Sinnful Cents -- Chivalry, Courtly Love, and the Case of Harry Dresden

Sitting down to lunch with a friend on Saturday -- who shall be called Ninja -- we started discussing The Dresden Files. Through various circumstances, we are both reading through the books. He keeps waffling on whether he will finish the series; however, in the interim, it is nice to talk to him about the books. We have both discovered we share a lot of the same opinions about the books. Reading through the books, we both find that Harry is too "knight-in-shining-armor." Not only is it extremely unbelievable, but I have to wonder if the author is using Harry as a Marty-Stu. The other thing that annoys me -- and Ninja -- is the continual comment that he is just being chivalrous. I keep asking myself, "Why can't Butcher just call it being 'courteous' or 'polite'?"

After posting my views on the Twilight series, I found that I enjoyed Sinnful 2¢. However, I have been struggling to find a topic to write about. After the conversation with Ninja, my husband suggested that I write a rant about it. Studying medieval lit. for years, I find the concept of chivalry -- or the modern interpretation of it -- to be kind of offensive. It annoys me that people call common courtesy chivalry. So, with that, I very enthusiastically dove into research in an attempt to write my rant. However, after our move, I cannot locate all of my medieval books, so I had to rely on internet sources and various papers I wrote throughout my college career.

With that in mind, here's my 2¢:

Chivalry


The word chivalry comes from French word, chevalier. Basically, as my medieval professor always said, it means "guy on a horse." However, it came to be known as a code of ethics to govern knights and their actions. Before the period of chivalry, knights were a feudal lord's "everyday-grunt." Their behavior was vile and inappropriate. They often pillaged, enjoyed the spoils of war, and treated the enemies in a a manner not befitting what modern times views as a knight. To combat this issue, a code of conduct was made in order to govern them. However, the Bishop Etiene Fougeres felt that the lower classes were not civilized enough to follow this new code. "In 1241, Henry boosted the Bishop's cause by declaring that English gentlemen with a certain amount of property would be classified as a knight." (Sara Dustin)

Okay, getting that out of the way, here is a definition of chivalry: It is an institution of knighthood, which refers to a group of mounted men. The 12th century has chivalry as ". . . a moral, religious and social code of knightly conduct . . ." Further, it ". . . idealized life and manners of a knight at home in his castle with his court." (Wikipedia)

There are three major duties a chivalric knight must follow:
  • Duties to countrymen and fellow Christians
  • Duties to God
  • Duties to women
With this last duty, we enter into the realm of courtly love.

Courtly Love


In Europe during the middle ages, marriages were not based on love. Quite the contrary, marriage was for alliances, furthering families, elevating status, and so on. In an attempt to allow the nobility a chance to express this desire, courtly love was born. However, since it was limited to the nobility, the ideal lady was one of higher status or the employer's wife (in the case of Lancelot, it was Guinevere). According to the New World Encyclopedia,
Courtly love was a medieval European conception of nobility and chivalrously expressing love and was secret and between members of nobility. It was not practiced between husband and wife.


Andreas Capellanus wrote down the rules of courtly love in De Amore (Concerning Love). While they are too numerous to fully list here, this is the first four:
  • Marriage is no excuse for not loving
  • He who is not jealous cannot love
  • No one can be bound by a double love
  • When made public love rarely endures
He also states that "there have been only four degrees in love . . .":
  • The first consists in arousing hope
  • The second in offering kisses
  • The third in the enjoyment of intimate embraces
  • The fourth in the abandonment of the entire person
In addition, he states that young peasant women should not be involved in courtly love. If she cannot be "put aside," she is to be taken by force. After which, the knight needs to move onto a lady deserving of courtly attentions.

With the three duties a knight must follow, the Virgin Mary ends up becoming the ideal model for women and the lady at the centre of courtly love. This, of course, proves to be problematic. "It involves a paradoxical tension between erotic desire and spiritual attainment."

Thoughts


I have written several papers on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (SGGK). The idea of women being the central controlling force in the story has always fascinates me. Women have always been seen as less than; however, I believe that, through courtly love, women are able to dictate how the court should act.

When the audience first meets Gawain, his courtly love ties are to the Virgin and Guinevere. However, through a course of events, he ends up turning from his Lady and the Virgin while rejecting his knightly duties of courtly love.
While there are several arguments against Morgan being at the crux of the poem, there is just enough evidence to prove it. However, it would be fair to state that, not just Morgan, but also the other women had a crucial card to play in the poem. The battle between the women represents the inherent battle between good and evil; furthermore, it also symbolizes the struggle between the factions of knighthood and the warring loyalties. The poem is used to say that chivalry is flawed because of its inherent contradictions, which are shown through the conflicts of the women. The Gawain poet is trying to show the readers that even a perfect knight cannot be perfect; they cannot be held to those standards, because they will inevitable fail. Gawain realizes this and tries to change; however, he finds that he lives in a world that does not allow that change to take place. (Sunderman 11)


So, to be blunt, it is impossible to be a secular knight and a sacred knight. Further, because of the natures of knightly chivalric duties, a knight is inherently set up to fail. One cannot honour/pursue his lady, partake in courtly love, and honour the Church and the Virgin.

Harry Dresden


At the very basic level, chivalry means you are of the knightly class. You have some level of nobility, and you must pursue your lord's lady at some level. You are to become her champion, you are to compare every woman to her, and so on. And, yes, in the middle of it chivalry is also a code of conduct. However, it cannot be fully removed from courtly love and vice versa. I just find myself frustrated with Dresden using chivalry as an excuse for his stupidity. Would a knight hold the door for his lady? Yes. Would he exalt a far away love? Yes. Would a knight do the same for a woman of lower breeding? No. With the truth of chivalry and courtly love, I would rather say that a gentleman is being polite.

Harry just needs to can the crap, admit that he's too overly stupid, and get on with life. Brainlessness, being duped by women, and being just plain stupid does not count as chivalry. Just admit that Harry has a "knight-in-shining-armor" complex and refuses to use his brain rather than his penis. Grow up, sprout a pair, and act like an adult!

And, just to add insult to injury, could Butcher be a little less obvious with Harry's status as a Marty-Stu? I understand that characters are somewhat a reflection of the author, but seriously?

Well, that's my 2¢ angel






Sinn

Teaser Tuesday



Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the follow:
  • Grab your current read
  • Opening to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • Share Title & Author, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Here's mine:
"Frantic, I glance around for another platform and scramble toward it. Argos is still at my side and he bites at my skirt to get me to stop and I stumble and fall on my knees."
The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan, 128


Sinn

Book Review -- The Vampire of New York

Title: The Vampire of New York
Author: Lee Hunt
Genre: Horror
Pages: Paperback, 358
Published: 2008
Opening Lines: "The black man in worn canvas trousers and blue jacket that made up the rough uniform of a seaman in the Union navy walked down the narrow street, surveying the damage down by the riots."

The past belongs to the night

"1863: During a shipwreck in the frigid waters off the coast of North America, one man dies -- and a demon is rechristened. Enoch Bale, once known as Count Draculiya, reaches America's shores. On the eve of the New York Draft Riots, Echo Van Helsing comes to the city to avenge the mysterious murder of her father by a hideous creature out of ancient myth. Instead she is met by conspiracy, unholy terror, and a terrible truth.

The night belongs to the dead

"The Present: Archaeologist Carrie Norton makes a startling find in a historic Manhattan site: the mummified corpse of a Civil War-era homicide victim. Cold-case detective Max Slattery sees something more: gruesome, uncanny parallels to a recent series of brutal slayings. Their investigation is about to take them places neither expected, because while the man responsible may be long dead, he is not long gone . . ."
~ Jacket copy


Thoughts: This book takes place between two time periods: 1863 before and briefly after the Draft Riots in New York City and modern times. After LinCorp discovers a mummified body of a black Union soldier in preserved in a bog. At the same time, Echo Van Helsing is searching for her father's murdered with the help of Kate Warne.

I really found myself enjoying the book. The characters were extremely engaging, and I liked the story. It didn't set out Dracula as the horror Bram Stoker wrote. Further, it explained why Dracula was not purely a figment of fiction. It also pulled in some miscellaneous stuff from American literature. It makes me wonder how much of this was based in fact.

The other thing that really struck me was the amount of history in the book. Because of the nature of the book and the time period, the author obviously did a lot of research into the Draft Riots, the atmosphere of NYC, the environment, etc. He was able to make me feel as though I was seeing a picture of the NYC of 1863. Further, the sections actually dealing the the Riots was graphic, brutal, and portrayed the horrors that took place in the city.

While it appears that these are two separate stories, they end up meeting in the end. I thought it was a clever plot devise. It really connected to the past and present. However, I felt that Echo, Kate, and Matthew were not given and full and decent ending. Their story was so captivating and moving, so I felt it was a disservice. Further, the ending was far to rushed. The author spent too much time describing the occurrences of the Riots and not enough time wrapping the story up. The ending was found within a few pages at the end. Honestly, it was anti-climatic. It just kind of fizzled.

Another thing that caught my attention was the scene Branum's American Museum. After talking with Booth, it read: "leaving the hotel." Unless the Museum was in a hotel, I am rather annoyed that the editor did not catch this. I flipped back several times to make sure I misread or missed the author telling the reader it was located in a hotel. I understand mistakes made by writers, but there is no reason the mistake should be published.

Even though I really enjoyed the majority of the book, I find myself only giving it two skulls. Under normal circumstances, I would have been able to let that editing issue slide. Since it was the only one I noticed, it is definitely an understandable oversight. However, the ending pushed me over the edge. If the author spent more time developing an ending and not giving us history lessons about the Riots, I think he could have wrapped it up beautifully. As it stands now, I just feel so unfulfilled by the book.

Rating:
Currently: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Current Pages: 24870
Current Progress:

69/50 books


Sinn

Theme Song Saturday (9)



Welcome to Theme Song Saturdays, a new weekly meme, hosted by yours truly, in which we share our love of music and books! Since I love books and music, this meme is for fun to try to incorporate those two loves! Whenever I read a book, a certain song -- kind of like a soundtrack or theme song -- plays through my head.

Want to know how to play? Head over to this post to read the rules and get the code.

Since I'm reading two books, here are picks for each:





System
by Chester Bennington (featured on the Queen of the Damned soundtrack) is my pick for Vampire of New York by Lee Hunt. Knowing that it comes from a vampire movie and listening to the words, this song is perfect for a cultured Count of Walachia.









Carry On My Wayward Son
by Kansas fits the Dresden Files perfectly! Even though I find Dresden a little annoying and feel that he is too much of a "knight in shining armor," this song really describes him. And, don't get me started, his comments about chivalry make me want to hit him in every book! That said and done, the struggle and decisions that Harry is facing in this book makes me hear this song.




Those are my songs this week! Leave a comment with the link to your song. I love watching listening to the songs you pick every week!


Sinn

Book Review -- Death Masks

Title: Death Masks
Author: Jim Butcher
Genre: Urban fantasy
Pages: Paperback, 374
Published: 2003
Opening Lines: "Some things are just not meant to go together. Things like oil and water. Orange juice and toothpaste."

"Harry Dresden, Chicago's only practicing professional wizard, should be happy that business is pretty good for a change. But now he's getting more than be bargained for.

"A duel with the Red Court of Vampires' champion, who must kill Harry to end the war between vampires and wizards.

"Professional hit men using Harry for target practice . . .

"The missing Shroud of Turin . . .

"A handless and headless corpse the Chicago police need identified . . .

"Not to mention the return of Harry's girlfriend Susan, who is still struggling with her semivampiric nature. And who seems to have a new man in her life.

"Some days, it just doesn't pay to get out of bed. No matter how much you're changing."
~ Jacket copy


Thoughts: It seems that the Dresden Files keep progressively getting better or stay on the same level with previous books -- minus the first. After the fight with the Fae queens, I was wondering what else Harry could bring down on his head. However, starting with his performance of the Larry Fowler Show, things start going down hill fast. In an attempt to stop the impending war between the White Council and the Red Court, Harry willing to enters into a duel with Ortega, who he cannot possibly defeat. At the same time, a strange body shows up. With the nature of the wounds, missing limbs, and sans head, Murphy calls Harry in for his professional thoughts. And, if this isn't enough, a priest from the Vatican approaches him about returning the stolen Shroud of Turin. If you're a reader of the Dresden Files, you know that all of these things work together to form the plot of the book.

When I first started the book, I thought the battle with Ortega would take up more of the book. However, with the outcome, Butcher has promised that we will not see the last of the Red Court. The book's primary concern is the Shroud of Turin, the mysterious body, and other nefarious characters.

I really like the concept of the Denarians. They were freaky, but extremely well thought out. I appreciated that Butcher took the time to give each Fallen a different aspect, nature, and personality. Granted, only a few showed up in the novel. He also sparked my interest in Nicodemus. I'm really hoping he will show up in later books. After the episode in the train, I'm sure he has a vendetta to pick with Harry.

While I missed Susan, it seemed cruel to Harry to bring her back. However, Butcher was able to give them a better closing/parting than in the previous books.

My biggest issue with the book was the constant inconsistency in the spelling of blond. On one page, it would be spelled with an 'e' and the next page not. However you choose to spell it, keep it consistent. Further, I wish the main part of the action didn't take place a few pages from the end. Also, it seems kind of strange that a vampire can get drunk . . . *shrug*

All in all, I enjoyed the book. I like how the ending pulled the audience back to the beginning. And I cannot help but wonder what it means for Harry with the sword.

Rating:
Currently: The Vampire of New York by Lee Hunt
Current Pages: 24512
Current Progress:

68/50 books


Sinn

Follow Friday

Follow My Book Blog Friday is hosted by Rachel at Parajunkee's View and Alison at Alison Can Read. The point is to follow as many book blog as you can and make new friends! As part of the adventure, she gives a weekly question.

Here is this week's question:

Q: It’s Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. so we want to know what you are Thankful for – blogging related of course! Who has helped you out along the way? What books are you thankful for reading?




I'm thankful for all of my fellow book blogging buddies and all of my lovely followers! When I started this blog, I never expected to get such a warm welcome and so many new friends. I love you all, and you've really inspired me to keep up with this! From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU! **hugs**

I know Rachel said only blogging related, but I just have to say this . . . A year ago tomorrow, while returning home for Thanksgiving with my brother, my husband and I were t-boned by a semi on Interstate 80. After moving into my lane, I lost control of the car while trying to get out of his way. When he hit, he hit the rear passenger door. Our puppy Juneau was sitting right there. After being hit, the car rolled onto its side along the road. When we went back to see the car, the whole right side was caved in, but the interior -- aside from the mess of broken glass -- remained unchanged! I am so thankful to God for protecting us and our puppy! It is not common for people to walked away from being t-boned by a semi! The paramedics and highway patrol officer were extremely surprised. They expected casualties! After all was said and done, the only injuries were minor abrasions and soreness. The car flipped on the driver's side, so I was the only one injured. It was nothing beyond what a hot bath and Advil would cure ^_^

While you're here, pop on over to my giveaway!


Sinn

Book Tour -- The Lady of the Rivers

Title: The Lady of the Rivers
Author: Philippa Gregory
Genre: Historical fiction
Pages: Hardback, 439
Published: 2011
Opening Lines: "She sits, this odd trophy of war, as neat as an obedient child, on a small stool in the corner of her cell. At her feet are the remains of her dinner on a pewter platter, laid on the straw."

"Descended from Melusina, the river goddess, Jacquetta always has had the gift of second sight. As a child visiting her uncle, she met his prisoner, Joan of Arc, and saw her own power reflected in the young woman accused of witchcraft. They share the mystery of the tarot card and the wheel of fortune before Joan is taken to a horrific death at the hands of the English rulers of France. Jacquetta understands the danger for a woman who dares to dream.

"Jacquetta is married to the Duke of Bedford, English regent of France, and he introduces her to a mysterious world of learning and alchemy. Her only friend in the great household is the duke's squire Richard Woodville, who is at her side when the duke's death leaves her a wealthy young widow. The two become lovers and marry in secret, returning to England to serve the court of the young King Henry VI, where Jacquetta becomes a close and loyal friend to his new queen.

"The Woodvilles soon achieve a place at the very heart of the Lancaster court, though Jacquetta can sense the growing threat from the people of Engliand and the danger of royal rivals. Not even their courage and loyalty can keep the House of Lancaster on the throne. Henry the king slides into a mysterious sleep; Margaret the queen turns to untrustworthy favorites for help; and Richard, Duke of York, threatens to overturn the whole kingdom for his rival dynasty.

"Jacquetta fights for her king, her queen, and for her daughter Elizabeth for whom Jacquetta can sense an extraordinary and unexpected future: a change of fortune, the throne of England, and the white rose of York."




~ Jacket copy


Thoughts: Wow! What else can I say? I've wanted to read Philippa Gregory for years, but never got around to picking up her books at the local bookstore or library. When I saw the book tour for this book come around, I was quick to jump at the opportunity. And, honestly, I am extremely happy that I did!

This book takes place over the years 1430 - 1464. It follows the major part of Jacquetta of Luxembourg the Dowager Duchess of Bedford and the Lady of Rivers. After living with and befriending Joan of Arc before her death at the hands of the English, the young woman is married to the widowed John Duke of Bedford. Wanting to secure the French lands for his young nephew, Henry VI the King of England, he marries Jacquetta to gain use of her talents as the descendant of Melusina. After his untimely death, the book follows Jacquetta through her secret marriage to John's squire, Richard of Woodville, and the beginning of the War of the Roses.

I read a view reviews on Goodreads that express concern over Gregory's continual use of titles. While I agree that Jacquetta and the queen might not always use titles when conversing together, I found that I appreciated the author continuing to tell the audience the titles. With several royals in England -- and France -- sharing names, I could see myself getting confused.

Since this is the first book I've read by Gregory, I don't have anything else to compare this to. That being said, I really enjoyed this book! It was extremely engaging. The passing of time did not get boggy, and I felt the pacing and flow stayed consistence through the book. Even though they were minor in comparison to Jacquetta, the over characters in the book felt as richly fleshed out as Jacquetta herself.

When I was still in school, I seriously pursued getting at grad degree in Medieval Studies. But, after reading this book, I am ashamed to say that I don't know much about the War of Roses. Considering that this was the war that put the Tudors on the throne, it is really sad that I don't know much about it. However, after reading this book, I am very interested in learning more. In addition, the previous books in this series has made their way onto my wishlist!

Rating:
For: Crazy Book Tours
Tour Info: The list of tour stops

Sinn

Sinnful 2 Cents -- Twilight Series


With Breaking Dawn pt. 1 hitting the theatres last week, there has been another resurgence of Twilight. On Facebook, the local Hastings, little girls screaming about Edward, scary Twilight Moms coming out the the woodwork, and throughout the book blog community. Aside from my close friends and family, I haven't said much about the Twilight series.

Back in 2008, I took a class in Young Adult fiction in relation to education. Out of the several books we had to read for class, we had to pick an additional 15 across YA genres. Since Twilight hit the bestsellers list (and a friend of mine highly suggested it), I decided to find out what all the hype was about. And, honestly, I still don't get it. It took me about two hours to finish the book, and I swore I would never read any other book written by Meyer. However, later that year, I would be drawn back into her messed up world of teenage romance and angst.

I worked at our local theatre for about a year. They were getting ready for the Twilight fever with the release of the new movie. Since I didn't finish the series, I decided it would be a good opportunity to finally pick it back up. In addition, my parents started reading the series after my brother had suggested it (I still cannot get over this! My brother is a very picky reader!). After delving back into the series, I still cannot find any redeeming qualities, and I cannot understand why parents would allow their children to read such drivel.

With that intro, I will ascend my soap box and give my opinion about why the Twilight series fails.

Bella Swan: The Passive Co-Dependent


The character of Bella Swam is a poor role model for teenage girls. Not only is she extremely dense and has no common sense, she cannot function without Edward or a strong man taking charge (e.g., when Jacob comes into the picture after Edward leaves). She is dependent wholly on him and finds his outrageous behavior acceptable. While I understand that teenagers live passionately and are highly melodramatic, Bella's seemingly attempted suicide when Edward leaves really makes me wonder about her mental health.

Further, Bella was exceptionally 2D and over dramatic – crying at the drop of a hat (25, 51, 391, and on). She is also a martyr (25). She feels like nothing more than a stereotype. Her whining was over the top. Not sure whether she realized it, but Bella is the perfect Mary Sue.

Teenage Voyeurism Taken Too Far


In YA novels, teenagers find a way to live vicariously through the characters. They are essentially voyeurs. Therefore, the parental figures are not as present and the characters have more freedom to experiment, fall, and eventually learn life lessons. However, the fact that Bella is able to travel back to Arizona without anyone knowing and later to Italy is too far fetched. Also, what life lessons does she learn? How to be a cock tease? Full dependency on someone? Never learning to grow up?

The Case Against Edward Cullen: The Archetype of a Classic Abuser


Edward is the perfect model of a classic abuser.
  • He is extremely jealous of other men, especially Jacob. He forbids Bella from even seeing him in a friend capacity.
  • He is controlling and restricts her movements (e.g., intentionally taking the engine out of her car.)
  • Several times he mentions that he could easily kill her.
  • He shows up unannounced (e.g., breaking into her room at night to watch her sleep).
  • He tried to kill himself
  • Uncontrolled temper
  • He has physically detained her (Twilight, 103, 104)
  • He isolates her from family and friends under the excuse that only he/his family can protect her
And, sadly, the list goes on.

While the idea of a person you love watching you sleep is kind of sweet, Edward broke into her room and watched her several times before they really met or where an item. How is that not stalker behavior? Why is Meyer showing this as perfectly appropriate behavior for men to exhibit? Do we want girls to seek out abusive relationships? Do we think so little of our daughters?

Biology 101: Stephanie Meyer's Creative Alternative to Biology


Biology, anyone? Reading Breaking Dawn, I have to wonder whether Stephanie Meyer ever took an elementary bio class or had basic sex-ed. The way she explains Bella's pregnancy makes no sense. Granted, a vampire being able to impregnate anyone is fully in the realm of fiction; however, her reasoning is just plain stupid! It would have been better not to try and explain it and have Carlisle completely clueless. First of all, when girls hit puberty, they have the maximum amount of eggs they will ever have. Ladies, our bodies do not generate more. Men, on the other hand, constantly regenerate their sperm cells. How, with that in mind, does her explanation work? Bingo! It doesn't.

What is This Plot You Speak Of?


Plot . . . Ah, plot, that wonderful chain of events that make up a story. It is something that Meyer really didn't think too much about. The plot of the whole series can be summed up in one simple sentence: Girl falls in love with boy and ends up with him despite a few setbacks. There you go, ladies and gentlemen, that is the plot of a four book series. Anything else is just filler fluff.

Jacob and the Infamous Deus Ex Machina


Jacob imprinting on Renesmee pushes the boundary of what is appropriate. Not only was it a cheap way to fix the love triangle with Bella, it made Jacob into a pedophile. It was obvious that Meyer was an immature writer and wrote herself into a box. As a reader, I would have rather seen Jacob just slip into the background with unrequited love. Of all the characters, he was my favorite. Meyer did him a disservice. Plus, Horace makes it perfectly plain to poets not to rely on the Deus Ex Machina to solve plot issues.

"You Must Not Do It Until You Go Through It"


Meyer's stated purpose for writing the books is a noble and admirable one. With teen pregnancies and underage sex seemingly on the rise, it is good to give girls a role model that abstains. However, Bella is obsessed with sex! Further, she is showing the couple acting in ways that Bella's father would disapprove of. How is her alternative better than fornication? It also shows girls that if you're itching for a good fuck, just catch I guy right out of high school and get married. I'm sorry, but getting married because you're horny is not a good reason to take vows. I guess that Bella's life lesson in all of this is that continual disobedience will get you what you want in the end.

Because Only Real Men Sparkle


Every author has to make things their own and put their own spin on creatures. However, Meyer's interpretation of vampires is ridiculous! I understand the attraction to vampires. When I was a teenager and saw Interview With the Vampire, I secretly imagined myself with Lestat. Dangerous, out-of-bounds men are sexy! However, it is hard to find emo vamps that sparkle (oh, don't for get vegetarian) as anything but pansies! In addition, I still don't understand why they go to high school. With how excluded they are, it seems pointless. Another thing is their reaction to blood and Carlisle's profession. There is only so much self control someone can exhibit constantly around something they desire. I find his resolve unbelievable.

I'd Like to Buy an Adjective


Flashy writing and 50+ point Scrabble words does not make you a good writer. And it does not make you look intelligent. Come on, "diminutive municipality" is overkill! When it takes you multiple metaphors, similes, and adjectives to describe something, you run into word vomit and bogged down writing. Honestly, I felt that at least half of the length of each novel was needless word filler. She should have paid more attention to the story and less time reading a thesaurus.

"Look at Me, I'm Mannequin Skywalker!"


There is no real character development. I felt that some of the side characters are more fleshed out than Bella and Edward. There also needs to be a balance of flaws and virtues. Bella's clutziness is so over the top, she is shown as stupid, impulsive, and flighty. She doesn't have many virtues until she becomes a vampire. On the other hand, Edward has no flaws. There is only so long, as a reader, I can suspend my disbelief.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is my 2¢.




Theme Thursday

Theme Thursdays

Theme Thursdays is a fun weekly event hosted by Reading Between the Pages. It will be open from one Thursday to the next. Anyone can participate in it. The rules are simple:
  • A theme will be posted each week (on Thursday’s)
  • Select a conversation/snippet/sentence from the current book you are reading
  • Mention the author and the title of the book along with your post
  • It is important that the theme is conveyed in the sentence (you don’t necessarily need to have the word)
    Ex: If the theme is KISS; your sentence can have “They kissed so gently” or “Their lips touched each other” or “The smooch was so passionate”
This week's theme is:

PLACE DESCRIPTION (Location / Place / Room description)

Here's mine:
"McAnnally's is a tavern. Not a bar, not a pub, but an actual, Old World-style tavern. When I went in, I stepped down three steps to the hardwood floor and looked around the place. The bar has thirteen stools at it. There were thirteen columns of dark wood, each one hand-carved with swirling leaves and images of beings of tale and fantasy. Thirteen tables had been spaced out around the room in an irregular pattern, and like the columns and bar stools, they had been intentionally places that way in order to deflect and scatter random magical energies. It cut down on the accidents from grumpy wizards and clueless kids just discovering their power. Several ceiling fans whirled lazily, and were low enough that I always felt a bit nervous about one of them whirling into my eyebrows. The place smells of wood smoke, old whiskey barrels, fresh bread, and roasting meat. I like it."
Death Masks by Jim Butcher, 177-8



Sinn

Teaser Tuesday



Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the follow:
  • Grab your current read
  • Opening to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • Share Title & Author, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
I have two this week:
"I stared at him for a long second, shivering and startled into silence. My mother's name was Margaret."
Death Masks by Jim Butcher, 230


"Echo Van Helsing and Kate Warne spent the rest of the day fruitlessly going down the list supplied by Charles Tiffany, ticking off the possible dealers in gem-quality rubies one by one. They reached the last name, Mr. Solomon Morowitz, just as the sun was setting and the lamplighters with their long poles were beginning to move up both sides of Maiden Lane."
The Vampire of New York by Lee Hunt, 105

Sinn

Theme Song Saturday (8)



Welcome to Theme Song Saturdays, a new weekly meme, hosted by yours truly, in which we share our love of music and books! Since I love books and music, this meme is for fun to try to incorporate those two loves! Whenever I read a book, a certain song -- kind of like a soundtrack or theme song -- plays through my head.

Want to know how to play? Head over to this post to read the rules and get the code.

Here's my song this week:




Nobody Knows Me At All by the Weepies has been playing through my head even before I started reading this book. However, it is a little more upbeat for the subject matter of the book! That being said, it still fits. The fact that Jane cannot remember who she is, no one really seems to know her, and so on fits beautifully with the song. In addition, as the book progresses, all of the main characters seem to struggle with identity issues as well. When all is said and done, this is my song for the week!


What's yours? Leave a comment with the link to your post. I can't wait to see what other people have come up with sengihnampakgigi



Sinn

Follow Friday

Follow My Book Blog Friday is hosted by Rachel at Parajunkee's View and Alison at Alison Can Read. The point is to follow as many book blog as you can and make new friends! As part of the adventure, she gives a weekly question.

Here is this week's question:

Q: Letter to Santa: Tell Santa what books you want for Christmas!







Really, girls? That is kind of a LONG answer! Ha-ha, that being said, my list is . . . LONG! I think my Amazon wishlist tops out at 4-5 pages (and that doesn't include the graphic novels)! Eek! The ones I want to most are at the top. Honestly, though, I will be happy with whatever Santa leaves under the tree. My friends and family know me well, and everyone is so generous during Christmas. Whether I get the books I want doesn't matter. Family and friends are more important. And, yes, I know that is kind if sappy, but it's true for me.



Sinn

Theme Thursday

Theme Thursdays

Theme Thursdays is a fun weekly event hosted by Reading Between the Pages. It will be open from one Thursday to the next. Anyone can participate in it. The rules are simple:
  • A theme will be posted each week (on Thursday’s)
  • Select a conversation/snippet/sentence from the current book you are reading
  • Mention the author and the title of the book along with your post
  • It is important that the theme is conveyed in the sentence (you don’t necessarily need to have the word)
    Ex: If the theme is KISS; your sentence can have “They kissed so gently” or “Their lips touched each other” or “The smooch was so passionate”
This week's theme is:

CHARACTER DESCRIPTION

"The first thing he sees are her eyes: light gray and solemn, full of request. Long muddy-blond hair tangles about her thin face; clam-digger pants and an ill-fitting blouse hang on her slim frame. She holds a pink nylon duffel. She's maybe a few years younger than he, about five-six to his six-three. And she is pale, so pale, as if fed on moonlight.

"She speaks, her voice low and a little husky, as if she has just woken up."

Jane was Here by Sarah Kernochan, 19
Sinn

Blogoversary Giveaway!



In celebration of my one year blogoversary (Jan. 1, 2012), I am holding a HUGE giveaway!


The Loot:












A handful of my favorite books picked from 14 different genres!

Mystery/Crime: Red Dragon by Thomas Harris
Horror: Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill & It by Stephen King
Erotica: Kushiel's Dart by Jaqueline Carey
Fantasy: Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings & Magic's Pawn by Mercedes Lackey
Sci-Fi: Battlefield Earth by L. Ron Hubbard
Non-Fiction: The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist by Matt Baglio & Tree and Leaf by J.R.R. Tolkien
YA: The Devouring by Simon Holt
Fiction: The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
Zombies: Breathers by S.G. Browne
Historical: Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson
Retellings: I, Coriander by Sally Gardener & Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley
Classics: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, & Njal's Saga
Biography: Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper by Diablo Cody
Urban Fantasy: Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison, Bitten by Kelley Armstrong, Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton, & Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn

The details:

There will be three winners! The first winner will get the option of choosing seven (7) books from different genres. The second runner up will get to choose four (4) books from different genres. The third runner up will get to choose 2 (two) from the different genres. In addition, I'll throw in something special for each winner!

**When filling out the form, your top four (4) or two (2) choices -- if you are the second or third runner up -- will be the books I send you.**

The Rules:
  • Read the Giveaway Policy
  • Leave a comment
  • Be a follower
  • Fill out the linked form
  • TELL EVERYONE (tweet it, facebook it, share the banner, etc.)!

CLOSED

The winners will be chosen with http://www.random.org/ on Sunday, January 1, 2012, after 5PM MST, and the winner will have seven (7) days to get back to me or another winner will be chosen.

Sinn

Waiting on Wednesday


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.


This week I'm waiting on the release of the paperback version:

Pale Demon
Kim Harrison
November 29, 2011
(Amazon)

"Condemned to death for black magic and shunned, Rachel Morgan has three days to somehow get to the annual witches convention in San Francisco and clear her name. If she fails, the only way she can escape death is to live in the demonic ever after . . . for ever after.

"Banned from the flight lists, Rachel teams up with elven tycoon Trent Kalamack, headed for the West Coast for his own mysterious business. But Rachel isn’t the only passenger along for the ride. Can a witch, an elf, a living vampire, and a pixy in one car survive for over 2,300 miles? And that’s not counting the assassin on their tail.

"A fearsome demon walks the sunlight, freed after centuries of torment to slay the innocent and devour souls. But his ultimate prey is Rachel Morgan. While the powerful witch with nerves of steel will do whatever it takes to stay alive, even embracing her own demonic nature may not be enough to save her.
"

That's my pick this week! I've been swamped by book tours and review requests, so I haven't had the time to keep up on any new books coming out! My growing TBR pile is severely neglected.


Sinn

Book Review -- Horns

Title: Horns
Author: Joe Hill
Genre: Horror
Pages: Hardback, 368
Published: 2010
Opening Lines: "Ignatius Martin Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things. He woke the next morning with a headache, put his hands to his temples, and felt something unfamiliar, a pair of knobby pointed protuberances."

"At first Ig thought the horns were a hallucination, the product of a mind damaged by rage and grief. He had spend the last year in a lonely, private purgatory, following the death of his beloved, Merrin Williams, who was raped and murdered under inexplicable circumstances. A mental breakdown would have been the most natural thing in the world. But there was nothing natural about the horns, which were all too real.

"Once the righteous Ig had enjoyed the life of the blessed: born into privilage, the second son of a renowned musician and younger brother of a rising late-night TV star, he had security, wealth, and a place in his community. Ig had it all, and more -- he had Merrin and a love founded on shared daydreams, mutual daring, and unlikely midsummer magic.

"But Merrin's death damned all that. The only suspect in the crime, Ig was never charged or tried. And he was never cleared. In the court of public opinion in Gideon, New Hampshire, Ig is and always will be guilty because rich and connected parents pulled strings to make the investigation go away. Nothing Ig can do, nothing he can say, matters. Everyone, it seems, including God, has abandoned him. Everyone, that is, but the devil inside . . .

"Now Ig is possessed of a terrible new power to go with his terrible new look - a macabre talent he intends to use to find the monster who killed Merrin and destroyed his life. Being good and praying for the best got him nowhere . . . It's time the devil had his due . . ."
~ Jacket copy


Thoughts: When I saw that Joe Hill had another book out, I was excited. Never having the money to buy a new book when I was at our local Hastings, I finally decided to see if the library had it. After reading several reviews, I was sad and kind of hesitant about reading the book. It appeared as though this book could live up to the caliber as his previous book, The Heart-Shaped Box.

The book follows the story of Ig Perrish after he wakes up to find he has horns growing out of his temples. He finds it especially interesting that people tell him their innermost thoughts, and, after touching them, he sees their life story. In addition, he is able to persuade their thinking. The book takes the reader into his past when he first meets Merrin, the adventures he goes through to win her over, the present before she was murdered, and the story of the perp.

While this book was not straight horror the way his first book was, it does delve deeply into human nature and what length people will go for the people they love. They characters in the book were very fleshed out and believable. Even though Terry, Lee, and even Glenna where not the main part of the story, I felt that each character was given enough to draw on the reader's sympathy. It is obvious that Hill is a great writer the more you read about Lee. In addition, the landscape is well shaped and coloured. The foundry felt as though it was an much a character was the people.

Several times, while reading this book, it felt as though I was reading It all over again. The stories of Ig's childhood, the Evel Knievel hill and their exploits, etc. was very, very reminiscent of his father's work.

I really enjoyed this book. The pacing was perfect. The book was very engaging and was hard to put down. Even though it is not straight horror, it is still a very enjoyable book.

Rating:
Currently: Jane Was Here by Sarah Kernochan
Current Pages: 23742
Current Progress:

66/50 books




Sinn

Teaser Tuesday



Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the follow:
  • Grab your current read
  • Opening to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • Share Title & Author, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

Here's mine:
"What is he?" Jesse asked.
"Scary," said Rory. "He's scary".
Horns by Joe Hill, 182




Sinn

In My Mailbox (1)



In My Mailbox is hosted by Story Siren where we share what books we got in the mail, bought, checked out from the library, etc.


This was a pretty boring week for me. Here's what I found in my mailbox at the beginning of the week:

Jane Was Here by Sarah Kernochan (Goodreads | Amazon)

Hope you guys had a more eventful week than I did ^_~

Sinn

Theme Song Saturday (7)



Welcome to Theme Song Saturdays, a new weekly meme, hosted by yours truly, in which we share our love of music and books! Since I love books and music, this meme is for fun to try to incorporate those two loves! Whenever I read a book, a certain song -- kind of like a soundtrack or theme song -- plays through my head.

It has been awhile since I have actually done this. I'm sorry! I've been in a kind of rut for the last month or two. I'm going to try to keep with this from now on. Hope you're still willing to join in the fun! Without further ado . . .

Today's song:





Sympathy for the Devil by Guns n' Roses is my pick for Horns by Joe Hill. Upon walking up from a drunken night, Ig finds that horns have grown from his temples; everyone tells him their secret, innermost thoughts; ask permission to do things they normally wouldn't; and he can see things when he touches them. After his encounter with his family, I felt this song fit well, especially since I was feeling sympathy setan



What's your song choice this week? Leave me a comment with a link to your post!


Sinn

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    "If you’re a freak like me, Wave your flag! If you’re a freak like me, Get off your ass! It’s our time now, To let it all hang out!" I am a recovering English major, closet bibliophile, breve addicted, zombie lover with a rockabilly and heavy metal fetish.