Monday, August 31, 2009

Bridesmaids as Guerrilla Warriors

Lately I've been busy getting the kids ready for school year, adjusting to the early mornings of my teens and getting ready for my youngest to start first grade this week. I haven't had much time to read but I started reading The Bridesmaid's Guerrilla Handbook; by Sarah Stein and Lucy Talbot because I have been asked to be a bridesmaid for a friend. I've been one before but I have never had a clue what I am supposed to do, thought I should try to do it right for once.

So far it seems a fast, fun read with a good blend of seriousness and humor. I am enjoying it in those spare moments I manage to string together for reading. There is a great idea for putting together a kit for the wedding day with all sorts of odds and ends one might need to get through the day and get the bride through the day. I am about to start chapter 5; "The Bridal Shower" and I am hoping it will really spell out what the bride will be expecting from me.

I've still been drinking and loving the teas I ordered from and I created a couple of new ones that I was able to order this morning. As soon as I try them I will be posting to let you know if they are any good.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Her Fearful Symmetry

This book is due to be released on September 29th but is available for preorder on; I happened to get an advance reader's copy from Simon and Schuster.

From the author of The Time Traveller's Wife, Audrey Niffenegger, this novel is not one I would usually pick up for myself. I like sci-fi and fantasy for my pleasure read and was happily surprised to find myself enjoying Her Fearful Symmetry.
I think the novel's greatest strength is its cast of characters, most of whom are imperfect, appealing, sympathetic and distinctly cracked. The central characters are all a little crazy which makes them interesting and kept me turning pages wondering what they would do next. This is a story about love and bonds between sisters, husbands and wives, friends and lovers. It is not just a love story though, its a story about secrets and betrayal, a story about two girls coming of age and trying to find their way in the world. It is also a ghost story with some surprising new ideas on haunting, new to me at any rate. While it starts out rather whimsically, the haunting takes a darker turn than I was expecting.
This is an enjoyable and entertaining read. An excellent book to read on the beach or curled up by the fire. Set mostly in London, next to Highgate Cemetery, the story is anchored to reality by the natural way the author weaves in specific shops, restaurants and parks. Several times while reading I stopped to look these places up and found the effort worthwhile. Highgate Cemetery is absolutely lovely and worth preserving and the author provides information at the end of the book for any readers who may want to donate to the cause.
The story asks for a few pretty strenuous suspensions of disbelief, and toward the end it was hard to do. I don't want to spoil anything but I think it is safe to say that there was a point or two where I was shaking my head trying to imagine people actually going along with the requests they getting without calling the police or a psychiatrist. Despite that one real flaw, this is an excellent read and I would recommend it as worthwhile and enjoyable.

Today I am drinking Dr. Horrible's Tea of Evil from again. ^_^

Monday, August 24, 2009

Why Blog? Etc...

I've decided that waiting for my muse is pointless. That's one reason I started this blog; I like to write and with or without the inspiration of the gods I am just going to stumble on ahead. Actually, that sounds a little depressing when I write it out but well, there it is.

Forging ahead: I am currently finishing up reading an advanced reader copy of; Her Fearful Symmetry; by Audrey Niffenegger. It'll probably be one of those books that gets on Oprah's book club list (Audrey Niffenegger also wrote; The Time Traveller's Wife) so not my typical read. Most of the books I read are unlikely to have "best seller" scribed across their covers. I am surprised to find myself enjoying it quite a bit, partly because there are some paranormal elements to the story and mostly because the cast of characters is endearingly cracked. But I will save the rest of my comments for after I finish reading. I am also continuing to slowly savor Little Gods; by Tim Pratt.

One small item of note: Subterranean Press has just posted an interview with one of my favorite authors, Caitlin Kiernan, here: The interview focuses on her new book; The Red Tree and offers some insights that might interest.

If you haven't checked out: for all your custom blended tea drinking needs, you might want to. I have been having a wonderful time over there making up my own special teas for different times of the day; breakfast which came out great and a decaf for evening that I need to order and try. The tea is on the expensive side, it comes out to about 20 cents a cup ($10 a tin) but as you can design the tea yourself it can be exactly as decadent as you want it to be. My nightime tea is made with decaf vanilla tea, honeybush vanilla and just a bit of raspberry. I can't wait to try it.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dracula and Evil Tea

I finished Dracula last night. Overall, it is a classic and deserves to be so, but I did find that the first half of the book was much more charming than the second half. The quaint Victorian way of putting things, the hesitant, repetitive approach to making a point began to wear on me over time. Long sections of Van Helsing's imperfect syntax more and more became impenetrable snarls, almost puzzles at times, and detracted from the story.

Dracula must also lose points for pacing. The slow pace that seemed so appropriate to the first half or more of the book became a frustration in the second half or thereabouts. The second half needed to be more dynamic, faster paced. It should have been more of a race to the final confrontation. But it wasn't. For all that the characters talked and talked, near endlessly really, about how time was so vital they never actually seemed in a hurry.

My final verdict is; read it, or at least read the first half or so or until it bogs down for you and becomes work and not pleasure for you. I wish I had skimmed the second half or gotten the Cliff Notes or something. It is a charming, wonderful book but not without its flaws. On a positive note, it does show us a vampire who is, as vampires should be, truly other, an enemy of mankind, a predator and a threat. In the end, I am glad I read it and would even like to read it, at least the first half of it, again sometime.

Today I am enjoying an excellent breakfast (or possibly dessert) tea: "Dr. Horrible's Tea of Evil;"

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Little Gods

Little Gods is a short story by Tim Pratt and I wanted to mention it here because it is excellent, just outstanding and wonderful. When I say it is short, I mean it. The story is 14 pages long but what the author accomplishes in 14 pages is amazing. I cried, I laughed and I wanted to hold my dear ones close and never let go... all in 14 pages.

You can find this tale in a collection of the author's short stories called; Little Gods; by Tim Pratt, and I reccomend the introduction as well it is also very good. I didn't get much further than the title story yet, my main effort has been on Dracula, the quaint writing has bogged me down a bit near the end, but I will finish it and post my impressions.

No tea this morning yet, it is so hot and sticky out I am drinking a coke.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Still in the Middle

I am currently reading Dracula; by Bram Stoker. It seems weird that I never read it before and I am enjoying its Victorian quaintness very much. For all its Victorian sensibilities, I think it has aged very well. True in our jaded times vampires are a dime a dozen and all the pussy-footing reticence to name the creature seems excessive, but still there is suspense and horror in it. Even knowing all I know I find myself tense waiting and wondering along with the characters in certain particulars. The relationships between the characters, their love and caring for one another have actually brought tears to my eyes on occasion and their gestures, noble and brave by turns, are quite touching. I still have over 100 pages to go, so I can't give a final verdict, but so far it is a wonderful book and seems to deserve its status as a classic and a classic of the genre.

Still enjoying my custom blend from;

Friday, August 14, 2009

Maiden Voyage

Jumping right in:

The latest good book making me happy is; The Red Tree; by Caitlin Kiernan. Having read her previous novels and enjoyed them more than almost any others I have read, I was eager to get my hands on her latest and pre-ordered it in April. I was not disappointed.

Unlike her previous novels, this one stands alone. It is the story of an author who rents a remote farmhouse in order to have solitude for writing her latest, unstarted and already overdue novel. The author is Sarah Crowe, a woman running from her own demons, from memories of personal tradgedy that she can't seem to escape. As the story unfolds and Sarah becomes fixated on a mysterious tree and a discarded manuscript, like the best of Ms. Kiernan's writing, the lines between what is real and what is not become blurred, and great and difficult questions are asked and explored. This a story of stark beauty and terrible wonder and it will keep you second guessing all the way to the end and possibly beyond. I am still mulling over the questions it raises and enjoying the disquiet of no easy answers. A rare treat from a book these days.

For nice tea this gorgeous day, I am sipping this unseasonably hot cup of custom blended tea from adagio; This site is amazing. You can create and name your own blend of favorites. The link above is my blend of Irish Breakfast, Honeybush Chocolate and Pepermint Leaves. I have never tried customizing tea before and am happy to say it came out very well. I drink it with a bit of unsweetened soymilk.

That's enough for now. Happy Reading. ~