The Sunday Salon – Brain Candy

Early Saturday morning, I got off a redeye flight from Las Vegas. An hour after walking in my front door, I was asleep and was pretty much in that state all of yesterday. Sunday has been much the same with one exception — I’ve been watching Finding Bigfoot on Animal Planet. It’s sick how addicting this show is! Seriously, someone come take the remote from me.

*Backing away from the TV now.*

Typically, the week I spend in Las Vegas is usually a very good week of reading for me. I can get in about 2 – 4 books depending on what I’m reading. I was prepared, as we readers are, with numerous choices in case my tastes changed somewhere mid-week. Unfortunately, I broke no records this year. I finished one book, a short story, and started two other books. Here’s the wrap-up:

A Crystal Age by W.H. Hudson — I downloaded this one from The Gutenberg Project a few weeks back in anticipation of this trip. It’s vintage science fiction and I was excited about this one simply because I have very little knowledge of science fiction from the early 50s and 60s. I wasn’t blown away but I did find it interesting. It falls into the anthropological category of science fiction with cultures trying to understand each other and the implications of those differences.

The Year of the Big Thaw by Marion Zimmer Bradley — This is a short story I also downloaded from The Gutenberg Project. I adore Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon, and knowing she has written outside of the fantasy genre, I wanted to explore more of her works. This seemed like a great candidate and it was. It’s only about 25 pages and reminded me so much of a take on Superman but it was a great little piece to read while drinking tea and eating breakfast in the middle of a casino.

Key Out of Time by Andre Norton — Another Gutenberg Project download. I love a good time travel story, and this one is interesting, but I’m having a bit of trouble with it. I want to like it so much more than I am and the problem I think I’m having with it isn’t necessarily the book. It’s me. I kept reading it in between work events and only for a few minutes at a time and I haven’t had the opportunity to get into it for more than a few pages at a time. I may decide to sit down with it this week and finish it and hope that I can get into.

The Likeness by Tana French — With my Nook battery running low, I went for the one real book I brought with me, Tana French. I loved, loved, loved In The Woods. Half asleep on a layover but happy to be back on the East Coast, I wanted to stay awake to board the plane and get home and I knew French would keep me awake. She did. I’m about 55 pages into this book and let me tell you how good it is. I thought In The Woods was great, well, this one is already better.

If I can pull myself away from the TV for a few hours later tonight, I plan to pick up The Likeness again. For now, Bigfoot is calling. I’m scared to stop watching; they might find something when I’m not looking.

Happy Sunday readers. Finish any great books last week? Tell me about them. My stack is getting low.

(Also, ignore any typos. I’m still recovering from last week.)

The Sunday Salon – Out of Pocket

When this posts, I’ll be on a plane somewhere over the US heading towards Las Vegas. Before you get all excited about sparkly Las Vegas and how exciting it is, I’m going for work. Also, Vegas is not a favorite place of mine but I do get a ton of reading done when I’m there so yeah for that.

I had grand plans to schedule posts but between work, a hurricane (superstorm?), and the weird life I seem to be living right now, that didn’t happen. Instead, I’m going to consider this a short break. I will return soon with news of books read.

Enjoy and read on you readers you.

The Sunday Salon – Impending Storm

We’re waiting; waiting for Hurricane Sandy to appear. For the last few days that’s all the news has talked about. You’d even swear the election was over there’s so much Sandy coverage! I have my water, food, and batteries. Now, we wait.

I’ve been slacking on the blog lately. I don’t have a good excuse so I’m not going to make one. I’ve been lazy. Following with the lazy thing, I’m looking forward to sitting on my couch with a book or two. There’s nothing like bad weather to inspire some reading. I have The Courtier’s Secret by Donna Russo Morin to keep me company later today.

This morning, I need to work. That means this is the end of this post. I’d like to get as much done as possible so I have the whole evening to read.

I wish you all happy reading today.

If you’re in Sandy’s path, stay safe.

The Sunday Salon – Comfort Reading

The last few weeks have been, well, kinda crappy. I won’t go into details let’s just say we’ve had better months in our lives.

Anyway, during this time, I kept reading, reading good books I should say, but what I wanted was something comforting. I wanted something that made me feel safe and happy. A book that allowed me to escape to a place so different from my own life that it would be a momentary relief from the regular day’s drudgery. (Side note: I don’t think I’ve ever used the word drudgery in a sentence until right now.)

I’ve been picturing the books on my shelf wondering what would fill the gap. There’s The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien; always a favorite. I could go to Middle Earth. The new movie is coming out and I should read the book again just to be sure I’m properly re-acquainted with these wonderful characters. Fantasy has made up a large part of my reading this year which is not unusual for me since I do tend to go on reading binges. For as much as The Hobbit appeals, it wasn’t right this time. I wanted something I could fall into and imagine in great depth. (Please, I know this is more than possible to do with Tolkien’s work. I’m just saying it’s not the right time for me to pick this up. Besides, I think I have until the end of November to read it before the movie comes out so all good.)

What I wanted was historical fiction. Yes, that was it. I wanted to imagine hearing the swoosh of a long skirt dragging across stone floors, feel the heaviness of a velvet dress, the cold and damp corners of a castle. I wanted courtiers, royals acting badly, mistresses, and court antics. So, library, help me out. I found what I was looking for and got an email that my book is ready. It’s a new to me author and she writes exactly what I want to read right now. We shall soon see if success has been achieved.

Things were slow here on the blog last week but I’m hoping to fix that. I’m, for the most part, caught up with most reviews and will be doing some editing this weekend to get those reviews ready for public eyeballs. Posts will happen!

Now, go read. Happy Sunday.

The Sunday Salon – Rain

It’s raining here today and I decided it would be an excellent idea to stay in bed and watch TV. Random flipping and one show about the Loch Ness Monster now over, I’m up and moving.

I’ve been reading two books the last few days — Bag of Bones by Stephen King and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Friday after work I decided I’d park myself on the couch and read. Husband came home and I was curled up on the couch looking, as he put, “slightly freaked out.” Conversation ensued:

Him: “What’s wrong?”

Me: “Nothing.”

Him: “OK.”

Me: “A book freaked me out.”

Him, glancing at books on the coffee table: “To Kill a Mockingbird freaked you out?”

Me: “No, the other book.”

Him, picking up second book: “You’re reading a Stephen King book and got freaked out. No sympathy.”

So, I’ve designated Bag of Bones my daylight reading and To Kill a Mockingbird as my evening reading.

Somehow amidst a week full of crap and more crap, I managed to draft eight reviews. Death in the Floating City by Tasha Alexander is waiting a review but after that I’ll be caught up. I’m feeling good about that development.

Finally, if you have ten minutes to waste today and want to see a digital painting come to life, go here.

With that, enjoy your books. Happy Sunday.

The Sunday Salon – Jumbles

It’s been a long time since I’ve actively posted anything here. A few weeks back I sat myself down and had a little chat that went something like this: “Finish up the reviews you’ve been hoarding and schedule posts!”

I listened. I edited my posts and scheduled them. I have posts scheduled until next week and then after that, well, who knows what will happen.

To be honest, this is the first time I’ve sat down to write in a few weeks and it feels nice. 🙂 Things on the home front have been somewhat complicated of late thanks to some work travel and a car accident. Unfortunately, it looks like we may be car shopping again soon which was not, NOT, in the plans. But we’re both fine and what more can you ask for in life.

I’ve been reading but have been very bad about writing reviews. Eight reviews are waiting to be written; most are done in my head but that means absolutely nothing since no one can read them while they’re floating around in my brain. At some point in the next few days (possibly weeks if I manage to procrastinate, which I will) I’ll be writing reviews for:

Abominable by William Meikle
The New World by Patrick Ness
The End of My Y by Scarlett Thomas
Ghosts of Manhattan by Douglas Brunt
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
The Venice Conspiracy by Sam Christer

Berserker by William Meikle

I started my October reading with Berserker which I finished yesterday. It’s about Vikings (I heart Viking stories so much!) and it was a good start to the creepy books I plan to read this month. I also picked up Stephen King’s Bag of Bones from the library along with The Loch by Steve Alten. Both promise to be good October reads too.

One thing I haven’t done and need to do is gather up a few of my reviews and post them to Bookstore Bookblogger Connection. And by the way, you should be doing this too. First, go here and see what it’s about and then do it. It’s a cool idea and I love the idea of helping independent book stores by offering up blurbs of my favorite fantasy and science fiction books. It’s a small project set up by bloggers Andrea at Little Red Reviewer and Elizabeth at Dark Cargo and it’s a great way for us bloggers to help our favorite places. And those favorite places are book stores if that wasn’t clear. 🙂

That’s all for me today. I’m starting to get my writing groove back so maybe I should get working on those reviews in my head and make them reviews on paper. Or I could pick up the book that arrived in the mail on Friday — Death in the Floating City by Tasha Alexander. Oddly, this will be the second book I read this week that’s set in Venice; weird how that happened.

Happy Sunday everyone. Enjoy whatever books you’ve got waiting for you this day.

The Sunday Salon – Falling for Fall

I’ve yet to step outside but from what I can tell, it’s shaping up to be a lovely fall-like day. I can only say fall-like because it’s probably go to end up in the 80s today and that’s not fall-like at all. Either way, I’m going to make a good attempt at enjoying today’s sun and cool breeze.

All last week, after reading two books that were good (actually, one was very weird but interesting enough to keep reading) what I really wanted to read were two books that featured heavily in other books I’ve been reading — The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds both by H.G. Wells. I finished up The Map of the Sky by Felix J. Palma last week and enjoyed it, as I did his first book, The Map of Time. Both books feature the works of H.G. Wells, and after finishing up the second of Palma’s books, I wanted to go back and read Wells’s books so guess what I’m reading this week. As a side note, I’m reviewing The Map of the Sky tomorrow if you’re interested.

Back to the fall theme, I confess that I’m hoarding books, beyond my regular book hoarding habits. I’m now hoarding special books to read during October — thrillers, horror, mystery. I have a list and will probably make a stop at the library to pick up a few Agatha Christie books too. I’m so looking forward to October. Normally I don’t plan my reading, even when I try it never works out, but I always manage to set aside time in the fall to read books like this. I don’t know what it is but it just makes it so much more fun.

Well, The Time Machine is waiting for me and I think I may have talked my husband into shoe shopping with me this afternoon. I need to take advantage of that offer while I still can. Happy Sunday and enjoy your books today fellow readers.

The Sunday Salon – Rory’s Dad is Arthur Weasley!

If you don’t watch Doctor Who, this will mean nothing to you. Sorry in advance. Anyway, Rory’s day is Arthur Weasley! OK, Filch was in last night’s episode too. Really, mixing two of my favorite things, Harry Potter and Doctor Who — does it get better than that in TV watching land? The correct answer is no, no it does not.

Although, I may have to stop watching Doctor Who with my husband. He doesn’t get it and says silly things like, “Why are there dinosaurs on a space ship? That makes no sense.” *big sigh* I don’t want to ruin the episode for anyone who didn’t see it but I do have to say something about Amy and Rory. We all know they’re leaving (that’s not a spoiler people!) and that’s making me sad enough because I like the Ponds but then there’s this scene at the end where the Doctor is standing behind them and looks at them so sadly. He knows it’s coming and, ack, it’s making me sad. Oh, the life of the Doctor, and the companions too. If you don’t watch, here.

So as not to make this all about Doctor Who, cuz I could, let’s talk books. I read books this week. And what were those books you ask? Let me tell you.

The Map of the Sky by Felix J. Palma — the sequel to The Map of Time. It was good and I need to write up a review today but I’m having trouble getting starting because there’s so much going on in the book and being honest, I don’t know where to start.

Abominable by William Meikle — a short story about the British mountain climber Mallory and what really happened to him. It was fun. I bought another one of Meikle’s books, Berserker, which I thought would be a good read for October. He does an excellent job with the weird creatures.

The New World by Patrick Ness — I’ve yet to read the Chaos Walking trilogy. I know. I’m the last as I tend to be with things like this. You all love it and I want to love it too but I’m not sure so I stay away. This one was a free short story download and I thought why not. I loved it. And now I think I need to see if my library has the others. You may all be right on this one.

I, on a last minute whim, decided to sign up for Book Blogger Appreciation Week. I’m a little torn about this. I want to participate but I have mixed feeling about it too. On the one hand, it’s great to find new blogs and connect with people but I don’t know how much time I’m going to have to read everything and comment. Maybe I’ll just answer a question or two and that will be it. At least they got rid of the awards this year. It’s not that I don’t appreciate things like that but they went to the same people every year and why bother if that’s what’s going to happen. Not that I don’t think those bloggers deserve the awards because they do, but it just didn’t mean much. Anyway, there you have it. I have no idea why I’m rambling on about this so I’m just going to stop.

Last week I was super productive on the blog front. So productive I managed to schedule posts through the week of October 1. No, really, I did. I even amazed myself. That means there will be reviews! Now, if I can keep this up, all will be well.

That’s all I’m going to ramble about for now. Enjoy the day and happy reading.