Archive | August 2012

The Queen’s Pleasure by Brandy Purdy

The Queen’s Pleasure by Brandy Purdy, published by Kensington Books.

 

I just got this book, and I fell in love with it. (Disclaimer: It was an Advanced Readers Copy.). This book is a book meant for people who loves words, told by someone who has a mastery of the language. I fell into this book, loving every minute.

A few words about it, though. Although the title is “The Queen’s Pleasure,” and is billed on the cover as a novel of Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley… It is mostly Amy Robsart Dudley’s story. The inconvenient wife of a man convinced he was the only one Elizabeth would marry.

Since it is historical fiction, technically we already know how everything ends. The novel takes this even further, starting with a prologue that pretty much lays everything bare.

But oh! The language! How can you not fall in love with a passage such as:

 

Outside my windows the sky is as dark as black velvet, with not a star in sight to
provide a prinprick of diamond white light, and the silver coin of the moon has been
spent.

The Queens Pleasure, Page 21

The theme of feminine power, femininity and such keeps circling around this book, too. The recurring images (I can’t really call it foreshadowing when the book opens the way it does) haunt this book, enriching it and wrapping themselves around your soul.

In college, I loved Shakespeare. I adored the poem with “trailing clouds of glory” by  Wordsworth. And of course, there was Faulkner. There are people in this world who can take the language and twist it into an art form that I really wish I could emulate.

Instead, I’ll just devour their works. Oh, and highlight all the passages I love.

Do yourself a favor. Go buy “The Queen’s Pleasure.”

 

 

Advertisements

Books about Books

Books about Books

 

We’ve all read them—books about books. More specifically, books where the hero/heroine either pop through the worlds created by other authors or, in the case of Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines (Daw, 2012), is able to bring things out of books through magic.

Libriomancer does it deftly, and is great fun. The magic system is consistent AND has consequences, which is always a good thing. The narrator reminds me of Jim Butcher or Glen Cook—the hardboiled detective goes fantasy.  Libriomancer is apparently the first book in a series, but I have to admit: I’ll probably wait for the paperback of book 2.

It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the book—I ripped right through it. But I’ve had to start defending my hardback choices:  it should be a book that I’m going to re-read again (which is a possibility) and it has to have some meat on it. For me, meat on it means that I’m going to take longer than 24 hours to read the darned thing. Otherwise, 24.95 just isn’t worth it. But it was a new author, so I’m not too disgusted with myself. Over all a really good read, fast paced and fun.

I know there’s a term for this kind of writing, but I can’t remember it. It’s not fan fiction, because it doesn’t take the entire world. I do remember suffering through several different versions of this type of writing during my workshop years (college & internet). Most of those were not done with any finesse. I am so glad that this one met and beat down all expectations (or lack thereof).

 

In more personal writing news, I have stalled out in Nanowrimo. I got stuck in the novel and just can’t push through. I am however working on another short story. I’ve decided that I just might be a sprinter right now, and not a long distance runner. Perhaps I need to get my writing stride again before I can compete in the marathon (novel) level. But I am still writing, and having mostly given up on Nano, I’m reading again as well. I like the short story format, it suits the way I’m writing right now: short bursts clearly focused through to the end.

Till next time, when I have 3, count em THREE reviews to do.

Libraries

Who remembers their first library? Not the first visit to a library, but the first library that you claimed as yours. Where you realized that it contained a whole bunch of  books that could and would transport you to other worlds.

My first library was a little neighborhood one. About the size of a smallish 7-11, situated in a strip mall, it was where my love for books blossomed. I didn’t know it at the time, but as my ever ranging interests started casting a wider and wider net, the librarian called my mom.

I was in fourth grade, and checking out adult books.

But oh! Those books! Some were romances (the Harlequin romances of the 70’s were A LOT sweeter than they are now). Some were sci-fi or fantasy. Some were plain old fiction.  I had already devoured A Little Princess, The Secret Garden, all the Little House Books. My brain was wide open, and at this point… my mom could have done something different.

But she opted to let me read what I wanted. It was a different time, back then. There wasn’t quite as much chance of anyone getting an inappropriate book in a public library. And I am sooo thankful.

Books are magical things. They open up windows into new worlds– sometimes doorways into a new life. But there has to be that one place where your imagination catches on fire.

For me, it was in what would become a bakery, sitting on bean bag chairs, reading adult fiction. They closed that particular library a few years later. They made a huge library, a modern one, and closed down all the little neighborhood libraries.

It was never as much fun.

Yes, they had all those books. But I could no longer go at least once a week. I had to be driven over there, I couldn’t walk. And the nice librarian was no where to be found in there… Just a lot of strangers.

I miss the neighborhood libraries. But I have to admit, I do love the large stacks of books in the main library.

How about you? Where did you fall in love with books?

 

PS– found a great fantasy novel about a librarian who pulls magic out of books, which inspired this post. I’ll review it later in the week. If no one else gets the stomach flu (please please please).

Updates Updates Updates

Well it has been a strange month.

One thing that is getting clearer, though, is that I need to continue to write.

I’m plugging along in camp nano, although I am not up to par with the word counts at the momen. SIGH. I think the main thing for me is that I’m learning where my writing groove is. It used to be late at night— now? Not so much. Early morning, or evening works, though, depending on my son. I tend to peak out at about 1k words on a week night, but can push it up to 2k.

If it’s a good day, I can write while he’s at home. But he has Dyspraxia, and sometimes fate conspires to throw everything at that kid all at once and it makes for one very very long day. Or, we have a night last night where he was up, violently ill, every half hour. Until 4am.  Ugh.

Still, I’ve gotten in a good 1,000 words so far for today.

On the good news front, I sold my first short story and sent in the contract. The happy dance was the funniest one you ever did see.

Hopefully, this weekend, I’ll have some more book reviews for you. I haven’t been reading lately, and I am definately feeling that lack.

A Different Kind of Normal

A Different Kind of Normal by Cathy Lamb

 

The very first Cathy Lamb novel that I read was The Last Time I was Me. I loved that book so much that when I was done, I went right back and reread it. Then, I went to the book store and snatched up 2 or 3 more books by her.

I like her voice. A lot.

I also like that she says things that are just plain wrong, but are so true. In A Different Kind of Normal, she continues on in this tradition. It’s warm, funny, heart wrenching and heartwarming. I’ve read it twice. It speaks to motherhood with warmth and humor and heart pounding fear… Hits hard, and realistically.

The last two paragraphs sum up the story (motherhood itself, it you want to get right down to it) perfectly:

He was born with a big head.

And I have loved him, with all my heart, with all that I have, from that day forward.

 

It also perfectly echo’s the beginning, when we first get into the actual story (in chapter 2… but don’t miss chapter one, because it echo’s throughout too).

Bottom line? GO OUT AND BUY EVERYSINGLE CATHY LAMB NOVEL YOU CAN GET YOUR HANDS ON AND THEN SIT DOWN FOR A NICE, LONG READ.

 

In other news, I’ve decided to join Camp Nanowrimo, which is definitely a different kind of normal for me. For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, it’s a bunch of writers trying to pound out FIFTY THOUSAND WORDS in a month. I, the unwriting writer, actually churned out a little over 1700 words on this, the first day. WooHoo!

What do you get for accomplishing the 50K you might ask?

Pride, my dears. It’s merely a point of pride. Oh, and 50,000 words!

WRITE ON!

I still plan on posting at least once on weekends, however when I’m in full writing mode I don’t tend to read. I’m too busy playing with the story in my mind to be interested in someone else’s story. That may change, though, as far as breaks and lunches at work. It also keeps my imagination clear, doesn’t muck it up with other people’s voices, other people’s dreams.

And the only reason why I can do this is a change in daycare, which gets me home 1 to 1 1/2 hour earlier 🙂

Night, my lovelies!