August 31, 2011

Guest Post "Book Buying Addictions and Other Weird Habits" by ComaCalm's Corner

Let's hear a round of applause for today's guest blogger, Vickie from ComaCalm's Corner. Vickie is a blogger from the UK who miraculously hasn't gone missing between her TBR piles ... then again, it might be only a matter of time!

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Hey guys! Some of you will have seen me around the blogosphere as I blog over at ComaCalm’s Corner. So today I’m going to talk about my rather extreme book addiction and other things!
My TBR pile may shock you. At the moment it’s currently at around 480 and unfortunately that doesn’t include ebooks or my piles of Goosebumps, Shivers and Point Horror. How did I let it get to that ungodly amount? Well… before I started book blogging last year I used to go through phases. I’d read books for around three months a year then get bored and move onto other things but I’d bought more books than I read so it slowly crept up. Now I’m having to try and read those books whilst reading the new ones coming in. It wouldn’t be so bad but I’m completely addicted to buying more books and I get more books a week than I read.

You can guarantee if I have money, I will spend it on books. American editions are my ultimate weakness, I love the feel of them. The smell of new books is amazing as I’m sure a lot of you will agree. I’m a book sniffing addict. I will pause halfway through reading a book just to smell the pages. Weird, but true. I was once reading in a train station when I realized this as I was trying my hardest not to just stick my head in the pages, which would look kinda weird. I have a favourite smell, which I call ‘Narnia’ – when I was a kid my aunt bought me a box set of Narnia books which had this really distinctive smell and after a while it faded - but you never really forget smell. I bought a box set of The Immortals books from Amazon and when I smelt them I loudly proclaimed ‘They smell like Narnia!’ much to my other half’s amusement. Even thinking about it now I want to pull one of the books off the shelf and smell it.

Back to book accumulating. I know I should slow it down but somehow I just can’t. I’ll be getting some money later in the month and I’ve already planned what I will be doing with it – I want to go to Manchester as they have an amazing American section which I plan to spend a lot of time in! I’m also on Read It Swap It which isn’t too bad as I’m getting rid of books at the same time as getting them. I’m also sent quite a few books by publishers.

AND THEN:

A few days ago, I worked out A SOLUTION! I will go to Manchester and buy way too many books BUT! That will be it. No more books for me… eBooks however…
My TBR doesn’t bother me, it’s the lack of space! So instead of buying a silly amount of tree books every month I will use the money to buy Kindle books to read (at some point). That way I’ll still get the satisfaction of buying books (or at least I’ll tell myself that it’s just as good -it’s not-) but there’s more space saved! Then I’ll buy real books when I’ve cleared some shelves! That does mean that I have to ban myself from Read It Swap It, and I’ll be selling the books instead and using the money for eBooks. But it will be worth it. It will. Right?

What is everyone else’s TBR piles like? Do you have any weird book habits?

August 30, 2011

Guest Post "Scottish Book Tour" by Ex Libris

Welcome everyone to the first stop of the Guest Blogger Days at The Book Garden!

Stella from Ex Libris will be entertaining you today. She's not only my blogging neighbor, seeing how Hungary is just around the corner of Austria, but jumped at the idea of a Scottish book tour right away as she has quite a soft spot for the country. So, while I will be walking the streets of Edinburgh today, Stella will introduce you to the literary side of Scotland ...

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Hey Everyone!

First of all I would like to thank Birgit for inviting me over and trusting me enough to take over her blog for a day. When I heard that Birgit was leaving for Scotland I was ecstatic for her, because I love Scotland and quite soon realized that since my enthusiasm for Scotland knows no bound, I should make use of my guest post and tell you more about this wonderful country and how I came to love it.


If you asked me how did my fascination with Scotland start I wouldn't be able to answer you. It happened a long time ago and so gradually that I don't remember the details. But what I remember with perfect clarity is what started it: books. I read a couple of books which first featured characters originating from Scotland, then stories set there. The obvious love and admiration of the authors for this country, its history, sights and people was palpable through the stories and I fell in love with Scotland, or at least how I imagined it to be based on my reading.

The first Scottish themed books I remember reading was Nora Robert's the MacGregors series, which remains one of my favourite ones to this day. Though the series is set in the 21st century and the family lives in the US, they somehow retained their love and emotional connection to Scotland.

Nora Roberts is wonderful in this aspect, this is how I became enamored of Ireland after her many Irish trilogies (went there, fell in love with Ireland and want to go back), but that's not the topic of today's post, so let's get back on track. She describes the places, the people in such a way, that not only does she capture the magic of these places but conveys it to the readers wonderfully.


Another set of books and author whose wonderful stories made me enamored with Scotland and Scottish heroes was the Highlander series by Monica McCarty.

Highlander Untamed: A Novel Highlander Unchained: A Novel Highlander Unmasked: A Novel

This series is what really started my love for historical romances and more specifically Scottish/Highlander novels. I loved that beside a dreamy hero (who is - besides being strong and virile and very handsome - warm-hearted gentle and compassionate), Monica McCarty spent time on developing secondary characters just as interesting and that besides the romantic storyline one got to experience a bit the Scottish rugged landscape of the Highlands.


But if I tell you about the books that made me fall in love with Scotland I absolutely must mention THE book. The one which is the alpha and omega of all the fantastic Scottish novels, and it is none other than Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series.

It is such an incredible story! It will suck you in and you will live and breath with the characters they are so real, they seem to step off the pages. If you haven't read this series yet, I urge you to do so, it is so much more than a romantic story, I'm sorry I can't do justice with my simple words, just trust me that you don't want to miss out on this incredible journey! (and don't let the number of pages scare you, the story will flow naturally and the pages will fly by)


So if you would like to get some literary introduction and go on a virtual tour of Scotland here are a few novels you could read (all are the first book of the series):

Cross Stitch (Outlander 1) The MacGregors: Serena ~ Caine: Playing The Odds\Tempting Fate The Secret Darkfever (Fever Series, Book 1) Highland Warrior: A Novel


And if you'd like to try out something different than historical romances:

The Crow Road by Iain Banks

Ian Rankin's detective Rebus books are set in Edinburgh and environs

Candace Robb has a series of crime novels set in Scotland at the time of Robert the Bruce

You can find more books connected to Scotland at either of these links:

Novels set in Scotland and Books from Scotland

After my literary love at first read of Scotland I finally went there two years ago and seeing everything in person, I wasn't disappointed in the least, I fell even harder. It is an incredibly beautiful and magical place! The old cities ooze history, they have such a palpable gothic and romantic atmosphere, then the countryside *dreamy sighs* Scotland's nature is breathtaking. It will steal your breath and make you speechless. You will fall in love with the little white sheeps on the green rolling hills, the ragged scenery, the sky clear lochs (lakes) and the castles (ruins) you will see everywhere.


I had a wonderful time in Scotland and plan on returning many times more, I would even like to go there for my honeymoon when I'll have one ;-)

I know that Birgit will have an amazing time and I hope she'll keep Scotland and fond memories of her time there in her heart. I can't imagine anyone going to Scotland and not falling under its charm. It is spellbinding. Who knows, maybe the little fairies who live on the Scottish hills are to blame for its magic... ;-)

Are there any novels you would recommend which are either connected to Scotland or are so evocative that when they read it they felt as if they were visiting that place?

You can find me at my blog Ex Libris, on Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads.

August 29, 2011

Guest Blogger Days

While you're reading these lines yours truly will be sitting on the plane to the UK looking forward to having a real good time checking out men in kilts and maybe do some sightseeing too. I could have sent my blog on vacation as well, but I honestly couldn't come up with a place my blog might want to travel to. This is a tranquil blog. It doesn't move much. Really. So I decided to do what every responsible-minded person should do while away ... I let others do the work for me!

Let's all pray for a moment that blogger won't crash or act up in any way while I'm away, because *gasp* I won't be online during the next two weeks. I hope the withdrawal symptoms won't kill me. The sight of my e-mail inbox probably will. I already had nightmares of finding thousands of e-mails upon return. No kidding. So let's pray that my inbox won't crash either.

And now, without further ado, what you may expect during the next two weeks!

Guest Blogger Schedule (spiced up with some reviews)

30.08. Scottish Book Tour by Ex Libris

31.08. Book Buying Addiction and Other Weird Habits by ComaCalm's Corner

01.09. Book Quiz by Rikki's Teleidoscope

02.09. The Bookworm by Amy's Fibro Thoughts

03.09. Book Buying Habits by Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf

04.09. Book Review of Journey Across The Four Seas (Veronica Li)

05.09. A Bookword Story by It's All About Books

06.09. What kind of holiday reader are you? by Leeswammes' Blog

07.09. Book Shots by Curiosity Killed the Bookworm

08.09. Original vs Translation by Miss Page-Turner's City of Books

09.09. What I Stashed in My Suitcase aka My Starcrossed Dream Cast by Badass Bookie

10.09. Answers to Book Quiz by Rikki's Teleidoscope

11.09. Book Review of That Day In September (Artie Van Why)

I hope you have as much fun with the guest posts by fellow bloggers as I had when I first read them. Make them all feel welcome here and don't forget to show them your love with a comment or two!

What am I saying? A comment or two? Nah ... let's not beat around the bush (there goes the tranquility in my book garden) because there will be a Guest Blogger Days Giveaway going on too!!

All you have to do is leave meaningful comments on as many of the guest posts as you like. This will give you up to ten entries! You may comment more than once on a particular blog post (especially in case a dialogue develops there), but it will only count as one entry!
Comments on this blog post or on reviews do not count, but are always appreciated!

Please make sure to leave your e-mail address (unless you have contact information on your blogger profile) with at least your first comment.

Now you probably want to know what you can win! Alrighty ... I'll be giving away a $10,00 Amazon GC (for those in the US) or a book of choice of up to $10,00 from The Book Depository (for international folks) to one of the commenters and to one of my wonderful guest bloggers too!
Obviously I'd like to spoil them all for agreeing on a guest post here, but I'll be spending enough money while on vacation, so "there can only be one". Like the Highlander? Scotland? Uhm. Anyone getting the joke? Oh well ...

Rules
Following my blog is no requirement, but greatly appreciated.
Open worldwide.

Winner
The giveaway is open from August 30th through September 17th. One guest blogger and one commenter will be picked through random.org in the following week and will then be contacted by e-mail as well as announced here on my blog. The winners will have 48 hours to respond and if he/she fails to do so I will draw a new winner.

August 28, 2011

Random Acts of Kindness - My August RAK

First let it be said I felt really touched about all the bookish goodness raining down on me this month. Not sure whether I can blame it on mentioning my upcoming birthday in early September or not. It is a random event after all. And now without further ado, here's what I received as early birthday presents from some lovely fellow RAKers ...

The first gal to completely take me by surprise was Amber from The Musings of Almybnenr who sent me The Forrest Of Hands And Teeth (Carrie Ryan). I honestly hadn't expected anyone to contact me that fast, only a day or two after signing up, but there she was, offering to send out a book.


Alexa from Pages of Forbidden Love spoiled me with The Iron King (Julie Kagawa). Everyone else seems to have already read the whole series, and there's me finally starting on book one. Better late then never!


And Rachael Huszar almost gave me a heart attack when she offered to send me all four books of the Mortal Instruments (Cassandra Clare). Her generosity literally left me speechless. Once again ... a huge THANK YOU!!!


And one more Rachel, namely Rachel from The Rest Is Still Unwritten, RAKed me back this month with Matched (Ally Condie).


That's still not all, because Shannon from Write to Read wanted to surprise me too. And surprise me she did. Not only did she pick Delirium (Lauren Oliver) which was one of my top three most wanted books, she even got me the Special Version with the gorgeous new cover.


And if you thought that this was it, you're wrong, because my dear Stella from Ex Libris insisted on spoiling me with Uglies (Scott Westerfeld) as a birthday present as well.


But let's not forget that I sent out some books myself. This time I wanted to send out non fiction books and you wouldn't believe how hard it was to find people who actually have non fiction on their wishlists!?

For Rikki from Rikki's Teleidoscope I picked A Week At The Airport (Alain de Botton) which I might eventually buy myself too as it intrigues me how someone would want to live at the airport for a week. Not to mention that I will be at Heathrow Airport myself tomorrow. Only for a few hours though. But I digress.


And Hannah from Once Upon A Time received the memoir A Tale Of Love And Darkness (Amos Oz).


Once again a big THANK YOU to Book Soulmates for hosting the Random Acts of Kindness event!!

In My Mailbox (13)

This will be my last IMM post for a while as I'll be on vacation. And I have to say it's a pretty sweet boot loot that made its way to me this week!

I already received Part 4 of the series and now the box with the first three books of the Mortal Instruments (Cassandra Clare) arrived thanks to super generous Rachael Huszar who decided to spoil me through RAK.

And the book Everything I Never Wanted To Be (Dina Kucera) which I won at Reading is Fashionable sat in my mailbox too.

Thanks to The Story Siren for hosting the IMM meme!

Books Aplenty - Vampires, anyone?

To be honest I didn't think I'd even get to do any reading these past few days, because of all the preparations for both my absence on my blog - Guest Blogger Days ahead *woot* - and getting everything ready for my vacation. Oddly enough I found some downtime (let's blame the heat) and ended up reading two books ... both are about vampires.

Anathema (K. A. Tucker) presented quite a unique combination of vampires, sorcerers, and parallel worlds. Add a bit of romance. And an ending with a twist (and the promise of a sequel). The right ingredients were there, yet some flaws dampened the reading experience a bit. First I found the whole rich-vampires thing was laid on too thickly. Secondly the author couldn't quite make up her mind about the "other world" were humans are extinct and vampires rule - not quite a second Earth, not really another dimension ... the descriptions felt inconsistent to me, then again, maybe my inner science fiction nerd needs to relax a bit as overall it's a real good book.

Betrayed (Morgan Rice) turned out to be more like an episode than a part of a series. It's safe to say that one should start reading with the first part (this being the third) to fully appreciate the story. While I did get an idea of what must have happened before, I felt I missed too much about previous events when I was suddenly thrown into the middle of vampire covens fighting and humans being "turned". Being a quick read only deepened the impression of it as more of an extended chapter of a novel and it makes me wonder why the author didn't just publish all four parts in one book. I'm not scared of books with more than 500 pages, really!

And now to what rolled in this week!

I received Predators of Darkness: Aftermath (Leonard D. Hilley) and All Hallows' Moon (SM Reine) for review by the authors.

Plus a free download (thanks to being a newsletter subscriber, so yes, sometimes it pays off to subscribe to those pesky things that clog your inbox) of The Bride Found (Tracey Jane Jackson).

Plus plus two more free downloads for filling out a BookSneeze survey recently - Plain Perfect (Beth Wiseman) and The Paradise War (Stephen R. Lawhead).

What's up next? My IMM post, of course ...

August 27, 2011

Pajama Musings - The No-Book Rule

This will come as quite a shocker to most of you, but ... wait for it ... I don't take any books with me on vacation. I just heard one very loud collective gasp from my devoted readership. And I can't blame anyone who might be questioning my sanity right now. But let me explain myself ...

When I was a kid I'd drag books with me where ever I went. No matter if it was solely an evening out or a full fledged two week vacation. Over the years though I slowly morphed from the devoted reader to the equally devoted traveler and somehow I always ended up being out and about all day long with literally no time to grab a book to read. Maybe you could blame it on the fact that I'm not the kind of gal who can spend a week just lounging at the beach or by the pool. This just isn't me. That's not to say I don't like to take a stroll on the beach or swim a lap or two in a pool, but generally I switch from adventures in reading to adventures in exploring when in a far away place.

Of course the transition wasn't all that smooth either. In the beginning I took at least one book with me, usually a small volume that didn't add too much extra weight to my luggage. I swear I did my best to warrant taking that book with me, but it soon turned out that I never read more than a few pages and it was just dead weight in my bag. Sad, I know. Especially seeing how hard it is to pass the time on a long distance flight. Those flights might be long and give you plenty of time to read, but (and there is always and inevitably a but) I can't enjoy reading in a loud and crowdy place where your seat gets constantly kicked by some screaming toddler behind you while at the same time the person in front of you takes a 9-hour-nap pushing their seat back so their head is almost on your lap. To answer your question, yes, I hate long distance flights. Well, maybe not the flights per se, more the fact that there are torture devices that are more comfortable than seats on an airplane, and the fact that there are other people on board, the most obnoxious ones usually sitting in my near vicinity, doesn't help much either. But I digress.

So I go by the No-Book Rule these days. I will often take a newspaper or maybe a magazine with me. Those don't demand the same kind of concentration a book would. I can just browse through them and dispose of them by the end of the flight. No dead weight in my bag, remember? Besides I know that if things really go bad, bad as in two weeks of snow storms in August (you never know, do you) where there will be a bit more downtime during my travel adventures, I can always head to a bookstore, inhale deeply and do some book shopping.

Do you read on vacation? Or are you more like myself and do all kinds of other things while traveling? Let me know.

August 26, 2011

The Others - Authors of the Bible

Ultimately, above the human authors, the Bible was written by God. Humanly speaking, the Bible was written by approximately 40 men of diverse backgrounds over the course of 1500 years. Today many scholars agree that very few of the books in the Bible are the work of the individuals whose names have been attached to them by tradition (a major exception being a number of the letters of Paul in the New Testament) and the majority have been heavily edited to the point where their original form and history of composition are today uncertain.

Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.
John 21:24-25

However, Moses is still seen as the sole author of the Pentateuch, or 5 books of Moses, which have been narrated directly to him, word for word, by God. And there are others who are most assumed by biblical scholars to be the authors of certain parts of the Bible. For example Ezra is seen as responsible for 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah; as well as Paul is viewed as the one writing Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon. Then, of course, Luke wrote Luke, and Matthew wrote Matthew, so obviously not all biblical authors were as busy as the formerly mentioned.

It really doesn't matter whether you look at the Bible from a solely religious angle or whether you just conceive it as a document of history or whether you take it as a literary work. The Bible is worth reading for all these reasons.
Maybe you want to kick it off with the Genesis (it never hurts to start on the first page) or go for the part that's nestled between the History books and the Prophets. I'm referring to the Wisdom books, such as the Psalms which are sometimes lovingly called the Hallmark section of the Bible, basically a collection of inspirational songs, prayers and poetry.
I cannot claim to have read the Bible in its entirety, yet I've read a fair share, and especially the Books of Genesis and Revelations hold quite a fascination for me ... historical, philosophical, and let's not forget the symbolism. Personally I think that anyone can gain a lot from reading The Book of Books, to strengthen your faith, to catch a glimpse of the past, or to simply enjoy a beautiful poem.

August 24, 2011

Beyond the Shelf - 30 Day Book Challenge

One of my Facebook friends has signed up to the 30 Day Movie Challenge a little while ago *friendly wave if he reads this* and it took me until Day 28 to realize that maybe, just maybe, there is a 30 Day Book Challenge too. Long story short - there really is!

This is how it works - you have to pick a book for each day, upload a picture of it on your profile page, and tag it so it will show up on the 30 Day Book Challenge fan page as well. Obviously the challenge is meant to take place on Facebook, but why not let the idea roam freely on your blog too?

If you are on Facebook yourself you will actually find several such challenge pages and lists vary slightly. So it's best to just pick the one that suits you better. Or maybe mix them up and draft your very own list. Either way, I know I'd have to ponder over each and every book for hours no matter which list I'd try to tackle, so I won't delight you with the books I'd choose, but give you time to mull over your own choices instead.

Here are the lists from the biggest 30 Day Book Challenge pages I found on Facebook.

Day 1: Favorite book
Day 2: Least favorite book
Day 3: Book that makes you laugh out loud
Day 4: Book that makes you cry
Day 5: Book you wish you could live in
Day 6: Favorite young adult book
Day 7: Book that you can quote/recite
Day 8: Book that scares you
Day 9: Book that makes you sick
Day 10: Book that changed your life
Day 11: Book from your favorite author
Day 12: Book that is most like your life
Day 13: Book whose main character is most like you
Day 14: Book whose main character you want to marry
Day 15: First “chapter book” you can remember reading as a child
Day 16: Longest book you’ve read
Day 17: Shortest book you’ve read
Day 18: Book you’re most embarrassed to say you like
Day 19: Book that turned you on
Day 20: Book you’ve read the most number of times
Day 21: Favorite picture book from childhood
Day 22: Book you plan to read next
Day 23: Book you tell people you’ve read, but haven’t (or haven’t actually finished)
Day 24: Book that contains your favorite scene
Day 25: Favorite book you read in school
Day 26: Favorite nonfiction book
Day 27: Favorite fiction book
Day 28: Last book you read
Day 29: Book you’re currently reading
Day 30: Favorite coffee table book

Day 01 - Your favorite book
Day 02 - Least favorite book
Day 03 - A book that completely surprised you (bad/good)
Day 04 - A book that reminds you of home
Day 05 - A non-fiction book that you actually enjoyed
Day 06 - A book that makes you cry
Day 07 - A book that’s hard to read
Day 08 - An unpopular book you believe should be a best-seller
Day 09 - A book you’ve read more than once
Day 10 - The first novel you remember reading
Day 11 - The book that made you fall in love with reading
Day 12 - A book so emotionally draining you couldn’t complete it or had to set aside for a bit
Day 13 - Favorite childhood book
Day 14 - Book that should be on high school/college required reading list
Day 15 - Favorite book dealing with foreign culture
Day 16 - Favorite book turned movie
Day 17 - Book turned movie and completely desecrated
Day 18 - A book you can’t find on shelves anymore that you love
Day 19 - A book that changed your mind about a particular subject (non-fiction)
Day 20 - A book you would recommend to an ignorant/racist/closed minded person
Day 21 - A guilty pleasure book
Day 22 - Favorite series
Day 23 - Favorite romance novel
Day 24 - A book you later found out the author lied about
Day 25 - Favorite autobiographical/biographical book
Day 26 - A book you wish would be written
Day 27 - A book you would write if you had all the resources
Day 28 - A book you wish you never read
Day 29 - An author that you completely avoid/hate/won't read
Day 30 - An author that you will read whatever they put out

Feel inspired for the challenge? Then go for it!

August 23, 2011

Quote Garden - The earth laughs in flowers

Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.

Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.

I cannot remember the books I've read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.

If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.

Guard well your spare moments. They are like uncut diamonds. Discard them and their value will never be known. Improve them and they will become the brightest gems in a useful life.

By Ralph Waldo Emerson

We have a winner ...

Thanks to all who've participated in the giveaway for Paradise Lust (Brook Wilensky-Lanford) and once again a big thanks to Brook who was so generous to offer a copy of her book to one of my readers.

Seeing how there weren't too many entries I decided that I could do the good ol' drawing of paper slips out of a hat. Or more like flipping a coin.

And the winner is ...

Glenda Funk

E-mail is on the way and please get back to me within the next 48 hours!

Can't get enough of giveaways?
Starting August 29th you'll have the chance to participate in the Guest Blogger Days & Giveaway on my blog. See ya then!

August 22, 2011

A Writer's Life - Back pain

Every time someone mentions buying a new computer chair I am painfully reminded that I should do the same. In fact, I've been saying that for at least two years now. You see the chair that I'm currently sitting on is old. Really old. My grandpa bought it for me around the time I got my very first computer which, to give you an idea about the time line I'm talking about, was way back in 1995. Trust me, sixteen years are enough to leave an imprint of your butt in a computer chair that once was well padded and bouncy, while the padding has in the meantime succumbed to my derriere and is creaking and moaning like an old ship when I lean to one side or the other. I might be able to ignore the noise, but it's different with my back pain. Lately it seems that half an hour is enough to make me creak and moan as well when I get up again. Some might argue that it's me who turned older too, and rightly so, but let's face it, I at least am still well padded in all the right places and my own padding deserves to be seated on something comfy again. So it's bye bye to the old and in with the new!

This is what I'm thinking of ... a self adjusting ergonomic chair!

And this is what my budget allows ...

Either way, it's a painful writer's life with the current computer chair, so a new one is in order. I'll keep you posted!

August 21, 2011

Review - Promote Your Book (Patricia Fry)

Can books that claim to have tons of tips and tricks for you really help? I think Patricia Fry's Promote Your Book really can. I'm often weary of books like these as far too often there's either nothing really new to discover between the pages or the advice just isn't feasible.
From things you should do before your book even hits the shelves to creating your own author website, from soliciting book reviews to tapping into the library market, there is plenty of helpful material for the enterprising author to be found. Highly comprehensible, the book is engagingly written without ever being dry or boring, and apart from lots of advice it also provides interesting and helpful examples by published authors.
Books rarely (if ever) sell themselves if you just sit back and wait for some miracle to happen. If you're just about to publish your book, or even if you already have, you should definitely heed Patricia suggestions by choosing those activities that will work best for you personally.
Mostly aimed at self-published authors I believe that every writer can gain lots from reading this book. The only downside is that it's aimed at the American market, thus there are tips included which aren't always viable for people from other regions/countries.
For additional advice head over to www.matilijapress.com/publishingblog/ for a daily dose of Patricia's thoughts on book promotion and more news on writing and publishing.
In short: A great how-to for every author!

4/5 stars

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the NetGalley.com book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Review - Views From The Loft (Daniel Slager)

There have been plenty of authors who have contributed to the Loft Literary Center over the years and Daniel Slager presents the collected wisdom of it in Views From The Loft.
This anthology for writers is a pretty wild mix of interviews, articles, and essays (or shall I say musings) by a wide array of authors. While the subtitle of the book, A Portable Writer's Workshop, suggests that the book provides actual tips on writing, publishing, critique, etc. it only does so to a certain extent. I felt that it gives more insight into individual writer's minds than being a how-to manual. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but those who are just taking their first baby steps as writers will probably not be able to gain that much from reading the book.
Personally I enjoyed most of the book, though the diversity of the content is also a drawback. I realize that the Loft's mission has always been to reach readers and writers who care about the written word in all its possibilities, thus featuring a very broad spectrum of pieces. I would have preferred smaller volumes focusing, for example, solely on poetry, compared to the vast collection at hand.
All in all I found essays that were outstanding as well as interviews that bordered on boring, but this is something you always have to live with in anthologies, as personal tastes naturally differ.
In short: A worthwhile dip into the creative minds of authors!

3/5 stars

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the NetGalley.com book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

In My Mailbox (12)

Don't ya love it when the books keep on rolling in?

This week I received some more RAKs - Rachel from The Rest Is Still Unwritten sent me Matched (Ally Condie), Shannon from Write to Read surprised me with the gorgeous Special Edition of Delirium (Lauren Oliver) and Stella from Ex Libris got me Uglies (Scott Westerfeld). Add some more TBD bookmarks!

And because I just had to have it, I bought The Knowledge Of Good & Evil (Glenn Kleier). I've been waiting for the author to finally publish another novel for years and now it's here, yay!

Thanks to The Story Siren for hosting the IMM meme!

Books Aplenty - Read read read before I leave

Seeing how I will be going on vacation very soon I've tried to catch up with all my reviews lately and decided it won't hurt if I read other books from my TBR stacks too. I'd say I've been rather successful with my plan. Let's see ...

I started into the week with Journey Across The Four Seas (Veronica Li) which is a memoir she wrote about her Chinese mother who tried to escape poverty through education and wanted the same for her own children later on. The book is so multifaceted it's hard to summarize it all now, then again we are talking about a life, and Flora Li sure had an adventurous and hard one. I loved how the clear voice of the author's mother made the read not only a delight, but even more so how much insight she gives readers into life at the time (early/mid 20th century). Highly recommended even for those who dread memoirs!

Can books that claim to have tons of advice for you really help? I think Promote Your Book (Patricia Fry) really can. Before I start on how great this book is, let me cut this short and just say that my review will be up later today, so stick around for it.

For the weekend I went for some deliciously haunting reads. I picked the three books of the Tales Of Terror (Chris Priestley) series that I've won this spring and which have already started to gather dust. I know I know. The fate of many a books on my TBR piles. I hit it off with Uncle Montague's Tales Of Terror which actually was my favorite of the three, with good ol' uncle Montague telling scary tales to his nephew. Tales Of Terror From The Black Ship runs along the same lines, this time with stories of the creepy and seafaring kind, and the last one was Tales Of Terror From The Tunnel's Mouth where a boy finds company by a spooky narrator on a train. I realize the books of this series are actually aimed at a young audience, but I thoroughly enjoyed them as they are so intricately written, sort of a kids version of Edgar Allan Poe, and ultimately it was just like the kind of books I loved when I was a kid.

What is new?

You probably won't believe a word I'm saying, but I swear I didn't add any new books this week ... at least no eBooks *cough*.

Yep, IMM post is up next!

August 20, 2011

Pajama Musings - Evolution becomes Revolution

I really don't go to the cinema all that often. Of course the big screen beats your ordinary TV set every time, but on the downside ticket prices are ridiculously high and, even more so, most movies that come out these days are ... how to put it politely ... they are junk*.

But then there are those I really need to see and I can't just wait for the DVD to be available in stores. Seeing how I am a big fan of the original Planet Of The Apes movie of 1968, and lured in by the trailers on TV, I simply couldn't resist and had to invest some money in a cinema ticket to watch Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes.

Plenty of things could have gone wrong with this prequel and obviously we all know what must have happened before Charlton Heston found himself stranded on a planet ruled by apes, but I have to say this movie is fantastic. Not only are the motion capture effects that make monkeys out of humans awesome, I absolutely loved the nods to the original movie.

Get your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape.

Certain questions remain open and I really think that a sequel doesn't seem that far-fetched. In fact, I really really hope there's going to be one. A sequel to the prequel. Ha. But seriously, I sooo want to see Caesar again. And Maurice, the orangutan who, by the way, has been named after the actor who played Dr. Zaius in the original movie. Ah, the joy is all in the details ...

Anyone wondering what these movies have got to do with books? Alright, maybe you need to be a real fan to know this, but Planet Of The Apes is based on the book by Pierre Boulle, first published in 1963.


* My junk-theory found proof in the trailers they showed before the movie started. The first was for Aliens & Cowboys and while I do appreciate a good science fiction movie that one made me want to run away screaming. And who on earth needs yet another movie about the Three Musketeers!? If that would not be bad (or boring) enough, this version did not only get steampunked (emphasis on punked) it also features Milla Jovovich doing fight scenes a lot like the ones that Keanu Reeves did in The Matrix ... I just know that Alexandre Dumas must be rotating in his grave right now.

We have a winner ...

... in fact we have two lucky winners!

Before I let you in on who the lucky winners of the 500 Followers Giveaway are, I want to thank you all for participating. As always it's been fun to read your answers to my question and I'm glad that most of you use bookmarks and won't dog-ear your books ... though a selected few admitted to doing just that ... how could you!? Alright, I promised not to judge, but oh well.

And now, without further ado, I present to you the winners ...

scattered_laura @ Scattered Figments
Ally @ Snow Feathers


E-mails are on the way and please get back to me within the next 48 hours!

Didn't win? Don't despair.
Starting August 29th you'll have the chance to participate in the Guest Blogger Days & Giveaway on my blog. See ya then!