April 23, 2015

Ten Fingers Touching by Ellen A. Roth



Summary:

Evil plots his return to power and Good fights to defeat Evil's sinister plan. Caught between them in this epic struggle are two young lovers - Martak, master of the forest, and Marianna, a beautiful maiden and governess to Rosy, the impetuous, young princess. Evil's desperate scheme to outwit Good and rule the Kingdom puts Martak, Marianna and the Princess at risk as they are drawn into the conflict.

Will the soulmates realize their "happily ever after?" Martak must first unravel the curse and destroy evil. In this land where magical forces vie for dominance, could true love be the most powerful weapon of all?

A beautifully illustrated tale for women of all ages, Ten Fingers Touching explores the complex nature of love and fate. It is an enchanting journey of romance, mystery and adventure. Ellen A. Roth's debut novella is an imaginative take on a classic genre-and a treat for the romantic soul.

Review:

Great book to read if you're into traditional gender roles, cliches, and more telling than showing. The romance was lame and cliched within an inch of it's life.  The good vs evil sections were better written, though still left something wanting. 

Good is a female, which is great, but the rest of the book is about how Marianna raises and tutors a princess and is known mostly for her radiance, while Martak is the forest controlling hero who uses his love of Marianna to beat Evil. There's even a part where he acts like a creepy stalker if you're into that too. 

The only thing that makes this for adults are the insinuations of sex (and the overuse of the word desire) . It's very PG otherwise. 

The illustrations are beautiful and the best part of the book. This is definitely a fairy tale for those who enjoy romance with no imagination. I appreciate the effort to make it look like a fairy tale book though.

April 22, 2015

Amy McNulty, author of Nobody's Goddess, Talks Diversity in the Fantasy Genre (Plus There's a Giveaway!)



I don't know about you, but it is not often (or ever) I run across a fantasy/magical realism story featuring a woman of color.  I wanted to feature this book because DIVERSITY is important!  Author Amy McNulty has agreed to share her thoughts on diversity in the fantasy genre.


My love for the fantasy genre began long ago. Blame it on an odd summer reading assignment, one that listed the second book in a series instead of the first on the list of choices. (Said book was The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander, the second book in The Chronicles of Prydain. The mistake was likely due to the fact that this was less than ten years after the release of Disney’s The Black Cauldron.) If you wanted to read that one for the assignment, you had to read the first book (The Book of Three), and if you were anything like the captivated reader I was, you gobbled up the last three books (The Castle of Llyr, Taran Wanderer and The High King) that summer while you were at it, too.

I was bitten by the fantasy bug that year. I even wrote a 12-page fantasy “novel” I thought was brilliant, right down to the hero named “Dwycin” and the wizard named “Googan” years before Google was founded. (I was supposed to write hundreds of pages? Pfft. I had homework and goofing off to do.) I think I thought writing fantasy meant making up a lot of strange-sounding names and including magic and sword-fighting and a quest and a king. But you know what didn’t occur to me? That the main character could be anything but a straight, white male.
Sure, there was one girl in my story, but despite being an “enchantress,” all she did was get comforted by Dwycin and act as his love interest. You’d think I’d have better perspective to write from a girl’s point of view, that I might at least want there to be more than a single token female, but then I wouldn’t feel like I was writing fantasy. That was what my (albeit) limited exposure to this genre I loved taught me as a child. Thankfully, the genre has become more diverse over time, but the most prolific mainstream entries in the genre still seem to center around mostly males and mostly white people.

Even so, I think readers and writers have been demanding change and have brought a lot of incredible fantasy books about people of color into the spotlight. Fire by Kristin Cashore, for example, features people of color, although I actually didn’t realize that until another character described them in a follow-up novel. (I wish the cover design had shown this off.) If you Google fan art from the book you’ll find a lot of people mistakenly draw the characters as white. It’s the default setting for fantasy, it seems.

There are books set in diverse fantasy cultures featuring characters of color, such as Cindy Pon’s Kingdom of Xia series, which have had covers that explicitly show off the gorgeous China-inspired kingdom she created and other more symbolic covers that don’t depict the main character clearly. Jaclyn Dolamore’s Magic Under Glass novel infamously depicted a young white woman on the first cover only to have fans who knew the character was a person of color express their outrage until the publisher debuted a new cover. Although people of color may still be in the minority when it comes to being the protagonists of fantasy novels, there are amazing books out there. I think part of the problem is covers often make it hard for people to find them.

Luckily, my publisher put my protagonist front and center for all to see. Writing fiction, particularly in a freeing genre like fantasy, means you aren’t bound by conventions. I hope that reading Nobody’s Goddess and other fantasies featuring people of color will inspire more young people to break away from the tropes of who a protagonist “should be” to tell more diverse stories.

~Amy


ABOUT NOBODY’S GODDESS:

Title: Nobody's Goddess (The Never Veil #1)
Publication date: April 21, 2015
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author:  Amy McNulty


In a village of masked men, magic compels each man to love only one woman and to follow the commands of his “goddess” without question. A woman may reject the only man who will love her if she pleases, but she will be alone forever. And a man must stay masked until his goddess returns his love—and if she can’t or won’t, he remains masked forever.

Seventeen-year-old Noll isn't in the mood to celebrate. Her childhood friends have paired off and her closest companion, Jurij, found his goddess in Noll’s own sister. Desperate to find a way to break this ancient spell, Noll instead discovers why no man has ever chosen her.

Thus begins a dangerous game between the choice of woman versus the magic of man. And the stakes are no less than freedom and happiness, life and death—and neither is willing to lose.


ABOUT AMY MCNULTY:

Amy McNulty is a freelance writer and editor from Wisconsin with an honors degree in English. She was first published in a national scholarly journal (The Concord Review) while in high school and currently spends her days alternatively writing on business and marketing topics and primarily crafting stories with dastardly villains and antiheroes set in fantastical medieval settings.


Connect with the Author:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads



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April 21, 2015

Cover Discover Tuesday: Silhouettes



If you're new to Cover Discover, it's a feature about book covers, both frontlist and backlist, just for the fun of it.  There is a poll on which covers are your favorites!  The poll is at the bottom of the post and next week I will post the results!

Here are the results from last week's poll for Houses.
Your Favorite Book Cover
TIE!


Did your pick get top honors?



The topic you picked for this 

week: SILHOUETTES










 






Now on to the voting!

Choose your favorite silhouette design!


April 20, 2015

The Search for New Perspective: Poems that Impacted Me


I had meant to put this up much earlier in the month, but April has been kind of insane.

I want to share some poems that at some point in my life (or many times) have given me a new perspective, a new outlook.  I have shared the first stanzas and a link for you to read the full poems since I am sharing four with you today.


The first poem that I remember ever liking was The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe.  I memorized the whole thing, though I lost most of it at this point (alas, like so many other memories.)  The Raven made me realize that poetry could tell a story.  Until then I had only ever known poetry as nursery rhymes and as little random one stanza poems that I made up about bears (true story) or my sisters.  Who knew that poems could convey feelings and employ a narrative? Mind=blown.


Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
    While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—
            Only this and nothing more.”




Rudyard Kipling's poem, If, was the first poem I remember reading that was more than just rhymes or stories or data in couplet- this was a message. I felt he wanted me to realize something, he wanted me to think and analyze and discover.  He wanted me to think and really know who I am as a person.  While Kipling really wrote this for the stoic, ideal man, as I later discovered, it resonated with me as a way to, basically, keep my wits about me, know who I am as person, and not let the world change me unless I damn well want to be changed.  Kind of along the lines of Eleanor Roosevelt's "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."  I was once very naive and easily influenced by others. After I read this I felt more like it was okay to be myself, to be the master of my own universe.  Although I didn't exactly take it as Kipling meant it, the poem still impacted me.  I live with my heart on my sleeve and my brain in my head and my wits all about me.


If you can keep your head when all about you   
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;   
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:





Maya Angelou.
Oh my sweet, sweet poet goddess.

I only wish I had gotten to tell her (especially since she lived so close to me) the impact she had on my life from the two poems I will now share with you.  The first, Phenomenal Woman, made me feel like it was okay to be a curvy, somewhat pretty woman who didn't necessarily turn the men's eyes because I was gorgeous, but because my hips swayed when I walked and because I carry a confidence that other women do not.  I got this confidence from knowing the value of what I have to offer.  It is not, my friends, that I am beautiful - I know I am cute but I am no model- it is that I know how to work with what I was given. And Maya Angelou's poem helped me come to the realization that I already had everything I needed to be a phenomenal woman - I just had to know it.


Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size   
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,   
The stride of my step,   
The curl of my lips.   
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,   
That’s me.




The second poem that struck a cord with me, struck so deep inside my soul, my very bones reverberated with the impact.  This poem came to me at a time when I felt very much alone, frightened, and beaten down.  I had been emotionally and mentally abused by a boyfriend and when I finally managed to get out from under his thumb after much effort on my part, I crumbled.  It felt very unexpected.  I thought that this would be glorious, glorious freedom from being trapped and devoured, freedom from the tyranny!  But instead I did not know how to survive because he had so expertly made me dependent (not financially, but emotionally) on him.  That confidence I was talking about a second ago?  Gone.  Splintered.  Shattered.  

Then I read Maya's poem.

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.


Bones reverberating.

I re-read it ten, twelve, eighty-seven times, I don't know.  It made me realize that just because someone has pushed my face down on the dirt and spat on the back of my head does not mean I have to stay down there.  

It took a long time.  I read Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat Pray Love. I went to therapy.  I changed a million things about myself from where I lived to the friends I had.  What he did still has me messed up in a few ways (and this was 7 years ago).  I still struggle with trust issues and have a bit of PTSD.  BUT...

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise



Poe.  Kipling.  Angelou.

Three very distinct poets from different eras with different styles, all teaching me new perspectives that have made all the difference in my life, and also in how I read and enjoy literature, and, especially, poetry.   These poems will always be a part of me.

What I'm Reading 4.20.15


Hello fellow readers!  How has your week been?

I finished three books this week - woohoo!

I was supposed to begin At the Water's Edge, but I wasn't feeling another historical fiction. So I picked up another book instead.


FINISHED READING:




Daughter of the Gods by Stephanie Thornton
*TBR Pile*
Pages Read This Week: 107
Thoughts: Review to come. I was disappointed in some ways.



The Tusk That Did the Damage: A Novel by Tania James
*For Review from Publisher and Edelweiss*
This Week: 62-100%
Pages Read: 91
Thoughts: Review to come.



The After House by Michael Phillip Cash
Goodreads Link
*For Review from Publisher*
This Week: 56-100%
Pages Read: 85
Thoughts: Review to come.
Hint: It's not a scary ghost story, but that's actually okay.


CURRENTLY READING:

REVIEW BOOKS/ARCs:


Rodin's Lover by Heather Webb
*For Review from
This Week: 40-60%
Pages Read This Week: 64
Thoughts: Webb has me looking up Rodin and Camille's photographs and sculptures, as well as a Benz Motorwagen!  I always feel historical fiction is good when you desire to research the people/topics on your own.



Spinster: Making a Life of One's Own by Kate Bolick
*For Review from Publisher and Net Galley*
This Week: 21-28%
Pages Read This Week: 24
Thoughts: Okay enough with Maeve Brennan I hope.



Talent for Humanity: Stories of Creativity, Compassion, and Courage to Inspire You
by Patrick Gaffney
*For Review from Publisher and Net Galley*
This Week: 22-22%
Pages Read This Week: 
Thoughts: I did not get to this this week.



Where Women are Kings by Christie Watson
*For Review from Other Press*
On pg. 28 of 256
Pages Read: 28
Thoughts: I'm already intrigued by Elijah, Obi, and Nikki.



NON-ARCs (For Fun):



The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee
Goodreads Link
*Needed a NF Fix*
On pg. 51 of 592
Pages Read: 19
Thoughts: Who knew the history of cancer could be such an entertaining read?



The Book of Love, edited by Diane Ackerman and Jeanne Mackin
*For Fun*
On pg. 8 of 827
Pages Read: 8 (plus intro but they aren't counted in page #'s)
Thoughts: This is an anthology of fiction excerpts, poetry, and essays of different viewpoints in literature on love from stories on Ancient Egyptian papyrus scrolls to the thoughts of Vladimir Nobokov.  I've had it for years but forgot about it.  I re-discovered it while searching for another book!


BOOK CLUB BOOKS/READALONGS:


A Man Called Ove: A Novel by Fredrik Backman
*Book Club*
On pg. 137 of 337
Pages Read: 51
Thoughts: Now that I have finished up some other books I will be focusing on finishing this one.  I really like it but, like every book, I have to switch every 20-30 pages to something new or I get bored even if it's not a boring story (which this is not!)


STATS:

Total Books Currently Reading: 7
Total Books Read in 2015: 28
Pages Read This Update: 477
Total Pages Read in 2015: 8183

Wow. Maybe I will hit 10,000 pages by the half-year mark!


REVIEW BOOKS UP NEXT:


  


 




~What are you reading right now?  
~What did you just finish?  
~What book are you looking forward to reading next?  


Share in the comments!!!

April 17, 2015

Blogger Shout-Outs #31: Tons of Readathons, Readalongs, and Reviews, Oh My!



Shout-outs to book reviews and bookish posts that entertained and enlightened me this week.  Plus, check out upcoming events and current giveaways going on in the community.

The past two weeks have been cah-razy.  Last week my uncle died (after a 2-3 year battle) and I had a grueling physical therapy the day before the funeral so I had to take a cane because I can only stand 1 minute and 15 seconds without one.  Even then it's about 5 minutes.  I did pretty good actually but it was a hard day on me.  The pews helped none at all to boot.  And I had to do a sleep study that night per my neurologist.  That was all Thursday so Shout-Outs were the last thing on my mind.  I did get about 1/4 of the links up earlier in the week, though. 

Then this week another hard PT appointment plus I started driving 2 elem. boys home from school 2 days a week (takes about an hour each day) which is not much but everything adds up on my body. And ANOTHER uncle went into the hospital a couple of days ago with cardiomyopathy so...bad week for uncles. Named Kenneth. Seriously glad I only have 2 uncles with that name.  No one else need be hurt! 

So, granted I am tired but I managed to get this out this week - hooray!  I hope you enjoy!  Please let me know what links you are liking this week.  The links all open in a new window so you can visit them and then come back to visit more places.  Be sure to consider leaving love wherever you visit!

-xoxo Becca


ENTERTAINING BOOK REVIEWS:



1. I Am Her Revenge by Meredith Moore @ Novel Ink

2. The Inventor's Secret by Andrea Cremer @ Book Snob

3. At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen @ That's What She Read

4. Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea @ Reading the End

5. Coffee, Tea, and Holy Water by Amanda Hudson @ A Lovely Bookshelf

6. The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber @ Book Chatter

7. The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain @ Jenn's Bookshelves

8. Comics: Jem and the Holograms #1, Truly Outrageous @ Estella's Revenge


illusion of separateness

9. The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough @ Lone Star on a Lark

10. The Illusion of Separateness by Simon Van Booy @ Chrisbookarama

11. The Animals by Christian Kiefer @ River City Reading

11. The Sculptor by Scott McCloud @ Truth, Beauty, Freedom, and Books

12. The Hunger by Whitley Strieber @ Wordsmithsonia

13. Night Night, Sleep Tight by Hallie Ephron @ Traveling with T

14. Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver @ Erin Reads

15. Confess by Colleen Hoover @ The Starry-Eyed Revue

16. Diamond Head by Cecily Wong @ Musings of a Bookish Kitty

17. Beastkeeper by Cat Hellisen @ Adventures of Cecelia Bedelia



AWESOME DISCUSSION/NON-REVIEW POSTS:



1. Katie's new feature, Bookish Journeys, @ Bookish Illuminations, is really interesting and I look forward to more of these posts!

2. Great post on the green-eyed monster, Jealousy in blogging, @ Alexia's Books and Such

3. The Importance of Proper Science in Fiction @ A Girl that Likes to Read

4. Six Ways to Tell You're a Book Hoarder @ Parajunkee

5. Matthew thinks on the future of the dictionary @ A Guy's Moleskine Notebook

6. See if you can guess what the book is about based solely on the cover in The Book Vixen's new feature, What's the Plot?


UPCOMING/CURRENT EVENTS:



1. Booking Into Spring Readathon last week in April.



2. Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon is April 25th! Make sure you've signed up because it is all the fun.

House
3. Reading Wench is having a Readalong for The House of Spirits.


banner2

4. Heather and Christie @ Turning Pages are hosting #BooksforaCause for Stand Up to Cancer. It's been going on a while and I have forgotten to post it up!  Go by and check the auctions and bid!


windmeup

5. Jill is having a readalong for The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.  I read this one with a readalong last year and it's a great one for discussion!


WIN! GIVEAWAYS!



1. Louise is having a Giant Giveaway in honor of her 4th Blogiversary @ Lone Star on a Lark.


2. Emma @ Words and Peace is giving away Inspector of the Dead by David Morrell


3. Triple Giveaway, Y'all! - 3 giveaways going on at Traveling with T!

4. Giveaway of Eden West by Pete Hautman @ Book Snob

4. ARC of Tonight the Streets are Ours by Leila Sales @ The Perpetual Page Turner

5. Giveaway for One Plus One by JoJo Moyes @ Lit and Life

6. Copy of The Perfect Letter by Chris Harrison @ Luxury Reading



MY COMMENTERS ROCK!



Andrea Stoeckel
Belle Wong
Bermudaonion (Kathy)
Carin Siegfried
Caro G
Carol Luciano
Charlene @ Bookish Whimsy
Donna Cimorelli
Emma @ Words and Peace
Erin K.
Freda Mans
Guiltless Reading
Irene McKenna
jen mullen
Jennine G.
Jessica (Books: a true story)
Julianne - Outlandish Lit
Katherine P.
Katie @ Doing Dewey
Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness)
Litha
Mari - Escape in a Book
Melissa (My World in Words and Pages)
Melody
Mia Sutton
Michelle @ That's What She Read
Ryan
Sarah's Book Shelves
Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight
Sue Jackson
Tanya M.
Tasha B.
Terri (Alexia561)
Ti Reed

Thank you for leaving me comments this week!



2015 COMMENTER LEADERBOARD

NEW! Top Commenters of the Month
APRIL

Look here at the end of the month to see top commenters.

Thank you for your continued encouragement and conversation!


Top Commenters for 2015
The top six (6) winners at the end of the year will receive bookish swag!
The top (1) winner will receive a paperback book from Indiebound or The Book Depository!
(Possibly more, will know closer to end of year.)
Just my way of showing my appreciation!

1. Freda Mans
2. Bermudaonion (Kathy)
3. Belle Wong
4. Ryan AND Tasha B.
6. Irene McKenna AND Sarah's Book Shelves



YOU! Could be on this list and win for 2015!
Leave comments, win prizes as thanks!