Monthly Archives: May 2014


Website: May Updates

Posted 31 May, 2014 by Lianne in Website / 0 Comments

Well, this past week has been rather busy, participating in Armchair BEA for the first time and all (thus you may have noticed my reviews were more or less put on hold =P) πŸ™‚ But yes, we have reached the end of yet another month!


Not my gif (as always) but sometimes I feel like dancing (in my head)

  1. Well, it’s been another interesting month in reading, including: Simon Montefiore’s Sashenka (review), Isabelle Lafleche’s J’Adore New York (review) and Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being (review). It’s also been a pretty big month reading and reviewing plays for the Shakespeare Reading Challenge. You can check out all the books I’ve reviewed recently in the book review tag.
  2. Posted up a review from an ARC I read recently, Terry Hayes’ I Am Pilgrim (review), which I also participated in a book blog tour for. You can check out all of the ARCs that I recently read in this tag.
  3. Another book blog tour I participated in this month was for April Smith’s A Star for Mrs. Blake (review). It sheds some light on an interesting aspect of the veterans programme following World War One in the United States.
  4. Things were also pretty busy on the graphic novels front as I started reading the popular series Fables as well as caught up on some titles I had been meaning to post about. You can check out the latest comics I’ve covered in the comics category.
  5. I watched a movie! (Man of Steel (review)) I watched and reviewed another installment of The Hollow Crown (review). I’ve also been posting about Orphan Black! (see tag)
  6. As I mentioned at the start of this entry, I participated in Armchair BEA this past week for the first time, which is pretty exciting. You can check out all of my entries related to that event in this tag.

Tomorrow the latest issue of Femnista will be coming out so stick around for that…Also, tomorrow is the start of a month-long event called Mental Health Awareness Month, hosted by hosted by Leah @ Uncorked Thoughts and Ula @ Blog of Erised. I will be taking part in that; if you’re interested in participating and/or spreading the word about the event and the topics covered, feel free to sign up! We’d love to see you πŸ™‚

MHAM

And that’s about it for me. I hope everyone is having a lovely weekend–see you in June! πŸ™‚

Armchair BEA: 2014 Wrap-Up

Posted 31 May, 2014 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

I can’t believe we’re already at the end of Armchair BEA! It’s been a pretty awesome experience participating in this event for the first time. Big thank you to everyone who’s dropped by and chatted this past week–if I haven’t gotten back to your comments, I will soon! I’m very much behind at the moment (as with everything else; not that anyone needed to know that) but it’s been a delight to hear from fellow bloggers and readers over the course of the week–it’s been great getting to know everyone and talk about books and blogging πŸ™‚

Just a recap, here are links to the posts I’ve made each day (though it’s also easy to find on the main page of my blog):

And that’s about it! Friendly reminder that the giveaway featured on Day 4 runs until at 11:59pm EST TONIGHT so there’s still a bit of time if you haven’t entered yet. Good luck and talk to you all soon πŸ™‚ Have a lovely weekend!

Armchair BEA: Topic of Choice & Middle Grade/Young Adult

Posted 30 May, 2014 by Lianne in Books / 13 Comments

Before I start off today’s topic, just a friendly reminder that my Armchair BEA book giveaway contest is still running at the moment. Contest ends on May 31st at 11:59PM EST so there’s still a bit of time left to enter if you haven’t already πŸ˜‰

Topic of Choice: Fantasy

For today’s topic of choice, I’m going to talk a little bit about the Fantasygenre. I mentioned back at the start of the week that this is a genre I grew up reading, starting with a bit of Young Adult (see below) but branching out to adult fantasy around the time that The Lord of the Rings movies came out. There are a lot of imaginative and creative writers out there writing in the genre and the worldbuilding, the conflicts and the characters have just been amazing to read. My favourite fantasy novelist is still J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings (review #1, #2, #3) still my favourite fantasy novel ever, but there have been plenty of other wonderful fantasy titles I’ve read over the years.

Some of my other favourite novelists in the genre include Brandon Sanderson (his Mistborn books are fantastic (100 Things)), Neil Gaiman (need anything else be said?), Patricia A. McKillip (gorgeous, gorgeous fantasy that’s magical and quiet and unique), Tad Williams (Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy (100 Things) is still one of my utmost favourite trilogies around), and Susanna Clarke (Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (review) is such a feat in scope and imagination).

And some notable novels to check out if you’re looking to start a few titles in the genre or looking for new titles to read:

  • Sergey and Marina Dyachenko’s The Scar (review)
  • Daniel Abraham’s The Long Price quartet (review #1, review #2)
  • Patricia A. McKillip’s The Winter Rose (review)
  • Scott Lynch’s The Lies of Locke Lamora (review)
  • David Anthony Durham’s Acacia (review)

Middle Grade/Young Adult

I fall under the category of those who do not normally talk about this genre. In a way, it’s even hard to reflect to that stage of my life because growing up, I was already reading quite a bit of adult fiction. But the young adult titles I did read were memorable and enjoyable in their own way and were my early introduction to the fantasy genre before I really started reading from the adult fantasy section: Garth Nix’s Sabriel (100 Things), Tamora Pierce’s The Circle of Magic quartet, Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials.

Thanks to the blogging community and those who participate in Top Ten Tuesdays over the last few years, I have gotten to know a lot of YA titles that are out there and that readers enjoy. While I still don’t read very often from the genre, it’s good to know that there’s a variety of titles out there available for that particular demographic. I wish we had some of these titles when I was growing up! And while I will likely never get around to some of the most popular titles out there, here are a few titles that I’ve read and enjoyed over the last few years from the genre:

  • Catherynne M. Valente’s The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (review)
  • Diana Wynne Jones’ Howl’s Moving Castle (review)
  • Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl (review)*
  • Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I Loved Before (review)
  • Frankie Brown’s Until We End (review)
  • Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson books

* = Err, yes, I hope to get my hands on Eleanor and Park sometime soon; it’s the only book by her left that I haven’t read (aside from her upcoming book, Landline, of course :))

And I turn it over to you niw: Do you read fantasy and/or YA? If so, who are your favourite authors or some of your favourite books? Any recommendations?

Armchair BEA: Giveaways & Beyond the Borders

Posted 29 May, 2014 by Lianne in Books / 125 Comments

Giveaway

Giveaways! I love giveaways πŸ™‚ For my giveaway, I am giving you guys a choice from the following three books–two books that I read earlier this year, and one that I re-read last year–and enjoyed immensely. So, without further ado, here are your choices:

  • Hannah Kent’s Burial Rites (review)
  • C.S. Richardson’s The Emperor of Paris (review)
  • Sebastien Japrisot’s A Very Long Engagement (review)*

* – Rest assured, you will receive the English edition of the novel if you select this title πŸ˜‰ I just didn’t have the url to the English cover on me at the moment, lol

Please also note that the edition you receive may be different from the covers featured above.

This giveaway is open internationally as long as the Book Depository ships to your country. Contest closes on Saturday, May 31st at 11:59pm EST and a winner will be contacted the following day so please use a valid email address. The winner will have 24 hours to respond.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck! πŸ™‚

Beyond the Borders

It’s time to step outside your comfort zone, outside your borders, or outside of your own country or culture. Tell us about the books that transported you to a different world, taught you about a different culture, and/or helped you step into the shoes of someone different from you. What impacted you the most about this book? What books would you recommend to others who are ready or not ready to step over the line? In essence, let’s start the conversation about diversity and keep it going!

I’m going to approach this topic a little differently (I think?) and talk about books written in another language (mind you, I’m not talking about classic literature here as I touched on it briefly in Day One πŸ˜‰ ). There’s certainly a growing body of books coming out in English that were originally written in another language, which is great in terms of selection and what’s out there; maybe it’s not coming out as fast as I wish (looking at you, Spanish-to-English books), but at least the accessibility is there. In the meantime, I have been picking up books, either from my travels or online, of books in their original language, which has helped me a bit in the languages department πŸ™‚

I love it because different countries and cultures approach different themes, experiences, values. Sometimes their storytelling is just wholly unique, or steeped deeply in traditional folk tales, or feature important or familiar locations and figures.

Some foreign lit titles I love and recommend:

  • Carmen Laforet’s Nada (Spanish; review)
  • Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities (Italian; review)
  • Anna Gavalda’s Ensemble C’est Tout (French; commentary)
  • Sebastien Japrisot’s A Very Long Engagement (French; review)
  • Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood (review)
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude (Latin American)

Bonus!: Miguel Syjuco’s Illustrado (review). A bit of a cheat with this one as it was originally written in English (the author is based here in Canada) but it does touch a lot on Filipino culture and identity, hence why I included it πŸ™‚

And now I turn it over to you: Do you read much literature that was originally published in another language? If so, what was your favourite book read and what language was it originally written in?

Armchair BEA: Expanding Blogging Horizons & Novellas/Short Stories

Posted 28 May, 2014 by Lianne in Books / 24 Comments

Expanding Blogging Horizons

I find that my blog and my blogging is constantly changing, expanding, shifting over the years. Not necessarily in a unique way, I think–I haven’t branched out to vlogging or podcasts. While my blog has become predominantly book-related over the years, I still post up my thoughts and reviews on movies I’ve watched, television shows I follow (however few they are; right now I’m posting my thoughts every other week on the latest episodes of Orphan Black), the articles I’ve written for other publications. Over the past year I’ve branched out and taken part in more book blog tours (courtesy primarily of France Book Tours), which is another wonderful way to connect with bloggers and authors and great books.

On a more technical note, the only major thing I’ve been focusing on in terms of expanding my blogging horizons is actually working towards a redesign here, lol. I recently bought this awesome theme from Creative Whim; I was having so much trouble formatting and customising free themes and I’m no longer patient when it comes to learning how to format my own layouts but this theme is pretty promising in terms of what I can do with it. I hope to do a bit more than what I currently have going on here in the coming months. I also hope to change my url next year to something a little more bookish, but we’ll see πŸ˜€

Novellas & Short Stories

In the last two years, I found myself reading a lot more novellas and short stories. Still not a lot, mind you, but reading them every now and then is a nice change of pace and I find that whenever I’m in a reading slump, it really helps me through that blahness. They’re also a great place to start if you’re looking to start reading a series or read some books from a particular author or want to continue reading stories set in a particular world that you’ve enjoyed.

For some novellas by classic authors, I highly, highly recommend Meville House’s The Art of the Novella series. The selection is fantastic, and the covers are simple but very elegant and appealing–very nice to have on your shelves! Many of these titles, depending on their copyright, are available free online or elsewhere, but if you’re a collector or are just looking for a starting point, definitely check their selection out. Some notable titles worth checking out (in my opinion ;)):

  • Christopher Morley’s Parnassus on Wheels & The Haunted Bookshop
  • Sholem Aleichem’s Stempenyu: A Jewish Romance
  • Prosper Merimee’s Carmen
  • Anton Chekhov’s The Duel
  • Aleksandr Pushkin’s Tales of Belkin
  • Ivan Turgenev’s First Love
  • Edith Wharton’s The Touchstone

As for fantasy and science fiction, Tor.com has always been my go-to place for short stories from various fantasy and sci-fi authors. Every year they release a small anthology to download featuring select titles. They’ve been fairly hit and miss for me, but it’s some place to turn to for short stories from the genre. Other short stories–such as the novellas set in James S.A. Corey’s Expanse novels and Brandon Sanderson’s novellas–are both entertaining and interesting in what else it reveals of the worlds they’ve created, and definitely worth checking out.

There’s also one author on my to-read shelf whom I would talk more about in this section but I haven’t read any of her works yet: Alice Munro. I’ve heard good things about her work (and she’s Canadian–whoo-hoo!) and of course she’s pretty notable lately because she won the Nobel Prize for Literature so I’m looking forward to reading her short stories πŸ™‚

And now I turn it over to you: How have you expanded your blogging horizons in the past year? Or if you’re a new blogger, what’s your experience been like so far? Do you read novellas and short stories? If so, what are some of your favourites? If you don’t, has my post convinced you in checking out a few titles? πŸ˜‰