Sunday, January 30, 2011

BW5: D is for Dekker

Ted Dekker

I discovered Ted Dekker a few years back. I've never been into horror but love psychological and supernatural thrillers. I came across THR3E in the bookstore, read the back cover and was intrigued:

Synopsis: Kevin Parson is driving his car late one summer day when, suddenly, his cell phone rings. A man who identifies himself as Slater speaks in a breathy voice: You have exactly three minutes to confess your sin to the world. Refuse, and the car you’re driving will blow sky high.

Kevin panics. Who would make such a call? What sin? Kevin ditches the car. Precisely three minutes later, a massive explosion sets his world on a collision course with madness.
THR3E started my like affair with Ted Dekker and I've read most of his books, but not all.  Some I just haven't brought myself to read...yet.  He's multifaceted and has written fantasy, thrillers, supernatural thrillers, horror and mystery.   Good versus evil, angels versus demons, faith versus power, chilling villains and alternate worlds.   Some stories will cause a visceral reaction as your heart races and goose bumps spread across your skin and your imagination takes off. And others you read with bated breath, wondering what is going to happen next.  

THR3E lead me to the Paradise series: Showdown, Saint and Sinner which revolved around the small town of Paradise, a mysteries stranger by the name of Marsuvees Black and a group of children living in a hidden monastary deep in the hills. It is a showdown between good and evil. 

Then to the Blessed series about a innocent young child with the power of God and the fight to protect him:  Blessed Child and The Man Called Blessed written with Bill Bright.

Then I discovered the fantasy world of Thomas Hunter in the Circle series: Black, RedWhite and the one I'm about to start reading now Green.  It's been a while since I read the first three and I debated going back and rereading them, but decided not to.  It is consider the prequel to Black and the sequel to White if that makes any sense, bring the story full circle. According to Dekker:  "This is Book Zero, the Circle Reborn, both the beginning and the end."  

I just noticed the colors of the covers  for the first time and the significance - isn't that cool! 

And if you want to be truly scared out of your mind - read House co-written with Frank Peretti, the author of the spiritual warfare novels This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness.    It'll not only scare the pants off you, but make you want to sleep with the light on for a while.  

Ted Dekker (full bio here)  is the son of missionaries and was raised in the jungle among the headhunters of Indonesia. He studied philosophy and religion and after earning his bachelor's degree, worked in the corporate world for a while until becoming a full time writer in the late nineties.   His latest book The Priest's Graveyard will be released April 2011.  I can't wait. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

BW4: C is for Cinders

Cinders by Michelle Davidson Argyle
Have you ever wondered what happens after the "they lived happily ever after" part in fairy tales. Do they live happily ever after?   Is life care free and simple without any problems or worries?   Michelle Davidson Argyle explores that in her debut novella which continues Cinderella's story in "Cinders"

Back cover:  "Cinderella's happily ever after isn't turning out the way she expected. With her fairy godmother imprisoned in the castle and a mysterious stranger haunting her dreams, Cinderella is on her own to discover true love untainted by magic."

When Cinderella married the prince, he saved her from her stepmother and stepsisters and a life of drudgery.  However, the glow of her new life soon begins to wear off.   She had gotten what she wanted, so why wasn't she happy.   She began to wonder...  Does he really love her?  Would he love her without the enchantment spell?  Does she love him even though all she can think about is another. Life in the castle isn't always pleasant. She is determined to break the spell, but when she does, can she live with the unexpected consequences?

Michelle does an excellent job of wrapping a spell around you as you read the story and stays with you long after you've finished it.   I ended up reading it in one sitting, mulling over it for a while, then going back and rereading the last two chapters. Cinderella's story leaves an impression and is actually a bit unsettling.  It makes you think and leaves you wanting more.

Which is actually a good thing.    Michelle recently signed with Rhemalda publishing and will have two more novella coming out along the same lines as Cinders:  Thirds which will be a re-imagining of Grimm's fairy Tale "One Eye, Two Eyes, Three Eyes and Scales, a fairy tale prequel to Sleeping Beauty.    In September, her first novel "Monarch" will be released which I had the pleasure of beta reading during its first stages.  

Michelle is one of the many blogging authors I've follow and is one person I can say I knew her when.  She's a rising star so be sure to keep your eyes on her and check out Cinders.  I highly recommend it.    Check out her website for more information and her blog The Innocent Flower in which she talks about all things book related.  


Link to your reviews:   Please link to your specific book review post and not your general blog link.  In the Your Name field, type in your name and the name of the book in parenthesis.  In the Your URL field leave a link to your specific post. If you have multiple reviews, then type in (multi) after your name and link to your general blog url. 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

BW3: B is for Bronte

Anne Bronte
January 17, 1820 to May 28, 1849

Anne Bronte, the youngest sister of the Bronte sisters Emily and Charlotte.  She was also the youngest of 6 children born to Maria Branwell and Reverend Patrick Bronte.  After her mother's death, her aunt Elizabeth moved in to help Patrick raise her and her siblings:  Maria (1814-1825), Elizabeth (1815-1825), Charlotte (1816-1855), Patrick Branwell “Branwell” (1817-1848), and Emily (1818-1849). 

She wrote numerous poems and contributed to a book of poetry which was published in 1846 called "Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell.  The sisters used aliases to hide the fact the authors were female.  In 1847, Anne's first novel "Agnes Grey" was published under the alias Acton Bell.   In 1848, her 2nd novel "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall" was introduced.   Unfortunately it was overshadowed by the the deaths of her brother Bramwell and sister Emily within two months of each other.     She died in 1849 at the age of 28 from tuberculosis. 


Brightly the sun of summer shone
Green fields and waving woods upon,
And soft winds wandered by;
Above, a sky of purest blue,
Around, bright flowers of loveliest hue,
Allured the gazer's eye.

But what were all these charms to me,
When one sweet breath of memory
Came gently wafting by?
I closed my eyes against the day,
And called my willing soul away,
From earth, and air, and sky;

That I might simply fancy there
One little flower--a primrose fair,
Just opening into sight;
As in the days of infancy,
An opening primrose seemed to me
A source of strange delight.

Sweet Memory! ever smile on me;
Nature's chief beauties spring from thee;
Oh, still thy tribute bring
Still make the golden crocus shine
Among the flowers the most divine,
The glory of the spring.

Still in the wallflower's fragrance dwell;
And hover round the slight bluebell,
My childhood's darling flower.
Smile on the little daisy still,
The buttercup's bright goblet fill
With all thy former power.

For ever hang thy dreamy spell
Round mountain star and heather bell,
And do not pass away
From sparkling frost, or wreathed snow,
And whisper when the wild winds blow,
Or rippling waters play.

Is childhood, then, so all divine?
Or Memory, is the glory thine,
That haloes thus the past?
Not ALL divine; its pangs of grief
(Although, perchance, their stay be brief)
Are bitter while they last.

Nor is the glory all thine own,
For on our earliest joys alone
That holy light is cast.
With such a ray, no spell of thine
Can make our later pleasures shine,
Though long ago they passed.

In honor of Anne Bronte's birthday, my challenge to you this week is to read either one of her stories and/or her poetry which can be found online and let me know what you think of them. 


Link to your reviews:

Link to your most current read.  Please link to your specific book review post and not your general blog link.  In the Your Name field, type in your name and the name of the book in parenthesis.  In the Your URL field leave a link to your specific post. If you have multiple reviews, then type in (multi) after your name and link to your general blog url. 

If you don't have a blog, tell us about the books you are reading in the comment section.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

BW 2: A is for Authors Who Blog

The blogosphere is a wonderful place, full of information and fascinating facts and ideas.  I've discovered it is also a great place to find out about books, the authors who write the books, books, the publishers who distribute the books, books and the online stores who sell the books, books and..... Well, you get it, books!  And if you have a passion for books like me, well then it a huge playground to romp around in. 

I follow a lot of authors. Some after I started reading their books.  Then, there are those who I heard about through book bloggers, checked out their blogs and loved the fact I could read excerpts of their books on their sites.  And if I loved their writing style, would buy one of their books.  Writing style is important to me.  It is what sells me on a story.  Does it grab me from the start or make me go 'meh.'   

Also, what sells me is the author themselves.  Are they friendly and warm and positive.  Or are they negative and whiny and self possessed.   I've come across some books I would have liked to read, but the author turned me off.   I know you are supposed to keep the author separate from their works.  The story is just a story and it is fiction after all but sometimes it is difficult to separate one from the other.  

Last year, since I read so books by authors who blog, joined in on a Blogging Author Reading Project.  I decided to keep the project going this year.  Go check it out and then come on back.   Over the past couple years, I've made friends with writers whose books debuted last year.  Of course, I had to read their books, no question about it.  They are in my stacks to read this year.   

Some great blogs I think you should check out this year are: 

Murderati  - a group blog of 14 mystery writers including Pari Noskin Taichert, Alafair Burke, Allison Brennan, Brett Battles, Cornelia Read, J.D. Rhoades, J.T. Ellison, Louise Ure, Robert Gregory Brown, Zoe Sharp, Toni McGee Causey, Stephen Jay Schwartz,  Alex Sokoloff and Tess Gerritsen.

The Deadline Dames - a group blog of paranormal romance authors including Devon Monk, Jackie Kessler, Jenna Black, Karen Mahoney, Keri Arthur, Lilith Saintcrow, Rachel Vincent, Rinda Elliot and Toni Andrews.

The Kill Zone - a group blog of mystery and thriller writers including Clare Langley, Hawthorne, Kathryn Lilley, Joe Moore, Nancy Cohen, Michelle Gagnon, Jordan Dane, John Gilstrap, Joe Hartlaub, John Ramsey Miller and James Scott Bell.   

These are just a few group blogs I've discovered and have been slowly making my way through reading their books.  Not a stinky one in the bunch.  Well worth following and checking out their books. 

What authors have you discovered online that made you decide to pick up and read on of their books?  

Link to your current reviews

Please link to your specific book review post and not your general blog link.  In the Your Name field, type in your name and the name of the book in parenthesis.  In the Your URL field leave a link to your specific post. If you have multiple reviews, then type in (multi) after your name and link to your general blog url. 

If you don't have a blog, tell us about the books you are reading in the comment section.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Week one - The Journey begins

Happy New Year!  Are you ready for an awesome year of reading.   I certainly am.  I'm so glad you all are joining me for another ride around the world and welcome to everyone who is just deciding to join us.   See the picture above. It's an empty road waiting for you to tie those shoes on or put your foot on the accelerator and walk, run, drive, fly to new destinations.   I'm a bibliophile, a self professed bookworm.    Reading is my passion and as necessary to me as breathing.   I'm the type of person who gets cranky if I don't read - daily. I love books that entertain and enlighten, books that take you away, books that take you on a voyage - a mind voyage. I'd rather take a mind voyages and exploring new places, worlds, lives, people, rather than watch TV.  

The goal of the challenge is to read 52 books.  Ordinarily you'd think, okay I'll read at least one book a week and reach the goal. However, there are books that take longer than a week to read. And there are some books that can be read in two or three hours.    I'd hate to see anyone sacrifice quality for quantity by reading a short book just to make the goal for the week.  Read what you want, explore and dive into those longer books, engage your mind and soul and don't worry.  Do your best and challenge yourself and see what happens. 

There are many different challenges built in to satisfy just about everyone.  There are a few links under the header which will introduce you to some different challenges:  Armchair Traveler, Ireland Reading Challenge, Jane Austen, Mind Voyages and Well Educated Mind.  There are plenty of links for you to explore under each header.  Over the year, I'll be adding more links when I come across interesting books in the categories.  There will also be some mini weekly challenges that will be coming up. Your choice if you want to participate or not.   I'll be shamelessly borrowing from other challenges around the blogosphere presenting you with ideas for books to read as we go along.  If you want to read classics and they're huge chunksters, then shoot for 12 classics in 12 months.  If you only want to read Science Fiction and Fantasy, then dive in to a Mind Voyage and journey around the planets.   

So, let's take a journey together and see where it takes us this year.   

Link to your current reviews:

Please link to your specific book review post and not your general blog link.  In the Your Name field, type in your name and the name of the book in parenthesis.  In the Your URL field leave a link to your specific post. If you have multiple reviews, then it will be find to link to your general blog url.  

Please note:  keep in mind  that we have all ages involved in the challenge, so please keep your reviews clean.  If I come across any link that is not appropriate (vulgar language, x-rated, that type of thing)  it will be deleted. 

If you don't have a blog, tell us about the books you are reading in the comment section.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2011 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge

 Welcome to the 2011 Read 52 Books in 52 Week Challenge

(also the new home for Mind Voyages participants)

>The rules are very simple and the goal is to read one book (at least) a week for 52 weeks.

  1. The challenge will run from January 1, 2011 through December 31, 2011. 
  2. Our book weeks will begin on Sunday.  
  3. Participants may join at any time.
  4. All books are acceptable except children books.**
  5. All forms of books are acceptable including e-books, audio books, etc.
  6. Re-reads are acceptable as long as they are read after January 1, 2011.
  7. Books may overlap other challenges.
  8. Create an entry post linking to this blog. 
  9. Come back and sign up with Mr. Linky in the "I'm participating post" below this post.
  10. You don't have a blog to participate.  Post your weekly book in the comments section of each weekly post.  
  11. Mr. Linky will be added to the bottom of the weekly post for you to link to reviews of your most current reads. 
All the mini challenges are optional. Mix it up anyway you like. The goal is to read 52 books. How you get there is up to you. 

**in reference to children books. If it is a child whose reading it and involved in the challenge, then that's okay.  If an adult is doing read aloud with kids, the book should be geared for the 9 - 12 age group and above and over 100 pages. If adult reading for own enjoyment, then a good rule of thumb to go by "is there some complexity to the story or is it too simple?"  If it's too simple, then doesn't count.