Weekly Geeks #18

This week's topic is 'catching up' ... which so defines my life at the moment. Catch up, catch up, catch up. If I close my eyes, I may just see the words scrolling across the inside of my eye lids.

I could list the hundred or so things I'm supposed to be catching up on this week for uni or prac, but, in true Rebecca fashion, I am going to pretend they don't exist long enough to write up the bookish catch-up things I need to do. Much more fun.

  • Write up the meeting notes for the last month's book club (I'm running very behind)

  • Read Tim Winton's Cloudstreet for NEXT month's bookclub

  • Write up some reviews for the 42 challenge

  • Start building up a bank of reviews so I have some "emergency posts" for when prac wipes me out in a few weeks time

I think that's about all I have time for this week (*sigh*). If I manage to hit any of those I'll be very happy.

Answers to this weeks quotes

Firstly, a big thanks to everyone who played this week, it was a lot of fun to get your answers :)

Everyone did pretty well. We do, however, have a clear winner! Congratulations to:

Head on over and give her your congratulations.

For those interested, the answers were:

1. The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
2. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
3. Wicked - Gregory Maguire
4. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
5. The Female of the Species - Rudyard Kipling
6. The Colour of Magic - Terry Pratchett
7. Peter Pan - J.M. Barrie

Quote of the Day: Saturday

My way of celebrating Book Blogger Week. Guess each day's quote and maybe win a prize!

See here for more information.

To die would be an awfully big adventure.

NOTE: It would be great if you could email me at rebeccajohnson47@gmail.com with your answers (though, please, feel free to comment below) so as to keep your answers to yourself.

Quote of the Day: Friday

My way of celebrating Book Blogger Week. Guess each day's quote and maybe win a prize!

See here for more information.

It was all very well going on about pure logic and how the universe was ruled by logic and the harmony of numbers, but the plain fact of the matter was that the disc was manifestly traversing space on the back of a giant turtle and the gods had a habit of going round to atheists’ houses and smashing their windows.

NOTE: It would be great if you could email me at rebeccajohnson47@gmail.com with your answers (though, please, feel free to comment below) so as to keep your answers to yourself.

Quote of the Day: Thursday

My way of celebrating Book Blogger Week. Guess each day's quote and maybe win a prize!

See here for more information.

She who faces Death by torture
for each life beneath her breast
May not deal in doubt or pity -
must not swerve for fact or jest.

CLUE: This is not from a book but a piece of poetry ... yep, not a huge clue but what can I say? I'm mean.

NOTE: It would be great if you could email me at rebeccajohnson47@gmail.com with your answers (though, please, feel free to comment below) so as to keep your answers to yourself.
Sword of the Rightful King
Jane Yolen
351 pages; published 2003

"I am careful with everyone," Arthur said. "It is part of what High King is all about, being careful. I am careful because everyone - even you, my dear brother - would be king in my place."

Kay had the grace to look embarrassed and once again blushed red. "Not I, Arthur," he said, but they both knew it was a lie.

"Everyone wants the throne," Arthur repeated and walked back up the steps to the high wooden seat. He sat down on it heavily [...] "Everyone wants it but me." (p 45)

Everyone knows the story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Everyone knows of noble Arthur, beloved king of Camelot. And everyone knows of Merlin, his ancient and wise advisor. There has, of course, been countless books and films on the subject. Jane Yolen's YA novel, however, doesn't merely retell the legend, but recreates it.
Young Arthur, barely 23 years of age, is the High King of Britain, so titled because of the power and influence of the man who put im there, his advisor and former tutor Merlinnus. However, he is far from the figure found in Arthurian legend. While kind, generous, and a natural-born leader, he does not have the confidence and support required to make him the great king he has the potential to be. His place in this position is, if not widely protested then at least widely questioned - by everyone including even himself.
His greatest rival and contender for the throne is Morgeuse, the North Queen, who desperately desires to rule through one of her one sons. When she sends four of her sons to court, including the upstanding Gawain and his aggressive brother Agravaine, their arrival coincides with several other arrivals: firstly, the rumour of as assassin coming to remove Arthur from the throne, and secondly, a young boy, Gawan, whose suspiscious intelligence and unknown background cause Merlin to keep him close to himself.
Deciding that the best thing to do the face of such uncertainty is to solidify Arthur's claim on the throne once and for all, Merlinnus sets about to do just this. His plan includes the removal of a sword, Caliburnus, from a strategically placed bit of stone. But will it be enough? Will the people accept Arthur as the rightful king?
I quite enjoyed the careful reworking of the well-known legend. It was just a careful shifting of the story, seeing everything in just a slightly different position. While enjoyable throughout, however, the story itself wasn't terribly exciting. It was more Gawan's story than Arthur's and the biggest mystery was in trying to decern Gawan's background. I'd recommend it to a fan of Arthurian legend, but for a newbie I'd probably recommend something a little more mainstream. 3.5/5

Other Reviews
Have you written a review for this book? I would love to include it, comment below and I'll add your link!

Quote of the Day: Wednesday

My way of celebrating Book Blogger Week. Guess each day's quote and maybe win a prize!

See here for more information.

"Why, she's a liar to the end! Where is she? Not there - not in heaven - not perished - where? Oh! you said you cared nothing for my sufferings! And I pray one prayer - I repeat it till my tongue stiffens - [name removed], may you not rest, as long as I am living! You said I killed you - haunt me, then! The murdered do haunt their murderers, I believe - I know that ghosts have wandered on earth. Be with me always - take any form - drive me mad! only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! it is unutterable! I cannot live without my live! I cannot live without my soul!"

NOTE: It would be great if you could email me at rebeccajohnson47@gmail.com with your answers (though, please, feel free to comment below) so as to keep your answers to yourself.

Teaser Tuesday (Sept. 16)

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!
  • Please avoid spoilers!

Everything you do is intentional. Even if your tray trips over and you spill your entire lunch all over yourself, remember: You meant to do that. (p. 21)

When It Happens. Susan Colasanti.

First thing I did was steal a body...

A.M. Jenkins218 pages; published 2007
I don't like the term "demon". It carries quite a bit of negativity with it. It implies a pointy tail and cloven hooves. I prefer the term "fallen angel". That is, indeed, what we are. The difference between us and the angels who didn't fall from grace is that the Unfallen were, are, and always will be faithful, stalwart, and obedient. That is their nature, just as it is their nature to rejoice in worship and contemplation of the vastness of the Creator's perfection. We, the Fallen, wondered, questioned, confronted, eventually demanded, and in general, pushed the edges of the envelope until the envelope burst.

[...] the Unfallen don't hang out with us peons much anymore.

I've never really liked those guys. (p 9/10)

Kiriel is one of the Fallen, one of the angels who supported Satan in his uprising. But after spending millenia in the bowels of Hell, reflecting the sorrows of the sinners under his jurisdiction while living out his own eternal punishment, things have become a little stale and he decides to take a little vacation.

In order to take this vacation, Kiriel hijacks the body of the unassuming Shaun seconds before he dies - Kiriel thinks this perfectly acceptable, after all, he was going to die anyway, and his possession merely eliminated much of the pain the boy would have felt anyway. Taking over his body, however, also means taking over his life and Kiriel finds himself immersed in the sensations and emotions of human life - and more specifically, the world of a seventeen year old.

Kiriel knows that his 'vacation' won't go unnoticed forever though - it is, after all, completely against the rules - but he intends to enjoy it for as long as 'humanly' possible.
angeloftheLord: Kiriel, you are trespassing in direct contravention of the Creator's wishes. This is a warning: Return to your duties or you will be punished.

All the warmth had left my fingertips.
trojanxxl: who is this?

angeloftheLord: You must return to your duties immediately.
An eternity of wishing to speak directly to my Creator, I thought in despair - and this is how He finally contacts me? Through AOL Instant Messenger? (p 97/8)

While I loved the premise of the novel, and found it cute funny in places, I did have my issues with it. For instance, it took less than twenty pages for Kiriel to turn to his first major exploration of humanity: masturbation. This leads into his central (not only, but major) quest for the novel: sex. He sets his sights on one girl and pursues her for the entirely with little (some but not much) regard for the reality of the situation or the fact that this is a real person he's trying to catch here. Perhaps this would appeal more to a male, seventeen-year-old audience, but, for me, it had quite a large negative impact on what should have been a good book.

That said, however, it did have it's redeeming qualities. The presentation of Kiriel as a fallen angel (as opposed to a 'demon') who, despite his backing of Satan ("The Boss"), sincerly and desperately wishes to retain the communication with, and love of, God ("The Creator") was both fascinating and moving. Similarly, the unrecognised acts of redemption Kiriel undertakes during his illicit 'vacation' are quite touching.

It was an okay book - shifting to quite good in places - but overall I feel that the story had the potential to be much better than it was. 2.5/5

Other Reviews
Have you written a review for this book? I would love to link to it, comment below and I'll add your link!

Quote of the Day: Tuesday

My way of celebrating Book Blogger Week. Guess each day's quote and maybe win a prize!

See here for more information.

People who claim that they're evil are usually no worse than the rest of us ... It's people who claim that they're good, or anyway better than the rest of us, that you have to be wary of.

NOTE: It would be great if you could email me at rebeccajohnson47@gmail.com with your answers (though, please, feel free to comment below) so as to keep your answers to yourself.

Quote of the Day: Monday

My way of celebrating Book Blogger Week. Guess each day's quote and maybe win a prize!

See here for more information.

That was a memorable day to me, for it made great changes in me. But it is the same with any life. Imagine one selected day out of it, and think how different its course would have been. Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link one memorable day.

NOTE: It would be great if you could email me at rebeccajohnson47@gmail.com with your answers (though, please, feel free to comment below) so as to keep your answers to yourself.

Weekly Geeks 17

This week's Weekly Geeks is an ongoing one in celebration of Book Bloggers Week. Our task is to post a 'Quote of the Day' for the entire week.
I'm still pretty new to the wonderful world of book-blogging, and, while I was eager to participate in Book Blogger's Week, I didn't really know where to start. Luckily for me, WG has given me a great opportunity to play along.
I've decided to pull out some of my favourite passages from books ... but I'm not going to tell you what they are from. Play along at home and I'll give the person who gets the most right at the end of the week, a prize.*
So I hope you enjoy some of my favourite passages! Check back next Sunday for the answers.
When I am out there, in time, I am inverted, changed into a desperate version of myself. I become a thief, a vagrant, an animal who runs and hides. I startle old women and amaze children. I am a trick, an illusion of the highest order, so incredible that I am actually true.
*I'm thinking a shiny new bookmark.
NOTE: It would be great if you could email me at rebeccajohnson47@gmail.com with your answers (though, please, feel free to comment below) so as to keep your answers to yourself. Thanks!

Weekly Geek #16

Last week's Weekly Geek required us to pair up and interview a partner on a book we were reading and then post both interviews.

I had a great time interviewing Gautami about the novel she is currently reading, Novel About My Wife by Emily Perkins. Below is her interview, as well as my interview on Charlaine Harris' Dead Until Dark.


What was it that made you pick up this novel in the first place? I personally find the title to be quite intriguing; did this play a part?
I did not pick it up. It is gift from a friend of mine who lives in UK. He knows about my love of books and gifted it to me along with a few others. Yes, the title intrigued me! The protagonist is writing a novel about his wife, in flashbacks.

For those not in the know, why don't you give us a brief run-down of the novel so far.
It is about being married, the intricacies of it, the intimacy of it. Tom is very much in love with his wife, Ann, who is pregnant. They move to a new house and she sees a man stalking her. Is he real or just an imagination of her mind?

This novel is told through the narrative perspective of the character Tom, a bitter, middle-aged man (who is, obviously, telling the 'novel about [his] wife'). Do you find Tom to be an interesting character? Is his voice compelling?
Tom is not bitter. He is very much in love with his wife. Yes, I found Tom interesting, his thoughts compelling. One continuously needs to know his thoughts about Ann, their relationship and their friends.

What do you think of Perkins' writing? How would you describe it to someone who has not read her work before?
Perkins has a way with words. Her writing has many layers to it. I found the novel almost surreal and mystical at places. Intense too. I couldn't put it down after halfway through.

I've seen it written that Perkins "writes brilliantly about dismal people". In your reading of this novel, would you agree with that assessment?
In a way, she does. However, she makes those dismal people likeable and endearing. That drew me into the novel as soon as I started reading it.

They always say you should never judge a book by it's cover, but what the hey, what are your thoughts on the cover of Novel About My Wife?
I think I would have picked it up for the cover and the title. I found those arresting.

Would you recomend this book to others (why/why not)? If so, to what audience would you present it to?
Yes, I would. For couples. Who are in the verge of a relationship or committed to each other. Also to single persons who need to know the finer nuances of marriage, love, relationships and the feelings and emotions that go with it. Understanding is another aspect of it. Frankly I liked reading it.


Tell me something about the author. Have you read a lot of her books?
I've never actually read anything by Charlaine Harris before, nor had I heard of her before I picked up the book in the library (naturally one right smack-back in the middle of the series). She's written several other series, but this is the first series of hers I've really looked into.

Did you like the book?
I did, actually; I quite enjoyed it. I didn't really know what the series was about before I started reading - only that, in the world of Sookie Stackhouse, vampires were 'out' and trying to live an ordinary life. With the spate of vampire fiction currently available (most of which I find to be hit-and-miss), I was suprised at how original the story was.

Sookie can read minds. In what way?
Sookie was born with the gift of telepathy. There was no radio-active spider involved, nor any strange and unusual lineage - she just can. After living through an early childhood of parental disbelief and many therapy sessions she (after her parents' death) comes to live with her sympathetic grandmother in, it turns out, a much cookier town. Sookie doesn't advertise her gift, in fact she goes out of her way to block out the constant thoughts of others (her family, her friends, her co-workers), living with the endless strain of maintaining these blocks ... until the day she meets Bill, a vampire, whose mind is peacefully silent.

Is Sookie a lovable character?
I'm not so sure I'd go as far as 'lovable' - though she is certainly likeable and you do really feel for her at times; her life is far from easy. Sookie is strange enough to always be interesting, but normal enough to be relatable. At the end of the day, however, there were other characters in the book that I found to be more loveable.

Are vampires interesting characters? Did you like Bill? Why or why not?
The vampires in this book (series) are VERY interesting - I don't think I've seen vampires presented in such a manner before.

As I mentioned, vampires have come "out of the closet" - their identity has been made public (thought they are maintaining the more palatable line of having contracted a 'disease' rather than actually being dead), and they are adjusting to a normal way of life ... and the normal way of life is adjusting to them. Bars and restaurants are stocking synthetic blood and vamps are getting their own little following - everything from specialist prostitutes to a roaring business in the nightclub scene.

Some aspects of the vampires (even the 'good' vamps), however, are more traditional. Bill for instance is quite the gentleman, despite his associations with more intimidating vampires. You couldn't help but like Bill. For a vampire, he was just an all-around nice guy.

What did you like about the book?
I liked the book's sense of humour and fun - specifically in places where Sookie peppered Bill with questions about what it's like as a vampire ("Do you have a phone... do you shave ... do you watch TV?"). But mostly I liked the unique yet up-front approach: yes there are vampires, yes she can read minds, why? well because it makes a good story, that's why.

What did you hate about the book?
I did feel in time that the writing was a bit weighed down, as if I had to occasionally wade through a heavy paragraph to get back to the story. Having said that however, it by no means stopped me from enjoying the novel as a whole, nor would it prevent me from recommending it.

Can you tell us an interesting episode?
Hmmm ... there are so many interesting little parts, but what to tell that wouldn't give something away. Okay. Well, at one point Bill arranges for Sookie have a bodyguard watch her and her house while he's out of town for a few days. This bodyguard is a very strange vamp (there was a problem with his transformation) ... and he is somewhat familiar. Might have something to do with his Graceland t-shirt, and oh, that voice. Don't mention his name though, he goes by "Bubba".

How do you rate it? And why?
I'd give it a four out of five stars - I really enjoyed it and am very much looking forward to getting the next in the series. There were just a few little things that stopped it from being perfect.

I have never read any Vampire books. Is Charlaine Harriss a good author to start the genre?
I think it's a nice place to start. It's a nice easy read, not too heavy on the horror or the horror of vampire myths, and you're guaranteed a few laughs. I've not read a lot of vampire books myself, but if you're looking for an in to the genre without going down the currently rampant path of the Twilight series, then this would be a good bet.

Other Reviews
Have you written a review for either of these book? I would love to incude it, comment below and I'll add your link!
Almost Forever
Maria Testa
69 pages; published 2003

The four of us
with other families,
we all gathered
in a building
on the Army base,
all in a special room
set aside
for saying goodbye.

One year
is not
such a long time,
Daddy said,
kneeling on one knee
in front of me,
my shoulders.

In one year, Baby
you'll be in
second grade,
not first,
and you'll be
seven years old,
not six,
and then
I'll be home.
One year
is not
such a long time.

I did not
tell Daddy
that he was wrong -
that second grade
was half a hallway
and a whole world
away from first,
that seven
was everything
six was not,
and that one year
was forever.

There are literally hundreds of war books told through the voice of the soldier. Almost Forever, however, speaks through the unique (to me at least) voice of the soldier's child.

The innocent, six-year-old narrator watches as her father, a doctor, goes off to fight in Vietnam. Far from the horrors her father is undoubtedly witnessing, his young daughter is dealing with the impact the war has had on her and her family back home: moving house, letters from her father, seeing her mother cry, and, worst of all, starting to forget what her father really looks like.
This book is told entirely through verse, short beautifully simple poems that convey both her sense of loss and hope to see her father again. 3/5

Other Reviews
Have you written a review for this book? I would love to include it, comment below and I'll add your link!
The Adoration of Jenna Fox
Mary E. Pearson
265 pages; published 2008

On the eighth day Father had to return to work in Boston. He and Mother whispered, but I still heard. Risky … have to get back … you’ll be fine. Before he left he cupped my face in both of his hands. “Little by little, Angel,” he said. “Be patient. Everything will come back. Over time all the connections will be made.” I think my gait is normal now. My memory is not. I don’t remember my mother, my father, or Lily. I don’t remember that I once lived in Boston. I don’t remember Jenna Fox.

Father says it will come in time. “Time heals,” he says.

I don’t tell him that I don’t know what time is. (7)

Her mother gave her a box of discs, all labeled. Jenna Fox/Year One ... Year Two ... Year Sixteen. "Watch them," she suggests. "Maybe they'll help you remember."
That's the problem. Jenna doesn't remember. She doesn't remember her mother, her father, even herself. She doesn't remember why her grandmother seems to hate her and she doesn't remember the accident that left her in a coma for over a year. She doesn't remember anything at all. What's more, the little bits that are coming back to her piece by piece are leaving her with the awkward suspicion that something is not quite right.

There is something curious about where we live. Something curious about Father and his nightly phone calls with Mother. And certainly something curious about me. Why can I remember the details of the French Revolution but I can’t remember if I ever had a best friend? (12)

Why is she not allowed to leave the house? Why did they move from Boston to California? How did they time their move to her waking up so perfectly? And, if California is their new home, why does her father spend all his time in Boston, keeping his job at the large bio-engineering research hospital?

What aren't they telling her? What doesn't she remember? 4/5

Also Reviewed Here

Have you written a review for this book? I would love to include it, comment below and I'll add your link!
Life As We Knew It
Susan Pfeffer
339 pages; published 2006

Sometimes I think about how things used to be. I’d never been anyplace, not really. Florida once and Boston and New York City and Washington and Montreal and that was it. I’d dream of Paris, of London, of Tokyo. I wanted to go to South America, to Africa. I always assumed I could someday.

But my world keeps getting smaller and smaller. No school. No pond. No town. No bedroom. Now I don’t even have the view out the windows.
I feel myself shrivelling along with my world, getting smaller and harder. I’m turning into a rock, and in some ways that’s good, because rocks last for ever.
But if this is how I’m going to last for ever, then I don’t want to. (237)

When astromers start talking excitedly about an asteroid hitting the moon, sixteen-year-old Miranda sees it as little more than an opportunity for her teachers to pile on extra homework. Sure, it's not everyday you can the moon being hit with the naked eye, but at the end of the day she'd much rather be watching TV or reading posts on her favourite online message board.

What the astronomers don't anticipate, however, is that the asteroid is much denser than originally thought, dense enough to actually knock the moon slightly out of orbit. Suddenly the moon is playing havoc with Earth's tides, resulting in wipe-out level tidal waves, and the increase of it's gravitional pull is creating volcanoes where there never was before. Life as everyone knew it is over, and the Earth's population is in serious trouble.

I guess I always felt even if the world came to an end, McDonalds would still be open. (47)

Chronicling her family's struggles to survive in her diary, Miranda finds her life completely changed. Suddenly no access to internet or television isn't the problem. There is now no heat, no hot water, no phone. There is limited ways of cooking food - and that's if you have food in the first place, and then there's water to consider. Volcanic ash is covering the sky, making it near impossible for any amount of the sun's heat to get through.
Somehow it's harder to focus (though she gives it her all) on the regular teen things like keeping up your grades, dating, and arguing with your mother when you're wondering if you're going to be able to eat tomorrow, or, out of you and your two brothers, which is more likely to survive.
Life As We Knew It was an incredibly moving book; I found myself openly crying in several places, especially towards the end. Miranda's voice was just so real, so completely honest and the things she and the rest of her family have to deal with are just astounding. An excellent read. 4.5/5

Other Reviews
Have you written a review for this book? I would love to include it; comment below and I'll add your link!

Teaser Tuesday (Sept 9)

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!
  • Please avoid spoilers!

I watch her artificial fingers delicately bend and adjust around the bread just like they are real. I am aware of prosthetic devices, but I think this is the first time I have seen them so close. (75)

The Adoration of Jenna Fox - Mary E. Pearson (2008)

Challenge Update (September)

42 Challenge 9/42
A-Z Challenge 33/52
Initials Challenge 0/5
Arthurian Challenge 2/6
Mythopoeic Challenge 2/7
Book Awards Challenge 0/10
100+ Reading Challenge 64/100

Yep. I'm a little behind.

The end of the world...

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch
Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
383 pages; published 1990

"This isn't how I imagined it, chaps," said War. "I haven't been waiting for thousands of years just to fiddle around with bits of wire. It's not what you'd call dramatic. Albrecht Duerer didn't waste his time doing woodcuts of the Four Button-Pressers of the Apocalypse, I do know that." -- Armageddon delayed by technical difficulties

Never before has the Apocalypse been so funny. Forget fire and brimstone or Doomsday clocks, when the end of the world is being told by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman you know you're in for a strange ride.
The Anti-Christ has come to Earth. This means the end of the world - it has, after all, been foretold in the 'Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter' (sixteenth century witch and nutball). The final battle between Heaven and Hell will soon be waged and all of it will be brought to head by this one child.
Unfortunately for all involved, there's a slight mix up in the baby-switching operation and the child in question is just an ordinary child, whereas the Anti-Christ, the spawn of Satan himself, is sent off to the quiet little suburban town of Tadfield to live his days as a normal kid and all round rascal.
'Field agents' in this cosmic battle are the demon Crowley (formerly the more serpentine 'Crawley' - the reptilian temptor) and the angel Aziraphale. The pair have been monitoring ("messing with") the state of avairs on Earth - a touch a good here, a slew of evil there - since the beginning of time and, despite their inherent differences, have long since come to a kind of truce, even friendship. What's more, this friendship allows them to come to the reluctant opinion that, inspite of the Great Plan, in spite of the fact that their respective sides have been working towards this final showdown for millenia, well, they rather like Earth.
'We'll win, of course,' he said.
'You don't want that,' said the demon.
'Why not, pray?'
'...No salt, no eggs. No gravlax with dill sauce. No fascinating little restaurantswhere they know you. No Daily Telegraph crossword. No small antique shops. No bookshops, either. No interesting old editions. No -' Crowley scraped the bottom of Aziraphale's barrel of interests - 'Regency silver snuffboxes...'
'But after we win life will be better!' croaked the angel.
'But it won't be as interesting. Look, you know I'm right. You'd be as happy with a harp as I'd be with a pitchfork.' (47/8)
Putting a plan in motion to monitor the "Anti-Christ", to make sure his natural evil tendencies do not come out in full force, the pair are rather pleased with themselves ... until they lean that it has all been for naught. The Anti-Christ, one Adam Young, is still out there somewhere, the four horsemen (bikers) are riding and the Apocalypse is nigh.
Can Crowley and Aziraphale get there in time to stop it? Can they dodge paranoid witch hunters, aliens, and superiors from Hell (literally) and save the Earth before it's too late?
I normally avoid books written by two authors, I find that more often than not, the two voices jar against one another. But when I saw that Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman (two of my favourite authors) had paired up, I just couldn't resist. And I could not have been happier! Pratchett's outrageous humour was not suffocated but cushioned, enhanced, by Gaiman's rich detail; their two styles flowed together beautifully.
Good Omens was just the right amount of serious story telling and nutty commentary. Heartily recommended! 4.5/5

BTT: Peer Pressure

I was looking through books yesterday at the shops and saw all the Twilight books, which I know basically nothing about. What I do know is that I’m beginning to feel like I’m the *only* person who knows nothing about them.

Despite being almost broke and trying to save money, I almost bought the expensive book (Australian book prices are often completely nutty) just because I felt the need to be ‘up’ on what everyone else was reading.

Have you ever felt pressured to read something because ‘everyone else’ was reading it? Have you ever given in and read the book(s) in question or do you resist? If you are a reviewer, etc, do you feel it’s your duty to keep up on current trends?

Well, seeing as Twilight is currently sitting on the top of my tbr pile, I'm going to have to say 'yes' ... at least to some extent.
Do I feel pressured to read a book that is being raved about? No, I wouldn't say "pressured". However, it is very hard to form an opinion either way on the 'book of the moment' without having read it. If there is a book that I find coming up in conversation a lot - whether that be in person or online - I try to find a couple reviews of it to get a feel for the book before I buy it or go through all the hassle of tracking down a copy.
I am of the opinion, however, that if a book is receiving a lot of attention (whether that attention be positive or negative) then it is likely for a good reason and is probably worthy of a closer look. And being a person who likes to be able to have a good book conversation every once in a while, I do try to keep on top of some of the more popular books.
At the end of the day, if a book is being talked about a lot then I'm going to check it out, but there are far too many books that I want to read to waste time reading a book I'm not enjoying just because every one else is.

Dinotopia: A Land Apart from Time

James Gurney
168 pages; published 1992

Dinosaur eyes take in a wider field of view, blending in at the edges like a glass globe filled with water. Nothing is gray or drab or dull; rather they see swimming particles of colour, a moving mosaic of dancing coloured specks. As we would see a starscape in the night sky, they see a sparkling “lifescape” in the woods by day, a world teeming with life.

Some humans can see with dinosaur vision, Bix explained: artists, poets, and children. But for the rest of the us, as we grow older, the mammalian part of the brain clouds over the older reptilian part, and drains away a little of the glory. (106)

When I was little I read Swiss Family Robinson ... at least I assume I did. I don't remember actually reading it (the first time), only having known that I had. Whatever the circumstances, the story was one that fascinated me and stuck with me for a long, long time. The story of the shipwreck and having to find a way to live on a deserted island has been the basis of many (many) of my dreams over the years and there is always something about those types of stories that draw me in immediately.

The first book I remember reading (after the start of the fixation) that had the same idea was Dinotopia. I picked up in the primary school library and just feel in love with - but it was always one of those books that was, at the time, far too expensive to buy and has no become one that I actually enjoy tracking down and finding again when the mood strikes. Not having it on hand makes it a little more special.

Dinotopia is the fictional journal kept by Arthur Denison, a turn of the century scientist and explorer, when he and his son, Will, are shipwrecked on an island the world never knew: Dinotopia. In this fantastic world, humans and Dinosaurs ("Saurians") live together in harmony, in a beautifully cultured and fertile utopia.

The book covers their first year(s) on the island: their travels around the larger cities, their education of Dinotopian ways (first rule of Dinotopia: 'One raindrop raises the sea'), and mostly, their adjustment to this new and wonderful world. Young Will takes to it quite readily while Arthur, amazed at all he sees, maintains his distance a little longer, allowing the reader to see and read the book through his curious, yet steady voice.

Dinotopia is a joy to read, not only for the pure imagination of it's story but for Gurney's unbelievably beautiful illustrations that fill the book. These are images that you just want to fall into. If you haven't already read Dinotopia, it is one you must track down and read. I am very much looking forward to reading his latest book in the series. 5/5
The Betrayal of Bindy MacKenzie
Jaclyn Moriarty
465 pages, published 2006

My strategy is simple. First, I will contact the highest authority and expose the travesty, nay the crime, of Friendship and Development. Second, I will gradually decipher the true nature of each of the Venomous Seven, and will hold up a mirror to their souls. (The blood-curdling screams that will follow!) (It will do them good.) Third, I will attend the next Friendship and Development class and I will speak the truth. Words that have been left unsaid throughout my life will roll like a rich red carpet from my tongue!

I can scarcely wait. (13)

The Betrayal of Bindy MacKenzie is the third book in Jaclyn Moriarty's loose trilogy (preceeded/companioned by Feeling Sorry for Celia and Finding Cassie Crazy) and, I'd have to say, probably the best of the lot.

Bindy MacKenzie is most dedicated of students. She receives (unfailingly) the best grade on every assessment, she tops every class, and is even "generous" enough to offer study tips to her fellow classmates to help them along in their own studies even though, she admits to herself, it's not likely to help much.

Being as conscientious as she is, the inclusion of a new 'Friendship and Development' class to be run during her free (by that she means study) periods, is not well received - as she quite firmly (and repeatedly) inform the Board of Studies. Assigned to a group of students she would never normally socialise with - those she comes to refer to as the 'Venemous Seven' - Bindy is forced to come realise everyone's true perceptions of her. Strangely enough, not everyone seems to appreciate her generosity and dedication to the education of herself and her peers.

Then Bindy's world starts to fall apart. Suddenly she's not feeling herself (but she simply just doesn't have time to be ill), her grades start to slip, and her life is taken up by her revenge on, and later redemption with, her FAD group. But what is the cause of all this? Is someone out to get Bindy?

Jaclyn Moriarty's unusal narrative style always guarantees a fun read. Except this time, told almost entirely through the diary/memo/'philosophical musings' of the one character, Bindy MacKenzie, the reader is faced with the strange experience of reading the book through the voice of a character who, for most of the book, is entirely unlikeable. Bindy MacKenzie is short tempered, vindictive and somewhat arrogant; there are times when you just want to shake her ... but at the same time you can't help but want to read on. Gradually you are given further insights into her upbringing and environment that make you understand a little more how she has come to be how she is but even so, it's no real wonder that she has difficulty making friends. Overall a really enjoyable read - highly recommended, a must for Jaclyn Moriarty fans or those who enjoy unusual narrative. 4/5

Teaser Tuesday (Sept. 2)

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!
  • Please avoid spoilers!
All the calls were for Madame Tracey anyway and some were not intended for the ear of man; Newt had conscientiously answered the phone on his first dasy, listened carefully to the question, said 'Marks and Spencer's 100% Cotton Y-fronts, actually,' and had been left with a dead receiver. (178)
Good Omens - Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman (1990)