Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Basics Challenge ~ books read


The Basics Challenge ~ books read list.

Finally an update – after almost a year! Titles link to Layers of Thought’s post for the books.


  1. A Long Long Sleep ~ by Anna Sheehan
  2. Darkfever; Bloodfever; and Faefever ~ by Karen Marie Moning (review coming)
  3. Jamrach’s Menagerie ~ Carol Birch (review coming)
  4. Other Kingdoms ~ by Richard Matheson (review coming)
  5. Oryx and Crake ~ by Margaret Atwood (review coming)
  6. The First Days (As the World Dies #1) ~ by Rhiannon Frater
  7. The Whisperer ~ by Donato Carrisi


  1. Blue ~ Lou Aronica
  2. Changeling Moon ~ by Dani Harper
  3. Delirium ~ by Lauren Oliver
  4. Eddie - The Lost Youth of Edgar Allan Poe ~ written and illustrated by Scott Gustafson
  5. Electric Ant ~ by Philip K. Dick (adapted by David Mack; illustrated by Pascal Aline)
  6. Feed (audio) ~ by M. T. Anderson
  7. Galore ~ by Michael Crummey
  8. In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination (Audio) ~ by Margaret Atwood
  9. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (in audio) ~ by Susanna Clarke
  10. Kafka on the Shore ~ by Haruki Marakami
  11. Nebula Awards Showcase 2011 ~ edited by Kevin J. Anderson
  12. Possession ~ by A.S. Byatt (in audio)
  13. Promises to Keep ~ by Charles De Lint
  14. Shadow Bound ~ by Erin Kellison
  15. Spellwright (Spellwright, #1) ~ by Blake Charlton
  16. The Afflicted Girls ~ by Susy Witten
  17. The Conference of the Birds ~ by Peter Sis
  18. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making ~ by Catherynne M. Valente
  19. The Hermetica of Elysium ~ by Annmarie Banks
  20. The Hobbit ~ by J.R.R. Tolkien; adapted by David Wenzel
  21. The Oracle of Stamboul ~ by Michael David Lukas
  22. The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus (in audio) ~ by Margaret Atwood
  23. The Picture of Dorian Gray (in audio) ~ by Oscar Wilde; read by Simon Vance
  24. The Sandman - The Dream Hunters ~ by Neil Gaiman; illustrated by Yoshitak Amano
  25. The Uncertain Places ~ by Lisa Goldstein
  26. Those Across the River (audio) ~ by Christopher Buehlman
  27. Trouble and Her Friends ~ by Melissa Scott
  28. Warm Bodies ~ by Isaac Marion
  29. Willy ~ by Robert Dunbar
  30. Wither (Chemical Garden Trilogy # 1) ~ by Lauren DeStefano
  31. Wuthering Heights ~ by Emily Brontë

2009 ~ 2010

  1. Alone ~ by Marissa Farrar (vamp horror/uf)
  2. Cursed ~ by Jeremy Shipp (horror- bizarro)
  3. Dracula ~ by Bram Stoker
  4. Haunted Legends ~ edited by Datlow and Mamatas
  5. Hothouse Flower ~ by Margot Berwin (magical realism)
  6. Inside Out ~ by Maria Snyder (young adult – girls science fiction)
  7. Keeper ~ by Kathi Appelt (young adult/tween, mythic - slipstream)
  8. Life As We Knew It;
  9. This World We Live In; and
  10. The Dead and The Gone ~ by Susan Beth (all linked here in one post) – (apocalyptic, young adult)
  11. My Name is Memory ~ Ann Brashares
  12. One Bloody Thing After Another ~ by Joey Comeau (lgbt horror)
  13. Our Tragic Universe ~ Scarlett Thomas
  14. Pathfinder ~ by Orson Scott Card
  15. Post-Human ~ by David Simpson (sci fi)
  16. RELEASE ~ by Nicole Hadaway – (horror, vampire)
  17. Soulless ~ by Gail Carrigan – (urban fantasy, steam punk, vampire, werewolf)
  18. Tender Morsels ~ by Margo Lanagan – (dark fantasy, fairytale retelling )
  19. The Arrival ~ (a wordless novel) by Shaun Tan
  20. The Handbook for Lightening Strike Survivors ~ by Michele Young Stone
  21. The Healer's War ~ by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough
  22. The Magic Warble ~ by Victoria Simcox (children’s fantasy)
  23. The Metamorphosis ~ by Frank Kafka (horror, classic, literature)
  24. The Passage ~ by Justin Cronin (horror)
  25. The Reincarnationist;
  26. The Memorist;
  27. and The Hypnotist ~ by MJ Rose (all three books in one post) (paranormal)
  28. The Russian Dreambook of Color and Flight ~ by Gina Ochsner (slip stream, literary)
  29. The Song of The Whale ~ by Uri Orlev (fant/myth)
  30. The Stupidest Angel - by Christopher Moore (horror, humor, zombie)
  31. The Tempest ~ rewritten by Ann Keay Beneduce
  32. The Things That Keep Us Here ~ by Carla Buckley (adult apocalyptic)
  33. The Unit ~ by Ninni Holmqvist (dystopian sci fi)

For a total of 74 books read in a less than a 3 year period. I have 26 more books to read to reach my 100 goal.

Here’s to hoping that lists of books don’t bore your to pieces cause I have a few more coming up. I am still playing catch-up for our “real-life event” filled 2011. Not the best year, but what can one do? “Have a cup of tea, and get on with it!” as the English say.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Review: Shadow Bound ~ by Erin Kellison



Shadow Bound ~ by Erin Kellison (reviewed by Shellie)

A dark adult fairy story/urban fantasy that was fun, intelligent, has an element of paranormal romance, and a very creative premise. All based on a legend that includes a visit from an interesting version of death himself.

A Bit About:  Talia O’Brien is an odd ball with an unusual history. Lets say she's a blend of two types of beings. She knows she’s different and even looks a tad odd - yet in a pretty sort of way. She’s smart, with a PhD, and also has an unusual gift. It is one that she is not quite comfortable with and not aware of its strengths. Interestingly she manages to hide it from herself and others until things start to get really complicated - and they do!

Thoughts:   Not my usual choice of read having a tendency to veer away from genre books like this, I requested it on a whim from Shelf Awareness for fun and interest’s sake. Gleefully, it did not start off with blatant sex or violence – a bad thing in my brain. It became better as I read more. I found the writing to be intelligent and readable, and the story possessed a dark and fairy based theme. I am starting to be very interested in fairies and devour dark themes.

The author has created a well-explained world with no loose elements within her complex yet easy-to-read sentence structure. It was quite a page turner which makes it a perfect escapist read. I also adored the size of this little book with its dense pages. It was easy to handle and carry and I liked that aspect for our latest plane ride. Less to handle in those cramped seats.

My only little complaint was one bit which I will never forget. It’s really sad when you laugh at a sex scene…especially when its supposed to be passionate and consummating. I laughed myself silly while re-reading it to John. I imagine that’s what this type of genre fiction is all about and what makes it fun for most readers. Beyond that I still enjoyed the rest of the story.

The best part of the book was that the ending was unexpected and intriguing, setting the reader up for the next in this planned series but with enough closure so as not to annoy. (The book felt like it was a stand alone). I was sufficiently impressed enough that will be looking to get my hands on the second book which is already released. I really enjoyed this genre paranormal romance and give it 3.5 stars. A fun darkly fluffy escapist read.

Shadow Bound ~ by Erin Kellison  US|UK|Canada.

If your interested in finding publisher’s information on Shadow Bound, please link to Layers of Thought’s preview for the book.


Shadow Fall  is the second in the series and was published at the end of 2010. US|UK|Canada.

There are two more books in tow. One in September 2011 – Shadowman;  and in June 2011 a novella set in the shadow world – Shadow Touch.

For more information on the author – Erin Kellison and her upcoming books for this series (which have great covers), link to her website

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Review by Shellie: My Name is Memory ~ by Ann Brashares


An unusual and heart-wrenching story about love and the consequences of one’s actions.

My Blurb:   In a world where human souls reincarnate into other bodies after death, our main character Daniel has what may be a curse or a gift; he remembers each and every one of his past lives. By this method Ann Brashares takes us on a romantic and historical journey from ancient times until the present.

What is significant for this story is that in his first life, Daniel, in all his “youthful stupidity”,  was responsible for the death of a little girl. As each of Daniel’s lives cross with those of Sophie’s, he is inextricably linked with her through his intense desire to make amends.

My Thoughts:  I really enjoyed this novel for a variety of reasons. It is written well; it made me feel deeply; I liked the format which includes type setting differentiation between time settings; I personally relate to reincarnation theory as a belief system; and lastly the author answered all my niggling questions when presenting this paranormal world.

Although I have not read any other books by this author, I have noted that she has an usual style of writing. It flows well yet every once in a while she will come up with a phrase or a sentence which is constructed in an unusual manner. It is reminiscent of Cormack McCarthy’s style from his blockbuster - The Road. Both writers are extremely readable with little bits that appear which are slightly curious and yet extremely powerful.

Even though I was not crazy about the last dramatic scene, which I felt was a bit “cheesy” or contrived, and I am not a huge romance fan, this story sucked me in and made my heart ache. I related to the characters, liked them, and was terrified about the protagonist and the concepts within reincarnation that he represented.

The format of the type setting was helpful in staying clear through the time changes as the text moves back and forth, where the past and the present both have different types of lettering. This made it easy to follow the main character’s view point without getting confused. (I hope that the editors have used this format in the finished copy since mine was a pre-publish edition).

Reincarnation is an interesting concept for me as I enjoy understanding different cultural and social belief systems and because it is in current practice today, lending a realistic link to this fantasy. Most significantly, I also relate to a world view that holds a person responsible for each and every action.

When looking at the book in parallel with others that I have read recently on transmigration, my thought is that the guidelines presented in the book are based upon the actual precepts dating back to prehistory. I am not going to spoil them here, but as mentioned above some are extremely frightening.

When reading the book I had many questions about the reincarnation theory the author presented; I was thinking “how is she going to explain that?“ It is highly commendable that Brashares answered them all. An example of several of my questions are - where do the souls of animals go after death? What about changing sexes - how does that work? And what happens between lives?  Very interesting indeed.

I’d recommend this novel if you like romantic paranormal stories and are interested in reincarnation, if you enjoy stories about true love, if you enjoy ancient historical information included within a novel, or if you like experiencing some very intense and deep emotions when reading. Now the best for last - If you like mind-bending endings then you will really enjoy this book. I do have to say that the ending is a real shocker. I liked it, although some readers may not agree.

I give this book 4 stars; I am looking forward to the next two in the series.