Showing posts from 2012

City of Dark Magic, by "Magnus Flyte"

Once a city of enormous wealth and culture, Prague was home to emperors, alchemists, astronomers, and, as it’s whispered, hell portals. When music student Sarah Weston lands a summer job at Prague Castle cataloging Beethoven’s manuscripts, she has no idea how dangerous her life is about to become. Prague is a threshold, Sarah is warned, and it is steeped in blood.
     Soon after Sarah arrives, strange things begin to happen. She learns that her mentor, who was working at the castle, may not have committed suicide after all. Could his cryptic notes be warnings? As Sarah parses his clues about Beethoven’s “Immortal Beloved,” she manages to get arrested, to have tantric sex in a public fountain, and to discover a time-warping drug. She also catches the attention of a four-hundred-year-old dwarf, the handsome Prince Max, and a powerful U.S. senator with secrets she will do anything to hide.
City of Dark Magic could be called a rom-com paranormal suspense nov…

I graduated!!! YAY!!! Officially a PhD now!!

This is me right after the ceremony...
And even though his eyes are closed, this is my one of my favorites! It was so special to graduate with my cousin Jeff, and I am so proud of him!
Also, to Jessica: for taking photos and being an amazing cousin and person. I LOVE YOU. (And that gift was AWESOME!!!) To Arturo: Thank you so much for lunch! You are such a wonderful person, and we love you, too!! To Jeff: You always make me proud, but sharing this day was amazing. I love you and know you will do amazing things. To Ginny, Ron, Chuck, and grandma: Thank you so much for coming (though, of course, you obviously came to see Jeff, too!!). I appreciate your love and support so much. These last six and a half years have had so much stress and joy, and you have seen me through it all. To Jeanne and Theron, Laura and T: Though you couldn't be there today, I felt you in spirit! Thank you so much for all of your love and support, and I can't wait to see you over the holidays!! To Larry:…

Blog Happy

I decided that I will be writing my reviews on this site from now on. My "Friendly Reader" site annoys me. I will be continuing to update my Victorian Blog and my Alabama Book blog with reviews of material directly related to Victorian Britain and Alabama, respectively. Otherwise, all other reviews will appear here!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Bringing Me

This "Top Ten Tuesday" prompt is brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish. Check them out!

Top Ten Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Bringing Me
1. Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan

2. Monkeys with Typewriters by Scarlett Thomas

3. Such Wicked Intent by Kenneth Oppel

4. Cleopatra's Moon by Vicky Alvear Shecter

5. Poison Princess by Kresley Cole

6. Shadow's Claim by Kresley Cole

7. Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson

8. Iced by Karen Marie Moning

9. Cold Fire by Kate Elliott

10. Death in the Floating City by Tasha Alexander

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

A wonderful reader of this blog worked some photo editing magic and cleaned up one of my scanned images! I love it! Thank you so much! This is one of my favorite photos, so I am very happy to have an improved version! Thanks, Chris! Check out Chris's wonderful photos at this LINK.

Dad enjoying his celebrity...

Today, Dad and I met with Sylvia Parker so that he could sign a copy of his record "Crazy Date" and some photos. The record and one of the photos will be auctioned off soon to raise money, and dad was happy to help. If you haven't seen one of my previous blog posts about the song, you can read Sylvia's great article about it (and my dad) here.

This is for Jessica...

I was so excited when my cousin Jessica was born. There are about five years difference between us, and I couldn't love her more if she was my sister. I found these photos and just had to scan them in. No other images could capture my adoration for this tiny new addition to our family. And I feel the same way today.

So, um, yeah. I got a scanner.

Which means I will be boring you with all kinds of old photos as time goes by. :)

Here are two:

This is my friend, Katie, and I after our prom in 1994. As you can see, we took off our shoes first thing!

This was taken in 2004 (??...I think??). I am in the middle. We were getting ready to run in the Mercedes Marathon and Half Marathon. I had trained for the full, but due to illness I had to run the half. It was a great race, but the starting temperature was 22 degrees (F). Too cold!

Together at last...

Here I am with the handsome William Augustus Bowles...the two of us in the same room. Well, yes, I realize it is just his picture, but I will take it. :)
Anyway, this is me giving a presentation at the Sylacauga Public Library. It was a great time, and everyone was so nice! When I get to talk about my history crush on Bowles,  I have a good day.

Getting in the holiday mood!

We took group photos this morning for our holiday mailing. Sara and I were the only ones wearing red, so we decided to take a shot together! December is right around the corner...  :)

Another review is up!

See my review of The Rebel Wife at my blog Alabama Letters!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Authors I am Thankful for in this World!

As usual, the ideas for this listing are brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish. Check out their site and add a link to your own list!

Top Ten Authors I am Thankful for in this World!
1. Harper Lee. As a fellow Alabamian, she makes me proud. She might have published only one novel, but look at what that novel did for the world. Amazing.

2. J. K. Rowling. I am grateful for the whole experience of reading the Harry Potter novels, for having been involved in the fandom (and still am), and for the knowledge that books still bring people together in ways that (oddly enough) defy language. Most of all, I thank Rowling for Snape. :)

3. Ann M. Martin. I am grateful to her for so many wonderful books that helped make me such a voracious reader as a child. BSC forever!

4. Charles Dickens. I am grateful to Dickens because, even in his darkest plots, he manages to give his heroes dignity, humanity, and purpose. XO, Little Jo.


My thoughts on Stone Barrington

Stuart Woods's "Stone Barrington" series was recommended to me years ago, when I lived in Florida. Since then, I have heard many women talk about how wonderful Stone is--even that he is their dream man. I am reading the third Stone Barrington novel, Dead in the Water, and I have to say that I am totally confused as to why any woman would want to be involved with this man. I like the books so far, but I have to say that unless something drastic happens...well, I am not a fan of the male lead. He is likable in most aspects of the story, but his relationships with women are ridiculous. Each woman proclaims him (in some manner) to be her best lover, he cheats on his girlfriends, and, yet, he is totally ignorant about women. I don't care if he maintains a relationship with a female character or not, but his lack of depth is astounding. As a writer, Woods could turn a womanizer into a character of tremendous depth, but he chooses not to do so. Just when I think that I have…

Alabama Letters: A Blog about Alabama Books and Authors

I've started yet another blogging project! To keep myself motivated and to expand readership of Alabama authors and books, I have started my Alabama Letters blog. The first review is already up! Join!

Reading Challenge for 2013: Read Your State (Or Region or country...)

Over the last few years (that is when I started to notice this trend, at least), many bloggers have decided to embark upon various "Reading Challenges." I joined the most basic of them last year when I committed to read 50 books (of any kind) in 2012. I haven't quite met my goal, nor do I know if I will, but considering everything that I have had to do over the last year, I feel good about being over half-way through it.

I recently joined the "Classics Club," but that is a reading list of 50 classics that you must read over a five year period. (Note: You can find my reviews at my Victorian book blog titled "One Word More.")

Anyway, I have decided upon my reading challenge for 2013. It is one of my own making. So, if anyone wants to join me, I am committing to read at least 12 books (one per month) written by Alabama authors. You, of course, would choose authors from your own state...unless you just want to be cool like me and read those from Alabama. …

Thoughts about post-dissertation reading...

I have been curious for quite some time about what my reading life would be like after I finished the dissertation. My reading patterns while working on the diss for the last 2 1/2 years, and during the last 10 years that I have been in graduate school (not just for the PhD), have been typical of my personality. I would read and work like mad on course or dissertation related materials. Then, my mind would rebel, and I would indulge in a few weeks of reading YA or romance novels. I always came back to my studies, but reading the fun books was a type of relaxation and recharging for me. I am a big believer in this if you are a graduate student. Reading something completely fantastical or unrealistic or romantic always recharged me. I went back to my dissertation ready to explore new ideas and full of energy. I would often dream of the day when I didn't have to worry about the dissertation...when I wouldn't be obligated to read 800-page Victorian novels. So, I just knew that aft…


My review of Daughter of Smoke and Bone is up at my book blog: The Friendly Reader.

Dad on his grandfather's farm:

Found this old photo of my dad (sorry...the quality isn't great! I just took a quick photo of it!).  It is too cute!

And the month of craziness comes to a close...sort of...

Well, my ultra busy month has finally come to an end. My boss, coworker, and I had a great time at the conference (see photo below), but I am exhausted. I thought this would be the end of travel and craziness for a while, but I just found out that I will need to be out of town on Friday, too. Oh, well. At least I am with people I like!

PS: VOTE!!!!

Don't you hate it when this happens?

So, I am reading Daughter of Smoke and Bone, a book I mentioned on here a few days ago. As I said then, this book started off with a bang. I loved it. Now I am about halfway through the novel, and I feel like the energy is gone. I don't know if it is me or if it is the book? I just can't figure it out. Honestly, though, I think it is the book. Something has happened to make me feel less enthusiastic and compelled to keep reading. I am going to stick with it, though, because the writing is really good. Also, I really like the heroine, Karou. So, I'll keep you posted...but I really hate it when this happens!!

Just for fun...because you know how I feel about the whole "dog on the roof rack" thing. LOL

I really wanted to buy Madison the dog shirt that said, "Don't roof rack me, bro!"  It was too funny! Still, I am poor, so my sign must do.

Top Ten Books to Get in the Halloween Spirit!

As usual, "Top Ten Tuesdays" prompts come from The Broke and the Bookish! Check them out!
Top Ten Books to Get in the Halloween Spirit!
I used to love books that frightened me so bad that I couldn't read them alone. I haven't found one of those in a long time, but I will post some of my favorite spooky reads!
1. The Shining by Stephen King. I remember starting a chapter of this one night when I had the house to myself and being so frightened that I had to put it down until someone came home! A sequel is coming soon, so I can't wait to read it!
2. Hell House by Richard Matheson. Oh. My. God. This book scared me to death when I read it years ago! This book and Stephen King's miniseries Rose Red evolved out of Shirley Jackson's The Haunting. When I was a kid, I couldn't watch The Haunting without becoming so terrified that I thought that I would be sick! It doesn't show anything, but it plays games with your head. Hell House also gets into your head..…

Book shopping...

I bought two books today, and I am super excited about them!

I've been waiting for this one. I really like the "Immortals After Dark" series, so Cole is an automatic buy for me. This is a YA book, but I have heard wonderful things.

The other book:

Oh. My. This book is so amazing. I read so many good reviews of it, and, though I had intentions of reading Cole's book first, I can't now...because I already started this one. It pulled me in from the first paragraph (I love moody settings), so there is no going back!

I will keep you posted!

Review posted!

I have posted my review of This Dark Endeavor over at my book blog "The Friendly Reader," if you are interested!

"What's Next??"

"What's Next??" is  a prompt brought to you by IceyBooks.

The idea? To give your blog readers an idea of books you will be reading soon. So, here are my choices...

Which should I read first??

Coming Soon: A Review of...


Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Authors In "X" Genre

As always, "Top Ten Tuesday" is brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Authors in "X" Genre... Well, I usually discuss YA or Romance on this blog, so this time I think I should discuss something different! So, today I will list my...
Top Ten Favorite Authors in the Historical Fiction Genre!

1. Margaret George. I love her historical fiction because I feel so close to the characters. She never disappoints! Here are a few of my favorites by her:

Yes, they are "big" books, but George's writing style is wonderful. I know historical fiction gets a bad rep, but I don't have a problem separating historical fiction from history. I also think that George has a good reputation for being historically accurate. 

2. Diana Gabaldon. If you like "time travel" and Scottish history, then you should check out the Outlander series!

3. Some people will hate me for this one, but every now and then, I really like to rea…