July 29, 2009

Tuesday Thingers

Tuesday's Questions from Wendi's Book Corner: When you click on the Local tab, do you see any information? Do you find the information you see useful? Have you added any information? If you don't already use the Local tab, is it something you would use more often if there were more events listed?
I suggested this LibraryThing feature for this week's Tuesday Thinger as I had wondered if anyone else found it useful. Thanks to Wendi for posing the questions. When I first became a LibraryThinger I tried to change my location in my profile a couple of times but the system seemed finicky and would not accept a new city so I had Boston as my location for a long time. Now my city is correct and I see multiple events.
I have not added any information but if I was a Librarian or hosted a Book Club I would definitely post in LibraryThing Local. I do find the information useful... especially when book sales are posted! Also, it lists where all the public libraries and/or bookstores are in the city so I can see which are closest to my home and work locations. Of course the book stores are pretty much exclusively independents...and some of them I did not know about before so this is very useful.
For events it would be nice if events had expiry dates...or were divided into current and historical, as I do not find it useful to view events that are in the past.

Tron Legacy Trailer

Too cool! See the trailer here.
Related Posts:

July 27, 2009

New Timeslip Novel - The Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse

I am a big fan of timeslip novels...of which The Rossetti Letter by Christi Phillips, The Tenth Gift by Jane Johnson, The Expected One and The Book of Love by Kathleen McGowan, Labyrinth by Kate Mosse, The Eight by Katherine Neville and The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield are favourites.
Kate Mosse's final effort in her Languedoc Trilogy is The Winter Ghosts, to be released October 1, 2009. I very much enjoyed Mosse's debut fictional effort Labyrinth and have Sepulchre on my bookshelf still to be read. Her third effort looks equally as interesting...this time using a male POV. This is the UK cover.
The Great War took much more than lives. It robbed a generation of friends, lovers and futures. In Freddie Watson's case, it took his beloved brother and, at times, his peace of mind. Unable to cope with his grief, Freddie has spent much of the time since in a sanatorium. In the winter of 1928, still seeking resolution, Freddie is travelling through the French Pyrenees - another region that has seen too much bloodshed over the years. During a snowstorm, his car spins off the mountain road. Shaken, he stumbles into the woods, emerging by a tiny village. There he meets Fabrissa, a beautiful local woman, also mourning a lost generation. Over the course of one night, Fabrissa and Freddie share their stories of remembrance and loss. By the time dawn breaks, he will have stumbled across a tragic mystery that goes back through the centuries. By turns thrilling, poignant and haunting, this is a story of two lives touched by war and transformed by courage. THE WINTER GHOSTS is the gripping new adventure from the No 1 bestselling author of LABYRINTH and SEPULCHRE.
Timeslip novels still to be read on my bookshelf are Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, The House of Riverton and The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton, Sepulchre by Kate Mosse, and The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.
Note also the following newish or upcoming releases by the authors I mentioned above. The Salt Road by Jane Johnson (Spring 2010), The Poet Prince by Kathleen McGowan (Spring 2010), The Devlin Diary by Christi Phillips (Sep 2009), The Fire by Katherine Neville (Oct 2008) . I am eagerly awaiting any new news about Diane Setterfields's second novel, as The Thirteenth Tale was published in 2006.
Related Posts:
The Tenth Gift by Jane Johnson
The Eight by Katherine Neville
The Book of Love by Kathleen McGowan
The Expected One by Kathleen McGowan

July 26, 2009

The Tenth Gift by Jane Johnson

The Tenth Gift is a wonderful and absorbing story about two complex women: Catherine Anne Tregenna (Cat) in 17th Century Cornwall, and Julia Lovat in 21st Century London. Like Cat, Julia has a talent for embroidery and at the dissolution of her long adulterous relationship with her friend’s husband Michael, she is given a book of embroidery patterns. Michael had meant to give her another similar book but mistakenly gives her the more valuable and unique palimpsest, as written overtop of the embroidery patterns and in the margins is Cat’s account of her capture by Turkish pirates. As Julia reads Cat’s story she comes to realize their lives have a strange parallel. Who is Catherine Anne Tregenna and why does Julia feel such a close bond to her? Both Cat and Julia are women of impetuosity, temper and singular naivety, given to taking bold and somewhat blind risks. They are both talented with embroidery, believe in love and are seeking to find meaning in their existence, yet they also have faults of emotional weakness and vanity. I did not like Julia at all at first and was convinced my opinion would not change. She was bitchy, emotional, weak and needy and never thought about what she was saying, insulting others whether deliberate or not. Although I have to admit she became a more likable character when the story took her to Morocco…without giving too much away…she let Morocco cleanse her of mistakes in the past.
The Tenth Gift is an excellent work of fiction and though there are romantic tensions and intimacy there is no “romance”. There is a unique, realistic and fresh feeling to the story. I don’t think I have read another novel similar to this one. Johnson also includes quotes, poems, and letters that enhance the storyline. Each chapter is a cliff hanger and I felt equally invested in the fates of both characters, although there was no pattern to the switching from historical time to modern day. Tension ratchets up more and more every time the story flipped back and forth. So much so that I became frustrated that I could not continue to read one or the other of the storylines, but frustrated in a good way as it really made The Tenth Gift an exciting read. I enjoyed and appreciated both storylines as each was so absorbing.

There were a few other aspects of The Tenth Gift that interested me. The book expands upon the ideas of mosaic, pattern, and tapestry in culture, as well as rebirth and the influence of supernatural forces. Johnson describes the process of Cat and the captured people of Penzance being sold into slavery, how they looked at the time and how they were sized up, poked at, and forced to remove all their clothing. The pictures she created were quite brutal but mostly glossed over. I learned about places and times that I had never before read or known about: the history and culture of Cornwall and Morocco and the religious, political and economic tensions of the time. I thought the book could have benefited from including pictures or stencils of the stylized designs and embroidery described within. Toward the end of the story we learn that “The Tenth Gift” is a song/poem about how God divided beauty into ten, where the tenth item is a book. I love it when authors go to the effort to include maps, chapter prefaces or quotes, and suggestions for further reading material. I highly recommend this story to everyone.
In an expensive London restaurant Julia Lovat receives a gift that will change her life. It appears to be a book of exquisite 17th-century embroidery patterns but on closer examination Julia finds it also contains faint diary entries. In these, Cat Tregenna, an embroideress, tells how she and others were stolen out of a Cornish church in 1625 by Muslim pirates and taken on a brutal voyage to Morocco to be auctioned off as slaves. Captivated by this dramatic discovery, Julia sets off to North Africa to determine the authenticity of the book and to uncover more of Cat's story. There, in the company of a charismatic Moroccan guide, amid the sultry heat, the spice markets, and exotic ruins, Julia discovers buried secrets. And in Morocco - just as Cat did before her - she loses her heart. Almost 400 years apart, the stories of the two women converge in an extraordinary and haunting manner that will make readers wonder - is history fated to repeat itself?
My Rating: 4.5

July 25, 2009

Living Beauty by Bobbi Brown Part Two

As I mentioned in my previous related post about Living Beauty by Bobbi Brown, I asked my Mom to provide her opinion on the book as I am not yet over 40 and the book is targeted to women this age and beyond. Here is some more commentary from her: Thank God memopause is coming out of the closet so to speak, and thank God for older women who are taking one of the natural stages of development and making it a household and non genre topic. Why shouldn't women be informed about the beauty of gaining maturity in its fullest appreciation? Bobbi Brown's book makes me feel that the fifties age bracket is a celebration and climax, not a peak and a decline. Her chapters on diet and exercise make perfect sense. beauty indeed starts from within. If I had only known all these things when I was really physically and aesthetically attractive, what power I would have had, but this is the process of over-coming your"self". Of realizing that true self is a combination of knowledge, confidense and balance. This is a book every woman over the age of thirty should have in her library as a reminder to embrace all that you can be." Thanks Mom! Related Posts: Living Beauty by Bobbi Brown Part One

July 23, 2009

Tron Legacy

Books are my first obsession but not only do I love books but I love all kinds of movies (action, adventure, historical, science fiction, karate, etc.) and movies based on books.
Ok, I will admit it...at heart I am a geek (albiet a classy geek!)...I even watched Star Trek reruns in preparation for the most recently released version. Among my all-time classic favs in the Sci-Fi and related categories are Dune, Contact, Hackers and Tron. So you can imagine my excitement when I saw Tron Legacy will be released in 2011. Here are more details.

July 22, 2009

Tuesday Thingers

Tuesday's Questions from Wendi's Book Corner: Have you checked out your ER list? Is it accurate? Did you need to mark any books as not received? Any suggestions for upcoming topics? I have checked out my ER list. In the latest State of the Thing newsletter they announced this new feature and I checked it out immediately. It is accurate although I have received "Woman of a Thousand Secrets" and I should change its status on the page.
As for suggestions for other topics I would like to know whether LibraryThingers find the "Local" page useful.
To see your books click on "Books you've won" in the light blue banner on the EarlyReviewers page. Most recently I can remember requesting The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruis Zafon and The Charlemange Pursuit by Steve Berry but did not win them...I usually "Request" on average one book each round...I'm pretty picky.

July 20, 2009

The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen

I read Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen soon after it was released in the trade paperback format and loved how delightful the books was...and then I was lucky enough to win an ARC copy of The Sugar Queen from LibaryThing's EarlyReviewers program. In fact, it was winning this ARC that inspired me to later create my blog. Allen's third effort, The Girl Who Chased the Moon, is due out in hardcover March 16, 2010. In her latest enchanting novel, New York Times bestelling author Sarah Addison Allen invites you to a quirky little Southern town with more magic than a full Carolina moon. Here two very different women discover how to find their place in the world…no matter how out of place they feel. Emily Benedict came to Mullaby, North Carolina, hoping to solve at least some of the riddles surrounding her mother's life. For instance, why did Dulcie Shelby leave her hometown so suddenly? Why did she vow never to return? But the moment Emily enters the house where her mother grew up and meets the grandfather she never knew-a reclusive, real-life gentle giant-she realizes that mysteries aren't solved in Mullaby, they're a way of life. Here are rooms where the wallpaper changes to suit your mood. Unexplained lights skip across the yard at midnight. And a neighbor bakes hope in the form of cakes. Everyone in Mullaby adores Julia Winterson's cakes. She offers them to satisfy the town's sweet tooth and in the hope of bringing back the love she fears she's lost forever. In Julia, Emily may have found a link to her mother's past. But why is everyone trying to discourage Emily's growing relationship with the handsome and mysterious son of Mullaby's most prominent family? Emily came to Mullaby to get answers, but all she's found so far are more questions. Is there really a ghost dancing in her backyard? Can a cake really bring back a lost love? In this town of lovable misfits, maybe the right answer is the one that just feels…different. Sarah Addison Allen always interweaves more than one plot into the story and you can always expect a strong sense of community and a bit of the romantic and mystical. She creates such wonderful characters and each must overcome obstacles, awaken to their potential, gain courage to face their fears, and have faith. The cover art on the hardcovers is very beautiful...although I am not fond of the tp format of The Sugar Queen...I wish they would keep the covers identical from one format to another! Chapters Amazon

July 15, 2009

Tuesday Thingers

Tuesday's Questions from Wendi's Book Corner: Do you tag? If so, do you tag for your own purposes (make lists, sort, clouds, etc)? Do you tag to help classify a book (historical fiction, self-help, sci-fi, mystery, etc)? What is the most helpful thing for you about tagging?
I tag! Hmm...I tag mostly for clouds. I try to tag the same on my blog as I do LibraryThing. Its important to me that I tag similar to the books current tag clouds. I have to admit it usually never occurs to me to make lists or sort using my tags. But of course I have looked at my wish list and to be read tag lists. I definitely tag to define a book's classification. That is more important to me on my blog than on LibraryThing and I try really hard to be consistent with the tagging of the books I read and review. I also do not go tag crazy. I have a set of defined tags and always try to tag a book into those categories rather than creating new categories. The most frequent tag I have on my blog besides TuesdayThingers is Historical Fiction and then Europe on my blog and on LibraryThing in order of frequency Fiction, Historical Fiction and To Read are my top 3 tags.
The most helpful thing about tagging is that it creates clouds and I think helps determine LibraryThing Recommendations and I always look at the LT recommendations to get ideas for further reading. Maybe I am not correct about this but I try to be consistent anyways.

July 8, 2009

Tuesday Thingers

Tuesday's Questions from Wendi's Book Corner: How do you feel about social networking sites? Do you have any you like more than others? Are there any you don't like? Do you have any that you don't associate with your blogs and/or book reviewing? If you could only belong to one of these sites, which one would it be and why? Well as I have said in the past I mostly stay away from social networking sites but I do like book-related networking sites. I am on Facebook about once a week. I find Facebook a great way to stay in touch and connect me with my relatives and friends. I also use Facebook to track book groups such as Blood On The Page and HarperCollins Canada.
I have never really looked into MySpace or Twitter so I feel I cannot provide an opinion on these sites but I do have profiles for LibraryThing and GoodReads. I love love love LibraryThing for keeping track of my books, reading reviews and the EarlyReviewers program among a few features. I post reviews on GoodReads and I have a couple "friends" I chat with and authors that I follow (Lisa See, James Rollins) on this site.
I use networking sites that have book-related features. MySpace does not interest me because I already have a blog and it would be too similar. Twitter would be the least attractive site to me because when I am communicating with others I like more depth than just 140 characters! I connect my blog, GoodReads and LibraryThing together by always linking back to my blog in my reviews. I keep ChaptersIndigo Community and Facebook very separate from blog/LibraryThing/GoodReads...not sure exactly why but I suppose I like the anonymity of these sites whereas I provide a more public face on ChaptersIndigo and Facebook.
Hmm...only one site?? I guess LibraryThing. I only started keeping in touch with relatives on Facebook so it would be easy to revert back but I must have a place to talk about books and I believe LibraryThing is the most comprehensive site.

July 1, 2009


The Toll-Gate by Georgette Heyer

I love Georgette Heyer's historical romance novels for their combination of colourful characters, frolicking adventures, exuberant humour, and mercurial mystery. I have many Heyer favourites including Devil's Cub, Frederica, Sylvester, These Old Shades, The Reluctant Widow and now The Toll-Gate. I think The Toll-Gate sets itself apart with more than the usual hint of romance.
It takes a lot to unnerve Captain John Staple, a man with a reputation for audacious exploits and whimsical nonsense. But when he finds himself mired on the moors— on a dark and stormy night, no less! —John hardly expects to find a young, frightened boy who's been left alone to tend a toll gatehouse….
Never one to pass up an adventure, John decides to take up residence in Derbyshire as a gatekeeper until he can find the lad's father. But as John investigates the suspicious disappearance, he begins to unravel a far more complex mystery. And at its center is a woman— the very one to tame John''s reckless spirit….
Captain John Staple is making his way to his friend Henry Babbacombe's home in Leicestershire and becomes lost due to imprecise directions. Having wasted many hours, in the night he finally comes upon the toll-gate pike road he was looking for manned by a obviously frightened young boy. Having learnt the boy's father has disappeared John Staple takes upon himself looking after the boy until the morning. In the morning at the first sight of Miss Nell Stornaway waiting to pass the toll-gate to go to church, Captain John Staple is lovestruck and duly rendered speechless for some moments. He decides to stay and take care of the toll-gate until the boy's father reappears and to find out just exactly who Miss Nell is...
This story is very sweet at times...Nell and John pronounce their love for each other not very far into the book, which provides us with many romantic moments whereas Heyer's books usually only have romantic moments in the last chapter. The reading of the story was a bit more challenging because a lot of "cant" or "flash" language was used and there were unfamiliar words (e.g. tater, hog-grubber, tipping over the dabs, bowman prig, twigs), which made for a tad frustrating but amusing read trying to decipher the colloquialisms.
There is the invariable sparkling dialogue and all the characters in the novel are well developed with each their own little idiosyncrasies. The plot is paced nicely around mysterious events such as the disappearance of individuals, clandestine assignations, nocturnal adventures, secret relationships, theft of sovereign coins and investigations of multiple murders. I loved the more romantic bent to the story, I loved Captain John Staple (there is a scene when he takes of his shirt off at the water pump and I could so imagine his big, brawny body!) and how devoted he is to Nell. I loved that the mystery was so well thought out. There is nothing not to love about The Toll-Gate and I highly recommend to fans of Heyer, romance and historical fiction.
My Rating: 5.0