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  1. Musing Mondays

    Monday, August 30, 2010

    Musing Mondays is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

    This week, MizB asks:
    "How often do you actually put into practice what you learn from reading nonfiction books (if you read nonfiction, that is)?"

    Yes and no in a round about kind of way. Most of the non-fiction that I read is related to health and fitness. I get out these books specifically to study and learn the stretches within or for nutrition tips. However, I am mostly putting what I learn from non-fiction into practice when I acquire them with the intent to apply the given knowledge in my own life.

    I also enjoy pop culture non-fiction but I don't think that it has as much impact on my daily practices. For example, as much as I was moved by the passion of the Sea Shepherds when I read The Whale Warriors by Peter Heller I have not stopped eating fish. (Just for the record I would never eat whale but I would hope that was considered a given.) I do not consider Mark Thomas' Belching Out the Devil: Global Adventures with Coca-Cola to be responsible for my giving up drinking all soft drink (fizzy, soda, pop, whatever people are inclined to call it in your neck of the woods) but it did come to mind when I made my decision. That decision was more financially and health motivated. (Nearly three months soft drink free now!). I had already long gone off fast food by the time I picked up Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal by Eric Schlosser.

    I don't think that every piece of non-fiction that a person reads needs to be personally useful or applicable to their life in some way. It can be just as rewarding to read something because you find the knowledge intellectually enriching or just plain fun or maybe you hope that it will pop up during a game of trivia sometime and you can impress everyone with your vast mental treasure trove of otherwise useless knowledge. That said, I probably should be trying to apply more of what I learn from the non-fiction. I would probably be a healthier and more environmentally friendly person if I did.

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  2. What's on the Bookshelf

    Sunday, August 29, 2010

    It has been a quiet week for me, both in terms of blogging and book collection, largely due to my recovering from recently dislocating my left kneecap. It is rather difficult to get down to the library when one has a massive brace on their leg. The good news is that I was allowed to take the leg brace off today, although I am not allowed to bend that knee much for a few more weeks but it is quite stiff anyway.

    Feed by Mira Grant
    More zombies this week! Look out  and get your survival plans ready because the zombies are set to rise in four years time! This is the first book in the Newsflesh series. It would be great to have a really good zombie series going at the moment.

    The Tudors, Season Two
    I absolutely loved season one and I will get a review up of it soon. I wish that I had discovered this show sooner! In the meanwhile, I will get started nursing my wounds with the second season.

    *In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren Go here to find out more.

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  3. My giveaway to celebrate my reaching 100 followers and one whole year of blogging has come to a close. Having used to generate a winner, I am glad to be sending a copy of one of my all time favourite books, Bram Stoker's Dracula, to...


    Darlyn, I have sent you an email regarding your prize. Please get back to me ASAP.

    Thanks go to everyone else who entered and those who swung by to congratulate me on reaching these landmarks.

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  4. I missed What's On the Bookshelf (IMM) last week due to the fact that I was rather busy dislocating my left patella and being taken in an ambulance to hospital to get it put back in. In case you are wondering, yes, it hurt like hell and I screamed a lot... Unfortunately, I am now stuck wearing a big brace on my left leg and may have to miss as much as a month of work! I am very much not happy. I actually like being able to go to work and I do not enjoy the idea of having to sit around doing nothing while I recover. I suppose that in the very least I am going to get a lot of reading done.

    Anyway, here is the stash from the past fortnight:

    Walking the Tree by Kaaron Warren
    This book is by an Aussie author who I actually wasn't familiar with but the premise certainly grabbed my curiosity. From the back cover, there is an island on which grows a massive tree. At the age of 18 people leave their homes to travel around the island.

    Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
    I am pretty sure that we have all heard of Shiver. After hearing all of the hype I can only hope that it will live up to my expectations. The blurb sounds promising, though, telling of a story about Sam, the werewolf, and Grace who has grown up watching the wolves in the woods from the safety of her house. Even the blurb seems so... atmospheric!

    The Left Hand of God by Paul Hoffman
    I've been spotting this title around in the shops and have heard mention of it here and there. It caught my eye awhile ago and it sounds like exactly what I am in the mood for right now.

    A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
    When I speak to people who loved The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss as much as I did, Martin's series A Song of Ice and Fire keeps on creeping in to the conversations. A Game of Thrones is the first book in the fantasy series.

    Plague of the Dead by Z. A. Recht
    I had never heard about this book before but I am always willing to give a zombie story a try. Plague of the Dead is the first book in the Morningstar Saga. I say, bring on the zombie hoards!

    *In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren Go here to find out more.

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  5. Hourglass by Claudia Gray

    Saturday, August 21, 2010

    From the Back Cover:
    After escaping from Evernight Academy, the vampire boarding school where they met, Bianca and Lucas take refuge with Black Cross, a fanatical group of vampire hunters. Bianca must hide her supernatural heritage or risk certain death at its hands. But when Black Cross captures her friend—the vampire Balthazar—hiding is no longer an option. Soon Bianca and Lucas are on the run again, pursued not only by Black Cross, but by the powerful leaders of Evernight. Yet no matter how far they travel, Bianca can't escape her destiny. Bianca has always believed their love could survive anything...but can it survive what's to come?

    My Thoughts:
    I wasn't that into the first book in this series, Evernight, but I thought that the second book, Stargazer, wasn't too bad so I started the latest instalment in the series with the hope that it would show further signs of improvement. Unfortunately that was not the case. I really had to force myself to read Hourglass through to the end.

    I continue to be unable to feel the relationship between Bianca and Lucas. Having ended up accidentally inserting more chemistry in to the relationship between Balthazar and Bianca, Gray frequently has Bianca remind the shippers out there that she and Balthazar really are now just friends.

    I also didn't like the pacing. Some parts dragged while the ending in particular seemed rushed. As in Stargazer, Bianca remains an irritating character by continuing to make bad choices and failing to figure out what the readers probably all figured out about a book and a half ago.

    Overall, I found Hourglass to be the worst book in the series to date. My exploration of the Evernight series ends here.

    Also Check Out:
    Evernight by Claudia Gray
    Stargazer by Claudia Gray
    The Awakening by L.J. Smith

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  6. The Vampire of Ropraz by Jacques Chessex

    Wednesday, August 18, 2010

    Title: The Vampire of Ropraz
    Author: Jacques Chessex
    Publisher: Broche; Bitter Lemon Press
    Release Date: 2007; 2008
    Source: Library

    From the Back Cover:
    1903, Ropraz, a small village in the Jura Mountains of Switzerland. On a howling December day, a lone walker discovers a recently opened tomb, the body of a young woman violated, left hand cut off, genitals mutilated and heart carved out. There is horror in the nearby villages: the return of atavistic superstitions and mutual suspicions. Then two more bodies are violated. A suspect must be found. Fevez, a stable-boy with blood-shot eyes, is arrested, convicted, placed into psychiatric care. In 1915, he vanishes

    My Thoughts:
    The Vampire of Ropraz is not about a literal vampire story. Rather, it is a novella about how the community of Ropraz reacts to a horrific crime.

    I have seen some claims that the book is based on actual events although my little bit of research hasn't actually brought up anything to do with any actual event so I cannot comment on the historical accuracy here. That said, Chessex does a wonderful job of cementing the story in reality, of making it feel like you are reading an account of actual events. There is a strong sense of the bleakness, fear, and superstition rampant at the time and the macabre nature of the events.

    The perspective in The Vampire of Ropraz seems strangely unique. It is journalistic and yet feels somehow personal, absorbing the horror of the citizens of Ropraz. It is a novella that I am sure would probably have read even stronger in its original language but is a great little Gothic piece in English as well.

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  7. The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong

    Tuesday, August 17, 2010

    Title: The Awakening
    Author: Kelley Armstrong
    Publisher: HarperCollins
    Release Date:  May 1st 2009
    Source: Library

    From the Back Cover:
    If you had met me a few weeks ago, you probably would have described me as an average teenage girl—someone normal. Now my life has changed forever and I'm as far away from normal as it gets. A living science experiment—not only can I see ghosts, but I was genetically altered by a sinister organisation called the Edison Group. What does that mean? For starters, I'm a teenage necromancer whose powers are out of control; I raise the dead without even trying. Trust me, that is not a power you want to have. Ever.

    Now I'm running for my life with three of my supernatural friends—a charming sorcerer, a cynical werewolf, and a disgruntled witch—and we have to find someone who can help us before the Edison Group finds us first. Or die trying.

    My Thoughts:
    I really enjoyed The Summoning, the first book in the Darkest Powers Series. The second book in the series, The Awakening, is just as strong. Kelley Armstrong is such a talented Young Adult author.

    I really enjoy Chloe as a narrator. I love how she frames things with how these events would play out if she were a character in a movie. Armstrong enhances Chloe's unique character voice by giving her an interest that plays an active role in her thought and decision making process while at the same time using it to pretty much "hang a lampshade" on what conventions and techniques she plays along with and which ones she breaks away from and why.

    I know that Derek has a few fans out there and they will be pleased to hear that he gets plenty of screen time (or should that be page time?) in this instalment. We also get a bit more insight in to the character of Tori but it was perhaps a bit lacking on the Simon front.

    Looking back, The Awakening strikes me as a transitional book, setting things up from the major events of The Summoning for the third book in the series, The Reckoning, yet it remained well paced, action packed, and incredibly enjoyable.

    Also Check Out:
    The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

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  8. Terrible news! I dislocated my left knee cap and everything hurts and I'm stuck on crutches!

    Great news! Author Lauren Kate will be chatting and answering questions with fans on the Dymocks Facebook page This Friday at 10am (GMT+10)! Lauren Kate has penned hit books The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove, Fallen, and it's upcoming highly anticipated sequel, Torment. So far, I have only read Fallen but I am definitely keen to read some more of her work. You can check out my review of Fallen here.

    Dymocks Booksellers is an Australian chain so I will forgive international followers for not yet being familiar with them. However, now is the time to mosey on over and "like" their Facebook page to ensure that you don't miss out on chatting with Lauren Kate!

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  9. What's on the Bookshelf

    Sunday, August 8, 2010

    Sea Glass by Maria V. Snyder
    I love reading me some Maria V. Snyder. I fell in love with Snyder's Study Series and I really enjoyed the first book from the Glass Series so I am looking forward to reading this second instalment. While waiting for me to read Sea Glass, why not check out my review of Storm Glass here.

    Life As We Knew It by Susan Pfeffer
    I have heard some good things about this first book in Pfeffer's series. I am always up for a good end-of-the-world scenario so I am looking forward to cracking this one open.

    Only Revolutions by Mark Z. Danielewski
    Slenderman and Marble Hornets put Danielewski on my radar. I wanted to read his book House of Leaves but nobody around here has it but the library did happen to have another one of his books, Only Revolutions. Only Revolutions looks like it is going to be one of the more bizarre books that I have ever read.

    The Tudors Season One
    I know quite a few people who are already in love with this television series so I nabbed season one from the library. I started watching yesterday and I am pretty sure that you can already count me in as part of the fan club.

    *In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren Go here to find out more.

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