Wannabe Martha

Still trying to figure out which Martha

Reading Update of Sorts

Some people walk in their sleep.

Some people talk in their sleep.

I eat lemon pie in my sleep.

Le Sigh.

Just needed to get that off my chest.  Now, on to the post.

I’ve read a number of excellent books lately and keep thinking that I will, must, write books reviews or recommendations or SOMETHING.  All these thoughts swirling around and I can’t quite get them from brain to fingertips.  Well, here’s a partial list, and hopefully I’ll actually write about them or at least start a book discussion, if only to prove that I discuss something other than food.

  • Dead Heat – Patricia Briggs
  • Havah – Tosca Lee
  • Demon:  A Memoir – Tosca Lee (a re-read, actually, but needed to before reading Havah)
  • Paradise Lost – Milton (also a re-read for same reason)
  • Wakeworld – Kerry Schaefer (there are 2 more and yes, I have then loaded on my Nook)
  • The Wrath – Kristina Schram (nice Gothic-y goodness)
  • Queen Joanna – Kate Danley (creepy ghost story)
  • The Woodcutter – Kate Danley (for those who love fairy tales)
  • Wreck of The Nebula Dream – Veronica Scott (some fun scifi with a little rom)
  • Whom The Gods Love – Sarah Hoyt (scifi? fantasy? not sure exactly how I’d classify it)
  • Warprize – Elizabeth Vaughn (romantic goodness)
  • Shimmering Splendor – Roberta Gellis (OOP, I think, but an lovely take on the Hades/Persephone story if you can lay your hands on a copy)


A few of my upcoming reads…

  • The Grendel Affair – Lisa Shearin
  • Storm Front – Jim Butcher (OK I’ve read it a million times, and I’m going to re-read it again and then work my way through them all throughout the summer)
  • A Deafening Silence in Heaven – Thomas Sniegoski (and I have to wait until 1 October for the release – which is fine because it means I can just re-read Remy Chandler 1-6; this is not a bad thing)
  • Shards of Hope – Nalini Singh (Hey – June’s not that far away)
  • Castle D’Or – Daphne Du Maurier (Gotta have my Gothic fix!)

There are more – of course there are more.  I’m reading a nice fluffy romance by Eloisa James (Three Weeks with Lady X) right now.  It’s going ever so nicely with my tea and shortbread.

So, what’s going on in the pages you’re reading?







Book Recommendation – The Bees

Big Fat Disclaimer: I can’t write a review to save my life, but this was just too good for me to keep to myself, so we’ll call it a recommendation with some of my thoughts and just leave it at that.  Maybe I’ll work on writing reviews – there are a number of books I’ve lately and I’d like to share my thoughts about them.

Do yourself a great big favor and secure yourself of a copy of The Bees by Laline Paull (I just corrected the spelling of her name – Le Sigh).  This came as a recommendation to me (thanks, Ms. BC), and I’m damn glad I didn’t pass it over as it has to be one of the most unusual, gripping, and satisfying reads I’ve had in a very long time.

The Bees is told through the eyes of Flora 717, a bee born into the sanitation cast of her hive.  But she’s not like the other sanitation workers.  In fact, she’s not really like any of the other bees and therein lies the wonder and excitement and despair and danger.  I loved Flora.  I simultaneously ached for her and cheered her on and held my breath and yes, I cried like a baby a couple times.

I want to talk about this book; I want to share my reactions to the bee culture as portrayed and to the characters – and let me tell you, Paull does an amazing job of creating real characters (I had to keep reminding myself that they were bees). I want to talk about Flora’s struggles and her triumphs, her losses and her gifts.  I want to talk about the inner workings of the hive and the habits of the bees.  At the same time, I’m reluctant to divulge even the smallest of details and ruin the story for a potential reader.  Stay away from reviews – there is a huge spoiler in the Washington Post review (read after the fact) that would have seriously diminished my experience , which ran the gamut of delight, horror, anxiety, tears, joy. [Edited to add – don’t even read the description on Amazon – I was going to link there, but then I realized that TMI!!!  Just download it and start reading – you won’t be sorry.]

I know this much – I’ll never look at bees the same way again and I’ll be planting plenty of brightly colored flowers next spring.


Celebrate Banned Book Week

Pick up a copy of any Junie B. Jones book and indulge in some laughing-out-loud zaniness.

Then close the book and ask yourself the following:

Someone actually objected to Junie B. Jones?


Demanded it be removed from a school library as inappropriate?

Shake your head and realize that there are some people who will find fault with absolute anything.  Especially if there’s any hint of humor or fun.

Other books I can recommend as equally hilarious:

Emil in the Soup Tureen by Astrid Lindgren

Ellen Tebbits by Beverly Cleary

(Emil and the Soup Tureen, is actually a Swedish children’s book and if you can get your hands on a copy(plus any of the other Emil stories), do so – also grab any stories about the Bullerby Children – they’re absolutely wonderful).

OK.  I’m going to stop here.  It’s not that I don’t feel there’s a good discussion to be had about whether or not some books are appropriate for school aged children (in fact, I do believe that), but the absurdity of some objections just has me shaking my head in frustration.

Seriously.  Junie B. Jones?


Is He a Dreamboat?

Over at AAR is an interesting column about Max DeWinter (He of Rebecca fame) and whether he’s a D-bag (I abbreviate because I actually hate that expression) or Dreamboat (OK – that just cracks me up).

For a time I was quite the DuMaurier junkie (right after the first time I saw Rebecca), but I haven’t thought about her writings in a long while.  I think a re-read of the novel is in order, as there may be too much of the movie rattling around in my mind to be able to come to clear opinion on the matter.  Anyway, if you’re looking for a little something different to consider, hop over there and join in the discussion – some of the comments are quite interesting.  I may just write a little more on this after I read the book again.  Sometimes a re-read results in an entirely different appreciation, and after reading the article, I’m wondering just if my thoughts about him will change.

Oh and that reminds me – I just downloaded The Woman in White – can you believe I haven’t read it?  I remember my mother telling me that she read it while my Dad was on a business trip when we lived in Finland.  My brothers and I were really little at the time and she was so creeped out  she could only read it locked the bathroom!  I think that sounds like my kind of book.

Lest there be any question about it, Laurence Olivier IS Max DeWinter (just like Daniel Craig IS James Bond).


I’m Cranky Today

And so I’ve allowed myself to get into a bit of an argument about why Outlander IS NOT my cup of tea (so much to choose from – adultery; beating your wife; rape; the list is just endless).  I’m actually really very liberal in my reading – as in, there ain’t much I won’t read (just finished re-reading The Bees – FANTASTIC and I might write a review of it – Thank You Miss BC for the recommendation), but even I have some “nope – not going there” territory.  Part that gets me is that there are CATHOLICS making excuses about the adultery because of “time travel” – and this with CATHOLIC “hero/heroine” (I deliberately use the quote marks because I don’t find any of it particularly heroic.

Anyway – I’m annoyed.  Mostly I’m annoyed that my objections are being dismissed as “not fair to the books” and “you shouldn’t talk about them if you haven’t read them” – well, I think it’s fair to say I don’t want to read them because there are elements which just revolt me (I’m certainly not saying others can’t read or even enjoy the books; I’m just stating WHY I don’t want to read them – and that is apparently not fair or some such BS).

So anyway, I’m annoyed.

[Edited to add – really – I’m very broad in my reading tastes:  Mystery, Romance, SciFi, Fantasy; Historical Fiction; Biography; Dystopian stuff; PNR; Urban Fantasy – yep – I read it ALL with great pleasure]

[Edited again, because clearly I’m not done here.  It’s not that I can’t read a book with rape in it – quite the contrary; in fact, one of my favorite series has the main character suffer a terrible rape, but – and this is the salient point – IT’S NOT BY THE MAN WHO CLAIMS TO LOVE HER, it’s by the villain.  I consider this a rather important distinction.  Also, I don’t mind Le Sex in my reading either (I’m not actually a prude) – but there just isn’t anything romantic or sexy about adultery – deceiving your spouse and violating your marriage – yeah – uh, nope.  And finally – man hits his “beloved” – I’m DONE; just NONONONONONONONONO.

I might be back again.  I’m not sure.]

[Yet another addition – And apparently I can’t keep away from the discussion.  Maybe getting some work done would be a nice diversion, no?? Le Double Sigh]

[Also I am a glutton for punishment, apparently, because I can’t keep my mouth shut; er, fingers off the keyboard.]


I’m All Bleary-Eyed, But It Was Totally Worth It

Soooo I stayed up all night reading Patricia Brigg’s newest Mercy Thompson novel, Night Broken.

So Absolutely Freakin’ Good!

If you don’t read her stuff – start now.  Go to the beginning and read them all the way through.  Read them in order.  And don’t skip the Alpha & Omega books, either.  You need those interspersed with the Mercy Thompson books, along with the various short stories.  To help you out (because I’m just a giving kind of chick), I have all of them listed in order, including the short stories which, by the way, will be coming out in a complete collection this fall called “Shifting Shadows”.

Anyhoo….here’s the complete list in reading order so far.  Check out Patricia Briggs’ website for more details.

  • Moon Called – Mercy Thompson #1
  • “Alpha and Omega” (short story in the anthology On the Prowl – Alpha & Omega #.5 sort of)
  • Cry Wolf Alpha & Omega #1
  • “Seeing Eye” (short story from the anthology Strange Brew – Alpha & Omega 1.5)
  • Hunting Ground– Alpha & Omega #2
  • “Star of David” (a Mercy-verse short story in the anthology, Wolfsbane and Mistletoe)
  • Blood Bound– Mercy Thompson #2
  • Iron Kissed– Mercy Thompson #3
  • Bone Crossed– Mercy Thompson #4
  • Silver Borne– Mercy Thompson #5
  • River Marked– Mercy Thompson#6
  • Fair Game– Alpha & Omega #3
  • “Fairy Gifts” (a Mercy-verse short story in the anthology Naked City)
  • “In Red, With Pearls” (a Mercy-verse short story from the anthology Down these Strange Streets)
  • Frost Burned– Mercy Thompson #7
  • Night Broken – Mercy Thompson #8

There’s also a graphic novel, Homecoming, which I understand is sort of a prequel to the series. I don’t have it, but soon – very soon.

So what am I going to read now that I’m done with Mercy?  Well, Jim Butcher has a new book coming out – Dresden One Thousand or something.  Generally I’m compelled to read through an entire series to catch myself up – so this will be like 1001st time for Storm Front, I guess.  On the other hand, I could just go back to White Night.  Maybe.

Sarah Hoyt’s Musketeer Series is finally coming to digital (I think) – but do I have the right reader?  (Watch for upcoming whine about why I need an iPad now that my Nook is failing.  Bring crackers and cheese).

I need to catch up on Deanna Raybourn’s Lady Julia Mysteries, AND C. S. Harris’s Sebastian St. Cyr Series.  There’s more, but let’s just stop here.

So many books.  So little time.



The Gauntlet has been Flung

An excerpt from Chapter 30:

“My gracious Lord and King,” said Myles, “I, the son of the accused, do offer myself as his champion in this cause, beseeching thee of thy grace leave to prove the truth of the same, being a belted knight by thy grace and of thy creation and the peer of any who weareth spurs.”

Thereupon, rising, he drew his iron gauntlet from his girdle, and flung it crashing down upon the floor, and with his heart swelling within him with anger and indignation and pity of his blind father, he cried out in a loud voice, “I do accuse thee, William of Alban, that thou liest vilely as aforesaid, and here cast down my gage, daring thee to take it up.”

 From “Men of Iron”, by Howard Pyle, copyright  1891

(Seriously, is that not the best challenge EVER?)



I loved this month and now I hate it.  It can’t pass by quickly enough.  I’m miserable and because I’m miserable I’m reading my most loathed book of all time, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter”. And I’m only reading it because it makes me so furious that it burns away the sad.  So I guess, in the end, the stupid book good for something besides breaking the windows it lands against.

[Ed. – so I just noticed that I can’t spell Scarlet.  And I’ve corrected it.  At least I’m fessing up.]


Sometimes I Just Can’t Help Myself

Instead of going to the grocery store today like a good mother, I went to the local B&N. The reasons were twofold: I needed a latte and I needed Thomas Sniegoski’s newest Remy Chandler novel. It’s been out for a while, but today I simply caved – it had to happen sooner or later.

I should explain that I have an intense love-hate relationship with these books. On the one hand I absolutely devour them – I start reading and the world just stops. I can’t put it down and I desperately want to know what’s going to happen next. At the same time, they absolutely infuriate me (the Catholic in me keeps screaming “No, dammit! No! No! No!”).

Book Four, “A Hundred Word for Hate” was a particularly frustrating read. Near the end, I literally threw the book – which was kind of awkward since I was sitting in my car at a raised drawbridge and I ended up hurtling it out the passenger side window. Thankfully there was enough time for me to run out and retrieve it. And yes, I really did need to retrieve it, because I really did need to know how it ended.

After that, I resolved to abstain from Remy. Which I did. Until “In the House of the Wicked” it came out. I bought it, but I still haven’t read it. And now, today, I went out and bought “Walking in the Midst of Fire.

I just don’t understand myself sometimes.

(For those of you unfamiliar with the series, private investigator Remy Chandler is really the fallen angel Remiel. Now, these are not works of Christian fiction by any stretch of the imagination and require suspension of pretty much everything you ever learned in CCD. My less than successful ability to do so is why I have such a contentious relationship with the books.)