Friday, February 25, 2011

It Is Getting Close To The End...Or Is It?

This is really sad...I only have a smidgeon of a bar left on the bottom of my Kindle.  To my fellow Kindleoholics out know what that means.  I am nearing the end of my time with this book. 

I can only say that if you loved reading the Twilight books and all of the   Harry Potter books and Linger and Shiver and even the Hunger Games will love this book.  It is sort of a grown up combination of all of the amazing fantastic aspects of the above books.  It is a masterful telling of an amazingly beautiful story.  I want to be a witch like Diana Bishop.  I really really do.

Someone has to buy the movie rights and make this into a movie that is swoon worthy.

I actually just finished the book.  The ending...I can't even tell is sad and bittersweet and happy and intriguing all at the same time!!!

It seems to most definitely most likely lead to a next book but I have no idea how the author will manage another one...I have a feeling it will be just as long and equally as powerful.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Fun With Animals...

I love animals...all of them...there are turkey vultures eating bird seed in my back yard by the pond right now and they look cute to me...all 8 of them!!!

I buy peanuts for the squirrels and if my husband eats them I am mad at him.

Last night I saw 4 deer eating from the bird feeders...Everyone out there seems cold and hungry.  I want to feed them.  In A Discovery Of Witches, Tabitha, the cat, loves Matthew, the vampire, and brings him dead mice as a token of her love.  This makes me love this book even more than I already do.

My dad loved animals and could not resist feeding birds and squirrels.  He kept special treats for his squirrels on our front screened in porch and a big fat squirrel would sit and wait for my dad to give him his peanuts.  My dad loved this.  My dad kept Milkbones on his back deck for neighboring dogs and doggie grandchildren.  I think this love for animals gene must be in my blood.  I know it is.  Now that I think of it...even my little Italian mom would throw leftover pasta in with the bird seed.  She always said that it was good for birds in the winter.  My Italian grandma had a cat that would only eat her homemade pasta and sauce.

Actually, when I think about it,  I have fed animals all over the list is long...I have fed giraffes and geese and rhinos and horses and rabbits and even fish.  Yes...we feed the fish in our pond.  I have fed beach squirrels in Monterey and I have fed the ducks by the library in Camden.  On our last trip to Camden we bought loaf after loaf of whole wheat bread ( don't they need fiber, too? ) for the ducks and the seagulls.  I have fed deer when we lived in St. Louis and wild turkeys and I didn't mind it when raccoons tipped over our trash cans. 

I blame my dad...but in a good way.

Do you have a weakness when it comes to animals?

My biggest weakness and my biggest joy.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Is This A Fabulous Soup Or What?

I love this site that this recipe came from...Tasting Table.  A sweet newsletter comes daily with restaurants, wine ideas, and sometimes amazing recipes by a fabulous chef.  This was in today's newsletter.  Thank you, Chef Bull!!!

Pepperoni Soup
Recipe adapted from David Bull, Second Bar + Kitchen, Austin, Texas
Yield: Yield: 4 main-course servings


2 tablespoons canola oil
2 cups cubed pepperoni
2 cups finely chopped yellow onions
1 cup finely chopped celery
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped basil
1½ tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsl
1 tablespoon finely chopped oregano
½ teaspoon garlic salt
¼ teaspoon celery seeds
1/8 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1 cup tomato puree
¼ cup Sauternes (or other sweet white wine)
2 cups tomato juice
1 cup tomato sauce
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Croutons, preferably homemade


1. In a medium saucepan, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the pepperoni and cook, stirring occasionally, until it's lightly browned, about 8 minutes.

2. Add the onions, celery, garlic, basil, parsley, oregano, garlic salt, celery seeds and red-pepper flakes and cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until the onions are tender, about 8 minutes.

3. Add the tomato puree and cook over medium heat, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the wine and reduce the liquid by half, about 2 minutes. Add the tomato juice, tomato sauce and 1 cup of water. Bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.

4. Remove the soup from the heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide among 4 bowls and top with the mozzarella and croutons. Serve immediately.

An Interview With Deborah Harkness...

I love reading Amazon's Daily Blog entitled Omnivoracious.  The post for today had an interview with Deborah Harkness that was conducted by Jeff Vandermeer.  If you plan to read this book...or are reading it now...this interview gave me valuable insight into the mind of this author.  It is mindboggling to think of how she came up with this premise and made it all so captivating.  Thank you, Jeff, for an awesome interview!!!

A Discovery of Witches: An Interview with Deborah Harkness

by Jeff VanderMeer on February 21, 2011

Deborah Harkness' epic vampire-magic novel A Discovery of Witches is an Amazon best-of-the-month book for February. This is a first foray into fiction for Harkness, but the subject matter isn't exactly foreign. She's a Fullbright- and Guggenheim-honored historian whose previous books, under the name Deborah E. Harkness, have dealt with aspects of alchemy. A Discovery of Witches continues her fascination with magical systems, focused as it is on Oxford's Bodleian Library and concerning the adventures of historian Diana Bishop, who happens to be a witch. Her discovery of a strange manuscript draws the attention of a powerful vampire. The mystery surrounding the manuscript leads Bishop on a strange journey of discovery and horror. Publishers Weekly wrote that "Harkness brings this world to vibrant life and makes the most of the growing popularity of gothic adventure with an ending that keeps the Old Lodge door wide open."

Harkness answered the following questions about her book while on a plane, flying home to Los Angeles, availing herself of an entirely different sort of magical system. Was there a single spark or catalyst for writing this novel?

Deborah Harkness: I started wondering if there were vampires among us, then what on earth would they do for a living? The answers to that question, and the questions that arose subsequently, shape the world of A Discovery of Witches. What kinds of “discovery” and “aha!” moments did you go through while writing it?

Deborah Harkness: There were too many to count. One that stands out, however, is the first time it occurred to me to imagine that popular legends about vampires, witches, and daemons were intended to convince ordinary humans that these creatures didn't exist. So, for example, the human myth is that vampires sleep in coffins but the reality might be that vampires are just deep sleepers and "sleep like the dead." Your background is as a history professor, and you’ve written several nonfiction books. How did this translate to your fiction writing while writing the rough draft, in either a positive or negative way?

Deborah Harkness: I know lots of stories about the past—which comes in very handy when I am writing about a very old vampire and his family. I really can't think of anything negative. I've loved writing fiction and nonfiction, and I believe those both forms have benefitted not just from being a historian, but a teacher. To what extent did you think about the constraints and consequences of magic generally while writing the book?

Deborah Harkness: I've been thinking about magic for a long time, because my scholarly research has focused on the topic. In A Discovery of Witches, I often simply transplanted what people believed about magic in the sixteenth century into the twenty-first century. In the sixteenth century magic was viewed as a secret knowledge, and as a tool for making life easier, more predictable, and more pleasant. Do you have a favorite scene, or a favorite moment from writing the novel?

Deborah Harkness: I am very fond of Diana and Matthew's first date, when she makes dinner for him. Joy of Cooking doesn't include menus for entertaining vampires, so she was on her own! What do you most hate about writing, if anything?

Deborah Harkness: The most difficult thing about writing is that I empathize with the characters so fully that when they are happy, I am ebullient, and when I am writing up difficult emotions and moments, I can end up weeping at the keyboard. I don't hate that level of attachment to the book and its characters, but I certainly hadn't experienced it writing non-fiction. Vampire fiction has had its share of high-concept moments in the past decade, as has magic and exploration of magical systems. For an example of the former, the recent The Passage and a host of urban fantasy novels. Of the latter, Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell is one high-profile example. Through what alchemy is your novel different?

Deborah Harkness: I think the answer is in the question itself—I am interested in alchemy and in the relationship between magic and science. That intersection between magic and science is a major theme in the book and much of the plot is structured around alchemical imagery and ideas. I haven't read much vampire fiction or magical fiction since Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire and The Witching Hour, however, so I'm probably not the best person to respond. Has reaction to the novel been what you expected, and has your view of the novel changed as a result of that reaction?

Deborah Harkness: I'm surprised by how quickly people have embraced the book and its characters. It's a long book, and it was intended to be something to experience and linger over, not bolt through quickly. It has been wonderful to hear from many readers who have enjoyed precisely this aspect of the book. What are some of your favorite reads of the past few years?

Deborah Harkness: The only bad thing about writing is that it seriously cuts into my reading time, so I've read lamentably few novels over the past few years. Recently, I have been enjoying modern fairy tales, like those in Kate Bernheimer's brilliant collection My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me. Two other books that really stand out to me are Ivy Pochoda’s The Art of Disappearing, a bittersweet story about a magician whose stagecraft malfunctions (often with disastrous results), and Audrey Niffenegger’s Her Fearful Symmetry, which was the most brilliantly creepy book I have had the pleasure to read.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Lovely New Books...

This book is from Dorothy at PumpUpYourBooks...I will be reviewing it within the next few weeks. 

Thank you are very patient with me!!!
 I love this cover.

I have read and reviewed The Book Of Unholy Mischief by this author and loved it in spite of myself.  I am really looking forward to this new book.

In spite of firm resolutions to not buy any more books...these somehow worked their magic and were whispernetted into my beloved Kindle.

I love this author's books and usually read every book she writes...I have loved her work for years.  There is always an element of magic in her books.

I loved her other books and I know I will love this one, too.

My love for fantasy and the first book in this series made me preorder this one and it just came the other day.
I read about this book on another blogger's captured my attention as did this lovely cover.

So...that is my stash this week.  I have to determine where I will fit these in and when and how soon. 

Isn't that a lovely problem to have, though?

Whether or not the stack of books is in your Kindle or from the library or a bookstore...a stack of books just makes me feel happy today.

What is making you smile today?