Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Review a Day

Remember a while back when I said I was going to post a review a day and did so for about a week or two before I went back to posting every other day (if I'm lucky)? Well since I'm going to be moving and painting with probably no internet access for awhile so I plan on setting up the reviews I've been working on and they'll post at midnight every night! So woo-hoo! Back to a review a day, hope you guys enjoy them :)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My First Author Interview!

Today there is something new here on the blog, something that has never been here before... an author interview! Not just any author either but the author of one of my newest favorite series (I reviewed all three books currently released over on the other blog, two today) so give a warm welcome to Tate Hallaway! She kindly agreed to answer all my strange and weird questions for which I'm eternally grateful.

Tink: Please describe your series and your heroine in your own words.

Tate: Garnet Lacey is a lovable flake with a dark side, namely the Goddess Lilith with whom she accidentally bonded when some witch hunters killed her coven.

Tink: Which book have you enjoyed writing the most (so far)?

Tate: Honestly? DEAD IF I DO. Do you know the story of Athena? How she supposedly sprung fully formed from Zeus’ head, well, that is how I remember the process of writing this latest book… only minus the gigantic headache.

Tink: Garnet is sitting at Holy Grounds drinking a honey latte, what (music, etc.) or who (person, etc.) is she listening to?

Tate: Garnet is listening to “Modest Mouse” and gossiping with the barista, Izzy, about all the crazy goings on in their lives.

Tink: Sebastian and Garnet decide to have a movie night on the couch complete with popcorn and Barney, what did they pick up from the video store?

Tate: Oh, I think they argued about it. They even have two movies. I can see Sebastian having sophisticated taste and wanting something foreign or artsy. Garnet would totally fall asleep watching something like that. She probably advocated for some light romantic comedy or _possibly_ even fantasy, ala one of the “Harry Potter” movies, though if she got that she’d have to make snarky comments about how Hollywood doesn’t understand “real” magic.

Tink: Do you have a set idea planned for the ending of this series or are you flying by the seat of your pants?

Tate: Seat of the pants all the way, sister. I don’t even know how I’m going to answer the next question you ask much less how the next scene in the novel is going. An over arching plan? What is this “plan” you speak of??

Tink: What books would you suggest for someone who would like to learn more about Garnet's religion? (optional question)

Tate: Oh, I love this question, because Garnet’s religion is MY religion. I have lots of favorites. One of my current favorites is a very subtle book. It contains no spells or “Wicca 101” or any of that. It’s called RED-HAIRED GIRL FROM THE BOG by Patricia Monaghan and it’s really more of a memoir with travelogue of Ireland and Goddess mythology tossed in for good measure. But anyone who reads it will understand, I think, on a profound and deep level what it is that Garnet (and I) believes as a Witch. But there are other really great books out there that are more straight-forward, like SPIRAL DANCE by Starhawk or Diane Stein’s CASTING THE CIRCLE: A WOMAN’S BOOK OF RITUAL.

Tink: Where did the name Garnet Lacey come from? Are there any stories behind other character names?

Tate: Someone else asked me this and it really reflects back to the whole “seat of one’s pants” issue. You’d think with a name like Garnet I’d have some great story about what the gemstone means to her character or how I’m juxtaposing hard stone and soft lace, but, really, I just came across Garnet in a name book and thought it sounded cool. Lacey I got from a phone book.
Any cool associations must just be Magic!

(The gemstone thing was my assumption lol)

Tink: Do you have any writing quirks or rituals?

Tate: A ton. I have this thing about having the right notebook. I do all my composition on computer, but I take working notes in pen on paper, and I spend a lot of time when I’m starting a new book choosing just the right stuff. I love journals and cool pens, and any excuse to buy more works for me.

For a while I was actually lighting a candle before starting writing, but… I ran out of candles. Seriously.

Tink: What are you currently reading? What do you think some of your characters may be reading?

Tate: I am currently reading non-fiction witchcraft books. I’m re-reading Scott Cunningham’s INCENSE, OILS AND BREWS. I’ve been out of the fiction mood for a few months. It’s really weird, but sometimes when I’m writing fiction I don’t feel much like reading… sort like the opposite of what happens to college/grad students when they’re deep in their studies. They crave fiction because their “job” is all about non-fiction.

William is reading something like “Area 51 and the Bermuda Triangle,” Garnet could be reading a fun romance, like say one of the Viking series by Sandra Hill or Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. Sebastian is probably reading something in old German about alchemy. Actually, I found a book the other day about Roger Bacon’s secret alchemical manuscript. He’d totally be all over that.

Tink: Out of all the stories in this series, what one scene are you most proud of or the one you like the most?

Tate: You assume I remember anything after I’ve written it. *grin*

But, let’s see, I think I am most proud of the funny bits. Writing stuff that makes people laugh is harder than you’d think.

Tink: Do you (and Garnet) have a favorite Disney or animated movie film/ character?

Tate: WALL*E for Garnet. She’s all about that pro-environmental message plus good, heart-wrenching romance. For me, as a parent, Dory in FINDING NEMO. She gave me parenting advice to live by: “If nothing ever happens to him, it won’t be much fun for little Harpo, now would it?” or however she says that.

Tink: I read that Garnet almost became an amateur detective in a mystery series, would you still like to write mysteries one day?

Tate: Oh yes, and my newest amateur detective idea – fish! I have a secret life as a fresh water aquarist (fish keeper) and I’ve amassed enough weird, bizarre fish problem stories that I could easily write convincingly about a woman who runs a fish club / aquarium society. People could kill each other over the prized “bat fish” or whatever, plus there are plenty of fish that are venomous and could be used as murder weapons!

(I could easily see this as a Prime Crime mystery!)

Tink: You’ve written about Goddesses and a God, vampires, and even zombies. Do you have any other mythical or supernatural creatures you would like to (or plan to) use in your series?

Tate: I’m thinking really hard about faeries. One of the things I tend to enjoy about writing in the urban fantasy/paranormal romance genre is the opportunity to write against the tropes. Faeries are often sort of cute and non-threatening, and it would be fun to write a scary, kick-ass hottie faerie boy.

Also, I started a proposal for a new Garnet book that involved elementals and the god Eros, but I haven’t even finished them, much less sent them to my editor. So I guess I’ll keep you posted.

Tink: Has anything in the books ever surprised you? Something you hadn’t even considered happening happened?

Tate: Every book surprises me. For me, that’s the real joy in writing. I know a number of authors who plan every move their character makes because they have a lot of fear about writing themselves into corners. I believe that corners can be turned or that you can fight your way out of them (unleash Lilith – bang, no more corner!) Although I follow an outline, which is one I’ve set out in the synopsis I’ve sent my editor before I’ve written a single word, I’m very organic and always allow my characters the chance to live their own lives.

William wasn’t originally meant to punch anyone, and he surprised me when he did. Also, the fact that he seems to be dating another guy right now – that was unexpected. Izzy and Mátyás hooking up? They didn’t tell me about that in advance either.

Apparently, my characters live on even after I close the book, you know what I mean?

(sure do!)

Tink: Do the titles have a story behind them, were they the original ones you had chosen? If not what were?

Tate: The titles were all chosen by me (and my much more clever writerly friends), with the exception of ROMANCING THE DEAD which I had proposed as Drop-Dead Gorgeous, which Mary Janice Davidson got to first. I offered Dead on Arousal which my writing colleague Sean M. Murphy came up with, but they didn’t go for it.

The biggest headache with this series, in my opinion, is coming up with new punny, cute DEAD titles, especially since both Mary Janice and Charlaine Harris are using DEAD titles.

(I can easily see how that would be a pain lol)

Tink: Any further Q&A I didn’t think of or anything else you would like to add? How about some random trivia (or a unique fact)?

Tate: I’m currently working on finishing up the next Garnet book HONEYMOON OF THE DEAD which should be out sometime in 2010. I am also happy to report that I’m contracted for a new young-adult series with the working subtitle, THE VAMPIRE PRINCESS OF SAINT PAUL. That YA series will involve a dhampyr, vampires and Witches though it’s not entirely clear to me yet if it exists in the same universe as Garnet. However, it’s meant as a kind of companion piece to the adult series.

As for random trivia, I’ve done the horoscope of both Garnet and Sebastian, though I rarely consult them. Originally, I’d thought I might. One of the things astrologers do from time to time is predictive astrology where one progresses the chart in the future and tries to tell you about what up coming crises you might face. I’d thought it might fun to see what the future hold that way, but I’ve found that those issues tend to be more mundane than anything I can pull out of my ass… uh, brain.

That was a ton of fun to think of the questions and to conduct this interview with such a talented author. Thank you again for answering all my odd, nosy questions Tate!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Challenge Updates

I have all those challenge buttons on my sidebar yet I never pay them any mind lol. Somehow I’ve actually completed a few challenges without even realizing it! So here is my progress and my completed ones:

1st in a Series Challenge Rules: Read 12 books that are the first in any series.

1. Sacred Cows by Karen E. Olson
2. Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn
3. Tall, Dark, and Dead by Tate Hallaway
4. The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan (39 Clues)
5. Elvenbane by Andre Norton & Mercedes Lackey
6. The Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan
7. Dead Girls are Easy by Terri Garey
8. Exit Strategy by Kelley Armstrong
9. The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
10. Marked by P.C. & Kristin Cast
11. The House on Tradd Street by Karen White
12. Evernight by Claudia Gray

2009 Young Adult Book Challenge Rules: Read 12 Young Adult Novels

1. The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan (39 Clues)
2. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
3. A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck
4. A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck
5. Lord of Misrule by Rachel Caine
6. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
7. Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
8. The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
9. One False Note by Gordon Korman (39 Clues)
10. Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild
11. Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston
12. Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan

Bookworm's Romance Reading Challenge 2009 Rules: Choose at least 5 novels read them between Jan 1st though Dec 31st 2009.

1. Tall, Dark, and Dead by Tate Hallaway
2. Fire & Ice by Anne Stuart
3. Dead Sexy by Tate Hallaway
4. Romancing the Dead by Tate Hallaway
5. Deep Dish by Mary Kay Andrews

2009 100+ Reading Challenge Rules: Read 100+ Books in 2009

So far I've read 58 books this year.

The 2009 Support Your Local Library Challenge Rules: ** The first is to read 12 books from your local library in 2009.
** The second is to read 25 books from your local library in 2009.
** The third is to read 50 books from your local library in 2009.

1. Sweetheart by Chelsea Cain
2. Kitty Takes a Holiday by Carrie Vaughn
3. Kitty and the Silver Bullet by Carrie Vaughn
4. Many Bloody Returns anthology
5. Secondhand Smoke by Karen E. Olson
6. Tall, Dark, and Dead by Tate Hallaway
7. The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan (39 Clues)
8. Elvenbane by Andre Norton & Mercedes Lackey
9. Why We Suck by Dr. Denis Leary
10. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
11. Dead Sexy by Tate Hallaway
12. Romancing the Dead by Tate Hallaway
13. Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
14. A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck
15. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
16. Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich
17. The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
18. Dead Girls are Easy by Terri Garey
19. Dark Harvest by Lynda Hilburn
20. One False Note by Gordon Korman (39 Clues)
21. Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild
22. Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan
23. The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan
24. Coraline by Neil Gaiman
25. Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs
26. Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson
27. My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
28. A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck
29. The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
30. The Winged Colt of Casa Mia by Betsy Byars
31. Marked by P.C. & Kristin Cast
32. Theater Shoes by Noel Streatfeild
33. The House on Tradd Street by Karen White
34. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
35. Chosen by P.C & Kristin Cast
36. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
37. Candy Apple Dead by Sammi Carter
38. The Storyteller's Daughter by Cameron Dokey
39. The Rest Falls Away by Colleen Gleason
40. Guts by Gary Paulsen
41. The Day the Music Died by Ed Gorman
42. Glory in Death by JD Robb
43. Generation Dead by Daniel Waters
44. Bambi by Felix Salten
45. Tomorrow When the War Began by John Marsden

And here's one I forgot I joined:
What an Animal Reading Challenge Rules:
Read at least 6 books that have any of these requirements:
a. an animal in the title of the book
b. an animal on the cover of the book
c. an animal that plays a major role in the book
d. a main character that is or turns into an animal (define that however you'd like).

Challenge runs from July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009. You can still sign up after July 1st as long as you can get 6 books read by June 30th).

1. Sacred Cows by Karen E. Olson
2. Kitty Series by Carrie Vaughn (4 books)
3. Greyfriar's Bobby by Eleanor Atkinson
4. Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
5. Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson
6. My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George

Finally my personal challenge (which you guys are more than welcome to join) is is the Disney Books into Movies Challenge. Rules: Read all the books made into Disney film adaptations.

Here's the link to my complete list but of that list I've only read (and in some cases re-read) 12 out of 96.

Teaser Tuesday- The Rest Falls Away

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
Dancing at balls, attending the theater, stalking vampires. Without a doubt, Victoria was going to be an extraordinarily busy debutante.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Graveyard Book Comic

Sorry! Meant to post this when I first did the review for The Graveyard Book:

Musing Monday- Nonfiction

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about reading non-fiction…

Do you read non-fiction regularly? Do you read it in a different way or place than you read fiction? (question courtesy of Diane)

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Musing Mondays post, or share your opinion in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks.

For the most part I read fiction of all kinds but occasionally I will pick up some non-fiction, mostly Disney/ animated or book related but I also enjoy a good biography too at times! I read non-fiction a little differently though, which is why it takes me forever to finish one. While I'm reading say an autobiography about, I dunno- Shirley Temple, whenever I come across a movie, song, etc. (anything I can look up in other words) I actually watch, listen, or in some cases read it. It's fun and interactive but it sure does take a long time!

Here are all my non-fiction reviews:
A Damned Serious Business by Rex Harrison
Hollywood Cartoons: American Animation in its Golden Age by Michael Barrier
The Animated Films of Don Bluth by John Cawley
Poetry for Young People: William Butler Yeats
Winnie the Pooh: A Celebration of the Silly Old Bear by Christopher Robin Finch
Dr. Seuss & Mr. Geisel by Judith & Neil Morgan
Why We Suck: A Feel Good Guide to Staying Fat, Lazy, and Stupid by Dr. Denis Leary

If you have any other non-fiction suggestions you think I might enjoy, please tell me!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

RIP Bea Arthur

An amazing woman left us today. Beatrice Arthur, probably best known for her portrayl of Dorothy from Golden Girls died this morning April 25, 2009 "apparently due to complications brought on by cancer". She was such a wonderful actress the like we haven't seen since. She will be missed. (Click here for 5 little known facts about Bea)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Friday Firsts- Nearest to You

* Copy/paste the question & button.
* leave a comment and link to your post here, include author/title.
* There'll a puzzle, sometimes, answers next Friday. Most consistant first correct answer will get a prize
*Lastly let Wendy know what you think... got ideas for improvements?

Reach out and pick up the nearest book to you right now (don't go the bookshelf and pull off War and peace). What's the first line...

A story is alive, as you or I are.

The Storyteller’s Daughter: A Retelling of “The Arabian Nights” by Cameron Dokey

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Teaser Tuesday-Hill House

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!

    She turned her car onto the last stretch of straight drive leading her directly, face to face, with Hill House and, moving without thought, pressed her foot on the brake to stall the car and sat, staring.
    The house was vile. She shivered and thought, the words coming freely into her mind, Hill House is vile, it is diseased; get away from here at once.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Library Loot 13

I believe this is the first time I've ever had a library pick-up like this... I only picked up two things!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

More Awards- I Feel Loved!

I'm backed up on awards again! Quite a few very nice bloggers have been kind enough to gift me with awards lately but I always feel like such a heel if I don't acknowledge the awards here (other than to put them on the blog). So THANK YOU GUYS (and please forgive me if I accidentally leave one of you out, correct me in the comments and I'll fix it here)!

~ From Bookworm's Dinner, A Novel Menagerie, J.Kaye's Book Blog, Books on the Brain

Okay, I'd really like to give away the comment award to all my top commenters

From Here:

Alice Teh (41)
naida (39)
Melody (34)
Dar (25)
Literary Feline (22)
samantha.1020 (21)
Nymeth (21)
Serena (14)
Bingo (14)
Kailana (14)

From the Movieholic Blog:

bermudaonion (23)
SciFiGuy (22)
TheChicGeek (19)
J. Kaye (19)
Lenore (18)
Rhinoa (17)
Darla D (16)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Bookish Meme

I snagged this from Savy Verse & Wit (Serena):

1. Hardback, trade paperback or mass market paperback?
I like them all! A book is a book really but mass markets fit better in my purse...

2. Barnes & Noble or Borders?
Um, both? Love bookstores!

3. Bookmark or dog-ear?

4. Amazon or brick and mortar?
I prefer brick and mortar but I'll occasionally use Amazon.

5. Alphabetize by author or alphabetize by title or random?
Mine's kind of random and they go mainly by genre and size. I do keep all of my authors together though!

6. Keep, throw away, or sell?
I sure hope this question doesn't mean throwing away books! I've never done that in my entire life. We just sell them or give them away when we no longer want them.

7. Keep dust jacket or toss it?
Keep even though... (see #8)

8. Read with dust jacket or remove it?
I can't read with that thing on there.

9. Short story or novel?
Novels mainly but I do enjoy anthologies quite a lot.

10. Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket?
I'll have to go with the one I've read here: Harry Potter

11. Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks?
Most of the time I ignore being tired and read until I'm finished as I hate stopping a story once I've started it. Occasionally I will stop a story wherever I please if I can.

12. "It was a dark and stormy night" or "Once upon a time"?
Hmm, how about "Once upon a time, it was a dark and stormy night"?

13. Buy or borrow?
Borrow mainly but I LOVE to buy!

14. New or used?
Either. Some of my most loved books came to me used.

15. Buying choice: book reviews, recommendations, or browse?
When buying new books, it's usually by an author I've read and loved before. However when it comes to used books, it's a mixture of all three.

16. Tidy ending or cliffhanger?
Not too tidy if it's a series but no ginormous cliffhangers either (yes, I'm thinking of Rachel Caine).

17. Morning reading, afternoon reading, or nighttime reading?
I'll read wherever and whenever but I prefer to read at night when its very quiet.

18. Stand-alone or series?
Really depends. If it seems a story still has more to tell me then I'm going to be irritated that there isn't a sequel. However, the reverse is true too and I'm getting a little tired of reading series that are burning themselves out...

19. Favorite series?
I don't pick favorites normally but I'm going to go with Sookie Stackhouse by Charlaine Harris and The House of Night by P.C. and Kristin Cast. Ask me again next month and I'll have changed my mind!

20. Favorite children's book?
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll.

21. Favorite YA book?
Um... way too many

22. Favorite book of which nobody else has heard?
Scruffy by Jack Stoneley

23. Favorite books read last year?
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs, The Alienist by Caleb Carr, Heartsick by Chelsea Cain, And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, Boy's Life by Robert R. McCammon, Seeing Redd by Frank Beddor, Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie & Bob Mayer, The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor, Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr, The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, & Moon Called by Patricia Briggs. Complete list here (with links)

24. Favorite books of all time?
I have 3: Alice's Adventure's in Wonderland, The Stand by Stephen King, and Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

25. What are you reading right now?
Re-reading Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

26. What are you reading next?
The Chocolate Frog Frame-Up by JoAnna Carl

27. Favorite book to recommend to an eleven-year-old?
Umm... Harry Potter or Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.

28. Favorite book to reread?
See number 24. I've read all those books three times or more a piece.

29. Do you ever smell books?
Of course! Love the smell of new books!

30. Do you ever read Primary source documents?
What in the world is that?!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Need Suggestions

Real quick post. As you may have noticed over on my other blog I recently reviewed Disney's The Story of Robin Hood. Since it was not based on any particular book, I was hoping one of my readers had a recommendation of a really good novel based on the Robin Hood legend. Please?

While we're talking about recommendations (did I already do this? I hope not!), could you please suggest a good Alice in Wonderland (or Through the Looking Glass) movie? I've seen the Disney version a billion times and would love to see your favorite!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Goodies!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Easter!

Hi everyone! I'm not going to be around much this weekend because we're doing stuff with the family (if I remember, I'll try to take pics) including dyeing Easter Eggs today. So I'll leave you with a song I've been humming from Holiday Inn:

Or for the guys this one is from The Easter Parade:

You know I would't let you leave without some cartoons now would I?

On this day in 2008: I reviewed the anthology My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon edited by P. N. Elrod

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Library Loot 12

I'm in a tiny bit of a book slump right now which I hope to get over with a really good book soon (and although I liked Evernight okay, it didn't quite live up to my expectations) . I did take back a few books unread before I picked these new ones up though I don't expect to do that again any time soon. Here is what I picked up:

The Rest Falls Away by Colleen Gleason
Candy Apple Dead by Sammi Carter
The Day the Music Died by Ed Gorman
Guts : the true stories behind Hatchet and the Brian books by Gary Paulsen

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Unplanned Vacation is Over!

I took a little unplanned vacation the past few days because I was reading all of P.C and Kristin Casts House of Night Novels. Love, love, love, love, love them!!! I'm back now, though I haven't quite decided what I'm going to read next... of course today is going to be spent catching up on all the blogs I read. Hope I didn't miss anything important while I was gone!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Library Loot 11

I am the first to admit it: I have a library addiction. Despite the 20 or more books I already have checked out, I've gone and picked up some more! Here they are:

The House on Tradd Street by Karen White
Living With the Dead by Kelley Armstrong
The Chocolate Frog Frame-Up by JoAnna Carl
The Storyteller's Daughter by Cameron Dokey
A Caldecott Celebration by Leonard S. Marcus

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Gaiman Poem

Hey! April is National Poetry Month (no, this is not April Fool's although I did try to come up with some type of post for it this morning and failed) so in honor of that here is Neil Gaiman reciting a bit of his poetry:

Isn't that beautiful imagery?