31 January 2010

Thoughts on Eclipse (Part II)

Please see my Thoughts on Eclipse (Part I) for the inspirations behind this post.

Caveat: I don't mean any disrespect to either the author or her work, so I apologise in advance if I cause offence - it is not my intention to do so. Also, I will admit to a conflict of interest - a preference (probably not the strongest word I could have chosen, but I'm sticking with it :) for Jacob (versus Edward), but I will attempt (attempt being the operative word mind :) to not let said preference influence my post...
So, earlier today I finished reading Eclipse. Ummmm. Where to start? I definitely enjoyed Eclipse more than Twilight, but perhaps not quite as much as New Moon. Since I waxed lyrical (if you can call it that :) on the first two-thirds of Eclipse yesterday, I will keep this post short and sweet. To that end, I have a confession. I cried...Yes, the ending (written from Jacob's POV) made me cry. Actually, it left me feeling like my heart had been ripped out and thrown away:
I could feel their worry in my head, try hard as I might to drown it in the sound of the wind and the forest. This was what I hated most - seeing myself through their eyes, worse now that their eyes were full of pity... If only I could stop hearing, stop seeing what they saw. My head was so crowded, but the only way to be alone again was to be human, and I couldn't stand the pain... If the silence in my head lasted, I would never go back. I wouldn't be the first one to choose this form over the other. Maybe, if I ran far enough away, I would never have to hear again...
I'm also still attempting to come to terms with the revelation that Bella is in love with Jacob and that he is also her soul mate:
'No.' Jacob shook his head. 'I'm exactly right for you, Bella. It would have been effortless for us - comfortable, easy as breathing. I was the natural path your life would have taken...' He stared into space for a moment, and I waited. 'If the world was the way it was supposed to be, if there were no monsters and no magic...'
But even so...he's not as much her soul mate as Edward?
He was my soul mate in that world - would have been my soul mate still if his claim had not been overshadowed by something stronger, something so strong that it could not exist in a rational world.
Was it out there for Jacob, too? Something that would trump a soul mate? I had to believe that it was.
Two futures, two soul mates...too much for any one person.
Two soul mates? *confused* And I still have the same question: why put Jacob through all of this? It's just seems so...unfair! Part of me doesn't want to pick up Breaking Dawn...and part of me wants to pick it up right now to find out what happens to Jacob. Yes, I'll admit it. I love Jacob *grin* So, should I read Breaking Dawn? And, if so, should I read it now or should I wait until I've seen Eclipse (the movie), which yes I'm already planning to go and see - THANK YOU Meredith for agreeing to see it with me!)

30 January 2010

Thoughts on Eclipse (Part I)

This post is inspired by Carolyn Crane's (The Thrillionth Page) 'Great Moments from Last Night's Reading' posts, Kati's (Katidom) post on Bound By Your Touch and Kris' (Kris 'n' Good Books) 'Maybe It's Me' posts!

Caveat: I don't mean any disrespect to either the author or her work, so I apologise in advance if I cause offence - it is not my intention to do so. Also, I will admit to a conflict of interest - a preference (probably not the strongest word I could have chosen, but I'm sticking with it :) for Jacob (versus Edward), but I will attempt (attempt being the operative word mind :) to not let said preference influence my post...
Your Honour, earlier this week I reached the halfway point of Eclipse (Stephanie Meyer), the third book in the Twilight series. Please note that I will be discussing details of a sensitive nature throughout my summation (translation: there will be spoilers for those of you who have avoided the Twilight phenomenon to date).

*deep breath* At the beginning of the book, Edward proves (the prosecution's case without them having to lift a finger) yet again that he is controlling:
I put my hand over his to hold it to his face. "I need to see Jacob'.
His eyes closed. 'No.'
He even went so far as to engage his sister (Alice) to 'kidnap' Bella to ensure that she did not visit Jacob. I will stipulate, however, that Bella has attempted to stand up for what she wants...to a point.

Further on, we reach a point of what can only be described as a moment of utter madness (which had me so riled when I read that that it was amazing I was coherent! Picture the scene if you will: Jacob expresses to Bella how he truly feels about her and then:
His lips crushed mine, stopping my protest. He kissed me angrily, roughly, his other hand gripping tight around the back of my neck, making escape impossible. I shoved against his chest with all my strength, but he didn't even seem to notice.
In all honesty it reads more like an assault than a kiss! No, I am not stipulating anything *glares at opposition counsel* This action is not characteristic of Jacob at all IMHO. Your honour, I submit that outside influence was imposed... Because why, if Stephenie Meyer (the author) had decided from the beginning that Bella would be with Edward, was the love triangle pursued? It is completely unnecessary. What is worse is that the implementation of said 'plot twist' requires Jacob to act out of character. I submit Evidence A (a line in New Moon, one that was screened in the trailer IMO):
I know what he did to you but Bella, I want you to know I will never hurt you.
Furthermore, it is common sense that if Jacob was meant to imprint on Bella then he would have done so already, ergo...why pursue Bella if it is not meant to be unless because of said outside influence? It is a conspiracy... (Well, OK, I might be going slightly off the deep end with that suggestion.) *gets off soap box*
So, for those of you who have read Eclipse - should I be worrying about the second half of the book?

27 January 2010

My New Toy

You may remember me mentioning that I planning on purchasing a multi-purpose device so that I could finally read eBooks somewhere other than on my computer. Well, all the pieces of the puzzle finally arrived yesterday, so I give you....my new toy!

Yes, I am now the proud owner of an iPhone. Yes, it's still all wrapped up - this weekend has been designated unwrapping and playing weekend *grin* I was planning on purchasing an iTouch, but a family member realized before Christmas that he hadn't actually given me a Christmas or birthday present for 3 years...not that it bothered me. Anyway, he decided to make up for it. That generous gift allowed me to stretch my budget to an iPhone, which was wise IMO since my current mobile phone is about to depart for shores unknown. (Yes, that is my story about why I purchased an extravagantly expensive item of technology and I'm sticking too it :) Plus...there are no eBook Readers available in New Zealand - I know, you'd think we were in the middle of nowhere. *looks at map* Well, geography isn't the point.

So, for those of you who own an iPhone or iTouch, what do I need to know? (Apart from everything :) And for those of you who own any type of eReader, where are the best places to go to purchase eBooks? *rubs hands with glee*

22 January 2010

Converted

Last year I was lucky enough to win a copy of Magic Bites (Ilona Andrews), the first book in the Kate Daniels series, from the lovely effervescent Shaymless Amyless of Shaymless Amyless' Thoughts on Books and Life. I was hesitant at picking the book up because UF heroines and I have a murky history...more often than not I finish a book feeling less. (I know, one shouldn't compare oneself to a UF heroine, but we all have bad habits *grin*) However, since I won this book I decided to (attempt to) be brave and read it. And...I really enjoyed it! I picked up the second book - Magic Burns - over the New Year. I love it when a book surprises me, when it turns my expectations upside down and inside out:

'I shouldn't have nagged', he said. 'I get like that sometimes.'
'It's okay'...I knew why he got like that. I'd seen him meticulously fold his clothes. His shave was perfect, his hair cut short, his nails clean and trimmed. I bet his room didn't have a single item out of place. When you live in chaos as a child, you strive to impose order over the world. Unfortunately, the world refuses to comply, so you have to settle for trying to control yourself, your habitat, and your friends.
That's me! Pretty much in a nutshell. I didn't expect such an insight - my bad for labelling where I should not have. It made me realise that in amongst the intricate plots, fascinating characters (am I the only one who loves Derek? I think not, although he's all mine! *cue evil laugh*) there is such depth and insight. And Kate...I love Kate. She feels realistic - all that time spent training to the detriment of all else? Because after all there are only so many hours in the day. (I'm going to tease this thread out over the weekend...I think there is a post in it somewhere *grin* I'm a post-hound :)

And I've just finished reading Magic Strikes (the third book) [OMG it's good!] and found this little gem:

All of my guilt, all of my worry, all the anxiety and pain and regret, everything I had carefully packaged and stuffed away into the deepest recesses of myself so I could function, all of it swelled into an unbearable pressure. I fought to contain it, but it was like trying to hold back the tide. A hint of relief was all it took. The flood burst through my defenses and drowned me.
So I simply had to let me fingers do the walking to determine if there was to be a fourth book (there is - Magic Bleeds) and as for what it is about...you can read all about it here! We wants it! Is it June yet? Me? A fan girl? Why ever would you think that?

So, have you been converted to a new author lately? A HUGE thank you to Shamyless Aymless for persevering in spite of my UF heroine block with this series - I so appreciate it! *happy dance*

Edited to correct the name of the title of the second book. Thank tabzyreads!

20 January 2010

Introducing...Me

Today is...well, today. And because today is today and because I finally found that which I was looking for (I'm cryptic today, aren't I *grin*), I would like to introduce...me:


Yes, this is me. The photo was taken approximately 6 years ago, in Amsterdam. (Yes, I went to see the tulip fields.) I am notoriously photo shy, so photos of me are few and far between, particularly of late. Saying that, my hair is approximately the same length as it is in the photo, and I am approximately the same weight...just six years older.

Anyway, I thought it was about time you were able to put a face to my name...although if you prefer to go on thinking of me in an amorphous manner, please be my guest *grin*

19 January 2010

Visiting

Earlier this month, the very lovely (and brave *grin*) Heidenkind of Heidenkind's Hideaway invited me to write a guest post (my very first) for her M/M Month. So, today, that's where I'll be. I'd love you to come by and visit!

11 January 2010

What Ya Watching?

Over the Christmas-New Year period my TV watching was rather eclectic to say the least. I finally watched the final episode of Season 3 of the Tudors. Cromwell did come to a rather nasty end, didn't he? *note to self: in the event that you are sentenced to death by decapitation, ensure that the headsman is sober*

I also watched the first 10 episodes of Season 1 of Fringe. I rather liked it, particularly Dr Walter Bishop and his relationship with his son Peter, and now have the rest of Season 1 to watch at some point (thanks to a rather lovely friend). I also watched the first 10 episodes of Season 1 of Stargate Universe. I like the premise and...Robert Carlyle's character - Dr Rush - is rather...intriguing. He is very absorbed in his work...rather like Dr Bishop...that's all I'm going to say about that *grin* I was, however, not amused about where Episode 10 finished...and I have to wait until February to find out what happens next! GRRR!

I then decided I need a fix of The West Wing and so have watched 10 of the final 11 episodes of Season 6 - the final episode is for tonight, along with Stargate Atlantis (which for some idiotic reason only know to itself the TV network moved from 7.30 PM on a Monday to 10.30 PM on a Sunday). Then I get to delve into Season 1 of Criminal Minds, which the lovely Starfire has lent me. I have been warned that it will likely spoil me for other like-minded shows. As long as it doesn't go the '21 Jump Street' route - away from actual cases and into the very lives of the actual characters. (It's the first show I recognized such a plot deviation in, hence the name *grin*) I don't mind bit of life intruding, but not to the detriment of the case/show. And I also hope that the characters aren't super characters that know everything about everything. CSI Miami and CSI NY both suffer from that IMO, and I find it very annoying.

I also heard a rumour on the radio this morning that the White House has confirmed that President Obama's State of the Union address won't clash with the first episode of the final season of Lost...

So, what ya watching?

08 January 2010

Sarah Monette

As I may have mentioned once or twice (OK, multiple times), Sarah Monette was one of my author discoveries in 2009. The first three books in the Doctrine of Labyrinths completely blew me away and I am eagerly anticipating the time when I can pick up (and devourread) the final book - Corambis. (I just need to write the review for The Mirador first *makes note to hurry up* I should so not make deals with myself, as I am a hard taskmaster!)

I have been informed (thank you Kerry and bookdaze for the heads up!) that Sarah Monette's next book (The Goblin Emperor [working title]) will be published by a new publisher (Tor) under a different name (Katherine Addison). The reason for this is detailed at Sarah Monette's LiveJournal, but suffice to say that the sales figures for the Doctrine of Labyrinths quartet were considered disappointing by Ace...and these figures are irrevocably associated with the Sarah Monette name. Hence, the new name *grin*

So, for those of you who liked Sarah Monette's Doctrine of Labyrinths, look out for a book by Katherine Addison! *makes HUGE note of name*

07 January 2010

Headspace

Earlier this week you may have noticed that I was reading Daughter of the Forest (Juliet Marillier). And then, all of sudden, you may have noticed that I wasn't. That's because Daughter of the Forest was a DNF *hangs head* And no, you didn't misread my post last year on Juliet Marillier in which I waxed lyrical (well, I tried anyway *grin*) on the wonder that was Heir to Sevenwaters. Let me see if I can try to explain.

Last September I wrote a post entitled It's Not You, It's Me, and in the case of Daughter of the Forest it most definitely is...me that is *grin* I was discussing the DNF state of Daughter of the Forest with one of my local librarians, who is a huge Juliet Marillier fan. I couldn't put my finger on why I reached Page 30 and then couldn't get any further. Her comment was that, to read Juliet Marillier, you have to be in the right headspace. And that got me to thinking. How many of the books that I enjoy are dependent on my 'headspace'? Usually, whatever book I pick is the next on my library hold list. But occasionally I chose something else because I just know I won't enjoy whatever is listed... The best example is when I'm down on myself. When that occurs, I just can't read UF with a kick-a*s heroine, particularly if she is feisty. The inevitable comparisons occur and I just feel more down on myself *grin* ATM I'm just all over the place (family, what else *SIGH*), and so the concentration required for Juliet Marillier's Daughter of the Forest is beyond me. Which is why I picked up the fifth Robyn Carr book (but more on that tomorrow). Daughter of the Forest is now back on my TBR list for when I'm feeling more myself.

So, how does your headspace affect what you read and when?

04 January 2010

Don't You Make My Brown Eyes Blue

Early last year the lovely Kati of Katidom wrote a wonderfully articulate post on plus-sized heroines...or the lack thereof....in romance novels. The post got me to thinking...not just about the lack of plus-sized heroines but also about how heroines appear to reflect (and yes, I'm generalizing) those traits currently considered (not quite sure by whom) fashionable rather than what actually is in the real world. For example, how many of the heroines you read about are slim? And how many have thick curly hair? But I think my biggest beef is with eye colour...

I was tempted to go back through all of the books I have read since January 2008 (when I seriously started reading romance novels) and tally the eye colour of each heroine to provide you with some measure of proof that I'm not completely mad. Unfortunately, I haven't had time, but if you can cast your mind back through your most recent reads...how many of the heroines had eyes of blue, green, grey or hazel and how many had brown eyes? Is brown a bad colour? (And no, I'm not talking about hazel with flecks of green, etc. but brown....just brown.)

If I believed every romance novel I read, all heroines would have curly hair and light-coloured eyes. As a gal with baby-fine (yeah, I have serious issues about my hair) brown hair and the dreaded brown eyes, my chances of a HEA are obviously seriously reduced *grin*

So, I guess what I'm asking is this: is it just me or is there a serious disparity between the incidence of various eye colours? And if this disparity does exist, does anyone know why? Or am I going to have to suck it up and keep reading about flawless aquamarine eyes etc.

02 January 2010

The M/M Romance Challenge 2010

Anesthezea of I Heart Paperbacks is hosting The M/M Romance Challenge 2010. Even though I discovered m/m romance last year, to date I have read very few novels in this subgenre - not having an eBook Reader really cramps one's style IMHO! However, I hope to have my grubby little hands on a multi-purpose device this time next week *rubs hands with glee* and so thought this challenge was right up my alley *grin* The rules are as follows:

1. Timeline: January 1st to December 31st 2010

2. Read five(5) or more m/m romances in 2010. There are 5 reading levels to choose from:
- Read 5 M/M Romances
- Read 10 M/M Romances
- Read 15 M/M Romances
- Read 20 M/M Romances
- Read 20+ M/M Romances

3. This challenge is for those who enjoy reading gay romances (also known as m/m or male/male romances) or those who are interested in starting. If you aren’t familiar with this genre, it consists of novels and stories where the main focus is the romantic relationship between the male protagonists.

4. You must be 18 years old or older to join.

5. You don’t have to select your books ahead of time. Even if you do, you can change your books as you go. Your books can crossover with other challenges.

6. You don’t need a blog to participate. You can comment on this post if you’d like to share a book list or reading pool.

7. Please create a post on your blog where you’ll be keeping track of your challenge reads and link back to this post so others can join in on the fun. If you use a 'Current Challenges' page, or something similar, you can link back from that page instead of creating an individual post.

8. You can use the large banner I’m using at the top of this post or you can use the smaller buttons I’ve provided below. Just copy the code provided. There’s no need to save the smaller buttons to your own server. (I have another large banner you can use here, if you’d like.)

9. You can join at anytime between now and the latter part of 2010. Just give yourself enough time to read your chosen amount of books.

10. Books chosen can be any length, subgenre, or format. eBooks, paperbacks, young adult books, audio books, and re-reads are all okay.

11. Once the challenge starts, a page will be created for everyone to post their reviews. Reviews are encouraged, but are entirely optional.

12. Prizes: Everyone who signs up for the challenge between now and January 31st will be eligible to win $15 in eBook Bucks from All Romance Ebooks!

I have decided to start small, and so will be aiming to read 5 M/M romance novels. We'll see how I go *grin*

Edited again to add: I have completed my initial task of reading 5 M/M romance novels and have met my next target of 10 M/M romance novels...so I guess now I'm aiming to read 15 M/M books this year!

To date I have read the following:

1. Fatal Shadows (Josh Lanyon)
2. A Dangerous Thing (Josh Lanyon)
3. The Hell You Say (Josh Lanyon)
4. Death Of A Pirate King (Josh Lanyon)
5. Give & Take (Anne Brooks)
6. The Darkest Tide (Josh Lanyon)
7. By Degrees (JB McDonald)
8. In the Rough (JB McDonald)
9. Control (Sean Michael)
10. Keeping Promise Rock (Amy Lane)
11. Tigers and Devils (Sean Kennedy)
12. Black Wade: The Wild Side of Love (Franze)
13. Hide Out (Katie Allen)
14. Cheating Chance (James Buchanan)
15. A Fostered Love (Cameron Dane)
16. Duck (Kim Dare)
17. Lord of the White Hell (Book I) [Ginn Hale]
18. Making Promises (Amy Lane)
19. Inland Empire (James Buchanan)
20. Go Fish (HT Murray)
21. All or Nothing (James Buchanan)
22. Hard Fall (James Buchanan)
23. Special Delivery (Heidi Cullinan)
24. His for the Holidays (Anthology)
25. Amongst the Living (Jordan Castillo Price)
26. Thaw (Jordan Castillo Price)
27. Criss Cross (Jordan Castillo Price)
28. Body and Soul (Jordan Castillo Price)
29. Secrets (Jordan Castillo Price)
30. Camp Hell (Jordan Castillo Price)

01 January 2010

The 2010 Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge

The 2010 Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge is being hosted by J. Kaye's Book Blog. The guidelines are as follows:

1. Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate.

2. There are four levels:

* The Mini: Check out and read 25 library books.

* Just My Size: Check out and read 50 library books.

* Stepping It Up: Check out and read 75 library books.

* Super Size Me: Check out and read 100 library books.

(Aim high. As long as you read 25 by the end of 2010, you are a winner.)

3. Audio, Re-reads, eBooks, YA, Young Reader – any book as long as it is checked out from the library count. Checked out like with a library card, not purchased at a library sale.

4. No need to list your books in advance. You may select books as you go. Even if you list them now, you can change the list if needed.

5. Crossovers from other reading challenges count.

6. Challenge begins January 1st thru December, 2010.

7. When you sign up, put the direct link to your post where your library books will be listed. Include the URL to the original post so that other viewers can find this fun challenge. If you’d prefer to put your list in the sidebar of your blog, please leave your viewers the link to the sign up page. Again, so viewers can join the challenge too.

8. You do NOT need to review your books. That is optional.

I have decided to sign up to read 50 library books (which is the same total as last year). To date, I have read the following library books:

1. Magic Burns (Ilona Andrews)
2. Second Chance Pass (Robyn Carr)
3. Magic Strikes (Ilona Andrews)
4. Murder for Christ's Mass (Maureen Ash)
5. Corambis (Sarah Monette)
6. Chalice (Robin McKinley)
7. Luck in the Shadows (Lynn Flewelling)
8. Miss Winthrope's Elopement (Christine Merrill)
9. Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: Guilty Pleasures, Volume 1 (Laurell K Hamilton)
10. Archangel's Kiss (Nalini Singh)
11. Mercy Thompson: HomeComing (Patricia Briggs)
12. In Golden Blood (Stephen Woodworth)
13. Kindred in Death (JD Robb)
14. Underground (Kat Richardson)
15. Flesh & Spirit (Carol Berg)
16. Breath & Bone (Carol Berg)
17. Lover Mine (JR Ward)
18. Shoot to Thrill (PJ Tracy)
19. Blaze of Memory (Nalini Singh)
20. Shalador's Lady (Anne Bishop)
21. Magic Bleeds (Ilona Andrews)
22. On the Edge (Ilona Andrews)
23. Vanished (Kat Richardson)
24. A Companion to Wolves (Sarah Monette & Elizabeth Bear)
25. Unfallen Dead (Mark Del Franco)
26. Fragile Eternity (Melissa Marr)
27. Ash (Malinda Lo)
28. Silver Borne (Patricia Briggs)
29. Stalking Darkness (Lynn Flewelling)
30. Sea Glass (Maria V Snyder)
31. Temptation Ridge (Robyn Carr)
32. A Matter of Class (Mary Balogh)
33. Traitor's Moon (Lynn Flewelling)
34. Rapscallion (James McGee)
35. Rosemary & Rue (Seanan McGuire)
36. His At Night (Sherry Thomas)
37. Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake (Sarah MacLean)
38. The Thief (Megan Whalen Turner)
39. Shroud of Dishonour (Maureen Ash)
40. Grand Conspiracy (Janny Wurts)