Friday, 22 July 2011

Review-On-A-Post-It Contest: the entries so far.

With a week to go, these are the attempts to win $30 by writing 30 words. See what you think, and if you want to have a try yourself, there's still time. Come and join in!

1. "Book Title: If I Stay
Author: Gayle Forman

In just one moment in time your whole life changes. Everyone you love is gone. Your body is now a hollow shell. Will memories and love keep her alive?"

by Beckie Voigts

2. "Small Blue Thing by S.C Ransom;
I found this book to be very romantic, but in a sort of tragic kind of way. I found it a tad slow at the beginning, but it got better!
by sarahseaturtle

3. "Ultraviolet by RJ Anderson

""I'm not really a neuroscience student. I'm a janitor""
""Oh ...""
""I'm also an alien.""
""Like ... illegal immigrant?.""
""No, from outer space.""
That's where the story lost me."

by Claudia Kruger

4. "Divergent by Veronica Roth
 Dystopian Chicago. Choose a faction, Candor (honest), Abnegation (selfless), Dauntless (brave), Amity (peaceful), Erudite (intelligent), change your life. Right or wrong. Tris and Four are Divergent, what are you? "
by Jules
5. "Hollowland by Amanda Hocking

Remy & co narrowly escape run-ins with zombies and random predators! This has it all - tons of action, suspense, emotion and a little romance, plus plenty of laughs."

Cindy H

6. "Title: Being. Author: T.R. Mousner
This book was amazing! Aliens, human nature, love, hate, faith and courage.  This author created this world in her book and sucked me right in! IT WAS AWESOME...READ IT!!"
7. "Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare:

A story set in gorgeous Victorian London, white gloved hands, secret glances and stolen moments. With proper and charming characters; but with the strong fierceness, blades and magic Shadowhunters have.

by Jude Henderson.

Full review: here...
8.  "Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky:
A classic on the nature of right and wrong. It's about a man's struggle to understand his place in the world after committing a murder. Grueling, but a great read. "
by Mick Theebs
9. "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

Upon finishing this book at promptly 9:52 p.m. last night, I realized exactly what I thought of it: It stunk up until page 770. Then it got really good. "

by Michaela Bean

10.  "Out Stealing Horses.  Per Petterson.  
Simply written with basic conjunctions such as 'and', the slow paced descriptions of life in a Norwegian Wood draw you in and then the 'real' story starts.  I recommend it."
by Fiona 
11. "The Shipping News" pulls your heart strings with a story of ill-placed love, displacement and return.  Chilly descriptions of the Newfoundland landscape contrast with the warmth of the characterisation.  Really loved it.

by Redge

12. "My review:Hex Hall by Racael Hawkins
Sophie Mercer thought that she was a normal teen. But after magic gone wrong Sophie is sent to Hex Hall. Now Sophie must uncover deep secrets about her and school."
by Patrick Castro
13. "Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl

This odd but humourous read comes from the seasoned wit of the inimitable children's author. The Three Little Pigs and other classics get a ""revolting"" makeover that doesn't disappoint. "

by Paul Miazga

14.  "Flow My Tears the Policeman Said by Philip K. Dick
A 1984ish future.  A protagonist with the emotional depth of oatmeal.  What’s going on?  All I remember is the line where a character “stops speaking to fart silently.”  Thanks, Philip."
By James Steele 
15. "Next" by Michael Crichton

Instead of research that benefits mankind, every scientist is skirting the legal system so they can make money and get more funding.  The moral of the story: scientists are evil."

by James Steele

16. "When We Were Real by William Barton
The author can’t finish a...  Well...  You see, he can’t finish... Well.  I’m sure you...  Right.  Great.  When there isn’t a vagina around, the whole book is like this."
by James Steele
17. "The Forbidden Game by L.J. Smith

I cried, was tense and afraid, yet there was sweetness there. I met Jenny and Julian, a prince of darkness as evil and terrifying as he was beautiful and compelling"

by Ter05

18. Wuthering Heights fascinates; the obsessive relationship between Heathcliff and Cathy reflected by the raw charge of the wild setting. ‘He’s more myself than I am’ – raises hairs on my neck.  
by Casper
19. "Bird By Bird. By Anne Lamott.

A concise writing guide colored by Lamott's unusual experiences, Bird by Bird belongs alongside Zinsser and Strunk & White on any serious writers bookshelf. "

by Christopher

20. "Game of Thrones: George R. R. Martin
 Incest, sex, betrayal, violence, war, love, family, honor, and a witty dwarf! What more could you need to make an amazing book? Nothing! A must-read!"
21. "Ebook - Essence by Diane Tolley.

Todd's scientist father has created 'Essence', which will turn anyone into the animal of their choice.
Now it's been stolen. Adventure ensues."

By Diane

22.  "The Glassman by Jocelyn Adams.
Fae realms, strong heroine, hot hero, amusing yet terrifying villain, and a rocket speed writing pace will drag you along for a magical and fantastical ride for the finish line."
 by J.A. Belfield
23. "City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Firecracker Clary Fray rips the glamour off New York’s underworld to rescue her enigmatic mother. Uncovered secrets reveal taboo snogging. Clare writes luscious romance, dynamite action but sickeningly wordy sentences. "

by Emma Madden




Monday, 11 July 2011

Kim Kardashian, Apes and Whales, and Cassandra Claire's Mortal Instruments

             Fake tan, hair spray, perfume, make up. This is how glamour is achieved in real life, but in stories, it's better. In stories glamour equals magic. The celebrities on the red carpet use their version of glamour to minimise the ordinary, maximise the extraordinary. They make run of the mill features beautiful, and turn beautiful faces otherworldly. It's a kind of real life magic. In contrast, in The Mortal Instruments, by Cassandra Claire, magical beings use glamour to make themselves seem ordinary, to make themselves seem exactly like the rest of us. Art imitating life, but in an opposite kind of a way.
             A while ago I wrote a post about the appeal - in children's literature - of portals (rabbit holes, wardrobes and suchlike) leading to magical worlds.  Now we come across a second kind of magical world, the kind that exists all around us and we just can't see it. I've just read Claire's 'City of Bones' and 'City of Ashes.'  In these a 17 year old girl learns that the world is full of witches, werewolves, vampires and elves, walking alongside us in magical disguise.
             The theme of this blog, recently anyway, has been looking at ideas in books and trying to understand why they work. The idea of glamour is fascinating, but I think a more important part of the story is the idea of different, intelligent species walking among us. What's the draw? I think it comes from the same desire for the real world to be BETTER, more interesting, more romantic that also drives the appeal of glamour.
             I liked the stories, though not so much as it's raving fans, because to me there's tons of magic to be learnt about the intelligence of creatures we really do share planet earth with. 

            And we shouldn't forget that we know far more about the minds of our furry relatives than we do about whales and dolphins. The biggest brain ever to have existed belongs to the sperm whale, and we know practically nothing about what it uses all that grey matter for, what philosophies fizz through it. I've written an entire novel of guessing...
            The other pull of these stories is the plotting, but by the end of the 2nd it had begun to drag. There's lots of it that I seemed to half recognise from Star Wars, Harry Potter, the Lord of the Rings and who knows where else. And the characters don't seem to move forwards as much as round in circles. It's very much a series, too, with not much ending to mark the movement from one book to the next. It seems fairly arbitrary.
            But if you're prepared to read all three, and you like the idea of hidden magic all around you, I recommend it. I also recommend finding out what whales and gorillas think, but that's likely to be a bit more tricky...
            If you like the stories more than me, why not review one of them in 30 words and enter it in my 'review-on-a-post-it' contest (see the button at the top of the sidebar).

Friday, 8 July 2011

Blog Hop

The theme of this weeks blog hop, from Crazy-for-Books, is a give away from somebody else's blog, so the one I'd like to highlight is Wicked Awesome Books, who are giving away a copy of The Near Witch and a stack of other wicked awesome literature. Check it out...
And also don't forget to check out my mini-review contest, fun AND profitable!