Showing posts with label Quotes and Thoughts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Quotes and Thoughts. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

"Quotes" of the Month

Did everyone have a great weekend? I just got back to work today after the holiday. It was a hot, hot day! It actually felt like summer. Nice.

I didn't read half of the books that I planned to read during my three day weekend, but had a very nice time. Today instead of a review, I gathered a few quotes that stood out from some of the books read this month -- a few of them will be added to my collection.

She had never believed in fate. She still did not. It would make nonsense of freedom of will and choice, and it was through such freedom that we worked our way through life and learned what we needed to learn. -- Gwen, The Proposal by Mary Balogh
Better to be a neutered wizard than a woman. -- Samarkar-la, Range of Ghosts by Elizabeth Bear
To really get to know someone, get them out of their comfort zones -- out of their usual context. Then watch and learn. -- Lauren, A Promise of Safekeeping by Lisa Dale
She needn't have worried. Becca Thornton at fifty might as well have been invisible. Carts went around her, younger women picked up the romance novels, men old and young picked up the sports and car magazines, and not one of them noticed anything different about her.  -- Becca, Silver Moon by Catherine Lundoff
Sweetheart. . . You think I'm going to let you go now that I have you in my clutches? You think I want to go back to living in black and white now that I know what Technicolor looks like? - Martin, Her Best Worst Mistake by Sarah Mayberry
"It's inappropriate to shoot the bad art," I said. Odin squinted. "We're criminals, baby. Everything we do is inappropriate." Melinda/Isis and Odin, The Hostage Bargain by Annika Martin
"Or if you're nervous about pain, you could consider getting your intimate hair dyed. It'd cover up the grey beautifully. It was nice seeing you, Tim." She swept up again, leaving me standing there, mortified. I had grey pubes? She'd seen my grey pubes? I mentally added tweezers to the shopping list. Tim and Olivia, Hard Tail by J.L. Merrow

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Quotes: March Favorite so far...

You all know I love my quotes. Here are a few I've chosen from the books I've either read, or I'm reading this month. The reason behind choosing them? Well, these either made me laugh, smile, or think, plus they will give you clues about the characters or the stories.

Family... it is a bitch. [...] Summer vacations...if you thought about it, what kind of people actually gathered together at a lake with cabins and all that crap anyway? Hadn't they ever watched Friday the 13th? Jason? Hockey masks? Machetes? A good time for me, yeah -- oh hell yeah -- but not as much for the members of your average Prius-driving middle class. 
Stupidity is everywhere. [Cal - Doubletake by Rob Thurman]

How could I be so petty? he wondered. It's only a word, right? He closed his eyes and tried to sleep, but the word seemed to be imprinted on his eyelids in flowing, femmy script.
His balls recoiled, drawing up into his body as if he'd just been plunged into a cold swimming pool. [Waafrneeaasuu!! from Strawberries and Other Erotic Fruits by Jerry L. Wheeler]

Even if you're not attracted to a woman, something in your blood compels you to conquer her, to find her weaknesses and exploit them until she surrenders to your charm like every other woman. 
That wasn't true. He didn't need to charm every female he came in contact with. He just happened to be a sociable kind of guy. [Seth - Dalton's Undoing by RaeAnne Thayne]

A man's fate, as you no doubt feel deeply in your present circumstances, is rarely in his own hands. But you have already shown, again and again, that you put duty before desire, as a man must. [Father - Purgatory by Jeff Man]

Saturday, September 10, 2011

August 2011 Reads, Quotes & Minis

Well, summer is officially over! I can't believe it. My August reading was a bit of a challenge, not because the books I read were not good, but because I had to struggle to squeeze them into my schedule during the month due to unexpected circumstances. Interestingly enough, although I didn't review many books during the month, there are a couple there that I predict will be included in my top ten list of favorite books read and reviewed at the end of the year.

This month I've decided to feature quotes from some of the books that I'll be reviewing in the near future. I've been collecting quotes lately, and I'll let you know the reason for that later... but for now, here are my reads for August and some of those quotes:

Totals Books Read: 12
Contemporary: 2 (Romance: 1 Erotic Romance: 1)
Historical Romance: 6
Paranormal Romance: 1
LGBT: 2 (Speculative Fiction: 1  Young Adult: 1)
Fantasy: 1
  • Speaking Out: LGBTQ Youth Stand Up edited by Steve Berman (Upcoming Review): This is an anthology written about and for LGBTQ young adults that is not to be missed. Here's a quote from the Introduction by Steve Berman, he says it best:
"I'm daydreaming as I type this -- the look on a fifteen-year-old Steve's face as future (or is that present? damn, time travel plays havoc with adjectives and tenses) me hands him an anthology of stories, all showcasing the self-esteem every LGBT kid needs. No, deserves. I'd probably be all mumbly-mouth, telling teenage Steve to read this story, that story. Well, I'd recommend he avoid the intro or else the entire space-time continuum might collapse around New Jersey (a risk in any era, let me tell you). That fifteen-year-old me would be able to face high school, then college, then his twenties without much of the fear of being alone, being different, being gay. He would know that the voice he used to entertain himself with odd stories could be heard by many who understood the daily trials (harassment by bullies, hiding from parents and straight friends).

Voices are meant to be heard."
  • Wilde Stories 2011: The Year's Best Gay Speculative Fiction edited by Steve Berman (Upcoming Review): This is another anthology except that this one is all about that wonderful speculative fiction sub-genre that I love! There are some excellent stories in this anthology by authors whose works are new-to-me and that I'll be looking for in the future and others whose works I've read. A quote for you from Oneirica by Hal Duncan (Artefact II):
"I raise my own hand now, feel the weight of wood in it. I do not have to look to know that I'm holding  a mace or sceptre of sorts. I have been carrying it all along, the thyrsus of Dionysus and the club of Heracles, the staff of Prospero and the spear of Longinus, Odin's Gungnir and Sun Go-Ku's Rúyì-Jĩngũ-Bàng. It is the most modern magician's wand and the most ancient spearthrower. I squeeze it in my grasp and it shrinks to a twirlable size, sits comfortably between my fingers, a pen. There is no need for any statement of authority more grand than this, I think, not in this day and age. What was comfortable in one era as a humble reed with a wedge-shaped end, will be comfortable here and now as simple ballpoint. It is the most important of all these objects of power, I think -- though I am prejudiced, I suspect -- the original of all tools for shaping order and chaos."
  • Snowflakes and Stetsons: Western Christmas Wishes by Jillian Hart, Carol Finch, Cheryl St. John (Upcoming Review): This is a holiday anthology of the western historical romance kind... yeap! It's lovely and cozy and warm and just what I needed to read toward the end of this last month.  I know I'll be re-reading it during the holidays too... here's a quote from The Magical Gift at Christmas by Cheryl St. John:
She looked into his eyes.
"I will come back for you."
"I know."
"No one can find you here."
"We'll be fine, Jonah."

He wanted to kiss her. His gaze dropped to her lips, now chapped from the cold and wind, and he wanted to press his mouth against hers and feel her sweet warmth.

She knew what he was thinking, because her eyelids fluttered and even more color than what the cold created rose in her cheeks. "You may kiss me."

She never stopped surprising him.
This is the much anticipated sequel to A Companion to Wolves, a fascinating fantasy book that I read at the beginning of just this year. I'm a fan of Elizabeth Bear's writing, although I've never read anything else by Sarah Monette. I can tell you that this book is obviously the middle of what is shaping out to be a fantasy trilogy with Norse culture as its base, a fascinating study of the bond between man and animal, as well as relationships between the men, plus the social structures that they've built between themselves and those of other beings. It's a fascinating world full of nuances with plenty of room for exploration.
  • Unlocked by Courtney Milan: B-
This novella by Courtney Milan was a mixed bag for me. There were so many things to like... how well Courtney Milan developed both the characters and the situation between them in such short format is one of them. The fact that Evan had the courage to rectify a wrong in front of society was another. The way Lady Elaine Warren led her life and became nothing for a period of ten whole years, and the fact that she only came back to "life" because Evan saved her in front of society was not. There was something lacking in Elaine's character, she allowed herself to be broken by the ridicule of one man and one woman. Was there really no one else to see her for who she really was during those ten years?

There are a few other inconsistencies (the rope scene) and some of the dialogue that pulled me out of the story. I did like the unexpected way in which Evan and Diana worked out their differences, and that Milan developed a friendship between Evan and Elaine before their romance came to a conclusion. This made sense as she at least needed that space of time to reconcile her feelings for Evan. This novella is a rather inexpensive ebook and I would say worth reading.  
  • Temptation Island by Lorie O'Clare: B-
  • It's Always Been You by Victorial Dahl (Upcoming Review)
I read two books by Victoria Dahl in the space of a week, a historical romance and a contemporary. I'll tell you right now that I enjoyed the contemporary much more than the historical... this was a good romance, but not one that will stay with me. I will let you know more about it later. 
That's it for my August reads. Although I have yet to review three of my top reads for the month of August, from the books read and reviewed my top recommendations are The Many Sins of Lord Cameron by Jennifer Ashley, One Good Reason by Sarah Mayberry and Leah and The Bounty Hunter by Elaine Levine. I can tell you that September is already shaping out to be a good reading month for me. How about you? Any great reads in August?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

... On my current read: The Demon's Librarian by Lilith Saintcrow

I'm currently reading Lilith Saintcrow's The Demon's Librarian. I've had this book in my TBB list since 2009 and became interested in reading it again after reading her novella in the Dark and Stormy Knights anthology last year. Oh well... I do get to the books on my lists sooner or later.

Anyway, I couldn't help but come back here to share a couple of snippets with you all. Chess, the Jericho City Public Library's head librarian, had me in stitches throughout the beginning of the book with her personal ruminations about her joys and frustrations.

With libraries closing left and right around the country at this very moment, this first quote (from a book published in 2009) is the first one that caught my eye:
While the good citizens of Jericho City would pay
thousands yearly for plastic surgery and to pad the pockets of
the mayor's friends, they simply would not vote a couple of
measly bucks onto their property taxes to take care of her
library. Lovely. Remind me to spit in a city councilman's
coffee cup the first chance I get.
Page 4
And after killing the demon, this one made me laugh because yeah... it just sounds so easy in the books, but imagine how tough it would be in reality. Plus, that last line! The bold lettering is from me:
She coughed and gagged again, trying not to lose
everything she'd ever thought of eating in the last week. The
books always make this stuff sound so goddamn easy. They
don't mention the smell. Or the way getting hit in the face
with a tentacle as big around as your thigh hurts.
Her eye
was puffing closed, she could feel it throbbing and swelling to
almost the size of a baseball.


Chess swallowed dryly, pleading with her stomach to stay
down. The smell of garbage coated the back of her throat,
and she probably had gotten some of the slimy water in her
mouth. I don't think it's good for my image to blow chunks all
over a ... what's this thing called again? Either a skornac or
just plain Demon-With-Many-Arms. Particularly allergic to a
fire-consecrated demon-hunter's knife. One more case where
an ounce of research is worth a pound of "oh fuck."
Page 5
Later Chess has to deal with Mrs. Pembroke, an older lady who seems to think almost everything in the library contains "smut" and should be removed from the shelves. Here "the Indignant" comes in to demand that "Huckleberry Finn" be removed from the library's Young Adult section:
"Won't you sit down, Mrs. Pembroke?" Chess inquired
sweetly. "It's so good to see you. May I offer you a cup of
tea?" Or a face-to-face with a tentacled demon in the sewers?
I think that would be just up your alley, Pem.

Pembroke clutched her small purse to her solar plexus as if
strangling a small pet dog against her cardigan. "No ... no
tea." She sounded shocked. Relations between Chess and the
Indignant had been icily polite ever since the great Barbara
Cartland fiasco, with no détente in sight.

After dealing with an octopus-looking demon, Pembroke
the Indignant didn't rattle Chess nearly as much. Page 14
I've always been envious of librarians... working with all those books on a daily basis. *sigh* Of course, Chess is not your everyday librarian since she's out fighting demons, but I'm enjoying this aspect of her character.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Quotes and Thoughts: A Companion to Wolves by Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear

Female Influence
"Perhaps sometimes it was wise to listen to a woman. Not that he would have to learn, unless he wasn't chosen. Wolfcarls did not marry. But for a woman's voice to speak reason when a man's counseled cowardice --- there was shame." Page 7
The female's influence is a thread that begins as a subtle one and one that runs deep within A Companion to Wolves. At first glance it is tough to recognize this thread since the book is packed with male central characters, testosterone and, from the beginning, that psychic bond between man and wolf seems to be the main focus. However even through that bond, our main character Njall or Isolfr learns that there's no shame in listening to a female and that her influence can sometimes be the most powerful. The thread is carried throughout the story as Isolfr and his friends battle trolls and meet the powerful svaltarfar who dwell under the mountain.

"You must decide what your honor is, Njall, and hold to it...." Page 11
Honor is another key thread throughout A Companion to Wolves. It is what drives Isolfr's actions from the beginning when he is 16 years old and gives himself as tithe to the wolfheall against his father's wishes. Honor is ingrained in Isolfr, but it is the above advice given to him by his mother -- a female that knows the true meaning of the word -- as he is leaving the keep that stays with him throughout the story. Holding his honor is a decision that will place Isolfr in deadly danger, but one that will make a great man out of him.

Pack sense
"He could smell the night around him -- the snow and the dark and the sap running up branches, the first green tang of spring. He could smell Sigmundr beside him, smell the wolves and the men, each individually, smell Brandr's sour fear and his determination, smell his own confidence -- for, unlike the other young men, he was a jarl's son and this was not his first time in battle -- and he thought if he closed his eyes and concentrated, he might be able to pick out the scent of the moonlight on snow. Moving, all moving, like a great, coordinated dance, and he bit his lip to keep from laughing in delight." Page 21
Without pack sense there would be no book. This is what makes the story truly amazing. The authors explore social structure, hierarchy, even political and amorous ambitions and how they affect a group. There's the beauty as shown by the above quoted passage but there's also the raw brutality expected of both wolf pack and man. Man's ambitions and outward civility, as well as the animal's need for domination and or submission are both captured by the writers. The authors also go out of this circle and explore how this group is viewed, and therefore judged, by outside society.

However within the wolf pack, the authors also address the female role. The leader of the wolves is a female. She chooses her mate and controls the pack, and in turn her chosen brother (the man) becomes the most influential male. This brings me back to the thread of female influence, as this female doesn't just represent the mother or mate in the story, instead without her or her brother there would be no cohesion to the pack. In A Companion to Wolves when a female wolf is born there is cause for celebration, as opposed to the world of men where females are not held in high esteem.

Do the central characters realize what females contribute to their lives and to the outside world? Does the role of the female wolf within the pack impact the men's outlook on their world? You'll have to read the book to find the answers.

Final Note: I chose to focus my post on this one point because I found it a fascinating thread in a book that features an all male character cast as the protagonists. The raw and rather brutal scenes that make this story such a fascinating read, combined with the main character's personal realizations, all kept pointing me in this direction as well. However, I just wanted to point out that this is a beautifully written, moving fantasy story focused on the characters -- human and non-human -- their relationships, battles, and most of all honor.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Quotes & Thoughts: New Normal by Jeffrey Ricker

"Something's not missing from my life. Something's missing from my death."

Don't you just love it when a book makes you think about what's beyond the obvious? In the short science fiction story New Normal, Jeffrey Ricker writes about a character who died, but whose consciousness has been transplanted into a new body. Not another person's body, mind you, but a body that was grown to look exactly like his old one. But although his body's the same, and he recognizes his mother and lover, his emotions don't seem to be engaged in the same way as they used to be. What could be wrong?

Ricker's character goes through literal death, and his reactions are those of a man that has gone through death, yet there is more there. At least there was more there for me.

I've always thought that we experience symbolic deaths throughout our lifetimes... at least I tend to think of them that way. We change, evolve, leave things, places and people behind and move on with our lives. This character seemed to be going through one of those moments... putting away the old self and going on with his new life. And I wondered if I would be able to connect with those selves I've buried along the way again. Like Ricker's main character, after going through those "deaths," the memories are still there, but could the emotions ever be engaged in the same way again? Food for thought.

Visit Jeffrey Ricker here.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Quotes & Thoughts: Summer, Baseball and Steve Kluger

Summer! For me, summer is nothing without the game of baseball.

I don't usually blog about sports, although I'm a huge sports fan, and baseball is my all-time favorite sport. There's nothing like a hot, lazy Sunday afternoon baseball game. I prefer looong games during sunny days and weather I'm watching them on television or at the ballpark, alone or with lots of company, it doesn't matter to me it's still heaven.

I love to read a good book with the sounds of a baseball game as background. I'm a bit (a lot) superstitious, and when my favorite team is playing and working on a win or a comeback, there are times when I'll look up from my book ONLY after that hit, home run, or strikeout happens -- and of course I won't remember what I was reading because I'm really paying attention to the game. My heart beats a mile a minute, and it's both an agony and a pleasure!

As a reader and a sports lover, it's interesting that I rarely mix the two. But recently, I've read a few books that integrate the game of baseball. Of those books, it is not surprising that the two that truly stand out are Steve Kluger's Almost Like Being in Love and Last Days of Summer. Why? Mr. Kluger obviously has a deep understanding of the game, and it seems as if he finds a way to integrate baseball into all his stories in one way or another. I have his entire backlist in my TBR, although I haven't yet read them all. Actually, Mr. Kluger is a Boston Red Sox fanatic, (see his website), so you know I must really love his writing... because well.. I happen to be a Yankees fan, and if you follow baseball you know what that means -- lots of rivalry there to put it mildly. ;P

In Almost Like Being in Love, a GLTB romance, one of Kluger's characters Craig (a jock) influences the other, Travis (a nerd), to the point where Travis lives his life while relating everything to baseball and its rules. He becomes a history professor at USC, and even there Travis relates history to baseball. I loved it! I think one of my initial thoughts and comments when I read this book was: "I'll never think about Alexander Hamilton again without thinking about baseball. Ever!"

Here's an example so you can see what I mean:
University of Southern California
Semester: 1998 From: Travis Pucket  Class: American History 206

"Alexander Hamilton and the Designated Hitter"

Issue: Once we'd won our independence from the Crown, how were we going to set up house?

Objective: Proving that baseball and the United States Constitution were founded on the same set of rules, as outlined in The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton.

Argument: (extract)... If it hadn't been for the fact that conservative rich guy Thomas Jefferson (National League) and free-wheeling loud-mouth Alexander Hamilton (American League) detested one another on sight, the Founding Fathers might never have stumbled upon the same secret the populace had discovered years earlier on a rounders field: the dynamic upon which to build a true democracy and, incidentally, a Boston Red Sox legacy as well.*

*See, Carlton Fisk's home run off of Pat Darcy on October 21, 1975.
("We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.")
In Last Days of Summer, Kluger uses a combination of fiction and history when it comes to baseball. Set in New York during WW II and featuring the New York Giants as the central team, the story is chuck-full of baseball lore and references. Kluger's love of the game is more than evident in this gorgeous story about a rough, well-known baseball player and a smart-aleck(y), adventurous boy whose determination becomes legendary. Of course setting the story in New York City, Kluger also features "dem bums" the Brooklyn Dodgers as the Giants' main competitors, and of course the New York Yankees, although interestingly enough for the most part he seems to gloss over the Yanks... hmmm... I wonder why? [grin].

This book is not only a gorgeous read for all the reasons I detailed on my review, but if you're a baseball fan and a lover of its history, then it's just fun. If you (like me) can get lost researching stats, confirming exactly where Kluger uses fictional information and/or where he uses baseball history, then you can definitely have some fun with this book. As I mentioned, I'm a bit of a baseball freak (geek), so I've had tons of fun (and I'm not done yet) going through some of the stats, names and information Kluger uses in this book.

Of the historical baseball facts Kluger uses in Last Days of Summer, I'm going to highlight a favorite (my choice should not be a surprise -- my husband who's a diehard Dodgers fan didn't love my choice... oh well!). It is a newspaper-like article and stats page (pages 192 & 193) from Game 4 of the 1941 World Series between the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Yankees:
Dodgers Snatch Defeat
From Jaws of Victory

Game 4 Upset When
Mickey Owen Drops Strike 3

(excerpt)... Brooklyn hurler Hugh Casey let loose with a perfect breaking curve to Yankee right fielder Tommy Henrich, who sung on strike three -- and whiffed. And that should have been the ball game. But the Brooks' usually topflight catcher Mickey Owen had other ideas when he missed the ball entirely -- and by the time he'd retrieved it from the Dodger dugout, Henrich had made himself at home on first. But that was only the beginning....

Yankees went on to win Game 4 by a score of 7-4 and the 1941 World Series. Hmmm... Charlie and Joey were NOT happy and of course they disagree as to what reaaaally happened, an argument that goes on between the two throughout the whole book. I love this story... just love it.


And of course since Carlton Fisk was mentioned above and bringing this post around to current events, I just HAVE to mention Jorge Posada! The current Yankees catcher who reached 1,000 RBI yesterday, having played 1,660 games throughout his career (NYY 1995 to present).

With that 1,000 hit, he joined an amazing group of catchers: Johnny Bench, Gary Carter, Carlton Fisk* and Ivan Rodriguez as the only catchers in Major League Baseball history to hit 250 home runs, 350 doubles and a record 1,000 RBI. You go Jorgie!


So what's your favorite sport? Do you have one? Any favorite sports (or baseball) related books that you would recommend?

ETA: Other recently read baseball related books:

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Quotes & Thoughts: Santa Olivia by Jacqueline Carey

Santa Olivia's worldbuilding and some of the possible realities Carey used to weave this fantasy stayed with me long after I finished reading the book.
They said that the statue of Our Lady of the Sorrows wept tears of blood the day the sickness came to Santa Olivia. The people said that God had turned his face away from humankind. They said that saints remember what God forgets about human suffering.
Of course they said that in a lot of places during those years.
The sickness -- a pandemic. This worldbuilding device has been used countless times and doesn't seem unique at all. Except this story is set in the U.S. / Mexican border where violent and controversial events often take place, plus I couldn't help but think of the recent swine flu pandemic scare and all those sad, terrifying and unfortunate deaths in Mexico from the virus. Thinking about those events made this worldbuilding device in Santa Olivia one that I could relate to and ultimately effective.
The day the soldiers arrived, Our Lady's tears dried to rust in her shrine. There were bullhorns and announcements about a wall, a new wall to the north to bracket the wall to the south. 
The walls. With the building of those walls, Carey strays further into possible realities. In this case, the one wall built around the Mexican border to prevent aggression from the south and the other to the north for further security brought to mind current debates about just this subject. The building of a wall to the south has been suggested many times by both politicians and citizens as an answer to security problems and illegal immigration. Given the circumstances presented by Carey in Santa Olivia, I could see it happening.
"We are at war!
This is no longer a part of Texas, no longer a part of the United States of America! You are in the buffer zone! You are no longer American citizens! By consenting to remain, you have agreed to this! The town of Santa Olivia no longer exists! You are denizens of Outpost No. 12!"
Carey then incorporates the fact that the residents of Santa Olivia effectively exchange their freedom and civil liberties for what they believe is security. This is yet another contemporary issue that has been debated in recent times by our generation. Here, Carey explores abuse and manipulation by those in power vs. gullibility and ignorance of the masses.

The consequences to this particular aspect of her worldbuilding are key to the story. The people's dependency on the soldiers for safety and its evolution as these same soldiers degenerate from saviors to jailers and as the townspeople become prisoners in their isolation, is used by Carey as an extreme, if useful, example of what can happen when freedoms are surrendered. There is also a dehumanizing process that takes place as the people's absolute hopelessness morphs into greed, violence and perversions. In Santa Olivia the monsters are of the human sort not the fantastic, making them that much more effective.

Carey begins with possible realities as a base, some of which we can understand and relate to, and then in small increments expands and creates a future that is horrific in its simplicity. This base then strengthens the fantasy and science fiction aspects that Carey successfully incorporates in creating Santa Olivia's world.