Wednesday, October 30, 2013

30 Day Challenge - Day 30

Day 30 - Your favourite book of all time.

Well this is it, this is the last day of the challenge and it's been a great way to get into the habit of writing every day. (Especially providential because I've decided to give NaNoWriMo a shot.) It's also been a super way to get to know some of the people I've chosen to follow here on Booklikes.

So I could be really cute and say that my favourite book of all time is the one I'm going to read next, but I can feel eyes rolling at the very thought. *LOL*

So my favourite book of all time is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. (It's also my favourite movie of all time too) I've spoke about this book before in the past 30 days, but that's natural, it's at the top of my list. :) I read this book for the first time in Grade 7, in 1968/69 when I was either 11 or 12 years old. I can't remember if we read the book before my birthday in December or after. It was the first "grown-up" book that I had ever studied in school and I really wish I could remember the name of my English teacher back then (I've since remembered - it's Mr. Wallace.), but that's lost in the mists of time. It's really too bad, because he made the book come alive for me and probably instilled the beginnings of my social conscience. I do know it was the first time I'd ever had an adult discussion about prejudice and bigotry and unfairness and what really makes a brave person.

Over the years, I've reread the book many times. I still have the original book that we got back in Grade 7 - it's a very tattered and battered paperback. I also have a hardcover edition. Like most books, the movie only takes a part of it and throws it up on the screen. The book is rich and full and so much more than just the trial and Boo Radley. The relationships between the children, Scout, Jem and Dill are heart-achingly wonderful and so evocative of a childhood from before all this electronic stuff from smartphones to TVs. We don't get to see a lot of Dill in the movie, you really have to read the book to get his full effect. And he's amazing! As are all the characters.

To Kill a Mockingbird is such an amazing book. Everyone should read it at least once. Everyone should take the chance to submerge themselves into the mind and being of a young girl and see the world with new eyes and be amazed at the wisdom of a child and find a new hero in her father.

"Remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” That was the only time I ever heard Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss Maudie about it.

“Your father’s right,” she said. “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy . . . but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”

Monday, October 28, 2013

30 Day Challenge - Day 28



Day 28 - Favourite title.

What an odd thing. Okay... let me see... Well I don't know about favourite, but there are titles that I think are beautiful, clever or just plain memorable. David Niven's autobiography for example, The Moon's a Balloon. What a great title!! :)

Other titles that stick out in my mind are quite the mishmash of genres. :) There's Beau Geste by P.C. Wren which just sounds beautiful and is such a clever play on words once you know the story. There is, of course, Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. Mary Stewart had some lovely, evocative titles for her mysteries, such as Thunder on the Right and Nine Coaches Waiting. Another that always pops into my mind is Still Glides the Stream by D.E. Stevenson, a British romance author. And I cannot finish without noting the GREAT titles of the Travis McGee mysteries. Written by John D. MacDonald, they are all based on colour - A Purple Place for Dying, A Tan and Sandy Silence, The Lonely Silver Rain, Pale Gray for Guilt. So many super titles!!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

30 Day Challenge - Day 27

Day 27 - The most surprising plot twist or ending.

This is EASY! I wonder how many fantasy readers will say this?

It HAS to be The Red Wedding in George R. R. Martin's A Storm of Swords in the Song of Ice and Fire series. It was when I finally lost my reader's innocence and realised that authors can really do ANYTHING they want and nothing is safe. I remember screaming at the book - yes, me, a grown woman in her forties yelling at a book. I read the passages at least 3 times because I couldn't believe my eyes. And then I wept. Angry tears. I was FURIOUS. Had George Martin been in front of me, I think I would have beaten the crap out of him.

Yeah... The Red Wedding. Kudos to Mr. Martin. He is a master.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

30 Day Challenge - Day 26


Day 26 - A book that changed your opinion about something.

This is not obvious! :) I read mostly fiction, some history and some biography, mostly for relaxation, so I'm not sure that any of my opinions have actually been challenged. I've learned BUCKETS of things, but changing opinions? Nope. So let me take this another way...

So I've already confessed to not being able to finish Diana Gabaldon's Outlander after numerous tries. I think it's a terrible book with awful characters. So this has coloured my opinion of Ms. Gabaldon's writing. A friend of mine who knows my reading likes, dislikes, history, pet peeves, favourite tropes etc... recommended that I try Lord John and the Private Affair. It's in my TBR pile and I will get around to reading it one day and when I do, I hope it changes my opinion on Ms. Gabaldon's abilities. :)

Best I could do with this one!

Friday, October 25, 2013

30 Day Challenge - Day 25


Day 25 - A character you can relate to the most.

Good Lord, what a question after 50 years of reading! *LOL* I shall take the easy way out and chose my childhood heroine, Trixie Belden. I've already talked about Trixie in previous days of this challenge.

Trixie was cool. During the books she was 13 and 14 years old, which suited my preteen sensibilities perfectly. She was the only girl in a family of 4 siblings. Two older brothers and a younger brother. As an only child, I envied that. She had a special group of friends and they formed a club named The Bob-Whites of the Glen. And she solved mysteries.

Well, that doesn't sound like she and I had anything in common, but the thing is, Trixie made mistakes. She blurted things out without thinking sometimes, things that came from a good place but came out wrong. She had a temper. She rushed to judgement at times but was always quick to apologise when she was wrong. She disagreed with her parents sometimes and got in trouble. She did chores. She was a regular gal and THAT is what I related to.

(And really, she was much cooler than that other teenage detective, Nancy Drew.)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

30 Day Challenge - Day 24

Day 24 - A book that you wished more people had read.

I love this book SO much. I know a lot of people have read it, but I think that EVERYONE who loves historical type fantasy needs to read it. The location is fictional, the magic is light and sprinkled with a judicious hand throughout the book, and there is no Quest with a group of 7 or 9 to be found anywhere. And the story is complete in one juicy volume. No sequel, no trilogy, no series of 8 books. :)

The characters! OMG, the characters are so perfect. Flawed, real, bigger than life and yet everyman. The language that Guy Kay uses to tell his story is magic in and of itself. I honestly don't believe that you can rightfully call yourself a fantasy aficionado if you've not read this book.

If you love to read, do yourself a great favour read this book. :) Please!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

30 Day Challenge - Day 23

Day 23 - A book that you wanted to read for a long time but still haven't.

I got this book for Christmas from a good friend 4 years ago? 5 maybe? And somehow I have not read it yet. I'm quite keen to read it and I when I think about it, I tend to think I'm missing something important.

I will get there, however!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

30 Day Challenge - Day 22

Day 22 - Favourite book you own.

Well, I own copies of all the books I talk about. That's why I ended up buying an ereader after thinking they were the devil's tool for so long, I was running out of shelf space! *LOL* I have 11 bookshelves scattered over the house. I collect books, but not first editions and stuff like that. I have many series or singles where I have the hardcover and the paperback. I've often said that a book that comes into my house has a home for life.

The one book I regret NOT owning is a copy of The Lord of the Rings (all 3 volumes in one), leather bound with onion-skin pages. It came in a slipcase. Back in 1975 when I worked at the local WH Smith shop (when they had them in Canada) they were selling the book for $45 and I would have gotten an employee discount on that, but I never acquired it. I really regret that now.

Edit: So in talking to my good friend on Facebook, he made me actually DECIDE! So, this is what I told him.

Well..... I have a lot of old books, my grandfather's, my parents', my aunt's. Things like Hopalong Cassidy in hardcover from the 20s, the set of The Works of Dumas that my dad loved, all my aunt's Frances Parkinson Keyes that were her faves... um... I guess maybe, push comes to hard shove, I'd have to say it's my copy of Beau Geste that was my mom's. It's a hardcover from the 30s, I think (too lazy to go upstairs and pull it out) and it's falling apart, it's been read so much. It's one of my fave books and it was one of my mom's favourites too, so... okay.. maybe that one.

Thanks Mikey!

Monday, October 21, 2013

30 Day Challenge - Day 21

Day 21 - Favourite book from your childhood.

I chose two of my absolute favourites. The first one is my favourite of the Trixie Belden Mysteries. The Mystery of the Emeralds. The best teenage detective EVER, Trixie and her friends and family kept me company all through my childhood. I wanted to be her so badly. :) I could relate much better to the 13/14-year old Trixie than I could to 18 year old Nancy Drew who always seemed so superior and never did anything wrong. Trixie did a lot wrong. :) She lost her temper, made bad choices, and she wasn't the greatest student ever. She hated her chores. But she loved her family and friends, she wanted to help everyone, she had street smarts and intuition. And she always tried to do her best.

The second book is The White Riders by Monica Edwards. It was the first Edwards book I read back as a kid and I fell in love instantly with Tamzin, Rissa, Roger and Meryon. Then I found out it was one of a series, The Romney Marsh series. And it was connected to the Punchbowl Farm series where the foursome was friends with the Thornton family. These kids had adventures, solved mysteries, solved problems, had horses and all kinds of animals. This was how I imagined life for kids over in England. :) I read both of these series' and the Trixie books over and over again. Even to this day I will read them.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

30 Day Challenge - Day 20

Day 20 - Favourite romance book.

Well, I already spoke about Highland Velvet by Jude Devereaux on Day 05 (A book that makes you happy), so I won't repeat myself, even if it is my very favourite romance.

Many, many, many years ago, probably around 1973 but maybe even earlier, I read my first Georgette Heyer, These Old Shades. I fell in love with Justin Alistair, the Duke of Avon and his spunky Leonie. I fell in love with Georgette Heyer and I fell in love with the regency romance of which Ms. Heyer is the incomparable queen.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

30 Day Challenge - Day 19

Day 19 - Favourite book turned into a movie.

I have to say The Lord of the Rings trilogy simply because, having adored the books I was petrified at how they might turn out when made into a movie. The Ralph Bakshi movie from 1978 was interesting and back in the day, when I saw it, I was quite impressed, but when Peter Jackson's epic was announced, I was concerned. Could he do it justice, the justice my favourite deserved? Well, turns out that he most definitely could. Jackson's trilogy is as much a treat for my eyes as the books were (and remain) a treat for my brain.

So, what could have been a HUGE case of Lunchbag Letdown, ended up being something wonderful and much loved. :)

Friday, October 18, 2013

30 Day Challenge - Day 18

Day 18 - A book that disappointed you.

When I heard that Anne Rice was starting a new series, this time featuring werewolves, with a main character inspired by one of my favourite actors, Matt Bomer, I was all over it! I couldn't wait to read it, hoping that it was going to contain the same magic that her Interview with a Vampire had contained so many years ago.

To quote my review - " I don't know if she's still thinking that she's too good for an editor, but BOY, this book could have used some help. I found little of the storytelling and action that drew me to Interview With a Vampire and many of it's successors. And it could have been SO interesting! I liked her werewolf premise, I liked her characters - what we saw of them. She built a wonderful cast and then under-utilised the vast majority of them. Yes, we need to delve into the motivations and thoughts of Reuben, the MC, but I really wanted to see more of the Pack (for want of a better word) which really only gets established in the last 4 (of 40) chapters. Maybe she's hedging for a sequel? All in all, I was looking for more of a story than a character study and sadly, I feel like I got the latter."

Thursday, October 17, 2013

30 Day Challenge - Day 17

Day 17 - Your favourite quote from your favourite book.

So many to choose from in this wonderful, wonderful book! I would have to say, the quote that chokes me up every time I read it, and that's even now, was said by Reverend Sykes at the end of the trial when Atticus was leaving the courtroom. -

"Miss Jean Louise. Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father's passing"

Another favourite from the same book comes from Atticus Finch himself when, in talking to his daughter, he gives her a perfect bit of advice. -

"If you just learn a single trick, Scout, you'll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it."

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

30 Day Challenge - Day 16

Day 16 - Favourite female character.

Believe it or not, I laid awake in bed last night mulling this one over and over. I don't have a helluva lot of favourite female characters that easily come to mind. But there are some! There's Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea and Anne of the Island. Young Anne. Remoth, the gold queen dragon from Anne McCaffrey's Dragonrider books. Aeron from Patricia Kennealy-Morrison's The Keltiad. There's also Arya from Geroge R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire. Savil from Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar books.

But my true favourite is my namesake, Evaine MacRorie Thuryn of Katherine Kurtz's The Legends of Camber of Culdi and The Heirs of Saint Camber trilogies. From her first appearance as a young girl through her growth as a young woman, a wife, a mother and all the while a most learned academic and most powerful sorceress, she owns the pages. She's like the actress that steals every scene she's in, even if she only has one line. A terrific character whose name I'm proud to borrow. :)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

30 Day Challenge - Day 15

Day 15 - Favourite male character.

Well... this is a toughie. I spoke about Benjamin January in previous posts. There's Silk from the David Edding's Belgariad series. John Clark from the Tom Clancy novels. F'nor from Anne McCaffrey's dragon books. Athos from Dumas' The Three Musketeers and later books. Michael Geste from Beau Geste and sequels. Rhys Thuryn and Joram MacRorie from the Camber books by Katherine Kurtz. Mikhail Vasilyovitch Bayul from Amy Lane's Promise series (and yes, I must use his FULL name.). Tyrion Lannister from George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series.

I guess my favourite, after all these years, rereads, books under the bridge and all, would be Alaric Anthony Morgan, Earl of Culdi, from Katherine Kurtz's Deryni series. I fell in love with him when I was a teenager and at 56, I'm still in love with him. :)

Monday, October 14, 2013

30 Day Challenge - Day 14

Day 14 - Favourite books of your favourite writer.

My favourite mystery writer is Barbara Hambly and the series that made her my favourite mystery writer is the Benjamin January series. My favourite books of hers would be the first one in the series, A Free Man of Color, because it's where I was introduced to the world of Benjamin January. We meet Benjamin, we meet his best friend, Hannibal Sefton who is quite the character. (I think he's my favourite in the series.). We are also introduced to Benjamin's family, his mother, his sister and his half-sister; his possible love interest as well as the characters that all mysteries need, the authorities. The cop.. his name is Abishag Shaw. Is that not a NAME?

The mystery is good too. I lifted this synopses from Wikipedia: "Newly arrived in New Orleans after spending most of his adult life in Paris, Benjamin is accused of the murder of a placée named Angelique when he is the last known person to see her alive. Benjamin struggles to find the real killer before he is jailed and executed for the murder. He also tries to help the widow of Angelique's former protector, a white woman who may have had her own reasons for wanting Angelique dead.".

The books are all wonderful, really, and again, I highly recommend them to fans of mysteries and historical novels both. :)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

30 Day Challenge - Day 13


Day 13 - Your Favourite Writer

So this category sort of replicates the favourite series and favourite book etc.. that we've done earlier, so I'm going to go with my favourite mystery writer. :)

That would be Barbara Hambly. Along with some well-known fantasy novels, Barbara also writes the Benjamin January series of books. The books are set in and around New Orleans in the 1830s. Benjamin is a free man of colour and the series opens when he returns from France after a very long absence. (Benjamin's Wikipedia entry: Mixed-race former slave, freed as a child by his mother's lover. He was trained in Paris as a surgeon, but works primarily as a piano player. He is very tall, and very dark-skinned, which is a significant impediment to his medical career in pre-Civil War New Orleans. He lived in France for many years, but returned to New Orleans when his first wife died.)

Barbara does her homework and the books are rich in history and atmosphere but that never gets in the way of the story-telling. Her characters are full and real and some of them you love, some of them you hate. The mysteries are well-plotted and definitely not just excuses for the story of Benjamin's life. The two twine wonderfully well.

Whenever I learn that someone enjoys mysteries, I immediately recommend this series. It's terrific!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

30 Day Challenge - Day 12

 Day 12 - A book you used to love but don't anymore.

This is a very difficult one. Most books that I have loved over my reading life I still love but for different reasons. Take for instance, the Mary Stewart thrillers. The Moonspinners, The Gabriel Hounds, Nine Coaches Waiting, My Brother, Michael etc... These were some of my favourite books back when I was a young teenager, they introduced me to the world of romance and suspense. I graduated to them from Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew. They were exciting and new and romantic and I loved them to bits.

Today all of these novels are very dated and the heroines anything but modern, but I still love them for their snapshot of a time period and for the nostalgia of where I was in my reading life and the doors they opened for me. The Moonspinners is still one of my favourite books and I still love Mary Stewart.

So I used to love them as only a 14 year old girl can love books and today, 40+ years later, I love them for what they did for that 14 year-old and for the warm, cozy feeling they give me.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Catch a Ghost by SE Jakes


Hell or High Water - Book 1

I really enjoyed this! Talk about a couple of complicated and deep MCs! Prophet and Tommy are all that and a bag of chips in all the best of ways. And I'm still not quite sure exactly what happened between them! *LOL* To be honest, I think they're both still a little confused as well and I want to shake them both at times. :)

Catch a Ghost
has a bit of a Tom Clancy/Larry Bond techno-thriller feel about it, with undercover operatives, missions, shadowy secondary characters - yes, Cillian, I'm looking at you - and guys so tough and stoic that they put Daniel Craig's James Bond to shame. Often, when the main characters are so wonderfully drawn, the secondary characters suffer, but not in this case. The afore-mentioned Cillian, Doc, Phil and even John are well fleshed out and different from each other.

The plot is good, it's intricate, it doesn't give anything away and there's a logical progression of events, something that many so-called romantic thrillers aren't so great about. There's humour, menace, violence (lots of violence), camaraderie and some very emotional moments. Really good stuff, a nice, juicy story. And the fight and torture scenes? Real and alive on the page. And the sex scenes? Hot, steamy and intense. Yes, there's romance, but it's sure not the hearts and flowers kind.

I screamed at the end of the book, well, quietly and under my breath. All I can say is thank God the sequel comes out in another two weeks! So many questions were answered, but so many not. This is the first in a series of adventures with Prophet and Tommy from what I understand and I am looking forward to reading them all. :)

30 Day Challenge - Day 11

Day 11 - A book you hated.

"Hated" is a very strong word. There have been books I've disliked and Hyperion is one of them. I read it a long while ago, fifteen years at least, but it still pops to mind whenever anyone asks the question. As I remember, I had to do a lot of going back and rereading passages to make sure I understood what was going on and even then, it was "Really? Okay then." with a shrug and a carry on. I know I read through to the very end in the hopes I would 'get it' or at least come to like the characters. Nada. Nope. Rien de tout. It was still awful.

So many folks who read science fiction love this book and praise it as one that every sci-fi fan MUST read, a classic etc... Well, this gal says no. It was one of the most dissatisfying reads I have ever had and sadly, a total waste of my time.


The only book I have truly hated is Fifty Shades of Grey. Suffice to say that it is the most badly written, filled with abuse, total misinformation about the BDSM lifestyle, purveyor and perpetrator of misogynistic bullshit that I have ever, ever read. And I weep, WEEP for women and girls who think that this shit is romantic. I have a link that I would like to share that explain this far better than I ever could.

50 Shades and Abusive Relationships by Jennifer Armintrout.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

30 Day Challenge - Day 10

Day 10 - Favorite classic book.

I read The Three Musketeers for the first time when I was a teenager, many years ago. Many, many. :) My parents had a collection of "The Works of Alexandre Dumas" all leather bound with thin onion skin-like pages and one summer day, with a lack of new books to read, I decided that it was time for me to read the first volume. I was in love after the first chapter. :) Yes, it took a wee bit of time to get used to this different style of writing, it was published in the mid-1800s, after all, but once I found the rhythm, I really couldn't put it down. I remember laying on my bed up in my room and actually reading paragraphs out loud, just to see how they sounded.

Dumas was a popular writer in his day, a mix of Nora Roberts and Tom Clancy, and this book has everything, romance, intrigue, adventure, tragedy, comedy. Once finished, I went on to read others in the series... and yes, it's a series. *LOL* Then The Count of Monte Cristo. What reading The Three Musketeers did for me was show me that reading the classics could be as enjoyable as reading contemporary works, and with that, reading Dickens, for instance, the following school year was nowhere near as intimidating as it might have been.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

30 Day Challenge - Day 9

Day 9 - A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving

I picked this book up because a friend had read it and enjoyed it and because it was getting all kinds of positive buzz in the French book community here in Montreal, believe it or not. I worked with a bunch of francophones that love to read. Anyway, I picked it up and began reading it and I was certain after a few chapters that I wasn't going to like it. It was dry, there was too much exposition about Swedish financial things, but I kept reading and kept reading... and I mean I was reading to the point where I was staying up far too late because I couldn't put the darned thing down!

In the end, I really enjoyed this book, loved it even, but I really can't tell you why! :)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

30 Day Challenge - Day 8

Day 08 - Most overrated book.

I have tried, over the years, at least 3, maybe 4 times to finish Outlander. I can't. I end up getting frustrated and annoyed before I'm even halfway in. The characters annoy the hell out of me. Both of them. Clare and Jamie. Everyone loves this book and these characters and I just don't get it. I often feel as if they're going to take away my Romance Reader Card or hound me out of Romancelandia because of this. *LOL* I have two books on my DNF shelf. This one and Wicked.

Monday, October 7, 2013

30 Day Challenge - Day 7

Day 7 - Most underrated book.

I don't know that According to Hoyle by Abigail Roux is the most underrated book ever, but I sincerely believe that it is underrated within the genre (M/M) and within Abby's own fandom. :)

Abigail Roux is best known for her Cut & Run series, featuring the adventures of a pair of FBI agents who also become lovers. GREAT books. I love them. There's a whole huge fandom that's been built up around this series and I think that According to Hoyle, which is not part of Cut & Run, suffers and languishes in the afterthoughts of many of Abby's fans.

It's a historical, western in flavour. The characters are full and flawed and very, very human. The story focuses on 4 of them, two US Marshals and two outlaws. Eli and William are the marshals and it's their interaction with the outlaws they're transporting, Dusty and Cage, that enables them to face their deep feelings for each other. And it's a mystery and an adventure and a love story and just so much fun! And Cage? The man is mute. Can't talk. And the way Abby is able to bring him alive is so very amazing. He's fascinating and I want... no NEED to know more about him

I understand the love for Ty and Zane from Cut & Run and the wish for more and more of their adventures and the adventures of their Team Sidewinder buddies, but I keep my fingers crossed for another book about the great characters in According to Hoyle and try not to think that they may have gotten lost beneath the hype of C&R.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Capture and Surrender by L.A. Witt and Aleksandr Voinov


Market Garden - Book 5

Capture & Surrender is the 5th book in the Market Garden Universe and turns the spotlight on the owner of the Market Garden, Frank. One of the best things about Frank? He's in his 40s. :) I love stories that feature a mature man in a lead role. We need more of these! And his love interest? Stefan, the young, handsome, American new rentboy at the club. I liked the feel of these two right off. Stefan was pushy, pushy and so very attractive and Frank was stoic, outwardly calm and so very, very interested. They worked for me. Who else worked for me? Frank's two friends, Geoff and Mike. I love how they take care of Frank, their love and affection just comes pouring off the page.

The love story itself is good. Sweet and bittersweet and very hot and steamy. It hits all the marks for a good tale and then some. I even found myself getting a wee bit choked up a couple of times. :) Small drawbacks were that I did find were that Frank, in the latter, oh, quarter of the book, began to get a little repetitive in his introspection, and that there was more action in the first half of the story than the second. It was almost as if the theme (is that the word I want?) of the book changed lanes from hot and steamy love story to something a little more seriously real. I assume this had to do with the reality of Stefan's past and Frank's past and present and how they were going to deal with it.

I very much enjoy the Market Garden universe and this slice of it was no exception.

30 Day Challenge - Day 6

Day 06 - A book that makes you sad.

I first read Lord of the Flies when I was in Grade 7, back in the day when Grade 7 was the last year of elementary/grade school. I was 12. Unlike The Catcher in the Rye which I found the most incredible tripe, something about this book got under my skin and has stayed with me 'til this day, nearly 45 years later. I have reread the book a few times over the years and it always leaves me sad. Mr. Wallace, the teacher that brought us the book would be proud that it has stuck with me for all this time.

Lord of the Flies is the tale of a group of British schoolboys stranded on a deserted island during an unidentified wartime. What begins as a grand adventure decays into something horrific as this bunch of boys goes evolves/devolves from civilised and living by rules they've been taught since babyhood, into chaos and barbarism. There is friendship and there is hostility, there are boys being boys and boys being made to think of things and do things that we would never want our children to do or think about. There is violence as only children can be violent and when it escalates into what we would probably term adult violence, it's frightening and all too real.

And that's why this book makes me sad. The veneer of civilisation is very thin in places and when one reads this book, one can see how so many terrible things can be done by humankind if care is not taken.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

30 Day Challenge - Day 5

Day 5 - A book that makes me happy.

Jude Devereaux's Highland Velvet makes me happy for many reasons. It's the 2nd in her quartet of books about the original Montgomery brothers, (Yes, I know that The Black Lyon is really the first instance of Montgoermyism, but...), and my very favourite romance of all. I've read it so many times and it always gives me that HEA sigh when I'm finished. I even pick it up sometimes to read passages.

Published in 1982 it falls prey to some of the tropes we're not so fond of these days, but you know what? I don't care! Horrors, I know. The blurb from the back of the book is so full of hyperbole as they were back in the day...

Bronwyn MacArran was a proud Scot. Stephen Montgomery was one of the hated English.

He came to Scotland as a conqueror, saw her beauty and was vanquished. But still she would abhor him. 

She owned a temper hot enough to forge the armors of battle or inflame a valiant soldier's passion. 

Yet still she would resist him. 

She became his reason to live, his reason to love. And still she would deny him. 

But while clan fought clan, while brother took up sword against brother, and the highlands ran with blood -- their destiny was made...and this mighty warrior pledged himself to his woman's pride, her honor and her name -- and made of their love a torch to burn through the ages!

But dammit, I fell in love with Stephen before the first chapter was done. I mean, he's tall, blond and so full of himself. *LOL* I love him. And Bronwyn is just SO very much his equal - and of course, a redhead to boot! Their fights are magnificent and when they fight together, having each other's back.. I could swoon. *LOL* And Bronwyn has a lovely, LOVELY huge dog who loves her as much as Stephen does. Cabal is his name if my old lady memory serves me right.

Ms. Devereaux has written many, many romances over the years but I found that after she began writing her time travel ones, I lost much of the magic. And those are so beloved by most of her legion of fans. But her 80s (and early 90s) books? OMG! My favourites and Highland Velvet is the most favourite of them all!

Friday, October 4, 2013

30 Day Challenge - Day 4

Day 4 - Favorite book of your favorite series.

Well, I guess I screwed the pooch yesterday. *LOL* I hadn't re-read the whole list for the month, so had no idea that this would be the next subject on the list. :) Anyhoooo....

My favourite series is the Deryni series which is made up of various trilogies in the same universe, but set different eras. The 'present' era of King Kelson (The Deryni Chronicles, The Histories of King Kelson), the 'long ago' era of Camber (The Legends of Camber of Culdi, The Heirs of Saint Camber) and the near past of The Childe Morgan.

Out of all these, my favourite volume is what is probably the darkest of all Katherine's works, The Harrowing of Gwynedd, book 1 of The Heirs of Saint Camber.. In retrospect, it's the book in which Katherine gets her George R.R. Martin on. The kingdom is in bloody turmoil and the Deryni people are being persecuted, hunted down, proscribed, executed - it's all gone to hell in a handbasket pretty much. I can't tell you how many times my heart gets broken during this book. Weep? Oh, you betcha!

I don't quite know why I'm drawn to this book so strongly. I think it is one of Katherine's best works, but more than that, I think it's that even when things are so horribly dark, so frighteningly bad, there are moments that are uplifting, hope-giving, even happy. :) Not a lot of them, but they are there. And for someone like me who always looks for the silver lining, that's all I need, even when the final chapter is making sob out loud.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

30 Day Challenge - Day 3


Day 3 - What is your favorite series.

Soooo many to choose from! *LOL* I'm a fantasy fan, so really, there are tons! A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin? Pern by Anne McCaffrey? Robin Hobb's Farseer Trilogy? Go back into my childhood and choose the Trixie Belden Mysteries? Monica Edwards' Romney Marsh or Punchbowl Farms series? Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover series? Nora Roberts' Chesapeake Bay Saga? The Cut and Run series by Abigail Roux (and Madeleine Urban for the first few.)? The Special Delivery series by Heidi Cullinan? The Callisto series by Lin Carter? All of them are huge favourites for me. The Riverside Series by Ellen Kushner? You see my dilemma! *LOL*

Yesterday I spoke of my love of the Deryni series by Katherine Kurtz, it really is my favourite. I fell in love with Alaric Morgan as a young girl and I'm still in love with him today. :) And even so, even so, my favourite volume in the whole of the Deryni series is The Harrowing of Gwynedd (Volume 1 of The Heirs of Saint Camber) which makes me weep every time I reread it.