Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October RAK Wrap Up

Book Soulmates hosts the Random Act of Kindness events every month. Head over to their blog if you'd like to sign up.

In October, I sent Petra of Hazel the Witch a paperback of Austenland and Stephanie of Cover2Cover Kindle books of Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Masque of the Red Death and Partials (Thanks to the YA bloggers making me aware of the sale on these titles).

I received from Vonnie of Vonnie's Reading Corner The Goddess Inheritance and Katherine. Petra sent Deborah Harkness's The Jewel House. Stephanie sent the nookbook of The Passage by Justin Cronin.

Thank you all so much! I can't wait to read the books I recieved, and I hope they enjoyed theirs!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Kick Ass Heroines

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is Top Ten Kick Ass Heroines.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5) Ginny Weasley Hermione may be book smart and skilled in charms, but Ginny could easily take any of her brothers with the intensity of her defensive spells.

Defiance (Defiance, #1)Rachel Adams - Instead of encouraging his daughter to take interest in skills of running a home, Jared Adams taught Rachel self-defense and how to fend for herself.

Temple of the Winds (Sword of Truth, #4)Cara - Mord Sith, an elite warrior, skilled in torture. You do not want to be on her bad side.

Fatal Voyage (Temperance Brennan, #4) Temperance Brennan - A smart, passionate forensic anthropologist. Sometimes she gets impatient, or ticks off the wrong person. But she can take care of herself.

Graceling (Graceling Realm, #1) Katsa - She is a skilled fighter and skilled in survival, she has served as the king's enforcer for years.

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1) Arya - Spunky younger daughter of House Stark. Would rather do battle training with her brothers than act like a lady.

The Lord of the Rings Eowyn - Fiesty daughter of Rohan who runs off and joins the army. Quite a feminist character for the time.

Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl, #1) Holly Short - First female captain in LEPrecon history. Can be a loose canon, but definitely a match for Artemis Fowl.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls The Sisters Bennett - Take the Bennett sisters, add katanas. Stir. The five sisters turn fiesty in the war against the zombies.

The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #5)Annabeth Chase - Her mother is Athena, goddess of wisdom and warfare, so she has a natural talent for battle.

The Hobbit Read-along: Chapters 8-9

"I will give you a name," he said to it, "and I shall call you Sting."

The troupe sounds begins their trek through the Mirkwood, without the security blanket known as Gandalf. It starts off well, with them following Beorn's instructions, but after the Bombur incident, things go to pot. Discomfort and a lack of food leads to straying from the path, and the troop gets captured by Ron Weasley's worse nightmare, the giant spiders. Bilbo's quick thinking leads to an opportune rescue, only for the dwarves to be captured by the Wood Elves.

I think the scene with the spiders is the highlight of Bilbo's character so far. Its the one moment so far when he really reacts first thing, instead of first feeling sorry for himself.

The scenes with the woodelves seems to set up the dysfunctional relationship between dwarves and elves we see when the fellowship firsts meets up in Lord of the Rings. Who knows, maybe this scene is part of why they reacted they way they did. I must say, these sections were another part that I didn't really remember from before, so it was almost like a first read again.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Snapshot Saturday

Snapshot Saturday is hosted by At Home with Books. Check out her blog to find links to other participants.

Last weekend, our large dog broke her leg, and when they took x-rays to diagnose it, the vet saw signs of cancer in the leg. Even if it wasn't, they would have recommended amputating the leg, since the break was so high up. We waited for biopsy results this week, and even with the strong meds, she was in pain. Plus her back legs seem to have gotten weak in the last week, and at her age (12) we weren't sure how well she'd do with an amputation. So we decided to put her down. She will be missed, with her yeasty, seperation anxiety ways.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Library Loot

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!

Always meant to join into this, since I've been doing a lot of library check outs this year. All book covers head to the Goodreads page for the book. This week's check out is:

Monument 14 (Monument 14 #1)Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne
Your mother hollers that you’re going to miss the bus. She can see it coming down the street. You don’t stop and hug her and tell her you love her. You don’t thank her for being a good, kind, patient mother. Of course not—you launch yourself down the stairs and make a run for the corner.

Only, if it’s the last time you’ll ever see your mother, you sort of start to wish you’d stopped and did those things. Maybe even missed the bus.

But the bus was barreling down our street, so I ran.

Fourteen kids. One superstore. A million things that go wrong.

I also have a few audiobooks lingering around

The Red TentCloud AtlasThis Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil WarThe Long Earth

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant, Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War by Drew Gilpin Faust, and The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Hobbit Read-along, Chapters 6-7

And in the dim shadows of that place I don't think you will shoot anything, wholesome or unwholesome, without straying from the path. That you MUST NOT do, for any reason.

Sorry for the delay. My dog broke her leg Thursday and spent the weekend shuttling back and forth to the vet, googling broken limbs and bone cancer (she probably has that too), and waiting for reinforcements (she thinks she can act like she did before hand now).

So Bilbo has made it out of the mountains and reunited with Gandalf and the dwarves. After hiding in the trees to get away from the goblins and wargs. The eagles come to investigate the disturbance in the trees, and end up flying them to safety. The troop finds shelter with Beorn, who loans them ponies to get them to the edge of the Mirkwood.

What did you all think about these chapters? These two didn't bring up much by way of connections or anything. They introduce a few characters and species that we see in Lord of the Rings. I thought Beorn was interesting, and wouldn't mind reading more on him, but Wikipedia tells me he doesn't show up elsewhere in Middle Earth lore. He kind of reminds me of Tom Bombadil, serving as a bit of a guide and a way station for the group.

Next week, chapters 8 and 9.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Review: The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns by MArgaret Dilloway

The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns by Margaret Dilloway
Publisher: G.P Putnam's Sons/Penguin Group
Publication: August 2nd, 2012
I received this ARC from the publisher at ALA Anaheim.

Thirty-six-year-old Gal Garner lives a regimented life. Her job teaching biology and her struggle with kidney disease keep her toggling between the high school, the hospital, and her home on a strict schedule.

Only at home, in her garden, does Gal come alive. It's here that she experiments with Hulthemia roses, painstakingly cross-pollinating various specimens in the hopes of creating a brand-new variation of spectacular beauty. But even her passion has a highly structured goal: Gal wants to win Queen of Show in a major competition and bring that rose to market.

Then one afternoon Gal's teenaged niece Riley, the daughter of her estranged sister, arrives. Unannounced. Neither one of them will ever be the same.

Filled with gorgeous details of the art of rose breeding, The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns is a testament to the redemptive power of love.
Normally the contemporary genre is not one that I am drawn to on my own, but when I was walking around the ALA exhibits this summer. I decided to give it a shot, and I was glad I did. I really enjoyed this book. If you are looking for a contemporary novel focused around a love story, this isn't one of those. Unless you count Gal's love of her roses. Don't let the name full you, it is not actually a book on rose growing. You do get a bit of information on creating new roses, as Gal thinks about it, and the different sections of the book are broken up by pages from the fictional book on rose care. But the roses are what keeps Gal's mind off her disease.

I think what drew me to this the most that it wasn't about romantic relationships. The focus is on Gal's relationship with her niece, who she hasn't seen in years. Gal goes through life with intensity, expecting others to rise to meet it but she fails to see any flaws in her plans. So when she hits rough patches in her life, she has to reassess how she proceeds with her life. If some ways, I felt like I identified with Gal, being near her in age, and having more the same priorities in life as she does.

If you are looking for a contemporary novel not focused on romantic relationships, I would definitely recommend this one.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

National Archaeology Day!

October 20th, 2012 is the Second Annual National Archaeology Day. It was recognized by Congress in 2011. The Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) leads the awareness of the day.

Archaeology is, using the definition on Wikipedia for its simplicity:
Archaeology is the study of human activity in the past, primarily through the recovery and analysis of the material culture and environmental data that they have left behind, which includes artifacts, architecture, biofacts and cultural landscapes (the archaeological record).
This could be linked to the ancient, evolutionary past (linked with biological anthropology), prehistoric (which in the United States refers to the more recent native populations) or historic periods (in the US, usually refering to the American or European settlement of the area). Sorry, not bugs. Rarely gold or what you likely would consider treasure. Frequently someone's trash, or possibly a toilet.

This day is important to me. I became interested in archaeology when we studied Ancient Egypt in elementary school. I studied it in college and am working as an archaeology now. So I am issuing a challenge.

This weekend, go out to a museum, lecture, or historic site where the focus is archaeology (in case of a museum, they should have an exhibit featuring archaeology, like the Cleopatra Exhibit at the California Science Center). Go forth and learn about the area where you live, or are visiting. The AIA has a list of special events for National Archaeology Day, and collaborating organizations on the National Archaeology Day website. You could go to a National Park or a state or county park. Remember, the US Civil War sites are still celebrating the 150 anniversary of the Civil War. You can even find a UNESCO World Heritage Site; these sites are "of outstanding universal value" in addition to meeting to other critera. World Heritage sites include Masada (featured in Alice Hoffman's The Dovekeepers), the Tower of London and the area around Tequila (yes, where tequila is made, and has been for 500 years, and other drinks for centuries more). And this is not just for the US. Orginizations in several other countries have listed events on the AIA site as well. And the site doesn't have to be one who has signed up with the AIA, just have a focus on archaeology.

So you've gone out on the 20th or 21st. Show me that you did. Take pictures, show me your ticket stubs, show me the booklet/flyer for the exhibit, or get one of those dated park stamps like the National Park sites have. Upload the picture to your favorite free image host (Picasa, Photobucket, Imageshack, Tinypic, to name a few), and send me the link and fill out the form. As they say 'Picture, or it doesn't count!' For the love of all things, if the museum has a no photography policy, DON'T DO IT!!.

For doing this, I will collect small things, like bookmarks or postcards and send you one. I am going to the Cleopatra exhibit next month, so it might be something from that, who knows?

You have until the end of day PST (GMT-8) Wednesday Oct. 24 to enter.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Hobbit Read-a-long: Chapters 3-5

Chapters 3-5

I have heard that there are still forgotten treasures of old to be found in the deserted caverns of the mines of Moria, since the dwarf and goblin war.

I've made a page at the top with the reading schedule easy to find, if you need it.

In this section, we meet a silly group of elves at Rivendell, where the band stops to ask Elrond for help reading their map. This trip also develops Bilbo's love for the place, as we see in The Lord of the Rings. After leaving the elves, the troupe tries to make it through the mountains, but decide to wait out the raging storm on the front porch of some Goblins. The goblins aren't to thrilled with having a bunch of dwarves on their lawn, so they steal them and Bilbo to make a nice meal. Gandalf rescues them, cutting some goblins along the way, but in the escape, Bilbo becomes separated from the group, and bumbles into Gollum's lair. We get our first look at this slimy, demented character so prominent in LOTR, and how Bilbo lives up to his position as a thief.

What did you all think of this section? We get quick glimpses of races and locations we come to know better in LOTR. What do you think of their portrayal here? Any thoughts in general on this section?


To me, this section seem to contain a good bit of foreshadowing for LOTR, or what seems like foreshadowing (since Tolkien could have added some during his edits. Several things are there, like the moon letters, and the trip through the mountains, that remind me of events in LOTR. Even Bilbo's fascination with the elves' singing reminds me of Samwise's fascination as well.

It never struck me when I read this and LOTR before, about how much Gandalf orchestrated the whole thing. In this reread, it seems like Gandalf must have seen what Frodo does, and who he is related to, and therefore must push Bilbo out into this adventure. Try thinking about in a wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey way- what real use is there of Bilbo acting as a thief in this troupe? We'll get back to this later on.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday Rewind: TBR for Winter

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week it is a free choice from any of the past topics. I have chosen the Winter TBR. I plan on tackling a bunch of my books which are related to myths and legends next year, so these ten will be the likely start.

1. Dreamless by Josephine Angelini -- I've had it since it came out, just haven't gotten the time yet.

2. The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan -- Another I've had since its release, but I've not had a chance to get to.

3. The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan -- Yup, bought this one too. But I will get to it quicker than I've gotten to the rest in this series.

4. The End of Sparta by Victor Davis Hanson -- Got this from the LibraryThing giveaways, but I've not gotten to read it yet. But I will.

5. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller -- I got so impatient waiting for one of my libraries to get this, so I bought it. And so it sits...

6. Hood by Stephen Lawhead -- I have a deep love of the Robin Hood legend. I will try every show, movie or book, no matter what the little voices in my head think about it.

7. The Odyssey and the Iliad by Homer -- I never had to read these for class, and have always thought about reading them. Then reading Starcrossed, It just sorted needled me that I still needed to read them.

8. The Once and Future King by T.H. White -- A classic in Arthurian legends. I read parts in high school but not the whole thing. I got the audio waiting for it, but need a good bit of time for it.

9. The Goddess Hunt, Goddess Interrupted and The Goddess Legacy by Aimee Carter -- I enjoyed The Goddess Test, although not to the same extent as Starcrossed, so I haven't rushed it. Also the library has not gotten Goddess Interrupted yet.

10. The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien -- Another one that has been sitting on my shelf for a while, but with my reread of Hobbit right now, I think I'm going to move it up my list.

So, have any myth or legend related reads you want to share? And it doesn't have to be Greek and Roman; Ancient Egypt is a favorite, but others are welcome. But I have read nearly all of Rick Riordan's YA books.

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Hobbit Read-a-long: Week 1 Discussion

Then something Tookish woke up inside him, and he wished to go and see the great mountains, and hear the pine-trees and the waterfalls, and explore the caves, and wear a sword instead of a walking stick. p.15-16
Welcome to the start of our read-a-long! We'll be talking about Chapters 1 and 2 this week. If you haven't already done so, I'd suggest you follow by rss, email, twitter or Google+ to make sure you see the discussion posts. I'm aiming to have them scheduled to go up in the morning PST (GMT-8).

The Hobbit was written in the early 1930s as a story for Tolkien's children, but he wasn't convinced to have it published until 1936. It was published in 1937. In 1951, Tolkien made edits to better connect it with The Lord of the Rings, to be published three years later. Some editions feature some of Tolkien's own artwork (check out the 75th Anniversary editions if you'd like to see it).

In 'An Unexpected Party', we meet Bilbo Baggins, one of the Bagginses from under The Hill, as he meets Gandalf the Wizard outside his hobbit hole. The next day, Gandalf secretly invites thirteen dwarves to Bag End by signing the unknowing Bilbo up to be part of their adventure. An so Bilbo begins his first adventure, one that he, nor readers will ever forget.

Tolkien was a noted scholar of mythology and legends. Do you see the influence of his scholarly research this early in the novel? What do you think of the encounter with the trolls? Any favorite passages so far?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner

Announcing the winners of the Banned Books Week giveaways. All the winners have been emailed, you check your inbox!

Banned Books Week Bookmarks
Only nine folks entered, so everybody wins!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Banned Books Week Giveaway Hop

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Random Acts of Kindness: October

Tis the season to celebrate the harvest and the dead. Once again, Random Acts of Kindness is hosted by Book Soulmates. Check out this post if you'd like to sign up. I am #66 on the list.

Please read carefully & follow all rules! Thank you!

  • Please sign-up each month that you can participate (and by participate, we mean give as well as receive).
  • Show off your participation by grabbing our RAK button (code is in the right sidebar).
  • Create a wish list (on Amazon, Goodreads, or your blog, etc) and post it in the Google Doc located in each R.A.K post for the month.
  • If you choose to do a R.A.K for someone, check out their wish list and contact that blogger directly for their information.
  • Once you receive a RAK, send us an our new email to [rakbybooksoulmates @ gmail . com] so that we can update the Google Doc. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU SEND EMAILS TO THIS ADDRESS!
  • E-book participation is limited to files being gifted directly to a person from the e-book store. Amazon's Kindle Store is set up to allow this, as well as the Kobo store and we believe Barnes & Noble with Nook as well.
  • At the end of the month, SHOW US YOUR R.A.K by making a "RAK Wrap-Up" post. This post should include who you SENT gifts to as well who you RECEIVED gifts from :)

    OPEN TO EVERYONE including all our International brethren!
    Remember, there's always the Book Depository and they offer FREE shipping!

Random Acts of Kindness: September Wrap-Up

Book Soulmates hosts the Random Act of Kindness events every month. Head over to their blog if you'd like to sign up.

In September, I sent Vonnie of Vonnie's Reading Corner A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness and Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, with a few of the Banned Book Week bookmarks.

I did not recieve anything this month.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Review: Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell & Giveaway

This post is a part of Sheila's Banned Books Week Awareness Celebration. Go check out her blog, Book Journey for a full list of each day's participants.

War is peace.
Freedom is slavery.
Ignorance is strength.

1984 by George Orwell

Originally published in 1949, Nineteen Eighty Four is George Orwell's final novel and is one of the most notable novels in the dystopian genre. He created a world where Big Brother, a government construct to serve as a rallying point of the Party, as a king or president might in their respective government types. The government determined what its citizens do, think, eat, and even who they marry. The government controls history- if they decided to change something in the present, every form of record (tv, books, newspapers, etc.) were altered so that it has always been that way. Everything was done for the good of the party. They monitored the population by way of telescreens to make sure they toe the party line. If they didn't, they punished them by making them not exist. The protagonist, Winston Smith, begins remembering the changes that have occurred, and starts with small bouts of rebellion: Buying not approved items, thinking thoughts denouncing Big Brother, and ultimately entering a relationship of his own choosing. And it is only a matter of time until Big Brother comes for him.

ALA cites 1984 as being challenged in Jackson County, Florida in 1981, for being "pro-communist and containing explicit sexual matter." When this was written, World War II had only recently ended, and out of it emerged the Soviet Union as a major world power. The Soviet Union took over operation of Eastern Europe after the war, and encouraged the growth of communism around the world. In America, the Red Scare was rising, led by Senator Joseph McCarthy, where fear of the spread of communism led to accusations of espionage and other "un-American activities". People were blacklisted, and numerous hearings and trials held. This is where America was when Nineteen Eighty Four was published, and this beliefs were still influencing thoughts in 1981, when this particular challenge occurred. No doubt, many similar challenges were made in prior years.

But what is in the claim? The novel is a commentary on Stalin's use of the cult of personality, which Wikipedia defines as:
A cult of personality arises when an individual uses mass media, propaganda, or other methods, to create an idealized, heroic, and, at times god-like public image, often through unquestioning flattery and praise.
This is exactly what Big Brother is, and perhaps for this reason, some editions sport a Stalin-esque figure on the cover. Big Brother has history rewritten to glorify his plans and actions as being for the good of the people, and show how caring he is. But Winston knows the original truth, and begins challenging it by first disbelieving it, to even attempting to join a resistance movement. Trying to challenge a Communist-esque system, is hardly supporting the system. Success or failure, Winston's motivation was to change how things were done. As to the "explicit sexual matter"- yes, there is sex in the novel. Explicit, no, I don't think so, and not by 1980s standards either. Gone with the Wind has more explicit sex scenes in it, and that is and has been a novel beloved by many, especially pre-teen girls.


When I was at ALA this summer, I picked up a package of this year's bookmark design. Now this is the Facebook Timeline header, which provides a better picture of the designs used on either side of the bookmark.

From Sawcat's Book Blog
I will take 10 standard sized envelopes and mail a few of these out to people. If USPS delivers to you (or hands off to your country), you can enter. Yup, all you international folks, that would include you. Just enter in the Rafflecopter form below. a Rafflecopter giveaway