your work is never too good to be not critiqued.

So you've been ripped apart? What do you do?

There are a number of options to choose from:

  1. Make a cup of tea. Perhaps Chamomile. Turn on your rain sounds and do that yoga breathing you learnt from that dvd you bought yourself last Christmas. You are calm. You are calm. You think happy thoughts (e.g. revenge plots for a certain reviewer).


  2. You get so angry and upset that you're house goes into lockdown. Alarms are blaring, babies are crying. Pets/Children/Significant Others are running for cover. This is Cloverfield except without the bad camera work. Eventually you calm down. . . hopefully there has been no casualties.


  3. You Eat. You eat everything that is not breathing. Is that Haazan Daz? Is that chocolate? Is that a frozen pizza back there which expired around 1998? Is that a family size back of popcorn? Are those the kids' lunches? hmmmm. . . are those dog biscuits? Yup, you eat through the pain. No wonder you've put on three stone. You begin to think sending a bill for weight watchers to the reviewers might be an excellent idea.


  4. Pain is good for the soul. Those 150 rejections from literary agents and publishers weren't enough to completely wallpaper you're 'study' now you've decided the 'wall of pain' needs a new section. The Pain is Good. . . The Pain is Good. . . so you put that bad review up on that wall, right beside where you hang that 'atonement whip'.
And what do you not do?

HIT SEND

Just step away from the computer and walk away. . .

Far away and go play with some puppies or look at your royalty cheque.


Because fandom wank is fun to read but not when you're the one being read about.

And REMEMBER delete no longer means delete - it only means 'google cache'.

Like Karma, once your comment is out there, there is no taking it back and it will come back to haunt you!

So to sum up, I think if there's one thing to learn from others' mistakes is that NEVER EVER respond to a negative review, unless you can do it like this

Please leave some comments, love to hear yer thoughts!

Toodles



Friday, October 8, 2010

Follow Friday (II)



Welcome to follow friday, a weekly meme started by the wonderful Parajunkee

Here are the rules:

1. Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Host { Parajunkee.com } and any one else you want to follow on the list
2. Follow our Featured Bloggers - seducedbybooks.blogspot.com
3. Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing.
4. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say hi in your comments
5. Follow Follow Follow as many as you can
6. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love...and the followers
7. If you want to show the link list, just follow the link below the entries and copy and paste it within your post!
8. If your new to the follow friday hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!


Todays Question:

How many reviews do you like to do a week?

Now that's a loaded question for moi, if I could get one review a week done I'd be very happy. This is the problem of a reading day job - when you get home half the time you're all read out!

Anyway, WELCOME to any new followers, it's great to have yeh.

Drop me a comment so I can return the favour :)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Number 30: Tarot Cards here I come

As part of my '203 things' to do before I kick it, I decided to include 'learn to read tarot' cards! Now as a young teen, I was mad into palmistry, astrology, wicca and anything with the scent of incense! And considering it's the month of October I thought now would be perfect time to get cracking. . .

So I did number of spreads and am kind of impressed with the findings.

One question I asked was: What about my writing career?
I did a 3 card spread symoblising past/current position; present/possibility or problem; Future/the outcome of the interaction.

PAST/CURRENT POSITION

I drew the 7 of cups.

"The emotions associated with this card are those stemming from within, from the unconcious mind and represent your hopes, desires and aspirations (Well. You really can't get more specific than that can you? Pretty much sums up my situation at the moment, eerily so!). Unfortunately, the card also indicates an element of confusion as to which of these represent an achievable reality and which are simply pipe-dreams (hmmm I've less than 20k written and never had a word of fiction published. me, confused nah. I'm the next Stephen King I tells ya!). It is important for you to choose wisely which paths to follow, but it may be that now is not the time to decide (Like i need to be told to procrastinate but at least now I have viable excuse - the cards told me to)"


PRESENT/POSSIBILITY OR PROBLEM

I drew the King of Swords.

"Authority, self-confidence and an uncompromising professionalism are all the mark of the upright King of Swords. This card tends to represent someone in business or the law who will be a great assistance (Hmmmm . . . am I the only one thinking Literary Agent here hehehe :) . . . easy know I'm a pisces & optimist/dreamer eh! ) to you to help solve a major difficulty in your life (aka getting published hehe). Assertive to the point of being domineering (hmmmm. . . ), this man can be cold and remote in his interpersonal relationships (no gold stars or hugs then?) and as a result, prone to feeling lonely and isolated (well, if you gave me some hugs and stars every once in a while, maybe you wouldn't so isolated, duh!).

FUTURE/OUTCOME OF INTERACTION

I drew 'The Hierophant'.

"This card has two main interpretations. One is that it signifies advice and guidance from a professional source - teacher, lawyer, spiritual adviser etc. (Literary Agent!?!) - either being sought by you or offered to you in one of these capacities. The other is that this card represents orthodoxy and conformity in your life (i.e. a paid job??), and indicates that observation of the moral, religious or social conventions of your culture will bring them greatest fulfillment (Yes, PAYCHECK!! Shopping. YaY!).

So to sum up. Writing at the moment is a bit up in the air, I'm not sure if it's reality or pipedream, but a nice cold domineering Literary Agent is going to change all that and give me some great advice, resulting in my conforming to the social conventions of my culture i.e. earning a wage = my greatest fulfillment = shopping. YaY!!

Think I shall keep up this Tarot stuff ;)

Thanks for dropping by!!




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