Friday, May 28, 2010

Introducing 'Silver Smoke' by Kennedy Clarke

I received an e-mail from young adult novel writer Kennedy Clarke who introduced me to her new book, Silver Smoke. It's the first book of a fantasy fiction series and it's about (this was what she wrote in the e-mail):

seven teenagers who are descendants of humans and archangels (or archdemons). Each of them must uncover the chilling (and sometimes sinister) mysteries of their lineage in order to save three races of superbeings from an all out war that no one can win. It's an action-packed story with lots of romance, laughs, and interesting characters.

You can read the first chapter here. Kennedy will also be releasing more chapters from Silver Smoke for free if there are more fans on her Facebook page for the books.

More information can be found on her website.

Book Blogger Hop: May 28-31, 2010

Yay! I'm so excited. This is my 3rd time participating in the Book Blogger Hop which is hosted by Crazy-For-Books. Go over there for more details and to leave the link to your blog post.

Okay some facts about me and my blog:

1. I'm 22 and from Malaysia. :)

2. I've been blogging about books since December 2006. So it'll be four years of book blogging for me come this December!

3. I like to read a variety of fiction: young adult, contemporary, fantasy, thrillers, historical and classics. Hey, I enjoy comics too.

4. I have two book blogs. You're looking at one here and the other one is 100% full of book reviews. It's sort of like my online reading journal - a place for me to keep track of books I've read.

5. Oooh, I luuuurrrrvvvveee entering book giveaways! If you like them too and would like to keep updated on the latest giveaways, there's no harm following my blog as I'll list them on my blog's sidebar. :)

Thanks for reading! You can also find me on Twitter and Goodreads.

So please introduce yourself and leave your blog links in the comments section!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

BTT: Bedside

This week's Booking Through Thursday question:

What books do you have next to your bed right now? How about other places in the house? What are you reading?

My answer:

I don't have a bedside but I do put books near my bed. Right now I have The Blue Umbrella by Mike Mason (yup, still reading it). I hope to get started on Beautiful Creatures or perhaps one of the ARCs I just received.

There are wall-shelves in my room too. That's where I keep most of my light paperbacks and other not so heavy books so that they all don't collapse to the floor! I have The Host by Stephenie Meyer, some Roald Dahl, Georgette Heyer, Tweak by Nic Sheff and my almost complete collection of the Fearless series by Francine Pascal.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Book Blogger Hop: May 21-24, 2010

Alrighty, this is my second time participating in the Book Blogger Hop and I'm looking forward to getting to know more awesome blogs! :) If you want to know more about the blog hop event, go here.

I have been blogging on books for three years and have two book blogs. This one here is more on news on books, memes, weekly features, my movie reviews, and lots more. My other blog is 100% focused on my book reviews. I write all my reviews there.

Anyway, I wrote a review last night: Memories of My Melancholy Whores by Gabriel García Márquez. Click on the link to read my review.

Happy blog hopping!

You can find me on Twitter and Goodreads too. :)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Peachy Posts #3

Peachy Posts is a feature on this blog where noteworthy posts from other blogs/sites are highlighted.

1. Like to buy and collect books? Oooh, that's me! :) Wait, you too? Then do check out this post!

2. How do you read? Do you read while doing something else at the same time, like listen to music for example? Then you and Brizmus might have something in common!

3. Francine Pascal didn't just create Sweet Valley and wrote the Fearless books. She had other books too, from what I've just discovered. Lauren goes back in time and writes about Francine Pascal's other teenage novels.

4. maybe genius tells you how to watch out for pitfalls when writing for young adults

5. What kind of book reviews do you read? Reading with Tequila gives her insight on this topic.

6. Marvel at the beautiful pictures taken by Alice during her volunteering stint at a children's home.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays (May 11, 2010)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

1. Grab your current read
2. Open to a random page
3. Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
4. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
5. Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Current read: The Blue Umbrella by Mike Mason

page 176

Though Zac was unable to learn anything about the second floor, the mystery of the back door was solved, or partly solved, on Thursday when the old men asked him for a hand carrying Christmas decorations from a building out back that they called the umbrella factory. Connected to the store by a breezeway, the place was chock full of umbrellas - clustered in stands, scattered over tables, tied in bundles.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Peachy Posts #2

Peachy Posts is a feature on this blog where noteworthy posts from other blogs/sites are highlighted.

On Reading

Nymeth's post on the meaning of making time to read.

Reading with Tequila discusses about themes on sex in YA books.

On Writing

How Meg Cabot was rejected for almost every day for a year when she tried to submit her Princess Diaries books.

Laugh out loud with these writer jokes!

Shopping for books

Do you get your books from a brick and mortar bookstore or from online stores? jharmon of Bookstove recalls and relishes the joy of visiting the bookstore.

Fun lists you should check out!

Emily's Reading Room lists out the good guys from YA literature.

Park Benches and Bookends lists out their Top Ten Favourite Love Stories of all time.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Book Blogger Hop - May 7-13, 2010

I've seen the Book Blogger Hop for quite some time now but haven't jumped in the bandwagon. So I'm gonna start with it this week! How does it work? Like its name, we just go blog-hopping to other book blogs and make new friends! Fun, isn't it? You'll discover new great blogs, new book recommendations and a whole lot of new fun.

For more details on the hop and to join in, go here. It is a weekly event hosted by Crazy for Books.

And if you're here from the hop, you know what to do. :) If you don't, well, leave your link in the comments!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Friday Finds (May 07, 2010)

Angelology by Danielle Trussoni

Sister Evangeline was just a girl when her father entrusted her to the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in upstate New York. Now, at twenty-three, her discovery of a 1943 letter from the famous philanthropist Abigail Rockefeller to the late mother superior of Saint Rose Convent plunges Evangeline into a secret history that stretches back a thousand years: an ancient conflict between the Society of Angelologists and the monstrously beautiful descendants of angels and humans, the Nephilim.

For the secrets these letters guard are desperately coveted by the once-powerful Nephilim, who aim to perpetuate war, subvert the good in humanity, and dominate mankind. Generations of angelologists have devoted their lives to stopping them, and their shared mission, which Evangeline has long been destined to join, reaches from her bucolic abbey on the Hudson to the apex of insular wealth in New York, to the Montparnasse cemetery in Paris and the mountains of Bulgaria.

Rich in history, full of mesmerizing characters, and wondrously conceived,Angelology blends biblical lore, the myth of Orpheus and the Miltonic visions of Paradise Lost into a riveting tale of ordinary people engaged in a battle that will determine the fate of the world.

The Mermaid's Mirror by LK Madigan

Lena has lived her whole life near the beach—walking for miles up and down the shore and breathing the salty air, swimming in the cold water, and watching the surfers rule the waves—the problem is, she’s spent her whole life just watching.

As her sixteenth birthday approaches, Lena vows she will no longer watch from the sand: she will learn to surf.

But her father – a former surfer himself – refuses to allow her to take lessons. After a near drowning in his past, he can’t bear to let Lena take up the risky sport.

Yet something lures Lena to the water … an ancient, powerful magic. One morning Lena catches sight of this magic: a beautiful woman—with a silvery tail.

Nothing will keep Lena from seeking the mermaid, not even the dangerous waves at Magic Crescent Cove.

And soon … what she sees in the mermaid’s mirror will change her life …

Palace Beautiful by Sarah DeFord Williams

When sisters Sadie and Zuzu Brooks move to Salt Lake City, they discover a secret room in the attic of their new house, with a sign that reads “Palace Beautiful” and containing an old journal. Along with their neighbor, dramatic Belladonna Desolation (real name: Kristin Smith), they take turns reading the story of a girl named Helen living during the flu epidemic of 1918. The journal ends with a tragedy that has a scary parallel to Sadie and Zuzu’s lives, and the girls become obsessed with finding out what happened to Helen after the journal ends. Did she survive the flu? Is she still alive somewhere? Or could her ghost be lurking in the nearby graveyard?

Sarah DeFord Williams has created a gripping read that covers two time periods, many fantastic characters, and a can’t-put-it-down ending, all with delightful, extraordinary prose.

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

My father took one hundred and thirty two minutes to die.

‘I counted.

‘It happened on the Jellicoe Road. The prettiest road I’d ever seen, where trees made breezy canopies like a tunnel to Shangri-La. We were going to the ocean, hundreds of kilometres away, because I wanted to see the ocean and my father said that it was about time the four of us made that journey. I remember asking, “What’s the difference between a trip and a journey?” and my father said, “Narnie, my love, when we get there, you’ll understand,” and that was the last thing he ever said.

‘We heard her almost straight away. In the other car, wedged into ours so deep that you couldn’t tell where one began and the other ended. She told us her name was Tate and then she squeezed through the glass and the steel and climbed over her own dead – just to be with Webb and me; to give us her hand so we could clutch it with all our might. And then a kid called Fitz came riding by on a stolen bike and saved our lives.

‘Someone asked us later, “Didn’t you wonder why no one came across you sooner?”

‘Did I wonder?

‘When you see your parents zipped up in black body bags on the Jellicoe Road like they’re some kind of garbage, don’t you know?

‘Wonder dies.’

***All descriptions taken from Goodreads
***Discover more great book finds by other bloggers at Should Be Reading.

Finished reading the Emily Dickinson book

Yay! I've finished savouring The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson and my review of it is up on my other blog. Do check it out! :)

Click on the link below to read my review:
The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson by Jerome Charyn

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Read, Remember, Recommend Fiction Challenge

April 01, 2010 ---> April 01, 2011

It's time for me to embark on my first reading challenge of the year. I know it's a little bit late but better late than never as we have always heard it being said. So lucky for me, I found this challenge which started last month, April 2010 and it'll run till April 2011. Perfect!

The Read, Remember, Recommend Fiction Challenge is being hosted by Bibliobabe who is also the author of the fantastic reading journal, Read, Remember, Recommend.

The rule is to:
Read as many books from the Read, Remember, Recommend reading journal as you can in one year. Books read before April 1st, 2010 do not count. Overlaps with other challenges (including the Read, Remember, Recommend Teen Reading Challenge) are acceptable – and encouraged!

Rereading doesn’t count – have fun exploring new authors, awards and books!
There are four levels in the challenge. I will go for the Armchair Librarian level for now.
  • Notable Newbie – 5 books
  • Armchair Librarian – 10 books
  • The Library of Congress Calls Me Daddy – 20 books
  • A Book Intervention is Needed – 30 books
Oooh wait, there are prizes too! The grand prize is an e-reader of your choice, first prize is a Reading is Sexy messenger bag filled with five books from the reading journal and the second prize is a $20 gift card from the bookstore of your choice. Wow wow wow. we go!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

In My Mailbox (May 02, 2010)

In my mailbox recently:

1. The Queen's Dollmaker by Christine Trent
I forgot that I've already featured this book in my previous IMM but nothing wrong with posting about it again! :) The author, Christine Trent even wrote a lovely note (in white envelope) for me. I won this book from a giveaway held at Enchanted by Josephine.

2. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
I won this book from a contest by MPH (local bookstore) through a local magazine called Galaxie. What a beautiful hardcover copy too! Also included are reading group guides for the book.

3. Devil Bones by Kathy Reichs
Have you read this before? Do you watch the TV series Bones? Well, this book was the inspiration for that show starring Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz (that guy from Angel). I won this book through the book blog, Book Galaxo.

That's all for this week! What did you guys get? Hope you got some really cool books too! :)

In My Mailbox is a weekly event hosted by The Story Siren.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Emily Dickinson was wild!

I am currently reading The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson by Jerome Charyn. Below is the press release for it:

One of the most versatile American writers alive, Jerome Charyn has written about gangsters, homicide detectives, Broadway musicals, the American Revolution, and ping-pong. Not content to rest on his laurels, Charyn tackles his most difficult, elusive, and shocking subject yet—one of the most mysterious in all American letters—the inner life of a nineteenth-century Massachusetts homebody.

The daring and unlikely match-up of writer and subject makes THE SECRET LIFE OF EMILY DICKINSON: A Novel [W. W. Norton & Company; February 22, 2010] crackle with an energy rarely felt in an era when authors feel increasing pressure to write on subjects close to their own biographies or professional specialties. Ironically, though, Charyn is closer to the essence of Dickinson, whose own subject matter ranged far beyond the confines of her experience, than many a critic or biographer hunting for an interpretive key to her work has ever come.

“It was the old maid of Amherst who lent me a little of her own courage to risk becoming a writer,” Charyn writes in his author’s note, and he recovers an essential aspect of Emily that overly erudite interpretations often obscure—her courage, not in violating established verse forms, or even in setting pen to paper at a time when few women did, but in facing with humor a life whose every day was a frighteningly blank page. Charyn charts the entirety of Emily’s life—from her girlhood to her death—a life of which her literary career, which she herself tried to keep confined to an “invisible sphere,” was only one small part.

This re-imagination of Emily’s life in her own voice follows a very factual line. Charyn vividly portrays Emily’s family members from her domineering father to her meekly invisible mother, to her ever more distant brother, whose creative spark abandons him after marriage. But he also introduces fictional characters who represent broader social realities. Charyn, with a craft honed through decades of experience researching and re-creating a multitude of milieus, recovers the essential strangeness of Emily’s world. An institution like the Mount Holyoke Female Seminary—rarely remarked on by Emily herself but fully imagined here—could exist, where young women were superbly educated for reasons often obscure even to their parents and preceptors, yet still had few rights of their own.

This is the world of a nation on the brink of war, where the social unrest of the cities is about to boil over and even spill into country towns like Amherst. This is a world of madhouses where petty thieves are shackled and made to wear leather masks. This is a world where genteel college fraternity boys out drinking are more dangerous than pickpockets and army deserters, and where a heretical Yale scholar is more likely than a would-be rapist to find himself ruined and on the run from the law.

When one of Emily’s secret suitors, Reverend Wadsworth, removes his gloves, it is to reveal hands “as red and rough as claws”—souvenirs of a childhood spent in a manual labor camp “little better than a jailhouse.” This rough-and-tumble nineteenth-century America that Charyn realizes was not nearly so remote from the polite world of letters as we might imagine. At different stages of Emily’s life, she brushes hands with the haunting and alluring figure of Tom, the Holyoke handyman, a lower-class picaro and a representative of the entire evolving, unstable outside world (beyond the “population of readers”) against which the poetess continually redefines herself.

Charyn’s Emily is first and foremost a creator—not a lesbian, not a frustrated lover, and not a child—but someone with the imaginative power to perceive the world as one in which all things remain somehow possible, in her fifties no less than in her adolescence, whether she is being courted or facing debilitating illness. Charyn has spent countless hours not only with Dickinson ’s poems but also with her letters, “wherein she wears a hundred masks.”

Near the conclusion of Charyn’s novel, Dickinson grits her teeth through an interview with Carleton West, a collector of her verses who has rummaged in many an attic. When the ardent West says that Emily’s poems are his life’s work, the spinster pointedly remarks, “Then it cannot be much of a life.” The gift Charyn has given us is the realization that Emily Dickinson’s genius is not confined to her verse, but must be sought in her whole life, through which she remained uncompromisingly true to herself—a feat no less difficult in late nineteenth-century New England than it is today.

About the author:
The author of 38 other books, Jerome Charyn has been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and has received the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Charyn was born in the Bronx in 1937 and lives in New York and Paris. Entertainment Weekly wrote that his previous novel, Johnny One-Eye: A Tale of the American Revolution, now available in trade paperback, belongs in the “great British tradition of picaresque novels,” and according to a starred review in Publishers Weekly it “deserves to be spoken about in the same breath as E. L. Doctorow’s Ragtime.”

TITLE: The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson: A Novel
AUTHOR: Jerome Charyn
PUBLICATION DATE: February 22, 2010
PRICE: $24.95 cloth
ISBN: 978-0-393-06856-6

So, have you read it yet? If yes, please leave me the links to your reviews. Thanks!

Peachy Posts #1

I come across many informative posts when I visit other blogs listed on my blogroll, RSS feeder or just by accident. Therefore I've come up with a new feature (inspired by Reading with Tequila) on my blog to share the great posts I've found in the blogosphere.

After some research on words, I decided to name my newest blog feature as Peachy Posts. Lame, I know but I kind of like the sound of it. From the free dictionary site, peachy means of or like a peach, esp in colour or texture OR excellent; fine, which is better suited here.

Since I'm pretty enthusiastic with my newest blog project, I whipped up a simple design for it (see above).

It might not be on a weekly basis or anything. I can't guarantee whether I'll be posting it on a certain day of the week but I'll try to post as often as I can.

So to start things off, check out the posts below and I think you will find them useful. You are welcome to share with me some of your favourite posts too!

For both new and old bloggers:

Today's Adventure has tips and advice for new bloggers. Check out Part 1 and Part 2.

The Story Siren shares on how to get more followers and readers for your blog

For book bloggers:

What's the time limit when reviewing ARCs? A few months? A year? Or up to you? Check out this post by Donna of Bites. I love her blog header and tagline!

Presenting Lenore shares on how bad book bloggers can behave!

Blog styling tips:

Need ideas on how to make your blockquotes look better? This post has 14 great ideas for you to customize your blockquotes.

Train - Hey, Soul Sister (Unofficial Video)

This is one of my favourite new songs now by Train. Check out all the wall-scrapbooking/collage-making which is done in the video! Did she really put all those glue right on the wall???
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