Lady K's blog

Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday fill-ins # 8


1. I'm exhausted, I'm weavy, I need some sleep

2. Why do I have to be stressed out for unimportant things and not dealing with them calmly.

3. How does this machine work, anyway?

4. Every morning, I put some raisins on my yagourt.

5. I consider myself lucky because I have a lot of caring friends.

6. One day we’ll see the Backstreet Boys live.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to get some rest, tomorrow my plans include baking some muffins and Sunday, I want to finish my presentation about Starbucks!

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Spothlight author: Joanne Harris

Joanne Harris was born in Barnsley in 1964, of a French mother and an English father. She studied Modern and Mediaeval Languages at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge and was a teacher for fifteen years, during which time she published three novels; The Evil Seed (1989), Sleep, Pale Sister (1993) and Chocolat (1999), which was made into an Oscar-nominated film starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp. 

Since then, she has written seven more novels; Blackberry Wine, Five Quarters of the Orange, Coastliners, Holy Fools, Gentlemen and Players, and, most recently, The Lollipop Shoes and Runemarks, plus; Jigs & Reels, a collection of short stories and, with cookery writer Fran Warde, two cookbooks; The French Kitchen and The French Market. Her books are now published in over 40 countries and have won a number of British and international awards. In 2004, Joanne was one of the judges of the Whitbread prize (categories; first novel and overall winner); and in 2005 she was a judge of the Orange prize. 

Her hobbies are listed in Who’s Who as: “mooching, lounging, strutting, strumming, priest-baiting and quiet subversion of the system”, although she also enjoys obfuscation, sleaze, rebellion, witchcraft, armed robbery, tea and biscuits. She is not above bribery and would not necessarily refuse an offer involving exotic travel, champagne or yellow diamonds from Graff. She plays bass guitar in a band first formed when she was 16, is currently studying Old Norse and lives with her husband Kevin and her daughter Anouchka, about 15 miles from the place she was born. 

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays


Ttile: Undead and unwed

Author: Mary Janice Davidson

Chapter one:

The day I died started out bad and got worse in a hurry.
I hit my snooze alarm a few too many times and was late for work. And didn’t have time for breakfast. Okay, that’s a lie, I gobbled a pair of chocolate Pop Tarts while waiting for the bus. My mom would have approved (who do you think got me hooked on the darned things?), but a nutritionist would have smacked me upside the head with her calorie counter.

At a nine a.m. meeting I found out the recession (the one the President has been denying for two years) had hit me right between the eyes: I had been laid off. Not unexpected, but it hurt, just the same. They had to slash costs, and god forbid any of senior management be shown the door. Nope; the clerks and secretaries had been deemed expendable.

I cleaned out my desk, avoided the way my co-workers were avoiding looking at me (the ones left, that is), and scuttled home.
As I walked through my front door I saw my answering machine light winking at me like a small black dragon. The message was from my stepmonster: “Your father and I won’t be able to make it to your party tonight…I just realized we have an earlier commitment. Sorry.” Sure you are, jerk. “Have fun without us.” No problem. “Maybe you’ll meet someone tonight.” Translation: Maybe some poor slob will marry you and take you off my hands. My stepmonster had, from day one, related to me in only one way: as a rival for her new husband’s affections.

I went into the kitchen to feed my cat, and that’s when I noticed she’d run away again. Always looking for adventure, my Giselle (although it’s more like I’m her Betsy).

I looked at the clock. My, my. Not even noon.

Happy birthday to me.

* * * * *

As it turned out, we had a freak April snowstorm, and my party was postponed. Just as well…I didn’t feel like going out, putting on a happy face, and drinking one too many daiquiris. The Mall of America is a terrific place, but I’ve got to be in the mood for crowds, overpriced retail merchandise, and six dollar drinks. Tonight I wasn’t.

Nick called around eight p.m., and that was my day’s sole bright spot. Nick Berry was a detective who worked out of St. Paul. I’d been attacked a couple of months before, and…

Okay, well, “attacked” is putting it mildly. I don’t like to talk about it—tothink about it—but what happened was, a bunch of creeps jumped me as I was leaving Kahn’s Mongolian Barbecue (all you can eat for $11.95, including salad, dessert, and free refills). I have no idea what they wante —they didn’t take my purse or try to rape me. Basically, they clawed and bit at me like a bunch of rabid squirrels while I fended them off with the toes of my Manolo Blahniks and screamed for help as loud as I could…so loud I couldn’t speak above a whisper for three days. Help didn’t come, but the bad guys ran away.
Skittered away, actually. While I leaned against my car, concentrating on not passing out, I glanced back and it looked like a few of them were on all fours.

Nick was assigned to the case, and he interviewed me in the hospital while they were disinfecting the bite marks. All fifteen of them. The intern who took care of me smelled like cilantro and kept humming the theme from Harry Potter.

That was last fall. Since then, more and more people—they didn’t discriminate between women and men—were being attacked. The last two had turned up dead. So, yeah, I was freaked out by what happened, and I’d sworn off Kahn’s until the bad guys were caught, but mostly I was grateful it hadn’t been worse.

Anyway, Nick called and we chatted and, long story short, I promised to come in to look through the Big Book O‘ Bad Guys one more time. And I would. For myself, to feel like I was being pro active, but mostly to see Nick, who was exactly my height (six feet), dark blonde, swimmer’s build, and looked like an escapee from a Mr. Hardbody calendar. I’ve broken the law, Officer, take me in.

Making Officer Nick my eye candy would be the closest I’ve gotten to getting laid in…what year was it? Not that I’m a prude. I’m just picky. I treat myself to the nicest, most expensive shoes I can get my hands on, which isn’t easy on a secretary’s budget. I save up for months to buy the dumb things. And those only have to go on my feet.
Yep, that’s me in a nutshell: Elizabeth Taylor (don’t start!), single, dead-end job (well, not anymore), lives with her cat. And I’m so dull, the fucking cat runs away about three times a month just to get a little excitement.

And speaking of the cat…I had just heard her telltaleRiaaaooowwwww! from the street. Super! Giselle hated the snow. She had probably been looking for a little spring lovin‘ and gotten caught in the storm. Now she was outside waiting for rescue. And when Idid rescue her, she’d be horribly affronted and wouldn’t make eye contact for the rest of the week.

I slipped into my boots and headed into the yard. It was still snowing, but I could see Giselle crouched in the middle of the street like a small blob of shadow. One with amber-colored eyes. I wasted ten seconds calling her—whydo I call cats?—then clomped through my yard into the street.

Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, as I live at the end of the block and it’s a quiet street. However, in the snow on icy roads, the driver didn’t see me in time. When he did, he did the absolutely worst thing: slammed on his brakes. That pretty much sealed my doom.

Dying doesn’t hurt. I know that sounds like a crock, some touchy-feely nonsense meant to make
people feel better about biting the big one. But the fact is, your body is so traumatized by what’s
happening, it shuts down your nerve endings. Not only did dying not hurt, I didn’t even feel the cold. And it was only ten degrees that night.

I handled it badly, I admit. When I saw he was going to plow into me, I froze like a deer in the headlights. A big, dumb, blonde deer who had just paid for touch-up highlights. I couldn’t move, not even to save my life.

Giselle certainly could; the ungrateful little wretch scampered right the hell out of there. Me, I went flying. The car hit me at forty miles an hour, which was survivable, and knocked me into a tree, which was not.

I heard things break. I heard my own skull shatter—it sounded like someone was chewing ice in my ear. I felt myself bleed. I felt my bladder let go involuntarily for the first time in twenty-six years. In the dark, my blood on the snow looked black.

The last thing I saw was Giselle sitting on my porch, waiting for me to let her in. The last thing I heard was the driver, screaming for help.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

In my Mailbox #1

All the books were bought. 

1- Angels and Demons by Dan Brown

2- A tale of two cities by Charled Dickens

3- New York stories by various authors

4- Shopaholic and Baby by Sophie Kinsella

5- The alchemist by Paulo Coelho

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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Book review: Marked by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

The book: Marked

The author: P.C. Cast and  Kristin Cast

Pages: 197

Zoey Redbird was going to be one average high school student before being marked. Zoey’s life changed upside down, everything was new and weird to her. Her friends abandoned her, her family wanted to control her. She only found refuge at her grandmother that took her to the house of night that was her home from that day. She was a third former fledgling but not a regular one.

Her mark was different from the others, her affinity was powerful, and her determination to follow Nyx’s path clean and strong as it is, made her a perfect match to be a training high priestess. 

I find the story very interesting since it shows the change and the suffering of a teenage toward being a vampire. It gives us an idea about how much the change can be difficult, and how much strength and belief are needed to go through it. Friendship has a huge part in the story, the whole sticking together in good and bad helped Zoey to win her battle so far against the ex leader of the Dark Daughters.

Zoey’s holding to her family’s traditions was another point that I liked about the story. She actually turned to the Cherokee’s with prayers to help her come up with a plan; I found this brilliant because many of nowadays teenagers grow apart from their traditions and beliefs even when they need them the most.

I couldn’t help but compare the House of night series with the Harry Potter ones. The whole school thing, the fitting issue, and then the typical enemy blond people, for me that is just the same thing, this is really Harry Potter vampire version. I would love to watch it as a movie, it would be fabulous.

The style is easy to read, it is a very simple one, merely like the fanfiction’s. Which can make you bound with the book more, and feel that it was written by your close friend.

I can’t wait to read the other books of the series. It was a great deal to write what Zoey had been through and make you understand her pain and hard times because you can feel the bound between you and the main character. That certainly makes you wonder what will she do next. What changes will she do in the Dark Daughters? And if her relationship with Erik Night will be developed or not?

All that and more will be discovered in the next book. I recommend “Marked”, it’s a very catching and eventful story.

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy V day!!!!


Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday Fill-Ins #7


1. It seems like death is not so far as we think.

2. Pass me the hot sauce when you're done, please?

3. If I thought you would say yes I'd ask right away!

4. Your sweetness and love is what I think of most when I think of you.

5. To me, Valentine's Day means taking some time out to enjoy love and appreciate the relationship.

6. God gives me strength.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to write a short story about Valentine's day, tomorrow my plans include starting a new book  and Sunday, I want to relax!

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Spotlight author: P. C. Cast

Ms. Cast is a New York Times Best Selling author. Her novels have been awarded the prestigious: Oklahoma Book Award, YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Prism, Holt Medallion, Daphne du Maurier, Booksellers’ Best, and the Laurel Wreath.

She was born in Illinois and grew up being shuttled back and forth between there and Oklahoma, which is where she fell in love with quarter horses and mythology 

Her first novel, Goddess by Mistake, was published by a small press in 2001. Thoroughly shocking the author, it won a Prism, a Holt Medallion and a Laurel Wreath, and was a finalist for the National Readers' Choice Award. Since then Ms. Cast has gone on to win numerous writing awards. Ms. Cast is thrilled that with her Parthalon series for LUNA Books she has been given the opportunity to continue the world she created in her first book.

P.C. Cast is an experienced teacher and talented speaker. She lives in Oklahoma with her fabulous daughter, her spoiled cat, and her adorable Scotties!

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays

Title: Chocolat

Author: Joanne Harris

Chapter 1

February 11, Shrove Tuesday

We came on the wind of the carnival. A warm wind for February, laden with the hot greasy scents of frying
pancakes and sausages and powdery-sweet waffles cooked on the hotplate right there by the roadside, with
the confetti sleeting down collars and cuffs and rolling in the gutters like an idiot antidote to winter. There is
a febrile excitement in the crowds which line the narrow main street, necks craning to catch sight of the
crepe-covered char with its trailing ribbons and paper rosettes. Anouk watches, eyes wide, a yellow balloon
in one hand and a toy trumpet in the other, from between a shopping-basket and a sad brown dog. We have
seen carnivals before, she and I; a procession of two hundred and fifty of the decorated chars in Paris last
Mardi Gras, a hundred and eighty in New York, two dozen marching bands in Vienna, clowns on stilts, the
Grosses Tetes with their lolling papier-mache heads, drum majorettes with batons spinning and sparkling.
But at six the world retains a special lustre. A wooden cart, hastily decorated with gilt and crepe and scenes
from fairy tales. A dragon's head on a shield, Rapunzel in a woollen wig, a mermaid with a Cellophane tail, a
gingerbread house all icing and gilded cardboard, a witch in the doorway, waggling extravagant green fingernails at a group of silent children… At six it is possible to perceive subtleties which a year later arealready out of reach. Behind the papier-mache, the icing, the plastic, she can still see the real witch, the real magic. She looks up at me, her eyes, which are the blue-green of the Earth seen from a great height, shining.

‘Are we staying? Are we staying here?’ I have to remind her to speak French. `But are we? Are we?’ Sheclings to my sleeve.

Her hair is a candyfloss tangle in the wind.

I consider. It's as good a place as any. Lansquenet-sous-Tannes, two hundred souls at most, no more thana blip on the fast road between Toulouse and Bordeaux. Blink once and it's gone. One main street, a doublerow of dun coloured half-timbered houses leaning secretively together, a few laterals running parallel likethe tines of a bent fork. A church, aggressively whitewashed, in a square of little shops. Farms scatteredacross the watchful land. Orchards, vineyards, strips of earth enclosed and regimented according to the
strict apartheid of country farming: here apples, there kiwis, melons, endives beneath their black plastic
shells, vines looking blighted and dead in the thin February sun but awaiting triumphant resurrection by
March… Behind that, the Tannes, small tributary of the Garonne, fingers its way across the marshy pasture.
And the people? They look much like all others we have known; a little pale perhaps in the unaccustomed
sunlight, a little drab. Headscarves and berets are the colour of the hair beneath, brown, black or grey. Faces
are lined like last summer's apples, eyes pushed into wrinkled flesh like marbles into old dough. A few children,
flying colours of red and lime-green and yellow, seem like a different race. As the char advances ponderously
along the street behind the old tractor which pulls it, a large woman with a square, unhappy face
clutches a tartan coat about her shoulders and shouts something in the half-comprehensible local dialect; on
the wagon a squat Santa Claus, out-of-season amongst the fairies and sirens and goblins, hurls sweets at the
crowd with barely restrained aggression. An elderly small-featured man, wearing a felt hat rather than the
round beret more common to the region, picks up the sad brown dog from between my legs with a look of
polite apology. I see his thin graceful fingers moving in the dog's fur; the dog whines; the master's expression
becomes complex with love, concern, guilt. No-one looks at us. We might as well be invisible; our clothing
marks us as strangers, transients. They are polite, so polite; no-one stares at us. The woman, her long
hair tucked into the collar of her orange coat, a long silk scarf fluttering at her throat; the child in yellow
wellingtons and sky-blue mac. Their colouring marks them. Their clothes are exotic, their faces – are they
too pale or too dark? – their hair marks them other, foreign, indefinably strange. The people of Lansquenet
have learned the art of observation without eye contact. I feel their gaze like a breath on the nape of my
neck, strangely without hostility but cold nevertheless. We are a curiosity to them, a part of the carnival, a
whiff of the outlands. I feel their eyes upon us as I turn to buy a galette from the vendor. The paper is hot
and greasy, the dark wheat pancake crispy at the edges but thick and good in the centre. I break off a piece
and give it to Anouk, wiping melted butter from her chin. The vendor is a plump, balding man with thickglasses, his face slick with the steam from the hot plate. He winks at her. With the other eye he takes in every detail, knowing there will be questions later.

‘On holiday, Madame?’ Village etiquette allows him to ask; behind his tradesman's indifference I see a real
hunger. Knowledge is currency here; with Agen and Montauban so close, tourists are a rarity.
‘For a while.’
‘From Paris, then?’ It must be our clothes. In this garish land the people are drab. Colour is a luxury; it
wears badly. The bright blossoms of the roadside are weeds, invasive, useless.

`No, no, not Paris.’

The char is almost at the end of the street. A small band – two fifes, two trumpets, a trombone and a side
drum – follows it, playing a thin unidentifiable march. A dozen children scamper in its wake, picking up the
unclaimed sweets. Some are in costume; I see Little Red Riding Hood and a shaggy person who might be the
wolf squabbling companionably over possession of a handful of streamers.
A black figure brings up the rear. At first I take him for a part of the parade – the Plague Doctor, maybe –
but as he approaches I recognize the old-fashioned soutane of the country priest. He is in his thirties,
though from a distance his rigid stance makes him seem older. He turns towards me, and I see that he too is
a stranger, with the high cheekbones and pale eyes of the North and long pianist's fingers resting on the silver
cross which hangs from his neck. Perhaps this is what gives him the right to stare at me, this alienness;
but I see no welcome in his cold, light eyes. Only the measuring, feline look of one who is uncertain of his
territory. I smile at him; he looks away, startled, beckons the two children towards him. A gesture indicates
the litter which now lines the road; reluctantly the pair begin to clear it, scooping up spent streamers and
sweet-wrappers in their arms and into a nearby bin. I catch the priest staring at me again as I turn away, a
look which in another man might have been of appraisal.
There is no police station at Lansquenet-sous-Tannes, therefore no crime. I try to be like Anouk, to see beneath

the disguise to the truth, but for now everything is blurred.

‘Are we staying? Are we, Maman?’ She tugs at my arm, insistently. `I like it, I like it here. Are we staying?’
I catch her up into my arms and kiss the top of her head. She smells of smoke and frying pancakes and
warm bedclothes on a winter's morning. Why not? It's as good a place as any.

`Yes, of course,' I tell her, my mouth in her hair. `Of course we are.’ Not quite a lie. This time it may evenbe true.

The carnival is gone. Once a year the village flares into transient brightness but even now the warmth has
faded, the crowd dispersed. The vendors pack up their hotplates and awnings, the children discard their costumes
and party favours. A slight air of embarrassment prevails, of abashment at this excess of noise and
colour. Like rain in midsummer it evaporates, runs into the cracked earth and through the parched stones,
leaving barely a trace. Two hours later Lansquenet-sous-Tannes is invisible once more, like an enchanted
village which appears only once every year. But for the carnival we should have missed it altogether.
We have gas but as yet no electricity. On our first night I made pancakes for Anouk by candlelight and we
ate the fireside, using an old magazine for plates, as none of our things can be delivered until
tomorrow. The shop was originally a bakery and still carries the baker's wheatsheaf carved above the narrow
doorway, but the floor is thick with a floury dust, and we picked our way across a drift of junk mail as we
came in. The lease seems ridiculously cheap, accustomed as we are to city prices; even so I caught the sharp
glance of suspicion from the woman at the agency as I counted out the banknotes. On the lease document I
am Vianne Rocher, the signature a hieroglyph which might mean anything. By the light of the candle we
explored our new territory; the old ovens still surprisingly good beneath the grease and soot, the pinepanelled
walls, the blackened earthen tiles. Anouk found the old awning folded away in a back-room and we
dragged it out; spiders scattered from under the faded canvas. Our living area is above the shop; a bedsit
and washroom, ridiculously tiny balcony, terracotta planter with dead geraniums… Anouk made a face when she saw it.

`It's so dark, Maman.’ She sounded awed, uncertain in the face of so much dereliction. `And it smells sosad.’

She is right. The smell is like daylight trapped for years until it has gone sour and rancid, of mousedroppings
and the ghosts of things unremembered and unmourned. It echoes like a cave, the small heat of
our presence only serving to accentuate every shadow. Paint and sunlight and soapy water will rid us of the
grime, but the sadness is another matter, the forlorn resonance of a house where no-one has laughed for years. Anouk's face looked pale and large-eyed in the candlelight, her hand tightening in mine.

`Do we have to sleep here?’ she asked. `Pantoufle doesn't like it. He's afraid.’

I smiled and kissed her solemn golden cheek. `Pantoufle is going to help us.’

We lit a candle for every room, gold and red and white and orange. I prefer to make my own incense, but
in a crisis the bought sticks are good enough for our purposes, lavender and cedar and lemongrass. We each
held a candle, Anouk blowing her toy trumpet and I rattling a metal spoon in an old saucepan, and for ten
minutes we stamped around every room, shouting and singing at the top of our voices – Out! Out! Out! until
the walls shook and the outraged ghosts fled, leaving in their wake a faint scent of scorching and a good deal
of fallen plaster. Look behind the cracked and blackened paintwork, behind the sadness of things
abandoned, and begin to see faint outlines, like the after-image of a sparkler held in the hand – here a wall
adazzle with golden paint, there an armchair, a little shabby, but coloured a triumphant orange, the old
awning suddenly glowing as half-hidden colours slide out from beneath the layers of grime. Out! Out! Out!
Anouk and Pantoufle stamped and sang and the faint images seemed to grow brighter – a red stool beside

the vinyl counter, a string of bells

against the front door. Of course, I know it's only a game. Clamours to

comfort a frightened child. There'll have to be work done, hard work, before any of this becomes real. And
yet for the moment it is enough to know that the house welcomes us, as we welcome it. Rock salt and bread
by the doorstep to placate any resident gods. Sandalwood on our pillow, to sweeten our dreams.
Later Anouk told me Pantoufle wasn't frightened any more, so that was all right. We slept together in our
clothes on the floury mattress in the bedroom with all the candles burning, and when we awoke it was


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Sunday, February 1, 2009

Book Giveaways!

There's a lot of great books had been mentioned in some blogs and some of the bloggers are giving away some of them...

Here's some book Giveaways that i entered this week.

Here's a chance to win a copy of the great book in too deap by Jennifer Banash. The giveaway is hosted by my beloved friend Princess Neveen.

Another great book is given away by Taylor in her very first contest is Wintergirls By Laurie Halse Anderson.

Em's winter book giveaway contest is the huge one. Go and win 7 books that you will chose from her list.

Something, maybe by Elizabeth Scott is one of the great books of this year. Want to win a copy? Hurry to Carol's contest.

And, last one, The stand Birthday contest will give you the uniqueness to choose your own books to win.

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