Tuesday, July 26, 2011

If you were stranded on a deserted island, and could only bring one book with you, what would that book be?

This was the question posed by one of our NYOBG members at our first summer meeting in June.  Hers was I, Claudius by Robert Graves.  Another member's was Brothers In Arms by Lois McMaster Bujold.  Mine would have to be Twin of Fire, followed by Twin of Ice, by Jude Deveraux, simply because it was the first romance I ever read---slid to me under my desk by a classmate during study hall in high school (when I should have been studying), over twenty years ago. 

I've always been a prolific reader.  I was that kid in grade school who had over a hundred shiny sticker-stars posted next to my reading list assignment, indicating how many books I had read... while others only had a few.  In middle school, I poured through every Nancy Drew, C.S. Lewis, and all of Judy Bloom's books (Wifey blew my thirteen-year-old mind).  Once in high school I moved onto V.C. Andrews, Piers Anthony, Stephen King, and anything and everything else I could get my hands on.  Then I read Jude and discovered what would become my favorite genre.  And... my-oh-my... has that genre evolved over the years!  However, Jude will always, always hold a special place in my heart.

As you've probably surmised, I loved this question so much I wanted to extend it to our blog.  The genre isn't important, and it doesn't have to be classic literature, or literary fiction, or fiction at all.  Recent or old, it doesn't matter, just something that touched your life as Jude Deveraux touched mine, and Lois McMaster Bujold and Robert Graves touched our NYOBG members.  (I'm forgetting others from the meeting, I know, so please log on when you get a chance and post your "deserted island" book.)

So, if you didn't have a chance to make June's meeting, or if you're just a visitor on our blog, please share what book has most influenced you, enough so that...  If you were stranded on a deserted island, and were only able to bring one book with you, what would that book be?

Hope to see you in our library someday soon,
Jan

(Please note: I haven't linked any of the covers to our catalog for the moment.)

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Books to read for our August Meeting

Well here's a big Baby Bellini toast from Sarah and me to all the book group members who actually showed up to our meeting in this heat!  (I will post my Baby Bellini recipe soon---it's basically just raspberries, lemonade, and ginger ale---but it's a great combo)  Anyway, you're all awesome.  I would also like to send a great big welcome to our new members.

We actually decided on two books this month, or rather we had a difficult time deciding and ended up with two.  Remember, when we choose two titles, you only have to read one.  Just pick the one that most interests you.

One last reminder... when requesting one of our books, if our copy isn't available, you can always click the "Search MaineCat" button in the upper right of our catalog and that will bring you to all the other libraries in Maine.  IF YOU DON'T RECEIVE YOUR BOOK IN A WEEK... please send Sarah or me an email and we will make sure that you do.  Both of our emails are on the left sidebar of this blog.  You can request a book by clicking on the link under each cover below.

Enjoy,
Jan


1.  Black Hills by Nora Roberts
 
book jacket In the rugged Black Hills of South Dakota, a childhood friendship matures into an adult passion when something ... or someone ... threatens Lil Chance and her dream to open a wildlife refuge. The heartless killing of Lil's beloved cougar and recollections of an unsolved murder catapult New York investigator Coop Sullivan into action to keep Lil safe.

~ This book came highly recommended by one of our book group members, enough so that I can't wait to start it!

Request Black Hills from The Bangor Public Library


2.  Dark Fever by Karen Marie Moning

book jacketMac is stunned to discover that her sister's murder was far more than a random act of violence and resents the awakening of a mysterious ability to sense the Fae and their talismans, a talent that sends her on a quest to find a mystical book of dark power!  

~ I've been hearing about this book all week---Sarah read through this entire series---and we usually share the same tastes in books, so I'm willing to bet this is going to be a good one.
Chili Pepper On FirePlease note... there is a Flaming Chili Pepper rating on this one!
Our Chili Pepper Rating Explained

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Signed book giveaway at our next meeting!

As most of our book group members already know, I've just been to a romance writer's conference in NYC.  One of the many perks at these conferences is free book giveaways from the authors and publishers, so I have a basket full of books to give away at our next meeting---most of them are signed by the authors.  Anyone who attends our next meeting can choose a book from the basket as a personal gift from me to you.  (The signed Keri Arthur, however, is for our new member who nominated her Mercy series for our summer reads---I had to wait in that line once I saw she was there!) 

See you all soon,
Jan

P.S. I think I freaked Kim Harrison out a little bit---you'll all hear that story if you come to the meeting! :o)

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread Recipe

I just wanted to say again that I really enjoyed our first summer meeting.  The ladies we have are such an awesome group of prolific readers!  The book chosen by the group, Bitten by Kelly Armstrong, has been a fun read.  Our next meeting is next week, Thursday, July 21st at 5:30 pm.  If it's nice out we will be on the terrace---through the french doors in the Children's room. 

On another note, for our "something sweet" next week I've been working on two versions of a lemon poppy seed bread (my recipe and a vegan version--or a naughty and nice version) and am happy to say they both came out beautifully.  So, I thought I would be cool to post my recipes.  BOTH versions will be served, along with Lemon Raspberry Baby Bellini's (non-alcoholic of course)!

Enjoy,
Jan

(Vegan version pictured)

   
Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

Heat oven to 350˚.  Measure the following dry ingredients into a bowl.  Stir well and set aside.

1 2/3 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
½ teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of baking powder
1 cup of white sugar
In a separate bowl combine the following ingredients and whisk well.

¾ cup of water
¼ cup of unsweetened apple sauce
¼ cup of vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon of pure lemon extract
3 tablespoons of lemon juice
Zest of one lemon
Final ingredient: 2 tablespoons of poppy seeds needed for next step

Make a well in the center of flour and pour the moist ingredients in the well.  Stir until all the flour mixture is moistened.  Gently fold in 2 tablespoons of poppy seeds.  Pour mixed batter into greased loaf pan.  (I spray it with Pam or Baker’s Joy and it does fine)  Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes or until toothpick test comes clean.   Remove loaf from pan to cool.  When still warm spread the following sugar glaze over the top of the loaf.
Sugar Glaze:
Combine ¼ cup of powdered sugar, 1 ½ tablespoons of melted butter, and ¼ teaspoon of pure vanilla extract.


Vegan Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

Heat oven to 350˚.  Measure the following dry ingredients into a bowl.  Stir well and set aside.

1 ½  cups of unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
½ teaspoon of salt
1 cup of organic white sugar
¼ cup of wheat germ (If you don’t have wheat germ you can substitute ¼ cup of flour)

In a separate bowl combine the following ingredients and whisk well.

¾ cup of water
¼ cup of unsweetened organic apple sauce
¼ cup of canola oil
1 teaspoon of pure lemon extract
3 tablespoons of lemon juice
Zest of one lemon

Final ingredient: 2 tablespoons of poppy seeds needed for next step

Make a well in the center of flour and pour the moist ingredients in the well.  Stir until all the flour mixture is moistened.  Gently fold in 2 tablespoons of poppy seeds.  Pour mixed batter into greased loaf pan.  Crisco is fine for greasing.  Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes or until toothpick test comes clean.   Remove loaf from pan to cool.  When still warm spread the following sugar glaze over the top of the loaf.
Sugar Glaze:  Combine ¼ cup of organic powdered sugar, 1 ½ tablespoons of lemon juice, and ¼ teaspoon of pure vanilla extract.

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Taste Of Blood Wine by Freda Warrington

book jacketThis is the second Freda Warrington book I have read.  Even as one of her back list titles, I found it just as compelling as Elfland.  First published in 2002, I would describe A Taste Of Blood Wine as a cross between Anne Rice and some of the more edgy modern paranormal romances, only with Freda Warrington’s incredible voice.   However, I only refer to this book as a romance because the main element of the story is driven by the two lead characters, Karl and Charlotte, and the extreme measures they are willing to take in order to be together; the horror reference falls within those extreme measures.  Warrington is not opposed to killing off her likable characters, but this story, at its core, is a romance with a happy ending, only the journey is a bit more brutal than most.

There are quite a few unique aspects about this book I find intriguing.  The story takes place in England during the 1920’s, post World War I.  Also, the heroine, Charlotte, has social difficulties that cause discord with her siblings and aunt.  Her anxiety toward crowds, strangers, and change within her personal environment, creates a unique main character not often seen in genre fiction.  Once again, Warrington’s character development is marvelous; her characters are not perfect and their flaws generate some interesting motivations.   The antagonist, Kristian, is brilliantly demented.  Kristian is a master vampire who views himself as the dark hand of God, the enforcer of His will---I LOVED this twist on Vampire fiction.   Kristian is annoyed that Karl, his favored creation, has opted for independence and refuses to subjugate to his demands.  Worse (in this master vampire's mind) Karl is an atheist.  Therefore, Kristian goes after the woman Karl loves to force him back home.  Lastly, and I will not give this final story element away, but I will say that I like Warrington’s theory on why vampires exist.

This author truly has a gift for story telling.  A Taste Of Blood Wine is well worth the read!  It is the first book in a trilogy, but since it was only published in the UK I had to buy it used, though it arrived in excellent condition.  However, the others may be difficult to find.  :o(

Hope to see you in our library someday soon,
Jan

Friday, July 8, 2011

Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning

book jacketReview by Sarah:

Having just moved and having no idea in what box the newest Janet Evanovich book got packed, I needed a book to download.  While searching through the downloadable ebooks offered by the library I came across a book that I had been meaning to read.  It was the first book in Karen Marie Moning’s Fever Series, Darkfever. 

Within just a few pages and I was hooked.  The book starts off with Mackayla Lane’s life changing forever, when she learns that her sister has been gruesomely murder in Dublin, Ireland.  Weeks later Mackayla (Mac) hears a voicemail that her sister left on her cell phone just hours before she was murdered.  The message brings up more questions than answers: “What is the Sinsar Dubh?”, “What does she mean by Them?” and most importantly what does “You don’t know even know what you are?” .  To the Dublin police the murder is a dead end and stop investigating.  This is when Mac makes the decision to head to Dublin to start her own investigation.  From the very first moments that she steps foot in Ireland, strange things start to happen.  Mac is thrust into a world that she never knew existed where Fae intermingle with humans, and where she doesn’t know whom to trust. 

I haven’t finished it yet but I am more than halfway through and can’t wait to finish it. It is written in first person which I sometimes have an issue with, but this book is well written so I don’t mind.
~Sarah

Request Darkfever from the Bangor Public Library

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Recommended reads from the group!

As promised, here's a list of our NYOBG recommendations from our last meeting.  As you can see we have a wonderful group of eclectic readers.  I have listed the titles and authors below by genre.  If I have missed any please let my know.  Before our next meeting I will see which titles have enough copies for a group read!

Enjoy,
Jan    

SCI-FI ~ FANTASY
Six Moon Dance by Sheri Tepper
Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
The Proud Enemy by F.M. Busby
Moon Called by Patricia Briggs
Bitten by Kelly Armstrong      <<<<<< The Chosen Read
Green Rider by Kristen Britain
Ill-Made Mute by Cecilia Dart-Thornton
Brothers In Arms by Lois McMaster Bujold
Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud
Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

NOT JUST FOR YOUNG ADULTS
Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Giver by Lois Lowry

ROMANCE
Black Hills by Nora Roberts
The Search by Nora Roberts
Carolina Moon by Nora Roberts
Hard Day's Knight by Katie MacAlister
You Slay Me by Katie MacAlister
Full Moon Rising by Keri Arthur
A Summer To Remember by Mary Balogh
Fantasy Lover by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Twin of Fire/Twin of Ice by Jude Deveraux
Prisoner of My Desire by Johanna Lindsey
Son of the Morning by Linda Howard
Now You See Her by Linda Howard
Love In the Afternoon by Lisa Kleypas

MYSTERY
Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs
Touch the Dark by Kay Hooper

MISC.
I, Claudius by Robert Graves