Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Waiting on Wednesday: Nothing but Ghosts by Beth Kephart

My "Waiting on" Wednesday this week is Nothing but Ghosts, by the amazing Beth Kephart. If you haven't read any of her novels (so far two, Undercover and House of Dance), you really should. And whether you read her books or not, you must visit her blog, on which she publishes thoughtful, beautiful observations on life, family, photography, dance, the kindness of people, and anything else imaginable.

Nothing but Ghosts
by Beth Kephart
Released July 1st, 2009

Ever since her mother passed away, Katie’s been alone in her too-big house with her genius dad who restores old paintings for a living. Katie takes a summer job at a garden estate, where, with the help of two brothers and a glamorous librarian, she soon becomes embroiled in decoding a mystery. There are secrets and shadows at the heart of Nothing but Ghosts, symbols hidden in a time-darkened painting, and surprises behind a locked bedroom door. But most of all, this is a love story—the story of a girl who learns about love while also learning to live with her own ghosts.

This is a heart-felt, lyrical tale from the National Book Award nominated author of Undercover and House of Dance.

Why I'm waiting:
Ms. Kephart's first two novels were so beautiful they made me wish time would slow down so that I could lose myself in the writing and I am eagerly anticipating this one. Plus the awesome cover makes me want to find out the secrets within.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Waiting on Wednesday: The Fetch by Laura Whitcomb

I've seen a couple other bloggers take part in "Waiting on" Wednesday, which is the invention of Jill from Breaking the Spine. I wanted to try it out, so my first one is...

The Fetch
by Laura Whitcomb
Released February 2nd, 2009

Description from Amazon:
Calder is a Fetch, a death escort, the first of his kind to step from Heaven back to Earth. The first to fall in love with a mortal girl. But when he climbs backwards out of that Death Scene, into the chaos of the Russian Revolution, he tears a wound in the ghost realm, where the spirits begin a revolution of their own.

Why I'm waiting:
Laura Whitcomb's debut novel, A Certain Slant of Light, really enchanted me--at least the first time I read it; the second time it wasn't as good, but I think that's because I knew what the outcome would be. The Fetch sounds very original and Ms. Whitcomb's writing has had a chance to mature. I have high hopes for this one!

Anything you're looking forward to?

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Big One Zero Zero

One year and 11 months after beginning blogging, The Magic of Ink has reached 100 posts. It seems like it's taken a long time, especially when I compare this blog with others who reached the 100-post milestone when they were six months old.

Well, we made it here anyway, thanks to all our wonderful readers! Your comments and continued visits let us know you're reading and we love your opinions.

Looking forward to bringing you more reviews,
Ink Mage

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Pipe Major William Wilson

I wasn't tagged by anyone, but most people (like Liv, Taren, Harmony, and Chelsea, to name a few) have said anyone reading their completed meme is tagged. I've been tagged many times, so here's mine. Warning: Besides the rules, what you are about to read will make little or no sense. I have too many classical pieces and too much Celtic music with random names in my playlist for that. The rules:

1. Put your iTunes, Windows Media Player, Winamp, etc. on shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
4. Put the artist after a dash following the song name.
5. Put any comments in brackets.
6. Tag some lucky people to spread the disease.

How would you describe yourself?
The Celts - Enya
[I wish! Unfortunately I only have a little Scottish blood in me, and no Irish or Welsh that I know of.]

How do you feel today?
Overture to Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

What is your life’s purpose?
The Girl That Broke My Heart/Cooley's Reel - Florie Brown
[Does that make any sense?]

What is your motto?
'Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen' ("Hell's vengeance boils in my heart"), also known as "the Queen of the Night Aria" - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute)
[Um, no. Definitely not. Although that is an awesome piece of music.]

What do you think about very often?
Piano Concerto No. 21: Andante - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

What is your life story?
Carmen Suite: Les Toréadors: Allegro giocoso - Georges Bizet
[Toréador means "bullfighter." I'm just glad I didn't get this song for the next question!]

What do you want to be when you grow up?
Come Away with Me - Norah Jones

What will you dance to at your wedding?
Für Elise - Ludwig van Beethoven
[That would be...interesting.]

What will they play at your funeral?
Requiem: Lacrimosa - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
[I swear I didn't try to do that.]

What is your hobby/interest?
In the Morning - Norah Jones

If you could do anything right now, what would it be?
The Duchess and the Devil opening music - John Keane
[From the Horatio Hornblower movies.]

What do you want most of all?
A Little Night Music - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

What is your greatest fear?
Sunrise - Norah Jones
[This would be cool if I wanted to be a vampire or something.]

What is your darkest secret?
Anywhere Is - Enya

What is your favorite thing in the world?
Pirates of the Carribean arranged for symphonic orchestra by Klaus Baldet - Hans Zimmer
[And in this case played by an orchestra that my friend's in!]

If you could have one wish, what would you wish for?
Taylor Bar, 4am/Ceol Na Mara - Lúnasa

What is your theme song?
Breakaway - Kelly Clarkson

The next time you hear this song (aside from now, that is), you must dance:
Symphony No. 8: II Adagio - Antonín Dvořák
[Hahahahaha, is all I have to say. Anyone familiar with the piece would agree. "How the heck would you dance to that?" I rhetorically asked no one in particular. "I don't know, but I'm going to make you!" my sister replied.]

What will you post this as?
Pipe Major William Wilson - Bonnie Rideout and Eric Rigler

Like everyone else is doing, you're tagged if you're interested!

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Juliet Club

by Suzanne Harper

Quiet, plain Kate Sanderson thinks she knows everything there is to know about love and Shakespeare. Until her boyfriend dumps her and her essay on Romeo and Juliet wins her a trip to Venice to take part in a series of Shakespeare Seminars. Professoressa Marchese has a very different view of Shakespeare than Mr. Sanderson, but Kate finds it over the top. And she doesn’t get how answering letters to “Juliet” will help her and the other students understand the play. Despite her friend Annie’s prediction and despite the handsome but irksome Giacomo, Kate refuses to be transformed by her summer in Italy. But her transformation might not be something she has control over....

Like The Secret Life of Sparrow Delaney, The Juliet Club surprised me. In the beginning the characters acted tiresomely like high school freshmen rather than juniors as they were supposed to be, but fortunately once Kate arrives in Italy she acts a bit more mature. While the characters stay rather flat throughout the whole novel, they do grow in some ways and that kept them interesting enough.
Unfortunately, sometimes it was very hard to keep track of which character was which, especially when several were introduced at once. Ms. Harper has a way of skipping from one “narrative” (although its in third person) to another with little or no warning, making it very confusing at times.
The plot is probably the best part about the book, because although some parts were predictable, there were clever references to Shakespeare’s plays woven into the plots. I could see some elements of Romeo and Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing (very obviously), and others. The way the Bard’s characters still pertain to people today came up in the Juliet Club’s discussions, and the subtle plot bits that were similar seemed to strengthen that point.
The Juliet Club
is a fun, slightly shallow read that, even though I don’t usually go for those types of books, kept me giggling and anticipating what would happen next.

Jocelyn of Teen Book Review has a thoughtful and well-written (as always) review of The Juliet Club here.