5 Books You Read In Heaven

life, fiction, and other such things

Migrating to Wordpress
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I finally did it.  I've moved to Wordpress.  You can now find me at http://booksinheaven.wordpress.com.

So long, LiveJournal.  It's been fun.

Random Awesome #9
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Random awesome link: http://bookshelfporn.com/

I love Bookshelf Porn!  It's a bibliophile's wet dream!  Check it out.  (It's totally safe for work lol.)

Random awesome covers:


It's book five of The Bloodhound Files by DD Barant!  Back from the Undead is expected to come out March 27, 2012, and I love how the cover goes along with book four's cover.  Book four, Better Off Undead, was released today, and I can't wait to read it!  I love this series!  It's creative, hilarious, and action-packed, with awesome characters.  I highly recommend these books for fans of urban fantasy.

Also, check out these awesome covers designed by Matt Roeser:

Aren't they cool?!  Go to mattroeser.com to see even more awesome book covers.


Random awesome video:



I loved the book One for the Money so much that I really hope they don't screw it up with a bad movie adaptation.  But this trailer gives me hope that it might actually be funny.  I don't know; I'll just have to see when it comes out.


Review: One Salt Sea (October Daye #5) by Seanan McGuire
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Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Publisher: Penguin (September 6, 2011)
How I got this book: Bought
Links: Amazon Goodreads

Blurb from Goodreads:

October "Toby" Daye is settling into her new role as Countess of Goldengreen. She's actually dating again, and she's taken on Quentin as her squire. So, of course, it's time for things to take a turn for the worse.

Someone has kidnapped the sons of the regent of the Undersea Duchy of Saltmist. To prevent a war between land and sea, Toby must find the missing boys and prove the Queen of the Mists was not behind their abduction. Toby's search will take her from the streets of San Francisco to the lands beneath the waves, and her deadline is firm: she must find the boys in three days' time, or all of the Mists will pay the price. But someone is determined to stop her-and whoever it is isn't playing by Oberon's Laws...

My rating: 4.5/5 Stars - Almost perfect. I highly recommend it.

Review:

Another excellent installment in the Toby Daye series.  As usual, the worldbuilding rocks my socks off.  Just when I was starting to feel comfortable with the world of Faerie, McGuire takes readers on an exploration of Undersea - yes, you guessed it, an entire Faerie kingdom in the ocean.  The sheer creativity of McGuire’s worldbuilding never ceases to amaze me!

The plot is unpredictable, and there’s never a dull moment for Toby & co. as they race to avert one crisis after another.  I’ve grown so fond of these characters, especially the Luidaeg.  In this book, we get to learn more about her past and see a more caring side of her, which only makes me love her more.  Toby also gets more layers of character development as she struggles to deal with her new abilities and self-identity.  But what’s even more interesting is Toby’s interactions with Cliff and Gillian, who we meet for the first time in this book.  This area of Toby’s life is painful and complicated and messy, but I was pleased to finally get answers to many of the nagging questions that I’ve had since book one.

As for the romantic subplot, Toby is still caught between two love interests (Tybalt still has my vote), but it’s clear that this conflict isn’t going to drag on forever.  One way or another, the romantic angle is going to be taking a new direction in subsequent books.  Regardless of what happens, I’m extremely grateful for this - the which-guy-should-I-choose subplot can become stale very quickly.

My one disappointment is that two of the story’s major conflicts come to a close much faster than I expected them to.  I wanted Toby to be the one to make certain decisions, but it ended up being other people who did the choosing for her, resulting in an abrupt resolution to a couple of Toby’s problems.  This isn’t really a criticism.  Toby had to let these people take control of their own lives, and their actions make sense in a satisfying, realistic way.  But, in both cases, I had hoped for something more.  I’m trying really hard not spoil anything here, so I’ll just say that if it weren’t for the incredibly painful aftermath of these resolutions, I might have felt like McGuire took the easy way out.

All in all, One Salt Sea is just as dark, depressing, and emotionally intense as its predecessors.  I loved it.  With great plots, characters, and worldbuilding, the Toby Daye books have climbed the ranks to become one of my favorite urban fantasy series.  I am already awaiting the next installment with much anticipation.

Reading Order:
Rosemary and Rue - read my review on Goodreads
A Local Habitation - read my review on Goodreads
An Artificial Night - read my review on Goodreads
Late Eclipses - read my review on Goodreads
One Salt Sea
Ashes of Honor - expected publication 2012
Chimes at Midnight - expected publication 2013

Also reviewed at:
Urban Fantasy Investigations - 4/5
Lurv a la Mode - 5/5
The Ranting Dragon - 4/5

Review: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (audiobook)
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Genre: Nonfiction
Format: Audiobook
Publisher: Penguin (January 30, 2007)
How I got this book: Library
Links: Amazon Goodreads

Blurb from Goodreads:

In her early thirties, Elizabeth Gilbert had everything a modern American woman was supposed to want--husband, country home, successful career--but instead of feeling happy and fulfilled, she felt consumed by panic and confusion. This wise and rapturous book is the story of how she left behind all these outward marks of success, and of what she found in their place. Following a divorce and a crushing depression, Gilbert set out to examine three different aspects of her nature, set against the backdrop of three different cultures: pleasure in Italy, devotion in India, and on the Indonesian island of Bali, a balance between worldly enjoyment and divine transcendence.

My rating: 3/5 Stars - It had its moments, but I had some significant problems with it.

Review:

As I listened to this book, my feelings alternated between pure enjoyment and total apathy.

The beginning drew me in with its raw emotion, making me sympathize deeply with Gilbert.  I even teared up a couple of times.  Though I can’t say that I have first-hand experience with torrid love affairs and divorce, Gilbert’s descriptions of her passionate, dysfunctional romance with David as well as the heartbreaking collapse and painful fallout from her marriage struck me as unerringly honest and realistic.  I felt like I completely understood what she was going through, and that made me root for her to find happiness.

As the book went on, I found myself enjoying Gilbert’s humorous, insightful anecdotes.  But there were also times when I simply couldn’t bring myself to care about whatever she was talking about.  I didn’t care that Gilbert grew up on a farm; I didn’t care about how much she wanted to get laid in Italy; I didn’t even really care about her spiritual journey.  Regarding this last bit, it seemed to me that Gilbert had already made up her mind about God before she went on this quest to find Him.  While she did have increasingly personal encounters with the divine, her ideas about God didn’t develop all that much, making that aspect of the book somewhat anti-climactic.  However, it was very interesting to learn more about the practice of yoga and the spiritual teachings of Hinduism.

As I said before, I do sympathize with Gilbert and I feel like I can relate to her on several levels.  But those sentiments are tempered by the negative impression she gives at certain points in the book.  At times she comes off like a total flake and - to be frank - a bit of a nut job.  I feel guilty for judging her like this, but if I’m being honest, I must acknowledge that my dislike of Gilbert’s personality did have a detrimental effect on my listening experience.

As far as the audiobook goes, I really love that it’s narrated by Gilbert herself.  It adds emotion and realism to the story.  Also, in the section about Italy, I think that being able to hear the Italian language being spoken provided a much richer experience than I would have gotten out of reading it.  This is a good book to listen to if you’re an audiobook person.

Overall, I really enjoyed large portions of the book, and I can see why so many people love it, yet I can’t say that it’s profound, life-changing, or one of the best books I’ve ever read.  Although Eat, Pray, Love is fun, mildly thought-provoking, and kept me hooked with moments of deep emotion and beautifully poetic language, it also has some fairly significant flaws that are probably going to be deal-breakers for a lot of readers.  Ultimately, all I can say is this: reading (or listening to) this type of book is such a subjective experience that the only way to know if you’ll love it or hate it is to give it a try.




Contest Alert: Alma Katsu's The Taker
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The awesome book blog Paperback Dolls is giving away three signed copies of Alma Katsu's debut novel The Taker!   This book has received such positive reviews that I can't wait to read it.  Check out the description from Goodreads below.


True love can last an eternity... but immortality comes at a price...


On the midnight shift at a hospital in rural Maine, Dr. Luke Findley is expecting another quiet evening of frostbite and the occasional domestic dispute. But the minute Lanore McIlvrae—Lanny—walks into his ER, she changes his life forever. A mysterious woman with a past and plenty of dark secrets, Lanny is unlike anyone Luke has ever met. He is inexplicably drawn to her... despite the fact that she is a murder suspect with a police escort. And as she begins to tell her story, a story of enduring love and consummate betrayal that transcends time and mortality, Luke finds himself utterly captivated.

Her impassioned account begins at the turn of the nineteenth century in the same small town of St. Andrew, Maine, back when it was a Puritan settlement. Consumed as a child by her love for the son of the town’s founder, Lanny will do anything to be with him forever. But the price she pays is steep—an immortal bond that chains her to a terrible fate for all eternity. And now, two centuries later, the key to her healing and her salvation lies with Dr. Luke Findley.

Part historical novel, part supernatural page-turner, The Taker is an unforgettable tale about the power of unrequited love not only to elevate and sustain, but also to blind and ultimately destroy, and how each of us is responsible for finding our own path to redemption.



Sounds great, right?!  If you would like a chance to win this book, head on over to Paperback Dolls and enter the giveaway.  Hurry, it ends October 1st.
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Bookish news #6
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Books to screen
The first trailer for the Hungers Games movie premiered at the MTV Video Music Awards!  Check it out:



Also, there is now a poster for One for the Money, the movie based on the first Stephanie Plum novel by Janet Evanovich.


The cast includes Katherine Heigl, John Leguizamo, and Debbie Reynolds. I really hope this movie is good because I love the early Stephanie Plum books with a passion!

Amazing book sculptures left as mysterious, anonymous gifts
These awesome creations have been popping up all over Edinburgh, and no one knows who made them.  This is one of my favorites:


Isn't it beautiful?  I think this is such a cool story!

The crap women authors have to deal with
Sci-Fi writer John Scalzi posted a very thought provoking piece on how women authors receive much more hateful comments, abuse, and threats than male authors.  I find this notion disgusting.  Has our society really not gotten past this yet?  And moreover, why are women still being treated as less than human?  This post by author Seanan McGuire only confirms what Scalzi is talking about, and it breaks my heart.  Author Jim C. Hines also has a really interesting and inspirational post on this topic.

On the other hand, it's good to know that this behavior isn't universal.  Author Ilona Andrews says that she doesn't get overwhelming amounts of hate mail, but she muses that it might be partly because she writes with her husband.

On a related note, author Kate Elliott has posted some interesting thoughts on what it means to be a female science fiction writer.  She says that if she could go back in time, she would publish her epic fanatsies under a male or gender neutral pen name.

In short, I am now depressed about the state of our culture.  I hope that if I have children, they won't grow up in a world where this shit still happens.

Agent asked author to "straighten" gay characters in YA
Oh joy, more news that sickens me.  This feels like the Wicked Pretty Things fiasco all over again, and people are saying pretty much the same thing as they did then. Here's some thoughtful commentary from Seanan McGuire as well as more detailed coverage from Dear Author and Katiebabs.  But I think it's John Scalzi who sums it up best when he says:

[T]here should be gay characters in YA because a) surprise, there are gay folks everywhere and b) in my opinion as a father, there’s not a damn thing wrong with my child encountering gay folks in her literature, because see point a).

Well said, Mr. Scalzi.

Covers!!!
Let's end on a happy note, and look at some pretty covers!


Sins of the Demon is the fourth book in Diana Rowland's Kara Gillian series, a unique blend of police procedural and urban fantasy that gets more addicting with each installment.  (Check out my four star reviews of books one, two, and three on Goodreads.)

I really like this cover's creepy, yet sexy, feel.  It was done by Don Dos Santos, who does AMAZING work.



And look!!!!  It's the cover for the sixth Chicagoland Vampires novel by Chloe Neill!  Book five comes out November 1st, and I cannot wait.  I love this series!  (By the way, there's still time to enter to win a Drink Deep ARC!)

I really like the title Biting Cold, and this cover is definitely one of the best in the series.  I am so impatient to read this book it's ridiculous.

That's all for now, folks.  I'll probably be posting some random awesomness this weekend, so look out for that.

Book Release: Chloe Neill's Drink Deep (and ARC contest!)
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The release of Chloe Neill's fifth Chicagoland Vampires novel, Drink Deep, is coming up on November 1st!  I cannot wait to read this book, especially after the twist ending in book four.  (Check out my four-star reviews of books one, two, three, and four on Goodreads.)  I highly recommend this series for fans of romantic urban fantasy.

Here's the cover and blurb for Drink Deep:

Clouds are brewing over Cadogan House, and recently turned vampire Merit can't tell if this is the darkness before the dawn or the calm before the storm. With the city itself in turmoil over paranormals and the state threatening to pass a paranormal registration act, times haven't been this precarious for vampires since they came out of the closet. If only they could lay low for a bit, and let the mortals calm down.

That's when the waters of Lake Michigan suddenly turn pitch black-and things really start getting ugly.

Chicago's mayor insists it's nothing to worry about, but Merit knows only the darkest magic could have woven a spell powerful enough to change the very fabric of nature. She'll have to turn to friends old and new to find out who's behind this, and stop them before it's too late for vampires and humans alike.


Want to win an ARC of Drink Deep?  Visit Chloe Neill's website to find out how to enter the contest.  Hurry, the giveaway ends October 1st.

Contest Alert: Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus
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The Qwillery has just posted an interview with Erin Morgenstern and a giveaway of her debut novel The Night Circus.  This book has receieved so many glowing reviews that I can't wait to read it.  Click here to find out how to win.  The contest ends September 23rd.



Contest Alert: Chloe Neill's Drink Deep
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Exciting news!  Dark Faerie Tales and Parajunkee are hosting a special event called Supernatural Smack Down!  There's tons of awesome prizes, character inerviews, and more.  Today they're giving away a copy of Drink Deep, the fifth book in Chloe Neill's amazing Chicagoland Vampires series.  Click the image below to vote for Merit in the Supernatural Smack Down and find out how to enter the giveaway.  (Ends October 7th.)


Stuck on the second book
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Have you ever read the first book in a series and loved it, but somehow you never manage to read the rest of the series?  This has happened to me quite a bit.  Here are some examples:

Stephen King's Dark Tower series (my review of The Gunslinger)

Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide series (my review of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy)

Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles (my review of Interview With the Vampire)

Ender's Saga by Orson Scott Card (my review of Ender's Game)

Dean Koontz' Odd Thomas series (my review of Odd Thomas)

Jim Butcher's Codex Alera series (my review of Furies of Calderon)

I greatly enjoyed the first installments in each of these series, yet I never made it to book two.  There are a number of possible reasons for this, including not having enough time, short attention span, constantly being attracted to new books, or just not being in the right reading mood.  (Some of these hang-ups are also why I occasionally stall on good books.)

But, ultimately, I think there are two main reasons why I can't get past the first book in certain series.  1) The series is so long and the books themselves are so thick that the idea of reading them all seems like a massive undertaking.  I feel as if I will never find the time or the energy to finish the series, so why even bother with the second book?  2) I fear that subsequent installments won't be as good as the first.  I'd rather not read the second book at all if it's only going to ruin my love for the first one.

I know that these feelings are probably holding me back from reading some great books, so I'm trying to work on overcoming that second-in-series slump.  I recently finished Heat Stroke, the second book in Rachel Caine's Weather Warden series, and I absolutely loved it!  The first book, Ill Wind, rocked my socks off, but it took me well over a year to get around to reading book two.  I'm so glad that I finally did!  Hopefully I can build on this success to continue reading more awesome second-in-series books!

Review: Heat Stroke (Weather Warden #2) by Rachel Caine
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Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Publisher: Roc (August 3rd 2004)
How I got this book: Bought
Links: Amazon Goodreads

Blurb from Goodreads:

Accused of murder, Weather Warden Joanne Baldwin was chased across the country—and killed—by a team charged with hunting down rogue Wardens.

Five days later, Joanne had a lovely funeral and was posthumously cleared of all charges. Her human life was over, but she had been reborn in Djinnhood. Now, until she masters her enhanced powers, Joanne must try to avoid being "claimed" by a human. But when a hazard that only a Djinn could sense infiltrates Earth's atmosphere, Joanne must somehow convince someone to do something about it—or the forecast will be deadly. So who said being all-powerful was going to be easy?

My rating: 4.5/5 Stars - Almost perfect. I highly recommend it.

Review:

I can’t believe it took me so long to read this!  I thoroughly enjoyed Ill Wind, the first Weather Warden book, and Heat Stroke is just as good if not better!  This second installment picks up right where the first one left off, giving us some sexy scenes with Jo and David before the plot really gets going.  The story takes us into the world of the djinn and introduces us to intriguing, new characters.  We also get to see humans and magic from the djinn perspective, which is interesting and emotional, especially when it comes to the issue of “claiming” a djinn.

Like Ill Wind, the the last few chapters of the book are a flurry of action that, while heart-pounding, is somewhat confusing, and not everything that happens is clearly explained.  Another minor flaw is that Jo is a little slow in figuring out part of the mystery even after the reader has more than enough clues to piece it together.  I also got a bit tired of reading about her hair every dozen pages.  But these complaints are largely overshadowed by my sheer enjoyment of the story.

Overall, Heat Stroke is fun, exciting, fast paced, romantic, and highly entertaining.  It lived up to the high standards set by the first book, and the cliffhanger-ish ending makes me eager to get my hands on book three.  I definitely recommend this series if you’re looking for for a light, action-packed urban fantasy with an awesome premise.

Reading Order:
Ill Wind - read my review on Goodreads
Heat Stroke
Chill Factor
Windfall
Fire Storm
Thin Air
Gale Force
Cape Storm
Total Eclipse

Also reviewed at:
Parajunkee's View - 4/5

Random Awesome #8 - Links Edition
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No covers or videos this time, just five random awesome links for your entertainment pleasure. 

1. Totally Looks Like Historical Collection


I cannot believe some of these!  Creepy, yet hilarious.

2. PassiveAggressiveNotes.com

This site posts "funny (if not necessarily 'passive-aggressive') notes from pissed-off people."


Spock is not impressed by the BEEEEEEEEEEES

It's not easy to impress Spock.

'Carmen Miranda's Fruity Colon Cap' Dog II (*note single tear)

So cute.  So sad.  So entertaining.

5. AwesomePeopleReading.tumblr.com

Clark Gable reads.

Check it out!  Tons of awesome people read!

That's it for now.  Next time I promise to throw some random awesome covers and videos in there too.

Review: The Way of Shadows (Night Angel Trilogy #1) by Brent Weeks
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Genre: Fantasy
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Publisher: Orbit (October 1st 2008)
How I got this book: Borrowed from a friend
Links: Amazon Goodreads

Blurb from Goodreads:

For Durzo Blint, assassination is an art-and he is the city's most accomplished artist.

For Azoth, survival is precarious. Something you never take for granted. As a guild rat, he's grown up in the slums, and learned to judge people
quickly - and to take risks. Risks like apprenticing himself to Durzo Blint.

But to be accepted, Azoth must turn his back on his old life and embrace a new identity and name. As Kylar Stern, he must learn to navigate the assassins' world of dangerous politics and strange magics - and cultivate a flair for death.

My rating: 4/5 Stars - A good read. I enjoyed it.

Review:

Although I don’t read epic fantasy very often, I’m glad I picked this one up.  Once you push past the extremely bleak, depressing beginning, you’ll find that The Way of Shadows is a fun, exciting, twisting tale of politics, murder, love, and redemption.  What makes this novel compelling is it’s characters.  The entire cast is made up of complex, interesting, and emotionally engaging characters that easily drew me into their story.

The plot is full of unexpected twists that kept me turning pages, eager to find out what happens next.  The most predictable part is the romance, but the characters and their relationships are so deftly crafted that the romantic elements flow smoothly and realistically into the main storyline without overwhelming it.  Eventually everything comes full circle, the last two hundred pages picking up the pace with almost non-stop action.  The ending is satisfying, but we also get the sense that this is just the start of a much greater journey.  As for the worldbuilding, I’m not sure that I completely understood everything Weeks tries to convey about magic and magic users.  This is one very important element could have been more clearly explained.  Still, my confusion on that point didn’t really hinder my enjoyment of the story.

Overall, I liked The Way of Shadows, though I feel slightly spent, emotionally and mentally, after finishing it.  I’ll probably take a break to read something less gloomy, but I definitely plan to come back to this series.  It helps to know that it’s a trilogy with a definite ending, unlike some fantasy series that seem to go on and on forever.  More than anything, though, it’s the characters that will make me want to return and find out what’s in store for them next.


Reading Order:
The Way of Shadows
Shadow's Edge
Boeyond the Shadows

Also reviewed at:
Fantasy Book Critic

Contest Alert: Harry Connolly's Twenty Palaces series
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The awesome book blog The Qwillery is giving away all three books in the the Twenty Palaces series by Harry Connolly!  I haven't read these urban fantasies yet, but I've heard they're great!  Click here to read an interview with the author and find out how to enter.  The giveaway ends September 7th.
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Contest Alert: Parajunkee's Two Year Blogiversary Giveaway!
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Rachel from the awesome book blog Parajunkee's View is celebrating her two-year blogiversary!  Congratulations!!!

In honor of this event, Parajunkee is having a multi-part giveaway!  For the first giveaway, you could win your choice of up to three books, including The Hour of Dust and Ashes by Kelly Gay, The Half-Made World by Felix Gilman, Succubus Revealed by Richelle Mead, and more.  Click here to find out how to enter.

Doctor Who obsession
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Recently, a friend turned me on to the British television show Doctor WhoNow I am obsessed.

Soooo... this post is going to be all about Doctor Who-related things, starting with...



...apparel!!!  This is the Doctor-Hoo t-shirt design from Threadless.  Isn't it cute?  Even though I haven't watched the old episodes of Doctor Who that started in 1963, you can definitely tell which Doctor each owl is supposed to be.  Here's a picture of the first 10 Doctors, plus the current Doctor, Matt Smith, for comparison:

    

Pretty accurate!  And the best part is that this adorable t-shirt is only $10!

Next up, we have a Doctor Who Old Spice parody.  I'm sure everyone remembers that funny Old Spice commercial.  Well, here's the Doctor's version:


I'm not sure who made this, but it's pure genius!

Continuing with the topic of Doctor Who's comedic value, here's a hilarious sketch performed by David Tennant (the 10th Doctor) and Catherine Tate (who played his companion Donna Noble in season 4):


Donna is quite possibly my favorite companion - she's so freakin' funny!  And of course David Tennant is made of awesome.  I was very sad to see him go, but Matt Smith has been growing on me.

I would say that Matt Smith plays the most cuddly Doctor to date.  He lacks that sharp, slightly scary edge that both Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant could pull out of their pocket at certain moments.  But Smith has other things going for him, especially his humor.  He's the funniest Doctor in my opinion, even funnier than Tennant.

Speaking of which, apparently Matt Smith has a thing for badgers??? lol



The premier of the second half of season 6 is less than two weeks away!!!  The writing in seasons 5 and 6 (ever since Steven Moffat took over) has been out-of-this-world good, and I'm looking forward to seeing what direction he decides to go after the major revealation (which I totally predicted!) at the end of the last episode.

Behold... it's the amazingly amazing trailer for season 6, part 2.  And let me just point out... Rory punches Hitler.  0:35.  LMAO



I just love Rory.  At first I was afraid the writers were going to do to him what they did to Mickey, Rose's boyfriend - always living in the Doctor's shadow, not being able to compete with the Doctor for the companion's affection, etc.  But I'm so glad that didn't happen!  Rory is a hero in his own right, and his love for Amy (and hers for him) is simply swoon-worthy.  Rory rocks my socks off.

I cannot wait for Doctor Who to start back up again!  The episode Let's Kill Hitler airs August 27th.  I will leave you with this mini prequel:

WARNING: DO NOT WATCH IF YOU ARE NOT CAUGHT UP! ***SPOILER ALERT***


Bookish news #5
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Jim Butcher auction to support breast cancer research
Authors Jim Butcher, Sannon K. Butcher, and actor Terrence Mann (from The Dresden Files TV show) are auctioning off signed books and merchandise to support Books for Boobs, an organization that raises money for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.  Read more on Jim's website.

Books for Boobs has auctions for a ton of different authors - Patrick Rothfuss, George R. R. Martin, Charlaine Harris, and more!  Click here to bid.  If you can't bid, please spread the word about this awesome charity!

Beware Pottermore scams
Pre-registration for J.K. Rowling's Pottermore opened July 31st, and a mad rush to be one of the first one million users ensued.  But some Harry Potter fans got scammed by people selling fake accounts.  Get the full story from The Mary Sue.

The pre-registration period is now closed, but pottermore.com is still being bombarded with traffic.  The site officially opens for registration in October.

Two new photos from The Hunger Games movie
Take a look!  It's Peeta and Katniss from the upcoming Hunger Games movie.



Click here to read the full article.  I know I've said this before, but I can't wait for this movie to come out!

Contest Alert: Downpour by Kat Richardson
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Kat Richardson's Greywaker books are some of my favorite urban fantasies, so I'm very excited for the release of Downpour, the sixth book in this awesome series.  Downpour has already received positive reviews from some of my favorite bloggers!

If you would like a chance to win a copy of this book, head on over to The Qwillery where you can read an interview with the author and enter the Downpour giveaway.  The contest ends August 17th.

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First experience with an audiobook
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I recently decided to try listening to an audiobook on long drives.  Usually, I just turn on the radio, but that gets mind-numbing after a while.  My hope was that an audiobook would keep my brain more engaged as I traversed mile after mile of interstate.

So I checked out the audiobook edition of When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris from the library.  I was trying to select a book that would be fun to listen to and not put me to sleep at the wheel.  I also wanted a book that wouldn't lose me if I missed a sentence or two while concentrating on the road.

All in all, I think When You Are Engulfed in Flames was the perfect choice for me very first audiobook.  Here's what I said about it on Goodreads:

This was my first experience with an audiobook, and I quite enjoyed it! Some of the stories are interesting, some are a little boring, and some are downright hilarious. A few times I laughed so hard my stomach ached! I also love that it’s narrated by the author and that a few of the recordings are from live events. Overall, I would definitely recommend this essay collection, either in print or audio. 4/5 stars.

The stories were funny, engaging, easy to follow, and narrated perfectly.  In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I am looking forward to listening to more of David Sedaris' stories in audiobook format.

But I also want to try listening to a novel.  The short stories worked well because I could easily split them up over multiple trips.  It was easy to stop the recording at the end of one story and restart it at the beginning of the next.  Since the stories are only loosely related to one another, I didn't have to worry about remembering where I was in a continuing narrative.  Similarly, I didn't have to be concerned about missing important details, foreshadowing, or plot points like in a novel.

It seems to me like listeing to a novel would be very different than listening to a collection of short stories.  I'm curious to try it.

This weekend I checked out the audiobook of Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert from the library.  It's not a novel, but it's a continuing narrative and it's as long as a novel (11 cds).  I don't know yet if I'll like it.  It'll be another experiment.

Wish me luck.

Hunger Games movie update
my spoon is too big
les121
Ooo!  Look!

But wait!  There's more!
 

And still more!
 

Woot.  Actually, make that woot woot.  That is all for now.

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