A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb

Reading level: Young Adult
Pages: 288
Publisher: Graphia - September 21, 2005

It's not often that I get to sit down and read a book cover to cover in one sitting. Not for the lack of great reading material, but due more to a lack of time. Isn't it amazing the power of a great book? Great books can make magicians out of us. For a great book, we can create time, conjure up how ever many hours needed to devote to the book. It's a wonderful feeling, to throw caution, and your day to the wind and just simple fall into a book. With a truly great one, you might just leave your own world, and live for a time in a new one.

With A Certain Slant of Light, I got book lost. I sat down to read it, and a few hours later I woke up in my house, not really sure of how I got there because the last thing I knew, I was with Helen and James.

Helen is Light. Light is what comes after, after we die, when to the world, we are gone but we can't leave. The Quick, the living are unaware of us then. They can't see us, they can't hear us but some part of them can feel we are there. Helen can't remember how she died, who she is, or anything about her life when she was one of the Quick save for her age, her name and that she was female. For over a hundred years Helen has attached herself to a living person, a host, and stayed with them throughout their lives until they passed. The time between hosts means fear, and pain and for Helen, the terrifying sensation of drowning.

Mr. Brown, unbeknownst to him, is Helen's host. He is a teacher, and an aspiring novelist who every so often feels a whisper of inspiration from a hidden muse. Unable to stray far from her host, Helen goes with him to school everyday and waits in the classroom, unseen by his students as he teaches.

"Although I could not feel paper between my fingers, smell ink, or taste the tip of a pencil, I could see and hear the world with all the clarity of the Living. They, on the other hand, did not see me as a shadow or a floating vapor. To the Quick, I was empty air."

But one day, someone sees her.

A boy in the back of the room, she's seen him before but he's never noticed her. Now he's looking right at her. For 130 years, she has been invisible, even to her host. Her life was watching his life, repetitive, quiet and still and now a human was watching her.

"How is it you see me?" But I wanted to cry Thank God you do.
"I'm like you." he said.

This book reads like a song- it could easily be set to music. Beautiful, lovely, romantic and haunting. I could keep gushing. I'm amazed by Whitcomb's writing. I was instantly captivated and floated effortlessly through the story all the way to the end. She put me through so many emotions- grief, loss, loneliness, love, lust, loathing. There is a family in the story, you'll see, and every time the story turned to them it made me angry.

I'm so sad that it's over. Read it and tell me what you think- that way it will be like I'm going back for a visit.

Just a note: You'll find this book in the Young Adult section but keep in mind that the characters in the story are actually in their late twenties. That being said, the story has some ahem- mature content. I have no idea why it is marketed as YA. It belongs in the fiction section.

In My Mailbox (1)

I'm jumping on the IMM meme bandwagon. Woot. Hurray for first post!

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren in which we share the books we received for the week.

Clicking on an image will take you to Goodreads.

Soulless by Gail Carriger
Description from Goodreads: Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire -- and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken
Description from Goodreads: Sydelle Mirabil is living proof that, with a single drop of rain, a life can be changed forever. Tucked away in the farthest reaches of the kingdom, her dusty village has suffered under the weight of a strangely persistent drought. That is, of course, until a wizard wanders into town and brings the rain with him.

In return for this gift, Wayland North is offered any reward he desires—and no one is more surprised than Sydelle when, without any explanation, he chooses her. Taken from her home, Sydelle hardly needs encouragement to find reasons to dislike North. He drinks too much and bathes too little, and if that isn’t enough to drive her to madness, North rarely even uses the magic he takes such pride in possessing. Yet, it’s not long before she realizes there’s something strange about the wizard, who is as fiercely protective of her as he is secretive about a curse that turns his limbs a sinister shade of black and leaves him breathless with agony. Unfortunately, there is never a chance for her to seek answers.

Along with the strangely powerful quakes and storms that trace their path across the kingdom, other wizards begin to take an inexplicable interest in her as well, resulting in a series of deadly duels. Against a backdrop of war and uncertainty, Sydelle is faced with the growing awareness that these events aren’t as random as she had believed—that no curse, not even that of Wayland North, is quite as terrible as the one she herself may carry.

What goodies did you get??

The Pink Glove Dance

Don't know if you've seen this but if you have just watch it again :)

A few boxes of these gloves finally showed up at my little hospital and the rep mentioned this video. It's a good one to watch if you're having a blah morning. It'll cheer you right up!

Ghostgirl by Tonya Hurley

Reading level: Young Adult
Pages: 328
Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers - August 1st 2008

"We all like to think the world ends when we do. The truth is our acquaintances, our friends, and our loved ones all live on, and through them, so do we. It's not about what you had, but what you gave. It's not about how you looked, but how you lived. And it's not just about being remembered. It's about giving people a good reason to remember you."

No one really remembers much about Charlotte Usher, except that she's the nerdy girl who died choking on a gummy bear in physics. Not exactly the image she was going for. In fact, Charlotte's quest to create a new image for herself, a popular, trendy, better coiffed one is the very thing that ruined (quite permanently) her life and it continues to be the cause of her ruin in death.

Every school has the "it" girls. For Hawthorne High the elite are headed by Petula and her doting butt kissers, the Wendys. Petula, blessed not only with money, popularity, and perfect hair, is also the girlfriend of the school's hottest football star, Damen. Charlotte idolizes Petula, but more importantly, she covets her boyfriend. So it has to be fate that caused Charlotte and Damen to become lab partners in physics right?


And now Charlotte's dead and she's really annoyed. She was suppose to come back to school, with her new makeover, become popular and get the guy. Death may have caused a little set back but it's no match for her determination and if she can't get what she wanted in life, well by ghost she's going to get it, and him, in death.

I picked this up on a whim at the library, due mostly to it's awesome packaging and insanely kick-ass cover. It's this slim, thick, hardback book with silver edged paper with a cut-out silhouette on the cover. Couldn't help myself. I'm a sucker for something shiny. The biggest thing the book has going for it came with reading it- it's VERY good. Morbidly funny and full of all the teen stereotypes I fondly remember from high school, I just loved it. It poked a lot of fun at teenagers at that age, and it was admittedly dead (haha) on. It is a rather ridiculous time in life and I enjoyed the trip back in time.

Hurley tells a great story, but her writing really stands out in the little moral lessons she's trying to impart, not only to Charlotte but the reader as well. The character of Charlotte is wholly unlikable, but that's the point. The fact that she ends up tolerable and maybe even having learned a little stays true to the story in that, at that age, we never really got it.

At least that's why I took away from the story. But then again I'm an old person reading this so I'm in on the joke. Totally going to read the next one.

Winner Chosen for the Mercy Thompson Giveaway!

Congratulations to Amy @ A Simple Love of Reading.

I hope you and Mercy have many wonderful adventures together!
Email has been sent.

Thanks to everyone who entered!

Library Loot (#1) 03.22.10

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by A Stripped Armchair and Marg that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!

To celebrate my recent discovery- the library here is muh very first Library Loot. Since discovering the existence of the library, I've made four trips there and each time I learn something amazing. For example, at the library, where they have BOOKS that they let you read for FREE, you can request that a FREE BOOK be placed on hold so that when it comes back into the library, get this- they HOLD the FREE BOOK for YOU and YOU can then take it HOME and read it for FREE. I swear, wonders never cease.

Without further ado, here's what I checked out from the library this week:

From Goodreads: Sixteen-year-old Kaye is a modern nomad. Fierce and independent, she travels from city to city with her mother's rock band until an ominous attack forces the sixteen-year-old back to her childhood home. There, amid the industrial, blue-collar New Jersey backdrop, Kaye soon finds herself an unwilling pawn in an ancient power struggle between two rival faerie kingdoms -- a struggle that could very well mean her death.
Newcomer Holly Black's enormously powerful voice weaves teen angst, riveting romance, and capriciously diabolical faerie folk into an enthralling, engaging, altogether original reading experience.

From Goodreads: When Abbey's best friend, Kristen, vanishes at the bridge near Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, everyone else is all too quick to accept that Kristen is dead?and rumors fly that her death was no accident. Abbey goes through the motions of mourning her best friend, but privately, she refuses to believe that Kristen is really gone. Then she meets Caspian, the gorgeous and mysterious boy who shows up out of nowhere at Kristen's funeral, and keeps reappearing in Abbey's life. Caspian clearly has secrets of his own, but he's the only person who makes Abbey feel normal again...but also special.
Just when Abbey starts to feel that she might survive all this, she learns a secret that makes her question everything she thought she knew about her best friend. How could Kristen have kept silent about so much? And could this secret have led to her death? As Abbey struggles to understand Kristen's betrayal, she uncovers a frightening truth that nearly unravels her—one that will challenge her emerging love for Caspian, as well as her own sanity.

From Goodreads: "Dead girl walking,” the boys say in the halls.
“Tell us your secret,” the girls whisper, one toilet to another.
I am that girl.
I am the space between my thighs, daylight shining through.
I am the bones they want, wired on a porcelain frame.
Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the skinniest. But what comes after size zero and size double-zero? When Cassie succumbs to the demons within, Lia feels she is being haunted by her friend’s restless spirit.

In her most emotionally wrenching, lyrically written book since the multiple-award-winning Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson explores Lia’s descent into the powerful vortex of anorexia, and her painful path toward recovery.

From Goodreads: Flirting with the grave...
Half-vampire Catherine Crawfield is going after the undead with a vengeance, hoping that one of these deadbeats is her father--the one responsible for ruining her mother's life. Then she's captured by Bones, a vampire bounty hunter, and is forced into an unholy partnership.

In exchange for finding her father, Cat agrees to train with the sexy night stalker until her battle reflexes are as sharp as his fangs. She's amazed she doesn't end up as his dinner--are there actually good vampires? Pretty soon Bones will have her convinced that being half-dead doesn't have to be all bad. But before she can enjoy her new found status as kick-ass demon hunter, Cat and Bones are pursued by a group of killers. Now Cat will have to choose a side . . . and Bones is turning out to be as tempting as any man with a heartbeat.

From Goodreads: You can run from the grave, but you can't hide . . .

Half-vampire Cat Crawfield is now Special Agent Cat Crawfield, working for the government to rid the world of the rogue undead. She's still using everything Bones, her sexy and dangerous ex, taught her, but when Cat is targeted for assassination, the only man who can help her is the vampire she left behind.

Being around him awakens all her emotions, from the adrenaline kick of slaying vamps side by side to the reckless passion that consumed them. But a price on her head—wanted: dead or half-alive—means her survival depends on teaming up with Bones. And no matter how hard she tries to keep things professional between them, she'll find that desire lasts forever . . . and that Bones won't let her get away again.


Have you ever visited Kate at The Neverending Shelf? She has an absolutely brilliant book blog and as a special added bonus she also gives excellent blog design tips. Pretty much everything you've ever wanted to do to your blog, she tells you how in her easy, straight forward how-tos.

Sandy at Pirate Penguin Reads referred me to The Neverending Shelf and I really appreciate it.

So if my blog is starting to actually look decent it is entirely due to Miz Kate's wonderful tutorials and I'd like to thank her for existing :)

Briar Rose by Jane Yolen

Reading level: Young Adult
Pages: 224
Publisher: Tor Teen March 15, 2002 - (first published 1988)

"'Fairy Tales always have a happy ending.' That depends... on whether you are Rumpelstiltskin or the Queen."

When you think about fairy tales, one tends to picture the standard issue beautiful princess, there is an evil adversary (usually a stepmother), and said princess is rescued from whatever awful situation she's been put in (by the stepmother, sorry stepma) by a dashing, brave and handsome prince. He or she or both are usually assisted by something otherworldly such as fairies or mutant frogs and of course there is a price that must be paid for said service- often something small and inconsequential like their eternal soul. But after it is all said and done, the one thing you can always count on in a fairy tale, is a fairy tale ending- happily ever after, Christmas trees and pie.

Those aren't real fairy tales. Those are children's stories. Happy, pleasing little ditties designed to give a false sense of well being with the world and to entice them to sleep- and that's OK, because if you read your children a real fairy tale, the way they were written and meant to be told...they would be too afraid to ever shut their eyes.

Becca was a little girl who loved bedtime stories. Her favorite was the story of Sleeping Beauty as told by her Grandmother, her Gemma. She grew up on this tale, enchanted by the castle covered in thorns and it's inhabitants who were magically made to sleep and the handsome prince who awakened the sleeping beauty with a kiss. Gemma's telling of the story was different from the happy classic that most are familiar with. In her story, the beauty has red hair, like Becca and her grandmother and when the people are put to sleep by the evil fairy's mist, only one ever wakes up.

A Becca all grown up sits at the side of her Gemma's deathbed, where she makes her grandmother a promise that she doesn't know how she'll keep. All her life she has been told the story of Briar Rose and now, with her last breath Gemma is claiming the story as her own, that she is the sleeping beauty.

Very little was known about Gemma's past. Even her daughter was uncertain as to what her real name was. The only thing they are sure of is that Gemma escaped to the United States, during WWII- during the holocaust. Determined to solve the mystery of her grandmother's past and to fulfill her promise to Gemma, Becca embarks on a journey into one of the darkest times in history.

A wall of thorns becomes a barbed wire fence, a castle an extermination camp, and the mist that made the people of the castle fall asleep- something horrible and unthinkable.

This was a difficult book to read and I needed a good week between reading it and writing this to get over the initial impact of the story. It's dark, and disturbing. Haunting doesn't cover it- this story doesn't just stay with you, it becomes a part of you and it hurts.

This book is part of a series by Terri Windling that features, dark recreations of classic fairy tales. Which I agree, the darker interpretations are more true to form. I remember my big, battered well love copy of Grimm's fairy tales. Some of them scared the heck out of me.

I appreciate this book, but to say I enjoyed it would be rather morbid. It's uncommonly good- save for the dialogue which tended to be rather stilted and at times removed me from the story.

Nightlight: A Parody of Twilight by Harvard Lampoon

Genre: Parodies, Humor
Pages: 154
Publisher: Vintage Books 2009

"It was then that I saw him. He was sitting at a table all by himself, not even eating. He had an entire tray of baked potatoes in front of him and still he did not touch a single one. How could a human have his pick of baked potatoes and resist them all? Even odder, he hadn't noticed me, Belle Goose, future Academy Award winner."

As a recovering Twilighter- wait, scratch that- as someone who can now see the Twilight series for what it really is- A very badly written hodge-podge of everything an untalented "writer" ever read about vampires in OTHER AUTHORS' books, coupled with any Poor-Me-Teenage-Girl question and answer column out of Seventeen magazine, that took 4 books and half a million pages for something to happen and then it SUCKED- I needed to read this book.

I cried, I screamed, I beat my fists against my pillow- and it was all because I was laughing so freaking hard I thought my boyfriend was going to commit me. He kept poking his head in the door going "Are you sure you're OK???"

It's absolutely ridiculous, stupid, disgusting and genius. I love how the description of Edwart's hair changed every time he was around. In this book we have Belle, a most loathsome character, just like Bella in Twilight. In Twilight Bella is pretty much unlovable and you really want to smack her but you can't quite put your finger on why- in Nightlight the reasons are painfully obvious.

154 pages, you can read it in a minute, just don't read it in public- you might get locked up.

"You like me...you really like me!"

An award! Thanks goes to:

She was kind enough to send this little happy my way and now I gladly return the favor.

If you are awarded, here are the rules:

1. Make a new post and add a link to the person who gave it to you
2. Pass this award on to 15 bloggers you've recently discovered and whom you think are fantastic.
3. State 7 things about yourself!

I've stumbled upon several new blogs and am now a frequent stalker so this award comes at a good time. I'd like to pass it on to the following:
1. Cleverly Inked
2. Storywings
3. All Things Urban Fantasy
4. The Great YA Escape
5. Mindful Musings
6. Literarily Speaking
7. Spellbound By Books
8. Parajunkee's View

It's suppose to be 15 newly discovered blogs but I can't think of any more at the moment and my coffee cup is empty so the remainder are people who have always been fabulous:

9. Alaine- Queen of Happy Endings
10 Bloody Bookaholic
11 Book Nut
12 Escape in a Book
13 Pirate Penguin Reads
14 Smexy Books
15 The Burton Review

7 Things About Me:

1. (And I have to because The Book Guru did) I have a level 80 Mage, Paladin, and Rogue on The World of Warcraft and I play FOR THE HORDE!
2. On the day of my pining ceremony for nursing school I stopped in the middle of the road and in my pristine white scrubs, got out and moved a turtle over to the side of the road.
3. I am a bit OCD and check locks and plug ins multiple times before I go to bed.
4. I have the most amazing boyfriend in the entire world and today he is going to cut down a tree that is hanging over my house.
5. I like perfumes and scents that smell like food. For instance Britney Spears Fantasy smells like Cupcakes with a dash of ho.
6. I can not stand up straight until I have my coffee in the morning
7. I started a new job in the recovery room on Monday and I think I'm going to like it.

That was fun :P

The Pleasure Palace (Secrets of the Tudor Court, #1) by Kate Emerson

Who doesn't love to read about the scandal and shock that existed at court during the reign of Henry VIII? We watch the same thing on soap operas, reality shows and yes, that crap that Showtime's been feeding us (love it) because we are all filth mongers and we love a good steamy affair.

Historical fiction, even the less romantic ones always tug at my heartstrings in a special way. I know what really happened but I just can't help when reading to think "Maybe this time...maybe this time the story will be different." Maybe Catherine of Aragon will run away with the historical equivalent of the hot pool boy or maybe she'll be able to give Henry five healthy sons and he'll never cheat on her- and then Anne Boleyn would never have to die (but then we'd miss out on good Queen Bess and we wouldn't have wanted to miss her for the world). Anyway, I tend to indulge myself in a bit of whimsical fancy about what could have been whenever I'm reading such books.

But the story is always the same. King Henry VIII was a real shit. They could go ahead and put him down in the history books under real shit.

Oh the book? Yeah I guess we should talk about that.

Young Jane (Jeanne) Popyncourt and her mother were hastily forced to flee the French court after the mysterious death of King Charles. They sought refuge in England at the court of King Henry VII where Jane was placed in the royal nursery to befriend and converse in French with the young princesses Margaret and Mary. At the age of eight, Jane couldn't comprehend why she had to leave her home and now live apart from her mother for the first time. When her mother's unexpected death occurs only months later, Jane's life will be filled with unanswered questions about her past and the mysterious circumstances that brought them both to England.

At court Jane, a ward of the king and a companion to the royal princesses, enjoys all the privileges that come with a life at court until the king's death which began the reign of the new king, Henry VIII. In this new court, an unattached, attractive lady with no fortune or family of her own can quickly become a pawn of the powerful men who surround her. Life at court is now a scandalous, volatile place to be and Jane's shadowed past may afford her enemies she never knew she had. Her search for her past will uncover truths too dangerous to believe and reveal a love she has known life long.

Loved it! Plus two stars for having a map and a family tree at the beginning of the book. LOTR-er here and we appreciate anything with a hand drawn map. Gotta love a map. The story was captivating, fast-paced, with interesting details- Emerson explains card games and amusements that would have entertained the court at that time. There was no blatant or unnecessary distorting of history and all characters were kept pretty much true to form and she still managed to conjure up a happy, if some what rushed, fairy tale ending.

I've already picked up her next book Between Two Queens (Secrets of the Tudor Court, #2) and look forward to reading it.

For more on the life and times of Henry VIII, pick up:
The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir who writes fabulous biographies
The Autobiography of Henry VIII: With Notes by His Fool, Will Somers by Margaret George who gives you all the dirt you crave.

Other Reviews of The Pleasure Palace:
The Burton Review

Green Angel by Alice Hoffman

"I crawled under the dining room table, smelling like smoke and half-blinded by cinders. Little bits of hot embers flew under the door. Onion followed and lay shivering in my lap. I was Green, who was too shy to speak. Green, too angry to say good-bye. Green, who was always waiting for the future, biding her time. Now the future was here and the silver city across the river was on fire and I was hiding under the table, where I stayed until darkness fell."

Green is the quiet one, the obedient one, the one who is patient. Her sister, Aurora is lively, iridescent and engaging. To Green, she is the plain one of the family. She does not shine like her sister, nor can her voice charm anyone like her mother and she cannot match her father's strength but a garden will grow for Green like it will for no other. Since Green is needed to watch the garden, she can not follow her family to the city where they sell their vegetables. Instead, she is left behind to watch as the city is destroyed, as her family is taken away and her world is covered in ash. When the fires stop, Green must live in this new world, one clouded by smoke, stripped of everything and everyone she loved, one filled with loss and sorrow.

I'm so in love with this little story. It's a beautiful tale about overcoming loss, finding yourself when you're no longer sure of who you are and of the many different colors a soul will turn before it finally heals.

In the story, something horrible and devastating happens. I like that there wasn't much detail about what occurred, it was kept rather generic so that the devastation could be any one's, just as the loss that followed could belong to anyone.

What was absolutely captivating about this little work was that Hoffman, somehow, even on paper, caused the use of each and every one of our senses. I'm sitting here now trying to capture what I mean without sounding like a loony but maybe you just have to read it. You can smell, hear, feel, taste and see this story.

I've read the bulk of Alice Hoffman's books and still remain firmly on the fence when it comes to my feelings about her as an author. There are moments when her novels amaze and deliver the right mix of emotion and magic (Practical Magic, The Probable Future) and then there are times when her work is just too bizarre for words (The Ice Queen, The River King). Green Angel is grade A Alice, at her best, and I loved it. Green Witch, the sequel, comes out today (I think).

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Laura @ A Jane of All Reads
I read excessively and hoard books like a greedy dragon. Theoretically, I also plan to use them to barricade myself against the forthcoming zombie apocalypse.

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