Thoughts – Emma

I didn’t finished Emma this time around either. It seems it’s just not meant to be for me and this particular Austen tome. I’ve tried, more than once, and have never managed to get to the end. Although this time I did get several more chapters in to the book than during any of my other failed attempts at this one.

What keeps stopping me from enjoying this one? It’s Miss Emma Woodhouse herself. She’s the exact opposite of everything I expect a Jane Austen character to be — she’s rich, spoiled, full of self-esteem, is a know-it-all busybody that can’t keep her opinions to herself or stop herself from telling everyone else what to do. Really, I couldn’t take any more of her and gave up.

I know this is supposed to be a funny book about manners and matchmaking gone wrong but I can’t get over the behavior of Emma and the fact she needs to tell everyone else what to do. She’s annoying. She’s mean. She’s ill-mannered. I could go on but I won’t.

Oddly enough, she’s not even the only character I disliked immensely in this book. In fact, I didn’t like any of the characters in this book and found every single one annoying, boring, or some combination thereof. I don’t feel the need to go on because it’s not worth anyone’s time. And, let’s face, now I’m just complaining.

There are readers that love this book. My mom is one of those people — she thinks Emma is funny! Gah! I’ve given it my best and found it still wanting and I will not look back but instead will move on to the ever growing stack of books piling up.

If you want to know more, I find Wikipedia has a nice wrap up.  Yes, I read it to find out what happened in this book, and once I knew, I put it down. I didn’t need to be annoying by the intervening chapters.

Emma from The Complete Works of Jane Austen

By Jane Austen

Douglas Editions

BN ID: 2940000816981

Did Not Finish

The Lies of Locke Lamora Read Along – Part 3

Week three of the read along and I feel I should confess something. *she whispers* I finished the book. Tell no one.

Yea, I couldn’t help myself. I’m bad with read alongs especially ones where the book is so good and each section ends on a cliffhanger and I just need to know so I keep on reading telling  myself that I’ll stop at the end of the section or maybe just finish off the chapter and put it down and then I don’t. Yea, that.

Thanks to the Little Read Reviewer for organizing and My Awful Reviews for putting together this week’s batch of questions.

Warning: my answers will be short. I’m not going to be the one to put a spoiler out there. As much as I want to I won’t.

1. This section is where we finally get to sneak a peek at the magic in The Gentleman Bastards books. From what we read, what are your initial impressions of the magic Lynch is using? Is there any way that Locke and Company would be able to get around the Bondsmage’s powers?

Initial impression is that the magic is very dark and never used for good. Then again there aren’t many (any?) characters in this book looking to help alleviate any social problems for their fellow brethren so it does fit with the story. I can appreciate that.

I’m confident Locke will come up with a plan to get himself out whatever trouble he’s stepped in but that bondsmage is badass.

2. Not a question, but an area for rampant speculation: If you want to take a stab at who you think the Grey King might be, feel free to do it here.

I have no idea. That’s the best I can do. That is such a crap answer but I won’t say more.

2.5 (since 2 wasn’t really a question) Anyone see the Nazca thing coming? Anyone? Do you think there are more crazy turns like this in store for the book? Would you like to speculate about them here? (yes, yes you would)

NO, not Nazca! Ugh, I was annoyed to see her go. I was looking forward to the supposed dating/marriage thing with Locke. I really wanted to see what they would come up with to get out of it and maybe a date scene thrown in there with the two of them at dinner or something. I think it could have been entertainment to the hilt. But no, he killed her off.

Do I think there are more crazy turns? If he’s willing to axe a character like Nazca, then yep, he’s gonna take a few more crazy turns.

3. When Locke says “Nice bird, arsehole,” I lose it. EVERY TIME. And not just because I have the UK version of the book and the word arsehole is funnier than asshole. Have there been any other places in the books so far where you found yourself laughing out loud, or giggling like a crazy person on the subway?

That one got me too! My husband looked over at me (I said it out load and laughed) and just shook his head. It was awesome. And arsehole is so much funnier.

The corpse stealing scene also had me giggling.

4. By the end of this reading section, have your opinions changed about how clever the Bastards are? Do you still feel like they’re “cleverer than all the rest?” Or have they been decidedly outplayed by the Grey King and his Bondsmage?

I still have faith in the Bastards but I think they’re getting challenged in a whole new way. I’m don’t think they thought of their schemes as life and death —  they are supposed to be petty thieves for all anyone knows — even though they could have been killed by Barsavi if he found out what they were hiding. Now it’s more than just a gig to keep up till they can back away. I think Locke still thinks he’s clever enough to get out of it though, or at least rock headed enough to try.

5. I imagine that you’ve probably read ahead, since this was a huge cliffhanger of an ending for the “present” storyline, but I’ll ask this anyway: Where do you see the story going from here, now that the Grey King is thought to be dead?

Yes, I read ahead. No, I will not answer this question because I know the answer.

6. What do you think of the characters Scott Lynch has given us so far? Are they believable? Real? Fleshed out? If not, what are they lacking?

Jean is a favorite of mine. I loved his introduction into the Bastards and of course his beating the crap out of Locke who roundly deserved it. He’s kind with a mean streak and that seems like a perfect combination for a Gentleman Bastard.

7. Now that you’ve seen how clever Chains is about his “apprenticeships,” why do you think he’s doing all of this? Does he have an endgame in sight? Is there a goal he wants them to achieve, or is it something more emotional like revenge?

I think the endgame is a well-rounded thief who can blend in no matter what, hide when necessary, and be capable of pulling on an accent, a cloak, or mannerism that will let him take over a situation when possible and necessary. And I feel I thought that one out too far. Really, Father Chains is a con man and he’s now got his own little roving gang of bandits and he’s training them to be the best possible players they can be.

And, that’s my two cents.

The Lies of Locke Lamora Read Along – Part 2

We’re in the second week of The Lies of Locke Lamora Read Along. I’m loving the book so far so if things feel a little gushy today, it’s because they are. Since there are no spoilers in this read along, this will be short and to the point. By the way, I love spoilers so you have no idea how hard this is for me. J

More info at the Little Red Reviewer and questions this week were supplied by Dark Cargo.

1 – Do you think Locke can pull off his scheme of playing a Midnighter who is working with Don Salvara to capture the Thorn of Camorr? I mean, he is now playing two roles in this game – and thank goodness for that costume room the Gentleman Bastards have!

First, the costume room is awesome. I so need a closet like that. Okay, maybe not exactly like that, but you get the point.

I have started to wonder how long he plans to keep this one going, but from what I’ve read, Locke has convinced me he can pull it off. And the badge is so cool that if that doesn’t convince anybody what will! I don’t think Locke will do anything to jeopardize the scheme but I think something else might. This is the time when I want to read ahead but I’m not. It’s just a suspicion and as soon as I’m done writing this, I’m back to reading to find out.

2 – Are you digging the detail the author put into the alcoholic drinks in this story?

YES! Does that answer the questions sufficiently? :) No really, the detail is wonderful. As I said last week, and read on blogs of others participating in the read along, the details make you see Camorr — all its scars and bright spots. It’s just enough for you to picture it clearly but not enough to overwhelm the story. It’s such a fine line and Lynch is amazing me with how he’s walking it.

3 – Who is this mysterious lady Gentleman Bastard Sabetha and what does she mean to Locke?

I wish I knew because the suspense is killing me. From what I can tell though, she’s taken Locke’s heart, ripped it from his chest, stomped on it, ground it to powder under heel of her shoe, and kicked the rest in the water. I could be very wrong about this though.

4 – Are you creeped out over the use of Wraithstone to create Gentled animals as I am?

Yes, although I find the idea of Wraithstone fascinating. It’s back to details though. Camorr is a rough place and would the animals get freaked out and be unusable there is they weren’t gentled? I don’t really want this to sound like an endorsement of this particular use of Wraithstone because I don’t like it at all. Let’s just say I saw the point and appreciated the use of the Wraithstone but I didn’t like it.

5 – I got a kick out of child Locke’s first meeting with Capa Barsavi and his daughter Nazca, which was shortly followed up by the story of Barsavi granting adult Locke permission to court his daughter! Where do you think that will lead? Can you see these two together?

Nazca with her steel heeled boots and drunk — two things you have to love about a child. She’s an amusing character but I particularly liked the description of her as a child. You can picture her running her father’s enterprise too. Let’s face it, she already feels comfortable telling the guards what to do.

I can’t picture Locke and Nazca as a couple. Would they work well together though? Probably, umm, maybe. Locke’s hiding too much from Capa and I’m not so sure he could keep up the game if he really did fall for Nazca. I don’t know how he plans to get out of it though. That will be an interesting scene.

6 – Capa Barsavi is freaked out over rumors of The Grey King and, in fact, us readers are privy to a gruesome torture scene. The Grey King is knocking garristas off left and right. What do you think this means?

I didn’t need to be privy to the torture scene, mostly because I was eating lunch at the time. Uck.

Moving on. I’m looking forward to The Grey King’s appearance. Another dark character with designs on being in charge, bring it on.

7 – In the Interlude: The Boy Who Cried for a Corpse, we learn that Father Chains owes an alchemist a favor, and that favor is a fresh corpse. He sets the boys to figuring out how to provide one, and they can’t ‘create’ the corpse themselves. How did you like Locke’s solution to this conundrum?

This shouldn’t have made me giggle but it did. Locke is really too smart for his own good. In the end, it was a brilliant decision to the problem of obtaining a fresh corpse with minimal damage. However, what about buying one? Too obvious I guess. The extra little scheme was so Locke too. His mind was way too active for a boy that age and way too morbid as well. Then, that’s why I’m enjoying this book so much.

The Lies of Locke Lamora Read Along – Part 1 Discussion

Section 1 question time! Want more info, want to know what this is about, then go visit The Little Red Reviewer.

1. If this is your first time reading The Lies of Locke Lamora, what do you think of it so far?  If this is a re-read for you, how does the book stand up to rereading?

I’m a first timer. I had a hard time putting it down at the stopping point and I’m not so confident I will adhere to the schedule. Please don’t hate me! Sometimes I’m bad at controlling myself when I get into a book I’m really enjoying. And what I really like is the setting. Love the Venice-like setting! And the cursing! Oh, the cursing is divine. Yep, I laugh at curse words in print. Obviously, I have no self-control whatsoever.

2. At last count, I found three time lines:  Locke as a 20-something adult, Locke meeting Father Chains for the first time, and Locke as a younger child in Shades Hill. How are you doing with the Flashback within a flashback style of introducing characters and the world?

I had a, “Huh?” moment and I started to wonder if I skipped pages when the time shift happened. I’m okay with it now that I know what’s going on though. In fact, I’m kinda liking it because I get to see what Locke is like at three different stages all at the same time, well, pretty much the same time anyway. I like the interspersed stories that go with each time frame too.

3. Speaking of the world, what do you think of Camorr and Lynch’s world building?

Ooo, so loving it! Yes, I already said that. You don’t see many fantasy books set in a medieval Venice like world and I’m so loving it. There’s something so intriguing about it.

4. Father Chains and the death offering. . .  quite the code of honor for thieves, isn’t it? What kind of person do you think Chains is going to mold Locke into? 

After reading three different versions of Locke so far, I honestly can’t say. Normally, I would read ahead and find out but I’m reading this on my Nook and I find it a real pain to skip ahead so I don’t which is keeping me really annoying because I want to know who Locke turns out to be. I like the code of honor Father Chains follows (thief that he is as well) but I don’t see Locke taking it to heart. He might follow it out of gratitude or honor to Father Chains but I don’t see him being a big believer in it all his life.

5. It’s been a while since I read this, and I’d forgotten how much of the beginning of the book is pure set up, for the characters, the plot, and the world. Generally speaking, do you prefer  set up and world building done this way, or do you prefer to be thrown into the deep end with what’s happening?

I enjoy both and for me it really depends on the author’s ability as to whether or not I enjoy it. With this book, I’m liking all the setup up front. It’s helping me see the world if that makes any sense at all.

6. If you’ve already started attempting to pick the pockets of your family members (or even thought about it!) raise your hand.

Hmm, this hadn’t occurred to me yet. Wonder what’s in my husband’s wallet… :)

 

Final 2012 Challenge

No, really, I mean it; it’s my last one. I’ve joined four and there will be no more.

But, if I’m being honest, I was planning to read more Stephen King this year after falling for 11/22/63 in December so it’s not as if this is going to be a problem.

The Stephen King Project 2012

Runs January – December 2012 and you can read the rules here and you can sign up here. I’m in for three books – A Lil Bit of King level.

What I’ll be reading for this challenge.

Salem’s Lot (This is part of a personal re-read challenge of my own.)

The Colorado Kid

Under the Dome

Funny, I seem to be challenge crazy this year. Wonder why that is…

Review – The Queen’s Rival: In the Court of Henry VIII

The Queen’s Rival: In the Court of Henry VIII

By Diane Haeger

Penguin Group

ISBN: 9781101478905

3.5 stars

I can’t pinpoint the moment I had my fill of Tudor stories but it occurred sometime in 2011. Yes, I lasted longer than most. I won’t pretend this will be my last either. Earlier this year I read a non-fiction book on Henry VIII and thought that would be my last but I forgot I had downloaded this to my Nook and found myself reading it when I needed something comforting — this is a setting I know well. I was out of town on a long business trip and I turned to it.

Elizabeth (Bess) Blount is a beautiful and naïve girl who lands a position in Queen Katherine’s household. This new position puts her directly in front of Henry VIII. Amazed by the opulence of the Court and especially by the King himself, she finds herself in a precarious situation. She can become the mistress to the King she believes she loves and in the process ruin her reputation and position with the Queen and possibly bring the downfall of her family. She picks Henry and gives him something he’s been wanting for years, a son.

While nothing about this story felt new, if you read enough books set in Tudor England nothing feels new, but it was well written and interesting. Parts were slow and at other times it felt as if large sections of Bess’s life were left out. We go from seeing her as a 14 year-old, and it feels as if only a few months worth of time, then she’s the King’s mistress and shortly after pregnant with his child. She finds a life outside of Court, and it’s a happy one at that, but it goes by so fast and I wondered when she turned 30. Besides that small quibble, it was good. A solid read.

I was wondering why I purchased this one considering I thought I was done with the Tudors and as it turns out it was for a challenge. So, now it appears I’m finished with The Royal Mistress Challenge. I ended on a good note then.

2012 Challenges

When I join challenges, I try to keep it to a minimum — for me that means about three and no more. I like to be able to keep up with and actually finish the challenges and three seems to be my limit. Unfortunately, there are some great 2012 challenges out there and narrowing this list down was crazy hard.

By the way, I know how to count; yes, there are five challenges listed below but two are personal challenges and ways for me to keep track of my reading habits and I’m not really counting them as actual challenges since I’m not joining anything to complete them. I’m only counting for my own reasons.

Gender in Fantasy and SciFi Challenge hosted by Cynical Bookworm

Runs January 1 – December 31, 2012

You can read the rules here.

What I’ll be reading for this challenge:

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley (re-read)

Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin

The Ship Who Sang by Anne McCaffrey

Frankenstein by Mary Shelly (re-read)

Orlando by Virginia Woolf

Back to the Classics Challenge 2012 hosted by Sarah Reads Too Much

Runs January 1 – December 31, 2012

You can read the rules here.

What I’ll be reading for this challenge:

Any 19th Century Classic — Madame Bovary by Gutave Flaubert

Any 20th Century Classic — This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Reread a classic of your choice — To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

A Classic Play — The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams

Classic Mystery/Horror/Crime Fiction — Frankenstein by Mary Shelly

Classic Romance — Emma by Jane Austen

Read a Classic that has been translated from its original language to your language — Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne

Classic Award Winner —- Kim by Rudyard Kipling

Read a Classic set in a Country that you (realistically speaking) will not visit during your lifetime — Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Additions to the above that may or may not get read for this challenge:

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins

The Lady in White by Wilkie Collins

Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe

Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

Tea & Books Reading Challenge hosted by The Book Garden

Runs January 1 – December 31, 2012

You can read the rules here. I’m in for the Berry Tea Devotee level, four books but I have a feeling this might actually be more. I heart big fat books.

What I’ll be reading for this challenge:

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

A Feast for Crows by George RR Martin

A Dance with Dragons by George RR Martin

#4 is pending but will appear

 

Personal Re-Reading Challenge

This is my own. I’m going with the general timeframe – January 1 – December 31, 2012 and the list will change and probably grow (hopefully) before the end of the year. Also, feel free to join if you want. I’m not really putting any rules on this one. And yes, some of these books appear in the challenges above as well. It’s my personal challenge and I’m all right with that.

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

Salem’s Lot by Stephen King

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell

 

Ebooks Read in 2012

I know there is a challenge out there for this but I’m doing my own thing. What I’m going to do is keep track of what I read on my Nook so I can compare how much I read on my Nook vs. regular books. That sounds so weird, regular books.

Joining any challenges this year?

2011 Challenges

As I said in my Sunday Salon, I’m joining fewer challenges this year.  I completed almost all of the challenges and read-alongs I participated in last year, but I want to leave my schedule open for more leisurely reads in 2011.  So the list is short…

Time Travel Reading Challenge hosted by Alyce of At Home With Books

I’m in for five time travel books.  Alyce was kind enough to post a number of books on her challenge page; several have made it onto my list already.

 

The Royal Mistress Challenge hosted by The Misadventures of Moppet

I’ve signed up for Maid of Honour level which is three books but there’s a good chance I’ll read more than three for this challenge.

 

2011 E-Book Reading Challenge hosted by La Coccinelle at The Ladybug Reads

A goal of mine this year is to read the books I’ve been downloading to my Nook so this is perfect.