Just A Little Bit Wednesday, Oct 20 2010 

Hello Readers!

 I thought I might let you in on what has been going on with my 2010 Reading List and a little bit about me… just a little bit. Here goes…

I have removed a certain number of the titles I had on the list. For a couple of reasons I might add–this way nobody can spit thorns in my direction. There were just too many titles to get through. It was a wonderful thought–read over 150 books in a year or less. Granted, I am still reading most of them–I just took away about 50 titles, maybe a couple more. I had too much of a topic that I love reading about in small doses, namely European royalty. Also, I started reading Nefertiti, but I have to return it–have to read other books, so I’ll be returning to Egypt one day. 🙂 In any case, that is what’s going on there.

New news with me–I am in the process of making a 2011 Reading List. It is very short and reasonable. The books for 2011 seem to have a theme so that should be fun to play with and see where it takes me. I would like it if I could finish it by the end of 2011, that is how short it is. I am giving my 2010 list a little over a year to be done, however, starting Summer 2011, I’ll probably be mixing up the lists just a bit. I will release the 2011 list in the new year. However, I suppose if you want a sneak peek, you could always ask–ya know? 😉

My original list can be found here, 2010 Reading List. My revised list goes as follows:

Anything that is crossed out, I have finished reading and reviewed by October 19, 2010.
** Indicates that it is currently on hold and what is to come within the next month

Singles
Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende
Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok
God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World and Why Their Differences Matter by Stephen R. Prothero
The Bride Collector by Ted Dekker
The Hand that First Held Mine by Maggie O’Farrell
Imperfect Birds by Anne Lamott
Angelology by Danielle Trussoni
Nefertiti by Michelle Moran
The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran
Cleopatra’s Daughter by Michelle Moran
Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran

Series
Millenium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson
                The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
                The Girl Who Played with Fire
                The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest
Eve Duncan Saga by Iris Johansen
                The Face of Deception
                The Killing Game
                The Search
                Body of Lies
                Blind Alley
                Countdown
                Stalemate
                Quicksand
                Blood Game
                Eight Days to Live
Blue Bloods Series by Melissa de la Cruz
                Blue Bloods
                Masquerade
                Revelations
                The Van Alen Legacy
                Misguided Angel
Mercy Thompson Series by Patricia Briggs
                Moon Called
                Blood Bound
                Iron Kissed
                Bone Crossed
                Silver Borne
                River Marked
Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter Series
 by Laurell K. Hamilton
                Guilty Pleasures
                **The Laughing Corpse
                Circus of the Damned
                The Lunatic Cafe
                Bloody Bones
                The Killing Dance
                Burnt Offerings
                Blue Moon
                Obsidian Butterfly
                Narcissus in Chains
                Cerulean Sins
                Incubus Dreams
                Micah
                Danse Macabre
                The Harlequin
                Blood Noir
                Skin Trade
                Flirt
                Bullet
Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead
                Vampire Academy
                Frostbite
                **Shadow Kiss
                Blood Promise
                Spirit Bound
                Last Sacrifice
Vampire Kisses Series by Ellen Schreiber
                Vampire Kisses
                **Kissing Coffins
                **Vampireville
                Dance with a Vampire
                The Coffin Club
                Royal Blood
                Love Bites

Happy Reading!

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Heads Carolina, Tails California Friday, Sep 17 2010 

What I would not give for this entry to be a book review. Do you realize how many books I have in my possession–not including the huge pile that is an avalanche all on its own? School has taken up so much of my time and to be honest–I long for summer once again when I can go to work and come home and read. I’ve taken up knitting–it is so calming. I’ve completed two hats and can’t wait to begin making scarves.

My reason for writing this entry which has nothing to do with what I would truly love to be doing right now? I could not leave this untouched for another day. I became so accustomed to reading non-stop, writing a blog, and then starting up again. So, to those who read and those who comment: I appreciate your comments and discussion… and your patience. I will one day soon get another book review up. However, this is not even half of what I am up against:

ENG 203–Introduction to Drama.
We aren’t reading books so much as we are reading plays like “Oedipus Rex”, “Everyman”, “Lysistrata”, etc. The Greeks really knew how to stress SEX without saying it. Okay, that’s a lie. At one point in “Lysistrata”, the women declare they will not be “lifting their slippers to the ceiling” or “go on all fours.” Oh joy. I am currently writing a paper about King Oedipus and Oedipus complex–riveting, wouldn’t you say?

ENG 312–Literary Criticism.
Mostly collected works by Elizabeth Bishop and a custom-made course reader thanks to the Professor. Apparently, my views are incredibly Marxist and reader based. I guess I can agree if it means that I firmly believe how you interpret literature is based on your social location and experiences. No matter, recently read a short story called “The Burning House” by Anne Beattie–amazing. Read it. I could pick apart that story all day.

ENG 326–American Immigrant Experience.
Yep, you guessed it. It is a co-taught class for History and English. The professors banter back and forth–funny as hell. We read historical accounts, participate in lectures, and discuss what we are reading. Six or seven novels and a zillion articles. To be quite honest, the topic of immigration tends to be a very touchy topic. I do not understand why. We are a nation of immigrants. On another note, you could say I am a bit of a feminist. So, despite the fact that I’ve learned to respect various cultures, I became very sad when we had to read a short story about a young Chinese couple who were to be driven apart thanks to being Americanized–which really is so true–we expect everyone to act “American.” Whatever that is–I do not really know anymore. And now that I have gone somewhere on a tangent, let us return.

HIS 211–History of Latin American Civilizations.
The professor, my roommate and I have decided, looks exceedingly like a young Michael Caine. We are reading two books in that class and the sections are so ungodly long. The class lectures are fascinating and it is quite obvious the professor is passionate about the subject: Maya, Aztecs, Incas, etc., but this English major and History minor loves to read–just not texts that are so dense that you could put a knife through it.

SPN 101–Introduction to Spanish.
Hola! Me gusta mucho! I had taken three years in middle school and high school. However, upon being called stupid and lazy, I backed away from the language that I was so close to being fluent in and slowly but surely, it became dormant. Until now. I am staying up late and having fantastic conversations with one of my roommates, Amanda, and the second best part about having these conversations: they are  completely in Spanish! Hell yes!

~~

As much as I love school, (if I could be paid to go to school for the rest of my life, I probably would because I love to learn) I would love to get in a car with my travel buddy, Amanda, take some good music, a couple dozen books, my laptop, and plenty of money for gas and food, and just drive without a damn map. Get lost and just be at peace with a good book in my hands. Flip a coin and go. Escape into the novels that have become (almost) like home. Call me crazy, but I love talking to the characters and sharing in their adventures–but I guess I have to come back to reality sometime. Quite honestly, I do not  enjoy reality right now and a great big bubble of positive something would do me some good. By next week, I fully intend on having SOMETHING up…this two-week business is not okay with me.

To end on a positive note–I am thoroughly excited for my Fall TV shows and supposedly, they are making a show or a movie out of the Vampire Academy series. They will not be able to do Dimitri Belikov justice. haha

Books in my possession that I have not started yet: Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs, Nefertiti by Michelle Moran, The Killing Game by Iris Johansen, and maybe three or four other books that are coming in. Oh to be able to write another entry. Until then…

Happy Reading!! 🙂

The Heretic Queen Saturday, Sep 4 2010 

“Every day will be like this, I thought. Every morning for the rest of my life I will be treated as the Heretic’s niece. If I don’t change their opinion of me, I will never escape it.” (169)

I finished this novel at 3 this morning. Let me just say–it is so, so nice to return to one of my first ancient history obsessions: Egypt. It has been a long time since I’ve read anything regarding Egypt–her history, her people. Due to my overload of Tudor related history, I was not sure I would even return to history based novels for a while. I’ve even had to temporarily remove certain novels until I have  a Tudor history craving again. Egypt and England–two of my favorite kingdoms and constant loves–I just need a small break from one for a bit.

So, I guess this entry might be a small lesson based on what I remember of Egyptian history. To keep it honest, I’ll only write what I remember completely:

Nefertari is one of the queens I remember vividly next to Hatshepsut, Cleopatra, and Nefertiti. Nefertari is rumored to have been named in honor of Nefertiti, who came a couple of decades before her. She was married to Ramesses the Great–the pharaoh who fought with Moses. Historians do not know much about Nefertari’s beginnings, but it is believed she is related to Nefertiti, Tutankhamun, and Akhenaten. She gave Ramesses many children, none of which lived long enough to rule Egypt. Nefertari is known for being the greatest love of Ramesses (he wrote poetry and built temples dedicated to her) and her importance in political matters. In regards to their love match, he wrote on her burial chamber wall: “My love is unique and none can rival her… Just by passing, she has stolen away my heart.” (374) The romantic in me goes, “Awww!!”

Obviously, historical fiction writers take liberties with information that is fuzzy or not completely known. Michelle Moran makes it work where other authors might lack. There is a believability to her writing. I love the character development–and especially enjoyed Nefertari’s plan to leave the court so Ramesses will miss her. One of the oldest games in the book–absence makes the heart grow fonder.

I really liked  all the conflicts and sub-plots–they really made the story stand out from other novels I’ve read. Moran states that she does place information for the holes in history, so certain things might not fit. However, the story flows without hitch. Oh! And I soo envied Moran’s descriptions of Nerfertari’s makeup regimen–perhaps not the entire process–but the styles and colors. And the Nubian wigs–Ahh!!

The Heretic Queen was such an amazing read. Thanks to school it took a tad longer to finish the novel–but it is indeed finished. I will definitely be reading this particular novel again. I look forward to reading Moran’s Nefertiti and Cleopatra’s Daughter. I give Michelle Moran’s The Heretic Queen a 4.5 out of 5.

“Performing deft feats of Egyptian magic, Michelle Moran transforms stone-cold history-from-hieroglyphics into gripping narrative, peopled with unforgettable characters seething with conflict and passion. I couldn’t stop reading, but I didn’t want this book to end.”
–Robin Maxwell, author of Mademoiselle Boelyn