Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday Quotes

Posted by Simcha 6:27 AM, under | 6 comments

This week I finally received my copy of Gail Carriger's Changless, which I finished up in just two sittings, and enjoyed the whole way through. You'll have to wait until next week for the review, but I included here are couple of great quotes from the book.

I also finished Jasper Fforde's First Among Sequels, which I reviewed this past week and I'm making some real headway with Gardens of the Moon, which I may actually finish soon. I have also started on The Wizard of Earthsea, a classic fantasy by Ursula Le Guine, which I have somehow managed to overlook in all my years of fantasy reading, though I'm eager now to correct that.

So here are a few of my favorite quotes from this week's reads, and if you have any of your own, I'd love to hear them.


- By the way, in case you are wondering why every paragraph is in a different font and color, it's
Blogger's fault. It keeps changing my settings every time I look the other way. I concede defeat.

Changeless (Gail Carriger)
  • She moved with such purpose it was as though she walked with exclamation marks
  • This was the kind of woman who took her tea black, smoked cigars after midnight, played a mean game of cribbage, and kept a bevy of repulsive dogs.

    Alexia liked her immediately

Wizard of Earthsea (Ursula Le Guin)

  • There was a silence, as if Ged was keeping back something he had to say. Then he said it:"But I haven't learned anything yet!"
    "Because you haven't found out what I am teaching," replied the mage.

  • In that moment Ged understood the singing of the bird, and the language of the water falling in the basin if the fountain, and the shape of the clouds, and the beginning and end of the wind that stirred the leaves: it seemed to him that he himself was a word spoken by the sunlight.

  • To light a candle is to cast a shadow

First Among Sequels (Jasper Fforde)

    'Mr Next-Friday-how do you do? I've wanted to meet you again for the first time. May I shake you by the hand and congratulate you on-' She stopped, realized she was being a bit previous and making a fool of herself.

Gardens of the Moon (Steven Erikson)

    Such tears had been shed before, and would be again - by others like her and yet unlike her. And the winds would dry them all.

And more from Calvin and Hobbes, who so perfectly expresses my own current frustration at waiting for a package of books that seems like it will never arrive (it's been two weeks already, where is it!!)

I know Calvin, I know...

Doing the Blog Hop

Posted by Simcha 5:16 AM, under | 7 comments

I had a great time participating in the Blog Hop, this past week, and discovering some new blogs, and so I've decided to take part again this week.

For those unfamiliar with the Blog Hop, here is a description, from Crazy for Books, the host of this weekly event:

In the spirit of the Friday Follow, I thought it would be cool to do a Book Blogger Hop to give us all bookies a chance to connect and find new blogs that we may be missing out on! So, I created this weekly BOOK PARTY where book bloggers and readers can connect to find new blogs to read, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs that they may not know existed! So, grab the logo, post about the Hop on your blog, and start PARTYING!!

Your blog should have content related to books, including, but not limited to book reviews.

If you start following someone through the Hop, leave a comment on their blog to let them know! Stop back during the week to see other blogs that are added! And, most importantly, the idea is to HAVE FUN!!

On your blog hop post, tell us about some of the other great blogs you've found while Hopping around!

Here are some of the fun blogs that I found through the Blog Hop:

Inside of a Dog

Martha's Bookshelf

Booksnake Review

One More Foggy Notion

To participate in the Blog Hop, visit
Crazy for Books

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Joys of Book Lending

Posted by Simcha 5:27 AM, under | 12 comments

I like to consider myself a bit of a matchmaker. There are few pleasures in life greater than assisting a person in finding the perfect book for them, and perhaps helping them discover a new favorite author as well. I regularly lend out my own books to both friends and acquaintances, and I feel real satisfaction when that person ends up loving the book as much as I had anticipated.

And so, considering how much I enjoy lending out my books, I was rather surprised to discover that many other people don't feel the same way. In a recent discussion at Bookblogs.ning, most people agreed that they generally do not lend out books because they are concerned that the books will not be returned, or that they be returned in poor condition. Some of the people added that they will only lend out books that they themselves didn't like.

As someone who tries to get any visitor to my home to leave with at least one book, I was surprised that no one shares my pleasure in book lending. I understand that there are some people who are not responsible with books and to them and I would probably just give a piece of paper with the title and author, but I wouldn't let them prevent me from lending out my books to others. Those books which are my favorite, I like to lend out the most and so I  try to get a couple of extra copies from a second hand shop, just in case something happens to them.

I also rarely lend out a book that I myself didn't like, unless I really thought that this person would enjoy it more then I. And those books which are actually bad I would be too embarrassed to lend out to anyone.

And while I do understand that in America, and other English speaking countries, it's quite simple to acquire nearly any  book through the library, and so some people may prefer to just recommend, it's not quite as much fun as providing the book yourself.

Back when I was a preteen, ready to move on from my regular diet of The Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley Twins, I became friends with a girl who had a wonderful collection of books, mostly fantasy, which she widely lent out. And every week I would go to her house and stock up on books, many according to her recommendation. But I wasn't the only one who did so. On Saturday it was not uncommon to find the neighborhood kids lounging on the couches and floor of her house, deeply engrossed in one book or another.  Had this girl not been so free with her own books, many of these kids would have probably missed out on some of the wonderful books they discovered through her. 

So by now you probably think think that I'm a little nuts, to wax at length about this seemingly innocuous topic, but I'm now curious to find out if there is anyone else who shares my (apparently intense) feelings about book lending.

What are your feeling about lending out books from your personal collection? Are you for it or against it? (And don't be afraid to be honest, I probably won't hold it against you if you disagree with me)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Ever want a spaghetti tree?

Posted by Simcha 7:51 AM, under | 2 comments

A 1957 BBC news segment about how to harvest spaghetti from trees. 

This was meant to be an April Fools joke, but apparently most people at that time were not familiar with spaghetti, and so BBC received many phone calls from excited viewers wanting to know how they could acquire spaghetti trees of their own.

I thought this was cute.

For more fun facts, visit

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

First Among Sequels (Thursday Next, 5) by Jasper Fforde

Posted by Simcha 6:49 PM, under | 2 comments

For me, reading a Thursday Next novel is like getting together with a good friend. Since I discovered this series last year, Thursday has become one of my favorite book characters; someone who I enjoy spending time with regardless of my opinion of the book itself (though I usually really like the books too). So it was a bit odd that I had allowed First Among Sequels to sit on my shelf unread for two months after finishing the previous book, Something Rotten. But I had enjoyed Something Rotten so much that I was concerned I'd be let down by First Among Sequels, so I had taken my time getting around to it. Though once I did finally start reading it, I was reminded once again of why Jasper Fforde in one of my favorite authors.

It’s been fourteen years since the events of the last book, including Thursday’s prevention of the Armageddon, the return of Landen and the final defeat of Goliath. Since then, the SpecOps division has been disbanded and Thursday has been employed by Acme Carpets, along with a few of her previous co-workers. But what most people aren’t aware of is that Acme Carpets is also a front for the old SpecOps division, now working undercover. Not even Landen knows about Thursday’s secret life, including her continued activities in the Book World, though she keeps meaning to tell him about it…someday.

Now thing are beginning to heat up in both the Bookworld and the Real World as the government attempts to find a solution for the high levels of Stupidity Surplus and the Bookworld is in search of a solution for falling readership. Thursday’s personal life is also complicated by the reappearance of certain enemies from her past as well as the pressure that is now being put on her by the ChronoGuard (the time-travel division) regarding sixteen year old Friday, who shows no sign of becoming the leader he is someday meant to be.

These are really just a few of the many different story-lines that take place in First Among Sequels, most of which won’t make any sense outside of the context of the book. But what particularly amazes me about Jasper Fforde is how he come up with the most creative and crazy ideas and somehow presents them in a way that makes them seem logical. For example, in this conversation between Thursday and a member of the ChronoGuard, Thursday discovers that time travel, as well as other inventions, are being used before they have even been invented.

    ‘Time travel has yet to be invented and…it’s not likely to be.’ 
    ‘Wait, wait,’ I said, trying to get this latest piece of information into my head, ‘I know the whole time travel things makes very little logical sense, but you muse have machines to enable you to move through time, right?’ ‘
    Of course- but we’ve no idea how they work, who built them or when. We’ve been running the entire industry on something we call “Retro-deficit-engineering.” We use the technology now, safe in the assumption that it will be invented in the future. We did the same things with the Gravitube in the fifties and the microchip ten years ago- neither of them actually gets invented for over ten thousand years, but it helps us more to have them now.’ 
    ‘Let me get this right,’ I said slowly, ‘you’re using technology you don’t have-like me overspending on my credit card.’

And in this situation, Thursday is approached by an alternate version of her son, Friday, who is trying to convince Thursday to let him take the current Friday’s place, because the current Friday is not shaping up as he is meant to. (got it?)

    “It’s Friday. The other Friday. We’ve got three and a half days to the end of time. Does it seriously look like he’s going to join the ChronoGuards?’ 
    ‘It’s possible.’ 
    ‘We’re fast running out of options. My Director General older self is still absent at the end of time so I had a word with Bendix and he suggested we try…replacement.’ 
    ‘What do you mean?’ 
    ‘That your Friday is removed and I take his place.’ 
    ‘Define “removed”?’ 
    Friday scratched his head. 
    ‘We’ve run several timestream models and it looks good. I’m precisely the same age as him, and I’m what he would be like if he hadn’t gone down the bone-idle route. If “replacement” isn’t a good word for you, why not think of it as just rectifying a small error in the Standard History Eventline.’ 
    ‘Let me get this straight,’ I said, ‘you want to murder my son and replace him with yourself? I only met you ten minutes ago.’ 
    ‘I’m your son, Mum. Every memory, good or bad, is as much part of me as it is of the Friday at home. You want me to prove it?….I can speak Courier Bold, Lorem Ipsum and even unpeel a banana with my feet- want me to show you?’ 
    ‘No,’ I said, I accept that you’re my son. But you can't kill the other Friday- he’s done nothing wrong. I won’t let you.’ 
    ‘Mum! Which Friday would you rather have? The feckless lazy arse or me?’ 
    ‘You don’t understand what it is to be a mother, Friday. The answer’s no. I’ll take the Friday I’m dealt.’

I’m just frequently astonished at the wild and clever ideas that Fforde comes up with as well as with the fact that he manages to integrate serious subject matters into the humor, giving his stories and characters depth that is not usually found in similar books.

And while I ended up really enjoying First Among Sequels, I did have a bit of trouble getting into it in the beginning. I was a bit put off by the sixteen-year time jump as well as Thursday’s almost immediate trip to the Bookworld. Thursday’s adventures in the Bookworld aren’t my favorite parts of these books, as they feel too much like a factory tour in which I’m presented with one product after another, which are meant to dazzle me with their cleverness. This gets a bit tedious after a while and so it took me a bit of time to get through this part of the book. Though once this Bookworld section ended, the pace of the story quickly sped up and I was completely engrossed until the end, which also contained some delightful twists.

One other small issue that I have with the book is Thursday’s husband Landen, who is just a little too perfect. I think I remember him having more personality and depth in the earlier books, but here he is just the loving and understanding husband that Thursday comes home to, and not too much more. While I enjoy getting a glimpse of Thursday’s romantic side, I would have liked to see more from Landen.

While First Among Sequels didn’t blow me away quite as much as its predecessor, I still enjoyed it very much and I highly recommend it to all Thursday Next fans. And if you have not yet given this series a try then I suggest you rectify that immediately because you are really missing out

Monday, April 19, 2010

Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs

Posted by Simcha 6:13 AM, under | 6 comments

* Warning: Review may contain some spoilers from earlier books in the series

It’s been a few months since Mercy’s eventful showdown against Marsilia, the vampire queen, and things have quieted down enough for Mercy to really focus on her relationship with Adam. But not everyone is pleased with having a coyote in the pack, and Mercy soon discovers that someone is trying to sabotage her, using pack magic. Samuel, Mercy’s long-time friend and housemate, is also having some troubles of his own which have forced his inner-wolf to take control. Unfortunately, if anyone discovers that Samuel is no longer “home” he will be eliminated. And with all of that going on, Mercy discovers that a friend of hers had gone missing after lending her a particular book, a book that apparently some of the fae would kill to get a hold of. Once again, Mercy finds herself in the center of a dangerous plot which threatens the lives of those she cares about, and will require some careful maneuvering on her part to get them all out alive.

Silver Borne had landed in my mail box just when I needed a fun, light read that I could easily lose myself in, and to that extent it served perfectly. I really enjoy the characters that Briggs has created in this series, so just getting to spend some time with them was pleasure enough. With that said. I have admit to feeling that the crisis that Mercy is involved in this time and it's ensuing confrontations were less satisfying than those in the previous books. I sensed that Silver Borne really intended to concentrate on Mercy’s relationship with Adam and her struggles with the pack, as well to provide Samuel some much-deserved attention of his own, but a dangerous encounter with the supernatural had to be included because it was expected. I didn’t mind too much though because the story was fast paced and well told and it had me hooked as soon as I started on the first page.

One of the things that I appreciate about Briggs is that she doesn’t neglect to integrate Mercy’s previous experiences into her character development, taking into account accumulated baggage from traumatic events of the past. Though in light of that, I would have thought Mercy would be a bit smarter about some of the decisions that she did make in the book, those which led to other characters (particularly underage ones) being put in unnecessary danger because of her.

But these criticisms that I mentioned are just small ones; things that had caused me to pause momentarily during my reading, and perhaps wrinkle a brow. There was one bigger issue that I had with the book, though, and that had to do with Briggs tendency to lead her stories to a particular climatic event, which she then only vaguely describes. I don’t mind the fact that many details were left out of Mercy’s rape scene, in one of the earlier books, and I actually appreciate that Briggs leaves details of the love-making scenes to the readers’ imaginations, but the similar treatment of an intense event in Silver Borne just weakened the result and left me wondering what had actually happened. I think that if Briggs wants to place her characters in such extreme situations she can’t shy away from providing more details of what actually takes place, otherwise there is no point in including them in the first place. When this particular situation was resolved, I didn’t get the sense that the characters involved had really suffered that much, despite the fact that we are told so.

Despite the few issues I had with the book, I very much enjoyed reading Silver Borne and I just wish that I didn’t have to wait until next spring to rejoin Mercy on whatever wild adventure she encounters next.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

New Scifi and Fantasy Releases: Week Of April 18

Posted by Simcha 10:17 AM, under | 6 comments

This is a pretty slow week for new releases so I've included two books that were released last week but I had neglected to mention. Tome of the Undergates is the debut novel of new author, Sam Sykes, and it sounds like a very promising read (Sykes' blog is also worth checking out as his posts are pretty amusing). The second book, The King Of Crags, is one that I've never heard of before but it has a pretty cool cover that makes me want to find out more about it.

Let me know if you are aware of any other new books being released this week and I will include them here.

Hope you have a great reading week!

Tome of the Undergates
by Sam Sykes
Release Date:
April 15
Publisher's Blurb: A manuscript that contains all you need to open the undergates has been stolen. And you don't want the undergates open. On the other side are countless invincible demons, and they want out. Lenk and his misfit companions have to get it back. Full of razor-sharp wit and characters who leap off the page, plunging the reader into a vivid world of adventure, this is a fantasy that kicks off a series that could dominate the second decade of the century.

The King of the Crags
by Stephen Deas
Release Date:
April 15
Prince Jehal has murdered, poisoned and betrayed his way to the top. There is a new speaker for the realms, opposition has been crushed, now he just has to enjoy the fruits of power. And yet, the dragons are stirring... In The King of the Crags Stephen Deas has created an epic world, vivid characters, a plot full of betrayals and the most awesome dragons fantasy has ever seen.

Burning Lamp
by Amanda Quick
Paranormal Romance
Release Date:
April 22
In this second novel of the Dreamlight Trilogy from New York Times-bestselling author Amanda Quick, psychic power and passion collide as a legendary curse comes to a burn...

The Arcane Society was born in turmoil when the friendship of its two founders evolved into a fierce rivalry. Nicholas Winters's efforts led to the creation of a device of unknown powers called the Burning Lamp. Each generation of male descendents who inherits it is destined to develop multiple talents-and the curse of madness.

Plagued by hallucinations and nightmares, notorious crime lord Griffin Winters is convinced he has been struck with the Winters Curse. But even has he arranges a meeting with the mysterious woman Adelaide Pyne, he has no idea how closely their fates are bound, for she holds the missing lamp in her possession.

But their dangerous psychic experiment makes them the target of forces both inside and outside of the Arcane Society. And though desire strengthens their power, their different lives will keep them apart-if death doesn't take them together.

"Doctor Who": Night of the Humans
by David Llewellyn
Science Fiction
Release Date:
April 22
BBC Books
Description: 'This is the Gyre - the most hostile environment in the galaxy'. 250,000 years' worth of junk is floating in deep space, home to the shipwrecked Sittuun, the carnivorous Sollogs, and worst of all - the Humans. The Doctor and Amy arrive on this terrifying world in the middle of an all-out frontier war between Sittuun and Humans, and the countdown has already started. There's a comet in the sky, and it's on a collision course with the Gyre...When the Doctor is kidnapped, it's up to Amy and 'galaxy-famous swashbuckler' Dirk Slipstream to save the day. But who is Slipstream, exactly? And what is he really doing here? This is a thrilling, all new adventure featuring the Doctor and Amy, as played by Matt Smith and Karen Gillan in the spectacular hit series from BBC Television.

Silent Truth (Bad 5)
by Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Release Date: April 22

Publisher: Pocket

Description: In the sizzling new adventure from New York Times bestselling authors Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love, a red-hot BAD boy teams up with a sexy television reporter on an explosive quest for revenge.
Tough-as-nails Bureau of American Defense agent Hunter Thornton-Payne is no stranger to uncomfortable top-secret missions, but tonight takes the cake. He just needs to stick out a stuffy charity fund-raiser long enough to find the ruthless assassin he’s hunted for four years. It’s a rogue operation, but Hunter’s got nothing to lose—until a beautiful brunette unexpectedly pulls him into her own dangerous agenda. Abbie Blanton will do anything to cure her mother’s mysterious illness. When a high-profile heiress is murdered as Abbie tries to blackmail her for clues, Abbie realizes she’s stumbled into an unforgiving conspiracy—and she’s the next target. Soon, she and Hunter discover an alarming connection and begin a treacherous battle against an evil enterprise that someone will go to terrifying lengths to keep hidden.

Radiant Shadows (Wicked Lovely, Book 4)
by Melissa Marr
Release Date:
April 20
Harper Collins
The fourth in Marr’s Wicked Lovely series focuses loosely on Devlin, the High Queen of Faerie’s advisor-assassin, and Ani, the half-mortal daughter of Gabriel, leader of the Wild Hunt. Characters from other books play roles of varying importance as Devlin and Ani meet, fall in lust/love, and foil another attempt to create unrest in both worlds. This is a convoluted story, and despite frequent interruptions detailing character backstories and the inner workings of Faerie courts, it is utterly dependent on the rest of the series. Though the story ends with balance restored to Faerie, an ominous sense of precariousness leaves room for more.


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