Category Archives: Books
Well, it’s that time again…after my slacking of last week (hey, all I could come up with for “Top Ten Characters I’d Like to Switch Places with for 24 Hours” was “anyone in the Harry Potter world”…Let’s just say I read books where the characters have some serious issues. You know, people trying to kill them, curses worked against them, demons and monsters of all sorts causing problems…the works).
Top Ten Posts On Your Blog That Would Give The BEST Picture of YOU
Well, the nice thing about this is that I’ve been writing for some time. I realize a lot of my posts don’t end up over HERE, per say, but I have a lot of ones that I’m very proud of over at SciFi4Me.com. Jason (my editor) gives me a lot of nice wiggle room to say what I’d like…as long as it pertains to genre, of course.
10. That being said, I have a great post about my writing for SciFi4Me. While the Cat’s Away… was written on a day I had actually managed to do a lot. Speaking of which, I need to probably get to work on another roundup (a somewhat interesting news-format piece over on the site).
9. The Geekly with a Twist It goes without saying…I want everyone to be reading this column I write for SciFi4Me every week! It’s a good mash-up of me: my love of history, my inherent geekiness, my randomness, and my love of a good cocktail! It publishes on Fridays (usually around midday) every week and features a list of geeky events in history that have happened that particular week. Fun side note: I actually created the above image. It’s one of my only successful trips into Photoshop (and my editor helped me a little more by resizing it when WordPress and the featured image started being silly and also by blending the calendar more).
8. My reviews are also a thing of particular pride for me. I can express happiness, like my gushing for Drew Magary’s The Postmortal or my disdain like my review on Blizzard’s Diablo III. I’ve got others, but those two are some of my better ones.
7. I’m also a huge fangirl. Especially when it comes to The Guild and Firefly. While my recent Guild article wasn’t much other than a method of preparation, Can the Signal Be Restarted? Ever? is an article which still makes me happy. While it’s a little bit of a rant, I don’t regret a word of it. And! Bonus…I actually predicted a few things to come along later (such as a little girl in Kaylee overalls and a LEGO Serenity).
6. Speaking of a little girl in Kaylee overalls… Things features not only that, but a bunch of other things that make me alternately happy and sad. It’s a good insight into what sort of stuff I hate, what sort of stuff I love, and what makes me SQUEE!
5. Taking a different turn, I started out on SciFi4Me with a little article called The Lush’s Top 10 Alcoholic Beverages of Science Fiction. It was the first exposure my lushy self got on SciFi4Me and it was a good intro before I started writing the Geekly.
4. Another thing I do, besides drink, is actually quite different. By my real name (yup, Annaleigh Josephs is a nom de plume! Muahahahaha!), I am a makeup artist and mask maker. One of my favorite articles I got to write over at SciFi4Me incorporates my love of SciFi and fantasy, Halloween, and makeup into The Lush Life: Flesh, Blood, and Scales (I’m not sure if my editor took out the Oxford comma or I did, but I’m a firm believer in it).
3. Now, I’ve been a bit of a fangirl all of my life. To put it like Jamie over at The Broke and The Bookish on today’s post, I can end up “fangirling that happened in the times of boy bands like BSB, Hanson & Nsync.” The hardest part is quelling that fangirlism into professionalism. I kind of made that hard realization at my first con and decided to write about the experience in an article entitled Geeks are People, too (in which I meet faces such as Robin Thorsen, Amy Okuda, the cast of Buck Rogers, Edward James Olmos, and Michael Golden).
2. Another one I’m fond of was over here on this blog…and it’s a typical ‘me’ moment. Prosciutto Taste on a Bologna Budget features a lot of how I think, how I write, and how I rant. It’s also a good look at my tastes and just how far I’ll go for a really good pizza.
1. And, of course, last but most certainly not least, my number one blog post that gives the best picture of ME is another one from my The Lush Life series…The Lush GEEKY Life: Why Being a Geek Rocks. One, it’s a very ‘me’ rant. Two, you get to see a little bit into my past. And, three, it’s very geeky. Geekiness is awesomeness.
Speaking of awesome geekiness, I’m putting final ideas into my Halloween costume…it’s getting to be that time. I’ll post more about that maybe later this week…just stay tuned, I guess!
So, quick news before I get down to business…
Friday night was my friend’s first fight (we’ll call her Belle…she kind of looks like Belle from Beauty and the Beast…this is Turtle’s fiancée)…and she kicked butt. Literally. I drove an hour to watch a killer minute and a half round and I’m super proud of her! Yay!
Saturday was the Wine Walk on Delaware. While it didn’t to much for my current diet, I made some good connections and had as much fun as I do any time I get to talk about wine for several hours straight. I had to ice down my voicebox the next day because they had me attempting to talk over a guy playing music in a very echo-y space, so that was rough, but I still had a lot of fun. Next time I’m going to bug my contact to put the musician upstairs or something where I don’t have to strain my voice. (Of course, I’m going to kick my contact’s butt if he puts another scented candle in my tasting area….)
Sunday was the birthday of one of the boyfriend’s cousins and also her last game before State Championships in softball. They won the game the boyfriend and I made it down to, so yay! They ended up losing the championship, but it was to a team that plays competitively for the whole season (her team plays recreational, then “all-stars” are chosen to play in tournaments to get to go to the state level). And! They only lost 2-0 to these girls that looked about 5 years older than the league (seriously, I wonder what’s in the water in that town!).
So, enough rambling, time for the weekly bit of awesome sauce from the folks at The Broke and the Bookish…
Top Ten Most Vivid Worlds/Settings in Book
10. Kibou-diani from Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold: More specifically, I LOVE the catacombs beneath the world. The darkness and panic is just simply perfect for the opening of this wonderful book in the Vorkosigan Saga.
9. Barsoom from A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs: I know it’s not scientifically correct, but I LOVE Barsoom (and I can’t wait to visit its real-world location for the John Carter film next month).
8. Goodsmanwood from The Darkest Part of the Woods by Ramsey Campbell: The woods are very dark and deep, so to say…and the book uses its setting to beautiful degree as its main character. [More on my review over at SciFi4Me.com]
7. Westeros from the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin: Duh! Can’t you just fill the winter’s chill creeping up on you from the very beginning of A Game of Thrones? The wolves feel real, as does the snow, and the heights of the Eyrie dizzied me from the first passage.
6. Panem from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: Taking a note from the wonderful Julia from The Broke and Bookish, I have to agree with her choice of Panem. It’s dreary and dreadful in District 12, but it feels so dreary it can’t help but be real. I almost feel like I’ve stepped back to the old coal mines of the 18th century in this wonderful bit of YA fiction.
5. Fortriu from The Dark Mirror by Juliet Marillier: While it is technically based off of a historical place, Juliet Marillier fills in the details of the 6th century Pictish homeland as if she had grown up there herself. Everything from the flora and fauna down to the reasons for various deity worship ring perfect in this first novel of a trilogy.
4. Sevenwaters from Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier: She does it again! Sevenwaters feels so real, I feel like I need to go there on vacation. It’s the perfect escape!
3. Midkemia and Kelewar from the Riftwar Saga by Raymond Feist: Oh my god, can these exist, please? While Midkemia provides the perfect typical fantasy setting, Kelewar provides a beautiful (and colorful) tropical alternative not often seen in the genre.
2. The world of Harry Potter from the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling: Again, a duh. How many of us have waited on our letters from Hogwarts? After all, Quidditch is a sport nowadays.
1. Middle Earth from The Lord of the Rings books by J.R.R. Tolkien: And, lastly, a duh. I would live in Mirkwood in a heartbeat (of course, then again…spiders).
Yeah, I know, I’m running behind today. But, HEY! I forgot it was Tuesday. And I had an eventful weekend. And stuffs. Excuses. Things.
Top Ten Books For People Who Like X Book
10. If you like The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, you should read “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” by none other than Edgar Allan Poe. It’s the first of its kind in mystery, and it’s a quick read!
9. If you like Ella Enchanted, you should read The Grimms’ Fairy Tales. The original collected tales are, well, enchanting!
8. If you like The Lovely Bones, you should read Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. The bad guy isn’t as apparent, but it’s really quite wonderful in a similar sense as Bones. Oh, but the movie adaptation is probably one of the worst. Avoid it at all costs.
7. It’s a gimme but if you like Game of Thrones, you should read both The Lord of the Rings and The Riftwar Saga.
6. If you like The Diary of Anne Frank, you should read Confessions of a Pagan Nun by Kate Horsley. The novel is set in a diary-like form alternating between current events and flashbacks and features a strong center of religious persecution.
5. If you like Daughter of the Forest, you should read Juliet Marillier’s other novels…specifically The Dark Mirror.
4. If you like Dracula, you should read Interview with a Vampire or any of the other vampire novels by Anne Rice.
3. If you like Interview with a Vampire or any of the other novels by Anne Rice, you should read The Silver Wolf by Alice Borchardt (Anne Rice’s sister).
2. If you like 1984, you should read Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Hello dystopia!
1. If you like anything horrific and suspenseful (such as works by H.P. Lovecraft), you should read The Darkest Part of the Woods by Ramsey Campbell. I’ve got a review in the works over at SciFi4Me, so stay tuned!
Yup, I feel like I’ve phone this bad boy in, but voila! What do ya think?
Holy crud…I’m managing to post two in a row!
Today’s TTT is a Freebie, so I went with a fun older one…
Bookish Pet Peeves
I have a lot of pet peeves when it comes to books (both in the physical aspect as well as what the writer does), but I think I’ve narrowed it down…
10. Improperly Researched Facts– Okay, so I’m not going to notice the difference if you’re talking nuclear physics and get it wrong but there’s a reason the creators of The Big Bang Theory have scientists and mathematicians on staff…someone will. I know I have issues when there’s a bottle of wine described incorrectly. It’s a simple process and it should always be done…just research your facts! If you don’t know something, find someone that does and double check! Your book is worth it!
9. Authors Who Claim Writers Such as Tolkien as Inspiration, but Have the Vocabulary of a Third Grader– Tolkien was a PROFESSOR of LANGUAGE. George R.R. Martin has a degree in JOURNALISM. Implying that such prolific authors are your inspiration, you should at least throw a few SAT words into your work. When you have the vocabulary of a 3rd grader, you imply you’ve never actually read the books- watching movies and TV shows are not good inspiration for novels unless you want to be a copycat.
8. “Kreatyve” Fantasy Spellings– Just because you CAN doesn’t mean you SHOULD. While I’m guilty of enjoying a few odd spellings of fairly common names, I’m getting really sick of all of the extra “y”s when writers don’t get as creative as they’d like to imply on names. (My current favorite name doesn’t have a single y- Valea.)
7. Predictable Endings (especially in books that take themselves seriously)– It happens all the time. You pick up a highly recommended book and expect to enjoy the mystery or twists you love of certain genres…and then you guess the ending within the first two chapters. It’s one thing if it’s a cheesy romance book you’ve picked up just to kill some time or let your brain take a break, but I’m sick of it happening in mystery and “epic” novels.
6. Boring Sentence Structure– I can’t stand it when an author refuses to vary their sentence structure. If you’ve got simple sentences over a large period of time, it ends up reading like a first grade primer. If your sentences are constantly run-ons, the flow is broken. Vary your style. Vary your length. Your readers will thank you for it.
5. Plot Holes– Okay, who doesn’t hate plot holes? When something doesn’t get resolved and leaves open huge questions it detracts from enjoyment of the novel. One of the last books I read and disliked was riddled with question-inducing plot holes (and not the good kind of questions, either).
4. Inconsistent Timelines– Even worse than plot holes (and perhaps more specifically) are inconsistent timelines. I hate reading a book which gives you clues to the main character being born in the 70s, but yet young enough to be pregnant in a dystopian future. There is a limit to human fertility, and there is a limit to how much wiggle room you have when time is linear. Write out yourself a timeline and stick to it.
3. Grammatical Errors– There’s a reason you have an editor. I realize that, many times, when I get a book to read that’s an uncorrected proof, I’m going to see errors. That’s fine. I can’t deal with it when the book is in its final state and the editor has clearly not done their job. I’ve even seen a “your”/”you’re” mixup. What on Earth?
2. Dog Ears– There’s two reasons grammatical errors are not at the top of my list. Both of them are physical pet peeves. The first of the sins with books is when you dog ear. It’s not that hard to find something to mark your place. Scraps of paper, tissue paper, pieces of string, specialty bookmarks, scraps of cloth, come on! Of course, there’s one thing you really shouldn’t do aside from folding the paper of the book and that is…
1. Breaking the Spine– You and I were not meant to be friends if you are willing to break the spine on a precious book. It’s one thing to fold back a work book, but hardcovers were NOT MEANT TO BEND THAT WAY. Do book collectors of the future a favor and be nice to your books.
What is anyone else’s big pet peeve?
Also, in case you haven’t checked it out yet, I’ve got a special giveaway going on over at SciFi4Me.com in celebration of my one year anniversary of The Geekly with a Twist (as well as my 100th post). You should check it out…the prize pack is awesome sauce!
So, I know I’m a slacker. It was a long weekend. More fun on the week later, but for now…
“Top Ten Books For People Who Liked X Author”
(In no particular order)…
If you like F Scott Fitzgerald, you should read Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel García Márquez. The cultural differences are obvious, but the beauty of magic and the complex puzzles of life mirror between The Great Gatsbyand Chronicle.
Of course, if you like Gabriel García Márquez, you should read The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende. Magic, symbolism, and family, oh my!
If you like J.R.R. Tolkien, you should read The Riftwar Saga by Raymond Feist. Fantasy, magic, and a healthy dose of interesting and well-rounded characters make the books hardcore page-turners.
If you like Joseph Campbell (though not strictly an author so much as a philosopher), you should read The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien. The book was unfinished when the Great Professor left this world, but his son Christopher finished compiling the beautiful back story and mythos of Middle Earth.
If you like Laurell K Hamilton, you should read Jeanine Frost’s Halfway to the Grave. It’s the first in a series of stories about a half-blooded vampire huntress and it does well for the vampire genre.
Speaking of vampire genre, if you like Stephanie Meyer, you should man up and read some amazing vampire fiction. My favorites are Dracula(the original novel by Bram Stoker) and Pandora (one of the two “New Tales of the Vampires” books by Anne Rice).
If you like Homer (think back to high school English class…no? The Illiad and the Odyssey ring a bell?), you should readBeowulf. It’s a bit tough as it’s an epic translated from the Old English, but it’s really moving.
If you like H.G. Wells, you should be reading both H.P. Lovecraft and Ray Bradbury…so quit slackin’!
If you like Ray Bradbury, you should read A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs- the source material for the Disney movie John Carter.
And, lastly, if you like to think at all, you NEED to read Confessions of a Pagan Nun by Kate Horsley.
You know…this list really makes me feel like I need to branch out more, but I’m attached to my magic, magic realism, classics, and history. Heh. Oh well, at least there’s still plenty to read!
Not to gank ideas, but I absolutely adore lists and the good people over at The Broke and the Bookish have a great thing going with this one. As such, I present, my first Top Ten Tuesday!
5 June 2012: Top Ten Tuesday Rewind (Pick any past topic you want!)
Note: all covers are property of their respective publishers and authors…I make no claim to these pieces of art.
10. Twilight. Okay, so I didn’t buy it, but it intrigued me enough to read it. I’ve given them all a chance (especially since my only other option was to reread two books I owned at the time for the 100th time…it would’ve been better) based solely on their covers.
9. Ella Enchanted. The name and the cover both got me here. I was about 10 years old when I noticed it on a list of Newberry Honors and I had to give it a try. I’m glad I did because it was probably my favorite book until I started reading the Harry Potter series in middle school.
8. Under the Black Flag… What more could a pirate history geek want? It’s got a simple Jolly Roger variation (my favorite one with the cutlasses!) and it’s nice and clean. The title is perfect for a history book and I definitely had to have it when I saw it at Barnes and Noble!
7. Bored of the Rings. Yeah, it’s a parody, but it’s a funny one. Besides…I collect anything related to LOTR (or at least I really did at the time), and, even though it’s a parody, it’s still LOTR.
6. Confessions of a Part Time Sorceress and the follow-up 5. Everything I Need to Know I Learned from Dungeons and Dragons.
Enough said, right?
4. Daughter of the Forest. I saw this book at my local library and grabbed it off the shelf quicker than I could even grasp the cover…which is beautiful. After reading, I realized just how perfect the cover actually was and it led me to seek out more by Juliet Marillier.
3. Memories of My Melancholy Whores. So I’ll be honest…the first thing that caught my eye was the little sticker proclaiming this to be Gabriel García Márquez’s first novel in 10 years. Then I read the title. Wow. Just, wow. It’s an awesome title (but, then again, the man has always done wonderfully with titles…even if they are originally in Spanish…they translate beautifully as does his writing) for an enrapturing book. (Enrapturing? I’m not 100% positive that’s a word, but it should be.)
2. The Postmortal. I pulled this one out of my editor’s stack o’ books in a heartbeat. The spine is beautiful by itself! As stated in my review of the book, (which you can check out here) “it wasn’t a ridiculously complex cover, it was as simple as the cover artist actually knowing 1) what they were doing and 2) how to do it.” This is probably my second favorite cover ever, only behind…
1. Halfway to the Grave. The book grabbed my attention one day at Wal-Mart and I fell in love. The cover is dark and gorgeous, just like the main character so perfectly pictured. I know it’s technically a romance, but this is one of the places where they get vampires right! I love Jeaniene Frost to this day, and this book is easily one of my favorites. Also…I totally want to go to THAT graveyard…it’s spooky and beautiful. Pretty please?
So, will Top Ten Tuesday be a consistent thing? Maybe. I certainly love books and, considering the severe lack of strict format over here, why not?
If nothing else, it’ll be something to do in the week before I have to get to work on The Geekly.