Friday, February 26, 2010

Recommended for Magic Practioners and Fantasy Writers

The Encyclopedia of Crystals by Judy Hall.

I don't actually use this book for it's designed purpose. It's a new age book meant to give you detailed information about the spiritual properties of crystals. It's like the new age field guide to crystals. This encyclopedia is color-coded and offers insight into what certain minerals and crystals can be used for (i.e. drawing energy, promoting power, and more). It does give some scientific bits as well, makeup, location, hardness, etc. But it's handy for magical systems and other spots that raw earth materials might be used. And it includes gorgeous pictures as well.

I actually use this for writing. How's that work? I write fantasy and as much as I love titles published by DK, I never found a field guide that I liked. I use this for magic systems I may create, finding the right crystal or mineral to match whatever properties and situations are involved. That makes it handy for both writers and those interested in new age spiritualism and magic.

Notes from the playlist: "Time for Miracles" by Adam Lambert

Monday, February 22, 2010

Recommended for Fiction Readers

Oxygen by Carol Cassella

Step into the world of Dr. Marie Heaton, anesthesiologist. Her world is rather regular, until one day a routine surgery goes horribly wrong, ending in the death of a young girl. Marie can't account for what went wrong and now she finds herself the subject of a malpractice suit. Now her world is falling apart. Her father's health is failing, her collegues are slowly but surely turning their backs on her, and Marie can't seem to keep the strings of her life together. She only has a few people she can lean on and even their ability to hold her up in shaky.

If you like Jodi Picoult and medical tension, then you're in the right ballpark. Cassella has the qualifications as an anesthesiologist herself to create the character of Dr. Marie Heaton. Polished writing with amazing description and a desire to see what went wrong will keep you glued to the pages all the way until the end.

Read the Epinions review here!

Notes from the playlist: "Running from You" by Saving Abel

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Purchased for My Shelf

Wicked Plants by Amy Stewart

I'm so happy to finally have this on my bookshelf. The funny thing is that I remember some guy looking for this book many, many months ago, but neither I or whoever was looking it up thought much of it. Yet several months later, it grew in popularity and before I knew it, several of us would stand around at the Info desk reading parts of it aloud to one another and marveling at the weirdness within its pages. Amy Stewart's compiled just about any poisonous or otherwise noxious plant you might want to know about, from the everyday poison ivy to the lesser known (at least to us) suicide tree. It's short, to the point, letting you know how the plant will kill or harm you, where its origins are, and how it spreads. It's a small book, for all it's nifty information, and one of the cooler books I've seen in a while.

Notes from the playlist: "Who Wants To Live Forever" by Queen

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Recommended for Teens and Twilight Lovers

The Forbidden Game Trilogy by L.J. Smith

Mmm, Happy Valentine's Day. Here's some dark, delicious love for you instead of that sweet and snuggly crap. Hah!

The problem with this trilogy is that it is out of print. I know, it's a bit ridiculous for me to suggest titles that you can only get through secondary dealers, and even then you'll probabaly notice the high prices. I recommend this in the hopes that because many other L.J. Smith books are being reprinted, this trilogy will come back out. I cross my fingers and send mental notes to Simon & Schuster (write letters to them!!) because if this book were in fact on the shelves, I would recommend this trilogy to people until the end of time.

If you liked Twilight, you would go bonkers for this trio of books. You think Edward is scrumptious and deadly all at once? Wait until you get a load of Julian. Julian is sexy and dangerous, frost and fire, all the things you want and can't have rolled into one luscious package. Yes, I have read Twilight, and let me tell you right now - Julian wins over any of those guys hands down.

I first read this trilogy when I was 23 and drank up every word. I read each of these books in one sitting, often starting late and then staying up until 2am to get through them. L.J. Smith takes you to different worlds and uses language that brings you straight into the story. It's vivid, engrossing, and just one heck of a good time. I'm serious when I say we ought to write letters. I've tried multiple times to contact Smith herself. I want this on the shelves and would handsell it like nothing I've ever handsold before. **And now it is and I am - YAY!

And yes, I scoured multiple used book sites in order to obtain these books for my own and now proudly have them sitting on my bookshelf. If you can find them at your local library, go for it. I promise you won't be disappointed.

Read the Epinions reviews here!

P.S. Props to the cover artist - that's exactly how I pictured Julian. Delicious. ;D

Notes from the playlist: "Snow White Queen" by Evanescence

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Recently Finished

Mr. Hands by Gary Braunbeck

Finally! I get to a book written by the man who helped me write mine. It's funny the way a lot of people think horror writers are messed up wackos when in fact, some of the greatest, funniest people I've met have been horror writers. I can think of at least four off the top of my head. But that's beside the point.

Mr. Hands is a definite creep-you-out session with more real world horror than supernatural horror. Though I admit that disappointed me (I really wanted to see more of Mr. Hands tearing people apart), that doesn't make this any less disturbing. that's because real world horror is, in my mind, a lot more terrifying than supernatural horror. Why? Because the real world stuff is what can actually happen to people. And that's scary as hell. Gary's good at description too. You get everything with him, so watch out.

I really love this cover, though. Always did.

Notes from the playlist: "Flowers for a Ghost" by Thriving Ivory

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Purchased for My Shelf

Weapon by DK Publishing

I have secretly been drooling over this book ever since I discovered it on the top shelf of the history section. DK books are always amazing. Any time a parent asks me for a book that is full of real facts and information on particular subjects for their child, if there is a DK book about it, I'll go there first. I looked at and loved DK books for years when I was a kid (Dog was always my favorite). This book isn't for kids though. This is a serious adult book all about weaponry that ranges from African tribes to Native American clubs to Japanese katana to the modern day AK47. Full of facts, interesting tidbits, gorgeous color photographs, and a chronological layout, this is my dreambook for weaponry. Why? Because I write, and even fiction writers do research. I can't have errors in my work or I look like an idiot. Or more accurately, a lazy idiot.

But no matter what your motivation, this is an excellent book, and I'm starting to seriously look at Battle next.

Notes from the playlist: "Map of the Problematique" by Muse

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Recently Finished

The Lake of Souls, Lord of the Shadows, and Sons of Destiny by Darren Shan

I actually finished all three of these in two days right after finishing the previous two books. But in finishing these, I have finally completed Darren Shan's Cirque Du Freak series.

And what a ride.

I have to say, though it's easy to see a few things before they happen, there are others that you won't expect. Ever. At all. They're too wacky and strange. But overall, this is definitly an interesting series that steps into the realm of teen horror and never leaves it. Shan wraps up every loose end and finishes this series with several twists. You may like it or you may think, "That's kind of sad, actually..." but either way, it's a good time.

Read the Epinions review here!

Notes from the playlist: "Asleep From Day" by The Chemical Brothers

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Whoops! I completely forgot to mention this. Last month I reviewed Stephanie Garber's amazing book Caraval for the web blog I curre...