Book Blogs by Chicks Who Rock

Looking for some awesome book recommendations from book-loving chicks?  Look no further than these eight great book blogs run by women:

The Book Smugglers1. The Book Smugglers:  Thea and Ana are two “full-blown, unrestrained, junkie-shuffling” book addicts.  Their site is a great resource for book reviews.  My Favorite Post:  Smuggler’s Ponderings:  Hype and Prejudice where they provide 6 different lists of books for people who like the following genres:  dystopias/apocalypse, young adult science fiction, fantasy, steampunk, fairies and fairy tale retellings, and comtemporary young adult fiction.

2. Book-Blog.com:  Debra Hamel is an author herself (history), as well as a book blogger.  My Favorite Post:  Lynch, Thomas: The Undertaking which features a book by a man who is both a poet and an undertaker.

3. Lit Chick:  Melanie is a mom, scrapbooker, baker, and avid reader.  Two books from her blog that caught my eye were The Book of Tomorrow (from the post Trish Reviews Three…) about a girl who discovers a journal in her writing that details everything that happens the next day and The Tin Ticket, (from the post Short & Sweet Reviews) a non-fiction book about two women deported to Australia for petty theivery in the 1800s.

4. Anna’s Book Blog:  Anna is a small-town girl from Minnesota who likes to read Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult, Historical Romance, Fantasy, and Erotica.  My Favorite Post:  [Review] – Numbers: The Chaos which reviews a book about a boy who can look into a person’s eyes and see the date of their death–many of which seem to be on the same date in the year 2027.

Chick Lit Books5. Chick Lit Books:  Rian Montgomery (who has the same last name as me, so she must be cool) started this site back in 2003.  My Favorite Post:  Review: Hit Reply is about a book written entirely in emails, texts, and the like.

6. Novelicious:  This site is published by 4 book reviewers who are also writers:  Kirsty Greenwood, Debs Carr, Kira Slaughter, and Anna Bell.  While they have a bounty of detailed book reviews, I think my favorite posts here are their terrific author interviews, including ones with Bernadette Strachan, Shirley Benton, and Sarah Webb.

7. Candace's Book BlogChickLitReviews.com:  Chloe and Leah live in the U.K., and Danielle, the latest contributor to join the team, is a California girl.  My Favorite Post:  AW Editor Article: Short Stories…Yay or Nay? which discusses the recent surge in short stories being sold, especially in electronic format.

8. Candace’s Book Blog:  Candace runs one of the prettiest blogs I’ve seen.  She reviews childrens, young adult, and adult books.  My Favorite Post:  The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell which is a review of a historical fiction paranormal romance book (every genre I like rolled into one!).

Book Recommendations–Heavy on the Supernatural

Photo courtesy Svilen Milev at Stock.xchngeI like Debbie because Debbie likes the kind of books I like.  If you’re looking for a good book to read and you want someone’s honest opinion, check out Debbie’s World of Books.  Debbie reads a lot, and a lot of the books she reads are supernatural or romance (or supernatural romance), which is perfect for me and perhaps for you, too.

I especially enjoyed her post titled “If You Like This Author You Might Like” where she makes other book suggestions for people who like Twilight, the Southern Vampire series (which True Blood is based on), and other specific books and genres.

Go check out her blog now.

Stephen King, Werewolves, and a Literary Meem

Grab the book closest to you.  Turn to page 31.  Count down to the eighth sentence.  Write down the next 5 lines (keep writing into the  next line, if needed, until you finish the last sentence). 

“Later, no one will be able to say where the sound came from; it was everywhere and nowhere as the full moon painted the darkened houses of the village, everywhere and nowhere as the March wind began to rise and moan like a dead Berserker winding his horn, it drifted on the wind, lonely and savage.”

That was from Stephen King’s Cycle of the Werewolf.  This is a great book full of short stories about werewolves; I highly recommend it.

What book are you currently keeping close by?

Book: The World Without Us

Alan Weisman’s book, The World Without Us, is described by The New Yorker as “a sort of pop-science ghost story.”  And we are the ghosts.  Ever wonder what the earth would be like were we all to disappear?  According to Weisman, much much better.

Nicholas Lezard, in his book review at The Guardian, writes:

“What Alan Weisman does, quite simply, is imagine what would happen to the world if we were all wiped out…The book is, moreover, designed to be readable. It really is quite hard to close it and get on with other things.”

Katie Q, in her book review at the blog Pen to Paper, writes:

“The World Without Us is a good read with an intriguing topic…The message is important, and there are plenty of “wow” statements that will keep the reader interested. For example, the length of time it will take to erase the faces on Mount Rushmore, the visual of a future ocean turned green with sea turtles, and the resistance of the Hoover Dam to crumble are all astounding talking points.”

This sounds like a really interesting book, and one that’s going on my amazon wish list.  If you want to put it on your wish list, too, go to The World Without Us by Alan Weisman at amazon.com.

Have you read this book? Do you want to read this book?  Leave a comment and tell me what you think.

Free Online Novel — Ember

I find the coolest things on Dionne Galace’s blog.  The latest cool thing I found is Ember, an online novel in progress at Bettie Sharpe’s site.  (Remember that name — you’ll probably be hearing a lot of it in the future, especially if you like romance novels with a bit of action and a bit of humor and a bit of supernatural stuff all mixed together.)  The novel contains strong language, sometimes heaps and heaps of it, as well as what Bettie refers to as “the sexin,” so click with caution.  Here is a description of the story:

Everyone loves Prince Charming. They have to—he’s cursed. Every man must respect him. Every woman must desire him. One look, and all is lost.

Ember would rather carve out a piece of her soul than be enslaved by passions not her own. She turns to the dark arts to save her heart and becomes the one woman in the kingdom able to resist the Prince’s Charm.

Poor girl. If Ember had spent less time studying magic and more time studying human nature, she might have guessed that a man who gets everything and everyone he wants will come to want the one woman he cannot have.

Charm is a curse. Love is a fire. This story is no fairytale.

Bettie’s site contains a blog, called Sharp Words, and she also has a book coming out in January ’08 called Like a Thief in the Night.  You can usually get updates to Ember on Dionne Galace’s site a few days before they appear on Bettie’s site if you’re jonesing for the next chapter.

L8r G8r — A Novel Using Internet-speak

The quest to feature one 2007 novel for each letter of the alphabet continues.  L8r G8r (as in “Later Gator”) by Lauren Myracle represents the letter “L,” and it looks really freakin’ cool.  It is the third in a series of young adult novels (although there’s no reason the book can’t be enjoyed by old adults, too, like me).  The first book in the series was TTYL (Talk To You Later) and the second was TTFN (TaTa For Now). 

The novel is done in a style where it is built out of instant messages.  I want to read it not only for the story, but to see how the author brings this style to life.  Plus, being an internet addict, the whole concept appeals to me.

Fantastic Fiction offers this description of this unique novel:

The winsome threesome say “l8r” to high school in this sequel to the New York Times and Publishers Weekly bestsellers ttyl and ttfn

Through their instant messages, three inseparable friends have shared the ups and downs of high school. They’ve survived a flirtatious teacher, a witchy classmate, a pot-smoking smoocher, a Care Bear-toting stalker, and much, much more. Now it’s their senior year, and Angela, Zoe, and Maddie–otherwise know as the winsome threesome–are feeling invincible. Too bad Jana, the Queen Bee who made their sophomore year a nightmare, is on the warpath again.

The Oops Wrong Cookie blog says:

Don’t let the unusual format turn you off from a touching, well-written story. Yes, even though you may cringe at the thought of reading all lowercase typing, 3 different fonts (including blue type), and abbreviations like “cu”, “ur”, “plz” and “g2g”, it’s such a fun story. Honestly, there isn’t much IM language in here as I thought there would be. It’s really a novel in dialogue. Just think of it that way and give it a try.

You can view the author’s website at laurenmyracle.com or read her blog here.

Killing Johnny Fry: A Sexistential Novel

Sex, sex, and more sex.  That’s what it sounds like this book consists of.  It’s not due out until December 26th, but you can pre-order it at amazon.  It’s called Killing Johnny Fry: A Sexistential Novel, and it’s by bestseller Walter Mosley

Tom Callahan at bookreporter.com had this to say about the novel:

“Well, anybody who dismisses Killing Johnny Fry as pornography or salacious misses not only the point of the book but deprives themselves of the pleasure of reading one of America’s greatest writers. Yes, there is some frank, really frank, sex in this book, but it is not an erotic novel by any means. Mosley coined the term “sexistential noir” to describe this work. It is a good description because the book is not about sex.Consider the first sentence: “I decided to kill Johnny Fry on a Wednesday, but it was a week before that I was given the reason.” That tells us right away that those expecting cheap thrills will be disappointed; Mosley plunges us right into the midnight world of noir.”

Here is some information on the author from Bloomsbury USA

“Walter Mosley is one of the most versatile and admired writers in America today. He is the author of more than 25 critically acclaimed books, including the major bestselling mystery series featuring Easy Rawlins. His work has been translated into 21 languages and includes literary fiction, science fiction, political monographs, and a young adult novel. His short fiction has been widely published, and his nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times magazine and the Nation, among other publications. He is the winner of numerous awards, including an O. Henry Award, a Grammy, and the PEN American Center’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He lives in New York City.”

You can visit the author’s website here.

The Journal of Dora Damage (First and Last Novel of Deceased Author)

The Journal of Dora Damage: A Novel by Belinda Starling is a historical novel about erotic publishing in Victorian London, bookbinding, and the binds of sex, class, and race.  Unfortunately, shortly before her debut novel was published, author Starling died of complications following surgery to have a cyst removed from her bile duct.  She was just 34 years old. 

This excerpt from The Guardian Unlimited describes the book’s plot:

“Scraping a living in the general drizzle and damp of 1860s Lambeth are the Damages – wife Dora, her bookbinder husband Peter and their epileptic daughter Lucinda. Angular and anxious, narrator Dora is basically a domestic drudge, scuttling between moneylenders and cockroaches, fearful that Lucinda’s “falling sickness” will land her in an asylum. As Peter’s arthritic hands seize up, so does the supply of work; he sinks into impotent rage and pain-relieving opium addiction. Impecuniousness turns into desperate poverty, and Dora faces two choices: “the whorehouse or the workhouse”. Yet she is enterprising despite her timidity. Persuading her reluctant husband to let her work under his direction, Dora and apprentice Jack Tapster (a nicer version of the Artful Dodger, although, as the surname implies, a boozer) begin to save the business.”

Dora’s work doesn’t earn much money at first, but when her artful covers come to the attention of the privileged and ruthless elite, she begins to make a profit by secretly publishing pornographic books.

Belinda Starling was also a talented singer.  To see a few photos of her, including pictures of her onstage, go here.

In the Country of Men

In the Country of Men is the debut novel of Hisham Matar who was born into a Libyan family in New York and grew up in Tripoli and Cairo.  Ron Charles writes in his review for the Washington Post:

“Behind reports of dissidents intimidated, tortured and killed by the world’s repressive regimes hide the subtler, more obscure stories of their young children. They experience a world overcast by two shadows: parents trying to shield them from alarm and Orwellian governments denying that anything is amiss. Writing from his current home in London, Libyan author Hisham Matar has captured this plight in his first novel, a haunting, poetic story about a 9-year-old boy struggling to comprehend what’s happening to his family in the vise of Col. Moammar Gaddafi’s reign of terror. In the Country of Men, which was shortlisted for last year’s Man Booker Prize, includes frightening glimpses of the dictatorship’s abuses and Libya’s brand of Islamic puritanism, but Matar focuses primarily on the psychological damage wreaked on his young narrator.”

Lorraine Adams compares the novel to 1984 and Fahrenheit 451 in her review for the Herald Tribune.

Like the character in the story, the author’s father was targeted by Gaddafi’s government.  Read his real-life story in The Independent, where he writes:

“What I want is to know what happened to my father. If he is alive, I wish to speak with him and see him. If he has broken the law, he ought to be tried and given a chance to defend himself. And if he is dead, then I want to know how, where and when it happened. I want a date, a detailed account and the location of his body.”

Heart-Shaped Box

H.  It’s the eighth letter of the alphabet and the one I’m currently on in my ongoing alphabetical feature of 2007 novels.  Today’s book is Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill (which is actually the pen name of Stephen King’s son, Joseph King).  Lev Grossman sums up the plot this way in his Time Magazine review:

“Heart-Shaped Box is about a very rich and very washed-up rock star named Judas Coyne. At 54 Coyne is jaded and cruel and bored and emotionally shut-down, living in rural splendor in a converted farmhouse with his various disposable goth girlfriends, his recording days long behind him. He likes to collect gruesome artifacts like snuff films. ‘When Danny Wooten, his personal assistant, told him there was a ghost for sale on the Internet and asked did he want to buy it, Jude didn’t even need to think.'”

He then goes on to state:

“…every artist has to work in the shadow of his or her father-in-art, and symbolically, Oedipally overcome him, and in Hill’s case his father-in-art is also his literal, biological father. Heart-Shaped Box isn’t about appeasing fathers, and learning to love them, and seeing that they, too, are human beings and not monsters. It’s not about that at all. It’s about knowing your father, and finding him, and then killing him. That’s what the best artists do.”

Daydreamingmom has this to say about the book in her blog:

“Run out and buy this book now. Seriously…it is that good. I have heard several people say it was great for a debut novel. But this book would be great even if it wasn’t a debut. It had just the right amount of creep factor to make me a bit skittish when I was reading in bed after midnight. It’s been awhile since that has happened.”

Here is an excerpt from the book:

“He had a stiff and worn noose that had been used to hang a man in England at the turn of the century, Aleister Crowley’s childhood chessboard, and a snuff film. Of all the items in Jude’s collection, this last was the thing he felt most uncomfortable about possessing. It had come to him by way of a police officer, a man who had worked security at some shows in L.A. The cop had said the video was diseased. He said it with some enthusiasm. Jude had watched it and felt that he was right. It was diseased. It had also, in an indirect way, helped hasten the end of Jude’s marriage. Still he held onto it.

Many of the objectsin his private collection of the grotesque and the bizarre were gifts sent to him by his fans. It was rare for him to actually buy something for the collection himself. But when Danny Wooten, his personal assistant, told him there was a ghost for sale on the Internet, and asked did he want to buy it, Jude didn’t even need to think. It was like going out to eat, hearing the special, and deciding you wanted it without even looking at the menu. Some impulses required no consideration.”

Click on the links above to read the full reviews, or visit Joe Hill’s blog here.