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Upcoming Twilight novel

A lot of people will be pleased to hear that a Twilight novella will be coming out in June. “The short second life of Bree Tanner” will be released in hardcover for 13.99$ on June 5. However, her dedicated fans can read an online edition for free at http://www.breetanner.com/  between June 7 and July 5. They say you won’t be able to print it from there.

The story is about Bree Tanner, a vampire in Victoria’s newly raised vampire army against the Cullens. I can’t say I remember the character, but I’m sure hardcore Twilight fans will know all there is to know about her so far.

Here you can find Stephenie Meyer’s press release.

German readers can find some info at Spiegel online. The German version will be released on the same date as the original version, its title will be "Bis(s) zum ersten Sonnenstrahl – Das kurze zweite Leben der Bree Tanner".

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World Beads by Janet Coles

worldbeads A collection of beadwork ideas from around the world. Thirty projects are given, with step by step guidelines and colour photographs.

The more than short blurb on amazon doesn’t do that book justice at all. The 30 projects are just a small part of the book. They are integrated in the various chapters as an example for the beads and beadwork that are explained in the according chapter.

After an introduction to beads in general Janet Cole shows the reader beads and beadwork from all over the world, organized into chapters according to continent and sub-chapters about various places and bead styles. In the chapter about Europe for example she talks about Venice and the island of Murano, amber, Victorian jet or Bohemian glass makers. In the African chapter she talks about Moroccan enamel, the Tuareg, bead jewellery of the Zulu and many more. India has its own chapter with details about prayer beads, ceramic beads from Varanasi, lapis lazuli from Afghanistan etc. Far East and Oceania feature chapters about Chinese jade, silver beads from Bali and Japanese glass. And the Americas cover jade, gold and glass from Mexico, beads from Peru and the native Americans. These are only a few of the chapters, there are many more. Among the 30 projects are a jet necklace, a Moroccan berber necklace, A Tuareg cross, an Ethiopian necklace from silver- and glass beads, a belt made from bone beads, a necklace from antique Tibetan turquoise and many more. The instructions come with many illustrations and a picture of the finished piece.

A very informative book for everybody who wants to know more about beads, their history and the various styles out there.

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Schmuck mit Glasperlen v. Monika Klinkert

Dieser Band präsentiert Ihnen eine verführerische Auswahl aparter Halsketten und Ringe, bezaubernder Armbänder und Ohrringe. Ob als Einzelstück oder als Ensemble getragen, mit diesen farbenfrohen Hinguckern ziehen Sie garantiert alle Blicke auf sich.

Insgesamt sind in dem Buch 13 Sets zum Nacharbeiten enthalten. Sie sind recht vielseitig, mehrreihig, mit Filzobjekten, memory wire, nicht jedem wird alles gefallen, aber es ist für jeden Geschmack etwas dabei. Besonders hat mir die Idee gefallen, eine Kette mit Knöpfen und Perlen zu gestalten, auf diese Kombination wäre ich von selbst nicht gekommen.

Insgesamt ein nettes Buch mit vielen guten Ideen.

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Persistence Pays by Mara Ismine

Asa Hartvigsen has his life arranged to his liking. He has a tolerable job at the University Library, his apartment arranged the way he wants it, and his parents live four hours away, which isn’t quite far enough in Asa’s opinion. Asa has nice sensible plans for the evening, and he’s not that happy to have his reading disrupted by the arrival of Tan Gordon, a self-admitted party boy who reminds Asa of a stray cat.
Freelance journalist Tan has decided to be Asa’s friend despite Asa’s opposition to the plan. Tonight Tan comes over to remind Asa about a TV special, only to arrive soaked to the skin and wanting to spend the night. Asa is sure that his day off is going to be horrendous when his parents arrive for a surprise visit. Especially as Tan is still asleep on the couch and Asa’s mother, who wants to be supportive since Asa announced he was gay, has been researching the subject. Asa is sure that disaster is looming.

The blurb caught my attention right away. This sounded like a fun story far from the usual angst and thousand obstacles to overcome. And it was, even though there was a layer of anxiety underneath the surface. But the story is short and there is not much time to explore it. Both Asa and Tan are likeable characters, different from each other, but not as much as Asa likes to think.

Whom I found especially refreshing were Asa’s parents. They were a nice change from the usual who disown their sons when they come out and don’t want anything to do with them anymore. I have never before read about a mother who – to be in the picture – reads “The gay Kamasutra” and who ogles her son’s boyfriend. I particularly liked Asa jokingly complaining about the fact that his parents were NOT the usual kind who simply disowned him, but that his mother goes out of her way to actually “research”.

Actually, even though I do like sex scenes, and in fact usually complain when there aren’t any, I think that in this case I wouldn’t have needed to read one. The story has such a light and funny  plot that I would have been perfectly happy and satisfied if Tan and Asa  had simply discussed matters, come to the conclusion they were the perfect couple and the doors had closed behind them.

Definitely recommended for a fun short read before bedtime.

Available at Torquere Books

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Win a free e-book

I’m not a great fan of Ravenous Romance. Like I said in my review of “Blood and Sex, vol. 1”, I think their customer service sucks. But I’m sure there are people out there who like the shop. Now it has started its own Facebook page and they are giving away a free e-book to a random reader / fan every time they reach a certain number of fans. So, if you want a chance to win a book of your choice from Ravenous Romance, become their fan on Facebook!

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Weekly Geeks 2010-10 : Literary Tattoos

Many lovers of books and tattoos have combined the two. In my opinion, there is a magic in being able to carry your favorite quote with you wherever you go. I’m far from being the only one who feels this way. LiveJournal has a group called Bookworms with Ink in which people share their literary tattoos and ask for advice before getting one.
And so I ask:

  • Do you have a literary tattoo? Please share it with us and tell us why you chose it.
  • Do you have any ideas for future literary tattoos? Are there any quotes that you might one day want to have printed on you? (No plans on ever getting a tattoo? Just let us know what you would get if you were to ever get a tattoo!)
  • How do you think the author feels about having their work permanently inked on a fan’s body?

Want to see more literary tattoos? Feel free to check out or participate in Tattoo Tuesdays!

About a year ago I already made a short blog entry about Literary Tattoos after I stumbled somehow on a site called Contrariwise Literary Tattoos. 

I do have a tattoo, but not a literary one, so nothing to share here. I never considered getting one either, even though I totally love the idea of having a favourite quote or character (like Max) tattooed on the body. If I ever decided to get one maybe it would be a quote by Oscar Wilde, simply because his quotes are timeless and I have yet to come across one I don’t like. Another possibility would be Emily Dickinson.

Forever – is composed of Nows

maybe. But when I come to think of it, to narrow the choice down to one is probably too hard and I would decide against it altogether.

I could imagine that an author would be more than flattered if his/her work is inked  on someone’s body. Laser removal not considered they carry those words all their lives and take them to the grave. Is their a better and more definite way to express one’s admiration?

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Perlenschmuck – Das grosse Ideen-Buch

von Sonja Gütges, Monika & Nicole Helbig, Ingrid Moras und Petra Pietsch

Wunderschöner Perlenschmuck wie Ketten, Colliers, Ringe und Armbänder, absolut en vogue und mit den ausführlichen Anleitungen ganz einfach selbst gemacht.

Ganz überzeugt hat mich das Buch nicht. Die allgemeinen Techniken wurden etwas dürftig erklärt. Entweder ich weiss, was ich tun muss, dann brauche ich keine Anleitung, oder ich weiss es nicht, dann helfen mir diese hier nicht wirklich weiter.  Anfangs werden Ketten, die aufgefädelt werden bzw. mit Ankerketten gearbeitet werden, vorgestellt. Dann geht es weiter zu Ketten in afrikanischer Wickeltechnik, Schlingenketten und gehäkelten Ketten.

Auch die Anleitungen für die Ketten fallen etwas mager aus. Eine Kette namens “Blau wie er Ozean” fällt unter die Kategorie “Filigrane Ketten”, und ist irgendwie aufgefädelt, überkreuzt und weitergefädelt mit Perlen in den Zwischenräumen. Keine Ahnung, wie sowas heisst, aber es sieht relativ kompliziert (für mich) aus. Die Anleitung hierzu lautet “…langen Perlonfaden mittig an dem Magnetverschluss anbinden und Rocailles […] nach der Vorlage auffädeln.” Das war’s dann auch schon. Die Vorlage ist eine schematische Illustration der Kette mit drei verschiedenen Rapporten. Wäre ich an der Kette interessiert, ich wäre mit diesen knappen Anweisungen heillos überfordert. Also definitiv nicht für Anfänger geeignet.

Wer sich nicht besonders für Häkelketten interessiert ist mit diesem Buch nicht gut beraten, denn ein grosser Teil widmet sich ebendiesen.

Alles in allem ganz nett, um einen Überblick über verschiedene Techniken zu erlangen, mehr aber auch nicht.

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Weekly Geeks 2010-09: Do books do the talking or do you want more from your authors?

This week’s Weekly Geeks is about the following:

Having recently been told that I’m odd because I’m not terribly interested in author interviews I’ve started to ponder whether there are two types of readers…those who stick to the books versus those who like to know more about the author’s background, thoughts, motivations and writing process.

So, what about you?

  • Do you seek out interviews with authors of books you’ve enjoyed? Why or why not?
  • Do you interview authors on your blog? If yes what did you gain from the interview process? If no is it because you don’t want to or because you haven’t felt able to ask an author yet?
  • Do you subscribe to the blogs of authors you like? Which ones? All the authors you like or only certain ones?
  • Do you track down author websites or look for biographical information about them elsewhere? Would you skip reading a book if you couldn’t find out anything about its author?
  • Have you hosted an author on a blog tour? Was it someone whose books you already read or did it introduce you to a new author?

I don’t think it is odd at all if someone is not particularly interested in an author, but only in his / her books. I’m the same. If I like a book, I only want to know whether there are more from its author. I don’t want to know the biography or the background of the writer.

I don’t seek out author interviews. If I come across one with an author I really like, I might read it and even find it interesting, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to find it. And I wouldn’t interview authors on my blog or host an author on a blog tour for the same reason. Mind you, if authors comment on my blog I enjoy the dialogue, but then it is about a certain book and not about the author him-/herself.

I am a subscriber to several authors’ blogs, not of all the ones I like, but some. Not because I want to find out more about their lives, but rather to get updates on new or upcoming books, excerpts etc.

I definitely wouldn’t skip reading a book just for the lack of information about an author. If I want to read a book, I couldn’t care less about what I can find out about its writer.

This topic brought two books to my mind. There is this German gothic novel called “Vier Tage währt die Nacht” by a certain Dorothea S. Baltenstein. According to the publishing house the author only wrote this one novel in the 1920s before she died at the age of 30. Nobody knew more about her, but the novel was reviewed positively by everybody when it came out a few years ago (it was supposed to be an attic find). Only some time later it turned out that there was no Dorothea S. Baltenstein, but the book had been written by a German teacher and four of his students. It is said that the publisher who eventually bought the novel had required a pseudonym and a fictional author, since nobody would have bought a Gothic novel written by a teacher and a few students.

And then there is the case of Toyotama Tsuno who wrote Japanese poems and had them published in a book called “Gelöstes Haar”. She was supposed to have lived in Paris and died from tuberculosis at a young age (seems to happen often to fictional writers) and only later it turned out that the supposed translator of the poems, Manfred Hausmann, was the actual poet.

So what if the biographical details of the authors were made up and had nothing to do with reality? I liked both and I couldn’t care less about whether it was a fragile Japanese lady living in exile, an equally fragile German lady from the 20s, a group of people experimenting or a German male journalist who wrote them. If that makes me odd, too, so be it.

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Is this going to be a DNF?

Just a couple of days ago I started reading “Mr. Darcy takes a wife” by Linda Berdoll. Since I am not a native English speaker I hardly ever comment on the language or the writing of any given book, but with this one, I have to make an exception.

If asked how to describe the writing style “purple prose” wouldn’t even begin to describe it. I don’t know whether I can finish this book. I’m only on page 51, but the prospect of having to read more than 460 pages of this accumulation of complicated words that I have never heard before and of convoluted sentences is pretty boring. The frequent use of the word “betwixt”, which unfortunately evokes the image of a chocolate bar in my mind, and the numerous brackets don’t make the reading any easier. I don’t think that I’ve ever read the word “betwixt” in any Austen book –or any book for that matter. 

To give you a small example, I’ll quote a short paragraph of the Darcys’ wedding night:

Gentle, guiding strokes influenced her to allow him betwixt her thighs (an objective she found quite tolerable), this demarché culminating in the discovery of her womanly portal. Due to his exceedingly admirable ministrations, therewith, her womanly portal was quite anxious to be traversed.

Just a few paragraphs above this delightful description Darcy’s “credentials” are mentioned:

Yet, she could not help but stare (by reason of its tumescence, his torch of love just so happened to be trained directly upon her and it was difficult to disregard).

Torch of love! Give me a break! Tumescence? If, like me,  you have never heard that word before, here is the definition from a medical dictionary:

Main Entry: tu·mes·cence
Pronunciation: t(y)ü-'mes-&n(t)s
Function: noun
: the quality or state of being tumescent;especially : readiness for sexual activity marked especially by vascular congestion of the sex organs <tumescence … is the really essential part of the process—Havelock Ellis>

Can it get any worse than that? I like Darcyiana, but this is just too much, even for me.

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Reparation in blood by Ariel Tachna

The war is at a fever pitch with both sides stretched to the limit, when the dark wizards score a shocking victory and capture Orlando St. Clair. Haggard with worry and grief at the separation from his lover, Alain fears that even if they find Orlando, the vampire’s heart and mind may be far too broken to save.
Knowing the Alliance teeters on the brink, Christophe Lombard, the oldest, most powerful vampire in Paris leaves his self-imposed seclusion to join the fight. Alain’s lost friend Eric Simonet, who betrayed him to join the dark wizards, is faced with a choice between revenge and redemption. And Jean, enraged by Orlando’s capture, faces the most agonizing decision in his unlife as the final battle looms: Will their actions lead to the shattering of the Alliance or the salvation of the world?

Finally I read the long awaited last instalment of the Partnership in Blood series by Ariel Tachna, “Reparation in blood”.

It is quite some time ago that I read “Conflict in blood” and even longer that I read the two previous books (I reviewed Conflict in blood in May 09). I know now that I should have re-read it before reading this. Some situations that were mentioned I had totally forgotten and they left me wondering what people were talking about. I strongly recommend that you re-read at least the third book in the series before you start with this one. Not because you won’t be able to enjoy Reparation in blood but simply in order to get the most out of it.

I’m not going to go into how much I like the series or Ariel’s writing. I already said enough about that in my previous reviews. I’d rather comment on some things that happened in the book instead.

Right on the first page it is clear that Alain is beside himself. Like in the last book I found the difference in how Alain and Orlando kept themselves up astonishing. I would have thought it would be just the other way around. As it happened Alain was a complete wreck, snarking at people, using language I’d never have expected from him and generally acting irrationally and unreasonably (even if all this was understandable). Orlando, however, was strong, withstood Serrier and kept cool and calm.

The main pairings again play important roles and develop their relationships into something more or, like in the case of the love/hate couple Jude and Adele, into a strictly business partnership. Those two might have found their match, but how that match will ever turn out positively I don’t know.

David and Angelique finally overcome their misgivings and find each other. This was done in such a sweet way that those two quickly became one of my favourites of this book.

Monique and Antonio didn’t play a big part in this book at all. Monique was mentioned a few times, but only by people on the other side as the prime example of a successful defector, and a bit later on when we hear about her sentence after she was tried.

What I liked was the fact that the war was not dragged out ad infinitum, but ended somewhere in the second half of the book. A lot of time was spent on describing how things were wrapped up and how people dealt with loose ends. In fact I found that the war ended rather abruptly. I didn’t mind that, but I would have expected a longer battle. Once the milice finally found Serrier’s hiding hole, however, they made short work of him (with some help admittedly).

After the war we hear more about the aveu de sang together with Thierry who learns something about it he doesn’t like too much. All the time I was hoping along with him, only to see my hopes crushed in one sentence.

Lots of things get wrapped up nicely. Eric’s friendship with Alain and Thierry gets, well, re-established might be too strong a word, but at least they get over the animosities and maybe will find back to how it used to be.

The extorris Couthon is dealt with swiftly, something, I’m sure, every reader wanted to see. One of the most interesting points was a short flashback into Orlando’s past that told us more about his first days as a free vampire after Thurloe was executed.

Vincent’s trial takes place as well, so we see a glimpse of what the future will bring to him and Eric.

There is an epilogue which I liked a lot. It finishes Alain’s and Orlando’s story off, so we won’t have to deal with them again. I loved the couple from page one, but in the second half of “Reparation in blood” they became too sweet for me. I didn’t think that was possible, but, yes, it was.

Ariel is writing a sequel about one of the couples, set about a year after the war, she said. So what couple could that possibly be? As far as I am concerned I’d like to know more about either David and Angelique, but even those two seem to be in sync now and don’t need any further exploration. So I’d settle for the couple I love to hate, Jude and Adele. Their situation is not clear at all, we have no idea what their future as a couple (if they ARE a couple at all) will be like and there is enough tension and potential for conflict to keep the story going.

So, as the last book in a series, it brought everything to a satisfying end, but leaves enough room for more. I’m looking forward to it.

If you are interested to read my thoughts about the first three books in the series, you can find them below: 
Alliance in Blood
Covenant in Blood
Conflict in Blood

Available at Dreamspinner Press

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New SE theme: Another Place

“Another Place“ is a piece of art with 100 sculptures by artist Antony Gormley, which is situated at Crosby Beach, England, at the moment. It looks as if it might stay there for good. An absolutely lovely place. I’ve had those photos on my HD for a couple of years and wanted to do something with them, but never knew what. Now I turned them into a phone theme, which is available at mobile9.com.

Another Place theme

For more previews and the free download, please go here at mobile9.com.

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Weekly Geeks 2010-07: Commenting

I haven’t participated in the Weekly Geeks for ages, but it was always such fun, so I think I will try to do it more often again. This week it is an interesting topic for all bloggers: Commenting.

Do you have a commenting policy? For example:
*Do reply to all comments? If you do, how do you do it? Email? On the blog?
*Do you use moderation?
*How do you handle trolls? Flaming?
*How much do you tolerate from a belligerent commenter before you close or delete comments?
Have you ever gotten a comment from someone you admire? An author? A superstar blogger (the ones with the book deals)?
How do you feel about author comments? Are they welcome or do they make you nervous?
Word verification? Yay or nay.
And then there’s spam. How do we combat the evil that is spam?
Talk about your experiences with any of the above. Share your wisdom with other bloggers. What works on your blog? What doesn’t?

OK, I try to reply to all comments. It’s only polite, if somebody takes the time to comment on my blog that I do the same and reply. I usually reply directly in the comments section. Readers can subscribe to comments, so they will know when a new comment has been added.

Comments are moderated only the first time a reader comments. Once the first comment has been approved the next comment appears automatically on my blog. I haven’t had a troll problem yet. So I can’t say what I’d do. It’s the same with belligerent comments. Never had any yet. Spam IS a problem, though, but with Akismet which is a default plugin for wordpress blogs, it can be controlled very easily.

I hate word verification. I often have problems with it on other blogs, so I wouldn’t want to use it on my blog either.

I love author’s comments. In the m/m romance community word about a review seems to get out rather quickly, so I have had a few authors who came by and commented. Even if my review wasn’t all positive they have always commented in a nice way and said they appreciated the time I took to talk about their book. Lately one of my reviews was quite negative, in fact I said I could not recommend the story, and when I saw that the author had commented, I thought “uh oh”, but she was very gracious and had a lot of interesting things to say.

A nice feature for people who comment that I use is Comment luv, another plugin for wordpress. It displays the last (or another chosen) blog post of the commenter’s blog. So, readers can see immediately whether they might find something interesting to read on another commenter’s blog.

The little comment graphic that Weekly Geeks is displaying this week comes from The Vintage Moth, where they offer even more. I think I’ll either use one of them or create my own to stick up in the sidebar. Maybe it will coax readers into commenting more. Bloggers love comments, and I’m no exception.

See what others have to say at the Weekly Geeks blog

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Dr. Seuss Reading passport

This is the cutest idea for kids – a Dr. Seuss reading passport. You print out the passport and the accompanying stickers. When your kid has read a specific book, you place the appropriate sticker in the passport over the book. Since kids love to collect things this is a great motivation for kids to read Dr. Seuss.

Click at Seussville on “Events”, then “General”, and there you are.

Nov. 3, 2010. Edit: 

The site has changed quite a bit since my post in March. You can now find the Reading passport when you click on "Educators" -> "Printables" -> and then go to page 8. There you will find the passport and the accompanying stickers in the third row.